Why is Gupta Rule called the Golden age when it did practice untouchability and discrimination

Dec 2018
1
Cochin
I have a few open ended questions, for which I would like to hear an answer.

a) Gupta rule is called golden age because of its mild administrative laws, low crime rate, empowerment of women, advancement in science and arts. But then, it was ironic that they did practice untouchability and discrimination. Chandala's were separated from the rest of the clan. Why did they not emphasis equality or fair treatment to all.

b) It is also noted that, Islam religion (which preached all are equal to god) was spreading in India and other parts of Asia due to the trade network with Arabs. Did the people who lived with such discrimination convert to Islam thereby causing this spread of Islam religion to happen?

c) Did this have any reasons to do with the downfall of Gupta Rule.

Please do let me know your opinions.

Regards
Vaishak S
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,859
New Delhi, India
Gupta rule is clled the 'golden age' for its peace and prosperity. Of course, it is also the time when it is thought that the brhmins imposed untouchability and discrimination.
However, the last notable emperor of Gupta dynasy was Skandagupta who died in 467 CE, that is about four generations before the birth of Mohammad (b. 570 CE).
Reasons for downfall of the dynasty: Samay, Kala, Time. No emperor or dynasty lives for ever. Neither Alexander, nor Genghis nor Nehru-Gandhi.
"Na raja rahega, na rani rahegi, ye duniya hai fani, fani rahegi' (Neither the king would last nor the queen, the world is impermanent, it will remain impermanent).
 
Apr 2018
1,562
Mythical land.
1 equality and individuality is a modern day phenomenon, at best you are accussing them of not being able to see the future.

2.guptas went down about 550 ad, muhammad wasn't even born till then

3.nopes,most likely prosperity of guptas led to decentralization,whichbled to their downfall and invasion of hunas too weakened the empire to certain extent.
 
Oct 2015
1,138
India
@vaishaks89

a) Why did they not emphasis equality or fair treatment to all ?

Everything in society serves a purpose (right or wrong purpose from today's standpoint) at the time it is practiced. And every religion has problems. See for example the burning & killing of witches in Christian Europe. Or else the genocide of native tribes in Americas during colonization by Europeans. Looking back, they are inhuman but it was meaningful for and served a purpose for the powers-that-be at that time.

Similarly exclusion of Dalits in Gupta society was meaningful for powers-that-be at that time. We need to understand past events as it was and change it for future. Answering the "why" is subjective and in today's electric environment can be construed as defending the wrongs of caste system, which hardly anyone does.


b) Did the people who lived with such discrimination convert to Islam thereby causing this spread of Islam religion to happen?


In Indian subcontinent people converted to islam for many reasons.

Violent threats:

There are several records by Islamic historians that conversions were forced - at point of sword - as they say. Read the history in Chhachnama which recounts the conquest of Sindh by Mohd-bin-Kasim (c. 712-715 CE). Each victory and incidents are described in details - including sati, executions, and conversions to Islam. Don't believe me, or textbooks in schools / colleges / even abroad, just spend an evening or two reading the earliest narration by Muslim historians. Allow for some exaggeration by them but the truth still comes through unambiguously.

Economic penalties:

Islam had to economically penalise non-Muslims to convert across the world. That is the source of Jijiya tax - outside India and within India.

Till British times, there are few, if any, records of conversions of low-caste Hindus on mass-scale to another religion due to 'discrimination'. In british times, the conversions were to to Christianity. The Dalits under Ambedkar converted to Buddhism in protest against discrimination (neither to Christianity of Islam). If you know of some records, please do tell me.

Economic rewards:

Islam also incentivized / rewarded converting to Islam. For example, Across the world, convicts were forgiven if they converted. India India, there are written records from Aurangzeb's court ("akhabarat") which shows that conversions were reported to the Emperor and the amount of money given as reward is also noted in the court records.

Sufis:

Sufis, it is often said, helped in conversions. These are generally seen as voluntary conversions, which is true I think.

To summarize, there were multiple reasons for conversion to Islam in Indian subcontinent. Direct reasons were - Violent threats, Economic penalties, Economic rewards, and Persuasion. Discrimination was only one of them.


c) Did this have any reasons to do with the downfall of Gupta Rule?

Gupta Empire ended in c. 550 CE. Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, lived from 570-632. It is believed Islam came to Kerala in 629 CE, three years' before his death, when first Masjid in India was built. By this time, Gupta Empire, which was mostly in northern India was long dead. So there is no connection between Gupta Empire & Islam. Its wars were with the Western Kshatrapas and Huns.
 
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Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
5,029
India
I have a few open ended questions, for which I would like to hear an answer.

a) Gupta rule is called golden age because of its mild administrative laws, low crime rate, empowerment of women, advancement in science and arts. But then, it was ironic that they did practice untouchability and discrimination. Chandala's were separated from the rest of the clan. Why did they not emphasis equality or fair treatment to all.

b) It is also noted that, Islam religion (which preached all are equal to god) was spreading in India and other parts of Asia due to the trade network with Arabs. Did the people who lived with such discrimination convert to Islam thereby causing this spread of Islam religion to happen?

c) Did this have any reasons to do with the downfall of Gupta Rule.

Please do let me know your opinions.

Regards
Vaishak S
The people who converted to Islam also had to face discrimination as they still had to retain their former Hindu castes (which is continued to this day in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh ) and Indian origin Muslims considered lower to Turkic, Persian and Arabian origin, having a foreign ancestry was a symbol of pride while having a pure Indian ancestry was considered being a lower class.

Gupta Empire is called the Golden age of India, because it was the time of most of major inventions and discoveries that were made by ancient Indians. The Nalanda University was founded during their time. The invasions by White Huns led to the downfall of the Gupta Empire.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,859
New Delhi, India
a) But then, it was ironic that they did practice untouchability and discrimination. Chandala's were separated from the rest of the clan. Why did they not emphasis equality or fair treatment to all.
b) It is also noted that, Islam religion (which preached all are equal to god) was spreading in India and other parts of Asia due to the trade network with Arabs. Did the people who lived with such discrimination convert to Islam thereby causing this spread of Islam religion to happen?
c) Did this have any reasons to do with the downfall of Gupta Rule.
a) We do not know how far untouchability was practiced during Gupta rule. And untouchability varied from one place to another. It was divisive but not always oppressive. In my place, untouchables were doing fine.
b) Did not happen on a large scale otherwise the picture of India would have been different. Islam succeeded initially in regions where Buddhism was prevalent. Pakhtoonkhwa, Sindh and Bangladesh.
c) Zanis and others have explained it. Gupt rule disintegrated much before rise of Islam.
 
May 2013
1,725
The abode of the lord of the north
I have a few open ended questions, for which I would like to hear an answer.

a) Gupta rule is called golden age because of its mild administrative laws, low crime rate, empowerment of women, advancement in science and arts. But then, it was ironic that they did practice untouchability and discrimination. Chandala's were separated from the rest of the clan. Why did they not emphasis equality or fair treatment to all.

b) It is also noted that, Islam religion (which preached all are equal to god) was spreading in India and other parts of Asia due to the trade network with Arabs. Did the people who lived with such discrimination convert to Islam thereby causing this spread of Islam religion to happen?

c) Did this have any reasons to do with the downfall of Gupta Rule.

Please do let me know your opinions.

Regards
Vaishak S
First of all, religious social discriminatory practices were a package that used to come with ancient societies with continuous religious practices that evolved over time. It existed as slavery, it existed as caste. In india, caste system did not directly translate to economic class. There were rich people and land lords even among lower caste people. Caste system discriminated people only on religious grounds. In places where religious involvements translated to social greatness, Upper caste people enjoyed being elites when lower caste were marginalized. It was this same fact that economic class were different from religious class that made things easier for semitic religions and sramanic religions to evangelize. But even within these new schools of thoughts that seemed to be an end-of-suffering for the marginalized class, new ways of discrimination arose. That was the norm those days, equality and fair treatment were alien concepts. You can't accuse Guptas for not treating everyone fairly because that concept wasn't the Philanthropic context those days.

Imagine after thousands of years, speciesm gets disappeared from the human society and all the species of creatures present in the planet get fair treatment. Can you digest people those days accusing the renowned Philanthropists of our times for being hypocritical and not stepping up against speciesm? That's the kind of the argument we're having here. We need to take into account the moral standards of the society we're talking about. Thus with respect to the moral standards of the human societies of which Guptas were a part, I'm sure they were pretty humanitarian. Why else would travelers and all praise the prosperity civilians achieved under them?

The downfall of Guptas had nothing to do with Islam or any other religious factors for that matter. Guptas fought relentless battles within India and also at their borders to keep out invaders. Continuous campaigns against Huns saw Guptas spending a lot of their time, focus and money on their borders and thus after centuries of failure, Huns finally found their way in as the empire shifted their focus from the northwest to south, were several vassals including Vakatakas had revolted. This lead to their gradual downfall.