Topic – Indian Art and culture.
1) Gandhara represents the shared civilisational past of the Indian subcontinent. Comment.(250 words)
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to comment on the various factors which would gandhara representative of the shared culture of Indian subcontinent. We can talk about the accounts of Greek scholars, the art and architecture found in the region to comment on the fact that gandhara represented the shared civilisational past of Indian subcontinent.
Comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading. Your opinion may be for or against, but you must back your argument with evidences.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain about the geographical location, and historical position of gandhara.
- Discuss the political influences if gandhara of ten Greek, the mauryas.
- Highlight that scholars such as Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 BCE) who in his groundbreaking compilation of history, The Histories, mentions Gandhara as a satrapy of Darius I. Ptolemy (90-168 CE) the Hellenic Egyptian scientist says Gandhara existed in the basin of the Kabul river, which is now in present-day Pakistan.
- Mention that Gandhara is surrounded by high mountains, making the region difficult to access, but because the region is so strategically located, it did not hinder people from all over the region to come to Gandhara – for not only trade and commerce but also for exchange of ideas and learning. Taxila hosted one of the first universities in the world. The region became the gateway into the Indian Subcontinent, producing a uniquely eclectic culture, which in turn produced splendid art.
- Highlight the Greek and Indian influences found in gandhara art
Conclusion – give your view on how gandhara can be considered as an embodiment of the shared civilisational past of Indian subcontinent.