Madhya Pradesh emerged as an Indian state in the year 1956. During that period, the state also rose to prominence as the largest state in India. However, with the bifurcation of Chhattisgarh in 2000, the modern-day Madhya Pradesh came into being. Positioned in the geographic heart of the country, the state is a crucible that holds the amazing concoction of various religions and cultures of the country. The rich culture of Madhya Pradesh is the upshot of its enchanting history that traverses many a dynasties.
The origin of Madhya Pradesh dates back to the Paleolithic age, when
men were primitive and dwelled in caves. Bhimbetka cave paintings of the
state reiterate the fact. As far as chronicling is concerned, the
history of Madhya Pradesh regresses to the time of emperor Ashoka.
Chandra Gupta Maurya, grandfather of Prince Ashoka, established the
Mauryan Empire (321 to 185 BCE) in Northern India, including the state
of Madhya Pradesh. Mauryan Empire received a setback after Ashoka's
death and subsequently ebbed away into oblivion.
With the culmination of the Mauryan Empire, Central India saw many
contestations for imperial victory amongst the Kushanas, Sakas and other
local dynasties, from 3rd to 1st century BC. Madhya Pradesh attained
glory when it came under the Gupta dynasty in the 4th and 5th centuries.
However, the Guptas collapsed with the attack of the White Huns, who
were later defeated in 528, by King Yashodharman of Malwa. During this
medieval period, the state also came under the sway of Rajputs, like the
Paramaras and the Chandelas, and these rulers ascended it to new heights
of prosperity and creativity.
Later, Gond kingdoms emerged in regions like Gondwana and Mahakoshal
and Northern Madhya Pradesh came under the Muslim Delhi Sultanate in the
13th century. However, with the decline in power of Delhi Sultanate, the
state saw the burgeoning of many independent regional kingdoms.
Excluding Gondwana and Mahakoshal, the entire state became the imperial
seat of the Mughal Kingdom. With the death of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb
in 1707, it saw the emergence of the Marathas, who gained total command
over the state, until their expansion impeded with the Third Battle of
Panipat in 1761.
British dominion extended to Madhya Pradesh with the fall of Marathas
and most of its regions became princely states of British India.
However, after independence, it attained the true stature of an Indian
state in 1956. The states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal
were incorporated into the state and the southern region of Vidarbha was
conceded to the Bombay state. It emerged as the largest state in India,
with Bhopal as the capital. In November 2000, the present day Madhya
Pradesh came into being, when the southeastern region of the state was
carved out to form the new state of Chhattisgarh.