Indo-Scythians were a group of nomadic Iranian peoples of Saka and Scythian origin who migrated southward into western and northern South Asia from the middle of the 2nd century BC to the 4th century AD. The first Saka king in South Asia was Maues/Moga who established Saka power in Gandhara, Indus Valley; the Indo-Scythians extended their supremacy over north-western India, conquering the Indo-Greeks and other local kingdoms. The Indo-Scythians were subjugated by the Kushan Empire, by either Kujula Kadphises or Kanishka, yet the Saka continued forming the Northern Satraps and Western Satraps. The power of the Saka rulers started to decline in the 2nd century CE after the Indo-Scythians were defeated by the Satavahana emperor Gautamiputra Satakarni. Indo-Scythian rule in the northwestern Indian subcontinent ceased when the last Western Satrap Rudrasimha III was defeated by the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II in 395 CE; the invasion of northern regions of the Indian subcontinent by Scythian tribes from Central Asia referred to as the Indo-Scythian invasion, played a significant part in the history of the Indian subcontinent as well as nearby countries.
In fact, the Indo-Scythian war is just one chapter in the events triggered by the nomadic flight of Central Asians from conflict with tribes such as the Xiongnu in the 2nd century AD, which had lasting effects on Bactria and the Indian subcontinent as well as far-off Rome in the west, more nearby to the west in Parthia. Ancient Roman historians including Arrian and Claudius Ptolemy have mentioned that the ancient Sakas were nomadic people. However, Italo Ronca, in his detailed study of Ptolemy's chapter vi, states: "The land of the Sakai belongs to nomads, they have no towns but dwell in forests and caves" as spurious; the ancestors of the Indo-Scythians are thought to be Sakas tribes. "One group of Indo-European speakers that makes an early appearance on the Xinjiang stage is the Saka. Saka is more a generic term than a name for ethnic group. Like the Scythians whom Herodotus describes in book four of his History, Sakas were Iranian-speaking horse nomads who deployed chariots in battle, sacrificed horses, buried their dead in barrows or mound tombs called kurgans."
According to their own origin myths, they claimed descent from Kushtana Maurya, the exiled son of the Indian Emperor Ashokavardhana Maurya who established the Kingdom of Khotan at Tarim Basin. In the 2nd century BC, a fresh nomadic movement started among the Central Asian tribes, producing lasting effects on the history of Rome in Europe, Parthia in Western Asia, Bactria and India in the east in Southern Asia. Recorded in the annals of the Han dynasty and other Chinese records, this great tribal movement began after the Yuezhi tribe was defeated by the Xiongnu, fleeing westwards after their defeat and creating a domino effect as they displaced other central Asian tribes in their path. According to these ancient sources Modu Shanyu of the Xiongnu tribe of Mongolia attacked the Yuezhi and evicted them from their homeland between the Qilian Shan and Dunhuang around 175 BC. Leaving behind a remnant of their number, most of the population moved westwards into the Ili River area. There, they displaced the Sakas, who migrated south into Sogdiana.
According to the Chinese historical chronicles: " attacked the king of the Sai who moved a considerable distance to the south and the Yuezhi occupied his lands."Sometime after 155 BC, the Yuezhi were again defeated by an alliance of the Wusun and the Xiongnu, were forced to move south, again displacing the Scythians, who migrated south towards Bactria and present Afghanistan, south-west closer towards Parthia. The Sakas seem to have entered the territory of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom around 145 BC, where they burnt to the ground the Greek city of Alexandria on the Oxus; the Yuezhi remained in Sogdiana on the northern bank of the Oxus, but they became suzerains of the Sakas in Bactrian territory, as described by the Chinese ambassador Zhang Qian who visited the region around 126 BC. In Parthia, between 138–124 BC, a tribe known to ancient Greek scholars as the Sacaraucae and an allied non-Saka/Scythian people, the Massagetae came into conflict with the Parthian Empire; the Sacaraucae-Massagetae alliance won several battles and killed, in succession, the Parthian kings Phraates II and Artabanus I.
The Parthian king Mithridates II retook control of parts of Central Asia, first by defeating the Yuezhi in Sogdiana in 115 BC, defeating the Scythians in Parthia and Seistan around 100 BC. After their defeat, the Yuezhi tribes migrated far to the east into Bactria, which they were to control for several centuries, from which they conquered northern India to found the Kushan Empire; the Sakas settled in Drangiana, an area of Southern Afghanistan, western Pakistan and south Iran, called after them as Sakastan or Sistan. From there, they progressively expanded into present day Iran as well as northern India, where they established various kingdoms, where they are known as "Saka"; the Arsacid emperor Mithridates II had scored many successes against the Scythia
Mardān is a city in the Mardan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. Located in the Valley of Peshawar, Mardan is the second-largest city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after the nearby city of Peshawar. Mardan is located in a region rich in archaeological sites. In 1962, the Sanghao Caves were discovered outside of Mardan, which yielded artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic period, over 30,000 years ago. Other sites in the immediate area have yielded evidence of human activity from the Upper Paleolithic period. Further excavations from the area around Jamal Garhi near Mardan recovered artifacts from the Mesolithic period; the area around Mardan formed part of the homeland of the Gandhara grave culture around 1800 BCE. The Gandharan grave culture appears to have been a Central Asian group that may represent part of the Indo-Aryan invasion into the subcontinent. Mardan formed part of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Gandhara. Rock edicts of Ashoka in nearby Shahbaz Garhi date from the Mauryan period in the mid-200s BCE, are written in the ancient Kharosthi script.
The nearby UNECO World Heritage Site of Takht-i-Bahi was established as a monastery around 46 CE. The Bakhshali Manuscript, which contains the earliest record of the use of the number 0 in the Indian Subcontinent, was found near Mardan in 1891, dates from the 3rd or 4th century CE; the nearby Kashmir Smast caves served Buddhist hermit monks, dates from the 4th to 9th century CE. During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, Mardan was not a scene of heavy fighting as many of the native troops had been disarmed by British forces. Mardan's famous Guides' Memorial was established in 1892 to honour fallen soldiers who fought during the 1879 Siege of the British Residency in Kabul; the city's Women's Hospital was established in 1906. In 1920, Mardan was visited by head of British armed forces in British India; until 1937, Mardan district was a part of Peshawar district, when it was elevated to the status of its own independent district. During the Viceroy's visit in 1946, large numbers of Mardan residents travelled to Peshawar to participate in a Muslim League rally in favour of Pakistan's establishment.
The Mardan Museum was established in 1991 to showcase the region's rich ancient history. The population of Mardan city and cantonment, according to the 2017 census, is 358,604. Mardan is the de facto headquarters of the Yousafzai tribe of Pashtuns. A significant number of Mohmand tribe members have settled in the city over the years; the population of the city over the years is shown in the table below. According to 1998 census, the total number of households in Mardan were 29,116; the total population was 245,926. The average household size was 8.45 while the average annual growth rate between 1981-1998 was 3.03. There was no public or private sector university in Mardan till 2009; the first public sector university, Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan was established in 2009. In 2016, a public sector women university Women University Mardan started functioning while in 2017, University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar Mardan campus was upgraded to full-fledge university and named University of Engineering and Technology Madan.
Bacha Khan Medical College, established in 2010, is the city only medical college. There is a campus of University of Agriculture, named as Agriculture university Ameer Mohammad Khan Campus Mardan. There are two Postgraduate colleges in Mardan, one each for boys and girls. Government Post Graduate College Mardan, established in 1952 while Government Post Graduate College for women Mardan was established in 1963. There are numerous private Schools and colleges for Boys and Girls in Mardan. Among them, the most renowned and famous is Fazal e Haq Mardan. Mardan is located in the south west of the district at 34°12'0N 72°1'60E and an altitude of 283 metres. Mardan is a district headquarter of Mardan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Risalpur is located to the south, Charsadda is located to the west, Yar Hussain to the east and Takht Bahi & Katlang to the north, it is the 2nd largest city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while 19th largest city of Pakistan. With an influence from the local steppe climate, Mardan features a hot semi-arid climate.
The average temperature in Mardan is 22.2 °C, while the annual precipitation averages 559 mm. October is the driest month with an average rainfall of 12 mm, while the wettest month is August, with an average 122 mm of precipitation. June is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 33.2 °C. The coldest month January has an average temperature of 10.0 °C. Mardan is part of a growing industrial centre, is home to textile and edible oil mills, as well as one of the largest sugar mills in South Asia. An economic zone is planned as a part of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor near Rashakai. Although Rashakai is part of Nowshera District, its proximity with Mardan is expected to directly benefit the city In 2006, Mardan district government with the help of Government of Pakistan created a sports complex in Mardan city; the complex, Mardan Sports Complex, has facilities for all major sports such as cricket, field hockey and basketball. The swimming pool facility was built in 2011 while an international standard hockey turf was constructed at the sports complex at the cost Rs.67.69 million in 2016.
Pakistan international football player Mansoor Khan is from Mardan. Mardan District Mardan Tehsil Baghdada Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan Women University Mardan Rustam Mardan Takht Bhai Mardan mardan.com website
Taxila is an important archaeological site of the ancient Indian subcontinent, located in the city of Taxila in Punjab, Pakistan. It lies about 32 km north-west of Rawalpindi, just off the famous Grand Trunk Road. Ancient Taxila was situated at the pivotal junction of Central Asia; the origin of Taxila as a city goes back to c. 1000 BCE. Some ruins at Taxila date to the time of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, followed successively by Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, Kushan Empire periods. Owing to its strategic location, Taxila has changed hands many times over the centuries, with many empires vying for its control; when the great ancient trade routes connecting these regions ceased to be important, the city sank into insignificance and was destroyed by the nomadic Hunas in the 5th century. The renowned archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham rediscovered the ruins of Taxila in the mid-19th century. In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2006 it was ranked as the top tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardian newspaper.
By some accounts, the University of Ancient Taxila was considered to be one of the earliest universities in the world. Others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, in that the teachers living there may not have had official membership of particular colleges, there did not seem to have existed purpose-built lecture halls and residential quarters in Taxila, in contrast to the Nalanda university in eastern India. In a 2010 report, Global Heritage Fund identified Taxila as one of 12 worldwide sites most "On the Verge" of irreparable loss and damage, citing insufficient management, development pressure and war and conflict as primary threats. However, significant preservation efforts have been carried out since by the government which have resulted in the site being declared as "well-preserved" by different international publications; because of the extensive preservation efforts and upkeep, the site is a popular tourist spot, attracting up to one million tourists every year. Taxila was known in Pali as Takkasilā, in Sanskrit as तक्षशिला.
The Greeks pared the city's name down to Taxila which became the name that the Europeans were familiar with since the time of Alexander the Great. Takshashila can alternately be translated to "Rock of Taksha" in reference to the Ramayana which states that the city was named in honour of Bharata's son and first ruler, Taksha. According to another derivation, Takshashila is related to Takshaka and is an alternate name for the Nāga, a non-Indo-Iranian people of ancient India. Faxian who had visited the city had given its name's meaning as "Cut off Head". With the help of a Jataka, he had interperted it to be the place where Buddha in his previous birth as Pusa or Chandaprabha cut off his head to feed a hungry lion; this tradition still persists with the area in front of Sirkap was known in the 19th century as Babur Khana, which alludes to the place where Buddha offered his head. In addition, a hill range to south of Taxila Valley is called Margala. In Vedic texts such as the Shatapatha Brahmana, it is mentioned that the Vedic philosopher Uddalaka Aruni had travelled to the region of Gandhara.
In Buddhist texts, the Jatakas, it is specified that Taxila was the city where Aruni and his son Setaketu each had received their education. One of the earliest mentions of Taxila is in Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī, a Sanskrit grammar treatise dated to the 5th century BCE. Much of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, is a conversation between Vaishampayana and King Janamejaya, it is traditionally believed that the story was first recited by Vaishampayana at the behest of Vyasa during the snake sacrifice performed by Janamejaya at Takshashila. The audience included Ugrashravas, an itinerant bard, who would recite the story to a group of priests at an ashram in the Naimisha Forest from where the story was further disseminated; the Kuru Kingdom's heir, Parikshit is said to have been enthroned at Takshashila. The Ramayana describes Takshashila as a magnificent city famed for its wealth, founded by Bharata, the younger brother of Rama. Bharata, who founded nearby Pushkalavati, installed his two sons and Pushkala, as the rulers of the two cities.
In the Buddhist Jatakas, Taxila is described as the capital of the kingdom of Gandhara and a great centre of learning with world-famous teachers. The Takkasila Jataka, more known as the Telapatta Jataka, tells the tale of a prince of Benares, told that he would become the king of Takkasila if he could reach the city within seven days without falling prey to the yakkhinis who waylaid travellers in the forest. According to the Dipavamsa, one of Taxila's early kings was a Kshatriya named Dipankara, succeeded by twelve sons and grandsons. Kuñjakarṇa, mentioned in the Avadanakalpalata, is another king associated with the city. In the Jain tradition, it is said that Rishabha, the first of the Tirthankaras, visited Taxila millions of years ago, his footprints were subsequently consecrated by Bahubali who erected a throne and a dharmachakra over them several miles in height and circumference. The region around Taxila was settled by the neolithic era, with some ruins at Taxila dating to 3360 BCE. Ruins dating from the Early Harappan period around 2900 BCE have been discovered in the Taxila area, though the area was abandoned after the collapse of the Ind
A stupa is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics, used as a place of meditation. A related architectural term is a chaitya, a prayer hall or temple containing a stupa. In Buddhism, circumambulation or pradakhshina has been an important ritual and devotional practice since the earliest times, stupas always have a pradakhshina path around them. Stupas may have originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli in which śramaṇas were buried in a seated position called chaitya; some authors have suggested that stupas were derived from a wider cultural tradition from the Mediterranean to the Indus valley, can be related to the conical mounds on circular bases from the 8th century BCE that can be found in Phrygia, Lydia, or in Phoenicia. Religious buildings in the form of the Buddhist stupa, a dome shaped monument, started to be used in India as commemorative monuments associated with storing sacred relics of the Buddha. After the parinirvana of the Buddha, his remains were cremated and the ashes divided and buried under eight mounds with two further mounds encasing the urn and the embers.
The relics of the Buddha were spread between eight stupas, in Rajagriha, Kapilavastu, Ramagrama, Pava and Vethapida. The Piprahwa stupa seems to have been one of the first to be built. Guard rails —consisting of posts, a coping— became a feature of safety surrounding a stupa; the Buddha had left instructions about how to pay homage to the stupas: "And whoever lays wreaths or puts sweet perfumes and colours there with a devout heart, will reap benefits for a long time". This practice would lead to the decoration of the stupas with stone sculptures of flower garlands in the Classical period. According to Buddhist tradition, Emperor Ashoka recovered the relics of the Buddha from the earlier stupas, erected 84.000 stupas to distribute the relics across India. In effect, many stupas are thought to date from the time of Ashoka, such as Sanchi or Kesariya, where he erected pillars with his inscriptions, Bharhut, Amaravati or Dharmarajika in Gandhara. Ashoka established the Pillars of Ashoka throughout his realm next to Buddhist stupas.
The first known appearance of the word "Stupa" is from an inscribed dedication by Ashoka on the Nigali Sagar pillar. Stupas were soon to be richly decorated with sculptural reliefs, following the first attempts at Sanchi Stupa No.2. Full-fledged sculptural decorations and scenes of the life of the Buddha would soon follow at Bharhut, Bodh Gaya, again at Sanchi for the elevation of the toranas and Amaravati; the decorative embellishment of stupas had a considerable development in the northwest in the area of Gandhara, with decorated stupas such as the Butkara Stupa or the Loriyan Tangai stupas. The stupa underwent major evolutions in the area of Gandhara. Since Buddhism spread to Central Asia and Korea and Japan through Gandhara, the stylistic evolution of the Gandharan stupa was influential in the development of the stupa in these areas; the Gandhara stupa followed several steps moving towards more and more elevation and addition of decorative element, leading to the development of the pagoda tower.
The main stupa type are, in choronological order: 1) The Dharmarajika Stupa with a near-Indian design of a semi-hemispheric stupa directly on the ground surface dated to the 3rd century BCE. Similar stupas are the Manikyala stupa or the Chakpat stupa. 2) The Saidu Sharif Stupa and quincunxial, with a flight of stairs to a dome elevated on a square platform. Many Gandhara minutiures represent this spectacular type. 3) The Loriyan Tangai Stupa, with a elongated shape and many narrative reliefs, in many way the Classical Gandharan stupa. 4) The near-pyramidal Jaulian stupa. 5) The cruciform type, as in the Bhamala Stupa, with flights of stairs in the four cardinal directions. 6) The towering design of the second Kanishka stupa. It is thought that the temple in the shape of a truncated pyramid may have derived from the design of the stepped stupas which developed in Gandhara; the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is one such example, formed of a succession of steps with niches containing Buddha images, alternating with Greco-Roman pillars.
The structure is crowned by the shape of an hemispherical stupa topped by finials, forming a logical elongation of the stepped Gandharan stupas such as those seen in Jaulian. Although the current structure of the Mahabdhodi Temple dates to the Gupta period, the "Plaque of Mahabhodi Temple", discovered in Kumrahar and dated to 150-200 CE based on its dated Kharoshthi inscriptions and combined finds of Huvishka coins, suggests that the pyramidal structure existed in the 2nd century CE; this is confirmed by archaeological excavations in Bodh Gaya. This truncated pyramid design marked the evolution from the aniconic stupa dedicated to the cult of relics, to the iconic temple with multiple images of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas; this design was influential in the development of Hindu temples. Stupa architecture was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, where it became prominent as a Buddh
A mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions. In hatha yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with pranayama while in a seated posture, to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana, boddhicitta, amrita or consciousness in the body. Unlike older tantric mudras, hatha yogic mudras are internal actions, involving the pelvic floor, throat, tongue, genitals and other parts of the body. Examples of this diversity of mudras are Mula Bandha, Viparita Karani, Khecarī mudrā, Vajroli mudra; these expanded in number from 3 in the Amritasiddhi, to 25 in the Gheranda Samhita, with a classical set of ten arising in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The Chinese translation is yinxiang. Both these Chinese words appear as loanwords in Japanese and Korean.
Two other Chinese-based compounds, 印契 and 密印, are used. In Japanese, the former compound may be used with the order of the characters reversed. Mudra is used in the iconography of Hindu and Buddhist art of the Indian subcontinent and described in the scriptures, such as Nātyaśāstra, which lists 24 asaṁyuta and 13 saṁyuta mudras. Mudra positions are formed by both the hand and the fingers. Along with āsanas, they are employed statically in the meditation and dynamically in the Nāṭya practice of Hinduism. Hindu and Buddhist iconography share some mudras. In some regions, for example in Laos and Thailand, these are distinct but share related iconographic conventions. According to Jamgotn Kongtrul in his commentary on the Hevajra Tantra, the ornaments of wrathful deities and witches made of human bones are known as mudra "seals". In Indian classical dance, the term "Hasta Mudra" is used; the Natya Shastra describes 24 mudras, while the Abhinaya Darpana of Nandikeshvara gives 28. In all their forms of Indian classical dance, the mudras are similar, though the names and uses vary.
There are 24 in Kathakali and 20 in Odissi. These root mudras are combined in different ways, like one hand, two hands, arm movements and facial expressions. In Kathakali, which has the greatest number of combinations, the vocabulary adds up to c. 900. Sanyukta mudras use both hands and asanyukta mudras use one hand; the classical sources for the mudras in yoga are the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states the importance of mudras in yoga practice: "Therefore the goddess sleeping at the entrance of Brahma's door should be aroused with all effort, by performing mudra thoroughly." In the 20th and 21st centuries, the yoga teacher Satyananda Saraswati, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga, continued to emphasize the importance of mudras in his instructional text Asana, Mudrā, Bandha. The yoga mudras are diverse in the parts of the body involved and in the procedures required, as in Mula Bandha, Viparita Karani, Khecarī mudrā, Vajroli mudra. Mula Bandha, the Root Lock, consists of pressing one heel into the anus in a cross-legged seated asana, contracting the perineum, forcing the prana to enter the central sushumna channel.
Mahamudra, the Great Seal has one heel pressed into the perineum. Viparita Karani, the Inverter, is a posture with the head down and the feet up, using gravity to retain the prana; the time spent in the posture is increased until it can be held for "three hours". The practice is claimed by the Dattatreyayogashastra to destroy all diseases and to banish grey hair and wrinkles. Khecarī mudrā, the Khechari Seal, consists of turning back the tongue "into the hollow of the skull", sealing in the bindu fluid so that it stops dripping down from the head and being lost when the yogi "embraces a passionate woman". To make the tongue long and flexible enough to be folded back in this way, the Khecharividya exhorts the yogi to make a cut a hair's breadth deep in the frenulum of the tongue once a week. Six months of this treatment destroys the frenulum. After six years of practice, which cannot be hurried, the tongue is said to become able to close the top end of the sushumna channel. Vajroli mudra, the Vajroli Seal, requires the yogi to preserve the semen, either by learning not to release it, or if released by drawing it up through the urethra from the vagina of "a woman devoted to the practice of yoga".
The Abhayamudra "gesture of fearlessness" represents protection, peace and the dispelling of fear. In Theravada Buddhism it is made while standing with the right arm bent and raised to shoulder hei
Pakistan the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, China in the far northeast, it is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, shares a maritime border with Oman. The territory that now constitutes Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures and intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent; the ancient history involves the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation, was home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Turco-Mongols and Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander III of Macedon, the Seleucid Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Gupta Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Afghan Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire and, most the British Empire.
Pakistan is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a diverse geography and wildlife. A dominion, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. An ethnic civil war and Indian military intervention in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. In 1973, Pakistan adopted a new constitution which stipulated that all laws are to conform to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah. A regional and middle power, Pakistan has the sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear-weapons state, the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have that status. Pakistan has a semi-industrialised economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector and a growing services sector, it is ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, is backed by one of the world's largest and fastest-growing middle class.
Pakistan's political history since independence has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulation, poverty and corruption. Pakistan is a member of the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the OIC, the Commonwealth of Nations, the SAARC and the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition; the name Pakistan means "land of the pure" in Urdu and Persian. It alludes to the word pāk meaning pure in Pashto; the suffix ـستان is a Persian word meaning the place of, recalls the synonymous Sanskrit word sthāna स्थान. The name of the country was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never, using it as an acronym referring to the names of the five northern regions of British India: Punjab, Kashmir and Baluchistan; the letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation. Some of the earliest ancient human civilisations in South Asia originated from areas encompassing present-day Pakistan.
The earliest known inhabitants in the region were Soanian during the Lower Paleolithic, of whom stone tools have been found in the Soan Valley of Punjab. The Indus region, which covers most of present day Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro; the Vedic period was characterised by an Indo-Aryan culture. Multan was an important Hindu pilgrimage centre; the Vedic civilisation flourished in the ancient Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā, now Taxila in the Punjab, founded around 1000 BCE. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander the Great's empire in 326 BCE and the Maurya Empire, founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE; the Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab and reached its greatest extent under Menander, prospering the Greco-Buddhist culture in the region.
Taxila had one of the earliest universities and centres of higher education in the world, established during the late Vedic period in 6th century BCE. The school consisted of several monasteries without large dormitories or lecture halls where the religious instruction was provided on an individualistic basis; the ancient university was documented by the invading forces of Alexander the Great, "the like of which had not been seen in Greece," and was recorded by Chinese pilgrims in the 4th or 5th century CE. At its zenith, the Rai Dynasty of Sindh ruled the surrounding territories; the Pala Dynasty was the last Buddhist empire, under Dharmapala and Devapala, stretched across South Asia from what is now Bangladesh through Northern India to Pakistan. The Arab conqueror Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh in 711 CE; the Pakistan government's official chronol
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been sourced during the era of the British Empire, it documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world; the British Museum was established in 1753 based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened in Montagu House, on the site of the current building, its expansion over the following 250 years was a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997.
The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport, as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum", its foundations lie in the will of the Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, a London-based doctor and scientist from Ulster. During the course of his lifetime, after he married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter, Sloane gathered a large collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for a sum of £20,000. At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Greece, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford, they were joined in 1757 by the "Old Royal Library", now the Royal manuscripts, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf; the British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests; the addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both National Museum and library.
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location. With the acquisition of Montagu House, the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. At this time, the largest parts of collection were the library, which took up the majority of the rooms on the ground floor of Montagu House and the natural history objects, which took up an entire wing on the second state storey of the building. In 1763, the trustees of the British Museum, under the influence of Peter Collinson and William Watson, employed the former student of Carl Linnaeus, Daniel Solander to reclassify the natural history collection according to the Linnaean system, thereby making the Museum a public centre of learning accessible to the full range of European natural historians.
In 1823, King George IV gave the King's Library assembled by George III, Parliament gave the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays; the predominance of natural history and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the museum acquired for £8,410 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778, a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of unknown lands; the bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the museum's reputation. The museum's first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to