Probably India did not have a clear local name earlier because, like China , it seemed to be the principal portion of the entire world, and so simply the world itself. Sumeru or Meru , the only one inhabited with humans identical to us. The only question was how much of it was taken up by India. Indeed, India was once an island in the Mesozoic Ocean, but it moved north and collided with Asia. In Chinese, we get various ways of referring to India. The modern form, , renders the name phonetically with characters of no particular semantic significance "print, stamp, or seal" and "a rule, law, measure, degree".
The older practice, however, was dedicated characters that might have a larger meaning. Thus, we get or , in which can be a kind of bamboo but otherwise is just used for India.
Thus we get expressions like , "Sanskrit," , "Sanskrit characters. The rule of the Sult. The supremely foreign unification of India, of course, was from the British, under whom India achieved its greatest unity, although that was lost upon independence to the religious division between India and Pakistan. The Moghuls and British, of course, called India by its name in their own languages i.
In Chinese, Cakravartin could be rendered as , "Wheel [i. Thus, the prophecy was that Siddhartha Gautama might have become the Buddha or a Cakravartin, a world ruler. The word was ambiguous, since the term can mean simply a sovereign, but its use is paralleled by the Latin word Imperator, which simply means "Commander" and grew, by usage, into a term for a unique and universal monarch.
As it happened, many of the monarchs who began to claim ruler over all of India did usually use titles that were translations or importations of foreign words. With the Moghuls , however, the names of the Emperors, more than their titles, reflected their pretensions: In addition to these complications, Indian history is also less well known and dated than that of China or Japan. Classical Indian literature displays little interest in history proper, which must be reconstructed from coins, monumental inscriptions, and foreign references.
It is becoming annoying to me that scholarly histories like these are almost always but poorly supplemented with maps and lists of rulers, let alone genealogies where these are known. Both Wolpert and Robb devote much more space to modern India than to the ancient or mediaeval country, and this preference seems to go beyond the paucity of sources for the earlier periods. Keay has an apt comment for the phenomenon just noted in the other histories: In contriving maximum resolution for the present, there is also a danger of losing focus on the past.
A history which reserves half its narrative for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries may seem more relevant, but it can scarcely do justice to India's extraordinary antiquity. One drawback of Keay's book is its total innocence of diacritics.
Indeed, it is even innocent of any acknowledgement of this, which would leave the reader wondering why a word is given as "Vidisha" in one citation and "Vidisa" in another [cf. The "Saka Era," , as the Indian historical era, significantly starts rather late 79 AD in relation to the antiquity of Indian civilization. Indeed, like Greece c. The claims have progressed to the point now where not only are all of Indian civilization and all of its languages regarded as autochthonous with Indo-European languages said to originate in India, and derived from Dravidian languages, rather than arriving from elsewhere and unrelated to Dravidian , but the civilization itself is said to extend back to the Pleistocene Epoch before 10, BC , with any ruins or artifacts conveniently covered by rising sea levels.
The urge towards inflated nationalistic claims is familiar. Particular claims about India are treated here in several places but especially in " Strange Claims about the Greeks, and about India.