Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/95

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KING VIKRAMADITYA. 9 1 in Kashmir ; but his suzerainty extended from Agra and Sind in the south, to Yarkand and Khokand on the north of the Himalayas. He seems to have carried on successful wars as far as China. Six hundred years afterwards, in 630 a.d., a town called China-pati in the Punjab was pointed out as the place where King Kanishka kept his Chinese hostages. The Scythian monarchies of Northern India came in contact with the Buddhist kingdom under the successors of Asoka in Hindustan. The Scythians themselves became Buddhists ; but they made changes in that faith. The result was, as we have seen, that while the countries to the south of India had adopted the Buddhist religion as settled by Asoka's Council in 244 b.c, the Buddhist religion as settled by Kanishka's Council in 40 a.d. became the faith of the Scythian nations to the north of India, from Central Asia to Japan {ante, p. 79). Scythio Races still in India. — Kanishka was the most famous of the Scythian kings in India, but there were many other Scythian settlements. Indeed, the Scythians are believed to have poured into India in such numbers as to make up a large proportion of the population in the north-western frontier Provinces at the present day. For example, two old Scythian tribes, the Getae and the Dahae, are said to have dwelt side by side in Central Asia, and perhaps advanced together into India. Some writers hold that the Jats, who form nearly one- half of the inhabitants of the Punjab, are descended from these ancient Getae ; and that a great subdivision of the Jats, called the Dhe, in like manner sprang from the Dahae. Other scholars try to show that certain of the Rajput tribes are of Scythian origin. However this may be, it is clear that many Scythian inroads took place into India from the first century B.C. to the fifth century a.d. King Vikramaditya, 57 B.C. — During that long period several Indian monarchs won fame by attempting to drive out the Scythians. The best known of these is Vikramaditya, King of Ujjain in Malwa, in honour of whose victories one of the great eras in India, or systems of reckoning historical dates, is supposed to have been founded. It is called the Samvat era, and begins in 57 B.C. Its reputed founder is still