India takes her place alongside Egypt and Mesopotamia as a country where we can trace the dawn of human civilization and the beginning of the thoughts, ideas and activities, which have shaped the destinies of mankind all over the civilized world. The history of India, thus, possesses an aspect of universality, which so strikingly distinguishes the history of Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria during the early period and Persia, Greece and Rome later.
Continuity has been the keynote of Indian culture. The ancient civilization of India differs from those of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece in the way that its traditions have been preserved without any break to the present day. The ancient cultures of Egypt Mesopotamia and even Greece have long ceased to exist. But in case of India the present is fully conscious of the past. Over a period of more than five thousand years not much has changed.
The same mantra that a Brahmin used to chant before taking his bath in praise of the seven rivers of India, more than four thousand years ago continues to be changed even today. The society as described in the ancient epics has changed very little. An average Indian still venerates ideals and concepts which his ancestors cherished thousands of years ago. But the present day Egyptians had no knowledge of their past until its discovery by the archaeologists. Even the glory of Periclean Athens is vague for the Greets of today. They are now mere memories, arousing only academic interest.
The Indian history and culture form an unbroken chain by which the past is indissolubly linked with the present. People of India are sentimentally attached to their past and always clamour for its complete restoration. The old customs and practices are so deeply ingrained in the minds of the people that it can hardly be delinked.
The ancient India bequeathed to us a vast treasury of texts, which represent the intellectual, religious and literary activities for a period over four thousand years. The earliest literary work, the Samhita of the Rigveda and many other works on geography, astronomy, science and economics continue to remain alive even in the present, which is not possible in case of Egypt, Greece and Rome. Some Indian writers even seek to find in ancient India a replica of the most advanced political institutions of the modern times.