The uncertainties which engulfed India after the disintegration of the Mauryan empire were removed by the Kushanas in the north and the Satavahanas in the Deccan. The Kushanas kept the north united for over a century.
However, the growth of Naga power and the resurgence of same gana-rajyas such as Malavas, Yaudheyas, Arjunayanas and Kunindas contributed to the decline of the Kushanas. In the Deccan the Vakatakas and Ikshvakus parcelled out the kingdom of the Satavahanas. In this situation, “the necessity and opportunities of the establishment of a paramount power were quite obvious.”
According to many scholars situation was similar to that of the sixth century BC, which was then exploited by Magadha and now by the Guptas. In S.R. Goyal’s words, “the political situation of India towards the close of the third and the beginning of the fourth centuries AD was pregnant with strong possibilities of the establishment of an empire.”
The empire that followed is often known as the classical age of Indian history. It is also referred to as the ‘golden age’. However, both these concepts were utilized by the nationalist-historians in order to counter the imperialist writings on India and are now contested on various grounds.