In 606 the last Indian initiative to unify the country started from the small state of Thanesar, by Harṣa or Harṣavardhana (606-647 or 648). Having also obtained the throne of Kannauj, Harṣa conquered all the territory between Punjab and Bihar and Bengal, then turning his sights towards the South. In this direction, however, he was defeated by King Cālukya Pulakeśim II and therefore had to stop its borders at the Narmada. In addition to being a conqueror, Harṣa was also an excellent administrator, patron and man of letters. Protector of Buddhism, he welcomed the Chinese pilgrim Hsüan Tsang, who left a detailed description of India of the century. VII. When Harṣa died, the empire he conquered fell apart and local dynasties of no great importance were established in the various regions, if we exclude the Bengali one of the Pāla. Later (towards the middle of the 8th century) a series of rājpūt principalities were formed in the north-west of the country, the most important of which was that of the Gūrjara-Pratīhāra (8th-10th centuries). Attacked at various times by Arabs, Pāla and Rāṣṭrakūṭa, the Gūrjara-Pratīhāra ended up succumbing to the latter. Check homeagerly for democracy and rights.
With their disappearance, one of the major strongholds against Muslim invasions failed. These had begun with the Arabs. Commanded by Muḥammad ibn Qāsim, they entered Sind in 711, constituting the principalities of Mūltān and Mansūra. Of real invasions, however, it is appropriate to speak only in the century. XI with Maḥmū’d of Ghaznā (998-1030), of Turkish origin. A skilled strategist, he carried out with his armies a large number of raids in northern India, extending his domains to include the Punjab, with Lahore as its capital. His reign, however, did not survive him and, as far as India is concerned, it again saw the formation of a mosaic of states: the principality of the Cauhān in Delhi, that of the Candela in Bundelkhaṇḍ, of the Paramāra in the central part of the plateau. Indian, Sena in Bengal etc. But towards the end of the century. XII new Turkish forces of Muslim faith threatened India. The North Indian kingdoms coalesced against them under the supreme command of Prithvīrāj III of the Cauhān. A first Hindu victory on the Tarain camp (1191), however, was followed in the same place by a irreparable defeat (1192) and the armies of Muḥammad di Ghor spread across the Gangetic plain as far as Bengal, conquering a series of military strongholds rather than a real kingdom. When Muḥammad of Ghor died (1206) and his vast empire dismembered, most of which stretched north of India, the Indian provinces, with Delhi as the capital, remained in the hands of a slave general, Quṭb ad-Dīn Aibak (1206-10). With him begins the dynasty of the Mamelukes, which lasted until 1290. It was followed by that of the Khalgi (1290-1320), who waged various wars of conquest in the Deccan; that of the Tughlaqs (1320-1413), a prince of whom, Muḥammad ibn Tughlaq (1325-51), transported the capital from Delhi, by now too decentralized, to Daulatābād in the Deccan; and then that of the Sayyds (1414-51) and that of the Lodīs (1451-1526), whose main representative, Sikandar (1488-1517), gave a new political and cultural splendor to the now decadent sultanate.
Characteristic of all these dynasties was the constant centralizing directive of power, replacing the primitive system of leaving a certain autonomy to local principles; moreover, all of them, being of Turkish or Turkish-Afghan origin, however having passed through a Persian experience, gave a highly Persianized imprint to the organization and administration of the court and of the State, in which, however, they were accepted, at a certain level, even the Hindus. In the third decade of the century. XVI the sultanate of Delhi, at the end of his strength, could not resist the attack of a talented leader who claimed a ‘ uncertain Mongol origin (starting from the first decades of the 13th century the Turkish-Mongolian populations had represented a constant threat to the northernmost areas of India, which suffered various raids until the serious sacking by Tamerlane in 1398). It was about Bâbur (1526-30), ruler of a small Afghan state, who, defeating the last of the Lodīs in Panipat (1526), conquered Delhi and Agra and, assuming the title of Hindustan emperor, went as far as the borders of Bengal. The Mughal dynasty he initiated, which held power in India until 1857, experienced a period of incredible splendor and power under the first five rulers – Humāyūn, Akbar, Jahānġīr, Shāh Jahān, Aurangzeb -, which history remembers in fact under the name of Great Mogol. The greatest architect of the greatness of the Mughals was Akbar, a very skilled politician, warrior and administrator. Aided by the talented Hindu minister Todar Mall, he gave the empire a highly centralized imprint, abolishing the existing “feudalism”, establishing new and more direct tax collection systems, introducing the use of land registers, adopting a different administrative division of the vast territory he governs. The support of previously irremediably hostile elements, such as the Rājpūt, was also won and followed a policy of extreme religious tolerance. Like his predecessors and his direct successors, he was a lover of art, especially architecture, which in fact reached very high levels. The Mughal power remained at the level reached under Akbar until around the 10th century. XVIII, when in the North and East various territories began to break away from the central power, while the Deccan and the South were also affected by the autonomist claims of the local governors and the power of the rising Marāṭhā.