History of Vedic Culture in the Middle East
Starting from India and heading to the west, this area had strong contacts with ancient India from many years ago, and is said to have been a part of greater Bharatvarsha before the war of Kurukshetra, which is said to have been about 5,000 years ago.
In the Ramayana we find wherein Valmiki describes present Afghanistan as Candarvadesh. It was Pushkal and Taksha, two sons of Bharat, the brother of Lord Sri Rama, who defeated the Candharvas to rule there in the capital that had been built as Pushkalavati (known as Pukli in Afghanistan) and Takshashila, now in Pakistan. Candarvadesh became Gandhar in the Mahabharata era. A princess from Gandhar married a prince of Hastinapur, namely Dhritarashtra.
The Gandharvas, when they were defeated at that time, moved farther west where they established the "Gana Rajya” republics. They continued to move farther west and established the Avagana Rajyas republics, which become known as "Avaganasthan” until the arrival of Islam when the name became Afghanistan. The rivers also changed names, such as the Kubha became the Kabul, Krumu became the Kurran, Gomati became the Gomal, Sarayu became Harayu, and the Sarasvati became the Harhaity. The Savastu became Swat Valley, and the mountain Mujavat became Munjan.ln about 250 BCE, Emperor Ashok sent Buddhist monks to Avaganasthan and Buddhism was accepted. That is when vihars and stupas were built, along with huge images of Buddha on the hillsides. It was after the 10th century CE when many Islamic invasions took place and changed the Vedic and Buddhist nation to Islamic. Even Panini, the Sanskrit grammarian, was from Salatura, Afghanistan.
The Mahabharata also calls the area of Persia as the land of Parsikas, which some people think of as the Parsu (Axe) wielding people, who carried it for defense. However, this can also refer to those who were removed from Bharatvarsha by Lord Parashurama many years ago. The name Persia is a derivative of the Sanskrit name Parasu, which was the battle axe of Parashurama. Lord Parashurama had led 21 expeditions around the world to chastise the Kshatriya warriors who had swayed from the Vedic principles and became cruel and unruly. This was before the time of Lord Ramachandra. Persia was overrun by Lord Parashurama and his troops and succumbed to abide by his administration. According to E. Pococke on page 45 of his book, India in Greece, the land of Persia was known as Paarasika.
One of the first to begin recognizing how the influence of Indian forces spread throughout the Mideast was E. Pococke. He says, "I have glanced at the India settlements in Egypt, which will again be noticed, and I will now resume my observation from the lofty frontier, which is the true boundary of the European and Indian races. The parasoos, the people of Parasu Ram, those warriors of the axe, have penetrated into and given a name to Persia; they are the people of Bharata; and to the principal stream that pours waters into the Persian Gulf they have given the name of Eu-Bharat-es (Euphrates), the Bharat Chief.”
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