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Vedic Period In India

Vedic Period In India

Vedic Period in India

History of Vedic India

The Aryans History :

  • Many historians have given various theories regarding the original place of the Aryans.
  • However, the Central Asian theory, given by Max Muller, is the most accepted one. It states that the Aryans were semi-nomadic pastoral people and originated from area around the Caspian Sea in Central Asia.

  • Entered India probably through the Khyber Pass (in Hindukush Mountains) around 1500 BC.

  • The holy book of Iran 'Zend Avesta' indicates entry of Aryans to India via Iran.

Early Vedic Or Rigvedic Period

Region : The early Aryans settled in Eastern Afghanistan, modern Pakistan, Punjab and parts of western UP The whole region in which the Aryans first settled in India is called the 'Land of Seven Rivers or Sapta Sindhava' (The Indus and its five tributaries and the Saraswati).

Political Organisation :

  • Monarchial form, tribe was known as Jan and its king as RaJan He was the leader in battle and protector of tribe. His office was not hereditary and was selected among the clan's men. The rajan was not an absolute monarch, for the government of the tribe was in part the responsibility of the tribal councils like sabha, samiti, gana and vidhata. Even women attended sabha and vidhata.

  • Many clans (Vish) formed a tribe. The basic social unit was the Kula or the family and Kulapa was the head of the family.

  • The king was assisted by a number of officers of which purohita was the most important. Next important functionary was the Senani (leader of the army), although there was no regular or standing army. The military technique of the early Aryans was much advanced. The Aryans succeeded everywhere because they possessed chariots driven by horses.

  • There was no regular revenue system and the kingdom was maintained by the voluntary tribute (Bali) of his subjects and the booty won in battle.

  • Villages were headed by Gramini who used to represent village in sabha and samiti. Later, Gramini was handed over the charge of Vrajapati also (an officer who enjoyed authority over the pasture ground).

Social Life :

  • When the Aryans entered India there was already a class division in their tribal structure.
  • As they settled among the dark aboriginals, the Aryans seem to have laid greater stress than before on purity of blood, and class divisions hardened, to exclude those dasas who had found a place in the Aryan society, and those Aryans who had intermarried with the dasas and adopted their ways.

    Gradually, the tribal society got divided into three groups warriors, priests and commoners. Later, the fourth dasas or shudra was also added.

  • The term varna was used for color, the Aryans being fair, the dasas dark.

  • Family was the basic unit of society. The family was patriarchal in nature. But women enjoyed equal power with men. Marriage was usually monogamous and indissoluble, but there are few instances of polyandry, levirate and widow-marriage. There are no examples of child-marriage. The marriageable age seems to have been 16 to 17.

  • The word 'Arya' came to refer to any person who was respected.

  • Aryans were fond of soma, sura, food and dresses. Soma was drunk at sacrifices and its use was sanctified by religion. Sura was purely secular and more potent, and was diapproved by the priestly poets.

  • The Aryans loved music, and played the flute, lute and harp. There are references to singing and dancing, and to dancing girls. People also delighted in gambling. They enjoyed chariot racing. Both men and women wore ornaments.

Rivers in Rigveda :

Modern Names Rigvedic Names
Indus Sindhu
Jhelum Vitasta
Chenab Asikni
Ravi Purushni
Beas Vipasa
Sutlei Sutudri
Gomati Gumal
Kurram Krumu
Ghaggar Drisshadvati

Early Vedic Period Economy :

  • Their bronze smiths were highly skilled, and produced tools and weapons much superior to those of Harappan culture. There were artisans like carpenters, weavers, cobblers, potters, etc.

  • Aryans followed a mixed economy - pastoral and agricultural - in which cattle played a predominant part.

  • Most of their wars were foughtfor cow (most important form of wealth). Cattle were in fact a sort of currency, and values were reckoned in heads of cattle (man's life was equivalent to that of 100 cows), but they were not held sacred at this time. The horse was almost as important as the cow.

  • Standard unit of exchange was cow. At the same time coins were also there (gold coins like Nishkq, Krishnal and Satmana).

  • Gavyuti was used as a measure of distance and Godhuli as a measure of time.

  • Lived in fortified mud settlements.

  • Physicians were there called 'Bhishakas'.

  • The staple crop was 'yava', which meant barley.

Vedic Period Religion :

  • The Aryans personified the natural forces and looked upon them as living beings.

  • The most important divinity was Indra who played the role of warlord (breaker of forts - Purandar, also associated with storm and thunder).

  • The second position was held by Agni (fire-god). He is considered as an intermediary between gods and men.

  • Varuna occupied the third position. He personified water and was supposed to uphold the natural order. He was ethnically the highest of all Rigvedic gods.

  • Soma was considered to be the god of plants. Maruts personified the storms. Some female deities are also mentioned, like Aditi and Usha, who represented the appearance of dawn.

  • Didn't believe in erecting temples or idol worship. Worshipped in open air through yajnas.
Vedic Period in India
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26 Sep, 2021, 02:31:57 AM