19 Dec 2022
GS Paper 1
Question 1: Indus Valley Civilization (Harrapan Civilization) was the first civilization in India. Discuss the factors which make IVC an urbanized society of India. (250 Words)
Question 2: Discuss the socio-political organization in Vedic period in ancient India. (150 Words)
- Introduce the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) in brief.
- Discuss the factors which make IVC an urbanized society of India.
- Conclude suitably
- Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was the first major civilization in South Asia and India, which spread across a vast area of land in present-day India and Pakistan (around 12 lakhs sq. km).
- The time period of the mature Indus Valley Civilization is estimated between BC 2700- BC 1900 i.e., for 800 years. But early Indus Valley Civilization had existed even before BC 2700.
- The geographical spread of IVC ranged from Makran coast Baluchistan in west, Narmada estuary in South and extended in north up to Jammu via Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
Factors which make IVC an urbanized society of India:
- Well established, organized and fortified towns and cities prevented every adverse event from the people like attack from wild animals, floods, and other rival.
- Absence of any strong and rival civilization with IVC that reduce the chance of conflict with the people of IVC.
- It is evident from the lack of defensive weapons in the IVC but the presence of offensive weapons.
- The Harappan villages, mostly situated near the flood plains with abundance of foodgrains like:
- Wheat, barley, rai, peas, sesame, lentil, chickpea and mustard were produced. Millets are also found from sites in Gujarat. While rice uses were relatively rare.
- The Indus people were the earliest people to produce cotton.
- While the prevalence of agriculture is indicated by finds of grain, it is more difficult to reconstruct actual agricultural practices.
- People have cosmopolitan outlook and religion was a private affair. No temples have been found at any Harappan sites.
- Developed towns with high civic sense with materialistic culture and trade favoring business community. Like seals of boat, dockyard at Lothal, etc.
- Educational society (use of seal for education), uniform rules, regulations and standards (like uniform size of bricks in all cities of IVC).
- Socialist orientation of the rulers (like building common Great bath, granaries, etc.).
Their artistic versatility showed in the range of materials they used and the forms they made out of it. The patterns, motives and designs found on the articles shows the creativity that existed and judging from the excavated evidence, one can only conclude the people of Indus civilization were indeed true civilized people.
- Introduce Early Vedic and Later Vedic Society.
- Discuss the socio-political organization in Vedic period in ancient India.
- Conclude suitably.
- The Vedic Age was between 1500 BC and 600 BC. This is the major civilization that occurred in ancient India after the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization by 1400 BC.
- Chronologically Vedic age was divided between the Early Vedic Society (EVS) (1500 BC to 1000 BC) and the Later Vedic Society (LVS) (1000 BC to 500 BC).
- Initially, the early Vedic Aryans lived in the land known as “Sapta Sindhu” (Land of the Seven Rivers). These seven rivers were: Sindhu (Indus), Vipash (Beas), Vitasta (Jhelum), Parushni (Ravi), Asikni (Chenab), Shutudri (Satluj) and Saraswati.
- In the later Vedic period, the Aryans moved eastwards and occupied western and eastern UP (Kosala) and Bihar.
The socio-political organization in Vedic period in ancient India:
- The Political structure in Early Vedic Period included a monarchical form of government with a king known as Rajan. The post of king or Rajan was hereditary. But chief or Rajan did not exercise unlimited power.
- King was protector of tribe, its cattle, fought its wars and offered prayers to God on their behalf.
- Also traces of election of king conducted by the participation of the tribal assembly called samiti have been found.
- In the patriarchal families, Jana was the largest social unit in Rig Vedic times. The hierarchical division of the social grouping was done as kula (family) – grama – visu – Jana.
- The term ‘Sabha’ referred to an assembly in the Rig Vedic period. The elder members of the ‘Jana’ took part in the ‘Sabha’. This assembly was also attended by women known as ‘Sabhavati’. In the later Vedic period, however, women stopped attending the ‘Sabha’.
- Music, dance, magic, and witchcraft were also practised at the ‘Sabha’ along with dicing and gambling. This assembly performed administrative and judicial functions, exercised its judicial authority, and also discussed pastoral affairs.
- Samiti was a political organization and decision-making body. Women’s participation in the Sabha was not allowed. Kings and chiefs were eager to win the support of Sabha and Samiti.
- The political business and discussions performed in the folk assembly were known as ‘Samiti’. Apart from political business, the ‘Samiti’ also discussed philosophical issues. Prayers and religious ceremonies were a major concern for this assembly. This assembly, however, gained importance only towards the end of the Early Vedic period.
- Vidhata: It was the earliest tribal assembly. The term ‘Vidhata’ has been repeated in the Rig Vedas 122 times and, therefore, seems like the most important assembly. The purpose of this assembly was to make decisions for secular, military, economic, social, and religious purposes. Women had equal participation in these assemblies.
- The different clans and tribes used the ‘Vidhata’ as a common ground for the worship of their Gods.
- Women in society enjoyed respectable positions. They were allowed to take part in Sabhas and Samitis. There were women poets too (Apala, Lopamudra, Viswavara and Ghosa). Cattle, especially cows, were an important commodity. In the early Vedic society monogamy was practised but polygamy was observed among royalty and noble families. Child marriage was prohibited and social distinctions existed but were not rigid and hereditary.
- In the later Vedic period, the concept of territories evolved and named as Rastra. The Kings or ‘Rajan’ became Kshatriyas and held power over ‘Janapada’ or ‘Rashtra’.
- Women were debarred from participating in most of the political and social organizations and the role of Sabha and samiti was taken by rishis or rich nobels.
- Earlier wars were fought for cattle; however, in this period, wars were fought for the occupation of land.
- Rituals like Vajpeya, Ashvamegha, etc. evolved to justify kings' rule in the region and political organizations became less democratic.
The deterioration of political institutions in the later Vedic Period, which had evolved in the early Vedic Period (EVP), and ritualization of the religion and customs led to the emergence of ration and liberal sects and beliefs like Jainism, Buddhism and Aajivika and transformed the socio-religious and political thought of the time. Eventually, these significant development led to the formation of most flourished kingdom of ancient India in Ganga valley.