Ancient India Civilization spanned from the 25th century BC to the 17th century BC. It was discovered in the 1920s and two big Cities in Ancient India were called Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. India has suffered from a number of Neolithic invasions. At around 1500 BC, Indo-European tribes start invading from the northwest, which destroyed the Indus Valley Civilization which was the Oldest Civilization in India. At 1500 BC, Aryan tribes began to infiltrate into northern India. In 800 BCE, the use of iron and alphabetic writing started to spread and in 500 BCE two new religions, Buddhism and Jainism were founded. It is also worth mentioning that in 327 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the Indus Valley and this made Chandragupta Maurya conquer the Indus Valley from Alexander the Great’s successor.
Ancient Indian civilization developed what is now Pakistan and western India. It is bordered by the Himalayan mountain range in the north and the peninsula formed by the Deccan Plateau in the south. There is a vast plain in the center which is irrigated by the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra rivers.
Brahmins: this is the top of the social pyramid was dedicated to priests. Brahmins were said to be “earthly gods” and dealt exclusively with religious matters.
Kshatriyas: they were people who dedicated their whole life to war. Some of them even held administrative positions in the state apparatus.
Vaishyas: this is the third caste which included farmers and traders.
Shudras: people from this caste were servants and they had to serve three higher castes, especially to the Brahmins.
Harijans: they are the descendants of the first Dravidians, and pariahs who had no caste or who had been expelled from their original castes for violating their ethical codes. As a result, pariahs must serve in domestic service.
This Indian caste system was strict. People could marry people from the same caste. There were also limitations in choice of work and personal contact with members of other castes. Religious beliefs state all people have the possibility to be born in a higher caste even if they have obeyed the rules of the caste to which they belonged in their previous life.
History of Economy
We can divide the economic history of India into four parts. The first one is called the pre-colonial period, covers which covers up to the 17th century. The second period started with the arrival of British colonization. However, it ended with independence in 1947 and the third period began. It last till 1990 and the fourth one spanned from 1991 to the present. So it can be said that in 1991 a new India was born.
The most popular and important economic activity was agriculture. Indian people were also dedicated to cattle raising and the production of crafts. Later, they traded by inventing copper coins. Bills of exchange began to be used in India and this gave rise to banking in India. The government also controlled rice production and irrigation canals. People also began trading weapons, metals, precious stones, cotton and more. The religions in India prohibited the consumption of meats and that is why people were mostly vegetarians.
The main food crops were wheat and barley. They were sown in spring and they grew with minimal effort. Indians also grew dates, legumes, and melons. Rice was also cultivated in some areas. After the 15th century BC, rice cultivation became a popular crop. This was the time when the Indian settlements extended to the Middle and Lower Ganges River. Indians also used spinning mills and produced wool and cotton textiles. They bred different domestic animals as well, like donkeys, oxen, river buffalo, elephants and humped cattle. Indians bred such animals which were considered they used to breed in most of the rural parts of India. That time they were unaware of horses.
Indians liked decorating their bodies with gold, silver, ivory and other precious stone ornaments. Copper was used for making weapons, instruments, and utensils. For domestic purposes, they made various types of clay utensils. They mixed metallurgy and pottery with agriculture and livestock. Animals also helped Indians. They used animals for loading different goods and materials for trade or domestic consumption. Animals were also a means of transportation.
Indians sold different products including semi-precious stones, metals, seals, jewelry, exotic animals, food products, clothing, and much more. The elite controlled trade and got many benefits while people manufactured products. Indus pottery also became popular throughout South Asia. The Indus pottery included cups, crockery, and even flowerpots with inscriptions in Indian writing.
Cities in Ancient India
Harappa and Mohenjo Daro were the largest and most popular Cities In Ancient India. People who live in these cities used cooked bricks in construction. All cities were well-planned and built with baked bricks of the same size. The archaeologists found out that there was a division between localities and houses intended for the upper or lower classes of society. There was general city planning. The division between main and secondary streets was also evident. Most of the houses had their own drainage system as well.
The religion of the Early Indian Civilization divided into Vedism, Brahmanism, and Buddhism. Vedism was the religion of the Aryan or Indo-Germanic peoples who settled during the second millennium BC. Brahmanism arose in 1000 BC, recognizing Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as the supreme gods who formed the trinity which was known as Trimurti. Buddhism appeared in the 5th century BC with an Indian named Sakyamuni, who got the nickname Buddha later.
In conclusion, we can state that the Early Indian Civilization didn’t last long. The beginning was around the 25th century BC and the ending was the 17th century BC. The short duration has different reasons. It was mostly due to the invasions from other civilizations. Today’s India enjoys the cultural legacy of Hindustani civilization which is quite diverse. It includes different palaces, temples, monuments, Sanskrit or the Hindu language, the invention of the numbers we use today, chess and yoga. However, Buddhism is considered to be the greatest legacy.