Indus Valley Civilization and Vedic Age
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization, spanning from around 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, was a remarkable ancient civilization in the Indian subcontinent. Let’s explore its salient features along with key terms and facts:
1. Urban Planning:
The cities, such as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, showcased advanced urban planning with streets laid out in a grid pattern. Notably, the Great Bath in Mohenjo-Daro was a sophisticated public water tank.
2. Agriculture and Economy:
Key crops included wheat, barley, and cotton. The economy thrived on agriculture, and evidence of trade with Mesopotamia is found in seals and artifacts.
3. Advanced Architecture:
Indus Valley people were skilled architects, using standardized baked bricks for construction. The cities featured well-constructed buildings, including granaries and assembly halls.
4. Writing System:
The script remains undeciphered, but seals with symbols suggest a form of written communication. Symbols on seals often depicted animals and possibly religious or cultural themes.
5. Decline and Disappearance:
The reasons for the decline are unclear, but theories include environmental changes, natural disasters, and possibly invasions. The civilization gradually declined, and the cities were eventually abandoned.
The Vedic Age followed the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization and is marked by the composition of the Vedas. Here are key terms and facts related to this period:
1. Vedic Literature:
The Rigveda, the oldest Veda, is a collection of hymns dedicated to various deities. The other three Vedas—Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda—serve as foundational texts in Hinduism.
2. Rigvedic Society:
Rigvedic society was primarily pastoral and tribal. The concept of varnas (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras) emerged during this period, laying the groundwork for the later caste system.
3. Rituals and Sacrifices:
Religious rituals and yajnas (sacrifices) were central to Vedic society. Brahmins played a crucial role as priests in performing these rituals, seeking divine favor and maintaining cosmic order.
4. Expansion and Settlement:
The later Vedic period witnessed a shift from a nomadic lifestyle to settled agriculture. Janapadas, or territorial states, emerged as political entities, signifying the transition from tribal to state-based societies.
5. Philosophical Developments:
The Upanishads, composed towards the end of the Vedic Age, explored profound philosophical concepts. Brahman (universal soul), Atman (individual soul), and the pursuit of moksha (liberation) became central themes.
Understanding the key terms and facts associated with the Indus Valley Civilization and the Vedic Age is essential for exam preparation, especially for exams like APPSC Group 2. These civilizations laid the foundation for India’s rich cultural and historical tapestry, and a nuanced understanding of their features is crucial for a comprehensive grasp of ancient Indian history.
For deeper insights and details, refer to the NCERT textbooks for thorough preparation.