India, from Valley Civilization to the Rise of the Aryans
By Seif Kamel
India generally has a rich complex history, the fact that one expects from a country that has many inhabitants, a large variety of cultures, and a huge piece of land. The culture and the traditions of the people attract many tourists to spend their vacations in India.
India is the home for many ancient civilizations and the birthplace of four religions that were spread all over the region and maybe the whole world in some cases. The country had many dynasties and rulers that any historian would surly find hard to track. However, many tourists travel to India to see the historical monuments of the country.
The Indian history can be mainly divided into two parts; the history of the Aryan in the North, which was affected greatly by invaders coming from Central Asia and the more independent history of the Dravidian South.
The prehistoric era
The first humans presence in India was most probably during the early, middle, and late Stone Age. This was 200,000 to 400,000 years BC when semi nomadic hunters and gathers have settled in the country leaving behind some traces that were found lately.
The first evidence of an agriculture civilization was in around 7000 BC in the subcontinent and in the present day Pakistan to be more particular. Many tourists combine a visit to Pakistan in their India Tour.
The semi nomadic inhabitants of India at the time started establishing villages in the Indus Valley and they started using copper and bronze and they even started trading with their neighbors.
The early agricultural communities worshiped many goddesses that were similar to much worship in the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East.
Probably around 2500 BC, the village settlements in the Indus Valley, which is nowadays located in Pakistan, had begun to develop as one of the earliest civilizations that were contemporary with those in ancient Egypt and Sumer.
Tourists from all over the world visit these countries to view the greatness of the ancient civilizations and many travelers would enjoy their India Tours.
This known as the Indian Valley civilization was spread all over the Southern of Pakistan and Western India. However, most of the lives and the civilizations of those people remained as a mystery because no scholar was able to interpret what took place at the time and even the languages always refused to be translated.
All what we know about the lives of the people of India at the time comes from two great historical towns; Harappa in the North and Mohenjo Daro in the South.
Those two cities had large houses made out of huge mud brick stones. They also had the first sanitation system known to humans and large granaries. The absence of royal families and significant religious structures suggest that the communities in these two cities were mainly farmers, merchants, and hunters.
At this point of time, the Indians were able to domesticate many animals like cattle, buffalos, and fowls. They have also cultivated wheat, barley, sesames, and cotton, being the first civilization to know the use of cotton in the production of simple cloth.
The excavation works carried out at Lothal have unearthed a harbor as merchants of the time were involved in many trading activities of gold, silver, and gold. This is besides that they have started exporting cotton as well. Many interesting findings are kept in many museums all over the country and they are explored by many tourists spending their packages in India.
A big collection of seals was discovered in different Indian cities indicates that merchant or family of tradesmen used to have their own seals that they used in their trading activities. These seals were among the most ancient finds in the country and they are on display in many remarkable museums visited by many tourists who travel to India.
Those seals were made out of soapstone and they had many inscriptions but scholars were never able to translate their meaning even until today. Despite the fact that many characters among these inscriptions were indentified together with several animals that acted as fertility gods for the ancient Indians, the overall meaning of these inscriptions was never understood.
An important figure that was discovered among these inscriptions displays an honored cross legged that was called "Proto Shiva" and he is an important ancient Indian god.
Other seals proved that some trees, especially the peepal, were worshiped at the time by ancient Indians. Many terracotta statues were worshiped in numerous houses of the common people as well.
This civilization that was titled afterwards as the Indus Valley Civilization has survived for around one thousand years. However, it suddenly disappeared in the last quarter of the second millennium BC most probably because of a number of floods that occurred in 1700 BC.
The Arrival of the Aryans
The beginning of the written or recorded history of India starts with the rise of the Indo European tribes that were called the Aryans.The arrival of these tribes marks the beginning of an era that was named the Vedic Age, titled after the first Indian literature, the Vedas. The Aryans have left behind many remarkable historical sites that are explored by many travelers as a part of their affordable tours to India.
The Aryan civilization belonged to many tribes that came from the lands of Europe and central Asia from Poland to Turkey who eventually took control of a large part of Europe, the Middle East, and the Indian sub continent.
These tribes entered through the Punjab in a series of waves over hundreds of years and the peaceful Indus farmers were not able to defend their lands against the Aryans horses and fighters.
The civilization of the conquering Aryans was much opposite to this of the peaceful Indian Valley Civilization.
As the Indus prayed to gods of fertility and good will, the literature of the Aryans gave indications to how important the god of war, Indra, was to those nomadic tribes who settled in India and they also destroyed many urban settlements during their wars.
Many of the inhabitants of these tribes were hunters but they were able to understand the importance and techniques of agriculture when they settled in the area between Kabul and Thar Desert which became a marvelous destination for tourists who travel to India nowadays.
This was why they started transforming into village communities that were governed by tribal councils and warriors who offered the villagers protection in return for tribune. Many group tours to India may include a visit to the areas where the Aryans used to settle.
The Aryan literature described the conflicts among the tribes and also on the other side demonstrated the unity they had among them against the "enemies" or the other people who do not belong to the Aryans and they were referred to as the "Dasas" in the Vedas literature.
These Dasas were described as people who had many cattle, farms, and lived in fortified towns. After some time, the Aryans started discriminating between the pure Aryans and the Dasas or the farmers.
At the same time, the high priests had many privileges because they were the ones who controlled the complex religious system of the people. The religious structures built at the time still survive until today and travelers who go on custom tours to India.
By 1000 BC the Aryan society was divided into four classes; the priests, the warriors, the peasants, and the serfs, in a division that survived even until today. The first three classes actually covered most of the Aryan society with the Dasas, or the non Aryan, considered as lower class serving the Aryans.
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