EARLY VEDIC OR RIG VEDIC AGE
The Early Vedic period is known from the Rig Veda. During this period, the kingdom was tribal in character. Each tribe formed a separate kingdom. The basic unit of the political organization was family (kula). A number of families formed a Village (Grama). Its head was the Gramani. A group of villages constituted a large unit called clan (vis) Several clans formed the tribe (Jana) Theft leader was Rajan, the Vedic king. He protected his people from enemies He was assisted by the purohita or priest, the senani of commandant, the Sabha and the Samithi in administration.
Family was the basis of the society. The Aryan society was patriarchal in nature. Father was the head of the family. He was called Grahapathi. Vedas lay great stress on the sanctity of marriage and family life.
Position of Women
Women enjoyed a respectable position in the early Vedic society. They had freedom to choose husbands. The wife was the mistress of the house. They participated in public meetings. There were women scholars like Lopamudra, Visvavara, Ghosha, Sikata, Nivavari and Apala. They were treated equally. But their position changed in the Later Vedic period.
Hunting was a major activity. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, asses and dogs were reared. When they settled down in particular places, agriculture became their main occupation. People developed the arts of weaving, training, carpentry and metal work. Trade developed through the exchange of goods or the barter system. External trade with Western Asia and Egypt was carried on. The coins were called nishka. They were used for trade purposes. Cosmetics, sandalwood and ivory were the export items. Horses and dates were imported.
Food and Entertainments
The food of the people consisted of barley cakes, milk, ghee, fruits, vegetables and meat. Intoxicating drinks were produced from soma plant and sura from barley were offered to Gods and consumed. Chariot racing, hunting, horse racing, dicing, music and dance were the favorite pastimes. Boxing was also known to them. They knew playing veena.
Dress and Ornaments
Men wore a garment like Dhoti. The upper garment was like a shawl. They wore turbans and grew beards. Women wore vasas (under garments), nivi (dress worn at the waist) and Athivasas (the upper cover). Dresses were made up of cotton and wool. Both men and women wore different kinds of ornaments. Ear rings, necklaces, bangles and hair bands were used. Chappals made of leather were also used.
During the early Vedic period religion was n the form of nature worship. Fire, sun, wind, sky and trees were worshipped. Prayers were offered to Agni, Vayu and Surya. Agni and Varuna were the most favourite Gods. Yagas and Yajnas were the most common rituals. Since Gods had no definite shape, there were no statues and even temples.
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