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India’s Ancient Past$
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R. S. Sharma

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195687859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.001.0001

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Sequence of Social Changes

Sequence of Social Changes

(p.299) 32 Sequence of Social Changes
India’s Ancient Past

R.S. Sharma

Oxford University Press

Archaeology informs that people lived in small groups in the hilly areas in the Palaeolithic age. The Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities lived on the uplands in the proximity of hills and rivers. The Rig Vedic society was primarily pastoral. People were semi-nomadic, and their principal possessions were cattle and horses. Although artisans, peasants, priests, and warriors figure even in the earlier portions of the Rig Veda, society as a whole was tribal, pastoral, seminomadic, and egalitarian. Three processes coincided with one another in post-Vedic times. These were Aryanization, ironization, and urbanization. The varna system authorized the kshatriya to collect taxes from the peasants and tolls from traders and artisans. The social system worked well from the age of the Buddha to Gupta times. Then, it underwent a change due to internal upheavals.

Keywords:   Palaeolithic age, Chalcolithic communities, Rig Veda, Aryanization, ironization, urbanization, varna system, kshatriya

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