The Vedic Age started with the Aryan occupation of the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Meaning of the word Arya: Noble. They spoke Sanskrit, an Indo-European language. They led a rural, semi-nomadic life as compared to the Indus Valley people who were urbanised. It is believed that they entered India through the Khyber Pass.
- Monarchical form of government with a king known as Rajan.
- Patriarchal families. Jana was the largest social unit in Rig Vedic times.
- Social grouping: kula (family) – grama – visu – jana.
- Tribal assemblies were called Sabhas and Samitis. Examples of tribal kingdoms: Bharatas, Matsyas, Yadus and Purus.
- Women enjoyed a respectable position. They were allowed to take part in Sabhas and Samitis. There were women poets too (Apala, Lopamudra, Viswavara and Ghosa).
- Cattle especially cows became very important.
- Monogamy was practised but polygamy was observed among royalty and noble families.
- There was no child marriage.
- Social distinctions existed but were not rigid and hereditary.
- They were a pastoral and cattle-rearing people.
- They practised agriculture.
- Products made out of copper, iron and bronze were in use.
- They had horse chariots.
- Rivers were used for transport.
- Cotton and woollen fabrics were spun and used.
- Initially trade was conducted through the barter system but later on coins called ‘nishka’ were in use.
- They worshipped natural forces like earth, fire, wind, rain, thunder, etc. by personifying them into deities.
- Indra (thunder) was the most important deity. Other deities were Prithvi (earth), Agni (fire), Varuna (rain) and Vayu (wind).
- Female deities were Ushas and Aditi.
- There were no temples and no idol worship.
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