Ancient Bharat
 
 
Introduction
   

Ancient history of India consist of a span of about 3500 years. Indian culture can be understood in three different co-ordinates, that is; time, space, and people.

Time: It starts from 3000 B.C to about 550 A.D. The time span can be divided on other basis which could be overlapping. Around 3000 B.C to 1500 B.C is described as the Dravidian period-the silent witnesses being the ruins of the Indus valley civilization of Mohenjo-daro, Harappa etc. Around 2000 to 1000 B.C witnessed Arab settlement of north India. 1500 to 500 B.C is denoted as the Vedic period when Vedas, Brahmanas and Upanishads were composed and compiled. 500B.C to 550 A.D was the period of rise of Jain and Buddhist religion.

Around the same time, the Maurya, Sunga, Kanva Andhra, Kusana and the Gupta Dynasties reigned. During the same period invasions by Greeks, Shaka, Kushan were faced by the Indian culture.

Space: Though India is known as the cradle place of the civilization, the sphere of influence is much wider. From Kabul kandahara to China it had influences of different kind. In return, these regions contributed their art and science to India thereby enriching the Indian civilisation. Srilanka (Ceylon) from 5th Century B.C to 8th Century A.D was culturally connected to India. Myanmar (Burma) was associated in 1st to 8th century A.D. Java, Cambodia, Siam Thailand and Tibet were other nations having cultural similarity. Buddhist religion originated in India and spread in China, Korea and Japan at later stages of the history.


People:
Very little is known about aboriginal pure race, which inhabited India a million years ago. In Europe China and Indonesia, some skeletons of human race are found which support the claim of human habitat around a million years ago. Similar evidence is lacking about India. (Very recently such skeleton is claimed in India, details and confirmation of which is awaited).
Hence it was believed
that different races migrated to

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India and settled andgot mixed with other races existing at that time. Indus valley civilization consisted of Mongoloid, Australoid and Mediterranean race.

In general six races in various form are believed to be inhabitants that include the Negrito, proto Australoid, Mongoloid, Mediterranean, Western alpinoid and Nordic.

Different languages originated from Dravidian languages Sanskrit and Prakrit. Some of the words were borrowed from different races and their respective languages. Some of the words related to their spiritual concepts, their myths and rites contributed to the development of Sanskrit and other languages.

The same era developed the system of worship. Australoid people invented art of agriculture. Zoomorphic deities are believed to be originated from Austric totems.Aryans were originally worshippers of nature. Worship of Shiva was a prearyan custom. Pious fire (Yagnya) and sacrifices of animals was also prevailing in less developed people.This system was evolved further by eliminating animal sacrifice. Similarly Phallic worship and animal worship was replaced by more sophisticated forms of deities.

Art related to painting and sculpture was mainly related to worship. The idols were made up of wood, unburnt soil, and terracotta-like perishable materials. Hence early forms of art did not survive. First such evidence is found in Indus valley civilization.

Initial literature started with prayers to various forms of God. It was developed in prose and verses. Further stories related to Gods, superhumans and heroes amongst humans were developed in the form of myths. The description of the Universe through perception gave rise to philosophy. This was possible as the human beings developed from nomadic tribes to agrarian rural civilization. By the time of Mohenjo- Daro some of the villages were converted to urban population or cities. The development gave rise to the social systems. This lead to division of labour in society and the evolution of political system of administration, judiciary was evolved. In short, it was a civilization in the making.

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