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Day 11 : Ancient India : RS Sharma : Notes



Chapter 28 : Sequence of Social Change


1. Tribal and Pastoral Phase : Page 234 :

  • Rig vedic society although familiar with agriculture was primarily pastoral.

  • People were semi-nomadic and their chief possessed all cattles and horses.

  • In rig veda - cow/bull /horse – synonoyms with Wealth and a wealthy person = Gomat.

  • Main duty of raja is Gopa/Gopati i.e., protection of cows.

  • Cows – important to the subsistence of the family that the daughter was called Duhitr, one who milks.

  • Buffalo = Govala / cow-haired.

  • Cattle rearing, not agriculture, was their main source of Livelihood.

  • They are only able to produce for themselves(subsistence), not for others.

  • Offerings they give to chief – called as bali (in return to chief for leading to victory in war) (offerings are basically captured from enemy tribes) ; they offerings were given during “performances of sacrifices” ‘

Page 235 :

  • Rig veda – bestows wealth only on priests, princes and sacrifiers – an attempt to unequal distribution. Ordinary received a share = amsa/bhaga.

  • Artisans, Peasants, Priests, Warriors – were there.

  • Cattle and Women slaves = generally given as gifts.

  • For the maintenance of princes and priests - booty captured in war was substantial source.

  • Rig vedic society - did not have serving order in the form of shudras.


4. Social Crisis and Rise of Landed Classes ( Page 237 )

  • 1st and 2nd century – saw rise of Arts as never before.

  • 3rd and 4th century – Kali age – characterised by Varnasankara i.e., inter-mixture of varnas/ social orders + refusal to perform their duties.

  • Danda / coercive measures and Land grants to chief à led to solution of the above crisis/ proble,.

  • Agriculture, Prakirt + Sanskrit, Knowledge of Ayurveda medicine –were taught.

  • Land grants -à led to feudal socities in 5th and 6th century.


Chapter 29 : Legacy in Science and Civilization


1. Religion : Page 240 :

  • Man confrontation with Nature – something can be explained and other things (which cannot be explained) and gifts of Nature - led them to Religion and Supernatural agencies.

  • Religion developed : Hinduism / Brahanmanism ; Jainism and Buddhism.

2. The Varna System :

  • Varna or social classes and Jatis or castes were made Hereditary by law and religion

  • It assigned duties and functions of the classes ; they should never deviate from it ( Bhagavadgita) .

  • REALITY : What was done by slaves of producing section under the threat of whip (in Greece and rome) was done here in India under the convictions of Brahmanical indoctrination and varna system.

3. Philosophical system : (Page 241) :

  • Indian thinkers – looked upon world as illusion an deliberated deeply on the relation between Soul and God. (idealist view)

  • Materialistic view of the world – started with Samkhya system of Kapila. (it doesn’t recognize god – but believes in Nature) ; This was followed by Lokayata – materialistic philosophy propounded by Charvaka - told that – what you did not feel by your sensual organs – doesn’t really exist (including god)

  • With the decline of Trade, handicrafts and urbanism – Idealist views came to forefront.

4. Crafts and Technology : (Page 242) :

  • They attained proficiency in several fields of production.

  • Beautiful Paintings.

  • Great experts in art of Making steel (wootz) – which were in great demand from Asia to Eastern Europe.


9. Art and Literature: Page 244.

Ancient India produced Beautiful works of Art.

  • Monolithic pillars by Ashoka – famous for their shining polish

  • They (Mauryans) polished statutes of Animals esp. Lion (which was adopted as National emblem of India)

  • Ajanta paintings (birth –place of Asian Art) + 30 cave temples.

  • Gandhara style of art (Indian art fused with Central Asian + Hellenistic) ; Buddha was 1st statute of this style of Art.

  • Education – Nalanda Monastry ; pre-examination for admission (Dvarapandita / scholar at the gate)

  • Rig veda for Indo-Aryan literature.

  • Kalidasa’s Abhijaanashakuntalam – translated into all important langauges of the world.

Hurray! We have completed the NCERT : RS SHARMA : within Just 10 days along with on-going Indian polity.

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