A discourse on the social formation during later Vedic period in early India
Dr. Manoj Kumar Dubey
The hymns of the Rig Veda afford an interesting glimpse of the Aryan settlements in India. The Indo-Aryans were not originally agriculturalists. They were pastoral nomads, involved in cattle-rearing, cattle herding, breeding and capturing. The Indo-Aryans were skilled in bronze metallurgy and weaponry and went to battle in highly effective two-wheeled chariots. Their clan structure-a patriarchal tribal structure-was an effective form for mobilization for combat. The dominant occupational activity of the people was cattle rearing. Pastoral society relies more upon its animal wealth than on agricultural product. When we have numerous linguistic evidences for cattle rearing in the Rig Veda, we have very few references about agricultural activities. Most of the references to agriculture are of a later date. Barley is the only one grain indicated in the Rig Veda. They were familiar with the different stages of agricultural activities like sowing, harvesting and threshing. They might have used wooden plough and practices shifting cultivation. The main discourse of this paper is the economic developments and early social formation which took place in the north western part of India between 1500 B. C. to 1000 B.C. These centuries correspond to the early Vedic Age.