Topic: History of India - Ancient India.
Timeline: 4000 BCE - 500 BCE
In this episode of Namaskar India, we will learn about the Aryans, who originally belonged to the hunter gatherer communities of the Eurasian steppes. They later migrated towards the Indian subcontinent after the discovery of wheel, carts and the domestication of horses which increased the mobility of these tribes. This was the beginning of the Rigvedic era, the same timeframe when Indus people also started moving from Indus plains to Gangetic plains. This might have resulted in power struggles and wars between the Aryans and the Indus people for land and cattle. And it is possible that over time, some local population, mixed and mingled with the Aryan population and some migrated towards Southern India.
Aryans were, primarily, hunter gatherers, cattle herders and agriculture based society. And their gods and goddesses represented forces or nature and moral values, hence some are positive and some are negative. People made stories to make sense of everything they saw and everything was associated with spirits, magic or in short - GOD. And thus came into existence, the concept of Hinduism. To immortalize their experiences and beliefs they started singing songs and telling stories which led to the creation of the vedas- Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda & Atharvaveda. These vedas were documented in the Later Vedic Era after the invention of script. When the common folk started to grow distant from the Vedic gods, the Puranic gods - Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv and Shakti replaced them. Inspired by whom the epics and stories like Mahabharata & Ramayana were written with the hope that they will become the means by which knowledge and wisdom will be passed from one generation to another.
After the invention of Iron, these Aryan communities became even bigger & powerful and were called Janapadas. And when these Janapadas consolidated, they resulted in states that were more stronger with an increase in the army, exchange of goods, services, information and ideas. These states were called the Mahajanpadas. The 16 Mahajanpadas of the Indo-Gangetic plains were collectively known as the Aryavarta meaning “Abode of the Aryans”.