How The Social Life Set Up By Aryans Is Still Seen In India The vedic culture was the core of the ancient civilization that existed in India. Many of the researchers and historians have admired the contents of the Vedas not only in India, but abroad as well. Achievements and originality enriched the Vedic culture which drew the world’s attention to it. During the age of the Vedas, the Aryans lived a simple social life. Their life was a sacred one and reflected the village life style’s basic realities. The bond of love and affection shared amongst the family members was very strong. Aryans lived an ideal life in a society which was moral in the truest sense. Their recreational activities, homes, dress and food reflected the kind of simple living they had.
In their social life, the nucleus was the family. In the effort of looking for greener pastures and habitat, they wandered from one place to another and finally they built houses and settled in them. The head of the family was the father termed as Grihapati or Kulapati. Affairs of the family, children’s educations, sustenance, discipline, peace, purchase and sale of wealth, marriage of the girls, solutions for various problems etc were looked after the father. The head of the family was the emblem of magnanimity, compassion and kindness. If required, he would even be cruel. One feature of the vedic culture that was conspicuous was the set up of the joint family. All the family’s auspicious duties were discharged jointly by the wife and the head of the family, a system which is prevalent in modern India.
Wood, bamboo and clay was used to constructed houses with thatched roofs. The kitchen was used for cooking, worship and performing rituals. Such kind of an arrangement in dwelling continues to be considered in many of the homes in modern India. For ladies there was a dressing and drawing room separate from the rest of the family. By virtue of being the head of the family, the father too had a private chamber. Ninety families existed in each of the villages. In other words, the Vedic society was nothing but the epitome of rural culture of the ancient times.
The Aryans adopted food habits that were quite simple. Cakes made of maize and wheat were commonly eaten. Also eaten were ghee, cheese, other milk products and fruits. The meat of lamb, goat and calf sacrificed during the Hanja was also eaten. Water obtained from streams and rivers was used for drinking. Intoxicant juice or Somaras obtained from the soma tree was used for drinking after rituals of the Yajna. Corns of different kinds were used to make a special wine which was taken any time.
Clothes made from deer skin, wool and cotton were worn by the Aryans. Their dress was termed as Nimnabasa or Nimbi, a dress dangled from the waist. The dress worn on the top part of the body was called the Paridhana or Basal. A scarf called drape, alma or adlibs was also used. Clothes in various colours were worn with gold lining especially by the rich.
In the Rig Vedic age, ornaments were worn by females and the males both. Ear rings were termed as Karnosobhana, anklets, bangles, necklace, etc studded with precious stones were used by women. Oil was used on hair before doing it up and then decorated with flowers. The men maintained a beard and moustache. For shaving the men used a razor that had a handle. Leather shoes were also worn.
Immense importance was given to education during the Vedic age, just as it is given in modern India today. After the thread ceremony, the student would get educated at the Gurukula. Vedic hymns would be recited by the teacher and students would chant after him to memorize. Main aim was to get the knowledge of students sharpened with education. The art of working on metals, warfare, philosophy, the concept of Brahma, ethics, basics of handicrafts, animal husbandry and agriculture, were taught to students. In the social system, this education played an important role.
No caste system prevailed in the initial period of the Vedic age. People lived a contented and happy life and got involved in the individual duties and work which indicated that during the Rig Vedic age, no caste system prevailed. The society was versatile and stabilized. In modern India, caste distinctions are deeply entrenched though a lot of people do not make distinctions based on caste and creed.
Wrestling, playing dice, war dances, hunting and chariot racing were entertainment sources during leisure. Women were educated and spent time also in merrymaking, dancing and singing. Veena and flute were the two instruments popularly used by men in playing and singing. Socializing was an activity which both women and men enjoyed and continues to be enjoyed in modern India.
Status Of Women
In the early Vedic Age, the women were held in quite a high esteem. She managed the home. Both women and men performed religious rituals, jointly. Both girls and boys were provided education. Meetings and spiritual discourses were attended by women along with men as well. Vedic hymns were coined by even women. Many women became teachers. Girls were allowed to select their husbands as part of the ‘Swayamwara’ tradition. Parents could get their daughter married only after attaining puberty. The daughter in law of the family was given the status of Lakshmi, or the Goddess of wealth.
Re-marriage of widows was permitted within the society. Even if dowry, like gold, cows, etc. was given, it was considered the wife’s property. No purdah or veil system prevailed in society for women. Before marriage, the woman depended upon the father, after marriage on her husband and during old age, on her son. In other words, during the Vedic age, a high status was enjoyed by women in the social hierarchy. The society was well developed. Primary objective of life was to have a happy and healthy life.
Many of the ancient cities that during the Vedic period, including Mohan-Jo-Daro and Harappa, reveal that in the social structure and life style, non violence and collectiveness prevailed. A lot of planning was involved in developing cities. To cope with natural calamities, provisions were made. Grain houses, cattle sheds, usage of items for daily use in advanced state prevailed. It is revealed from excavations that people during those times had contact with people from other parts of the globe. The custom of religiousness, arranged marriage and joint families present during that time, still prevails in many of the villages and cities in modern India. Many qualities were brought to India by the advent of the Aryans.
Due to the unique features of the social life during the Vedic age, they were considered worth adopting in modern day life in India. The social life set up by the Aryans is still seen today. The qualities of non violence and collectiveness are practiced by Indians. Difficulties and pleasure are enjoyed by people collectively.