The Coming of Aryans : Occupation & Political life

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Agriculture was the main occupation of the people. Agricultural products were wheat, rice, cotton and oil seeds. Farmers depended on rain. However, they had some irrigation system using canals; wells and lakes.

Besides agriculture, people engaged themselves in weaving, tanning and metallurgy. Artisans such as carpenters, potters, blacksmiths and goldsmiths too made living.

Agricultural products led to trade. Rivers were used for transportation and many commercial towns came into existence on the banks of rivers. Bullocks, horses and camels were used for transportation. In those days the barter system was practiced in trade.

People also domesticated animals. Some of them were used for ploughing or drawing carts. Horses, bulls, cows, dogs and goats were the main animals domesticated by the Aryans.

Political life of Aryans

When Aryans came to India they came in the form of tribes, this tribal system survived for many centuries. The tribes were organized in a patriarchal groups, and in the early stages the chief of the tribe was merely a tribal leader. As the need for protection grew, the most capable protector was elected chief, and he gradually began to assume privileges generally associated with kingship. The rapid development of monarchies was kept in check, by the two tribal assemblies, the sabha and the samiti. The sabha was an exclusive council of the tribal elders, whereas the samiti may have been a general assembly for the entire tribe. Among tribes which had no elected monarch's these assemblies played the pivotal role.

Soon the status of the king became hereditary. Consequentially the position of the sabha and the samiti underwent a change; they could act as a check on the king but king was the final authority.

A rudimentary administrative system was introduced, with the king as the pivot. The tribal kingdom (rashtra) contained tribes (jana), tribal units (vish), and villages (grama). The nucleus was the family (kula), with the elsdest male member as its head (kulapa). The king was assisted by a court of the elders of the tribe and by the village headmen. Even closer to him were two officers: the purohita or chief priest, who combined the function of priest, astrologer, and adviser; and the senani or military commander. Spies and messengers completed his entourage. Later sources mention a more elaborate group surrounding the king: the charioteer, the treasurer, the steward, and the super-intended of dicing.

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