By Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermund
A background of India is a compact synthesis featuring the grand sweep of Indian background from antiquity to the current. It is still the definitive textual content at the country. This new version has been completely revised, containing new study, and an up to date preface, index and dateline. The authors research the key political, monetary, social and cultural forces that have formed the historical past of the Indian subcontinent during this survey. This vintage textual content is an authoritative specific account which emphasises and analyses the stuctural trend of Indian historical past.
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Additional info for A History of India, Third Edition
Later hymns which had their origin probably in the Brahmana period of the first centuries of the first millennium BC reflect an advanced stage of socioeconomic development in the Ganga-Yamuna Doab. The victories of the Vedic people over the indigenous population of northwestern India must have been due to their fast two-wheeled chariots, especially helpful in this dry and flat region, which were also used by other conquerors in Western Asia. The wheels of these chariots were so valuable that the chariots were sometimes transported on bullock carts in order to keep them in good condition for their strategic use on the battlefields.
Such an identification however does not necessarily imply that these early Indo-Aryans have to be regarded as the direct ancestors of the (later) Rigvedic people. As will be discussed below, the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text, reflects a socio-economic and cultural context which does not show any evidence of urban life. Scholars who accept an Indo-Aryan identity of these early Central Asian migrants in the Late Harappan period therefore assume that these early carriers of the ‘Greater Iranian Bronze Age Culture’ (Parpola) were soon absorbed by the Indus civilisation.
The subsequent phases of settlement at Mehrgarh, from about 3000 to 2500 BC and immediately preceding the emergence of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, show increasing wealth and urbanisation. A new type of seal with animal symbols, and terracotta figurines of men and women with elaborately dressed hair seem to reflect a new life style. Artefacts such as the realistic sculpture of a man’s head and small, delicately designed figurines foreshadow the later style of Harappan art. The topmost strata of settlements in Mehrgarh are crowded with two-storeyed buildings.
A History of India, Third Edition by Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermund