Revision Notes : Civil Services (Prelims)
Vedic society was chiefly pastoral and
semi-nomadic. Their chief wealth was the gau
(cow) and a wealthy person
was called gomat, the
king or head was called gopati
society in early period had no such serving class
like the shudras.
literature of the Buddhists provides a picture of a
settled agricultural economy and an emerging
commerce in urban centres.
saw a tremendous increase in trade.
Gupta period saw changes in agrarian structure due
to system of land grants.
Samkara denotes mixed castes,
considered ritually impure, included tribes or
descendants of intercaste marriages.
child born out of brahmin and vaishya combination
was called ambastha and
that of brahmin and sudra as nisada,
vaishya and sudra as ugra,
brahmin and sudra as parsava.
the later vedic period, there were as many as 17
kinds of priests looking into various sacrifices.
The Brahmin was
one such priest, who gradually surpassed them and
became their representative.
the four varnas, there
was a Panchamvarna (5th
principal tax-payers were the vaishyas.
social transformation of vaishya and sudras was
under crisis in the 3rd century A.D., due to
refusal to stick to their occupations and pay
taxes. The practice of land grants was started by a
few rulers to relax the tax collections, now
entrusted to grant holders.
existing in literary sources as well as in coins,
the Buddhist texts, the social order is denoted as:
kshatriya, brahmin, vaishya and sudra (i.e.
brahmins at 2nd place,
not first). Vaishyas are called grahapatis
important religious sacraments for the human body.
They are generally 16 in number.
are eight forms of marriage, according to the Dharmasastras.
The approved ones
are: Brahma, Prajapatya, Daiva and Arsa.
Divorce was severely condemned. The
unapproved ones were: asura, paisacha, rakshasa
and gandharva (love marriage). Re-marriage was
allowed by the Brahmanical law givers as well as
Polygamy was generally practiced by the socially
Intercaste marriages were generally in Anuloma
system (marriage of high caste
male with low caste female).
were several mixed castes also, arising out of
tribals and foreigners.
asura form of
marriage (marriage by purchase) was quite
prevalent, even though not approved by the shastras.
The position of women declined during the pre-Gupta
and Gupta times and further more in later periods.
use of veils (purdah) by women can be noticed near
Harshaâ€™s times (his sister Rajyasri used it)
and increased during the advent of Muslims.
the practice of sati.
The first definite historical incident of sati
is recorded in 510 A.D., in the case
of wife of Goparaja (a general of Bhanu Gupta). It
existed mostly in Deccan and Central India.
recommend an austere life for
widows. The skanda purana advocates
the shaving of heads of widows.
post-Gupta period, Vaishnava Dharma was
prevalent in India. Lalitaditya of Kashmir, Sens of
Bengal, Chandels and Chauhans were mostly Vaishnavites.
However, the epicentre of Vaisnavism was the
saints brought the worship of
Vishnu to new heights, mainly in the 9th and 10th
centuries. Two famous female Alwar saints were Andal
Hindus, Shaivites were
most numerous. The Pala rulers of Bengal were
Buddhists, but their inscriptions begin with Om
Ganesha became a popular deity of the Hindus in the
10th century A.D., especially in the western
States, where Ganapati cult arose and held Ganesha
as higher than
other deities. Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations
(mentioned in Agni Purana) are believed to
originate somewhere around 9-10th century A.D.
Huen Tsang, speaks of a flourishing Buddhist faith,
even in the 7th century A.D., besides other faiths,
especially in U.P., Bihar and Bengal.
was also born somewhere during Gupta period. They
were usually scribes under
State service. First mention of Kayasthas
is made by Yajyavalkya.
During Guptas, they existed only as a social class
and later they got converted into a caste.
were a class of people living
outside the town, as they were considered untouchables.
The synonym Chandala has also been used for
them. They were considered even lower than the