Indian History Book Cover Design

Images

Wiki source

In early second millennium BCE persistent drought caused the population of the Indus Valley to scatter from large urban centres to villages. Around the same time, Indo-Aryan tribes moved into the Punjab from regions further northwest in several waves of migration. The resulting Vedic period was marked by the composition of the Vedas, large collections of hymns of these tribes whose postulated religious culture, through synthesis with the preexisting religious cultures of the subcontinent, gave rise to Hinduism. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests, warriors, and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose later during this period. Towards the end of the period, around 600 BCE, after the pastoral and nomadic Indo-Aryans spread from the Punjab into the Gangetic plain, large swaths of which they deforested to pave way for agriculture, a second urbanisation took place. The small Indo-Aryan chieftaincies, or janapadas, were consolidated into larger states, or mahajanapadas. This urbanisation was accompanied by the rise of new ascetic movements, including Jainism and Buddhism, which challenged the primacy of rituals, presided by Brahmin priests, that had come to be associated with Vedic religion, and gave rise to new religious concepts.