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05 Jan

Rig-Vedic Society

Rig-Vedic Society
The Kula or family was the basic unit of Rig-Vedic society The Kula was headed by a Kulapa, who was usually the eldest member Society was essentially patriarchal and birth of son was desired repeatedly Status of women was equal to men in the early Rig-Vedic society Both polygamy and polyandry were in vogue
The Evolution of Varna System
Social strata used to exist in the Harappan civilization also Similarly, there was a threefold division of society {priests, rulers and producers} in the Iranian society also However, what happened in Indian sub-continent was unique and extraordinary In the evolution of Kingship in the later Vedic era, the priests (Brahmans) and rulers (Khsatriyas) consolidated their respective position in the society The producers split into two groups The free peasants and traders formed the group Vaishya while the slaves, laborers, artisans degraded to fourth group Shudra This was based on occupation initially but later got rigid on the basis of birth Despite of a small population, the people got compartmentalized into these four groups as per Varnashrama Dharma
Marriage and women
Despite of the patriarchal character of the family, the position of women was much better in the Rig Vedic period than in later times They could attend assemblies and offer sacrifices along with their husbands Five women have been mentioned as composers of hymns out of which Ghosha, Lopamudra and Apala are famous Girls were normally married off after puberty (between the age of 16 and 17) Unmarried girls grew up in the home of their parents Some unmarried woman like Visvavara and Apala offered sacrifices on their own There are also evidences of widow remarriage in the Rig-Veda

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