Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent Before the Coming of the Muslims

Illus. most generally used introd. to Indian civ. even if first pub. in 1954, has remained a vintage interpretation.

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The Vedic poets knew the Himalayas, yet now not the land south of the Jamnā, they usually didn't point out the Vindhyas. To the east the Aryans had no longer elevated a ways past the Jamnā, and the Ganges (Gangā) is pointed out purely in a single past due hymn. at the present the Āryans had now not thoroughly subjugated the indigenous population. even though many hymns check with battles among one Aryan tribe and one other, there's, underlying this intertribal contention, a feeling of unity opposed to the Dāsas or Dasyus, who obviously signify the survivors of the Harappā tradition, and kindred peoples of the Panjāb and the North-West. The Dāsas are defined as darkish and ill-favoured, bull-lipped, snub-nosed, worshippers of the phallus, and of antagonistic speech. they're wealthy in livestock, and stay in fortified areas known as pur, of which the Āryan war-god Indra has destroyed countless numbers. the most paintings of destroying the settlements of the Dāsas were comprehensive a while earlier than the composition of the hymns, and the nice battles which needs to then have taken position are already misted over with legend; however the Dāsas are nonetheless able to massing armies of 10,000 males opposed to the invaders. different enemies of the Āryans are the Panis, who're defined as filthy rich those that refuse to patronize the Vedic clergymen, and who thieve the farm animals of the Aryans. They weren't so strongly hated because the Dāsas, and their settlements appear usually to have persevered unmolested. it's been instructed that the Panis have been Semitic investors, however the facts is so mild that this end can't be accredited. The Aryans weren't uninfluenced by means of the sooner population. In classical Sanskrit the notice d? sa on a regular basis capacity “slave” or “bondman”, and within the later hymns of the Ṛg Veda it used to be already buying that that means, whereas the female shape dāsī is utilized in the experience of a “slave-girl” in the course of the booklet; yet, notwithstanding the various vanquished Dāsas should have been enslaved, a few appear to have come to phrases with the conquerors, and one Dāsa leader is pointed out as following Āryan methods and patronizing the brāhmans. eight One results of this touch of Āryan and non-Āryan is obvious even within the earliest stratum of the Ṛg Veda, the language of that's radically suffering from non-Indo-European impacts. All Indian languages, from Vedic to the fashionable vernaculars, comprise a sequence of sounds, the retroflex or cerebral consonants, which can't be traced in the other Indo-European tongues, no longer even in outdated Iranian, that is heavily comparable to Sanskrit. those sounds should have built speedy, from the efforts of non-Aryans to grasp the language in their [Page 33] conquerors. without doubt the invaders usually married indigenous girls, whose teenagers will be bilingual, and after a number of generations the Aryans’ unique language could express the influence of the admixture of aboriginal blood. a number of phrases within the Ṛg Veda aren't attached with any recognized Indo-European roots, and have been obviously borrowed from the natives. Non-Aryan impact on faith and tradition should also were felt very early, and the sluggish disappearance of a lot of the unique Indo-European historical past underneath successive layers of non-Aryan ideas could be traced throughout the early spiritual literature of India.

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