Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, the Brahamanas, the Aranyakas, Upanishads and Vedangas are most important sources of knowledge about Aryans and Vedic period. The term “Aryan” denotes the linguistic groups who came from somewhere in Steppes region stretching from southern Europe to central Europe.
Aryans first appeared in Iran and a little after 1500 BC, they appeared in India. Rig Veda has many things common with Zend-Avesta (Oldest text in Iranian language). Here, we are giving the “Summary of the Vedic Age: Polity | Society | Position of Women” which is very useful for the aspirants who are preparing for the competitive examinations like UPSC-prelims, SSC, State Services, NDA, CDS, and Railways etc.
Rig Vedic Polity
1. Chief was the protector of the tribe or Jana.
2. Sabha, Samiti, Vidhata and Gana was the tribal assemblies who discharge the functions of deliberative, military and religious.
3. There was a few a non-monarchical states (ganas) which was headed by Ganapati or Jyestha.
Rig Vedic Society
1. Jana which was owned by the people to whom they offer loyalty to their tribe.
2. Family institution followed the patriarchal and birth of son was desirable.
3. Family was a large a unit indicated by a common word for son, grandson, nephew and one word for paternal and maternal grandfather.
Rig Vedic Social Divisions
1. The term ‘Varna’ was used first in Indian region after advent of Aryan as per Rig Veda that refer to the only the Aryan or Dasa having respectively, fair or dark complexion but never denotes to the Brahaman or Rajayanya (Kshatriya).
2. The term ‘Shudra’ was mentioned first time in the Tenth Mandala of Rig Veda.
3. The Quadruple division of the society was made after the coding of the ‘Purushasukta Hymn’
Rig Vedic Gods
1. The early Vedic religion was based on the nature and natural phenomena. This is the only reason; there was evidence of idol worship and the concept of temple.
2. Sacrifice was offered for Praja, Pasu and Dhana which was not related to the spiritual upliftment.
Position of Women during Rig Vedic Age
1. Women are free to join men at the Sabha and Vidhata.
2. Women had respectable position in the society. Social evils like Child marriage and Sati system was evident. The marriageable age for the girls was 16 to 17 years.
3. There were evident of widow remarriage and practice of Niyogi (levirate) in which childless widow would co-habit with her brother-in-law until the birth of a son.
4. There was evident of polygamy and monogamy.