Kids’ Org : Tools to Know History
By virtue of being the oldest nation of the world, Bharateeya history abounds in reserves of endless resources. These can be broadly categorised into archaeological and literary. Archaeological resources would comprise findings from excavations in various places from time to time which enlighten us of the antiquity, vastness, culture and civilisation. For instance . the excavations and findings from the civilisations of Mohenjo-Daro-Harappa, Lothal, Rupnagar, Kalibangan and Pandurajar give us an account of the urban civilisation of those times. Such evidence of many ancient places have been found. In addition to this, many inscriptions like the Ayodhya Inscription , Allahabad Pillar Inscription and the Elephant Cave Inscription are also there. The epigraph of King Asoka throws light on the religious , moral and social construction of the times. Gold, silver and copper coins obtained from various ages throw light on the ancient history of Bharat. Similarly there are different kinds of memorials, ruins, buildings, copper plates, alms etc which are also available.
Bharat is a huge ocean of resources when it comes to literary reserves. UNESCO has recognised Rigveda as the one of the world’s oldest manuscript. Ved means knowledge which is derived from the word Vid. There are four Vedas namely, Rigveda, Yajurveda, Saamveda and Atharvaveda. Apart from these , there are the Brahman Granths, Aranyak Granths, Upanishads and Purans. Brahman Granths consist of Aitreya, Koshit, Gopath and Shatpatha. There are more than 108 Upanishads of which Aitreya, Taitriya, Chaandogya, Brihadaaranya, Ken, Pprashna, Mundak, Mandukya etc are popular, Vedang gives an account of education , period, grammar, etymology and astrology which were later elaborated in various books. Similarly, there are lot of memorials like Manusmriti, Yaagyavalakya, Paraashar, Naarad, Brihaspati, Kaatyayan and Devalsmriti. Mahabharat and Ramayan are considered amongst world’s finest creations. Our life cannot be imagined without Sri Ram and Lord Krishna. Archaeologists world over have also acknowledged that everything described in the Ramayan and the Mahabharat as well as in the ancient books are all based on facts.
The ancient Buddhist and Jain books are also valuable sources of historical information and knowledge. The books written on the Jatakas and Tripitak and those of Gautam Buddha give us valuable account on the religious and cultural life. The Agam Granth of the Jain Literature is a storehouse of knowledge. The travellers from various countries like China, Tibet, Greece, Europe and the Islamic countries , from time to time , have also contributed to the information about our country in their vivid descriptions of these travels. Apart from these, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, Mudrarakshas, Harshacharitra, Rajtarangini etc. also uncover our historical facts to a great extent. If we have to sum it all, we can say without any doubt that considering the resources we have, a lifetime is not sufficient to study about our history.
It has been discovered from archaeological findings that there has been a deep-rooted association between Bharat and the mankind. There is evidence of people from the Stone Age in the southern parts of the Himalayas. Aryans were considered to be the most primitive inhabitants of Bharat. Aryans were not of a particular caste or clan. It is a qualitative noun, which means best , intelligent or civilised. It’s A Sanskrit word and there has been innumerable mention of this word in the Vedas. It has been used 31 times in the Rigveda and five times in the Atharvaveda to imply excellence in a person. We now have enough evidence from archaeological and other findings that Aryans originated from Bharat and didn’t come here from some foreign land and neither did they attack Bharat and conquered it. Having said that, we also should understand that Aryans did leave the country from time to time to expand our horizons of culture and civilisation to other countries.
The Vedic culture is the ancient psalm of spiritualism in Bharat and the contributor of the charter of the Karma in the world. Similarly Bharateeya culture is the ancient psalm of democracy in the world. In the Vedas there is mention of four goals or aim of human existence . They are Law , Prosperity, Pleasure and Salvation. According to Prof. Dr Om Prakash who also is the translator of the four Vedas, they are not only the ancient books of mankind, but also the oldest centre of knowledge of the Aryan culture and the torch-bearer of the whole world of all times. They give us the ideals, values and conduct of life. Vedic culture is charaterised by villages , rural communities and village panchayats . Farming and animal husbandry were of immense importance. Families used to get together for community activities and for religious purposes. National associations were born out of this. The entire concept of Unity in Diversity in Bharat had its roots from this era. Varnashram was implemented and traditions were put in place for a successful life. Gurukuls were established for imparting education and Sanskrit was considered as the language of the civilised as well as the mother of all languages. Vedic culture has always preferred the importance of responsibility to rights from the highest to the lowest strata of the society. Joint family system was in practice and women were held in society with very high respect. Initially nature was worshipped and morality and ethics were of utmost importance. Simple living , high thinking was the motto of life. The aim of life was to attain moksha or salvation by honest living.
Gradually society flourished and developed further , which was explained in ancient literature. Ramayan and Mahabharat give a vivid account of the political and cultural life of Bharat.This is the reason Ram Rajya was considered to be the ideal scenario in the society. Ramayan is the ideal for every Bharateeya and Mahabharat gives the behavioural knowledge.
Dr Satish Chandra Mittal (The writer is Professor (Retd.) History Department, Kurukshetra University,Kurukshetra)
( To be concluded ))