Bharat Ek Khoj – The Vedic People & The Rigveda


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The rise of the Aryans, with their river-bound agricultural community, took place perhaps 1000 years after the Indus Valley period. Could the Indus Valley civilisation disappear altogether? More likely, thought Nehru, it was a synthesis and fusion between the new Aryans and the Dravidians who were probably the representatives of the Indus Valley. There were other tribes and people who came to India from the Northeast and became absorbed in India. The agriculturists were naturally looking for cattle—wealth as well as water even at the expense of others and were always deliriously happy when they reached a riverfront that would perpetuate supply of sweet water to the fields. They sang paeans of praise for water: Give us strength, O waters, like the mother’s milk to the infant and rid us of ailments; Give us cheers, O waters, and offer us the elixir of life…

The other vital ingredient of life was fire to ignite which dry woods were rubbed. Soon came the elaborate rituals of Yajna (the sacrificial fire) and fire-worship: We won’t perish, O fire, if you give us protection from perils and pestilences…

The compulsions of animal farming drove the Aryans to adopt many subterfuges like sending a partly hooded (and protected) female spy to the antagonists and demand that they surrender their cattle-wealth to the superior race led by ‘Indra’; an early generic term for any leader of men. On receiving denial, armed skirmishes would follow, with the Aryans routing the foes and usurping their cattle.

In India, Nehru avers, in every period when her civilisation (like that of the Aryans) bloomed, one would find intense joy in life and nature, not any precept of life-negation. There is palpable pleasure in the act of living: development of art and music, literature and dancing, painting and theatre. We see, for instance, the addicted males drinking and gambling away the whole night and the hapless wives pining in the solitude of night, with death lurking behind. There was also the freedom to choose a successor to the dead leader as another ‘Indra’ and to define new domains of power by letting loose a roaming horse and challenging any chief who would dare restrain it.

The Vedas were the outpourings of the Aryans, who perhaps brought their ideas from their common stock, out of which grew the ‘Avesta’ in Iran, and elaborated them in the rich soil of India, surmised Nehru.

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Bharat Ek Khoj – Doordarshan

The Discovery Of India – Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru

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