Kinship, Caste and Class Early Societies – CBSE Notes for Class 12 History

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• A number of important changes occurred in the economic and political life of India during the period from 600 BCE to 600 CE.
• The changes occurred during this period had left a deep mark on the contemporary society.
• A new change began to occur with the expansion of agriculture.
• Emergence of different crafts and distinct social groups also witnessed during this period.
• Social disparities began to increase as a result of unequal distribution of wealth.
• Historian made use of textual tradition for many reasons.
• According to the text written in ancient the most popular and famous is Mahabharata, which was composed between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
• Historians believed that it was written by Ved Vyasa, but most of the Historians think that it is the creation of many authors.
• In the beginning, Mahabharata was known by the name of Jail and held only 8800 verses. Later on the number of verses increased to one lakh.
• An important work began in 1919 under the leadership of V.S. Sukthankar, a famous Sanskrit scholar who took up cudgels to prepare a critical edition of Mahabharata.
• Many types of social institutions existed in this period these were as follows;
—> Monogamous family
—> Polyandrous family
—> Polygons family
—> Consanguineous family
—> Patrilineal family
—> Matrilineal family
—> Neolocal family
—> Rural family
—> Urban family
—> Joint family
—> Nuclear family
• Kinship is a system of relation between such relatives which determine our relationship on the basis of lineage. These relations were based on lineage or vansha are developed by a family.
• Patriliny means that the descent which is traced from father to son, then grandson and great grandson.
• Patriliny was prevalent even before the Mahabharata, yet Mahabharata strengthen it.
1. Kinship: The person belonging the same family.
2. Polity: The form or process or system of government.
3. Kinfolk: Persons of blood relation.
4. Patriliny: System of tracing descent from father to son, grandson and so on.
5. Matriliny: System of tracing descent from mother side.
6. Adi Parvan: Adi Parvan is the first section of the Sanskrit version of the Mahabharata.
7. Indra: A god of warfare, rains and valour, one of the principal deities in the Rigveda.
8. Dharmasutras: These are the texts composed in Sanskrit by Brahmanas.
9. Mlechchhas: Shakas were regarded as Mlechchhas. They were the Central Asian people who had migrated and settled in the northwestern part of the Subcontinent.
10. Majjhima Nikaya: It is a Buddhist text. It forms a part of a dialogue between a king named Avantiputta and a disciple of Buddha, named Kachchana.
11. Gotras: People of the same kind and same vama.
12. Shrenis: Unions of craftsmen and traders in Ancient India. It was also called guilds.
13. Chandals: Untouchables of the ancient India who did menial works.
14. Mahasammata: It means the great elect. A person chosen by the whole people.
15. Nishad: A hunting community.
16. Epic: A long poem about the deeds of great men and women or about a nation’s past history.
17. Dwij: During Later Vedic period, people who adopted sacred thread system was caUedDwij.
18. Endogamy: It refers to the system of marriage within the unit such as caste.
19. Polygamy: Practice of having more than one wife.
20. Polyandry: Practice of having more than one husband.
21. Vamasha: Sanskrit word meaning lineage of a person.
Time Line:
1. 500  BCE Ashfadhyayi of Panini, a work of Sanskrit grammar.
2. 500-100  BCE Early Buddhist texts including the Tripitaka (in Pali)
3. 500  BCE-400 CE Ramayana and Mahabharata (in Sanskrit)
4. 200  CE onwards Compilation of the Puranas (in Sanskrit)
5. 300  CE Natyashastra of Bharata, a work on dramaturgy (in Sanskrit)
6. 400-500  CE Sanskrit plays a valuable role in the compilation of Kalidasa’s works on astronomy and mathematics by Aryabhata and Varahamihira (in Sanskrit).