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Ancient Mongolian

BRIEF MONGOLIAN HISTORY

There came into the world a blue-gray wolf


whose destiny was Heavens will. His wife was a fallow
deer. They traveled across the inland sea and
when they were camped near the
source of the Onon River in sight of
Burkhan Khaldun their first son was
born, named Batachikan. (The Secret
History
of
The
Mongols)Eight
generations after Batachikan, Yesugei
was born, and Yesugei had a son
named Temujin. The history of the
Mongolian nation starts with Temujin,
later known as Chinggis Khan, the
founder
of
the
worlds
largest
continental empire. Before Chinggis
Khan came to power, in the land known
to us as Mongolia, sporadic clans conducted on-going wars and raids over grazing
areas and water sources. Chinggis Khan united these clans under one flag, and
turned them into one nation, although throughout the last 800 years, many of these
clans have kept their ancient ethnic identity and unique traditions.
Archeological evidence shows that the area now known as Mongolia has been
inhabited for over 500,000 years. Though Mongolia is known today as the land of
nomads, the evidence clearly indicates that many societies were once farmers. As
far as we know, the name Mongol was first mentioned in Chinese writings from
the 9th century. The Chinese described the Mong-ko (Mongol) as the people who
follow the tails of their horses according to the growth pace of the grass and its
withering. Only in the 12th century, under the rule of Chinggis Khan, were
Mongolias clans gathered under one flag, becoming a unified nation. Leading his
fearless warriors, and implementing military strategies still studied today by armed
forces all over the world, Chinggis Khan, and later his successors, formed the
worlds largest continental empire. Covering the vast land mass between Korea and
Hungary, the infamous Mongolian horde ruled over an empire that encompassed
many countries, nations, religions and languages. Though famous for its
ruthlessness towards enemies, the Mongolian Empire was known to be very tolerant
towards the different beliefs of its occupied societies. It is said that at the court of
the Mongol Khans, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Confucian, and other
religious leaders used to sit and exchange ideas with one another and the local
Shamans and healers. After the decline of the empire, in the 14th century, Mongolia
was ruled by the Manchu dynasty of Qing. Ironically, the Manchu never had to
conquer Mongolia, as the Mongols themselves invited the Manchu to protect them
from attacks initiated by western clans. The violent and repressive regime of the
Manchu lasted until 1911, when Mongolia proclaimed its independence, taking
advantage of the weakening power of the Qing Emperor. Upon the declaration of
independence, a Mongolian government was established, under the leadership of
the Bogd Khan (The God King), and by 1915 the Kyahta Treaty was signed between

Russia, China and Mongolia granting Mongolia limited autonomy.By 1919 Mongolia
was again under the rule of a Chinese warlord. At that time the communist
revolution was taking Russia by storm. At the invitation of the Mongolian
government in 1921, White Russian soldiers, running from the Communist Reds,
defeated the Chinese conquerors, and took control of Mongolia while retaining the
Bogd Khan as a puppet ruler. The Mongolians found the White Russians under the
leadership of Baron Ungern von Sternburg (The Mad Baron) as brutal as the
Chinese, and groups of Mongolian nationalists approached the advancing Bolshevik
forces to help them expel the White Russians. On November 26, 1924, Mongolia
became the second communist country (by driedger). This period of history is a
complex one, with the Mad Baron alternately viewed as a crazed, power hungry
individual or as a Mongolian nationalist, while
the Bogd Khan was seen as either a spiritual
leader or a drunken eccentric isolated in his
palace.
For the next 70 years Mongolia was a satellite
country to the Soviet Union. The Mongolian
government
was
a
actually
puppet
government controlled by the communist
party, executing orders issued by the Kremlin.
Between 1930 and 1940 at least one third of
the male population of Mongolia was
slaughtered by order of the communist party
in
far-away
Moscow.
Religious
figures,
intellectuals, and anyone who might be a threat to the communist party was killed
or exiled to Siberia. Lams from entire monasteries were shot and piled into mass
graves, monasteries destroyed, and much of Mongolias cultural heritage was looted
or obliterated. Images of Chinggis Khan were prohibited. The horse tail banner of his
reign, which protected and embodied the spirit of the Mongolian people and which
had been protected and preserved for generations, was taken away, never to be
found again.
On the other hand, the Soviet occupation also brought to Mongolia, with its massive
resources, infrastructure for transportation, communication and civil services such
as education and health in Mongolia. During communist times Mongolia attained a
97% literacy rate, one of the highest around the world, and saw drastically reduced
rates of infant and child mortality. Adult health improved greatly with the
introduction of education in sanitary measures, and the advent of running water and
sewage systems. Many Mongolians were sent to Russian to receive educations in
scientific, engineering, and medical professions. The vast herds of the Mongols were
collectivized, and the nomads were given new administrative jobs in settlements
designed to create a more fixed, and therefore controllable, civilized population.
As the Soviet block experienced the crash of the communist ideology, Mongolia
underwent a peaceful revolution and became a Democratic Republic. Mongolia held
its first ever democratic elections since the time of the Great Khans on July 29th,
1990, when surprisingly the Mongolian Peoples Revolutionary Party, the former
communist party, was elected. It is with much emotion that Mongolians reflect on
the communist experience. The communist regime brought electricity, telephone

lines, schools, hospitals, trucks and planes, sanitation, science, and many positive
things to Mongolia, along with education in professions that would not have been
accessible to Mongolians for perhaps several more decades. At the same time, the
fierce independence and self determination of the Mongols was broken, an entire
cultural heritage was stripped within the space of a generation, and the nomadic
pattern of life within closely knit family clans following seasonal migration routes
was destroyed.
The collapse of the communist system brought two significant changes to Mongolia
- the end of Russian subsidies and funding for development, and the transition to a
market economy. Mongolia went into economic recession, followed by a collapse in
the banking system in 1995. In the elections of 1996 the Democratic Party won,
establishing the first ever democratic government. In the 2000 election the MPRP
won again, and in the 2004 election the Democratic Party won very by a tight
margin. The transition to a Democratic Republic has brought about relatively stable
government, and peaceful transfers of power, while election results reflect a
struggle between the desire for the stability and state support of the past and an
equally deep desire for a free economy and liberal business policies. In recent years,
Mongolia has been experiencing economic growth and increased prosperity, largely
due to the inflow of foreign investment and the exploitation of mineral resources. As
educated Mongolians, business people, and younger people find jobs in the cities
and new industries of Mongolia, nomadic herders find it increasingly necessary to
participate in the market economy and are becoming less reliant on government
promises to provide services in a system where social subsidies have become
meaninglessly small.

NOMADIC BASED CULTURE


Like every other nomadic culture, Mongolian culture is well-known for its hospitality.
Upon guests arrival, traditional offerings and treats are served - dairy products in
the summer time, and meat in the winter. Traditionally a Mongolian, even during his
absence, will leave his ger unlocked, in order to allow any passer-by to rest and
enjoy the treats which are left on the table for visitors.
Mongolians traditionally lead a pastoral, nomadic lifestyle. Because of the climate
and short growing season, animal husbandry defines the nomadic lifestyle, with
agriculture playing a secondary role. Nomads raise five types of animals - goats,
sheep, cattle (including yaks), camels and horses - that provide meat, dairy
products, transportation, and wool. Of these animals, the horse holds the highest
position in Mongolian tales and legends.
As one of the only remaining horse-based cultures left in the world, Mongolians
greatly cherish their horses. Outside the capital, the horse is still the main mode of
transportation and children begin riding as soon as they can sit up. Nomads are
extremely proud of their riding skills and horse racing is a favorite pastime.
Believing the race to be a test of the animal's and not the rider's ability, young
children are often the jockeys. The most prestigious tests of these superb animals
are the horse races at the Naadam Festival, Mongolia 's national games, which takes
place each July. Families will travel for days to be able to participate or just attend
this grand event.
Nomadic families follow a seasonal routine, moving the herds to new grazing land
based on the time of year, rather than one of aimless wandering. Historically, each
clan had various chosen grazing grounds that were used exclusively by the same
clan year after year. This tradition carries on today and families return to the same
locations at the same time each year, for example, traveling at the end of each
winter from a specific sheltered valley to a particular grazing area on the steppes.
Daily responsibilities are divided evenly among family members and no one
person's work is considered more important than another's. Traditionally, men take
care of the horses arid, the herds and make saddles, harnesses, and weapons. In
addition, they hunt to supplement the traditional diet of dairy products. Women
also milk cows, goats and mares (the national drink is airag - fermented mare's

milk).
Despite
their
enterprise,
however,
Mongolians are not self-sufficient. Since ancient
they have traded with surrounding civilizations far
grain, rice, tea, silk, cotton and etc. Women's
responsibilities include cooking, taking care of the
children and making clothing (the traditional
Mongolian costume is the ankle-length silk del).

times,

RELIGION
Shamanism Shamanism goes back in Mongolian history
long before Chinggis Khans time, but it was Chinggis Khan
that made it into such a fundamental part of the Mongolian
tradition. At that time the Mongolians were worshipped Hoh
Tenger (blue skies). According to this belief the skies are the
father, and the earth is the mother of all beings in the
universe. As a civilization totally dependent on the forces of
nature, the Mongolians worshipped the various elements of
nature, praying to their ancestors who have transformed into
mythical spiritual animals to provide them with good weather, health and success.
Though oppressed during communist time, Shamanism is still practiced in Mongolia,
and people who seek help will approach a Shaman for a blessing or cure and even
to get hints about their future.
Buddhism- Mongolians have followed Buddhism since the
16th century, when the Mongolian king, Altan Khan, was
converted by Tibetan lamas. Mongolians follow Tibetan
Buddhist teachings, (also called Lamaism), the body of
religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic
of Tibet and the Himalayan region. Today, Mongolia still
embraces its Buddhist heritage. Monasteries are being
restored, and are once again crowded with worshippers. The Dalai Lama is an
enormously popular figure and has visited the country several times. For many
Mongolians, the practice of Buddhism is flavored with traces of Shamanism, an even
more ancient spirituality.
Other Religions- Mongolia also has a small Muslim community about 6 per cent
of the population. These are mostly ethnic Kazakhs living in the far west of the
country.
SOCIAL LIFE

In Mongol society, men were dominant. The society


was patriarchal and patrilineal. However, Mongol
women had far more freedom and power than
women in other patriarchal cultures such as Persia
and China. While the Chinese were binding
womens feet, Mongol women were riding
horseback, fighting in battles, tending their herds
and influencing their men on important decisions
for the nation.
Still, while women were highly valued participants
in Mongol society, they still held less rank than
their fathers, husbands and brothers. Work was
divided between men and women; the men handled the herds and went to battle,
and women raised the gers, made the clothes, milked the animals, made cheese
and cooked the food. Men and women raised their children together. Children of the
Mongols did not attend a school; rather they learned from their families the roles
and work of men and women. Mongol children had toys and played games, much as
children of any culture.
Marriages were usually arranged between families, with goods traded between the
families as bride prices and dowries. Occasionally, a woman was stolen from one
tribe by a man from another; Genghiss father Yesugei, for example, stole his
mother Hoelun from another tribe. Stealing women was not done often as it could
lead to a blood feud between the tribes. Men could practice polygamy, marrying
more than one woman. Each wife and her children had their own ger. Usually the
entire family got along well. The first wife was considered the legal wife, although
these distinctions didnt matter much except in terms of inheritance. The children of
the first wife would inherit more than the children from other wives.Married women
wore headdresses to distinguish themselves from unmarried women. These
headdresses could be quite elaborate, as all Mongols loved hats and headgear.
Women remained loyal to their husbands and didnt often remarry if her husband
died. A widow inherited the property of her dead husband and became head of the
family.
A good illustration of this and of the power of women to influence Mongol history
and culture was Sorkhaqtani, wife of Genghiss son Tolui. Sorkhaqtani had been an
advisor to another of Genghis sons, Ogodai, when he was khan. When Tolui died,
she became the head of her household of sons, including Mongke, Kublai, Hulagu
and Ariq Boke, who all became khans in their time. She insisted they all become
educated and learned in the languages they would need to know as leaders of an
empire. After Ogodais death, Sorkhaqtani kept the empire together by diplomatic
means while Guyuk was khan. After his death, her son Mongke became Great Khan.
Sorkhaqtanis work for the empire included opening trade, instituting intellectual
exchanges throughout the empire, emphasizing freedom of religion and advising
that conquered people should not be dangerously exploited.
FOOD

The foundation of the traditional Mongolian food is based on the products of the
animal nomadic herders raise in the Mongolian steppes meat and milk. Those
simple materials are processed with a variety of methods, and combined with
vegetables and flour.
LANGUAGE
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia. It belongs to the UralAltaic language family, which includes Kazakh, Turkish, Korean and Finnish. Today
more than 10 million people speak Mongolian. They live in Mongolia, Buriat republic
of Russian federation, Inner Mongolia in China, Shingjan and Gansu regions of China,
Tibet and even a few number of people living in the State of New Jersey in the USA .
In Mongolia, the Khalkha dialect, written in Cyrillic, is predominant. The classical
Mongolian script, also known as Uyghurjin, was the first writing system created
specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most successful until the
introduction of Cyrillic in 1946.
LAW AND GOVERNANCE
The Mongol Empire was governed by a code of law devised by Genghis, called Yasa,
meaning "order" or "decree." A particular canon of this code was that the nobility
shared much of the same hardship as the common man. It also imposed severe
penalties, for example, the death penalty was decreed if the mounted soldier
following another did not pick up something dropped from the mount in front. At the
same time, meritocracy prevailed, and Subutai, one of the most successful Mongol
generals, started life as a blacksmith's son. On the whole, the tight discipline made
the Mongol Empire extremely safe and well-run; European travelers were amazed
by the organization and strict discipline of the people within the Mongol Empire.
Under Yasa, chiefs and generals were selected based on merit, religious tolerance
was guaranteed, and thievery and vandalizing of civilian property was strictly
forbidden. According to legend, a woman carrying a sack of gold could travel safely
from one end of the Empire to another.
The empire was governed by a non-democratic parliamentary-style central
assembly, called Kurultai, in which the Mongol chiefs met with the Great Khan to
discuss domestic and foreign policies.
Genghis also demonstrated a rather liberal and tolerant attitude to the beliefs of
others, and never persecuted people on religious grounds. This proved to be good
military strategy, as when he was at war with Sultan Muhammad of Khwarezm,
other Islamic leaders did not join the fight against Genghisit was instead seen as a
non-holy war between two individuals.
Throughout the empire, trade routes and an extensive postal system (yam) were
created. Many merchants, messengers, and travelers from China, the Middle East,
and Europe used the system. Genghis Khan also created a national seal,
encouraged the use of a written alphabet in Mongolia, and exempted teachers,

lawyers, and artists from taxes, although taxes were heavy on all other subjects of
the empire.
At the same time, any resistance to Mongol rule was met with massive collective
punishment. Cities were destroyed and their inhabitants slaughtered if they defied
Mongol orders.
CLOTHING

Clothes varied from tribe to tribe. Both men and women wore leather boots. And,
both men and women wore dels (also spelled deels.)
A del is a wrap that looks like a dress tied at the waist. A man's del could be short or
long. A woman's del was always long.
Dels made of cotton fabric kept people cool in the summer. Dels were lined with fur
for winter wear, to keep the people warm and toasty. There were no pockets in a
del. Eating utensils and anything you wished to carry was hung from your belt.

Applique:
The Mongols invented appliqu. In the winter months, the women would cut shapes
out of colorful felt and sew them onto clothing and wall hangings. Horses and
cockerels were two of the most popular shapes. They also embroidered their
clothing.
Jewelry:
Both men and women wore jewelry made of bronze and gold. They liked to wear
wide bracelets and necklaces.
Hairstyles:

To the Mongols, hair was a symbol of honor and strength. In BCE times, the Mongols
believed that hairstyles should look like the wings of an eagle. Women wore their
hair pulled smoothly away from their face. They glued strings of decorated felt to
hairbands. The men left a strip of hair down the middle of their head, and shaved
their head bald on either side. They left the back hair long and braided it.
Hats:
The ancient Mongols spent a great deal of time making hats and head-dresses. Hats
were important. Both men and women wore hats decorated with fur - sable and
silver fox especially. In the summer, they wore hats made from colorful fabrics. They
made other kinds of hats to wear on various occasions. They had top hats, and
plush velvet hats with turned up rims. They loved hats.

Ancient Hindu ( India )


The History of India begins with the Indus Valley Civilization and the coming of the
Aryans. These two phases are generally described as the pre-Vedic and Vedic
periods. The earliest literary source that sheds light on India's past is the Rig Veda.
It is difficult to date this work with any accuracy on the basis of tradition and
ambiguous astronomical information contained in the hymns. It is most likely that
Rig Veda was composed between 1,500 B.C. and 1,000 B.C. In the fifth century,
large parts of India were united under Ashoka. The 6th Century B.C. was a period of
great tumult in India. The kingdom of Magadha, one of the 16 great Janapadas had
become paramount over other kingdoms of the Ganges Valley. This period also saw
the emergence of various heterodox sects in India. This was the time when
Buddhism and Jainism emerged as popular protestant movements to pose a serious

challenge to Brahmanic orthodoxy. This period was followed by the Mauryas of


whom the most famous was Ashoka the Great. The boundaries of his empire
extended from Kashmir and Peshawar in the North and Northwest to Mysore in the
South and Orissa in the East - but his fame rests not so much on military conquests
as on his celebrated renunciation of war. For the next four hundred years (after the
great Mauryas), India remained politically disunited and weak. It was repeatedly
raided and plundered by foreigners. Stability was restored by the Guptas. The Gupta
age was the period of peace and prosperity and witnessed an unprecedented
flowering of art, literature and the sciences. This period also saw the beginning of
Hindu temple architecture. After the Guptas there was only a brief afterglow, in the
time of Harshavardhana of Kannauj. A Chinese traveler, Huen-tsang visited India
from (629 - 645 A.D.) during the reign of Harshavardhana. His account gives us an
opportunity to note the changes that had taken place in the lives of the Indian
people since the days of the Guptas.

RELIGION IN ANCIENT INDIA


India has long been known as a very spiritual, religious heavy area of the world. In
India, religion is a way of life. It is an integral part of the entire Indian tradition. For
the majority of Indians, religion permeates every aspect of life, from common-place

daily chores to education and politics. India is one of the most religiously diverse
nations in the world, with one of the most deeply religious societies and cultures.
Religion plays a central and definitive role in the life of the country and most of its
people. The faith of more than 80% of the people is Hinduism, considered the
world's oldest religious and philosophical system. Islam is practiced by around 13%
of all Indians. Sikhism, Ayyavazhi, Buddhism and Jainism are Indian-born religious
systems that are strong and influential not only in India but across the world.
Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bah' Faith are also influential but
their numbers are smaller.Despite the strong role of religion in Indian life, atheism
and agnostics are also visible influences.
Hinduism is a worldwide religious tradition that is based on the Vedas, and is the
direct descendant of the Vedic religion. Hinduism evolved from a monolithic religion
into a multitude of traditions over a period of 1500 years. It encompasses many
religious rituals that widely vary in practice, as well as many diverse sects and
philosophies. With an array of deities, all manifestations of the one Supreme
monistic Brahman, are venerated. Thus, Hinduism is often misconceived to be a
polytheistic religion, although the belief in a singular, Universal Soul is a
fundamental tenet of the Hindu faith. Beliefs, codes and principles vary from region
to region. It is the third largest religion in the world, with a following of
approximately 1 billion people. Ninety-eight percent of Hindus can be found on the
Indian subcontinent, chiefly in India. It is noteworthy however that the relatively
small Himalayan kingdom of Nepal is the only nation in the world with Hinduism as
its state religion.
Buddhism, known in ancient India as Buddha Dharma, originated in northern India
in what is today the state of Bihar. It rapidly gained adherents during the Buddha's
lifetime. Up to the 9th century, Indian followers numbered in the hundreds of
millions. While the exact cause of the decline of Buddhism in India is disputed, it is
known that the mingling of Hindu and Buddhist societies in India and the rise of
Hindu Vedanta movements began to compete against Buddhism. Many believe that
Hinduism's adaptation to Buddhism resulted in Buddhism's rapid decline. Also,
Muslim invaders are recorded to have caused massive devastation on monasteries,
libraries, and statuary, as they did on Hindu religious life. Many Indian Buddhist
populations remained intact in or migrated to places like Sri Lanka, Tibet, and other
Asian countries. Recently, a revival of Buddhism in India has made significant
progress. In 1956, B. R. Ambedkar, a freedom fighter during the Indian struggle for
independence from the British, and hundreds of thousands of his followers
converted to Buddhism in protest against the caste system. Subsequent mass
conversions on a lesser scale have occurred since then. Three-quarters of these
"neo-Buddhists" live in Maharashtra. Alongside these converts are the Vajrayana
Buddhists of Ladakh, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh, a small number of tribal
peoples in the region of Bengal, and Tibetan refugees.

Christianity, according to tradition (and now supported by recent research),


arrived in India in the first century through the apostle Thomas. St. Thomas
converted many South Indians who continued to practice Christianity until present.
It was further consolidated by the arrival of Syriac Jewish-Christians now known as
Knanaya people in the second century C.E. This ancient ethnic Christian community
of Kerala is known as Nasrani or Syrian Christian. The Nasrani people and especially
the Knanaya people within the Nasranis have strong Jewish historical ties. Their
form of Christianity is one of the most ancient: Syriac Christianity which is also
known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and referred to in India as Saint Thomas
Christians. It should be noted that the term "Saint Thomas Christians" is a loose
term that many non-Nasranis Christians in Kerala are often labeled. The vast
majority of Christians in Kerala are not the original Nasrani/Knanaya but indigenous
local converts.
Roman Catholicism reached India during the period of European colonization, which
began in 1498 when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived on the Malabar
coast.Christian missionary activity increased in the early 1800s. Today Christianity is
the third largest religion of India making up 2 - 2.5% of the population. Christians
are most prevalent in the northeast in states such as Nagaland,Mizoram, south
India, major metro areas, and in western states such as Goa.

SOCIAL LIFE
Brahmins Well this group of people were categorized on the
ancient Indian social hierarchy. These were not the most rich

top of the
or

powerful people of the time but were very respectful and


prestigious people. Even the kings used to listen to the
Brahmins. These people were engaged in attaining the
highest spiritual knowledge and adhered to different
branches of Vedas, the holy books of India. Being a
Brahmin was described to be a difficult path of
discipline of body, mind, and intellect.
Kshatriyas / Rajputs The next level in the ancient Indian social hierarchy is of
Kshatriyas or Rajputs. Kshatriya basically means a warrior. They were the people
who used to be the king and belonged to royal families normally.
Being a Kshatriya or a Rajput was considered to be a matter of respect and proud.
Bravery was the perfect word to describe these people. The Rajputs eventually
came to occupy the place in society of the Kshatriyas. They possessed special rights

and powers in the society. This class was the governing body of the society and
protection of the society was their duty.
Vaisyas Vaisyas are the next level in the ancient Indian social hierarchy. According
to the Hindu mythology, the Vaisyas are required to rear cattle and perform the
productive labor, pastoral tasks, trade and agriculture. This class includes the
common people. They were provided with little rights of their own.
Shudras This was the lowest class of the ancient Indian social hierarchy. Eating
anything or talking to these people was prohibited in the society to people of other
classes. These people acted and worked as servants to the other three classes.
These people were provided with very little or almost no rights and power of their
own

ANCIENT INDIA GOVERNMENT


In the beginning of the Vedic age people did not have a settled life and were
nomads but with development in agriculture people started to settle down in
groups. The organization was mainly tribal and the head of the tribe was supposed
to be the raja or the King, though the concept of King had yet not developed. With
the passage of time large kingdoms started to grow and by the 6th century BC there
were 16 Mahajanapadas (Kingdoms). There were many small republics also in
ancient India. These republics had some elements of democracy in their
administration. The king (raja) was the supreme head of the legislative, executive
and judiciary branches. He was assisted in administration by a number of officials.
The members of the council of minister could give advice to the king, but final
decisions were left to the king. The ministers and other officials were directly
appointed by the king. During the Mauryan period there existed both civil and
military officials. They were paid a salary in cash. The highest official was paid the
salary of 48000 panas (Unit of money) per year. The soldiers were paid 500 panas
per year. There were officials who maintained the records of population, income and
expenditure of government. We find reference to officials and clerks who collected
income tax and custom duties. Spy system was an important feature of Mauryan
administration. The royal agents and the spies could contact the king at any time
and they reported to the king about various developments in his kingdom. The
empire was divided into many provinces and each one of these provinces was
governed by a governor and council of ministers. In the provinces there were local
officials called rajukas, who became more powerful during the reign of Ashoka.
There were certain departments which decided certain important matters of
administration. There existed a standing army which was again controlled by certain
committees. Administration structure during the Gupta period was exceptionally
good in spite of large empire. During the Gupta period also the administration was
more or less like the Mauryas. The most important difference between the Gupta

and Mauryan administration was centralization and decentralization of


administration. In the Gupta administration, the governors of the provinces were
more independent as compared to the Mauryans, where the administration was
highly centralized.
ECONOMIC LIFE
Mainly agrarian, the economic life of the Indus people echoed the modernity which
was sown in that era.
(a) Agriculture- The Harappans were agriculturalists. Their economy was entirely
dominated by horticulture. The Indus River valley was quite fertile when the Harappans
thrived there. Agriculture was their chief line of work. Main agricultural products
comprised wheat, barely, rice, cotton, vegetables etc. There were vast storehouses to
gather food grains etc. Sickles and other types of agricultural equipments have also
been
found.
(b) Domestication of Animals-This was another means of sustenance of the Indus
Valley civilisation. The seals identified, depict that primary animals were cow, bulls,
buffaloes,
sheep,
goat,
camels
etc.
(c) Hunting-Besides being a means of entertainment, hunting was also a means of
sustenance. They merchandised the skins, hair and bones of different animals. Fishing
was
also
admired.
(d) Weaving and Spinning-Various objects excavated, establish that weaving and
spinning were admired among the community. Cotton as well as wool was used for
designing
clothes.
(e) Pottery-Indus Valley inhabitants were skilled to manufacture pottery of a very lofty
standard and it is "the earliest example of its kind in the ancient world". It was
constructed on a wheel. Numerous statuettes on the pots have been excavated.
Domestic vessels like heaters, store-jars, offering stands etc., were manufactured.
Glazing vessels of copper, bronze, silver and porcelain were also created.
(f) Metals and Minerals-Gold, silver, bronze and lead were utilised. Most of the pots
unearthed were made from copper and bronze. The use of these metals itself
establishes the economic conditions of the people. However, iron was possibly alien to
them.
(g) Trade and Commerce-This ancient civilisation had trade relations with other
countries. Gold, silver, copper and other precious stones which have been excavated in
Mohenjodaro and Harappa, must have been fetched from foreign countries, because till
then they were not found here. Trade of cloth was accomplished with other countries.
Particular objects of Indus Valley Civilization discovered in Sumeria, corroborates the
trade relations with foreign countries. There were trade dealings with West Asia also.
The trade was achieved through river routes. The designs of boat substantiate it.
(h) Weights and Measures-Particular weights and measures were excavated during
diggings in Harappa and Mohenjodaro. Some of the weights were so large that they
were hauled by ropes. Others were of a small size, normally used by jewellery makers.
Besides the measure of cubic system, foot system was also in vogue.

Thus, it can be seen that there was rapid economic activity in the Indus Valley and
citizens were affluent.