Indian History TimeLine

Indian Dalit History Timeline

The timeline below is neither complete nor exhaustive. It shows only major dates and events which are related to the formation and development of the Indian caste system and the resistance to the same. All dates are approximate till around 500CE.

Before the Common Era

Indus Valley Civilisation (3300-1700)

3300-1700                     Early Harappan Phase

2600-1700                     Mature Harappan Phase

1700-1300                     Late Harappan Phase

Pre-Vedic Aryans (3000-2000)

3000                             Proto-Indo European languages develop in Central Asia

2000                             Kurgan culture spread to Northern Iran and East Europe

Vedic Period (1700-500)

Early Vedic Period (1700-1000)

1700                      Late Harappan and Early Vedic Period

1500BCE                      Compilation of the sacred Vedic texts

                                    Aryan invasion of North India

                                    Arya-Dasa fights and recombination

                                    Vratyas incorporated in the Aryan society

1300BCE                      End of Cemetery H Culture

Later Vedic Period (1000-600)

1000                             Start of Iron Age in India

                                    Caste system formation

                                    10th Mandala with Purush Sukta hymn is inserted in Rig Veda

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Helots and Sudras

The Sudra varna of the ancient India, have been compared to the Helots of the ancient Spartans. No Spartan would intermarry with the Helots. Helots were disarmed but the Spartans, like kshatriyas were trained killers to perfection. Whereas the Ephors declared a state of war once a year, under Indian caste system the Sudra could be disciplined in a very violent manner at any time. It can be seen that with the exception of the pollution taboo of untouchability, which came later, the early Sudra servitude does bear some comparison with the helots of the Spartan state.

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Japan - Untouchability in

Untouchability in Japan

The concept of hinin (non-human) was first used in the Nara period (710-784) when a member of the nobility was labelled a non-human for taking part in a treacherous plot against the Emperor. In addition, those who escaped from labour or other services to the Imperial family were caught were also referred to as non-humans. Later, persons for economic reasons became beggars, vagrants or vagabonds were also called hinin.

There was a list of eta-hinin which in the order of prestige ran like the following; local chiefs of ghettos, blind masseurs, dancers, plasterers, monkey-showmen, stone cutters, umbrella makers, river boatmen, mountain guards, material dryers, writing brush makers, straw raincoat makers, puppet showmen and brothel madams.1

Hinin thus was originally a person in Japan who was disobedient by way of struggling for power or was completely powerless and was living on the edge of society and law. In either case he or she represented a threat to the existing law and order.

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Iron in India and the Caste System

 

Most investigations into the formation of the caste system start from the study of Hindu scriptures as the earliest sources of references to the caste are to be found in these.

However to rely purely on such sources, is seriously flawed as these documents can not be taken at their face value as it was not in the interest of the Vedic authors to record the truth or for that matter the time frame. Put simply the Vedas have to be interpreted in the light of other known scientific facts.

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Indus Valley Civilisation - Pride of Indigenous Dalits

 

 During earlier colonial times it was thought that the Aryans 'civilised' India, but this has long since proved to be wrong. Indus Valley culture which started with village settlements some 8000 BCE flourished between 2300 to 1700 BCE over nearly a million square kilometers. Some of the achievements that belong to this civilisation are city planning, pictographic script, standardised weights and measures, seals, pottery, ornaments, cultic artwork, secular artwork, baths and drainage system and much more. Scholar now believe that there is even evidence of silk manufacture at Harappa.  Dalits can be justly proud of their forefather's and foremother's achievements.

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