History of Agriculture in The Indian Subcontinent - Vedic Period – Post Maha Janapadas Period (1500 BCE – 200 CE)

Vedic Period – Post Maha Janapadas Period (1500 BCE – 200 CE)

Gupta (2004) finds it likely that summer monsoons may have been longer and may have contained moisture in excess than required for normal food production. One effect of this excessive moisture would have been to aid the winter monsoon rainfall required for winter crops. In India, both wheat and barley are held to be Rabi (winter) crops and—like other parts of the world—would have largely depended on winter monsoons before the irrigation became widespread. The growth of the Kharif crops would have probably suffered as a result of excessive moisture. Jute was first cultivated in India, where it was used to make ropes and cordage. Some animals—thought by the Indians as being vital to their survival—came to be worshiped. Trees were also domesticated, worshiped, and venerated—Pipal and Banyan in particular. Others came to be known for their medicinal uses and found mention in the holistic medical system Ayurveda. The Encyclopædia Britannica—on the subject of agriculture of the later Vedic period—holds that:

In the later Vedic texts (c. 1000–500 BC), there are repeated references to iron. Cultivation of a wide range of cereals, vegetables, and fruits is described. Meat and milk products were part of the diet; animal husbandry was important. The soil was plowed several times. Seeds were broadcast. Fallowing and a certain sequence of cropping were recommended. Cow dung provided the manure. Irrigation was practiced.

The Mauryan Empire (322–185 BCE) categorised soils and made meteorological observations for agricultural use. Other Mauryan facilitation included construction and maintenance of dams, and provision of horse-drawn chariots—quicker than traditional bullock carts. The Greek diplomat Megasthenes (c. 300 BC)—in his book Indika— provides a secular eyewitness account of Indian agriculture:

India has many huge mountains which abound in fruit-trees of every kind, and many vast plains of great fertility. . . . The greater part of the soil, moreover, is under irrigation, and consequently bears two crops in the course of the year. . . . In addition to cereals, there grows throughout India much millet . . . and much pulse of different sorts, and rice also, and what is called bosporum . . . . Since there is a double rainfall in the course of each year . . . the inhabitants of India almost always gather in two harvests annually.

Read more about this topic:  History Of Agriculture In The Indian Subcontinent

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