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27 Nov, 2022
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How Discovery of Iron Made India the Centre of Power in Later Vedic Age?

Have you ever wondered what would be the shape of daily-use objects if a metal like iron was never discovered? Isn’t it intriguing to imagine a world without iron and its alloys?

The modern infrastructures that we see around ourselves, the vehicles we ride on, and the utensils we use are all applications of iron and its alloys. Well, the progress of iron has had a long journey to reach its current form. The discovery of iron was made in the later Vedic era. Through this article, let’s study the importance of iron tools in shaping our Indian society.

Indian society has decades-long history of the rise and fall of various civilizations. The diversity in our culture is because of many invasions that the Indian subcontinent experienced throughout history. 

In this segment, the invasion of Aryans is the most crucial one. In fact, they were the people who weaved the structure of Indian society to what it is today. The Vedic people, on one hand, took over the reigns of leftover Indus valley civilization and, on the other, sculpted the foundational pillars of real India. Among various contributions they made for their upcoming generations, the discovery of iron tools holds utmost importance. 

The discovery of iron paved the way for the formation of the societal framework in our country. Agriculture and other forms of vocational practices took their advanced forms only after the discovery of iron, which further gave boost to India’s economy. 

Which Metal Was Used By The Vedic People Before Iron?

Prior to the discovery of iron tools in the later part of the Vedic era, the early Vedic people worked with tools made of copper, bronze and wood. With the arrival of Aryans in the Indian subcontinent, it allowed the population to develop many things that were necessary for the civilization’s growth. 

We can better relate the advancements with the fact that people mainly belonged to nomadic communities in the early Vedic era. However, they adapted to the modern lifestyle in the later Vedic era. The limited availability of iron tools isolated people from the benefits of crop harvesting and a systematic way of living.

Contrary to the early Vedic age population, the later Vedic era people were civilized. They, rather than leading a nomadic life, preferred a well-settled life. To make this a reality, they ultimately discovered iron tools for further growth of the society.

After-effects of Iron Discovery In Indian Society

Following the discovery of iron in the later Vedic era, many changes were observed in the Indian society. Among these, the commercialization of the agricultural economy played a distinguished role. The discovery of iron shaped the economy of later Vedic period to a great extent. In fact, all advancements that were a part of all later eras resulted from replacing bronze and wooden tools with their ferrous counterparts.

Iron tools benefited later generations in various ways such as:

Building a Kingdom’s Boundary

Prior to the discovery of iron, society was mainly influenced by the concept of egalitarianism. However, the knowledge about iron made it possible for people to make advanced weapons. This laid the foundation of iconic kingdoms like Magadh, Avanti, Kalinga, etc. Parallel to the foundation of kingdoms, the policy of boundary enhancement, too, took its form which resulted in wars using iron weapons. 

Foundation of Agricultural Economy

Prior to the Iron age, people preferred nomadic way of living. However, with the spread of knowledge about different agricultural equipment, the expansion of the agrarian economy started taking place. Though the practices aimed at improving the way of life, forest areas started declining after such advancements.

Foundation of International Relations

In the early Vedic era, there were no major evidences that indicated any relationship between different societies. However, with the start of Rig Vedic age, the commercialization of agricultural products began. People living in high altitudes found it difficult to manage their food requirements. Thus, they arranged resources like tools and other forms of practices to  survive. The main spot of settled life became the Indo-Gangetic plains. Hence, we see people of this region having striking resemblance with Aryans.

Weaving of Social Fabric 

During the Bronze age, people were unaware about many resources. The limited knowledge of economic and social structure interrupted the societal growth. However, with the discovery of iron, many new practices came into existence. This in turn gave birth to a new class that is popularly known as Vaishya or businessmen community. This separate class also gave birth to Varna Vyavastha, which further weaved the future of the Indian society.

These were some advancements that took place after the discovery of iron in the later Vedic era. So now you can imagine what life would have been like without iron!

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