CHAPTER VIII. Growth, of Hinduism, 700 to 1500 A.D. The Three Sources of the Indian People. — We have now got a view of the three races which make up the Indian people. These were, first, the non-Aryans, or the earliest inhabitants of the country, sometimes called the aborigines. Second, the Aryan race, who came to India from Central Asia in prehistoric times. Third, the Scythians or Tartars, who had also begun to move into India before the dawn of history, and whose later hordes came in great force between the first century b.c. and the fifth century after Christ. Each of these races had their own customs, their own religion, and their own speech. The Aryans and the non-Aryans. — The non-Aryans were hunting tribes. In their family life, some of them kept up the early form of marriage, according to which a woman was the wife of several brethren, and a man's property descended, not to his own, but to his sister's children. In their religion, the non-Aryans worshipped demons, and tried by bloody sacrifices or human victims to avert the wrath of the malignant spirits whom they called gods. The Aryans early advanced beyond the rude existence of the hunter to the semi-settled industry of the cattle-breeder and tiller of the soil. In their family life, a woman had only one husband, and their customs and laws of inheritance were nearly the same as those which now prevail in India. In their religion, they worshipped bright and friendly gods. The Scythians. — The third race, or the Scythians, held a position between the other two. The early Scythians, indeed, who arrived in prehistoric times, may have been as wild as the non-Aryans, and they probably supplied a section of what we call the aborigines of India. But the Scythian hordes, who poured into India from 126 b.c to 400 a.d., were neither hunters like the Indian non-Aryan tribes, nor half-cultivators, like the Aryans. They were shepherds or herdsmen, who roamed
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/98
This page needs to be proofread.