The social context of pre-Buddhist India was the fruit of an Indo-Gangetic civilization. Although this civilization has points of contradictions, differences and inequalities, it is impossible not to deny the achievements from ancient history and chronicle records… opening a new vision.
About India in the Buddha’s time
India is a big country with a long history. Based on the remains unearthed in the Mohenjo-dero and Harappa regions in the Indus-Sind river basin, archaeologists say the distant origin of the Dravidiens civilization dates back to more than 3000 years BC. . In India there are many ethnic groups but some of the largest ethnic groups are the Veddas, Dravidians and Aryans. The Veddas reside in South India. They came to the Indian subcontinent very early and their descendants still exist today. The Dravidians probably came from the upper reaches of the Syrdarya River in present-day Turkey. Historically, they came into conflict with the Veddas and settled in North and Central India.
Many scholars suggest that the Aryans may have migrated into the Indus-Ganga basin around the middle of the second millennium BC. This migration caused fierce conflict with the natives, which resulted in the victory of the Aryans, leading to the collapse of the Indus civilization. . Since then, the Aryans  imposes rulership but is also influenced by the local culture. Cultural interference led to the process of assimilation and fusion: the mixing of indigenous (Dravidian) and Aryan people occurred, forming the Indo-European race. The religion of the Aryans is polytheism, fond of rituals. There is also a theory that the Aryan religion is Kathenotheism. After settling in India, they gradually moved from a nomadic state to an agricultural lifestyle and organized society according to the tribal system, at the head there was a patriarchal and patriarchal position to keep the sacrifices, calling is the priesthood. Later that office was specialized, and was replaced by the clergy .
India’s largest reclining Buddha was built in Bodh Gaya
Contemporary political structure
The eighth century BC was a time of real social crisis in all aspects of life . During this period, contradictions and conflicts over position and power between the two first classes of society took place drastically. . Many studies show that at that time the Khattiya (soldiers) class began to gain the upper hand in the caste system. In order to be independent from the domination of the old political system, the Khattiya class advocated isolating the power of the Brahmana (clerical) class in the social spheres. On the Indian subcontinent at that time, 16 countries were formed, including 4 large kingdoms and 12 small states with two main administrative systems: monarchy and republic. .
Four great countries: (1) Magadha is ruled by King Qin-ba-sala (Bimbisàra) and his son Ajatasattu (Ajatasattu), the original capital is Pataliputta (Hoa Thi). Citadel), then moved to Vuong Xa (Riagaha); (2) Kieu-sat-la (Kosalà) of King Pasenadi (Pasenadi) with the capital is Sàvatthi (Sàvatthi), then moved to Vidùdabha; (3) Vamsas or Vatsas of King Udena and his son Parantapa in the city of Kosambi; (4) Avanti of King Pojjota with the capital Ujjeni. Twelve small countries include: Angã, Kāsí, Vajjí, Mallã, Maccha, Gandhãra, Cetí, Sũransenã, Kuru, Pancãlã, Asssaka, Kambojã. The ten major tribes with important positions in society are Sākya, Bhaggasof Sumsumara Hill, Bulis of Allakappa, Kālàmas of Kesaputta, The Koliyas of Rāma-gãma, The Mallas of Kusinārã, The Mallas of Pāvã, The Moriyas of Pipphalivana, The Moriyas of Pipphalivana, The Videhas of Mithila (i.e. Vajjians), and Licchavis of Vesãli (i.e. Vajjians) . The conflict between the nobility and the Brahmin clergy in the countries and within the tribes contributed to the birth of the freedom of thought movement.
The development of the economy leads to deep social division
A prominent feature at the time when Buddhism was born was the application of new farming techniques to working life, especially the use of iron tools. Thanks to new farming methods and tools of labor, the amount of land cleared increased and the accumulation of land profoundly changed society. Small industry and trade also developed. The ancient monetary system was born when the intersection of localities was established. The monetary term “Kahàpana” in India is derived from the root “Krs” meaning exchange, expansion, and “pan” meaning. barter, bargain. Economic development has resulted in people concentrating on living in areas with rich agriculture, handicrafts, and trade, gradually creating an urban culture. Urbanization is a historical process in the social development of the Ganga basin. Most of the major cities in the Buddhist era were the capitals of the kingdoms and the centers of power of each country. However, in the past, these cities were just villages, the abode of the local ruling class. They were built and designed by the rulers there to flaunt their wealth and fame. In the process of urbanization, cities are upgraded in size to match the power and status of the ruling class. In addition, the ruling class of society strives to expand its power, gain the right to own material as well as human, making the abyss of rich and poor deepen every day, the ideology of social class discrimination is more intense. more, creating countless injustices in society. From here, the wave of class struggle and the search for a new order for society began and developed underground.
Catastrophic images because of the Covid-19 pandemic in India
The most special social institution of the Aryans introduced and developed in India is the caste system. It is a long and complex combination of many factors such as prejudices about race, lineage, occupation, religion, taboo about marriage, conception of purity. At first it was a distinction of skin color, race, mainly between the Aryans and Dravidian tribes, called the varna (color) mode. On that basis, gradually formed a system of social class distinction, when the Portuguese came to India, they called it the casta system (from the Latin root meaning purebred). According to the traditional classification, Aryan society consisted of four castes. Initially, the highest status in society belonged to the martial caste (Kshatriya). After that, the period of war turned to peace, the leading role in society changed to the Brahmin caste. Next are the martial arts (Kshatriya), the common people (Vaishya) and the untouchables (Shudra). In addition to the four castes mentioned above, there are people who are considered marginalized in society, that is, the poor class (pariah and chandala).
To explain the caste system, in the Rig Veda, there is a passage that says: “The original man (Purusha) (in some places it is said to be the creator god – Brahma) has divided himself into four castes: the mouth of the god and the city. Brahmin caste, Kshatriya caste god hands, Vaishya caste god legs and Shudra caste deities. The Brahmin caste is the leading caste of society. In the spirit of Brahminism, the Brahmin caste consisted of monks who monopolized knowledge, read the Vedas, and preached to the masses. They can be a high priest in the court, the Taoist or an ordinary priest in the village.
Ancient Indian law also gave preference to the Brahmin caste. A Brahmin can kill a Shudra without any guilt, conversely, if a Shudra kills a Brahmin, he will immediately be guilty of death, having his tongue cut off, and stabbed with a red-hot awl. mouth or pour boiling oil into the ear. The religious creed says: “Whoever intends to strike a Brahmin will be banished to the underworld for 100 years, and anyone who has actually beaten a Brahmin will be exiled to the underworld for 1,000 years. ” . After the martial and popular classes are the untouchable classes. This caste, although not slaves, was despised by society. Most of them had to work in occupations that served others, which the caste prejudice regarded as servile, vile and dirty occupations, such as cleaners, butchers, butchers, plumbers, knitters, etc. car builder. These people do not have to pay taxes, but have to do hard labor. The most obvious distinction between the Shudra caste and the three upper castes is that they are not allowed to attend religious ceremonies, except for a few worships dedicated to themselves. In particular, boys from 8 to 12 years old of this caste were never initiated by a Brahmin teacher to become a student. Meanwhile, children of the same age belonging to the above three castes are all educated and are considered “second-born” teenagers (dvija). .
In addition to the above 4 castes, there is also a class that is considered the lowest, “outside caste” who are the same people, collectively known as pariahs and chandalas. In this category are mostly people who have been expelled from their old caste, children of illegal marriages between people of different castes, people who are shudras engaged in occupations that are considered unclean. such as trumpeters and funeral parlors, gravediggers, tanners (for using the skins of dead animals), dyers (for changing white for black). They are considered “untouchable” people, often gathered in squalid towns in the city and in huts on the edge of villages, because people believe that the wind will blow away the smell of their uncleanness. . The distinction between castes in ancient India was most severe in the relationship between marriage and communication. Marriages outside of caste were forbidden. . According to the Law of Manu, “the nobles and disciples will become lowly if they have relations with the lower castes, and the lowly descendants cannot become noble even if they have relations with the lower castes. people of the next class…