Nature of Vedic Economy
Rigvedic Period Rigvedic economy was pastoral but familiar with
agriculture. Wealth was primarily computed in heads of cattle as well as
horses (regarded as more valuable but less easy to obtain) and chariots, gold
and slave girls, as is evident from the dana-stuti hymns in praise of gift-
giving. Cattle being the main wealth, cattle raids were a major form of
increasing wealth, apart from breeding cattle. This is common to many cattle-
keeping societies. The banks of the Sarasvati are described as rich in
pastures, but possibly with hydrological changes, there was a migration from
this area to the watershed and the upper doab. Pastoralism, it is argued,
cannot exist in isolation and requires a relationship with farmers. Such a
relationship seems feasible from both the archaeological and the literary
evidence and possibly the two groups in northern India at that time spoke
different languages. It is interesting that many of the words associated with
agriculture in the Vedic texts seem to be non-Aryan.
Later Vedic Period A comparative study of the early and late Vedic texts