development which was associated with ethnic movements in Central Asia.
In the major part of northern India, these inroads resulted not only in political
upheavals, but in changes in political organisation and structure as well. The
earliest intruders, the Bactrian Greeks, were followed by the Scythians, the
Parthians and the Kushanas – all easily recognisable in the Indian literary
references to the Yavanas, Sakas, Pallavas and Tusaras. Central Asian and
other influences percolated in the historical period through this channel and
came to be gradually incorporated within the Indian social structure.
    Another channel of contact was the extensive external trade in which
India was involved now more intensely than in any earlier period. The
western quest for luxuries of the east affected several regions; the north-west,
the Ganges Valley and the entire peninsula. The presence of foreign traders in
the south is echoed not only in the literary and epigraphic references to the
Yavanas and the Dhammayavanas, but is revealed also by a number of
archaeological sites. For the first two centuries of the Christian era, the spate
of the inflow of Roman currency was so much that it caused concern among
the Roman elite.
Social Reconstruction due to Foreign Invasions The influx of various,
ethnic groups in large numbers necessitated some restructuring in social
thought and organisation, which were in any case reshaping themselves
because of the emergence of new historical centres within the country. The
tendency of the law makers was to assign a low rank to the new entrants, but
this did not materially affect the process of acculturation. In actuality, the
wielders of political power, the Yavanas, the Sakas and Kushanas were as
much beyond ‘pure’ kshatriya status as their Indian counterparts, the
Satavahanas. But the system upheld by the law makers was taken note of not
only in the form of religious patronage; according to their own admission,
many of the royal families stood for the preservation of four varnas, the
contamination of which seems to have been of the gravest concern to the law
makers. This recognition gradually extended to the sphere of language as
well. Sanskrit came to be associated more and more with official purposes,
and started producing literature around the court. For the foreigners, one
convenient way of adapting themselves to the Indian social scene was
through Buddhism, which received wide patronage in this period.