Brihaspati remarks, ‘On account of the successive deterioration of the four
ages of the world, it must not be practised by mortals.’
    During this period the independent status of women was not recognised.
She was dependent on her father before her marriage, on her husband after
the marriage, and on her son after the death of her husband. In the absence of
a son she was dependent on the nearest relation. On the other hand, the right
of the sonless widow to the property of her deceased husband was admitted.
Recreations of Women
A word may be said about the recreations of women. In ancient Indian houses
the young girls danced and sang with great skill. The statement of Brihaspati
that a woman must avoid dancing when her husband is abroad, shows the
popularity of this art. Among the festivities at the birth of Harshavardhana,
dancing by women of all ranks formed a prominent feature, as described by
Bana.
    Dancing girls known as devadasis were engaged for temple services. Four
hundred of them were attached to the great temple of Tanjore during the reign
of the Chola, Rajaraja 1. These girls are generally described as living an
immortal life. Giving a different picture of the life and character of the
devadasis, however, Marco Polo states that parents sometimes consecrated
their daughters to the temples of the gods for whom they had great devotion.
The dancing girls are also known to have enacted dramas occasionally.
ANCIENT INDIAN LANGUAGES AND
LITERATURE
Beginning of Oral Communication Around two million years back, the
Homo habilis had a sufficiently developed Broca’s area in his brain that made
it possible for him to speak. But his ‘speech’ probably consisted more of
gestures, grunts and shrieks, rather than words. This was so because
anatomically, he was not yet able to gain enough control over exhalation or
breathing necessary for proper speech. How much the Homo erectus
improved upon this capacity is