Asian Indian History Overview & Food Culture
India, a nation with varying cultures, languages, climates and people, boasts a span of history of more than 4000 years. Also, with a population of nearly 960 million and 300 hundred languages along with 700 dialects, the various historical influences have significantly affected the cultural aspects of Indian culinary arts.
Between the years of 3000 and 1500 BC, India’s earliest and greatest civilization took place in the Indus Valley and Plains (http://www.incore.com). Commerce being concentrated in two major cities, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, Indians specialized in the trade of metals, pottery, and jewelry. In addition, they had advanced architecture, streets and drainage systems.
Around 1500 BC, the beginning of the Vedic period, the Aryans (light-skinned people) invaded and defeated the Dravidians (dark-skinned people) while destroying the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro (http://www.incore.com). As the Aryans settled in the Indus Valley area, they founded the basis of Hinduism and Sanskrit, the official Indian language. Additionally, introduced was the Caste system, which divided the Indian population into 4 varnas: Brahmans, the priests; Kshatriya, political rulers or warriors; Vaishya, traders and agriculturists; Shundra, worker class (http://member.aol.com).
Traditionally, Asian Indians have been known as vegetarians, however, by the end of the Vedic period, Buddhism and Jainism were founded and the religious practiced ahimsa, “non-harming.” Yet, at the beginning of the Epic period (1000-800 BC), cows became sacred animals due to the decrease in the cattle population and “ghee” (clarified butter), milk, and yogurt being vital for temple rituals (http://asiarecipe.com).
As one of the most affluent eras of Indian History, the Mauryan Dynasty played a large role in shaping the nation of India. Established by Chandra-Gupta Maurya, who ousted the Greek A...