Emergence of Urban Societies:
The writings of this period also give us a picture of the social conditions. The social structure was undergoing radical changes at this time, from the tribal to a more structured urban society. By the time the Aryans started their eastward progress, a new sort of tribal slave, the 'dasa' was being used for extra labour. A highly developed priesthood, specialising in sacrificial rites. combining Aryan and pre-Aryan practices, was also coming into being. Most importantly, however, commodity production was becoming established. This means that craftsmen and labourers were producing, not for direct consumption of the local society, but for trade within the far flung Aryan and non-Aryan settlements. Trade routes of Uttarapatha, and later Dakshinapatha, were established. You can see these routes in Fig. 3.4. Traders known as Sar:havahas (Caravaneers) and Vaidehikas started to ply along the routes, from Taxila to Magadha. From the coins found in the excavations, we can deduce that regular coinage had come into use by the end of the seventh century B.C. At about the end of this pcr~od, professionals appeared in the fields of science, medicine and technology. Students from al! along Uttarapatha started to travel to centres of learning, such as Taxila, for specialised training. The learned grammarian Panini taught in Taxila around the fourth century B.C. Atreya taught medicine around the sixth century B.C. Atreya's students and successors Jivaka, Kuniarabhacha, Bhela, Parasara and others, came to have profound influence on the development of medicine and chemistry in India in the next 1000 years. A new 0rdel.1~ social life came into being around 800 to 600 B.C. This was free from shortages and unending conflicts of the Vedic society. Small states or 'Janapadas', headed by kings and governed by codes and laws formulated by state powers, were being formed.