Sanskrit is part of a family of languages known as Indo-European. Some Indian languages such as Assamese, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, and Sindhi; Asian languages such as Persian and many European languages such as English, French, German, Greek, Italian, and Spanish belong to this family. They are called a family because they originally had words in common.
Other languages used in the subcontinent belong to different families. For instance, those used in the northeast belong to the Tibeto-Burman family; Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam belong to the Dravidian family; and the languages spoken in Jharkhand and parts of central India belong to the Austro-Asiatic family.
Vishvamitra: O rivers, come down from the mountains like two swift horses, like two shining cows that lick their calves.
You move like chariots to the sea, through the power of Indra. You are full of water and wish to unite with one another.
The rivers: We, who are full of water, move along the path the gods have made for us. Once we start flowing, we cannot be stopped. Why do you pray to us, o sage?
Vishvamitra: O sisters, please listen to me, the singer who has come from a distance with his chariots and carts. Let your water not rise above our axles, so that we can cross safely.
The rivers: We will listen to your prayers so that you can cross safely.
Historians point out that this hymn was composed in the area where the rivers flow. They also suggest that the sage lived in a society where horses and cows were valued animals. That is why the rivers are compared to horses and cows.
It is easy to make out the skeleton of a child from its small size. However, there are no major differences in the bones of a girl and a boy.
Sometimes, people decide on the basis of what is found with the skeleton. For instance, if a skeleton is found with jewellery, it is sometimes thought to be that of a woman. However, there are problems with this. Often, men also wore ornaments.
A better way of figuring out the sex of a skeleton is to look at the bone structure. The hip or the pelvic area of women is generally larger to enable childbearing.
These distinctions are based on modern skeletal studies.
About 2000 years ago, there was a famous physician named Charaka who wrote a book on medicine known as the Charaka Samhita. There he states that the human body has 360 bones. This is a much larger number than the 200 bones that are recognized in modern anatomy. Charaka arrived at this figure by counting the teeth, joints, and cartilage.
Around 3500 years ago, we find some of the first evidence of writing in China.
These writings were on animal bones. These are called oracle bones, because they were used to predict future. Kings got scribes to write questions on the bones – Would they win battles? Would the harvest be good? Would they have sons? The bones were then put into the fire, and they cracked because of the heat. Then fortunetellers studied these cracks, and tried to predict the future. As you may expect, they sometimes made mistakes.
These kings lived in palaces in cities. They amassed vast quantities of wealth, including large, elaborately decorated bronze vessels.