In ancient times, agriculture and protection of domestic animals were
the two basic industries of the people, but they were familiar with many crafts
and arts which were collectively called shilp or kala. In the Vedas there are
unmistakable evidences to prove that the Aryans knew the use of iron, steel,
copper, gold and silver. In the post Vedic period, also known as epic period,
industries like cloth, arms, wares and ornaments were greatly developed.
Another remarkable feature of economic life during this period was the
organization of artisans into guilds. According to R.C.Majumdar, the noted
historian, there were at least 27 kinds of guilds in the country. He also quotes
that not only the carpenters, blacksmiths, weavers and potters were organized1
but even robbers and moneylenders had their organizations.