Document 17795346

• 2500-1500 B.C.E.
• The mountains guard an enormous flat
and fertile plain formed by two rivers –
– The Indus and Ganges Rivers
• Modern day India, Pakistan, Nepal, and
• Seasonal winds called monsoons
dominate India’s climate.
• Rulers based their power on a belief of
divine assistance.
• No one is really sure how human settlement
began in India – perhaps they arrived by
sea from Africa and settled the south.
• Archaeologists have found the ruins of
more than 100 settlements along the Indus.
• The largest cities were Harappa and
• The people of the Indus laid out their cities
on a precise grid system.
• Buildings were constructed of oven-baked
mud bricks.
• Public wells provided a regular supply
of water for all inhabitants.
• Bathrooms featured an advanced
drainage system.
• Wastewater flowed out to drains located
under the streets and then was carried
to sewage pits beyond the city wall.
• Only a well-organized government could
have maintained such carefully
structured cities.
• 1ST plumbing system
• Vedas (collection of hymns)
• Math and writing system
– concept of zero, decimal system
What happened to the Indus Valley people?
• Floods, and earthquake, changes in
climate, and even a change in the course
of the Indus River weakened the
-- Invaders – the Aryans – brought its
final end.
Who were the Aryans?
• Around 1500 b.c.e., they crossed over the
northwest mountain passes and
conquered the Harappans.
• The Aryans excelled in the art of war.
• Various Aryan leaders were known as
rajas (most skilled leader)
• Out of the clash between conqueror and
conquered came a set of social
institutions and class divisions that has
lasted in India, with only minor
changes, to the present day.
• The caste system was a set of rigid social
categories that determined not only a
person’s occupation and economic
potential, but also his or her position in
• It was based in part on skin color.
The Caste System
Brahmans -- priestly class
Kshatriyas -- warriors
Vaisyas -- commoners
Sudras -- dark-skinned peasants; did the
work that the above three would not do;
made up a large percentage of the Indian
5. Untouchables -- Those who were
considered impure because of their work
(butchers, gravediggers, collectors of
trash); were not considered human; made
up 5% of the population
• Life in ancient India centered on the
family, the most basic unit in society.
• The ideal was an extended family, with
three generations – grandparents,
parents, and children – living under the
same roof.
• The family was patriarchal.
• Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion.
• Hindus worship many gods, which
represent different forms of Brahman
(most divine spirit in the Hindu
Basic Belief
• Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are the three
main gods of Hinduism:
– Brahma – creator of the universe
– Vishnu -- preserver of the universe
– Shiva -- destroyer of the universe
• The Vedas contains prayers and hymns
(the oldest Hindu scriptures)
• They believe in reincarnation.
• The soul’s karma – good or bad deeds –
follows from one reincarnation to
• Buddhism appeared in 6 b.c.e. and
became a rival to Hinduism.
• Founder – Siddhartha Gautama, known
as Buddha “Enlightened One”
• According to Buddhism, achieving
wisdom is a key step to achieving
nirvana, or ultimate reality -- the key to
happiness was detachment from all
worldly goods and desires.
• They have a special regard or
veneration to cattle.
• Each year, thousands of Hindus make a
pilgrimage to India’s Ganges River.
• The Ganges is considered a sacred site
in the Hindu religion.
• Hinduism
• Buddhism
• Epic Mahabharata
– Mix of history, mythology, religion