2Decline of the Indus River Valley civilizations Harappa and Mohenjo-daro were the largest citiesCivilizations participated in long-distance tradePossible causes:Monsoons destroyed irrigation and farming prospectsInvasionsLong distance trade collapsed
3Aryans Root of the word is arya meaning “noble” or “pure” Spoke an early form of SanskritThis Indo-European language is closely related to Persian, Latin, Greek and modern Romance languagesNazis glorified Aryans as a superior race because they were credited with this important language development
4Aryans Where did they come from? Most scholars argue that the Aryans descended upon North India through the Hindu Kush around 1500 BCSome scholars now think that they arrived much earlier, and perhaps descended from the Harappan
5Aryans and VedasVedasA collection, in multiple volumes, of hymns, rituals, and philosophiesThe vedas include stories that attempt to explain how the world was created, who the gods are, etc.Thought to be the earliest written texts
6Aryans and Vedas Rig Veda The earliest Veda Originally was recited orally and passed down generation to generationChildren began learning the Rig Veda at an early age, would learn to chant each syllable in perfect order
7Aryans and VedasPortrays Aryans as fierce warriors with military skillAryans did not spread through India quickly, did not carry out well organized military campaignsAryans were a collection of tribes who gradually, over generations of warring with each other came to power in North India
8Aryans and Social Order Each tribe was headed by a raja, or chiefPriests were next in importanceThey learned complicated ritualsRituals typically focused on honoring or appeasing the gods
9Aryans and Social Order Warrior classFarmersNon-Aryans made up the lowest classThey were not slavesThey were only allowed to perform the most menial tasks
10Early Indian Society 1000-500 BC Tribal rajas were no longer necessary because tribal life was in declineKings controlled large pieces of territoryThe Aryan-influenced areas extended all the way to the Ganges River
11Caste SystemThe system of dividing society into hereditary groups that limited interaction with each other, especially marriage between castesThe hierarchical strata into which Indian society was divided is called varna
12Caste System Brahmans (priests) Kshatriya (warriors and officials) Vaishya (merchants and artisans)Shudra (peasants and laborers)Dalit, or untouchables – outside the caste systemKshatriyas and Vaishyas are usually the upper classes and have the means to pay for these rituals and services. It’s not like going to church every Sunday, there’s a lot of festivals throughout the year and if they can pay for these rituals, that is very good. The shudras cannot really afford to pay for these rituals but they can attend them. It’s not as purifying as paying for them, but it is a way to purify yourself. So paying for the rituals is better karma than simply attending the ritual.
15BRAHMANThey are the priestly class, who are entitled to study the Vedas, which are the sacred scriptures, and perform rites rituals for themselves and for others.They are the men between the gods and the people. They are expected to show excellent behavior and spend their lives in the pursuit of divine knowledge and preservation the traditions of Hinduism.
16KSHATRIYASThey are the warrior class, who are commanded to protect the people, give gifts to the Brahmins, offer sacrifices to gods and ancestors, study the Vedas, and dispense justice.It was their responsibility to protect the caste system and the social order and lavish the priests with generous gifts at every opportunity.
18VAISYASThey are the merchant and peasant classes, who are expected to tend cattle, offer sacrifices, study the Vedas, trade, lend money and farm the land.They had the right to perform and participate in certain Vedic rituals but they were not allowed to marry women of higher castes.
20SUDRASThe are the laboring class, whose only duty is to serve the other three castes. They were not required to observe any Vedic rituals. They were not allowed to study the Vedas or even hear the sacred chants.They were not allowed to eat food in the company of higher castes or marry their women.
21also called Untouchables HARIJAN/DALITSalso called UntouchablesThe lowest of the sudras were called harijan or the untouchables. They were outside of the caste system because of their religious practices, rites and unclean habits.In ancient times they were not allowed to enter a village or city during day time or walk in the same street where men of other castes walked.
22HARIJAN/DALIT (cont)Even their shadow was considered impure and seeing an untouchable was considered bad luck.So they lived mostly on the edges of society, unknown and uncared for, and working in graveyards or as hunters, butchers and professional cleaners of human waste.
23Leprosy: A disease that still exists, but used to be considered a sign of uncleanspirits. Those infected were shunned.It is a bacterial infection that causes openskin scores, and nerve damage.