Essay Computer: India and Indus River

Submitted By memooo93
Words: 1046
Pages: 5

India: from beginnings to the Mauryan Empire

I) The Indus River (Harappan Civilization) 3,300-1,900 BC a) Indus has some similarities to Mesopotamia 1) Floods semi-annually i) This means there can be two harvests in good years 2) Monsoon season (August) can dictate life i) Not only bringing destruction, but can also alter the Indus! b) Region is actually larger than Mesopotamia 1) Related culturally, not sure if they are politically i) Big problem, we cannot decipher writing 2) Culture seems to value acts of kindness and piety (Manu and the Flood) i) Indicated political ‘chaos’ ceased c. 3102 BC c) Two key cities (or so we think) are Mohenjo Daro and Harappa 1) They are separated by 600 miles i) Similar towns in between appearing to have same culture 2) High level or artisan skills i) Standardized brick sizes throughout valley! ii) Bricks are also baked… not dried iii) Cotton fabric one of the finer skills India developed I) The west will seek Indian cotton during colonization II) With spinning cotton, wheel is used (first on Earth?) 3) Cities set up in grid pattern i) Roads run directly north to south and east to west ii) This means government has some form of planning d) Trading with other cultures 1) Found artifacts from Mesopotamia i) Things have been found in Egypt… but probably second hand trades 2) Export large amounts of copper, ivory, gold, timber, and cotton (textiles) i) Import soapstone, tin, and silver e) Religion along the Indus 1) We know surprisingly little (can’t decipher writing) 2) The unicorn is one supernatural element unique to the area

II) Change and Decline in the Indus Valley a) Aryans appear and alter India drastically (c. 2,000 BC) 1) Original Dravidian peoples move south 2) Aryans bring horse, and early caste system b) Coinciding with Aryan invasion, environmental issues plague valley 1) Massive floods lead to salinization, and plug up rivers delta i) Harka River completely dries up I) Half of valley civilization lived along this tributary II) Population shifts toward Indus (too much pressure) 2) There is internal disintegration (unifying factors no longer found) i) By 1,900 BC, most cities are abandoned ii) Unlike other civilizations, it will not be rebuilt
III) The Vedic Era a) Priestly class established to keep gods content b) Priestly class must be able to perform several functions 1) Perform rituals perfectly i) Rig Veda ii) The Mahabharata and Ramayana 2) Perform sacrifices i) Led to biological curiosity c) Aryan invasion led to class separation 1) Dravidians forced south 2) Brings about the need for a class (caste) system i) Justified Aryan superiority

IV) Belief systems in Ancient India a) A few basics that transcend practices 1) Samsara - Reincarnation 2) Dharma - fulfilling ones place in this life 3) Karma - balance of good or bad determining life's next station b) Jainism (c. 500 BC) 1) Practice of ahimsa i) all living things revered ii) purify ones spirit by following ahimsa 2) If followed, ultimately broke Samsara i) Hardcore believers go to great lengths to achieve this c) Hinduism 1) Developed in concert with Indian Society - Had divinities i) Brahma Created universe ii) Vishnu Preserved and guarded universe iii) Shiva Destroyer (must be able to re-create) 2) Division of castes i) Four initial castes in society I) Brahmins: Priests, top of the ladder II) Kshatrias: Warrior class III) Vaisyas: Farmers, merchants, etc… IV) Shudras: Serve the higher classes ii) As other groups arrive, system expands I) Persians will become Yvants 3) Jati i) Better method for classification by career I) Also had geographical and tribal classifications