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  • 1. ORIGINS OF HINDUISM: INDIAN SOCIETY Social Studies for 8th EGB Teacher: Mauricio Torres
  • 2. BACKGROUND  As the Aryans moved into India, they developed a strict system of social classes. As the Aryan’s influence spread through India, so did their class system.  Before long, this class system was a key part of Indian society.
  • 3. INDIAN SOCIETY DIVIDES  When Aryan society became more complex, they divided themselves into groups, according to people’s occupation.  Strict rules were developed about how people could interact. With time, they became more strict and central to Indian society.
  • 4. THE VARNAS  According to the Vedas, there were four main varnas, or social divisions in Aryan society (page 131):  Brahmins: priests  Kshatriyas: rulers and warriors  Vaisyas: farmers, craftspeople, traders.  Sudras: laborers and non-Aryans  Harijans or Untouchables: people who did not belong to any caste; they could only hold unpleasant jobs.
  • 5. BRAHMINS  The Bramins were at the top, because they performed rituals for the gods. This gave them great influence over other varnas.  But they did not inly include priests: they also included teachers and scholars.  This was because they dealt with knowledge and spirituality.
  • 6. THE CASTE SYSTEM  Rules of interaction between varnas got stricter. They divided Indian society based on a person’s birth, wealth or occupation.  Castes determined a person’s place or role in society.  But this was not permanent. Sometimes castes gained or lost favor as they members gained of lost wealth and power.  Rarely, people could change castes!
  • 7. WOMEN  Both men and women belonged to castes.  During the early Aryan period, women had almost the same rights as men.  They could, for example, own property and receive and education.  Over time though, laws were passed, which limited these rights.
  • 8. UNTOUCHABLES  By the late Aryan period, a segment of early Indian society had developed, which did not belong to any caste.  They were called the Harijans, or Untouchables.  They could only hold certain, and often unpleasant, jobs.
  • 9. CASTE RULES  To keep their classes distinct, the Aryans developed sutras, or guides, which listed all the rules for the caste system.  For example, people were not allowed to marry anyone from a different class!  It was even forbidden for people from one class to eat with people from another.  People who broke caste rules, could be banned from their homes and castes, which would deem them untouchables.  To avoid this, people spent most of their time with people of their own class.
  • 10. ASK YOURSELF  Recall:  What were the four varnas?  What is a caste system?  Describe:  What were some rules described in the sutras?  Explain:  What would happen to someone who broke the rules of the caste system?
  • 11. BIBLIOGRAPHY  Burstein, S. M., & Shek, R. (2012). World History (Teacher´s Edition) (1st Edition ed.). (H. McDougal, Ed.) Orlando, Florida, US.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.  Ellis, E. G., & Esler, A. (2009). World History. (P. Hall, Ed.) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, US: Pearson Education INC.  Images taken from www.google.com