India after the Guptas

Report
India’s First Empires
India 3000 b.c.- 500 a.d.

3000-1500 B.C. early civilization.
◦ Indus River Valley-modern Pakistan; served as
the cradle of Indian civilization.
◦ Two Regions The Northern Plain & Deccan Plateau.
◦ Three Rivers: Ganges River, Indus River and
Brahmaputra
 -important to Indian culture.
◦ Himalaya –highest mountains in the world.
 Karakorum, Hindu Kush
India’s First Civilization

Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
◦ Two Indian civilizations

Rulers Divine Right
◦ Religion and Political Power tied together.
Economy based on farming.
 Extensive trade

Aryans

Who were the Aryans?
◦ Indo-Europeans who came south across the
Hindu Kush mountain range.

Pastoral people with strong warrior
tradition.
◦ Nomadic people who developed their own
written language called SANSKRIT

Rajas: princes who controlled small
kingdoms in India.
India’s Social System

Caste System
◦ Rigid social categories.
◦ Based on a person’s occupation and extended
family network.

Social Classes (varnas)



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Brahmans= in charge of religious ceremonies.
Kshatriyas= warriors
Vaisyas= commoners (merchants and farmers)
Sudras= peasants/labor
Untouchables= not considered human
Family in India

Family basic unit of society.
◦ Extended family.
Superiority of males.
 Guru: teacher (generally only males
were educated.
 Divorce was not allowed.
 Arranged marriages (with dowry)
 Suttee: a ritual in which a wife threw
herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.

Mauryan (MAH-oor-yuh) Dynasty
321 BCE – 185 BCE
 Chandragupa Maurya

◦ Centralized government

Empire divided into provinces,
◦ Ruled by governors

Large army and a secret police
◦ Political assassinations…
Asoka
Chandragupta’s grandson.
 Greatest ruler in history of India.

◦ Converted to Buddhism(set up hospitals, and
shelters for travelers).
◦ Trade expanded
Asoka’s Pillar
Guptas (320 CE – 535)
Dominant in northern India after the
Mauryan Empire.
 Chandra Gupta- leader of Gupta, the second empire.
 Admired for their tolerance of Buddhism
and prosperity of the country.
 Much wealth came from pilgrims.
 “Golden Age of India”

◦ Arts, mathematics, literature

Indian families patriarchal.
◦ Southern India were matriarchal.

Invaded by Huns from the northwest
After the Guptas

Believers of Buddhism split.
◦ Theravada- “teachings of the elders”
 Way of life, not a religion,
 Understanding oneself is the chief way to gain virvana.
◦ Mahayana- stressed that nirvana could be
achieved through devotion to the Buddha.

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

Believed Theravada too strict,
Buddhism is a religion, not a philosophy,
Buddha divine
Nirvana a true heaven
Both declined.
Expansion of Islam in India

In Northwest India.
◦ Division of the subcontinent into mostly
Hindu India and two Islamic states,
Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Expansion of Islam

Islam arrived when there was a lot of
division in India.
◦ India had been divided into 70 states (and
they fought each other constantly!)

10th century Islamic expansion.
◦ New Islamic state known as Ghazni (in
Afghanistan) is founded.
◦ By 1200, Muslim power had reached over the
entire plain of northern India.
 A new Muslim state known as the Sultanate of
Delhi was formed.
Timur Lenk

Military force crossed the Indus River and
raided the capital of Dellhi.
◦ 100,000 Hindu prisoners were massacred

Timur Lenk (Tamerlane)
◦ Mongol ruler in Samarkand.
◦ 1380s placed the entire region east of the
Caspian Sea under his authority and then
occupied Mesopotamia.
◦ Died in 1405
Islam and Indian Society
Strict separation b/w Muslim ruling class
and Hindu population.
 Many Muslim rulers were intolerant of
other faiths.

◦ Peaceful means to convert people to Islam,
but some destroyed Hindu temples.
Economy and Daily Life
Peasant farmers
 Landed elites and merchants lived in
cities.
 Farming and trade were important.

Indian Culture

Temples (Hindu)
Indian Culture

Sanskrit Prose
◦ 6-7th centuries.
◦ Dandin
 The Ten Princes
 Created a fantastic world.

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