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Ch. 2 Landscapes and People. Time and Space: The Northern Mountains, The Plains, The Peninsula 2. People: Population, Categories of Society, Hunter-gatherers, pastoralists-peasants, Townsfolk 3. Creation of Castes: Varna, Jati. 1. Time and Space.

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ch 2 landscapes and people

Ch. 2 Landscapes and People

Time and Space: The Northern Mountains, The Plains, The Peninsula

2. People: Population, Categories of Society, Hunter-gatherers, pastoralists-peasants, Townsfolk

3. Creation of Castes: Varna, Jati

1 time and space
1. Time and Space
  • The concept of time includes: 1. Cyclical and linear time
  • Cyclical time is component of cosmology: Mahayuga (great age): 4,320,000 years.
  • Each mahayuga consists of 4 cycles: Krita, Dvapara, Treta, Kali.
  • Imagined as a bull: loosing one leg every age. During Kali which is the present age, the bull is said to be dwelling only on one leg.
  • Each age brings declining life, time and standard.
  • Linear time is beginning and end of human history. It can take the shape of geneology of a clan or dynasty: The human life span of a biography or the innumerable chronicles written to assert the authority of kings and dynasties.
  • Linear time is the context for heroes and kings, and for the chronicles of institutions and states.
india the country
India- the country
  • The historical identity of the subcontinent from Sanskrit and Iranian sources.
  • Hapthindu used in Avesta- The Zoroashtrian text
  • Saptasindhu
  • Hindush in Acheamenid inscriptions
  • Aryavarta- essentially the ganga plain
  • Hindustan-its modern name
  • Bharata varsha- in puranas
  • Arabic sources- al-hind
  • Earth as flat and circular with mount meru in the centre- surrounding mount Meru are the four continents (dvipas).
  • Southern continent is the Jambudvipa within this is located the country Bharatavarsha.
  • Included region from Hindukush to the Peninsula
the northern mountains
The Northern Mountains
  • Hindu Kush, Sulaiman and Kirthar mountains on the north
  • Hindukush- elevated mountains-interface between Oxus and Indus valleys.
  • Passes in the north west: Bolan, Gomal and Khyber- Khyber used by the British to control Afghanisthan and limit Russia
  • Passes as points of contact between West Asia and India
The Himalayas: North and east: less communication than west- dangerous passes

Karakorum highway- via Gilgit, Chitral and Hunza- West Asia- Tibet

North-West: there was a continual influx of peoples, patterns of living and languages

North-East more isolated

the plains
The Plains
  • The rivers of the north get water from Himalayas
  • Five rivers- Ravi, Sutlej, Beas, Chenab and Jhelum (Indus group).
  • Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati:
  • Saraswati- identified with Gaggar-Hakra- disappeared river
  • Brahmaputra river in the east.
the peninsula
The Peninsula
  • South of the Vindhya mountains and Narmada river.
  • Mountain ranges- east and west- Western ghats and Eastern ghats
  • Malabar hills part of the Western ghats- a number of caves- some used by Buddhists as cave temples
  • Ajanta- Ellora
  • Kanheri, Karle
A number of rivers
  • Central India- dense forests- region of tribal concenration
  • Munda, Oraon, Bhil, Gond, Santhal and Mina.
  • Coastal areas: East and West- West more trade and ports than east
  • East more fertile as rivers drain into the Indian ocean.
  • Full name: Republic of India
  • Population: 1.1 billion (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: New Delhi
  • Area: 3.1 million sq km (1.2 million sq miles), excluding Indian-administered Kashmir (100,569 sq km/38,830 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Hindi, English and at least 16 other official languages
  • Major religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism
  • Life expectancy: 62 years (men), 65 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Indian Rupee = 100 paise
  • Main exports: Agricultural products, textile goods, gems and jewellery, software services and technology, engineering goods, chemicals, leather products
  • GNI per capita: US $720 (World Bank, 2006)
  • Internet domain: .in
  • International dialling code: +91
categories of societies
Categories of Societies
  • Historically India had been the habitat of many societies: Hunter gatherers, Pastoralists, peasants and townsfolk.
  • Seen to be outsiders of the society: On the margins of society in the forests- major battles described in the traditional texts with different groups of these societies
  • Grama-village; aranya-forest;
  • Ksetra- field; vana-forest
  • Numerous forest societies still exist
  • Clan
  • Some pastoralists were nomadic
  • Kinship clans with Patriarchy
  • Rigveda- Aryan nomads- Pastoralists
  • A number of pastoralists from Central Asia
  • Parthians, Shakas, Kushans, Huns and Turks.
  • Cattle-keepers
  • Religion-shamans
  • Marriage system- based on kinship bonds
  • Sedentary, permanent
  • Identified by Varnas (class) and not generally clan related
  • Linked to the emerging state- provided economic basis to the state
  • Linked to rural areas-
  • Craft and artisans
  • Religion
  • Market
  • Heterogeneous unlike the village
creation of castes
Creation of castes
  • Varna: color. Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya, Sudra
  • Megasthenes- 7 classes- confused picture
  • Jati- birth- equivalent to the caste
  • Jati- exogamy- varna endogamy- marriages
  • Groups of people coming together as Hindus- given castes due to their profession.
  • No individual conversions

Dharmasastras- purity of castes