People have been living on the Indian subcontinent for 250,000 years! Currently there are over 1.3 billion people living in the Republic of India, making it the second most populous country in the world next to China. India has a rich history filled with fantastical stories of princes, princesses, gods, and goddesses, as well as some of the greatest achievements in the ancient world. The ancient Indians invented a system of writing and measurement, the concept of zero, the cultivation of cotton, the practice of yoga, and the first urban sanitation system!
Ancient Civilizations are typically taught focusing on the key areas of: Geography, Religion, Achievements, Politics, Economy and Social Structure using the acronym G.R.A.P.E.S. By utilizing this acronym, students can compartmentalize their findings and compare and contrast different civilizations. There are other similar acronyms that teachers may use, like P.I.R.A.T.E.S., P.E.R.S.I.A.(N)., and, G.R.E.A.T.S., and they all address similar areas of civilization. Any of the graphic organizers shown here can be adapted to fit the acronym of your choice!
G.R.A.P.E.S.: Geography, Religion, Achievements, Politics, Economy and Social Life.
This storyboard explains the social life and hierarchy of ancient India.
SOCIAL STRUCTURE OF ANCIENT INDIA
Ancient Indian Hinduism imposed a strict social hierarchy called a "caste system". The Vedas described four main social classes: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. The Dalit (formerly known as "untouchables") are considered outside the system and treated poorly. The caste system affected every part of a person's life as whatever caste they were born into could not be changed. One could not marry outside of their caste either.