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Geography of South Asia

Geography of South Asia

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Geography of South Asia

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  1. Geography of South Asia

  2. Subcontinent • Piece of Gondwanaland drifted northward & collided with Asia • Formed the Himalaya (impact) & South Asia (land) • Isolated from the rest of Asia by mountains and water • Subcontinent: large land mass smaller than a continent

  3. Northern Mountains • Himalaya • Include many of the world’s highest peaks (Mt. Everest, K2) • Rise to the Tibetan Plateau, a high, rugged, arid plain • Hindu Kush • Also very high and rugged • “Kush” means “death” • Hindu refers to “people” • Together they form a nearly impenetrable border around the north of South Asia • Mountain Passess • Khyber Pass • Bolan Pass • Mountain Valleys • Very important for farming and agriculture • Rich soil from erosion

  4. Northern Plains • Indo-Gangetic Plain • Just south of the northern mountains • Fertile land broken up by Thar desert • Home to three important rivers • Indus • Ganges • Brahmaputra • Thar Desert • Large arid region marked by sand dunes • Breaks up Indo-Gangetic Plain

  5. Three Rivers • Indus • Runs through the middle of Pakistan • Main river of the region • Home to the Harappan (Indus) civilization • Ganges • Holiest river in the world? • Begins in the Himalaya (ice cave?) • Forms ½ the delta in Bangladesh • Brahmaputra • Forms the other ½ of the delta in Bangladesh • Brings nutrients and irrigation to the region • floods

  6. Deccan Plateau • Peninsula of South Asia • About ½ the subcontinent • High, fertile plain lined by mountains • Vindya Mountains • Separate the Deccan Plain from the Indo-Gangetic plain • Cool myth • Ghats • East and west • Low-lying mountains line the coasts of the Deccan

  7. Climate • Monsoon Winds dominate the climate of South Asia • People depend on them for survival Dry Monsoon Wet Monsoon Winter (December – May) Summer (June – October)

  8. People • India is home to 1/5 the world’s population (1.1 billion people) • Many different cultures, languages, beliefs, etc.

  9. Ancient South Asia

  10. Indus Valley Civilization • 2500 – 1500 BC • Very little known about them due to recent discovery • Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro two major cities

  11. Government • City-States? • Organized Government across the region? • Kings? • Equality?

  12. Economy • Agricultural • Massive irrigation system • Wheat, barley, dates, vegetables • Trade • Mesopotamia • Southern India

  13. Religion • Indications of polytheism, fertility goddess • Pool instead of temple? • Remnants found in Hinduism?

  14. Achievements • Writing • City planning • Sewers • Indoor plumbing • Irrigation • Pottery • Sculpture

  15. Reason for Decline • Unknown • Invasion? • Earthquake? • River Migration? • Drought?

  16. Two Theories • There are two main theories to explain the similarities that exist between European and South Asian cultures and languages • Out-of-India: Ancient Harappans migrated out of South Asia, taking their languages and beliefs with them and spreading them to those cultures in the Middle East and Europe with whom they traded • In-to-India: The ancient Indo-Aryans migrated from Central Asia into South Asia and Europe, bringing their language and beliefs with them • Either way, there are some striking similarities in ancient South Asian and European cultures

  17. Aryan Invasions? • 1500 – 500 • Vedic Age • Indo-Europeans might have migrated south through Persia and Afghanistan and into South Asia • They would have Come through mountain passes in the Hindu-Kush and settled throughout the subcontinent • They would have integrated the Harappans & Dravidians or pushed them south • These early battles might be related in the Vedic Texts

  18. Aryan Society • Nomadic • Pastoralists • Valued Cattle • Warriors • Polytheistic • Tribal • Racist?

  19. Brahmins Priests Kshatriyas Warriors, Rulers Vaisyas Merchants, Artisans, Farmers Sudras Unskilled Laborers, Servants Pariahs Slaves Unclean Aryan Social Structure Varna: 4 Social Classes Below the social ladder

  20. Varna vs. Caste • Caste much more complex than Varna • Caste originated with social structure, but now a part of religious belief • Different caste are literally different people • Based on religious purity • Hinduism

  21. Hinduism • The term Hindu was traditionally used by outsiders to describe the people of South Asia • Now it has come to describe their “religion” • Actually many different and sometimes opposing views • A “Hindu” is someone who accepts the authority of the Vedas • “Hinduism” is the largest religion in India today

  22. The Vedas • The Vedas are ancient books of Aryan poetry, songs, hymns, myths, stories, etc. that focus on gods, religion, and history. • Four Vedas • Rig Veda (oldest) • Sama Veda • Yajur Veda • Atharva Veda • Each Veda has four layers of text

  23. The Vedas • Each Veda has four layers of text. • Samhitas • Original verses • Brahmanas • Commentary by Brahmins on keeping cosmic balance (purity) • Aranyakas • Upanishads • philosophy

  24. Hinduism • No founder • No church • No savior • Hinduism began with the beliefs of the Aryan people and the Harappans and mixed as the two cultures collided. • Hinduism is one of the oldest of the world religions of today, originating well before the Vedas were written down. • Hinduism is incredibly tolerant of other religions, often incorporating their beliefs and practices to at least some degree.

  25. Monotheistic? • According to Hinduism, everything that exists is a part of a single supreme force. Nothing exists separate from this force. It is called: Brahman

  26. Polytheistic? • Since Brahman is too hard for human minds to understand, Hindus focus on aspects of Brahman which are incorporated into: many gods

  27. Three Main Gods of Hinduism • Brahma • Creation god • Vishnu • Preserver god • Shiva • Destroyer god • These are only three of literally thousands of gods. Different sects worship different gods in different ways.

  28. Hindu Beliefs • Atman • Every person has this • “soul” • The same thing as Brahman • Brahman • Single unifying force • everything • Moksha • Reunification of Atman and Bahman • The goal of Hinduism

  29. Hindu Beliefs • Karma • Every deed affects a person’s fate in this and future lives • Dharma • One’s duties and obligations in life • Caste • A result of Karma and Dharma • Directly related • Samsara • The endless cycle of rebirths a person must endure before achieving Moksha

  30. Reincarnation • Hindus believe that a person’s Atman is reborn over and over again until all the lessons of life are learned.

  31. Hindu Beliefs • Hindus want to achieve good Karma by fulfilling their Dharma and observing Caste so that they can reunite their Atman with Brahman in order to break free of Samsara.

  32. Hindu Paths • Hindus believe that there is more than one path to Moksha. • Some combine these, others focus solely on one path. • By focusing one’s efforts it is hoped that true awareness may be achieved.

  33. Devotion • Most common path • Prayer & devotion to a personal deity

  34. Karma • Doing good works to better society • Altruistic

  35. Knowledge • Study & understanding of scriptures (Vedas) • Requires a personal teacher (Guru)

  36. Yoga • Discipline of the mind and body • Not just the Yoga made popular today by Madonna, etc.

  37. Hindu Quote • The essential self or the vital self essence in humans is the same as that in an ant, the same as that in a gnat, the same as that in an elephant…indeed, the same as that in the whole universe.”

  38. Hindu Quote • “There is but one truth, though the wise perceive it in many ways.”

  39. Jainism • In the early 500s BC a Kshatriya named Mahavira became a monk and taught a offered simpler form of belief with four main principles • Take no life • Tell the truth • Do not steal • Own no property • Jains practice an extreme form of ahimsa (nonviolence) that requires them to injure no living thing

  40. Buddhism • By 500 BC there was growing opposition to Brahmin rule • Several reformers grew prominent during this time • One was Siddhartha Gautama, who “founded” Buddhism

  41. Buddha’s Life • Birth • Early Life • Tour of the City • Great Departure • Enlightenment • Teachings

  42. Four Noble Truths • Everyone Suffers • Suffering is Attachment • Everyone Can End Suffering • That End is Found Using the Eightfold Path

  43. Eightfold Path • Right View • Right Purpose • Right Speech • Right Conduct • Right Livelihood • Right Effort • Right Mindfulness • Right Meditation

  44. Buddhist Stories The emperor asked Master Gudo, “What happens to a man of enlightenment after death?” “How should I know?” replied Gudo. “Because you are a master,” answered the emperor. “Yes sir,” said Gudo, “but not a dead one.”

  45. Buddhist Stories “What is the highest truth of the holy Buddhist doctrine?” the emperor inquired. “Vast emptiness...and not a trace of holiness,” the master replied. “If there is no holiness,” the emperor said, “then what are you?” “I do not know,” the master replied.

  46. Empires of South Asia

  47. Mauryan Empire • In the 320s BC Chandragupta Maurya conquered northern India using mercenary soldiers • Built an army of more than 600,000 soldiers plus spies, war elephants, and chariots • Known as a fierce ruler until he converted to Jainism and surrendered his crown to his son to become a monk • In 270 Asoka, • Chandragupta’s grandson, became king • Asoka conquered nearly all of the subcontinent waging brutal wars • He converted to Buddhism and dedicated the rest of his life spreading his religion and improving people’s lives throughout India • After Asoka’s death in 233 the Empire slowly fell apart into small, feudal kingdoms

  48. Gupta Empire • Around 320 AD, Chandra Gupta (he stole the name of a past hero, have you heard of him?) conquered the Indo-Gangetic Plain and started the Gupta dynasty • Hindus, the Gupta reinvigorated their religion’s hold on the people, although they were tolerant of its offshoots • The Guptas eventually fell to the invading Huns in the late 400s

  49. Mughal Empire • Islamic groups began to invade South Asia as early as 600 AD • An Islamic Empire established in 1526 by Babur • Babur’s grandson, Akbar, known for his tolerance of diverse beliefs • In 1648 Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his wife

  50. British Empire • The British (along with other European powers) wanted to trade with and colonize India after rounding the southern tip of Africa • Wanted access to tea, spices, etc. • Began colonizing the subcontinent in the 1600s and gained control of the area in the 1800s through the East India Company, a front for the British government • The British government took direct control after a bloody rebellion in 1857