Texts referenced:

De, Bary W. T. “Source of Indian Tradition” Introduction to Oriental Civilizations. New York: Columbia University Press, 1964. Print.

Stein, Burton, and David Arnold. “Towards Freedom” A History of India. 2nd ed. Oxford: England: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, 1998. 274-307. Print.

Time Period/Era Studied: 400,000-150,000 years ago

Please answer the following questions, reflecting on what you’ve learned from the week’s readings & class lectures.

1. Of the following factors, explain WHICH ONE do you consider the most significant to the era we studied this week? WHY do you think so? WHICH historical events, circumstances, or phenomena support your choice?

• Economy • Society • Religion • Politics • Environment


The economy was a prominent and basics factor towards the civilization of India. The economy was essential towards civilization as it contributed to the majority of all the other parts of the Indian community such as environment, trade, social structures and politics in the growing Indian community. The economic conditions and their respective economic activities within India determined the social stratifications of ancient India, and such stratifications are still evident in the modern Indian community and society. Social structures were based entirely on the economic and financial abilities of people. These resulted in the division of people into either the commoners or the dalits and the nobility who were the economically and socially superior individuals in the society.

Additionally, the varied economic activities such as pottery, trade and agriculture were essential in the development f the Indian communities. This is because some of the goods that were traded by the Indian nobility gave definition of the Indian community, its practices and beliefs. This was evident in products such as pottery, fabrics and spices. It also provided an avenue for cultural exchanges leading to sharing of cultural beliefs and ideals through practices such as intermarriages and religious beliefs (Stein and Arnold 282). In the mid 18th century, the East India Company was one of the largest trading entities in the world as they were acknowledged as good merchants and maritime traders in the East and their overall influence on maritime trade, and on the merchants’ wares of trade. It resulted in the interactions with the British, Muslims, Chinese and Portuguese merchants.

2. WHICH factor would you rate #2 in importance? In what ways does it relate to your #1 rated choice?


This was evidently one of the most influential factors towards the modernization and civilization of the Indian society. Indians were defined and classified based on economic abilities. Rich community members were automatically the elite and nobility of the community whereas the servants and farmers were all dalits or commoners. Hence, this provides an elaborate view of the reasons towards division in the Indian community. Classification was primarily provided as dalits or the commoners, nobility and royalty, which was deeply rooted within the cultural and religious beliefs and practices upheld by the Indian community. Religion was central to such beliefs of social classification and division among people (Stein and Arnold 277).

3. How would these factors have impacted the daily lives of people living during that era?

The varied economic activities that were exercised by the Indian community were because of the need to ensure survival, as well as economic growth and territorial growth of the Indian empire. Activities such as agriculture and trade of various items were essential steps towards civilization of the Indian society. Trade with some of the biggest merchants, such as the trade with the Portuguese, provided the Indian society with an avenue for constructive interaction with international communities and societies that were well versed in maritime business.

Other empires included the Ottoman and Safavid Empires drawn from Asia from whom the Muslims in Indian derive their heritage and religious beliefs. The exchange of goods gave the Indian community an opportunity to engage in constructive and life changing business that resulted in exchange of cultures as evidenced by the inherited practices such as architectural designs, beliefs and trading practices.

4. If you were writing a historical novel, what kind of character do you think would best represent this period in India’s history? What class status, religion, occupation, and gender would you give them, and why?

If I were writing a novel, I would focus on the nobility or royalty as a source of my primary or main character due to the need to illustrate the differences in terms of the social classifications of the people in the Indian community. This would illustrate the existing social classification in the Indian community because of the religious and cultural beliefs held by the Indian society (Stein and Arnold 289). It would also be enhanced by the presence of characters from the lower levels, or the dalits, as a means of illustrating the adverse treatment and social difference between the classes of individuals within the Indian community. In addition, it would be a show of the deep rotted beliefs that have enhanced social inequity in the Indian community and society.

Work Cited

De, Bary, W. T. “Source of Indian Tradition” Introduction to Oriental Civilizations. New York: Columbia University Press, 1964. Print.

Stein, Burton, and David Arnold. “Towards Freedom” A History of India. 2nd ed. Oxford: England: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, 1998. 274-307. Print.