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Caste Project - Ancient India Activities
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Caste Project

Jar with tickets

To see how caste worked in ancient India, try dividing your class or your family into castes. Take a box or a jar and put inside it four pieces of paper that say "Dalit", two pieces that say "Brahmin", four pieces that say, "Slave", three pieces that say "Vaishra", and two pieces that say "Kshatriya". That's 15 pieces; put in one piece that says "Shudra" for each of the remaining kids in the class. Shake it up to mix the pieces.

Without looking, each kid can draw one piece of paper. Then each caste can get together (the Shudras will need to form more than one group) to discuss what their concerns and issues are. Each caste should pick one goal - getting more land? getting out of debt? being richer? having better food? - and explain how they would convince or force the other castes to help them with their goal.

Will the castes cooperate and compromise, or try to force each other to do things? What methods are available to each caste?

More about Caste
Slaves in Ancient India

Bibliography and further reading about people in ancient India:

Indian slavery
Friends in Indian society
Ancient India
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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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