Compare and Constrast Classical China and Classical India

Topics: Social class, Caste, China Pages: 2 (602 words) Published: March 27, 2013
Though they had some different qualities, Classical China and India were very similar. The complexities of both India and China’s social hierarchy systems were very different. However their religious views and ideas were similar, and they both began to decline but were able to recover and maintain stability.

Both China and India used social hierarchy systems, but they were used differently. India used a very strict system called Varna, or the caste system. People only associated with people in their class. Marriage outside of your class and helping people in lower classes was absolutely forbidden. People couldn’t even eat or drink with people outside of their class. The Chinese rules of social hierarchy were very different. The Chinese believed in reciprocal respect within relationships. For example, the ruler respects the subject and the subject respects the ruler. Another major difference was the specific levels of the social ladder. The caste system of India had four basic levels: the Brahmins (priests), followed by the Kshatriyas (warriors), then the Vaishyas (work people), and finally the Shudras (peasants). All four of these castes were divided into subgroups called jati. This system was very complex and stratified and a person could not change castes. The Chinese only had three steps on their social ladder. On top was the educated bureaucrats and landowners. The peasants and the urban artisans were in the middle class and the “mean” or meaningless people were at the bottom. Priests in India were considered very powerful and they were at the top of society. The Classical Chinese emperors used a centralized religion called Confucianism and a priest class wasn’t necessary. There was other religions in China but the priests were isolated from the rest of the population. The Chinese social system was very simple and the Indian caste system was more specific.

India and China used different hierarchy systems, but they had similar religious views and ideas. At...
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