Brahmanical ideas during 600 BCE-600 CE :
- In Sanskrit texts populations whose social practices were not influenced by Brahmanical ideas are often described as odd, uncivilised, or even animal-like.
- In some instances, these included forest-dwellers– for whom hunting and gathering remained an important means of subsistence.
- Categories such as the Nishada, to which Ekalavya is supposed to have belonged, are examples of this.
- While the Brahmanas considered some people as being outside the system, they also developed a sharper social divide by classifying certain social categories as “untouchables but historians have tried to find out whether chandalas accepted the life of degradation prescribed in the shastras.
- Hidimba marrying Bhima against the social practices prescribed in the Dharamshastras.
- Others who were viewed with suspicion included population such as Pastoralist.
- Whenever brahmanical authorities encountered new groups which did not easily fit into the fourfold varna system they classified them as Jatis.
- Others who were viewed with suspicion included populations such as nomadic pastoralists, who could not be easily accommodated within the framework of settled agriculturists who spoke non-Sanskritic languages were labelled as Melachhas.