Here we are providing Class 12 History Important Extra Questions and Answers Chapter 2 Kings, Farmers and Towns: Early States and Economics. Class 12 History Important Questions are the best resource for students which helps in class 12 board exams.
Class 12 History Chapter 2 Important Extra Questions Kings, Farmers and Towns: Early States and Economics
Kings, Farmers and Towns Important Extra Questions Very Short Answer Type
Who composed Rigveda?
Rigveda was composed of the people living along the Indus and its tributaries.
Who deciphered Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts and when?
Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts were deciphered by James Princep, an officer in the mint of the East India Company:
Name the titles adopted by Ashoka.
Devampiya and Piyadassi.
How many Mahajanapadas were there?
There were around sixteen Mahajanapadas.
What were Ganas or Sanghas?
These were Oligarchies where power was shared by a number of men.
What were Dharmasutras?
Brahmanas started composing Sanskrit texts from sixth century BCE onwards which were called Dharmasutras.
Name the most powerful Mahajanapada.
Magadha was the most powerful Mahajanapada.
Name the famous and powerful rulers of Magadha.
Bimbisara, Ajatasatru and Mahapadma Nanda.
Name the capital of Magadha.
Rajagaha in the earlier part but was shifted to Pataliputra in the fourth century BCE.
Who started the Mauryan Empire?
Name the sources of history about the Mauryan Empire.
India was written by Magasthenes, Arthashastra by Chanakya, Ashokan inscriptions, etc.
Name the five major political centers in the Mauryan Empire.
Pataliputra, Taxila, Ujjayini, Tosali and Suvarnagiri.
For how many years the Mauryan Empire lasted?
Around 150 years.
Where the Colossal statues of Kushana rulers have been found?
In a shrine at Mat near Mathura (Utter Pradesh).
Who adopted the title of Devaputra?
Many Kushana rulers adopted the title of Devaputra.
Who composed Prayaga Prashasti?
Prayaga Prashasti was composed by Harishena, the court poet of Samudraguta.
When were Jataka tales written?
Jataka tales were written in the Pali language around the middle of the first millennium CE.
Who was James Princep? Which two ancient scripts were deciphered by him?
Who was James? , Princep? Mention anyone of his contribution to the development of Indian epigraphy. (CJB.S.E. 2014 (O.D.))
James Princep was an officer of the English East India Company. He was able to decipher the ancient Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts.
What was the early capital of Magadha? Tell its one feature. In the 4th century B.C.E., which city was made the capital of Magadha?
Rajagaha (present-day Rajgir) was the early capital of Magadha. The city signified the “House of the King”. It was a fortified settlement and was located among the hills. In the 4th century B.C.E., its capital was shifted to Pataliputra, present-day Patna.
Who was Ashoka? Which famous state did he annex into the Mauryan Empire?
Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya. He was the most famous ruler of the Mauryan empire. He annexed the state of Kalinga in the Mauryan empire.
Give a brief description of languages and scripts of inscriptions of Ashoka.
Prakrit was the language used on most of the inscriptions of Ashoka. These were written in Brahmi script. ,
What is meant by Tamilakam? Name three Chiefdoms emerging in Mauryan Tamilakam. Also, give their one feature.
Tamilakam means the area of Deccan and further South in the sub-continent. It included parts of present-day Andhra Pradesh and Kerala with Tamil Nadu. Chiefdoms of the Cholas, Cheras, and Pandyas emerged in Tamilakam. These Chiefdoms proved to be very prosperous and stable.
What was the capital of the Mauryan Empire? Also, write the names of four provincial centres.
Pataliputra was the capital of the Mauryan empire. Taxila, Ujjayini, Tosali, and Suvarnagiri were four provincial centres.
Name three types of sources about the history of Gupta rulers.
- Coins and inscriptions
- Prashant, composed by poets in praise of kings.
When and who built Sudarshana Lake? Which rulers got this lake repaired?
According to an inscription, Sudarshana Lake was an artificial reservoir that was built by a local government during the rule of the Mauryas. It was repaired by a Saka ruler Rudradaman and one of the rulers of the Gupta Dynasty.
Briefly describe ‘Banabhatta’ and ‘Harshacharita’.
Banabhatta was a court poet of the ruler of Kanauj, Harsha Vardhana. The Harshacharita is a biography of Harsha Vardhana composed by Banabhatta.
Who was Prabhavati Gupta? Tell a rare example found about her.
Prabhavati Gupta was the daughter of Chandragupta II (375-415 C.E.) who was a famous ruler of early India. She was married to a Vakatak family of the Deccan Peninsula. She had donated land which is a rare example of donation by any woman.
What is meant by Periplus? On what does Periplus of the Erythraean Sea throw light?
Periplus is a Greek word. It means sailing around or a sea voyage. Periplus of the Erythraean Sea throws light on the sea trade of early India.
Explain the names and meanings of the two titles adorned by Ashoka. ..
Ashoka adopted the two titles ‘Devanampiya’ and ‘Piyadassi’. Devanampiya meant the “Beloved of the Gods” and Piyadassi meant “Pleasant to Behold”. These titles have been found in many inscriptions.
‘In some inscriptions, only titles adopted by Ashoka are given but on others, both his name and titles are given.’ How did historians assess that all these inscriptions are made by a single ruler?
All the inscriptions were examined and it was concluded that their subject, language, script, method, etc., are similar to each other. That is why historians assessed that all these inscriptions are made by a single ruler.
Why the cities especially capital cities, during the Mahajanapada age, were fortified?
The capital city has special importance. All the political, social, economic, and cultural activities are regulated from the capital. It is also necessary to secure it from the enemy. These things were also applicable to capital cities during the Mahajanapada age. That is why walls were made around the city and were fortified.
Why Ashoka’s lion emblem is today considered important?
Ashoka’s lion emblem has been adopted as the national symbol by the Indian Government. It is the symbol of our unity, courage, progress, and high ideals. That is why it is considered important.
How large was the army of the Mauryan ruler according to Greek sources?
According to Greek sources, the Mauryan ruler had a standing army of 600,000 foot soldiers, 30,000 cavalries, and 9,000 elephants.
What resources were needed by the Maurayas to retain their large army?
- Excessive revenue
- Great number of military equipments
- Huge supplies of food
- Place for the camping for its armed forces.
Why did people bring gifts for Pandya Chiefs? What would the Chiefs have used these for?
People respected Pandya Chiefs because they were very much happy and prosperous during their rule. That is why they brought gifts for Pandya Chiefs. Chiefs could have used those gifts themselves or could have distributed them among their supporters.
Why did the rulers arrange for irri¬gation?
The rulers made arrangements for irrigation to increase agricultural production. There were two reasons for it :
- Agriculture was the main source of state income.
- Agriculture could provide food to the people.
Who was the author of ‘Periplus of the Erythraean Sea’? Why did he prepare a list of different types of goods?
The author of the ‘Periplus of the Erythraean Sea’ was an anonymous Greek sailor. He prepared a list of varied types of goods to show foreign trade through the sea route. He wanted to express that bulk of pepper and malabathrum (possibly cinnamon) was exported from India. In lieu of that, all kinds of transparent stones, diamonds, sapphires, and tortoise shells were imported in India.
How did the city of Pataliputra emerge?
Pataliputra emerged from a village called Pataligram. In the 5th century B.C.E., the Magadhan rulers decided to shift their capital from Raj agree to this city and they renamed it. By the fourth century B.C.E., it becomes the capital of the Mauryan empire and became one of the largest cities of Asia. But later on, its importance declined.
Who was the Grihapati?
Grihapati was the head of the family. He was the owner, master, or head of a household. He had control over the females, children, servants, and slaves who lived in the house. He was the master of the land, animals, and other such things of the family. Sometimes this term was used for those urban elites and traders who lived in the towns. It was a symbol of status for wealthy merchants.
Kings, Farmers and Towns Important Extra Questions Short Answer Type
After the Harappan Civilisation, during a period of about 1500 years, different kinds of development were undertaken in various parts of the sub-continent. Elucidate by citing examples.
1. During this period, the people who lived on the banks of the Indus river or its tributaries, accomplished the task of writing Rig Veda.
2. The peasant settlements emerged in North India, Deccan Plateau and Karnataka. Besides this, there is evidence of settlements of those who grazed animals in the Deccan Plateau and South India.
3. In the millennium that preceded the Before Christ Era (B.C.E.), new methods of performing last rites on the dead bodies came into existence. It included vast structures made of stone. They were called Mahapashan. At many places, along with the dead bodies, different kinds of instruments and weapons were also buried.
How did the political history of ’ early India get a new direction with the research work of James Princep?
Why is James Princep’s contribution considered as the historic development? in the Indian epigraphy? (C.B.S.E. 2015 (D))
There was a lot of development in the Indian epigraphy around 1830 in which James Princep, who was an officer in the unit of the East India Company, played a great role. He deciphered two scripts namely Brahmi and Kharosthi. These scripts were used in the earliest inscriptions and coins. James Princep came to know that most of the inscriptions and coins had the name of king who was referred to as Piyadassi that is, “Pleasant to behold” as the one with a handsome face. There was also the name of Ashoka on a few inscriptions. According to Buddhist texts, Ashoka was one of the most important rulers of the era.
This research of James Princep gave a new direction to Indian political history. All the Europeans and Indian scholars used the inscriptions and coins to get information about the major dynasties. They reconstructed the lineages of major dynasties that had ruled the sub-continent. As a result, by the early decades of the 20th century, an outline of the political history of the sub-continent was ready.
Describe in your own words the story of the rise of Magadha state.
Describe how Magadha became the most powerful Mahajanapada? (CJB.S.E. 2009 (O.D.))
How do modern historians explain the development of Magadha as the most powerful Mahajanapada? Explain. (CJB.S.E. 2013 (D))
How did Magadha become powerful Mahajahapada? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2016 (D))
Magadha included the modern Patna and parts of Shahabad district. This state made commendable progress during the reign of Bimbisara. He strengthened his position by establishing marital relations with other states. He prepared himself for expansion towards the west. However, he was assassinated by his own son, Ajatasatru who himself took charge of the state. After Ajatasatru, the state was governed by Uddaiyan who defeated the king of Koshala.
Thereafter, the reign of Shishunag dynasty started. The kings of this dynasty defeated Avanti. After the reign of Shishunag dynasty, the rule of Nand dynasty started. They enhanced the power of Magadha by wining Kalinga. During the time of an attack by Alexander, Magadha was ruled by Mahapadam Nanda.
The strength of Alexander was even acknowledged by the soldiers of Mahapadam Nanda. After the decline of Nand dynasty, Magadha was reigned by the Mauryas. The kings of this dynasty enhanced the glory of Magadha and took it to the apex of glory and prestige.
Describe briefly about the sources of Mauryan history.
Describe sources used to construct the history of the Mauryan Empire. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
“Historians have used a variety of sources to reconstruct the history of the Mauryan Empire.” Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2013 (O.D.))
Historians have used a variety of sources to reconstruct the history of the Mauryan Empire. State any four such sources. (C.B.S.E 2015 (O.D.))
Explain the sources used by historians to reconstruct the history of the Mauryan Empire. (C.B.S.E. 2017 (D.))
Describe the sources historians have used to reconstruct the history of the Mauryan Empire. (C.B.S.E. 2019 (D.))
- The most important source of information about the Mauryan period was the book “Indica” written by Megasthenes, a Greek ambassador in the court of Chandragupta Maurya. It gives a beautiful depiction of the society and the administrative system.
- Another important source of information is the book, “Arthashastra” written by Kautilya or Chanakya. It gives detailed knowledge about the Mauryan administrative system.
- “Mudrarakshasa” by Vishakhadutta tells a lot about how Chandragupta snatched the reins of rule from the Nanda dynasty.
- The texts of Jain and Buddhist religions throw a great deal of light on the life and religious views of Mauryan kings.
- The inscriptions of Ashoka also help a lot in understanding the history of the Mauryan period.
What is the importance of the establishment of the Mauryan empire in Indian history?
Establishment of the Mauryan empire has the following importance in Indian history:
- Many small states came to an end and in place of these a large empire was established.
- There were a number of small states in the country before the Mauryan empire who had no proper history but the establishment of the Mauryan empire was just like a ray of light in the darkness.
- Establishment of Mauryan empire led to the beginning of Indian contacts with other countries. It made huge progress in the trade of the country.
- Foreign power in India came to an end with the establishment of the Mauryan empire.
Describe the main features of the administration of Chandragupta Maurya.
Mention any two features of the ail) the administration system of the Mauryan Empire. (C.B.S.E. 2014 (D))
Describe the administrative features of the-Mauryan Empire. (C.B.S.E. 2019 (D))
Chandragupta Maurya founded an efficient administration. King himself was the head of the central administration. He had unlimited powers and appointed a number of ministers for running the daily affairs. The whole of the kingdom was divided into four provinces. Head of the province was known as ‘Kumar’ and he generally belonged to a ruling family. Cities were under the administration of ‘Nagar Adhyaksh’. There were councils of 30 members for running the affairs of large cities.
Every council was divided into six committees of 5 members each. Rule of villages was in the hands of Panchayats. There were civil and criminal courts for providing justice. Special emphasis was given to the interests of the people. The military organisation of Chandragupta was also of top quality. His military consisted of 600,000 foot-soldiers, 30,000 cavalry and 9,000 elephants.
What is ‘Arthashastra’? What is its importance in Indian- history ?
Write a note on ‘Arthashastra’ of Kautilya.
Kautilya’s Arthashastra is an important epic related to politics. It was composed by Kautilya who himself was a great scholar and was the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya. He has explained the theories of administration in this epic. This epic is of great importance in Indian history. It presents a beautiful picture of the Mauryan age.
It gives us information about administration of Chandragupta Maurya and his characteristic traits. This epic also throws light on the society of Mauryan age. Most importantly the rules of politics given in it can also be seen in modern politics.
How Ashoka propagated and spread Buddhism ?
After the war of Kalinga, Ashoka left the policy of war and gave his heart and soul in spreading and propagating Buddhism. He himself obeyed those rules which he propagated. He engraved those rules of this religion on inscriptions, large stones, caves, etc. These rules were engraved in the language of daily use so that common masses could be able to understand them.
He also built many stupas and Viharas which became the centres of Buddhism. He provided economic help to Buddhist monasteries and made journey to Buddhist pilgrims. He sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka to propagate Buddhism. In this way, Ashoka moulded Buddhism into a world religion.
What is the significance of the inscriptions of Ashoka in the Indian history ?
What do Ashokan inscriptions tell about the Mauryas? (C.B.S.E. 2016 (O.D.))
The inscriptions of Ashoka are very important in the history of India because:
- Most of the inscriptions of Ashoka are in the border areas. With their help, we can easily determine the borders of the state during the reign of Ashoka.
- The inscriptions of Ashoka tell a lot about his own religion and high moral character.
- These inscription tell us that Ashoka had cordial and friendly relations with Egypt, Syria, Burma (Myanmar) and Sri Lanka.
- These inscriptions, tell us about the method Ashoka adopted to preach Buddhism.
- These inscriptions throw light on the welfare works done by Ashoka. In fact, he wanted the welfare of the common people.
- The inscriptions of Ashoka are beautiful specimens of Mauryan art. They were written with a fair amount of precision.
In fact, all the inscriptions of Ashoka were writings engraved on hard surfaces like stone, metal or pottery. They recorded his ideas, activities and achievements and serve as a record of his times.
Write about the Dhamma of Ashoka.
Ashoka framed some moral precepts for the upliftment and ethical emancipation of the people of his times. The accumulation of these maxims is called as Dhamma. The basic principles of the Dhamma of Ashoka were as under:
- The main principle of Ashoka was to respect the elders. According to him, all the pupils must respect their teachers (Gurus) and all should respect the Saints, Brahmans and elderly people.
- According to the Dhamma of Ashoka, all the elderly persons should respect members of the family, relatives, servants, the poor and the slaves.
- Everyone has to face the ordeal in his next birth for all his evil deeds. So all should perform pious deeds.
- Non-violence was the cardinal principle of Ashoka’s Dhamma. According to it, no one should hurt anyone with words, deeds and thoughts.
- All should analyse their actions from time to time.
- Envy, anger, pride and lies are all evils. All the people should remain away from them.
What is the place of Ashoka in history?
Ashoka was not only a great king of India but also of the whole world. It is because of the following reasons :
1. After the Kalinga war, Ashoka adopted the service of mankind as one of the main principles of his life. He engaged himself in spreading religious and ethical gospel of Mahatma Buddha. No other great ruler of the world made such a sacrifice for the common people.
2. Ashoka considered his subjects as his children. He did a lot for the widows and the orphAnswer:
3. Ashoka spread Buddhism in many corners of the world. He is called The Great because he took up a small religion and turned it into a global one. The world came to know about Buddhism only because of the inscriptions of Ashoka.
4. Ashoka was a tolerant ruler. He respected all other religions.
5. Ashoka was the first ruler who got hospitals opened for both humans and animals.
Why did the Mauryan rulers keep a large class of officers ?
Mauryan rulers kept a large force of officials to control every aspect of public life. This can be clarified through the following facts :
- Ashoka changed his religion and converted to Buddhism. He appointed ‘Dharma-Mahamatra’ official to propagate actual elements of religion among the masses.
- He appointed a number of officers for espionage activities. These officers used to control activities of external enemies and used to find out corrupt officials and spies.
- Mauryas also appointed a number of officers for efficient organisation of taxation.Except all these, a large force of officials were appointed to run central, provincial and city-level administration.
What are inscriptions ? Why are they considered as important documents or permanent evidence?
Inscriptions are writings engraved on hard surfaces like stone, metal or pottery. Inscriptions generally record the activities, achievements or ideas of those who commissioned them. They also include the donations made by men and women to religious institutions. They are virtually permanent records as their information could not be changed. Even some inscriptions carry dates of their commission. Others which are not dated can be dated on the basis of palaeography or style of writing. For example, in C. 250 B.C.E. the letter ‘a’ was written like: By 500 C.E., it was written like: U
What do we know about the higher officials of the Mauryan empire from the descriptions of Megasthenes?
Megasthenes stated the following things about the officials of the Mauryan empire:
1. A few officials looked after the rivers and measured the land.
2. Some officials supervised the supply of water from big cities to small towns. They wanted to ensure the supply of water to all the places. These officials also had a strict vigil on the hunters. They rewarded or punished the hunters in accordance with their deeds.
3. The officials also collected taxes. They supervised activities which concerned with the land and also examined the work done by the wood cutters, cloth merchants, iron-smiths and miners.
What was the importance of Greeks in Indian history? ’
There is a great importance of the Greeks in Indian history. Indian trade with Central Asia, western Asia and China developed to a great deal under the Greek empire. Indian culture spread into foreign countries because of foreign empire. Indian traders established their colonies in countries like Malaya, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, etc. All these, later on became centres of Indian culture.
Greeks also had a great impact on Indian art. A new art form came into being with a mixture of Indian and Greek sculpture art. This art form was given the name of Gandhar art form. Many sculptures of Gautam Buddha were made with this art form. Greek ruler Minander sent his ambassador to Basenagar which led to increase in cooperation among Indians and Greeks.
“Gupta empire reached to its height during the rule of Chandragupta-II.” Throw some light on this statement.
Throw some light on the main achievements of Chandragupta Vikramaditya.
Chandragupta-II was the brave son of Samudragupta. He sat on the throne in 38 C.E. He increased his power and strength through marital relations with other kingdoms and con Question uered many areas. First of all he con Question uered Bengal, then Vahlik caste and then he con Question uered republic of Avanti. His most important success was his victory over Malwa, Kathiawar and Gujarat.
He defeated Saka rulers and adopted the title of ‘Vikramaditya’. Art and literature developed to a great deal during the age of Chandragupta Vikramaditya. Great poet Kalidasa was present during his age. The administration ran smoothly during age of Chandragupta-II. People were very happy and prosperous. In the end, we can say that Gupta empire reached to its height during the rule of Chandragupta-II.
Write any four causes for the decline of the Mauryan empire.
Following were the main causes for the decline of the Mauryan empire:
1. Weak Successors: After Ashoka, the kingdom came in the hands of kings like Dashrath, Sampati and Bridrath. All of these were weak rulers.
2. Enmity of Brahmins: Ashoka was a follower of Buddhism. When Brahmins observed Ashoka’s inclination towards Buddhism, they became the enemy of the Mauryan dynasty and helped in the decline of this dynasty.
3. Policy of Non-violence: Ashoka left the policy of wars and adopted the policy of non-violence. As a result, soldiers lacked proper training and were unable to suppress revolts.
4. Foreign Invaders: When the Mauryan empire became weak, foreign invaders also started to attack border areas. In this way Mauryan dynasty came to an end.
Describe the sources of reconstructing the histories of the Gupta rulers. (C.B.S.E. 2009 (D))
Describe briefly the sources used for reconstructing the history of the Gupta rulers. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (D))
Histories of the Gupta rulers have been reconstructed with the help of literature, coins and inscriptions. They also include prashasties composed by poets in praise of their patrons, i.e., the kings. While historians generally try to find factual information from such compositions, those who composed and read them often treasured them as works of poetry rather than as accounts that were actually true. For example, Harisena composed Prayaga Prashasti in Sanskrit, who was the court poet of Samudragupta. Harissa wrote that Samudragupta was a very powerful ruler of his time.
What information is available in inscriptions about land grants?
We find evidence of land grants from the early centuries of the common era. Most of these grants were mentioned on inscriptions whereas others were mentioned on stones. Records on copper were probably given to those who were given the land grant. The records that have survived are mostly about grants to Brahmins or religious institutions. Most of the inscriptions were in Sanskrit. In a few cases, especially from 7th century onwards, part of the inscription was in Sanskrit and the rest of them were in local languages like Tamil or Telugu.
The trend of land grants throws some light on the relation between king and farmers. Some people were out of control of officers and Samanthas like pastoralists, fisherfolk and hunter-gatherer, mobile or semi-sedentary artisans and shifting cultivators.
Give brief information about trade beyond sub-continent from 6th-century B.C.E.
Describe any four features of the trade in the Indian sub-continent from the 6th century B.C.E. (C.B.S.E. 2019 (O.D.))
Trade routes: From 6th century B.C.E., a number of land-routes and river routes crisscrossed in the sub-continent for trade. It was extended in various directions. It was extended overland into Central Asia and beyond, and overseas, across the Arabian Sea to the east and North Africa and West Asia, and through the Bay of Bengal to South-east Asia and China. Rulers generally used to collect money from traders for their protection on these routes which is why they often tried to exercise control over these routes.
Different traders: Those who traversed these routes included those peddlers who may have travelled on foot and those merchants who travelled with caravans of bullock-carts and pack animals. There were seafarers as well whose ventures were very risky but were most profitable. Successful merchants often became very rich.
Import-Export: Salt, cloth, grains, metal ores and finished products, timber, stone, medicinal plants, etc., were carried from one place to another. Spices like pepper, cloth, medicinal plants were in great demand in the Roman empire. These were transported across the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
How the Brahmi Script of Ashokan age was deciphered ?
Most of the scripts used to write modern Indian languages are defined from Brahmi script. This script was used in most of Ashokan inscriptions. From the late 18th century, European scholars, helped by Indian pandits, worked backwards from contemporary Bengali and Devanagri.
Scholars who studied early inscriptions thought that these inscriptions were in Sanskrit but the earliest inscriptions were in Prakrit. After decades of great hard work by many epigraphers, James Princep deciphered the Ashokan age Brahmi script in 1838.
Describe briefly how the Mauryan Empire was regarded as a major landmark in history. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
In the nineteenth century, when historians started to reconstruct early Indian history, the emergence of the Mauryan Empire was regarded as a major landmark in history. At that time, India was a part of the British Empire. Nineteenth and early twentieth-century Indian historians found the possibility that there was an empire in early India both challenging and exciting.
Also, few of the archaeological finds associated with the Mauryas, including stone sculpture, were considered to be examples of the spectacular and typical of empires. Many of these historians found the message on Ashokan inscriptions very different from that of most other rulers, suggesting that Ashoka was more powerful and industrious, as also more humble than the later rulers who adopted grandiose titles. So it is not surprising that nationalist leaders in the twentieth century regarded him as an inspiring figure.
Describe briefly any two strategies for increasing agricultural production from sixth century B.C.E. to sixth-century CE. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
1. Prevalence of Ploughs: One method that helped in increasing the production was the popularity of plough. The use of a plough had started in the 6th century B.C.E. in the valleys of Ganga and Cauveri. The plough with an iron tip was used in areas which had an ample rainfall. It was used infertile land. It resulted in increasing the production of paddy. No doubt the farmers had to work a lot to achieve this target.
2. Use of Spade: Though plough helped in increasing the production yet its use was limited to only some areas. In Punjab and Rajasthan, which had less rainfall, the plough was used in the early period of the 20th century. Those farmers who lived in the north¬east and mid-mountainous regions used spade for digging the fields which were quite useful in such areas.
“Communication along both land and riverine routes were vital for the existence of the Mauryan empire.” Justify the statement. (C.B.S.E. 2010) (D))
Communication along both land and riverine routes were vital for the existence of the empire. Journeys from the centre to the provinces could have taken weeks if not months. This meant arranging for provisions as well as protection for those who were on the move.
Megasthenes mentioned a committee with six subcommittees for coordinating military activity.
- One out of these looked after the navy.
- The second one managed transport and provisions.
- The third one was responsible for foot soldiers.
- The fourth one managed horses, whereas
- the fifth for chariots and
- the sixth for elephants.
The activities of the second sub-committee were rather varied: arranging for bullock carts to carry equipment, procuring food for soldiers arid fodder for animals, and recruiting servants and artisans to look after the soldiers.
Maintenance of these means was also necessary for the progress of trade.
Describe how according to Manusmriti, the paternal estate was to be divided after the death of the parents with special reference to the rights of women. (C.B.S.E. 2011 (O.D.))
According to the Manusmriti, the paternal estate must be divided equally amongst sons after the death of the parents with a special share for the eldest son. Women could not claim a share of these resources. Women were allowed to retain the gifts they received on the occasion of their marriage.
It was known as stridhana meaning a women’s wealth. This could be inherited by their children without the husband having any claim on it. At the same time, Manusmriti warned women against hoarding family property, or even their own valuables, without husband’s permission.
Describe the economic and social conditions of the people living in rural all from 600 BCE 600 C.E. (CBSE 2018)
Economic conditions, Kings jeeringly tried to fill their treasure by demanding high taxes. Different strategies were used to increase productivity such as given ploughshare, the use of irrigation through walls and tanks etc. Lands were granted to people such is Samanthas. Social condition: There were growing dissemination almagest people engaged in agriculture.
The large landholder and the village headmen emerged as powerful figures. Tamil literature also mentions different categories of people living in the villagers. Females had no access to the property, the caste system was at peak, partiality and polygonally also prevailed there.
Kings, Farmers and Towns Important Extra Questions Long Answer Type
How did Ashoka propagate Buddhism?
Ashoka served a lot for Buddhism. He was deeply hurt by the Kalinga war. His mind became peaceful only because of simple rules of Buddhism. He adopted Buddhism and spent the whole of his life in propagating Buddhism. Some of the works done by him for propagating Buddhism are given below:
1. He himself showed an example to the people by accepting Buddhism and motivated the people. He himself obeyed those rules which he propagated among the masses.
2. After Kalinga Wark he himself became a Buddhist. He whole-heartedly propagated Buddhism. Common masses were greatly influenced as they saw their king as a monk. As a result, a number of people adopted this religion.
3. Ashoka wanted to propagate Buddhism which is why he engraved inscriptions, pillars and caves which mentioned the rules of Buddhism. People were influenced by those ideas and started to adopt Buddhism.
4. Ashoka built many stupas and Viharas. These Stupas and Viharas, later on, became the centres of Buddhism.
5. Ashoka called Third Conference of Buddhism at Pataliputra in 252 B.C.E. Because of the Conference, the Buddhists were united and this religion became popular.
6. Ashoka tried to convince people through religious acts or plays that living life according to Buddhism leads to the attainment of salvation. People got influenced by these acts and many of them adopted Buddhism.
7. Pilgrimages also proved fruitful in this direction. He himself visited pilgrims related to Buddhism. In his way, he arranged many meetings and propagated rules of Buddhism.
8. Ashoka appointed special officials called Dhamma Mahamatras to propagate Buddhism. They used to move from one place to another to propagate Buddhism. Indirectly it also helped in propagating Buddhism.
9. Ashoka engraved teachings of Buddhism, on inscriptions, rocks, etc., in Pali language. He also translated some of the famous Buddhist epics in Pali language because it was the most commonly spoken language. That is why it became very easy for people to understand the teachings of Buddhism.
10. He not only propagated Buddhism in India but in foreign countries as well. He sent Mahamatas to Gandhar, Sri Lanka, China, Syria, Egypt, etc. His son and daughter went over to Sri Lanka to propagate Buddhism. That is why Buddhism spread to different countries of the world.
Analyse the character of ‘Ashoka the Great ’.
Write about the character of Ashoka on the basis of given descriptions. Why is he considered as ‘Great’?
Ashoka was a great king of the world. None of the kings of the world could reach the status of Ashoka. Other kings of the world knew only how to expand their empire, to run their rule and wanted to rule over the people. But Ashoka wanted to rule over the hearts of the people and that also with love, peace and tolerance. Following things made Ashoka – the Great:
1. Service of Humanity: After the Kalinga war, he left the policy of wars and took an aim of service of humanity. He left the life of leisure and hunting and started to preach the people by moving from one place to another. He himself left eating flesh. This was the greatest ideal and we cannot find such an example in world history.
2. Safety of Animals: Ashoka was the first king who not only opened hospitals for humans but for animals as well. Hunting of animals was strictly prohibited in his state. In 243 B.C.E. he made a declaration that no one could kill animals during 56 days in a year fixed by the state. That is why he was known as Ashoka the Great.
3. Public Welfare Works: Ashoka always considered his subjects as his children. He built a number of roads for public welfare. He planted trees on both sides of roads, built rest houses, opened hospitals. Patients were given free medicines in these hospitals.
4. Ideal Administration: Administration of Ashoka was of top quality. He appointed Mahamatras who used to convey the grievances of masses to the king. No discrimination took place while giving justice.
5. Propaganda of Buddhism: Ashoka himself adopted Buddhism after the Kalinga war. He sent Dhamma Mahamatras to other countries to propagate Buddhism. He changed a small religion into a world religion.
6. Lover of Peace: Ashoka started to hate wars after the Kalinga war. He left the policy of war and became a lover of peace.
7. Art: Arts also made great progress during his tenure. He built many Stupas and Viharas and founded two new cities of Srinagar and Devapattan.
8. Ashoka’s Dhamma: Ashoka propagated Dhamma for the moral upliftment of his subjects. According to this, one should live a simple and pure life and respect his parents and teacher.
9. Religious Tolerance: He equally respected all the religions. That is why he helped other religions as well as Buddhism. It tells us about his greatness.
10.Large Empire: Ashoka had a large empire which stretched from the Himalayas to Karnataka, from the Bay of Bengal to Hindukush and to Arabian Sea in the west.
After looking at the given description we can say that Ashoka was actually one of the greatest kings of the world. That is why Dr R.K. Mukherji wrote that “In the annals of kingship there is scarcely any record comparable to Ashoka”.
Write a note on the main sources of Mauryan history.
Explain any four sources to reconstruct the history of Maury as. (C.B.S.E. 2016 (D))
Maurya dynasty is the first dynasty of India about which we have correct and enough historical information. It tied whole of India with a thread of unity. This dynasty was founded by Chandragupta Maurya. We get this information from various sources which are given below:
1. Description of Megasthenes: Megasthenes was a Greek resident. He remained as an ambassador of Seleucus in the court of Chandragupta Maurya from 302 B.C.E. to 298 B.C.E. He wrote a book called ‘Indica’ in which he wrote about the Mauryan ruler, his administration and social condition of that age. Although this book is not available, still some of the descriptions of his book are available in a few Greek and other books. We can clearly get information about Mauryan empire by collecting all these descriptions.
2. Arthashastra of Kautilya: Kautilya (Chanakya) was the teacher and prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya. Kautilya wrote an epic called ‘Arthashastra’. He wrote about various political theories in his book. Kautilya wrote that “King should run the administration with the help of his ministers even if he is an autocratic ruler”. Actually, Chandragupta used his political concepts and became a successful king. Proper analysis of Kautilya’s Arthashastra gives us enough information about administration and society under Mauryan rule.
3. Mudrarakshasa: It is a historical play written in the fifth century. It was written by the famous writer of Gupta age, Vishakhadutta. This play tells us how Nanda dynasty was destroyed by Chandragupta Maurya and how he founded the Mauryan empire.
4. Epics of Jainism and Buddhism: Jain and Buddhist literature also give us enough information about Mauryan age. We can take Mahavams, Dipavams and Mahabodhivamas for this purpose. Kalpasutra of Jainism can also be used in this regard. Jain literature tells us that Chandragupta Maurya became a follower of Jainism in the last days of his rule. Buddhist literature informs us that Ashoka was very cruel at an early age but became very kind when he adopted Buddhism.
5. Puranas: Puranas also give us enough information about the Mauryan age. They inform us that Nanda rulers were Shudras. Chanakya destroyed them and made Chandragupta as the new king. But modern scholars are of the view that many things written in Puranas could have been imaginary.
6. Other Sources:
(a) Ashoka engraved descriptions on caves, inscriptions and rocks in his empire. These descriptions give us enough information about his administration, religious policy, Mauryan age and the character of Ashoka.
(b) Coins issued by Mauryan rulers also proved to be a vital source of Mauryan history.
What is the importance of the emergence of Gupta age in Indian history?
Gupta age occupies an important place in ancient Indian history. All the rebellious elements remained no more with the advent of this age and political unity came into the scenario. Peace and security were established in the country and all the internal conflicts came to an end. The country made huge progress in the fields of art and literature. The whole atmosphere was filled with peace and prosperity. In short, the following are the important aspects of this age :
1. End of Darkness: After the Mauryan empire, peace was established in-country during Kushanas. But it lasted only for a short span of time. After Kushanas, again, internal conflicts and wars started. We do not have enough information about the kings who ruled during this age of chaos but this darkness came to an end with the advent of the Gupta age. We have enough sources to know about the history of Gupta kings and life during the Gupta age. In short, we can say that the dark age of our history remained no more with the advent of Gupta age.
2. Political Unity: Country was divided into smaller states before the Gupta age. Nag and Vakatak were important dynasties. Except these, Yoddeya, Licchhavi, Malwa, etc., dynasties were also present. Kings of these dynasties were often engaged in wars with each other. There was no powerful king in the country who could establish political unity in the country. Kanishka was an able and powerful ruler but his tenure was very small. Gupta kings established political unity in the country.
3. Peace and Prosperity: Gupta kings provided top quality administration and established peace in the country. Trade was encouraged and the country became prosperous.
4. Re-emergence of Hinduism: Hinduism re-emerged during the Gupta age. Buddhism made huge progress during the reign of Ashoka and Kanishka. But Gupta kings were the followers of Hinduism which spread to a great deal during their reign.
5. Progress in Fine Arts: Fine arts also made huge progress during the Gupta age. Beautiful sculptures and paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses were made. Ajanta Caves were built during this age. The art of metal sculptures also developed in this age.
6. Progress in Literature: Gupta age was very important from the literary point of view. Sanskrit language and Sanskrit literature made huge progress in the country. Kalidasa was born in this age and so was Vishakhadatta. Harissa and Amarsena held an important place in Sanskrit literature. Except these, books were written on astrology, mathematics, geography, chemistry, etc. Aryabhatta, Varhamihira and Brahma Gupta were the great scientists of this age.
7. Foreign Relation: Actually Gupta age holds an important place in Indian history. The first time, Indians went over to foreign countries to spread their culture. Centres of Indian culture were made in Java, Sumatra, Bali, Burma and other countries. Even Indians made colonies in various other countries.
8. Foreign powers in the country came to an end during this age. Samudragupta defeated foreign kings and made India free from the rule of foreign kings.
Kings, Farmers and Towns Important Extra Questions HOTS
What is meant by inscription?
The writings engraved on a hard surface like stone, metal or pottery are known as inscriptions. Inscriptions generally recorded the achievements, activities or ideas of those who commissioned them.
What is meant by Janapada?
The land where a Jana (a person, clan or tribe) sets its foot or settles is known as Janapada. This word is used in both Prakrit and Sanskrit languages.
Why did the 20th-century nationalist leaders consider Ashoka as a source of inspiration?
As compared to other rulers, Ashoka was very powerful, strong and hard-working. He had his own principles and ideas. Unlike other rulers, he was very humble. He did not attach big titles with his name. Because of his such qualities, the 20th-century nationalist leaders considered Ashoka as a source of inspiration.
What are Sangam Texts?
Sangam Texts are the books written in the Tamil language. They are a kind of poems which tell us how the chiefs of Tamilakam region accumulated and arranged their resources.
Who was Harisena?
Harissa was the court poet of the king Samudragupta. He had composed Prayag Prashasti in praise and honour of Samudragupta. It is known as pillar inscription in Allahabad and is in the Sanskrit language.
Why the relationship between a king and rural population could often be strained?
The rural population generally consisted of farmers. Kings frequently demanded high taxes which were collected strictly. That is why the relationship between a king and the rural population was often strained. Escaping into the forest was always an option for the farmers.
What is meant by Numismatics?
Numismatics is the study of coins. It includes the study of script and images and analysis of metallurgy.
What does Aggarhar mean?
Aggarhar means the land donated to the BrahmAnswer: No land revenue or any other kind of tax was collected from the BrahmAnswer: On the other hand, the Brahmans were empowered to collect tax from the local people.
Mention any two ways in which the inscriptions of land grants help us to understand the rural society in ancient times. (C.B.S.E. 2008)
- The land grants give us a glimpse of the relationship between the state and the farmers.
- There were some people who were not under the control of officials or feudal lords. They included those who reared animals, hunters, fishers, sculptors and nomadic farmers.
Briefly describe the new trends that emerged from 6th century B.C.E. and their sources.
There is evidence of new trends that emerged from 6th century B.C.E. which were as follows:
1. Probably the most visible was the emergence of early states, empires and kingdoms. Some other changes were responsible for these political processes. These are evident in the ways in which agricultural production was organised.
2. Simultaneously, new towns emerged throughout the sub-continent.
Historians try to understand these developments with the help of certain sources like inscriptions, texts, coins and visual material.
Which Mahajanapada emerged as the strongest state during the period 6th to 4th century B.C.E. ? What were its reasons?
State the factors that helped Magadha emerge as the most powerful Mahajanapada in the 6th century B.C.E.
How did Magadha become the most powerful Mahajanapada between sixth to fourth century B.C.E. ? Give two reasons. (C.B.S.E 2014 (O.D.))
From the 6th to 4th century B.C.E., Magadha (present-day Bihar) emerged as the most powerful Mahajanapada. The modern historians have cited many reasons for it :
1. Agriculture was quite advanced and productive in the Magadha region. Due to a good amount of rain, there was always abundant production of all crops.
2. Magadha had considerable storage of iron. So it was easy to manufacture strong weapons and ornaments.
3. Elephants were available in large numbers in the forest areas. These elephants were considered as an important part of the army.
4. Because of the Ganga and its tributaries, transportation was both cheap and easy.
5. Magadha had two capitals namely Rajgir and Patliputra. It was very difficult for the enemy forces to attain victory over both of these capitals.
6. According to many early Buddhist and Jain writers, the policies of different rulers were also responsible for the strong position of Magadha. They stated that rulers like Bimbisara, Ajatasatru and Mahapadam Nanda were quite ambitious. Their policies were introduced by their ministers.
What was the impact of new strategies of agriculture on the social status of the people associated with agriculture?
While new strategies of agriculture often led to an increase in production, they also led to increasing in differences among different categories. There is a mention of landless agricultural labourers, small peasants as well as large landholders in stories of Buddhist traditions. The word ‘Ganapati was often used in Pali texts for second and third categories. Big landlords and village headmen were considered very powerful.
They generally exercised control over farmers. Post of village headman was generally hereditary. There is some mention of different categories, associated with agriculture in early Tamil (Sangam) literature, like large landowners or Vellalar, ploughmen or Uzhavar and slaves or Adimai. Probably the differences were based on differential access to land, labour and some of the new technologies question of control over land must become crucial in this type of situation.
How was Kharosthi script read?
Explain how Kharosthi was deciphered. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (D))
There is an interesting story of the decipherment of Kharosthi script which was used in inscriptions in the northeast. Indo-Greek kings ruled over the area in second-first centuries B.C.E. They minted the coins and these found coins solved the puzzle. Names of kings written on these coins were in Greek and Kharosthi scripts.
European scholars compared the letters who could read Greek. For example, the symbol ‘a’ was used in both scripts for writing names like Apollodorus. Since James Princep identified the language of Kharosthi as Prakrit, it became possible to read inscriptions as well.
Kings, Farmers and Towns Important Extra Questions Source-Based
Read the following passages and answer the questions given below :
What did the King’s Officials do?
Here is an excerpt from the account of Megasthenes :
Of the great officers of state, some…superintend the rivers, measure the land, as is done in Egypt, and inspect the sluices by which water is let out from the main canals into their branches, so that everyone may have an equal supply of it. The same persons have charge also of the huntsmen and are entrusted with the power of rewarding or punishing them according to their deserts. They collect the taxes and superintend the occupations connected with the land; as those of the woodcutters, the carpenters, the blacksmiths, and the miners.
(i) Which empire is Megasthenes referring to?
Megasthenes is referring to the Mauryan empire.
(ii) What similarity does Megasthenes tell about the officials of Egypt and this empire?
In both the places, a few officials looked after and superintended the rivers and measured the land
(iii) Why was this work assigned to those officials who supervised the main gate of the canal water? What more work did they perform?
The work was assigned to those officials so that everyone may have an equal supply of water. The same persons also supervised the huntsmen and punished or rewarded them in accordance with their performance. They also collected taxes. They performed many functions connected with the land. They also inspected the work of the wood-cutters, the carpenters, the blacksmiths and the miners
(iv) How many committees and sub¬- committees have been referred to by Megasthenes for the conduct of military activities?
For the conduct and coordination of military activities, Megasthenes has referred to various committees and sub-committees. Out of the six sub-committees, one looked after the navy, the second managed transport and supply of material or provisions. The third sub¬committee looked after the fort soldiers. The fourth, the fifth and the sixth sub-committees maintained respectively horses, chariots and the elephants.
Capturing Elephants for the Army
The Arthashastra lays down minute details of administrative and military organisation. This is what it says about how to capture elephants: Guards of elephant forests, assisted by those who rear elephants, those who enchain the legs of elephants, those who guard the boundaries, those who live in forests, as well as by those who nurse elephants, shall with the help of five or seven female elephants to help in tethering wild ones, trace the whereabouts of herds of elephants by following the course of urine and dung left by elephants.
According to Greek sources, the Mauryan ruler had a standing army of 600,000 foot-soldiers, 30,000 cavalry and 9,000 elephants. Some historians consider these accounts to be exaggerated.
(i) Whose creation is the Arthashastra?
The Arthashastra is the creation of Kautilya
(ii) Why were the elephants captured?
The elephants were captured for the army
(iii) How were the elephants captured?
The elephants were captured by the forest guards. In this task, the guards took the help of those who reared and nursed elephants. Then some people enchained the legs of elephants. Sometimes the help of four or five female elephants was also taken. They traced the whereabouts of the elephants by following the course of their urine and dung.
(iv) According to Greek sources, how many armies did the Mauryan emperor have? Are all the historians unanimous about it?
According to Greek sources, the army of the Mauryan ruler included the following :
(a) 600,000-foot soldiers
(b) 30,000 cavalry
(c) 9,000 elephants.
But all the historians are not unanimous about these figures. Many of them consider these figures to be exaggerated.
The Pandya Chief Senguttuvan Visits the Forest
This is an excerpt from the Silappadikaram, an epic written in Tamil :
(When he visited the forest) people came down the mountain, singing and dancing…. just as the defeated show respect to the victorious king, so did they bring gifts—ivory, fragrant wood, fans made of the hair of deer, honey, sandalwood, red ochre, antimony, turmeric, cardamom, pepper, etc. .. they brought coconuts, mangoes, medicinal plants, fruits, onions, sugarcane, flowers, areca nut, bananas, baby tigers, lions, elephants, monkeys, bear, deer, musk deer, fox, peacocks, musk cat, wild cocks, speaking parrots, etc., …
(i) From where has this excerpt been taken? In which language has this epic been written?
This excerpt has been taken from ‘The Silappadikaram’. It is an epic written in Tamil
(ii) Whose visit to a forest has been described in it?
It describes the visit of the Pandya Chief Senguttuvan to the forest.
(iii) How did the people welcome him?
The people welcomed him with singing and dancing. They showed him as much respect as the defeated show to the victorious.
(iv) What gifts had the people brought? Name any eight.
The people brought many kinds of gifts. They included :
(a) Ivory (b) Fragrant wood
(c) Honey (d) Sandalwood
(e) Red Ochre (/) Antimony
(g) Turmeric (h) Cardamom
In Praise of Samudragupta
This is an excerpt from the Prayaga Prashasti: He was without an antagonist on earth; he, by the overflowing of the multitude of (his) many good Question ualities adorned by hundreds of good actions, has wiped off the fame of other kings with the soles of (his) feet; (he is) Purusha (the Supreme Being), being the cause of the prosperity of the good and the destruction of the bad (he is) incomprehensible; (he is) one whose tender heart can be captured only by devotion and humility; (he is) possessed of compassion; (he is) the giver of many hundred-thousands of cows; (his) mind has received ceremonial initiation for the uplift of the miserable, the poor, the forlorn and the suffering; (he is) resplendent and embodied kindness to mankind; (he is) equal to (the gods) Kubera (the god of wealth), Varuna (the god of the ocean), Indra (the god of rains) and Yama (the god of death)…
(i) From where has this excerpt been taken? Whose composition is this?
This excerpt has been taken from the Prayaga Prashasti, popularly known as the Allahabad Pillar Inscription. It has been composed by Harisena, the court poet of Samudragupta.
(ii) What is its original language?
Its original language is Sanskrit.
(iii) Who was Samudragupta? With which gods has he been compared?
Samudragupta was the most powerful of the Gupta rulers. So he has been compared to Kubera, the god of wealth, Varuna, the god of the ocean, Indra, the god of rains and Yama, the god of death.
(iv) Which qualities and achievements of Samudragupta have been discussed by the author? Give any four.
According to Harisena :
(a) Samudragupta stood for the prosperity of the good and the destruction of the bad.
(b) He had a tender heart which could easily be won by humility or devotion.
(c) He was without an antagonist on earth.
(d) He worked for the upliftment of the miserable, the poor, the forlorn and the suffering.
The Sudarshana (beautiful) Lake in Gujarat
The Sudarshana lake was an artificial reservoir. We know about it from a rock inscription (c. second century CE) in Sanskrit, composed to record the achievements of the Shaka ruler Rudradaman.
The inscription mentions that the lake, with embankments and water channels, was built by a local government during the rule of the Mauryas. However, a terrible storm broke the embankments and water gushed out of the lake. Rudradaman, who was then ruling in the area, claimed to have got the lake repaired using his own resources, without imposing any tax on his subjects.
Another inscription on the same rock (c. fifth century) mentions how one of the rulers of the Gupta dynasty got the lake repaired once again.
(i) What was the Sudarshana Lake? From where do we get information about it?
The Sudarshana lake was a beautiful lake in
Gujarat. It was an artificial reservoir of water. We know about it from a rock inscription of the 2nd century.
(ii) Who got this lake built? How did its water gush out?
The lake was got built by a local government during the rule of the Mauryas. However, its embankments were broken in a terrible storm. So all the water gushed out of this lake.
(iii) Who got it repaired the first time using whose resources?
For the first time, the lake was got repaired by Rudradaman who was the ruler of that area. He used his own resources.
(iv) Who got it repaired the second time?
For the second time, the lake was repaired by the rulers of the Gupta dynasty.
The Importance of Boundaries
The Manusmriti is one of the best-known legal texts of early India, written in Sanskrit and compiled between c. second century BCE and c. second century CE. This is what the text advises the king to do :
Seeing that in the world controversies constantly arise due to the ignorance of boundaries, he should have concealed boundary markers buried—stones, bones, cow’s hair, chaff, ashes, potsherds, dried cow dung, bricks, coal, pebbles and sand. He should also have other similar substances that would not decay in the soil buried as hidden markers at the intersection of boundaries.
(i) Why did the controversies of boundaries arise? Explain.
The controversies of boundaries arose mainly due to two reasons—ignorance of boundaries and nature to expand empires.
(ii) Suggest ways to solve the boundary problems.
Fixation of boundaries is necessary to resolve the controversies of boundaries. For this, concealed boundary markers should be there. Moreover, boundary controversies must be resolved through mutual discussion and not through wars.
(iii) Explain with an example of any such problem being faced by India today. (C.B.S.E. 2011)
Yes, these days boundary controversy is going between India and China. Sometimes China declares Arunachal Pradesh as its state and sometimes to Assam. That is why it always tries to cross our borders. On the other side, border controversy was always there between India and Pakistan.
Life in a Small Village
The Harshacharita is a biography of Harshavardhana, the ruler of Kanauj, composed in Sanskrit by his court poet, Banabhatta (c. seventh century CE). This is an excerpt from the text, an extremely rare representation of life in a settlement on the outskirts of a forest in the Vindhyas :
The outskirts being for the most part forest, many parcels of rice-land, threshing ground and arable land were being apportioned by small farmers. it was mainly spaded culture owing to the difficulty of ploughing the sparsely scattered fields covered with grass, with their few clear spaces, their black soil stiff as black iron There were people moving along with bundles of bark countless sacks of plucked flowers, loads of flax and hemp bundles, quantities of honey, peacocks tail feathers, wreaths of wax, logs, and grass. Village wives hastened en route for neighbouring villages, all intent on thoughts of sale and bearing on their heads baskets filled with various gathered forest fruits.
(i) From which book has this excerpt been taken? Who was the author of this book?
This excerpt has been taken from Harshacharita written in Sanskrit. This book is a biography of Harshavardhana. Its author was Banabhatta, the court-poet of Harsha¬vardhana.
(ii) Who was Harshavardhana?
Harshavardhana was the ruler of Kanauj in the seventh century.
(iii) The life of which settlement has been described in this excerpt? Enumerate its any three geographical features.
This excerpt is a beautiful depiction of life in a settlement on the outskirts of a forest in Vindhyas. Its geographical features are as follows :
(a) The land of this settlement was fertile. The people grew paddy or rice in it.
(b) It was difficult to plough the sparsely scattered fields covered with grass.
(c) The land had only a few clear spaces. The black soil of this settlement was as stiff as the black iron.
(iv) Which things the people of this settlement sold in other villages?
The people of this settlement used to sell the following things in other villages :
(a) The bark of a tree (b) lowers
(c) Flax (d) Honey
(e) Tail feathers of peacocks (f) Wax
(g) Forest fruit (h) Logs and grass
Prabhavati Gupta and the Village of Danguna
This is what Prabhavati Gupta states in her inscription :
Prabhavati Gupta commands the gramakutumbinas (householders/peasants living in the village), Brahmanas and others living in the village of Danguna…
“Be it known to you that on the twelfth (lunar day) of the bright (fortnight) of Karttika, we have, in order to increase our religious merit donated this village with the pouring out of the water, to the Acharya (teacher) Chanalasvamin You should obey all (his) commands
We confer on (him) the following exemptions typical of an agrahara….(this village is) not to be entered by soldiers and policemen ; (It is) exempt from (the obligation to provide) grass, (animal) hides as seats, and charcoal (to touring royal officers); exempt from (the royal prerogative of ) purchasing fermenting liquors and digging (salt); exempt from (the right to) mines and Khedira trees; exempt from the obligation to supply) flowers and milk; (it is donated) together with (the right to) hidden treasures and deposits (and) together with major and minor taxes This
charter has been written in the thirteenth (regnal) year. (It has been) engraved by Chakradasa.
(i) Who has issued this inscription?
This inscription has been issued by Prabhavati Gupta.
(ii) Why does she want to donate land? Who is the recipient of the donation of land?
She wanted to donate land to increase her religious merit. The recipient of the land is Acharya Chanalasvamin.
(iii) What were the exemptions on the land of a typical agrahara?
The following exemptions were available on
land of a typical agrahara:
(a) The soldiers and policemen will not enter the village given in donation.
(b) Grass, charcoal and animal hides as seats with not be provided to those administrative officials who visit the village.
(c) The village was exempted to pay minerals, Khadira trees, flowers and milk.
(d) Exemption from purchasing fermenting liquors and digging salt.
(iv) Discuss the importance of this source. Give any three points.
(a) This inscription shows that Prabhavati Gupta had access to land. She could also donate it at her will.
(b) The kings donated land to strengthen their losing control over the Samanthas. They also tried to project themselves as supermen.
(c) The land grants were a part of the strategy adopted by the elite people to extend agriculture to new areas.
The Malabar Coast (present-day Kerala)
“Here is an excerpt from Periplus of the I Erythraean Sea, composed by an anonymous I ‘ Greek sailor (c. first century CE) :
They (i.e. traders from abroad) send large I ’ ships to these market-towns on account of I ‘ the great quantity and bulk of pepper and I; malabathrum (possibly cinnamon, produced in these regions). There are imported here, in the first place, a great quantity of the coin; topaz….. antimony (a mineral used as a colouring substance), coral, crude glass, copper-tin, lead There is exported pepper, which is produced in quantity in only one region near these markets Besides this there are exported great quantities of fine pearls, ivory, silk cloth, transparent stones of all kinds, diamonds and sapphires, and tortoiseshell.
Archaeological evidence of a bead-making; 1 industry, using precious and semi-precious * I stones, has been found in Kodumanal (Tamil [ Nadu). It is likely that local traders brought ^ the stones mentioned in the Periplus from sites such as these to the coastal ports.
(i) Explain the importance of the Malabar Coast.
Malabar Coast was an important centre of commercial activities in ancient times. It was used to export pepper, cinnamon, pearls, ivory and transparent stones of all kinds. Diamonds and sapphires besides tortoiseshell were also exported from this port. These things were in great demand in the Roman empire.
(ii) How did the exchange of goods take place? Explain with example.
Exchange of goods was generally done through the exchange of things. Later on, coins were started which led to increasing in trade.
(iii) Explain the working of the bead making industry.
Bead was made with both precious and semi-precious stones.
(iv) Who used these land and river routes? (C.B.S.E. 2011 (O.D.))
These land and river routes were used by foreign traders.
The Orders of the King
Thus speaks king Devanampiya Piyadassi :
In the past, there were no arrangements for disposing of affairs, nor for receiving regular reports. But I have made the following (arrangement). Pativedakas should report to me about the affairs of the people at all times, anywhere, whether I am eating, in the inner apartment, in the bedroom, in the cow pen, being carried (possibly in a palanquin), or in the garden. And I will dispose of the affairs of the people everywhere.
(i) Who was the king Devanhmpiya Piyadassi ? What do Devanampiya and Piyadassi mean ?
The Devanampiya Piyadassi ruler was the king Ashoka. Devanampiya meant ‘the beloved of the gods’. Similarly, piyadassi meant ‘pleasant to behold or see’.
(ii) Which weakness did the king point out of his predecessors?
Ashoka pointed out that the earlier rulers had made no arrangements to receive the reports. There was also no arrangement to dispose of affairs.
(iii) What had he done? What was its objective?
Ashoka made the arrangement that Pativedakas (Reporter) could report to him about the affairs of the people any time and anywhere. He ordered that he must be informed even if he was eating his food or relaxing in the garden or bed-room. In fact, he wanted to dispose of the affairs of the people everywhere.
(iv) What do the scholars who read the inscriptions say?
Those who read the inscriptions are called
The Anguish of the King
When the king Devanampiya Piyadassi had been ruling for eight years, the (country of the) Kalingas (present-day coastal Odisha) was conquered by (him). One hundred and fifty thousand men were deported, a hundred thousand were killed, and many more died. After that, now that (the country of) the Kalingas has been taken, Devanampiya (is devoted) to an intense study of Dhamma, to the love of Dhamma, and to instructing (the people) in Dhamma.
This is the repentance of Devanampiya on account of his conquest of the (country of the) Kalingas.
For this is considered very painful and deplorable by Devanampiya that, while one is conquering an unconquered (country) slaughter, death and deportation of people (take place) there
(i) When did Ashoka win Kalinga?
Ashoka conquered Kalinga when he had completed eight years of his rule.
(ii) Describe the destruction caused by the Kalinga war?
One lac people w7ere killed in the Kalinga war. Besides one lac and a half (one hundred and fifty thousand men) people were deported.
(iii) What were the effects of the Kalinga war on Ashoka?
The effects of the Kalinga war on Ashoka were as follows :
(a) He renounced wars forever.
(b) He devoted his time to an intense study of Dhamma. He loved Dhamma and instructed his people to preach it in all corners of the world.
(c) He always thought of the welfare of his people.
(iv) Flow did Ashoka express his anguish ?
Ashoka expressed his anguish by saying that his victory over Kalinga was very painful and deplorable. His conquest led to the slaughter, death and deportation of people.