Here we are providing Class 12 History Important Extra Questions and Answers Chapter 3 Kinship, Caste and Class: Early Societies. Class 12 History Important Questions are the best resource for students which helps in class 12 board exams.
Class 12 History Chapter 3 Important Extra Questions Kinship, Caste and Class: Early Societies
Kinship, Caste and Class Important Extra Questions Very Short Answer Type
Under whose leadership the process of preparing the critical edition of Mahabharata started?
Under the leadership of V.S. Shankar.
How many years did it take to complete the critical edition of Mahabharata?
What is Kinfolk?
A larger network of families is called Kinfolk.
Which system of lineage was followed by most of the ruling dynasties?
They followed the system of patriline.
Who did not have any claim to the resources of the household?
Daughters did not have any such claim.
When was Manusmriti compiled?
Manusmriti complied between C. 200 BCE and 200 C.E.
How many forms of marriage were recognized in Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras?
Eight forms of marriage.
On what basis Brahmanas were classified from 100 BCE onwards?
They were classified on the basis of their gotras.
Where did Satavahanas rule?
Satavahanas ruled over parts of western India and the Deccan.
What is polygynous?
When a male marries more than one female, it is called polygynous.
Through which side the Satavahana rulers were identified?
They were identified through metronymic or through mother’s side.
From where did Shakas Came?
Shakas came from Central Asia.
Who was regarded as Mlechchhas?
Shakas were regarded as Mlechchhas.
Where did the duties of the Chandalas lay down?
The Manusmriti laid down the duties of the Chandalas.
Which Chines monk come to India during the fifth century CE?
With whom is the central story of Mahabharata associated?
The central story of Mahabharata is about two sets of warring cousins. This text also contains sections laying down norms of behavior for different social groups. The principal characters, occasionally, seem to follow these norms.
Why and among whom, the war of Mahabharata was fought? What was its result?
The war of Mahabharata was fought between Kauravas and Pandavas. It was fought to acquire land and authority. Both the parties were related to the Kuru clan. The war was won by the Pandavas.
Distinguish between Patriliny and Matriliny.
Priligy means: to trace descent from father to son, grandson, and so on. On the other hand, matriliny means to trace the descent through the mother.
What were Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras ?
Brahmanas layer down codes of social behavior in great detail. They were supposed to be followed by Brahmanas in particular and by the rest of society in general. From 50 BCE, these norms were compiled in Sanskrit texts which were known as Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras.
What were the two most important rules about the gotra? Mention two rules about gotra, particularly of women, according to Brahmanical practice after 1000 B.C.E. (C.B.S.E. 2009 (O.D.))
Mention the two rules about the classification of people in terms of gotra under Brahmanical practice; around 1000 BCE onwards. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
- After marriage, every woman gave up the gotra of her father and adopted the gotra of her husband.
- Members of the same gotra could not marry.
Who was Gandhari? What advice had she given to Duryodhana? What was its impact on Duryodhana?
Gandhari was the mother of the Kauravas. She had advised her eldest son Duryodhana not to wage a war against the Pandavas. But it had no effect on Duryodhana. He fought against the Pandavas and was defeated.
Who were Gotama and Vashishtha? Which earlier rulers gotra’s names were taken by their names? Give examples.
Gotama and Vashishtha were Vedic seers. Gotras of Satvahana kings were taken by their names like :
- Raja Gotami-puta Siri-Satakani.
- Raja Vasithi-puta (Sami) Siri Pulumayi.
Where did endogamy prevail in India during 600 B.C.E.—600 C.E. ? What was its importance?
Endogamy existed in certain South India communities between 600 BCE—600 CE and it still exists. Such marriages among kinfolk ensured a close-knit community.
What do the names of Satavahana rulers indicate towards the status of mothers in the society? Is this thing applicable to succession to the throne?
How were mothers important under the Satavahana rule? Give an example to support your Answer. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
Satavahana rulers were identified through metonymies means that names were derived from that of the mother. It indicates that mothers had an important place in society.
This thing is not applicable on succession to the throne as it was generally patrilineal.
According to the Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda, how did the four Varnas emerge under the Varna system?
According to the Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda, the four Varnas emerged from the sacrifice of the Purusha, the primeval man. All the four social categories emanated from his body. His mouth became the Brahmanas and the arms came out to be Kshatriyas. His thighs became the Vaishya and from his feet, the fourth Varna was born.
Who was designated as Chandalas by Brahmanas? What was their place in society?
Some people were engaged in occupations like handling corpses and dead animals. These occupations were considered impure. Those who performed such tasks were designated as Chandalas. They were placed at the very bottom of the hierarchy.
What has been said about the right on paternal property in the Manusmriti?
How was a paternal estate to be I ’ divided after the death of the parents, according to Manusmriti? (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
According to the Manusmriti, the paternal property should be equally divided among all the sons after the death of their parents. However, the eldest son is entitled to a special share. The women were not allowed to demand any share in this property.
Tell any two pieces of evidence to show that the people were linked to matriliny.
- Many inscriptions of the powerful Satavahanas have been found. They tell us that many rulers had their lineage from matriliny.
- There is a list of the hierarchy of ancestors in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. It contains a list of successive generations of teachers and students. Most of them were designated as metronymic.
What is the Bhagavad Gita ?
The Bhagavad Gita is perhaps the most important didactic section of the Mahabharata. It contains the advice offered by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Who, according to traditions, is considered as the author of Mahabharata? From whom did he scribe the epic?
According to literary traditions, Maharishi Ved Vyasa is considered the author of Mahabharata. He scribed this epic from the Lord Ganesha.
Mention two ideal occupations of Brahmanas according to Dharmashastras. (C.B.S.E. 2009 (D))
According to Dharmashastras, two ideal occupations of Brahmanas are:
- Study and teach the Vedas.
- Perform sacrifices and get sacrifices performed as well as give and receive gifts.
How were the Shakas, who came from Central Asia, regarded by the Brahmanas? Name their best-known ruler and one of his contributions. (C.B.S.E. 2009 (D))
Shakas, who came from Central Asia were regarded as Mlechchhas or the barbarians were: or outsiders by the Brahmanas.
Rudradaman was their best-known ruler and one of the major contributions of Rudradaman was that he rebuilt Sudarshana lake.
Mention any two ideal occupations of Kshatriyas according to Dharma-shastras. (C.B.S.E. 2009 (D))
- Kshatriyas were expected to engage in warfare, protect people and administer justice.
- They were expected to study the Vedas, get sacrifices performed, and give gifts.
Mention two such populations which were beyond the four varnas and I) were viewed with suspicion. Give one characteristic of each. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
- Forest dwellers for whom hunting and gathering remained an important means of subsistence.
- Mlechchhas who spoke non-Sanskritic languages.
Kinship, Caste and Class Important Extra Questions Short Answer Type
“The Mahabharata is a story of changing relationships.” Discuss. How did it strengthen the ideal of patriline?
Describe how the kinship relations changed with reference to Mahabharata. (C.B.S.E. 2011 (O.D.))
The Mahabharata is a good source to study the Kinfolk’s values of ancient times.” Justify this statement with suitable arguments. (C.B.S.E. 2013 (D))
“The central story of Mahabharata reinforced the idea of kinship and succession”. Explain.
(C.B.S.E. 2011 (O.D.))
“The Mahabharata is a story of Kinship, marriages, and patriline.” Examine the statement.
(C.B.S.E. 2017 (D))
In reality, the Mahabharata is a story of changing human relations. It depicts a struggle and clash for land and authority between two parties of cousins namely the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Both sides were related to the Kuru clan which ruled over the Kuru region. Their conflict resulted in a full-fledged war. The Pandavas won this war. Thereafter, an announcement was made about patriline inheritance.
Though the tradition of patrimony was vague even before the composition of this epic, yet, the content of the Mahabharata strengthened the ideal of patriline. According to the principle of patriline, the sons, after the death of their father, could claim their right to resources. In the case of the kings, this claim included even the throne.
When and how people were classified into gotras by Brahmanas? Were these rules applicable to the Satavahana clan?
Mention any two features of gotra as per the Brahmanical practice. What evidences do we get from the Satavahana inscriptions regarding the inheritance of gotra? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2014 (O.D.))
From C. 1000 BCE onwards, people were classified into gotras by Brahmanas. Each gotra was named after a Vedic seer as all the members of that gotra were assumed as the descendants of that seer. There were two important rules of gotras:
- The woman had to adopt the gotra of her husband after her marriage.
- Members of the same gotra could not marry each other.
Rules of Gotra and Satavahana kings: Some of the Satavahana rulers had more than one wife (polygamy). A study of the names of wives of Satavahana rulers reveals that few of them had names derived from gotras such as Gotama and Vashishtha which were their father’s gotras. They probably had retained these names instead of adopting the names of their husband’s gotras. Some women also belonged to the same gotra as their husbands. This fact was against the rules of exogamy. This fact actually exemplified an alternative practice that of endogamy or marriage within the kin group.
What was the relationship between the Varna system and occupation according to Brahmanical texts? Which strategies were used by Brahmanas for l enforcing these norms? (From Sample Paper)
What according to the Dharmashastras, were the ideal occupations for the four Varnas? Give one way in which the Brahmanas tried to enforce these norms. (C.B.S.E. 2008 (D))
Explain the rules contained in Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras about the ideal occupations of the four categories of Varnas. (CJB.S.E. 2012 (D))
Explain the ideal occupation as laid down in Dharmashastras and Dharmasutras for the four varnas. (C.B.S.E. 2014 (O.D.))
The relation between the Varna system and occupations according to Brahminical texts.
1. Brahamanas: Study and teach the Vedas, perform sacrifices and get sacrifices performed as well as give and receive gifts.
2. Kshatriyas: Engage in warfare, protect people and administer justice, study the Vedas, get sacrifices performed, and give gifts.
3. Vaishyas: Study Vedas, perform yajnas, give gifts, agriculture, pastoralism, and trade.
4. Fourth Varna: Serving the higher three Varnas. Brahmanas used the following strategies to enforce these norms:
- Asserting that the Varna order was of divine origin.
- Advised kings to ensure that these norms were followed by their subjects.
- Attempted to persuade people that their status was determined by birth.
What is meant by Metronymics? Is this concept correct in the case of Satavahanas?
What evidences do we get from the Brahmanical practice and Satvahana lineage regarding the inheritance of gotra? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2013 (O.D.))
The meaning of Metronymics is that most importance is given to the mother in any clan or dynasty. The name of that clan is derived from the name of the mother. This social custom is clearly seen in the society of Satavahanas. Even kings used to associate the names of their mothers with their names.
Gotami-puta Satakani and Vasithi-puta are evidence of this practice. Although more importance was given to females in the society still Satavahana dynasty was patrilineal as the successor to the throne was generally a male member.
Who was Gotami-puta Satakani? Describe his main achievements.
Gotami-puta Satakani was the bravest king of the Satavahana dynasty. He ruled from 106 C.E. till 130 C.E. and increased the strength and prosperity of his dynasty. He called himself the alone Brahmana and killed many Kshatriyas. He also defeated the Shakas and claimed to destroy the Kshaharat dynasty.
The important leader of this dynasty was Nahapan. Whichever silver coins of Nahapan have been found, they indicate that they might have been minted again. This work could have been done after the defeat of Nahapan at the hands of Satakani. It has been believed that the empire of Satakani was spread from Malwa in the North and till Karnataka in the South. Probably Andhra Pradesh was also a part of his empire.
What was the relation between Varna and Property?
According to the Brahmanical texts, access to wealth was linked with the Varna. All the Varnas performed different jobs. The Brahmanas read the Vedas and taught their pupils. The Kshatriyas fought in the battles. The Vaishyas were engaged in the trade. But the Fourth Varna served all the above mentioned three Varnas.
In other words, the only occupation prescribed for the Fourth Varna was servitude. In fact, the Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas performed a variety of occupations. So they were the wealthiest men. The kings and priests were also very rich people. However on some occasions, the BrahmAnswer: are depicted to be poor.
What was the basis of criticism of the Varna system?
When Brahmanical ideas were being compiled in Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras, at that time some other traditions expressed their criticism of the Varna system. The most important criticism, out of these was developed in the early Buddhist religion (around the 6th century). Buddhists admitted that there existed differences in society but according to them these differences were not natural. They even rejected the idea of social prestige based on birth.
What did the Buddhists say about the inequalities prevalent in society? What does it indicate?
The Buddhists were aware of the social inequalities. So they developed institutions to regulate social conflict. There is a myth in the well-known text entitled ‘Sutta Pitaka’ which tells us that originally human beings did not have fully evolved bodily forms. Similarly, the world of plants was also not fully developed. All the people lived in an idyllic state of peace. They took from nature only what they needed for each meal.
However, this ideal state did not remain for long. There was a gradual deterioration in the peaceful stage. Most human beings became greedy, vindictive, and deceitful. So the people thought of electing a man who could set things in order. He would punish those who deserved to be punished. He would expel those who were fit to be expelled. In lieu of this job, he would be given a proportion of the produce. As he would be chosen by all people, he would be called as Mahasammata, i.e., the great elect.
From this, we come to know that the office of the king depended on the will of the people. In other words, the institution of kingship was based on human choice. People paid taxes for the services rendered to them by the king. This myth also indicates that human deeds play a great role in strengthening social and economic relations. For example, if human beings could create the system, they could also change it in the future.
While giving an example of Gotami-puta Satakani, clarify that assimilation in the caste system was a complex social process.
The most famous ruler of the Satavahana dynasty, Gotami-puta Satakani claimed himself as the only Brahmana and acted as a destroyer of the prestige of Kshatriyas. He also claimed that he restricted the marital relations between the four Varnas but he himself established marital relations with the family of Rudradaman.
On the basis of this example, we can say that assimilation in the caste system was a complex social process. Satavahana kings claimed themselves as Brahamanas but according to Brahmanical shastras, Kshatriya should be the king. They claimed to maintain the integrity of the four-fold Varna system but established marital relations with those who were not the part of Varna system. Except for this, they followed the endogamous form of marriage which was not sanctioned by the Brahmanical texts.
Explain the factors that should be kept in mind by the historians were: while handling textual traditions.
Explain any five elements considered by the historians were: while analyzing the texts. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (D))
While analyzing a book or a literary source, the historians were: should keep different aspects in their mind such as follows:
1. They should examine in which language the book has been written. They should see if the book has been written in Pali, Prakrit, or Tamil which were usually spoken by the people. They should also see if the book has been written in Sanskrit which was used by a particular section of the society.
2. The historians were: also paid attention to the kind of text. They tried to analyze if the text contained mantras or the stories which could be read or heard by the people.
3. The historians were: also wanted to know the authors whose views and perceptions gave a concrete shape to the text.
4. The historians were: also examine the audience because every author keeps in mind the audience.
5. They also analyze the possible period of the creation of the book.
Thus, every historian completely analyses the issues involved in the text. By examining the subject- matter, he can recreate history. This task becomes all the more intricate and complicated in texts like Mahabharata.
Write a brief note on the language and subject-matter or content of IVlahabharata.
How did the historians be: classify the content and the language of IVlahabharata? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (D))
Describe briefly how do the historians usually classify the contents of Mahabharata. Why is the text described as an itihas? (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
Explain the language and content of Mahabharata. (C.B.S.E. 2017 (O.D.)
Answer: Language :
The epic called Mahabharata is available in many languages but was actually written in Sanskrit. Sanskrit used in this epic is far simpler than the Sanskrit used in Vedas or Prashastis. That is why we can say that it was probably widely understood.
Content: The content of this epic is generally classified under two heads—narrative and didactic. The narrative section contains stories and the didactic section contains prescriptions about social norms. But this division is not clear in itself because the didactic section includes stories and the narrative contains a social message. However, generally, historians were: agree with the fact that this epic was meant to a dramatic, moving story. Didactic portions could have been added later.
This epic is described as an ‘itihasa’ within earlySanskritic tradition. The literal meaning of this term is ‘thus it was.’ HistoriAnswer: have different views about the war of Mahabharata. Some historians were: believe that memory of an actual conflict among kinfolk was preserved in the narrative. While some historians were: believe that there is no other corroborative evidence of the battle.
“The Mahabharata is a dynamic book.” Explain.
Describe the Mahabharata as a dynamic text. (C.B.S.E. 2011 (O.D.))
Explain why we call Mahabharata a ‘Dynamic, Text’. (C.B.S.E. 2014 (O.D.))
Explain how you will prove that the text of Mahabharata was a dynamic one. (C.B.S.E. 2017 (O.D.))
“The Mahabharata is an invaluable source available to historians were: to study social practices and norms in early societies.” Justify the statement with suitable examples. (C.B.S.E. 2019 (Comp.))
The Mahabharata is a great dynamic epic. It contains vivid descriptions of battles, forests, palaces, and settlements. Its growth was not hindered by its language, that is, Sanskrit Over the centuries, it has been written in many languages of the world. It depicts an on-going dialogue between the people and communities on the one hand and the authors on the other hand.
As it incorporated many stories that originated in different regions, the Mahabharata became an epical text. At the same time, the main story of the epic was often retold in different ways. Many episodes of this text had been depicted in sculptures and paintings. They also provide a wide range of themes and performing arts like plays, dances, and narratives.
Explain the factors that should be kept in mind by the historians were: while handling textual traditions. (Sample Paper)
While studying the literary traditions or sources, the historians were: should keep the following points in their minds:
1. They should examine the language of the book. They should see if the text is in Pali, Prakrit, or Tamil language – the language of the common people or if it is in Sanskrit, the language of the priests of the distinct or the elite people.
2. The form of the book whether it is in the form of the Mantras changed by the ritual specialists or is
it in narrative form, that is stories read, heard, and retold by the people.
3. To get information about the author of the book as his attitude and views, perspective and ideas affect the writing of the book.
4. For whom has the book been written as the author must have kept in his mind the taste and interest of the readers or audience.
5. To get information about the period of the creation or compilation of the book and to analyze its background.
Describe the position of the untouchables in ancient society. (C.B.S.E. 2008 (O.D.))
In ancient society, the position of the untouchables was very pitiable. They were kept at the lowest place in the society. They were assigned the following duties :
1. They were compelled to live outside the village.
2. They used discarded utensils. They wore clothes worn out by the dead at the time of their burial or cremation. They wore ornaments made of iron.
3. They were not allowed to move or walk in the village at night.
4. They had to perform the last rites of those dead persons who had no relatives. They also acted as the hang-man.
“The Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras also contained rules about the ideal occupations of the four categories of Varnas.” Critically examine the statement. (C.B.S.E. 2008 (O.D.))
The Dharmashastras and the Dharmasutras contained many rules regarding the ideal occupations of the four varnas. They are as follows:
1. The Brahmanas studied and taught the Vedas. They performed sacrifices and got sacrifices performed. They also gave and received gifts.
2. The Kshatriyas were engaged in warfare. They protected people and administered justice. They also studied the Vedas and gave gifts. They got sacrifices performed.
3. The Vaishyas were engaged in agriculture, pastoralism, and trade. They also studied the Vedas. They made gifts and got sacrifices performed.
4. The fourth varna was given only one occupation. Their prime duty was to serve the three higher varnas.
What did B.B. Lai note about the houses in the second phase of the Mahabharata period (C. twelfth-seventh centuries BCE)? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
B.B. Lai noted about the houses in the second phase (C. twelfth-seventh centuries BCE) that within the limited area excavated, no definite planner: of houses were obtained but walls of mud and mud bricks were duly encountered. The discovery of mud plaster with prominent reed-marks suggested that some of the houses had red walls plastered over the mud.”
Describe briefly the ideas found in Upnishadas about the relationship between human beings and the cosmic order.
Many ideas found in the Upanishads show that people were curious about the meaning of life, the possibility of life after death, and rebirth. Was rebirth due to past actions of an individual? Such issues were debated a great deal. Thinkers were also concerned with understanding and expressing the nature of the ultimate reality.
Other people, outside the Vedic tradition, asked whether or not there even was a single ultimate reality. People also started to speculate on the importance of the sacrificial tradition.
Explain the findings of the archaeologist B.B. Lai on excavations at the village named Hastinapur (Distt. .Meerut, U.P.). (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
B.B. Lai found evidence of five occupational levels of which the second and third are of interest to us. Lai wrote that within the limited area excavated, no definite planner: of houses were found but walls of mud and mud bricks were duly encountered. The reed walls were plastered over with mud.
For the third phase, he also wrote that the houses of this period were built of mud bricks and burnt bricks. Soakage jars and brick drains were used for draining out refuse water, while terracotta ring wells may have been used both as wells and drainage pits.
How are all families not identical? Explain the kind of variations that occurred in ancient times. C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
All families, in ancient times, were not identical. They vary in terms of the number of members,
their relations with each other, and the type of activities they share. Generally, people belonging to the same family share food and other resources, and they live, work and perform rituals together. Families are generally parts of a larger network of people defined as relatives or kinfolk. While familial ties are often regarded as natural and based on blood, they are defined in many different ways.
Kinship, Caste and Class Important Extra Questions Long Answer Type
Question 1. What is Mahabharata? How its critical edition was prepared?
Describe the various stages through which Mahabharata was compiled in the 20th century. (C.B.S.E. 2008 (D))
Describe briefly the method worked out by the team of scholars for comparing the verses for each manuscript of Mahabharata. What were their findings? (C.B.S.E. 2011 (D))
Describe the elements considered by historians were: to analyze Mahabharata. State the efforts of V.S. Sukthankar and his team for the preparation of the critical edition of Mahabharata. (C.B.S.E. 2019 (D))
Mahabharata is one of the most colossal epics of the sub-continent. This epic, in its present form, has over one lakh verses. It also depicts a wide range of social categories and situations. It was composed over a period of about 1000 years (500 BCE onwards). Some of its stories may be in circulation even earlier.
The central story of Mahabharata is about two sets of warring cousins. It also contains sections laying down norms of behavior for different social groups. The principal character of this epic occasionally seems to follow these norms.
Critical Edition of Mahabharata: A very ambitious project was started in 1919 CE under the leadership of noted Sanskrit scholar V.S. Sukthankar. Many scholars collectively decided to prepare a critical edition of Mahabharata. Initially, Sanskrit manuscripts of the epic, written in different scripts and in different parts of the country, were collected.
This team, comprising of scholars, worked out a method of comparing verses from each manuscript. They selected all those verses which appeared common in all manuscripts. They published all these in several volumes running into 13,000 pages. Around 47 years were taken to complete this project. Two things become apparent throughout the whole of the process.
1. The First one was that there were similarities in many elements of the Sanskrit version of the story. This similarity found in all the manuscripts stretched in the whole of the sub-continent from Kashmir and Nepal in the north to Kerala, Tamil Nadu in the south.
2. The Second one was that a number of regional variations came in front of the ways in which the epic had been transmitted over the centuries. These variations were written as footnotes and appendices to the main texts. More than half of the total pages are devoted to these variations when they were taken together.
Actually, these variations could be reflected in the complete process that shaped early and later social histories through dialogues between dominant traditions and resilient local ideas and practices. These dialogues are featured by moments of conflict as well as consensus.
Our information about all these processes is mainly based on those Sanskrit texts which were written by BrahmAnswer: for themselves. HistoriAnswer: in the 19th and 20th centuries, for the first time, explored these texts while concentrating on different issues of social history. They believed that whatever is written in the texts, could have been actually practiced. Later on, scholars also studied other traditions with the help of Pali, Prakrit, and Tamil texts. These studies indicated that the ideas contained in normative Sanskrit texts were recognized as authoritative, but they were also questioned and sometimes even rejected.
What did the Right to Property mean in the context of women and men in the period of Mahabharata?
There were fierce competition and rivalry for a long between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Therefore, Duryodhana invited Yudhisthira to a game of dice. In the game, Yudhisthira lost all his gold, elephants, chariots, slaves, army, treasury, kingdom, the property of his subjects, his brothers and finally himself. He was deceived by his rival. At last, he staked their common wife Draupadi. He also lost her in this game of dice. It shows that during those days, the wife was considered as the property of the husband. It also shows that the eldest brother enjoyed special rights over the property.
Divisions of Property among Sons: The Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras also deal with the issues of ownership. According to Manu Smriti, the paternal estate was to be equally divided among all the sons after the death of their parents. However, the eldest son enjoyed a special share. But the women could not claim any share in this estate.
Sridhara: Literally, the stridhana means the wealth of the woman. The women were allowed to retain the gifts that they received on the occasion of their marriage. Her husband had no claim on her wealth but her children could inherit it. The Manu Smriti warned the women not to hoard family property. They were also forbidden to hoard their valuables without the permission of their husbands.
Upper-Class Women and Resources (wealth): However the upper-class women like the Vakataka queen Prabhavati Gupta could have an access to resources. However, the land, the cattle, and the money were controlled by men. In fact, social differences between men and women were sharpened because of the differences in access to resources.
Kinship, Caste and Class Important Extra Questions HOTS
Why is the careful study of available books necessary to write the history of early societies of India?
Every book is written with a perspective for a particular community. It is possible that some communities may have been ignored out of jealousy or some other reason. It is also possible that the description of any particular community may be exaggerated. That is why a careful perusal of these books is considered necessary.
What is the meaning of marriage for bride and bridegroom according to Rig Veda?
The meaning of marriage for a bridegroom is to give his love and affection to the bride whereas the meaning of marriage for the bride is that she will have fine sons and be fortunate in her husband’s love. For this, the father of the bride worships God ‘Indra’ at the time of her marriage.
What policies were adopted by the Brahmanas to ensure that everybody obeyed the rules of the Varna system?
Mention any two strategies evolved by Brahmanas to enforce the norms about the ideal occupations for all the four varnas contained in Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
Explain one strategy evolved by the BrahmAnswer: to enforce the norms of ideal occupations. (C.B.S.E. 2014 (O.D.))
Identify any two strategies evolved by BrahmAnswer: to enforce the names of Varna order from C. 600 B.C.E. to 600 C.E. (C.B.S.E. 2014 (O.D.))
The Brahmanas adopted the following policies for the obedience to the rules of the Varna system:
- They told the people that the Varna system was a divine system.
- They advised the kings to ensure compliance with the rules of the Varna system.
- They also tried to convince the people that their prestige depended on their birth. In other words, they persuaded the people that their status was determined by their birth.
What do you think why Brahmanas quoted Purusha Sukta of Rig Veda very frequently?
According to Purusha Sukta, the Varna system was a system that originated from the divine. Brahmanas also wanted that people should also consider it divine. That is why, to evident their assumption, they quoted Purusha Sukta very frequently.
What was Stridhana?
Literally, Stridhana means a woman’s wealth. The wealth could be inherited by her children without the husband having any claim on it. The women were allowed to keep the gifts they received on the occasion of their marriage. It was considered as her Stridhana. However, she could not hoard any family property as valuables.
How can you say that Mahabharata was widely understood?
The original version of the Mahabharata is in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit used in the Mahabharata is far simpler than that of the Vedas or of the Prashant is. That is why it was probably widely understood.
Distinguish between Varna and Jati. Also, tell the similarities between the two.
- There were only four Varnas but the number of Jatis was not fixed.
- All the sections of the society were not included in the Varna system. But the Jati system was encompassing and comprehensive. It included even those who were not in any Varna system.
Similarity: Both the Varna and the Jati were based on the birth of a person.
What was the position of those people in a society whose social practices were not influenced by Brahmanical ideas?
Due to diversity in the sub-continent, there were many people whose social practices were not influenced by Brahmanical ideas. Their mention has been found in many Sanskrit texts. They are often described as odd, uncivilized, and beastly people. They are also considered as forest dwellers who hunted to survive. The Nishida, Eklavya was one of them and belonged to this category of people.
The others who were suspected included nomadic pastoralists. They did not adjust themselves in the framework of settled agriculturists. The people who did not speak Sanskrit were often termed as Mlechchhas. They were looked down upon in society. There are many stories about such people in the Mahabharata.
Explain how access to property sharpened social differences between men and women in ancient times. (C.B.S.E. 2008 (D))
In accordance with the Manusmriti, the parental property should be equally divided between all the sons after the death of their parents. But the eldest son was entitled to a special share. The women had no right to demand any share in this property. But they had complete ownership in all the gifts presented to them on the occasion of their marriage. It was called the wealth of the women. This property could be easily inherited by their progeny. The husband had no right on this property of the woman often called stree dhan. But the Manusmriti also prohibited all the women to hide any family property or accumulate precious things secretly without the permission of the husbands.
There are undoubtedly some indications that a few women from the higher strata of a society controlled all the resources. But the land, animals, and money were always under the control of men. In other words, the disparity between the social position of the men and women became rampant because of diverse control of men and women over the resources.
How was “integration within the framework of caste often a V y complicated process”? Explain with examples. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))
The meaning of caste is a set of a ranking system according to the social status or authority of a person. This ideal order is given in the Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras. Brahmanas were given the top rank and it was divinely ordered. The BrahmAnswer: had two or three strategies to implement these norms. They told the people that the Varna system was a divine system. They advised the kings to ensure compliance with the rules of the Varna system and also tried to convince the people that their prestige depended on their birth.
But many important ruling lineages had different origins. Actually, anyone who was capable of bringing support and resources together was open to political power. For example, Rudradaman who was the famous Shaka ruler was very much well versed with Sanskritic traditions. On the other side, Gotami-puta Satakani maintained to be both Brahmana and destroyer of the pride of Kshatriyas. The Satavahanas also claimed to be Brahmanas. Due to this way, the integration within the framework of caste was often a complicated process.
Kinship, Caste, and Class Important Extra Questions Source-Based
Read the following passages and answer the questions that follow :
Producing “Fine Sons”
Here is an excerpt of a mantra from the Rigveda, which was probably inserted in the text c. 1000 B.C.E. to be chanted by the priest while conducting the marriage ritual. It is used in many Hindu weddings even today.
I free her from here but not from there. I have bound her firmly there so that through the grace of Indra she will have fine sons and be fortunate in her husband’s love.
Indra was one of the principal deities, a god of valor, warfare, and rain. “Here” and “there” refer to the father’s and husband’s house respectively.
(i) In the context of the mantra, discuss the implications of marriage from the point of view of the bride and groom.
It was expected of the bride to give birth to fine sons. But it was expected from the bridegroom that he should love his wife.
(ii) Are the implications of the mantra identical or are there differences?
These mantras imply identical as well as different things. They are identical because the mutual love of the husband and his wife can help in the birth of fine sons. It is not identical because the daughters are not expected to give birth to fine daughters.
(iii) Who was Indra? What did the people pray him for?
Indra was one of the main gods of Hindu mythology. He was a god of valor, warfare, and rain. The people prayed to Indra to seek the blessing of fine sons.
(iv) Why did the people wish for fine sons?
The people wished for fine sons because of the principle of patriline. In this tradition, only the sons carried forward the generation.
Why Kinfolk Quarreled?
This is an excerpt from the Adi Parvan (literally, the first section) of the Sanskrit Mahabharata, describing why conflicts arose amongst the Kauravas and Pandavas :
The Kauravas were the sons of Dhritarashtra, and the Pandavas were their cousins. Since Dhritarashtra was blind, his younger brother Pandu ascended the throne of Hastinapura However after the premature death of Pandu, Dhritarashtra became king, as the royal princes were still very young. As the princes grew up together, the citizens of Hastinapura began to express their preference for the Pandavas, for they were more capable and virtuous than the Kauravas. This made Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas, jealous.
He approached his father and said, “You yourself did not receive the throne, although it fell to you, because of your defect. If the Pandava receives the patrimony from Pandu, his son will surely inherit it in turn, and so will his son, and his. We ourselves with our sons shall be excluded from the royal succession and become of slight regard in the eyes of the world, lord of the earth!” Passages such as these may not have been literally true, but they give us an idea about what those who wrote the text thought! Sometimes, as in this case, they contain conflicting ideas.
(i) From where has this excerpt been taken? What does it depict?
This excerpt has been taken from the Adi Parvan which is the first section of Mahabharata written in Sanskrit. It describes the conflict between the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
(ii) How did Dharitrashtra become the king of Hastinapur?
Dhritarashtra was the elder brother of Pandu. But as he was blind. Pandu became the King of Hastinapur. However, Pandu met with a pre¬mature death. At that time, all the sons of Pandu were very young. So Dharitrashtra became the king.
(iii) Who was Duryodhana? Why was he jealous of the Pandavas?
Duryodhana was the son of Dhritarashtra. He was the eldest of the Kauravas. But the people expressed their preference for the Pandavas as they were more capable and virtuous than the Kauravas. So Duryodhana felt jealous of the Pandavas.
(iv) How did Duryodhana express his anguish to his father?
Duryodhana told his father that the latter sat on the throne just by chance. But if Pandavas sat on the throne, they would get the royal succession. In this case, Duryodhana and his brothers would feel slighted.
Eight Forms of Marriage
Here are the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth forms of marriage from the Manusmriti :
First: The gift of a daughter, after dressing her in costly clothes and honoring her with presents of jewels, to a man learned in the Veda whom the father himself invites.
Fourth: The gift of a daughter by the father after he has addressed the couple with the text, “May both of you perform your duties together”, and has shown honor to the bridegroom.
Fifth: When the bridegroom receives a maiden, after having given as much wealth as he can afford to the kinsmen and to the bride herself, according to his own will.
Sixth: The voluntary union of a maiden and her lover which springs from the desire
(i) What is Manusmriti and when was it compiled?
Among all the Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras, Manusmriti is the most important text about the law. It was compiled between 200 B.C.E. and 200 C.E.
(ii) What is this excerpt about? Who had made these rules?
This excerpt is concerned with different types of marriages. These norms were made by the BrahmAnswer:
(iii) Distinguish between the methods of first and fifth marriage.
In the first kind of marriage, the father dressed her daughter in costly clothes and gave her gifts. He also honored her with presents of jewels. He offered her to a man whom he himself invited. But in the fifth kind of marriage, the bridegroom received a maiden only after giving wealth to the bride and other kind men.
(iv) How many marriages are approved by Dharamsutra and Dharmashastras? How have they been classified?
The Dharmasutras and Dharmashastra approved of eight kinds of marriages. Out of these, the first four kinds of marriages were considered good. The latter four marriages were however condemnable. These were practiced by those who did not believe in Brahmanical norms.
Names of Satavahana Kings from Inscriptions
These are the names of several generations of Satavahana rulers, recovered from inscriptions. Note the uniform title raja. Also note the following word, which ends with the term puta, a Prakrit word meaning “son”. The term Gotami-puta means “son of Gotami”. Names like Gotami and Vasithi are feminine forms of Gotama and Vasistha, Vedic seers after whom gotras were named.
raja Gotami-puta Siri-Satakani
raja Vasithi-puta (sami-) Siri-Pulumayi
raja Gotami-puta sami-Siri-Yana-Satakani
raja Madhhri-puta svami-Sakasena
raja Vasathi-puta Chatarapana-Satakani
raja Hariti-puta Vinhukada Chutukulanamda-Satakamni
raja Gotami-puta Siri-Vijaya-Satakani
(i) Who were Satavahanas ? What was the main source of information about them ?
The Satavahanas ruled over parts of western India and the Deccan from the second century B.C.E. to the second century C.E. The main source of information about them are the inscriptions.
(ii) What was the meaning of the word ‘Puta’? How many Gotami-putas and how many Vasithi putas are there?
The term ‘Puta’ has been derived from a Prakrit word which means a son. There are three Gotami-putas and one Vasithi-puta. The names of the three Gotami-putas were:
(i) Siri-Satakani (ii) Sami-Siri-Yana – Satakani and (iii) Siri-Vijaya-Satakani. However the name of Vasithi-puta was Chatarapana-Satakani.
(iii) From where have the names of Gotami and Vasithi been derived?
The name of Gotami was derived from the Gotama gotra. Similarly, the name of Vasithi was derived from the Vasistha gotra. The Gotama gotra was based on the name of Gautam who was a Vedic Rishi. The Vasistha gotra was based on Vashistha, a Vedic Rishi.
(iv) Bring out the contradictions among Satavahana kings about gotra and marriage.
(a) The women who married Satavahana
rulers sometimes retained the gotras of their father. They did not adopt the gotra of their husband. They ignored the Brahmanical rules which required them to leave the gotra of their father and adopt the gotra of their husband.
(b) They ignored the ideal of exogamy recommended in the Brahmanical texts. Some of the Satavahana women married within the kin group or the same gotra.
A Mother’s Advice
The Mahabharata describes how, when war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas became almost inevitable, Gandhari made one last appeal to her eldest son Duryodhana:
By making peace you honor your father and me, as well as your well-wishers it is the
wise man in control of his senses who guards his kingdom. Greed and anger drag a man away from his profits; by defeating these two enemies a king conquers the earth… You will happily enjoy the earth, my son, along with the wise and heroic Pandavas There is no good in a war, no law (dharma) and profit (artha), let alone happiness; nor is there (necessarily) victory in the end – don’t set your mind on war
Duryodhana did not listen to this advice and fought and lost the war.
(i) Explain briefly Gandhari’s appeal to Duryodhana.
Gandhari appealed to Duryodhana not to fight a war against the Pandavas. It is in his interest because war is nothing except destruction. It is not necessary that victory could come in war. Greed and anger drag a man away from his profits. By defeating these two enemies, one could save his state.
(ii) Do you agree with Gandhari’s advice to Duryodhana? Give two arguments in support of your Answer.
Yes, we agree with Gandhari’s advice because:
(a) There is no good in a war, No law and profit are there to fight a war.
(b) Another name of war is destruction.
(iii) Why did Duryodhana not listen to his mother’s advice? Give two possible reasons. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
Duryodhana did not listen to his mother’s advice because:
(a) He was proud of himself and his power.
(b) His advisors were not good enough.
A Divine Order?
To justify their claims, Brahmanas often cited a verse from a hymn in the Rigveda known as the Purusha Sukta, describing the sacrifice of Purusha, the primeval man. All the elements of the universe, including the four social categories, were supposed to have emanated from his body :
The Brahmana was his mouth, of his arms was made the Kshatriya.
His thighs became the Vaishya, of his feet the Shudra was born.
(i) Which order was called the divine order by the Brahmanas?
The BrahmAnswer: called the Varna System as the divine order.
(ii) Which were the four vamps and what was the proper occupation for each of them?
The four varnas were the Brahmanswer, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras.
(a) The BrahmAnswer: studied and taught the Vedas. They performed sacrifices and got sacrifices performed. They also gave and received gifts.
(b) The Kshatriyas were engaged in warfare. They protected people and administered justice.
(c) The Vaishyas were engaged in trade, agriculture, and pastoralism.
(d) The Shudras were supposed to serve the three higher varnas.
(iii) According to Purusha Sukta, how did the four vamps emanate?
According to Purusha Sukta, the four varnas emanated from the body of the primeval man. When the Purusha was sacrificed, the BrahmAnswer: emanated from his mouth, the Kshatriyas from his arms, the Vaishyas from thighs, and the Shudras emerged from his feet.
(iv) Which policies were adopted by the BrahmAnswer: to ensure proper implementation of the rules of occupation?
The BrahmAnswer: evolved the following strategies to enforce the norms of occupation.
(a) They told the people that the varna order was of divine origin.
(b) They advised kings to ensure that these norms were practiced by the people within their kingdoms.
(c) They persuaded people that their status was determined by their birth.
“Proper” Social Roles
Here is a story from the Adi Parvan of the Mahabharata :
Once, Drona, a Brahmana who taught archery to the Kuru princes, was approached by Ekalavya, a forest-dwelling Nishida (a hunting community). When Drona, who knew, the dharma, refused to have him as his pupil, Ekalavya returned to the forest prepared an image of Drona out of clay, and treating it as his teacher, began to practice on his own. In due course, he acquired great skill in archery. One day, the Kuru princes went hunting and their dog wandering in the woods came upon Ekalavya.
When the dog smelt the dark ‘ nishada wrapped in black deerskin, his body caked with dirt, it began to bark. Annoyed Ekalavya shot seven arrows into its mouth. When the dog returned to the Pandavas, they were amazed at this superb display of archery. They tracked down Ekalavya who introduced himself as a pupil of Drona.
Drona had once told his favorite student Arjuna, that he would be unrivaled amongst his pupils. Arjuna now reminded Drona about this. Drona approached Ekalavya who immediately acknowledged and honored him as his teacher. When Drona demanded his right thumb as his fee, Ekalavya unhesitatingly cut it off and offered it. But thereafter, when he shot with his remaining fingers, he was no longer as fast, as he had been before. Thus, Drona kept his word: no one was better than Arjuna.
(i) Do you think Drona’s action was justified? Explain.
No, we do not agree with Drona’s action. Drona was a teacher and the duty of a teacher is to give education without keeping discrimination on the basis of caste. But Ekalavya was a Nishada which is why Drona refused to have him as his pupil. This action of his is wrong.
(ii) Examine the story and explain the character of Ekalavya.
Ekalavya was a forest-dwelling Nishada. He was a very hard worker and a strong boy. He accepted Drona as his teacher and wanted to take the education of archery from him. But Drona refused him. So Ekalvya returned to the forest, prepared an image of Drona out of clay, and treating it as his teacher, began to practice on his own. He became proficient in archery. He even shot seven arrows into the mouth of a dog.
(iii) After giving his thumb to Drona did he (Ekalavya) repent? Explain your opinion. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
No, after giving his thumb to Drona, he did not repent. He was a true student and was satisfied with the fact that he fulfilled his duty as a student.
A Tiger-like husband (C.B.S.E. 2016 (D))
This is a summary of a story from the Adi Parvan of the Mahabharata :
The Pandavas had fled into the forest. They were tired and fell asleep; only Bhima, the second Pandava, renowned for his prowess, was keeping watch. A man-eating rakshasa caught the scent of the Pandavas and sent his sister Hidimba to capture them. She fell in love with Bhima, transformed herself into a lovely maiden, and proposed to him. He refused. Meanwhile, the rakshasa arrived and challenged Bhima to a wrestling match.
Bhima accepted the challenge and killed him. The others woke up hearing the noise. Hidimba introduced herself and declared her love for Bhima. She told Kunti: “I have forsaken my friends, my dharma and my kin; and good lady, chosen your tiger-like son for my man….whether you think me a fool, or your devoted servant, let me join you, great lady, with your son as my husband.”
Ultimately, Yodhisthira agreed to the marriage on condition that they would spend the day together but that Bhima would return. every night. The couple roamed all over the world during the day. In due course, Hidimba gave birth to a rakshasa boy named Ghatotkacha. Then the mother and son left the Pandavas. Ghatotkacha promised to return to the Pandavas whenever they needed him.
Some historians were: suggest that the term rakshasa is used to describe people whose practices differed from those laid down in Brahmanical texts.
(i) Who sent Hidimba to Pandavas and why?
Hidimba was sent to the Pandavas by her brother. Her brother was a man-eating rakshasa. He wanted her to capture the Pandavas.
(ii) How was a man-eating rakshasa killed?
A man-eating rakshasa was the brother of Hidimba. He sent her to capture the Pandavas. When she did not return, he himself went to the Pandavas. He challenged Bhima to a wrestling match. As Bhima was very brave, he accepted the challenge of Hidimba’s brother. Thus, the man-eating rakshasa was killed by Bhima.
(iii) How did Hidimba become the wife of Bhima?
Hidimba had gone to capture the Pandavas. But she fell in love with Bhima. So she transformed herself into a lovely maiden and proposed to him. But Bhima refused to accept her love. So she declared her love for Bhima before all the Pandavas. She told Kunti that she had forsaken her friends, her dharma, and her kins for Bhima. She was even ready to live like a devoted servant. So Yudhisthira agreed to the marriage of Hidimba with Bhima on the condition that they would spend the day together. But Bhima would have to return to the forest every night.
(iv) Who was called a tiger-like husband and why?
Bhima was called a tiger-like husband because he was very brave as a tiger.
The Bodhisatta as a Chandala
Did chandalas resist the attempts to push them to the bottom of the social order? Read this story, which is part of the Matanga Jataka, a Pali text, where the Bodhisatta (the Buddha in a previous birth) is identified as a chandala. Once, the Bodhisatta was born outside the city of Banaras as a chandala’s son and named Matanga. One day, when he had gone to the city on some work, he encountered Dittha Mangalika, the daughter of a merchant. When she saw him, she exclaimed “I have seen something inauspicious” and washed her eyes.
The angry hangers-on then beat him up. In protest, he went and lay down at the door of her father’s house. On the seventh day, they brought out the girl and gave her to him. She carried the starving Matanga back to the chandala settlement. Once he returned home, he decided to renounce the world. After attaining spiritual powers, he returned to Benaras and married her. A son named Mandavya Kumara was born to them.
He learned the three Vedas as he grew up and began to provide food to 16,000 Brahmanas every day. One day, Matanga, dressed in rags, with a clay alms bowl in his hand, arrived at his son’s doorstep and begged for food. Mandavya replied that he looked like an outcast and was unworthy of alms; the food was meant for the Brahmanas. Matanga said: “Those who are proud of their birth and are ignorant do not deserve gifts.
On the contrary, those who are free from vices are worthy of offerings.” Mandavya lost his temper and asked his servants to throw the man out. Matanga rose in the air and disappeared. When Ditta Mangalika learned about the incident, she followed Matanga and begged his forgiveness. He asked her to take a bit of the leftover from his bowl and give it to Mandavya and the Brahmanas.
(i) From where has this story been taken? To whom is it related?
This story has been taken from the “Matanga Jataka” written in the Pali language. It is identified with Bodhisatta who was once born as a Chandal.
(ii) How did Matanga marry Dittha?
Matanga was the son of a chandal. Once he went to a city for some work. There he met Dittha Mangalika, the daughter of a merchant. Looking at him, Ditta felt as if she had seen something ‘ inauspicious. So she washed her eyes. Her v servants felt enraged and beat up Matanga. In protest against this beating, Matanga lay down at the door of her father’s house. On the seventh day, the members of Dittha’s family yielded. They brought out the girl and gave her to him. The starving Matanga had become very weak. So Ditta took him to the Chandala settlement. But when Matanga reached home, he decided to renounce the world. After attaining spiritual powers, Matanga returned to Benaras and married Ditta
(iii) Who was Mandavya Kumara? Why did he refuse to give food to Matanga? What did Matanga say in this regard?
Mandavya Kuinara was the son of Matanga and Ditta. When he grew up, he had learned the three Vedas. He provided food to 16,000 Brahmanas every day. One day Matanga reached the door-steps of Mandavya. He was dressed in rags. He held a clay alms bowl in his hand. He begged for food. But Mandavya replied that the food was meant only for the Brahmanas. Matanga looked like an outcast and therefore was not worthy of food or alms. ‘ But Matanga stated that those who were proud t of their birth were ignorant and did not deserve any gifts. Those who were free from vices were worthy of the* offerings. Hearing this, Mandavya lost his temper. He ordered his servants to throw Matanga out.
(iv) What duties have been assigned to the Chandals in the Manusmriti?
The Manusmriti has laid down the following duties of the Cfidndals :
(a) They had to live outside the village.
(b) They had to use discarded utensils.
(c) They had to wear clothes of the dead.
(d) They had to wear ornaments of iron.
(e) They were not allowed to walk about in villages and cities at night.
(f) They had to dispose of the bodies of those people who had no relatives.
(g) They served as executioners.
Draupadi is supposed to have asked Yudhisthira whether he had lost himself before staking her. Two contrary opinions were expressed in response to this question.
One, that even if Yudhisthira had lost himself earlier, his wife remained under his control, so he could stake her.
Two, that an unfree man (as Yudhisthira was when he had lost himself) could not stake another person.
The matter remained unresolved; ultimately, Dhritarashtra restored to the Pandavas and Draupadi their personal freedom.
(i) Explain the message that goes after reading this episode.
This episode gives us the message that the high-class people of Mahabharata also gambled. They even reached to the extent that they could keep their wife at stake.
(ii) Which of the two views, do you agree with?
We agree with the view that an unfree man could not stake another person. Here Yudhishtira lost everything. Even then he kept his wife at stake. In my view, he had no right to do so.
(iii) Compare the status of women at that time with the present. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (D))
During Mahabharata’s age, the female was considered as the property of her husband. A Male could keep his wife at stake in gambling but at present, her status has been changed completely. Today, she is given equal status as compared to males. Today, she has broken all the clutches of the male- dominant society and has become independent.
How Could Men and Women Acquire Wealth? (C.B.S.E. 2009 (D))
For men, the Manusmriti declares, there are seven meAnswer: of acquiring wealth: inheritance, finding, purchase, conquest, investment, work, and acceptance of gifts from good people.
For women, there is six menswear: acquiring wealth: what was given in front of the fire (marriage) or the bridal procession, or as a token of affection, and what she got from her brother, mother, or father. She could also acquire wealth through any subsequent gift and whatever her “affectionate” husband might give her.
(i) What does Manusmriti say about the paternal estate?
According to the Manusmriti, the paternal estate was divided equally among all the sons after the death of their parents. But the eldest son had a special share in the parental estate. However, the women were not entitled to claim any share in this parental estate.
(ii) According to Manusmriti, by which means could the men acquire wealth?
According to the Manusmriti, there were the following seven means for men to acquire wealth :
(g) Acceptance of gifts from good people
(iii) What were the means for the women to acquire wealth? What was called the Stridhana?
Literally, the strident meant a woman’s wealth. The women were allowed to keep the gifts that they received on the occasion of their marriage. It was called the stridhana. Her husband had no claims over this wealth. However, her children Could inherit it. However, the women could acquire wealth by adopting any one of the following six means:
(a) The gifts are given in front of the fire (marriage).
(b) Gifts received on the occasion of bridal procession.
(c) By receiving tokens of affection.
(d) Whatever she got from her brother, mother, or father.
(e) Subsequent gifts.
(f) Gifts received from her husband.
(iv) What warning does the Manusmriti give to the women not to acquire two kinds of wealth?
According to the Manusmriti, the women should not hoard the family property. They should also not hoard their own valuables without the permission of their husbands.
The Wealthy Shudra
This story, based on a Buddhist text in Pali known as the Majjhima Nikaya, is part of a dialogue between a king named Avantiputta and a disciple of the Buddha named Kachchana. While it may not be literally true, it reveals Buddhist attitudes towards varna.
Avantiputta asked Kachchana what he thought about Brahmanas who held that they were the best caste and that all other castes were low; that Brahmanas were a fair caste while all other castes were dark; that only Brahmanas were pure, not non-Brahmanas; that Brahmanas were sons of Brahma, born of his mouth, born of Brahma, formed by Brahma, heirs to Brahma. Kachchana replied: “What if a Shudra were wealthy … would another Shudra … or a Kshatriya or a Brahmana or a Vaishya … speak politely to him ?”
Avantiputta replied that if a Shudra had wealth or com or gold or silver, he could have as his obedient servant another Shudra to get up earlier than he, to go to rest later, to carry out his orders, to speak politely; or, he could even have a Kshatriya or a Brahmana or a Vaishya as his obedient servant.
Kachchana asked ’’This being so, are not these four variances exactly the same ?” Avantiputta conceded that there Was no
the difference amongst the varnas on this count.
(i) What did Avnatiputta want to know from Kachchana about Brahmanas? ,
Kachchana was the disciple of Buddha. Avantiputta wanted to know from him that why the position of Brahmanas was superior in society and other castes are inferior to it. Brahmanas were a fair caste while all other castes were dark. Only Brahmanas were pure not the others. Brahmanas were sons of Brahma and were born of his mouth. So, they are heirs to Brahma.
(ii) What was Kachchana’s reply? Explain.
Kachchana replied that if a Shudra was wealthy then he would make other Shudra as his servant. He could have as his obedient servant another Shudra. Not only this, he could have a Kshatriya or a Brahmana or a Vaishya as his obedient servant. On this basis, all the four areas are exactly the same and there was no difference amongst the vamas on this count.
(iii) If a Shudra had wealth, would Brahiqanas and others speak to him politely? Give reason. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
Yes, if a Shudra had wealth then he could have been respected in society and his status would become highest because wealth is given much importance in life. In this condition, the Brahmanas and others would speak with him politely.
The Poor Generous Chief
In this composition from the Puranaruru, one of the anthologies of poems of the Tamil Sangam literature (c first century CE), a bard describes his patron to other poets thus:
He (i.e. the patron) doesn’t have the wealth to lavish on others every day.
Nor does he have the pettiness to say that he has nothing and so refuse!…. he lives in Irantai (a place) and is generous. He is an enemy to the hunger of bards!
If you wish to cure your poverty come along with me, bards whose lips are so skilled!
If we request him, showing him our ribs thin with hunger, he will go to the blacksmith of his village.
And will say to that man of powerful hands. “Shape me a long spear for war, one that has a straight blade!”
(i) From which book has this excerpt been taken? With which literature is this book associated?
This excerpt has been taken from ‘Puranaruru’ which is an anthology of poems.
It is associated with the Tamil Sangam literature.
(ii) Why did the bard call his patron a donor? What did he do to declare him a donor?
The bard calls his patron a donor to seek wealth from him. He states that his patron does not have the wealth to spend lavishly on others every day. But he is also not so petty as to refuse by saying that he has nothing to give. He is generous. He cannot tolerate the hunger of the bard. So he exhorts all the bards to accompany him if they want to remove their poverty.
(iii) What had the patron do to acquire wealth so that he may give a part of it to the bard?
The patron had to fight a war to acquire
wealth. So he kept a long spear with a straight blade.
(iv) How far was the claim of the people for social prestige based on wealth justified?
The claim of the people for social prestige based on wealth was justified. But it had also exceptions. Society respected the generous, donor. But it despised the misers or those who accumulated wealth for themselves. These principles have been followed in the ancient Tamilakam.
Drupada, the king of Panchala organized a competition where the challenge was to string a bow and hit a target; the winner would be chosen to marry his daughter Draupadi. Arjuna was victorious and was garlanded by Draupadi. The Pandavas returned with her to their mother Kunti, who, even before she saw them, asked them to share whatever they had got. She realized her mistake when she saw Draupadi but her command could not be violated. After much deliberation, Yudhisthira decided that Draupadi would be their common wife.
When Drupada was told about this, he protested. However, the seer Vyasa arrived and told him that the Pandavas were in reality incarnations of Indra, whose wife had been reborn as Draupadi and they were thus destined for each other.
Vyasa added that in another instance a young woman had prayed to Shiva for a husband and in her enthusiasm, had prayed five times instead of once. This woman was now reborn as Draupadi, and Shiva had fulfilled her prayers. Convinced by these stories, Drupada consented to the marriage.
(i) Which competition was organized by Drupada, the king of Panchala, for the marriage of his daughter?
Drupada was the king of Panchala. He organized a competition to find a suitable match for his daughter. He put a challenge to string a bow and hit a target. His daughter was to be married to the winner of this competition.
(ii) By which two things did Vyasa convince the king that Draupadi was the common wife of the Pandavas?
Vyasa convinced the king by saying the following two things :
(a) The Pandavas were in reality the incarnations of Indra. The wife of Indra had been reborn as Draupadi. So Draupadi was destined to meet the Pandavas.
(b) A young woman prayed Lord Shiva. She desired the blessing of a husband. But she was very enthusiastic. So she, instead of praying once, prayed five times. That woman has now been reborn as Draupadi. Her prayers have been granted by Shiva. Drupada, the father of Draupadi, felt convinced and agreed to marry her daughter to the Pandavas.
(iii) What kind of marriage was between Draupadi and the Pandavas? Give any two views of the historians were about the marriage.
Draupadi’s marriage with the Pandavas is an example of polyandry. Many historians believed that polyandry was prevalent amongst ruling elites. It was prevalent in the Himalayan region. A few historians believed that during the times of warfare, there was a shortage of women. This led to the practice of polyandry.