Describe the characteristics features of Mughal Chronicles.
The characteristics features of Mughal Chronicles:
(i) Chronicles commissioned by the Mughal emperors are an important source for studying the empire and its court.
(ii) They were written in order to project a vision of an enlightened kingdom to all those who came under its umbrella.
(iii) At the same time they were meant to convey to those who resisted the rule of the Mughals that all resistance was destined to fail. Also, the rulers wanted to ensure that there was an account of their rule for posterity.
(iv) The authors of Mughal chronicles were invariably courtiers. The histories they wrote focused on events centered on the ruler, his family, the court and nobles, wars and administrative arrangements.
(v) Their titles, such as the Akbar Nama, Shahjahan Nama, Alamgir Nama, that is, the story of Akbar, Shah Jahan and Alamgir (a title of the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb), suggest that in the eyes of their authors the history of the empire and the court was synonymous with that of the emperor.
Explain the impact of American Civil War of 1861 on Indian peasants.
The impact of American Civil War of 1861 on Indian peasants:
(i) When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, a wave of panic spread through cotton circles in Britain.
(ii) As cotton prices soared, export merchants in Bombay were keen to secure as much cotton as possible to meet the British demand. So they gave advances to urban sahukars who in turn extended credit to those rural moneylenders who promised to secure the produce. When there is a boom in the market, credit flows easily for those who give out loans feel secure about recovering their money.
(iii) The ryots in the Deccan villages suddenly found access to seemingly limitless credit.
(iv) They were being given Rs 100 as advance for every acre they planted with cotton. Sahukars were more than willing to extend long-term loans.
(v) While the American crisis continued, cotton production in the Bombay Deccan expanded. Some rich peasants did gain, but for the large majority, cotton expansion meant heavier debt.
”The annexation of Awadh displaced not just the Nawab but also dispossessed the taluqdars of the region, causing break down of an entire social order.” Critically examine the statement.
”The annexation of Awadh displaced not just the Nawab but also dispossessed the taluqdars of the region, causing break down of an entire social order.”
(i) The countryside of Awadh was dotted with the estates and forts of taluqdars who for many generations had controlled land and power in the countryside.
(ii) Before the coming of the British, taluqdars maintained armed retainers, built forts, and enjoyed a degree of autonomy, as long as they accepted the suzerainty of the Nawab and paid the revenue of their taluqas.
(iii) Some of the bigger taluqdars had as many as 12,000 foot soldiers and even the smaller ones had about 200.
(iv) The British were unwilling to tolerate the power of the taluqdars. Immediately after the annexation, the taluqdars were disarmed and their forts destroyed.
(v) The British land revenue policy further undermined the position and authority of the taluqdars. After annexation, the first British revenue settlement, known as the Summary Settlement of 1856, was based on the assumption that the taluqdars were interlopers with no permanent stakes in land: they had established their hold over land through force and fraud.
Read the following extracts carefully and answer the questions that follows:
The Malabar Coast (Present-day Kerala)
Here is an excerpt from Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, composed by an anonymous Greek sailor (c. first century CE):
They (i.e. traders from abroad) send large ships to these market-towns on account of the great quantity and bulk of pepper and malabathrum (possibly cinnamon, produced in these regions). There are imported here, in the first place, a great quantity of 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 tortoise shell.
Archaeological evidence of a bead-making industry, using precious and semi-precious 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.
(1) Explain the importance of Malabar Coast.
(2) How did the exchange of goods take? Explain with example.
(3) Explain the working of the bead making industry.
(4) Who used these land and river routes?
The importance of boundaries
The Manusmrti 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.
(1) Why did the controversies of boundaries arise? Explain.
(2) Suggest the ways to solve the boundary problems.
(3) Explain with example any such problem being faced by India today.
(1) The traders from abroad used to send large ships to these market-towns, Malabar on account of the great quantity and bulk of pepper and malabathrum (possibly cinnamon, produced in these regions).
(2) Exchanges were facilitated by the introduction of coinage. Punch-marked coins made of silver and copper (c. sixth century BCE onwards) were amongst the earliest to be minted and used.
(3) Bead-making industry used precious and semi-precious stones and exported it.
(4) Those who traversed these routes included peddlers who probably travelled on foot and merchants who travelled with caravans of bullock carts and pack-animals. Also, there were seafarers, whose ventures were risky but highly profitable.
(1) The controversies of boundaries arise due to the ignorance.
(2) The ways to solve the boundary problems:
(i) Demarcation of boundary
(ii) Preparation of authentic map
(3) India faces border problems with Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.
On the given political outline map of India five important places of the Revolt of 1857 have been marked as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Identify them and write their names on the lines drawn near them.
”Some scholars see partition as a culmination of communal politics.” Examine the statement.
Some scholars see Partition as a culmination of a communal politics that started developing in the opening decades of the twentieth century.
(i) They suggest that separate electorates for Muslims, created by the colonial government in 1909 and expanded in 1919, crucially shaped the nature of communal politics.
(ii) This created a temptation for politicians working within this system to use sectarian slogans and gather a following by distributing favours to their own religious groups.
(iii) Religious identities thus acquired a functional use within a modern political system; and the logic of electoral politics deepened and hardened these identities. Community identities no longer indicated simple difference in faith and belief; they came to mean active opposition and hostility between communities.
(iv) During the 1920s and early 1930s tension grew around a number of issues. Muslims were angered by “music-before-mosque”, by the cow protection movement, and by the efforts of the Arya Samaj to bring back to the Hindu fold (shuddhi) those who had recently converted to Islam.
Mention the significance of census operation undertaken by the British in India.
The significance of census operation undertaken by the British in India:
(i) The census operation, for instance, was a means by which social data were converted into convenient statistics about the population.
(ii) The census commissioners devised categories for classifying different sections of the population. This classification was often arbitrary and failed to capture the fluid and overlapping identities of people.
Explain briefly the differences between town and country side in pre-colonial period.
Towns were often defined in opposition to rural areas.
(i) They came to represent specific forms of economic activities and cultures. In the countryside people subsisted by cultivating land, foraging in the forest, or rearing animals.
(ii) Towns by contrast were peopled with artisans, traders, administrators and rulers. Towns dominated over the rural population, thriving on the surplus and taxes derived from agriculture.
(iii) Towns and cities were often fortified by walls which symbolised their separation from the countryside. However, the separation between town and country was fluid.
(iv) Peasants travelled long distances on pilgrimage, passing through towns; they also flocked to towns during times of famine. Besides, there was a reverse flow of humans and goods from towns to villages.
(v) When towns were attacked, people often sought shelter in the countryside. Traders and pedlars took goods from the towns to sell in the villages, extending markets and creating new patterns of consumption.
How were the Panchayats formed during sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Explain their functions and authorities.
Explain the origin, consolidation and the role of Zamindar in the villages. Were they an exploitative class?
Mughal village Panchayats and headmen regulated the rural society:
(i) The village panchayat was an assembly of elders, usually important people of the village with hereditary rights over their property.
(ii) In mixed-caste villages, the panchayat was usually a heterogeneous body. The decisions made by these panchayats were binding on the members.
(iii) The panchayat derived its funds from contributions made by individuals to a common financial pool.
(iv) Often these funds were also deployed in construction of a bund or digging a canal which peasants usually could not afford to do on their own.
(v) One important function of the panchayat was to ensure that caste boundaries among the various communities inhabiting the village were upheld.
(vi) Panchayats also had the authority to levy fines and inflict more serious forms of punishment like expulsions from the community.
(vii) The jati panchayats wielded considerable power in rural society and arbitrated civil disputes between members of different castes.
(viii) Village panchayat was regarded as the court of appeal that would ensure that the state carried out its moral obligations and guaranteed justice. The decision of the panchayat in
conflicts between “lower-caste” peasants and state officials or the local Zamindar could vary from case to case.
Zamindars were landed proprietors who also enjoyed certain social and economic privileges by virtue of their superior status in rural society.
(i) Caste was one factor that accounted for the elevated status of Zamindars; another factor was that they performed certain services (khidmat) for the state.
(ii) The Zamindars held extensive personal lands termed milkiyat, meaning property. Milkiyat lands were cultivated for the private use of Zamindars, often with the help of hired or servile labour. The Zamindars could sell, bequeath or mortgage these lands at will.
(iii) Zamindars also derived their power from the fact that they could often collect revenue on behalf of the state, a service for which they were compensated financially. Control over military resources was another source of power. Most Zamindars had fortresses (qilachas) as well as an armed contingent comprising units of cavalry, artillery and infantry.
(iv) More important were the slow processes of zamindari consolidation, which are also documented in sources. These involved colonisation of new lands, by transfer of rights, by order of the state and by purchase.
(vi) These were the processes which perhaps permitted people belonging to the relatively “lower” castes to enter the rank of zamindars as zamindaris were bought and sold quite briskly in this period.
(vi) A combination of factors also allowed the consolidation of clan- or lineage-based zamindaris.
(vii) Although there can be little doubt that zamindars were an exploitative class, their relationship with the peasantry had an element of reciprocity, paternalism and patronage.
(viii)In a large number of agrarian uprisings which erupted in north India in the seventeenth century, zamindars often received the support of the peasantry in their struggle against the state.
When Gandhiji returned to India in 1915 he observed a few changes in India. Mention any two such changes.
(i) Although still a colony of the British, it was far more active in a political sense.
(ii) The Indian National Congress now had branches in most major cities and towns. Through the Swadeshi movement of 1905-07 it had greatly broadened its appeal among the middle classes.