How were towns often defined in opposition to rural areas during pre-colonial times? Give any two points of difference.  from History Class 12 CBSE Year 2012 Free Solved Previous Year Papers




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CBSE History 2012 Exam Questions

Long Answer Type


Read the given passage carefully and answer the questions that follow:

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.

(1) Why did the citizens of Hastinapura express preference for Pandavas?

(2) Explain the reactions of Duryodhana against Pandavas.

(3) Explain the criteria of patrilineal succession.


Fatalists and materialists

Here is an excerpt from the Sutta Pitaka, describing a conversation between king Ajatasatru, the ruler of Magadha, and the Buddha:

On one occasion King Ajatasatru visited the Buddha and described what another teacher, named Makkhali Gosala, had told him:

"Though the wise should hope, by this virtue... by this penance I will gain karma... and the fool should by the same means hope to gradually rid himself of his karma, neither of them can do it. Pleasure and pain, measured out as it were, cannot be altered in the course of samsara (transmigration). It can neither be lessened nor increased... just as a ball of string will when thrown unwind to its full length, so fool and wise alike will take their course and make an end of sorrow."

And this is what a philosopher named Ajita Kesakambalin taught:

"There is no such thing, O king, as alms or sacrifice, or offerings. ... there is no such thing as this world or the next...

 A human being is made up of the four elements. When he dies the earthy in him returns to the earth, the fluid to water, the heat to fire, the windy to air, and his senses pass into space... 

The talk of gifts is. a doctrine of fools, an empty lie... fools and wise alike are cut off and perish. They do not survive after death."

The first teacher belonged to the tradition of the Ajivikas. They have often been described as fatalists: those who believe that everything is predetermined. The second teacher belonged to the tradition of the Lokayatas, usually described as materialists. Texts from these traditions have not survived, so we know about them only from the works of other traditions.

(1) Explain what had Makkhali Gosala told the King Ajatasatru.

(2) Explain what did the philosopher named Ajita Kesakambalin teach.

(3) Describe the beliefs of fatalists.

(1) The citizens of Hastinapura expressed their preference for Pandavas because they were more capable and virtuous than the Kauravas.

(2) Reactions of Duryodhana against Pandavas: He was jealous. He felt that the sons of Dhritarashtra would be excluded from the royal succession and will be looked down upon.

(3) Under patriliny, sons could claim the resources of their father after their death. Sometimes when there were no sons then brothers succeeded one another. Sometimes, other kinsmen claimed the throne and in exceptional cases women exercised power


(i) Makkhali Gosala told King Ajatasatru:

Pleasure and pain cannot be altered in the course of Samsara. We can gain nothing by virtue of Karma and we can lose nothing by not doing the karma.

(2) Ajita Kesakambalin said:

Human being is made of four elements when he dies he will be returned to the earth. Both fools and wise perish after death.

(3) Fatalists believed that life is pre-determined and karma cannot change it. He gave an example-Just as a ball of string when thrown unwind to its full length so fool and wise alike will take their course and make an end of the sorrow.



Short Answer Type


'Some scholars see partition as a culmination of a communal politics that started developing in the opening decades of the twentieth century." 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.

(v) Hindus were angered by the rapid spread of tabligh (propaganda) and tanzim (organisation) after 1923.


Long Answer Type


Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow:

The One Lord

Here is a composition attributed to Kabir:

Tell me, brother, how can there be
No one lord of the world but two?
Who led you so astray?
God is called by many names:
Names like Allah, Ram, Karim, Keshav, Hari, and Hazrat.
Gold may be shaped into rings and bangles.
Isn't it gold all the same?
Distinctions are only in words that we invent...
Kabir says they are both mistaken.
Neither can find the only Ram. One kills the goat, the other cows.

They waste their lives in disputation.

(1) Name any two scriptures in which verses, ascribed to Kabir, have been compiled.

(2) How did Kabir describe the 'Ultimate Reality’?

(3) Explain the arguments given by Kabir against the lords of the world of different communities.

(4) Do you agree with Kabir? Give your own views as well.


A warning for Europe

Bernier warned that if European kings followed the Mughal model:

Their kingdoms would be very far from being well-cultivated and peopled, so well built, so rich, so polite and flourishing as we see them. Our kings are otherwise rich and powerful; and we must avow that they are much better and more royally served. They would soon be kings of deserts and solitudes, of beggars and barbarians, such 165 as those are whom I have been representing (the Mughals) ... We should find the great Cities and the great Burroughs (boroughs) rendered uninhabitable because of ill air, and to fall to ruine (ruin) without any bodies (anybody) taking care of repairing them; the hillocks abandon'd, and the fields overspread with bushes, or fill'd with pestilential marishes (marshes) , as hath been already intimated.

(1) What kind of warning European traveller wants to give? Describe briefly.

(2) "On what accounts Bernier's description was at variance with the contemporary Mughal records." Explain.

(3) Explain Bernier's suggestions given about the great cities.

(1) Two scriptures in which Kabir’s verses are compiled include Kabir Bijak and Kabir Granthavali.

(2) Kabir’s description:

(i) There is only one God in the world. He is known by many names.

(ii) He condemned any kind of rituals or sacrifices.

(3) Kabir argued against the lords of the world of different communities in the following manner:

(a) All religious distinctions are man-made

(b) There is only one God

(c) He is known as Ram, Rahim, Allah …… etc.

(d) He says that religions emphasize on unnecessary rituals and keep fighting with each other.

(4) I agree with Kabir. I also believe that there is only one God and that rituals should be discarded.


(1) Bernier warns the European kings about the consequences that can come about if the Mughal model is followed. They would end up as kings of beggars and barbarians …… etc.

(2) According to Abul Fazl, Land revenue was a remuneration of sovereignty for the protection that Mughal ruler provided to his subject and not a rent.

(a) Land revenue was not even a land tax and it was a tax on the crop.

(b) Bernier portrayed India under Mughal rule in a negative light, while the Mughal records show that trade flourished and Indian crafts were in great demand.

(3) Bernier suggested that:

(i) The kings of Europe were royally served and were rich and powerful.

(ii) They should not follow the example of Mughal rulers and become rulers of deserts, beggars and barbarians…etc


Short Answer Type


Explain the provisions of the Subsidiary Alliance imposed on Awadh in 1801 by the British.

The provisions of Subsidiary Alliance imposed on Awadh in 1801 by the British:

(i) Nawab had to disband his military force.

(ii) The British positioned their troops within the kingdom.

(iii) The Kings had to act in accordance with the advice of the British Resident who was attached to the court.

(iv) King was deprived of his armed forces.

(v) Nawab became increasingly dependent on the British to maintain law and Order.


Long Answer Type


Explain the changes reflected in the history of urban centers in India during the 18th century with special reference to network of trade.


Explain the sources from which we can reconstruct the political career of Gandhiji and the history of the nationalist movement.

Changes in the urban centres during 18th century:

(i) With political and commercial realignments, old towns went into decline and new towns developed.

(ii) The gradual erosion of Mughal power led to the demise of the old towns associated with their rule.

(iii) The Mughal capitals like Delhi & Agra lost their political authority.

(iv) The growth of new regional powers was reflected in the increasing importance of regional capitals likes Lucknow, Hyderabad, Seringapatam, Poona, Nagpur … etc.

(v) Traders, administrators, artisans etc. migrated from the old Mughal centers to these new capitals in search of work and patronage.

(vi) Continuous warfare between the new kingdoms resulted in mercenaries finding new employment.

(vii) Renewed economic activity in some places and in other places, there was decline in economic activities.

(viii) Some local notables and officials associated with Mughal rule in North India also used this opportunity to create new urban settlements such as the qasbah and ganj

(ix) European commercial companies had setup their base in different places during the early Mughal era.

(x) With the expansion of commercial activity, the towns grew around these trading centres.


The different kinds of available sources which helped the historians in reconstructing the political career of Gandhiji and the history of the national movement that was associated with it:

(i) Public voice- One important source is the writings and speeches of Mahatma Gandhi and his contemporaries, including both his associates and his political adversaries Speeches, for instance, allow us to hear the public voice of an individual,

(ii) Private scripts- Private letters give us a glimpse of his or her private thoughts. In letters we see people expressing their anger and pain, their dismay and anxiety, their hopes and frustrations in ways in which they may not express themselves in public statements

(iii) Autobiographies- It similarly give us an account of the past that is often rich in human detail. They tell us what the author could recollect, what he or she saw as important, or was keen on recounting, or how a person wanted his or her life to be viewed by others.

(iv) Through police eyes- Another vital source is government records, for the colonial rulers kept close tabs on those they regarded as critical of the government.

(v) From newspapers- One more important source is contemporary newspapers, published in English as well as in the different Indian languages, which tracked Mahatma Gandhi’s movements and reported on his activities, and also represented what ordinary Indians thought of him.



Explain the striking features about the location of Vijayanagara, its water resources and its fortifications.


Explain how during 16th and 17th centuries agriculture was organised around two major seasonal cycles by giving examples of different crops.

Location and Water Requirements-

(i) Vijayanagara is the natural basin formed by the river Tungabhadra which flows in a north-easterly direction.

(ii) The surrounding landscape is characterised by the stunning hills of granite forming a girdle around the city.

(iii) Streams flowed down to the river from the rocky outcrops.

(iv) Embankment were built along these streams to create reservoirs of varying Sizes.

(v) Kamlapuram tank was source of water for irrigation as well as the needs of the royal centre.

(vi) The most prominent water works included the Hiriya Canal that drew water from the canal and supplied it for irrigation.


(i) Abdur Razzaq was impressed by the fortifications of Vijayanagara.

(ii) He mentioned seven lines of forts.

(iii) These encircled not only the city but also the agricultural lands and forests.

(iv) The walls linked the hills surrounding the city.

(v) Stone blocks were used in construction.

(vi) Significance of the fortifications that it enclosed the agricultural tracts.

(vii) Second line of fortification went around the inner core of the urban complex.

(viii) A third line of fortification surrounded the royal centre within which each set of major building was surrounded by its own high walls.

(ix) There were well guarded gates.


Agriculture was organised around two major seasonal cycles:

(i) Agriculture was organized around two major seasonal cycles, the Kharif (autumn) and the Rabi (spring). 187

(ii) This would mean that most regions, except those terrains that were the most arid or inhospitable, produced a minimum of two crops a year (do-fasla),

(iii) Whereas some, where rainfall or irrigation assured a continuous supply of water, even gave three crops.

(iv) This ensured an enormous variety of produce. For instance, we are told in the Ain that the Mughal provinces of Agra produced 39 varieties of crops and Delhi produced 43 over the two seasons. Bengal produced 50 varieties of rice alone.

(v) Crops such as cotton and sugarcane were jins-i kamil par excellence. Cotton was grown over a great swathe of territory spread over central India and the Deccan plateau, whereas Bengal was famous for its sugar.

(vi) Such cash crops would also include various sorts of oilseeds (for example, mustard) and lentils.

(vii) This shows how subsistence and commercial production were closely intertwined in an average peasant’s holding.

(viii) During the seventeenth century several new crops from different parts of the world reached the Indian subcontinent.

(ix) Maize (makka) , for example, was introduced into India via Africa and Spain and by the seventeenth century it was being listed as one of the major crops of western India.

(x) Vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and chillies were introduced from the New World at this time, as were fruits like the pineapple and the papaya.


Short Answer Type


Why did the Zamindars fail to pay the revenue-demand in the early decades after the permanent settlement? Explain any two reasons briefly.

The Zamindars failed to pay the revenue-demand in the early decades after the permanent settlement:

(i) The initial demands were very high. This was because it was felt that if the demand was fixed for all time to come, the Company would never be able to claim a share of increased income from land when prices rose and cultivation expanded. To minimise this anticipated loss, the Company pegged the revenue demand high, arguing that the burden on zamindars would gradually decline as agricultural production expanded and prices rose.

(ii) This high demand was imposed in the 1790s, a time when the prices of agricultural produce were depressed, making it difficult for the ryots to pay their dues to the zamindar.



How were towns often defined in opposition to rural areas during pre-colonial times? Give any two points of difference. 

Two points of difference:

(i)In country side, people subsisted by cultivating the land while in towns by contrast people who lived were artisans traders , administrators, rulers etc. Towns dominated over the rural areas.

(ii) Towns & cities were often fortified by walls but not the villages of the countryside.



"The discussions within the constituent assembly were also influenced by the opinion expressed by the public." Examine the statement.

Influence of public opinion on the discussions in the Constituent Assembly:

(i) The newspapers reported the discussions in the Constituent Assembly.

(ii) The press reported the reactions of the public to the discussions in the Assembly.

(iii) The press opened the opportunity to comment on different issues & published the public opinion.

(iv) Criticism and counter criticism in the press in turn shaped the nature of the discussions in the Assembly.

(v) In order to create a sense of collective participation the public was also asked to send in their views on what needed to be done.



On the given political outline map of India five territories/cities under the British control in 1857 have been marked as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Identify them and write their names on the lines drawn nearby: 


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