How did Siddhartha get to be named Buddha? How did his followers lead their lives? from History Class 12 CBSE Year 2015 Free Solved Previous Year Papers




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CBSE History 2015 Exam Questions

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

                                                             The system of varnas

This is Al-Biruni’s account of the system of varnas:

The highest caste are the Brahmana, of whom the books of the Hindus tell us that they were created from the head of Brahman. And as the Brahman is only another name for the force called nature, and the head is the highest part of the ... body, the Brahmana are the choice part of the whole genus. Therefore the Hindus consider them as the very best of mankind.

The next caste are the Kshatriya, who were created, as they say, from the shoulders and hands of Brahman. Their degree is not much below that of the Brahmana. After them follow the Vaishya, who were created from the thigh of Brahman.

The Shudra, who were created from his feet ...

Between the latter two classes there is no very great distance. Much, however, as these classes differ from each other, they live together in the same towns and villages, mixed together in the same houses and lodgings.

(16.1) What gave Brahmanas their superior status?

(16.2) How did Al-Biruni disapprove the ‘notion of pollution’?

(16.3)Who lived together, yet segregated ? What impact did they have on the society ?

(16.1) They were created from the head of Brahman and the Brahman, only another name for the force called nature.

(16.2) Al Biruni remarked that everything which falls into a state of impurity strives and succeeds in regaining its original condition of purity. The conception of social pollution, intrinsic to the caste system, was according to him, contrary to the laws of nature.

(16.3) In real life the system was not quite as rigid.

(i) The categories defined as antyaja, born outside the system, were often expected to provide inexpensive labour to both peasants and zamindars. While they were often subjected to social oppression, they were included within economic networks.

(ii) Kshatriya were created from the shoulders and hands of Brahman, vaishya from the thigh of Brahman and vaishya from the feet. There was no very great distance, however all the classes differ from each other.They all lived in the same town and villages and mixed together in the same houses and lodgings.



Examine the role of women as an important resource in the Mughal agrarian society.

The role of women in the Mughal Agrarian society:

(i) They worked shoulder to shoulder in the fields.Men tilled and ploughed, while women sowed, weeded threshed and winnowed the harvest.

(ii) Artisanal tasks such as spinning yarn, sifting and kneading clay for pottery, and embroidery were among the many aspects of production dependent on female labour.

(iii) They even went to the houses of their employers or to the markets if necessary.

(iv) They were child bearers in a society dependent on labour.

(v)Women were kept under strict control by the family and the community.

(vi) Marriages in many rural communities required the payment of bride-price rather than dowry to the bride’s family.Remarriage was considered legitimate.

(vii) In most cases when women petitioned to the panchayat, their names were excluded from the record: the petitioner was referred to as the mother, sister or wife of the male head of the household.

(viii) Wives protested against the infidelity of their husband. Amongst the landed property, women had the right to inherit property.



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

                              ‘‘The real minorities are the masses of this country’’

Welcoming the Objectives Resolution introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru, N.G. Ranga said :

Sir, there is a lot of talk about minorities. Who are the real minorities ? Not the Hindus in the so-called Pakistan provinces, not the Sikhs, not even the Muslims. No, the real minorities are the masses of this country. These people are so depressed and oppressed and suppressed till now that they are not able to take advantage of the ordinary civil rights. What is the position ? You go to the tribal areas. According to law, their own traditional law, their tribal law, their lands cannot be alienated. Yet our merchants go there, and in the so-called free market they are able to snatch their lands. Thus, even though the law goes against this snatching away of their lands, still the merchants are able to turn the tribal people into veritable slaves by various kinds of bonds, and make them hereditary bond-slaves. Let us go to the ordinary villagers. There goes the money-lender with his money and he is able to get the villagers in his pocket. There is the landlord himself, the zamindar, and the malguzar and there are the various other people who are able to exploit these poor villagers. There is no elementary education even among these people. These are the real minorities that need protection and assurances of protection. In order to give them the necessary protection, we will need much more than this Resolution ....
                                                                                                                                           CAD, VOL. II

(17.1) On which aspect did N.G. Ranga draw attention?

(17.2) What type of problems did the ordinary villagers face?

(17.3) What kind of protection was needed for the real minorities?

(17.1) N G Ranga has drawn attention to real minorities who are the masses of this country. These people were so depressed, oppressed and suppressed that they were not able to take advantage of the ordinary civil rights.

(17.2) Problems of the ordinary villagers are:

(i) Merchants snatch their lands and are able to turn the tribal people into veritable slaves by various kinds of bonds, and make them hereditary bond-slaves.

(ii) Money-lenders with his money get the villages in his pocket, the zamindars and malguzars exploit poor villagers.

(17.3) Protection needed for the real minorities and assurances of protection which includes elementary education to the minorities. The reservation of seats in the legislature was essential to represents themselves.



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

                                                     A tiger-like husband

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, Yudhisthira agreed to the marriage on the 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 suggest that term rakshasa is used to describe people whose practices differed from those laid down in the Brahmanical texts.

(15.1) Why were Hidimba’s social practices not influenced by the Brahmanical ideas?

(15.2) Why was Hidimba’s clan considered as uncivilised in the Sanskrit text?

(15.3) How was the philosophy of dharamsutras about the endogamy not applied in the story?

(15.1 )Hidimba’s social practices not influenced by the Brahminical ideas as :

(i) She belonged to the rakshasa clan.

(ii) In Sanskrit texts they are often describe as odd, uncivilized or even animal-like.

(15.2)Hidimba’s clan was considered uncivilized in the Sanskrit text because they were not influenced by bramhminical ideals and were even like animal.

(15.3)The philosophy of dharamsutras about the endogamy not applied in the story as Pandavas were the ksahtriya clan and were influenced by brahminical ideas in which endogamy was given stress on but in the case of bhima, he married to the rakshasa clan girl, Hidimba which highlighted exogamy.



(18.1) On the given political outline map of India (on page 15), locate and label the following with appropriate symbols:

(a) Lothal

(b) Amravati Stupa

(18.2) On the same outline map of India, three places related to the Indian National Movement have been marked as A, B and C. Identify them and write their correct names on the lines drawn near them.



‘Many scholars have written of the months after Indian independence as being Gandhiji’s ‘‘finest hours’’.’ Explain.

Gandhiji’s finest hours:

(i) Mahatma Gandhi was not present at the festivities in the capital on 15 August 1947. He was in Calcutta, but he did not attend any function or hoist a flag there.

(ii) He “appealed to the Sikhs, the Hindus and the Muslims to forget the past and not to dwell on their on their sufferings but to extend the right hand of fellowship to each other, and to determine to live in peace”.

(iii) At the initiative of Gandhi, India remained a democratic secular State where all citizens enjoy full rights and are equally entitled to the protection of the state, irrespective of the religion to which they belong.

(iv) After working to bring peace to Bengal, Gandhi shifted to move on to the riot-torn districts of Punjab.

(v) He was equally concerned with the sufferings of the minority community in Pakistan.

(vi) He trusted that “the worst is over” that Indians would henceforth work collectively for the “equality of all classes and creeds, never the domination and superiority of the major community over a minor, however insignificant it may be in numbers or influence”.

(vii) Gandhi had fought a lifelong battle for a free and United India.

(viii) When the country was divided, he urged that the two parts respect and befriend one another.



How did Siddhartha get to be named Buddha? How did his followers lead their lives?

Siddharta as Buddha:

(i) Siddhartha as the Buddha was named at birth, was the son of a chief of the Sakya clan.

(ii) He had a sheltered upbringing within the palace, insulated from the harsh realities of life.

(iii) One day he persuaded his charioteer to take him into the city.His journey into the world outside was traumatic. He was deeply anguished when he saw an old man, a sick man and a corpse.

(iv) He realized in that moment that the decay and destruction of the human body was inevitable. He left the palace and set out in search of his own truth, he meditated for several days and finally attained enlightenment .

After this he came to be known as the Buddha or the Enlightened One. For the rest of his life, he taught dhamma or the path of righteous living.

Folowers of the Buddha:

(i) Monks, disciples of the Buddha, lived simply, possessing only the essential requisites for survivals, such as one bowl to receive food once a day from the laity.

(ii) They lived on alms, they were known as bhikkhus.

(iii) Initially, only men were allowed into the sangha, but later women also admitted. Many women who entered the sangha, an organisation of monks, became teachers of dhamma and went on to become theirs, or respected women who had attained liberation.

(iv) The Buddha’s followers came from many social groups like kings, wealthy men and gahapatis , and also humbler folk, workers, slaves and craftspeople Once within the sangha , all were regarded as equal, having shed their earlier social identities on becoming bhikkhus and bhikkunis.



‘‘Memoirs and experiences shape the reality of an event.’’ Explain the strengths and weaknesses of the oral testimonies in writing history.

Strengths of the oral testimonies:

(i) Oral narratives, memoirs, diaries, family histories, first hand written accounts - all these help us to understand the trials and tribulations of ordinary people during the partition of the country.

(ii) It helps us to grasp experiences and memories in details.

(iii) It enables historians to write richly textured, vivid accounts of what happened to people during events such as partition.

(iv) Oral history also allows historians to broaden the boundaries of their discipline by rescuing from oblivion the lived experiences of the poor and the powerless.


(i) Oral data lacks concreteness and the chronology they yield may be imprecise.

(ii) The uniqueness of personal experience makes generalisation difficult

(iii) A large picture cannot be built from such micro-evidence as one witness is no witness.

(iv) Oral accounts are concerned with tangential issues and are irrelevant to the unfolding of larger processes of history.


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