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Themes in Indian History II

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Class 10 Class 12

Delhi

Here is an excerpt from Ibn Battuta’s account of Delhi, often spelt as Delhi in texts of the period:

The city of Dehli covers a wide area and has a large population ... The rampart round the city is without parallel. The breadth of its wall is eleven cubits; and inside it are houses for the night sentry and gatekeepers. Inside the ramparts, there are store-houses for storing edibles, magazines, ammunition, ballistas and siege machines. The grains that are stored (in these ramparts) can last for a long time, without rotting ... In the interior of the rampart, horsemen as well as infantrymen move from one end of the city to another. The rampart is pierced through by windows which open on the side of the city, and it is through these windows that light enters inside. The lower part of the rampart is built of stone; the upper part of bricks. It has many towers close to one another. There are twenty eight gates of this city which are called darwaza, and of these, the Budaun darwaza is the greatest; inside the Mandwi darwaza there is a grain market; adjacent to the Gul darwaza there is an orchard ... It (the city of Dehli) has a fine cemetery in which graves have domes over them, and those that do not have a dome, have an arch, for sure. In the cemetery they sow flowers such as tuberose, jasmine, wild rose, etc.; and flowers blossom there in all seasons.

(1) How had Ibn Battatu describe the cities in the Sub-Continent?

(2) What was his description of Delhi?

(3) Mention any four changes in Delhi of today.

OR
The Poor Peasant

An excerpt from Bernier’s description of the peasantry in the countryside:

Of the vast tracts of country constituting the empire of Hindustan, many are little more than sand, or barren mountains, badly cultivated, and thinly populated. Even a considerable portion of the good land remains untilled for want of labourers; many of whom perish in consequence of the bad treatment they experience from Governors. The poor people, when they become incapable of discharging the demands of their rapacious lords, are not only often deprived of the means of subsistence, but are also made to lose their children, who are carried away as slaves. Thus, it happens that the peasantry, driven to despair by so excessive a tyranny, abandon the country.

In this instance, Bernier was participating in contemporary debates in Europe concerning the nature of state and society, and intended that his description of Mughal India would serve as a warning to those who did not recognize the “merits” of private property

(1) How have the tracts of Hindustan been described by Bernier?

(2) Why did the land remain untilled? Explain.

(3) What happens when the poor peasants are unable to fulfil the demands of their landmarks?


(1) Ibn Battuta found cities in the subcontinent full of exciting opportunities for those who had the necessary drive, resources and skills. They were densely populated and prosperous, except for the occasional disruptions caused by wars and invasions.

(2) Ibn Battuta described Delhi as a vast city, with a great population, the largest in India. The city of Dehli covers a wide area and has a large population ... The rampart round the city is without parallel. The breadth of its wall is eleven cubits; and inside it are houses for the night sentry and gatekeepers. Inside the ramparts, there are store-houses for storing edibles, magazines, ammunition, ballistas and siege machines. There are twenty eight gates of this city which are called darwaza, and of these, the Budaun darwaza is the greatest; inside the Mandwi darwaza there is a grain market; adjacent to the Gul darwaza there is an orchard ... the city of Dehli has a fine cemetery in which graves have domes over them, and those that do not have a dome, have an arch, for sure. In the cemetery they sow flowers such as tuberose, jasmine, wild rose, etc.; and flowers blossom there in all seasons.

(3) The four changes:

(i) It is now the National Capital Territory

(ii) The city houses Parliament

(iii) Modern mode of transport are seen on roads

(iv) High rises building have been built.

                                                                               OR

(1) Of the vast tracts of country constituting the empire of Hindustan, many are little more than sand, or barren mountains, badly cultivated, and thinly populated.

(2) Even a considerable portion of the good land remains untilled for want of labourers; many of whom perish in consequence of the bad treatment they experience from Governors.

(3) The poor people, when they become incapable of discharging the demands of their rapacious lords, are not only often deprived of the means of subsistence, but are also made to lose their children, who are carried away as slaves. Thus, it happens that the peasantry, driven to despair by so excessive a tyranny, abandon the country.

776 Views

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

                                                          The child sati

This is perhaps one of the most poignant descriptions by Bernier :

At Lahore, I saw a most beautiful young widow sacrificed, who could not, I think, have been more than twelve years of age. The poor little creature appeared more dead than alive when she approached the dreadful pit: the agony of her mind cannot be described; she trembled and wept bitterly; but three or four of the Brahmanas, assisted by an old woman who held her under the arm, forced the unwilling victim toward the fatal spot, seated her on the wood, tied her hands and feet, lest she should run away, and in that situation the innocent creature was burnt alive. I found it difficult to repress my feelings and to prevent their bursting forth into clamorous and unavailing rage ...

(16.1) Why did Bernier consider this treatment as a crucial marker of the difference between western and eastern societies ?

(16.2) What role did the Indian patriarchal society play towards this social evil ?

(16.3) Compare the condition of the women of the era mentioned above to that of today. 


(16.1) Bernier considered this treatment as a crucial marker of difference between western and eastern society because-

(i)Women received education in the west but in the eastern society there was no education and many social evils like sati , purdah system and child marriages existed.

(ii)Eastern societies were male dominated unlike the western

(16.2) While some women seemed to embrace death cheerfully, others were forced to die.

(16.3) In medieval era women had no rights but today sati , slavery has been prohibited. There is women empowerment with economic and political rights.

1077 Views

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.

OR

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.

                                                                              OR

(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

1035 Views

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.

501 Views

 Delhi

 

Here is an excerpt from Ibn Battuta's account of Delhi, often spelt as Dehli in texts of the period:
The city of Dehli covers a wide area and has a large population ... The rampart round the city is without parallel. The breadth of its wall is eleven cubits; and inside it are houses for the night sentry and. gatekeepers. Inside the ramparts, there are store-houses for storing edibles, magazines, ammunition, ballistas and siege machines. The grains that are stored (in these ramparts) can last for a long time, without rotting... In the interior of the rampart, horseman as well as infantrymen move from one end of the city to another. The rampart is pierced through by windows which open on the side of the city, and it is through these windows that light enters inside. The lower part of the rampart is built of stone; the upper part of bricks. It has many towers close to one another. There are twenty eight gates in this city which are called darvraza, and of these, the Budaun darwaza is the greatest; inside the Mandwi darwaza there is a grain market; adjacent to the Gul darwaza there is an orchard ... It (the city of Dehli) has a fine cemetery in which graves have domes over them, and those that do not have a dome, have an arch, for sure. In the cemetery they sow flowers such as tuberose, jasmine, wild rose, etc.; a grain market; adjacent to the Gul darwaza there is an orchard ... It (the city of Dehli)  has a fine cemetery in which graves have domes over them, and those that do not have a dome, have an arch, for sure. In the cemetery they sow flowers such as tuberose, jasmine, wild rose, etc.; and flowers blossom there in all seasons

 (15.1)  Why has Ibn Battuta described Delhi as a vast city?

 (15.2)  Mention the measures taken to protect Delhi from the invasion during 14th century.

 (15.3)  Why was Ibn Battuta impressed with the architectural features of the city? Explain.

Or
Kings and Traders

 

Krishnadeva Raya (ruled 1509-29) , the most famous ruler of Vijayanagara, composed a work on statecraft in Telugu known as the Amuktamalyada. About traders he wrote:

 A king should improve the harbors of his country and so encourage its commerce that horses, elephants, precious gems, sandalwood, pearls and other articles are freely imported ... He should arrange that the foreign sailors who land in his country on account of storms, illness and exhaustion are looked after in a suitable manner,..... Make the merchants of distant foreign countries who import elephants and good horses be attached to yourself by providing them with daily audience, presents and allowing decent profits. Then those articles will never go to your enemies.

 

(15.1)  Explain the responsibilities of king mentioned by Krishnadeva Raya'.

 (15.2)  In what ways had Krishnadeva Raya protected articles from going to his enemies?

 (15.3)  Explain the measures taken by the king to improve the conditions of his country.


(15.1) Because it was densely populated, prosperous and the largest in India.

 (15.2) To protect Delhi many towers were erected close to one another and eight gates were built which was known as darwaza.

 (15.3) The city of Delhi had fine cemetery in which graves have domes over them and those that did not have dome had arch. In the cemetery flowers such as tuberose, jasmine and wild rose were sown which blossomed in all seasons. This impressed Battuta.

                                                                         Or

(15.1) The responsibilities of king:

 

(i) A king should improve the harbours of his country and so encourage its commerce.

 (ii) He should arrange that the foreign sailors are ill and exhausted are looked after in a suitable manner.

 (iii) Foreign merchants should be provided with daily audiences, presented and allowed decent profits.

 (15.2) By remaining in constant state of military preparedness.

 (15.3) Built water resources, fortified palaces build roads and carried out irrigation works.

572 Views