Answers: Mains Marathon History Optional Test 3 – UPSC Mains 2017 History Optional Initiative

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Following are the suggested answers of Test-3 Questions:

Q1. Discuss socio-cultural life during post Gupta and early medieval age.


The socio-cultural life during post Gupta period was characterized by predominance of feudal values, ideas and institutions. The practice of land grants that commenced during Gupta age resulted in emergence of feudal system by 7th century AD. By the time early medieval age commenced the feudal system was highly developed in India.

A new form of Varna order emerged during this age. In this the social status of an individual was determined on the basis of the amount of land owned by him irrespective of Varna of their birth. According to Deopara inscription of king Vijayasena of Bengal and granting of Ranaka tittle to an artisan Sulapani signify the changes in Varna order. Sulapani was granted many villages by king as a reward.

Narrow parochial outlook was dominant in society during this age. Contacts with outside world were discouraged. Crossing the sea was considered polluting. In the literature of earlier period terms like Deshadharma and Rashtradharma were used. But in the literature of this age terms like Kuladharma and Gramadharma are present. Certain areas of trade and commerce were declared polluted during this period. Surashtra, Sindh and Dakshinpatha were regarded as polluted, terming them as Papadesha.

Decline of secondary and tertiary activities resulted in downfall in social status of Vaishyas. On the other hand social status of Shudras improved significantly due to increase in significance of agriculture. As a result the social difference between Vaishyas and Shudras got reduced. According to Al-Beruni, Vaishyas and Shudras were living in same type of houses. They were subject to same punishment by state. According to Skandpurana, Shudras were grihsthai.e. householder of family and Annadatai.e. producer of food.

A large number of new professions emerged during this age. With these professions new castes and sub castes emerged in society. 36 castes of Rajputs are mentioned in contemporary literature. 10 castes emerged among Brahmans.

Social rigidity of high order was present during this period. Social mobility was absent. Untouchability was widespread and the number of untouchables increased in society. Evils like Jauhar i.e.self-immolation of women emerged in society. Practices like Sati, Child marriage and prohibition of widow remarriage gained popularity. The status of women during this age declined sharply but the status of Rajput women was quite high. They enjoyed right to Swayamwar. The mother of sons was highly respected.

Though the significance of education for common masses got reduced but many educationalcentres flourished in India during this age. Odantipuri and VikramshilaUniversity emerged during this period.

Q2. Compare the features of Indian feudalism and European feudalism.


Feudal system was a worldwide phenomenon during 800AD-1200AD because it was prevalent in India as well as in Europe. InIndian literature the system is referred as Samantha system.  Although the feudalism got integrated in various spheres of lives there are certain differences among Indian version of feudalism and European feudalism.

Feudalism in India was far less developed than European feudalism whereas the feudal elements were far strongly expressed in the European feudalism. In India though the feudal lords owned a large percentage of land but still most of the land was owned by peasant proprietors. In Europe most land was owned by feudal lords and number of independent peasant proprietors were quite small.

European feudalism shows the manor system as important feature. Manor was the palace or fort of feudal lord. Manor controlled politico-administrative, socio-cultural and economic life. In India manor system was absent. Serfdom was an essential feature of feudalism in Europe. Agricultural activities on the land owned by feudal lords were performed by serfs. In India serfdom was absent. Agricultural activities were performed by tenant cultivators and cultivator himself determined the agricultural activities, where as in Europe feudal lord determined agricultural activities.

In India, feudal lord received only small part of production, generally 25%. Most of the harvest was retained by peasant cultivators. In Europe most of agricultural production was retained by feudal lord. The serfs or tenants received only small share to survive.

In India kings and feudal lords were mostly at loggerheads because the power of one is threat to another, whereas in Europe the king and feudal lords worked together as a unit. Their relations were harmonious.

Q3.Some Noble Rajput septs are descended from Gujaras or other foreigners while some others are closely connected to indigenous races. Give views.


There is no agreement among modern scholars regarding the origin of Rajputs. According to tradition, they are descendants of ancient Kshatriyas belonging to solar and lunar dynasties. Work on Rajput history by GaurishankarOjha support this view. But this tradition is rejected on historical grounds by many European and Indian scholars.

The supporters of traditional view emphasize the value of tradition but in many cases the traditions current in Rajputana are not corroborated by epigraphic evidence. E.g. according to Mewar tradition the ranas of Udaipur are descendants of Rama, hero of Ramayana but in oldest inscriptions relating to Guhilots the founder of family is described as Brahmin.

Supporters of traditional view point out that devotion of Rajputs to Hindu religion and their long struggle with the Muslims in defense of Hindu faith and culture amply demonstrate their Indian origin. But the advocates of modern view emphasize recent converts often show more zeal for their new religion than among whom the religion might have taken its birth.

The anthropometric measurements taken during census of 1901 show that physical character of Rajputs differ little from the supposed physical character of Aryans. But the conclusions based on anthropometric measurements are seldom satisfactory from the historic point of view in a country like India where mingling of different racial elements has been a frequent phenomenon.

Although the annals and antiquities of Rajasthan by James Todwas based primarily on traditional current in Rajputana but he rejected the traditional view. He declared the Rajputs of Scythian origin. The theory of foreign origin was strengthened by historical investigations by Indian and European scholars. The absorption of foreigners in Hindu society was not novel phenomenon. There are historical instances showing that Sakas entered into matrimonial alliances with Hindus. The Huns, Gurjaras and other allied tribes who poured into India during 5th and 6th centuries were surely not exterminated by Hindus. It seems that they gradually merged themselves within the Hindu society just as Greeks, Kushans and Sakas had done in previous ages.

The position of foreigners was determined by their profession. One of the Rajput clan mentioned by Tod bears the name Hun. Sometimes change in occupation led to change of caste. E.g. Guhilot of Mewar were originally Brahmins, hey became Rajputs when they acquired political power and took Kshatriya wives.

Foreign origin of Rajput is definitely proved by epigraphic evidencese.g.GurjaraPratiharas are described as sprung from the Gurjara lineage. The legends about origin of some Rajput clans from sacrificial fire pit on mount Abu give a hint at purificatory rites performed for removing the impurity of foreigners and absorbing them within fold of Hinduism.

The diversity of cults and beliefs, manners and customs prevalent among the Rajputs seems to indicate diversity of origin. e.g. those Rajput tribes which are specially devoted to the worship of Sun may be regarded as foreigners in origin while those which worship serpents are probably descended from the aborigines of this country.

Q4. Discuss the evolution of indo Islamic culture during sultanate period.


Although the contacts between Hinduism and Islam go back to an earlier period, they were established on a more permanent and regular basis after the establishment of Turkish rule in the beginning of 13th century. The Indian subjects and Turkish rulers came into direct contact and this led to development of composite culture which combined into itself the features of both the traditional Indian and perso-arabic or Islamic culture. The impact of exchanges evolved composite pattern in realms of religious thought, languages and literature, architecture and the arts.

In the domain of religious thought the impact of Sufis or Islamic mystics on the development of Hindu religious thought during the period can be seen in the Bhakti movement. Though essentially an indigenous cult, bhakti was considerably influenced by Islamic ideas. The concept of unity of godhead and brotherhood of man, emphasis on devotion to personal god as the means of salvation etc. are ideas which are common to both Bhaktism and Sufism. The sufidocrines of WahdatulWujudie unity of being and Fana-fil-Allah ieabsoption of personality of god, are strikingly similar to Vedanta philosophy. Some of the practices of the Sufis can also be traced to Buddhist influences. Some of the Bhakti saints, particularly Kabir and Nanak, and some sufi saints gave clarion call for Hindu-Muslim unity and helped in promoting a more tolerant attitude among the followers of one community towards the other.

Many Hindus during this period were converted into Islam but they retained their traditional customs and way of life. Settlements of muslims in a predominantly Hindu neighborhoods made social intercourse between the two an inevitable necessity. Thus developed common customs, ceremonies, sports and amusements, entertainments, manner, food and dress habits etc.

New Turkish rulers found it difficult to communicate with the Indian people in Persian language. So they encouraged the growth of the vernacular languages as distinct from Sanskrit which was the language of a small intellectual elite and had been patronized by the Hindu rulers. The efforts of Bhakti saints who addressed the people in their own languages and favorable policy of development of regional languages led to development of Urdu. Urdu grew out as the fusion of Arabic, Persian and Turkish on the one hand and indian languages eg. Hariyani, Khariboli, Awadhi and BrajBhasa on the other. While it retained Persian script it adopted the rules of grammar and composition of Indian language.

Fine arts e.g. painting and music also saw the coming together of Indian and Persian influences. But the real fusion between the two happened during Mughal period. Orthodox outlook of many Turkish sultans did not evince as keen an interest in cultural matters as their Mughal successors. However, in the field of architecture this period saw the evolution of a new and composite style which has rightly been designated as Indo-Islamic since it drew upon the best traditions of both Indian and Islamic architecture.

Q5. Emergence of feudalism and fragmented state were not the only reasons for decline of trade during 750 AD to 950 AD. Enumerate the factors that contributed decline of trade during early medieval period.


Towards the end of Gupta empiretrade began to decline. The process of decline lingered and was completed by 700 AD. The decline can be attributed to manifold factors.

The fragmented state policy, emergence of feudalism and concomitant political instability, wars and disorder had adverse impact on trading zeal. The system of land grants led to rise of new landlords. Extraction of surplus produce by these landlords affected the economy and conditions conducive to trade

The period also witnessed paucity of coins. The reduced degree of monetization affected the sale and purchase. There are evidences of relatively low volume of money in economy in proportion to rising population during this period.

The favorable trade in silk after 600 AD declined because the Byzantine people learnt the art of sericulture. This resulted into closing of all avenues of transit trade of silk. By this period the greatest importer of Indian goods, the Roman Empire began to decline affecting the bulk of Indian exports. Expansion of Arabs in North West frontier led the overland trade difficult and unsafe. Sea raids of Arabs also disturbed the trade. Tibetan-Chinese conflicts around 700 AD disrupted the flow of communities through central Asian route. Emergence of Hunas in North West of India disturbed the Indian links with East and West Asia.

Though the trade with South East Asia continued it was primarily associated with luxurious items. The limited trading activities catered to need of ruling elites. The decline of trade adversely affected the prosperity of thriving urban and trade centers. The period witnessed decline of Vaishali, Patliputra and Varanasi. Decline of urban settlements resulted in migration of artisans and craftsmen into rural areas in the quest of alternative subsistence leading to depopulation of these centers.

The decline was not limited to external trade only. Internal trade suffered because of disruption of link between port towns and interior centers. Production fell considerably and trend towards decline of trade and declining prosperity resulted in decline of status of traders

Q6. Discuss the factors that contributed towards emergence of third urbanization in India.


The period 950 AD to 1200 AD witnessed emergence of good number of urban centers. It was essentially revival or urbanization. The term third urbanization has gained popularity in this context.

The Bramhadeyas and devdanas which were important sources of agrarian expansion of early medieval period provided the nuclear for urban growth. The Brahmanas and temple setlements clustered together in certain key areas of agricultural production. Such centers initially rural became point of convergence for trade in variety of specialized goods.

Such urban centers are datable from 8th and 9th centuries and are more commonly found in south India. Chola city of Kumbakonam developed out of agrarian clusters and became a multi temple urban center between 9th and 12th centuries. Kanchipuram is a second major example of such an urban complex. Kanchipuram was the largest craft center in textile manufacturing during this period. This also played role in emergence of Kanchipuram as urban center.

Early medieval centuries also witnessed the emergence of urban centers of relatively modest dimensions as market centers, trade centers which were primarily points of the exchange networks. The range of interaction of such centers varied from small agrarian hinterlands to regional commercial hinterlands. Some also functioned beyond their regional frontiers.

The idea of pilgrimage to religious centers developed in the early medieval period owing to the spread of Bhakti cult. Some local cult centers of great antiquity as well as those with early associations with Brahmanical and non Brahmanical religions, became pilgrimage centers. The pilgrimage center was sometimes confined to the specific cultural region within which a cult center assumed a sacred character. However, those cult centers which became sacred tirthas attracted worshippers from various regions. The role of emerging market in the growth of tirthas is popularly known as temple urbanization. Urban centers like Mount Abu, Pushkar, Kasi in north and Srirangam, Madurai, Chidambaram in south are good examples.

The commercial needs of royal centers created new trade and communication links and built up much closer relationships between the royal centers and their agricultural hinterlands or resource bases. Khajuraho, Valabhi, Manyakhed, Tanjore are some good examples.

Q7. Sultanate period saw development in technology in many fields. Elaborate.


In agricultural technology the water lifting device called Saqiya or Persian wheel was introduced by Turks. The water wheel also employed gear system. With gears we enter upon a very advanced stage in technological sense. It has been surpassed only now by electric tube wells.

The most important technological revolution in textile sector was the introduction of spinning wheel i.e. Charkha through Muslims during 13th and 14th centuries. First literary reference to charkha comes from Islami’sFutuh-us-Salatin (1350 AD). Charkha combined within itself the element of power transmission through belt drive and the principle of flywheel resulting in differential speeds of rotation. A spinning wheel could produce yarn six folds more than the spindle during the same unit of time.

Horizontal loom of throw shuttle type was used for simple or tabby weave. First reference of this loom was found in Miftal-ul-Fuzala in 1530 AD.

Indian dyer employed many techniques such as immersion, tie and dye i.e.Bandhana etc. But the block printing chhapa was perhaps unknown in ancient India. Some scholarscreditMuslims for its diffusion in India. Papermaking was yet another contribution.

Domestic utensils of copper and brass are prone to acid poisoning from sour food kept in them. A coating of tin from inside is given to them frequently to protect them from chemical action of acidic food. This craft came to india along with Turks. There is no reference of this technique in ancient India. For navigation, magnetic compass was a great contribution which Muslims diffused in India.

In architectural technologies, lime mortar was definitely brought by the immigrant Muslims during Delhi sultanate. The use of lime mortar led to extensive use of bricks as it made the brick buildings more durable. Another important consequence was that it led to construction of true arch i.e. mihrab. The arrangement of bricks or stones in making a true arch demands a strong cementing material. Lime mortar fulfilled this need. This explains the almost total absence of true arch in Indian buildings prior to Turkish advent.

In military technology, the use of iron stirrup was significant development. Horse shoe has not been reported from any archaeological site excavated in India. The horseshoes were foreign importations brought by the Turks when they came to India. Gunpowder was first invented in china. Later it spread to Islamic society. The immigrant Turks brought gunpowder to India in 13th or early 14th century. Initially gunpowder was used for pyrotechnic of fireworks. Their use in fire arms and for canon ball propulsion started during second half of 15th century.

Q8. Not only weaknesses in military technology but also structure of polity contributed to the fall of Rajputs. Discuss.


India was divided into small principalities. There was no powerful empire in India that could lay foundation of the central government after prevailing over the Rajput rulers. Thus it was quite easy for Muslims to conquer these small states one by one.

One of the important causes of failure of the Rajputs to oppose the Muslims successfully was that they always lacked unity and organization. They were always miserably disunited and different chiefs were always on war path with one another. Terrible battles were continually fought amongst powerful Rajput dynasties. This state of affairs caused weaknesses in them in respect of military strength and monetary resources. As the result of these mutual quarrels and dissentions the Rajputs lost spirit of nationalism.

Rajputs neglected the defense of their frontiers especially north west. They did not make the North West frontier strong enough as Balban and AlauddinKhilji had done. The result of it was disastrous as it allowed foreign invaders to penetrate into country without obstruction. Rajputs neither built forts on the frontiers nor kept any forces for protection over frontiers. Thus it became quite easy for the Muslims to enter India from this side.

Rajput rulers did not maintain any regular standing army. They depended upon their feudatories for armies at the time of war because the latter were bound by the terms of fief to supply the monarch with stipulated number of soldiers at the time of requirement. This system had defects. The number of soldiers in army was never certain, the feudatories declared themselves independent when they saw their ruler in some great difficulty. The system lacked team spirit. Every feudatory was mindful of his own interest and did not care for the entire result.

The Rajputs possessed no good recruiting grounds. There were only small states quite separate from one another and all people did not take interest in the military strength of their state. As the military profession was not regarded as honorable in society, it often became a hard task to recruit fresh and strong soldiers for the army. The muhammedans had many good centers from where they could raise new armies easily and in large numbers. Innumerable recruits from these countries joined Muslim armies simply for the greed of money and came to India to fight against Hindus.

Rajputs were unique fighters but their way of fighting was old fashioned. They depended too much on elephants but these could not stand against the Muslim archers and well trained cavalry. The military organization of Hindus was not as strongly knit as that of Muslims. They used to fight in battle field on systematic lines and in methodical way. On the other hand Rajputs tried to come to standards of Yudhisthira in following truth in the battle field. Finding a foe unarmed they would refuse to fight with him. They would not attack a foe that had laid down his arms before them.

Q9. Discuss the growth of regional languages and literature during medieval period of India.


The tremendous development in language and literature was a direct consequence of royal patronage by powerful rulers and ongoing Sufi and Bhakti movement. New languages like Urdu and Hindi came into existence, these were derivatives from Dehlvi. Amir Khusrau is known to have used this form first in his writings.

Sardic poets wrote books e.g.Prithviraja Rasa wrote Chand Sardai,Mulladaud wrote Chandayan, Malik Muhammad Jayasi wrote Padmavat in Awadhi. Shakti saints of north India like Surdas, Tulsidas, Kabir, Mirabaietc used different dialects of Hindi in the form of doha, chaupai, bhajan etc. to express themselves.

Sufi influence too was instrumental in development of Persian based languages e.g. Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtu and Baluchi. Punjabi was influenced by two trends of Sufi and Bhakti. Guru Angad gave the script Gurumukhi.

Vaishnava bhakti spurred development of Marathi, Hindi, Brajbhasa, Awadhi, Malwi, Rajasthani, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Oriya etc. Bengali literature also made good progress during Mughal period. Both Hindu and Muslim writers wrote in Bengali. Most of the literature produced in Bengali was Vaishnava in character. Certain biographies of chaitanya were also produced by scholers like Krishnadas, Kaviraj, Brindavan Das etc. A number of books in praise of Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi were composed.

Marathi was the result of Maharashtra dharma. It got encouraged by the writings of saints like Jnaneswara, Tukarama, Eknath, Namdev and Ramdas. These saints used form of abhangas. Marathi literature was greatly enriched during the Mughal period chiefly due to contribution of scholars like Dasopant, Mukteswar, VamanPandit, Moropant etc. Sridhar Swami, a prominent scholer of Marathi wrote HariVijayo, Rama Vijaya, PandavPratap and Shivlilamrita etc. His works are based on the themes from Ramayana.

Gujrati literature was also greatly enriched during the Mughal period by various saints and poets. Arwar, a contemporary of Akbar, in his works made a critical examination of human nature and exposed materialistic outlook of the people at that time. His important books include ChittaVicharSomvad, Shatpal, Kevalyagita. Parmananda is credited with authorship of 36 books. He is given the credit of raising Gujarati literature to a higher level of excellence. Another Gujaratischolar of noteworthy contribution was Samal Bhatt, who specialized in Puranic legends and wrote both prose and poetry. His works Madan Mohan and SamalRatnamal are very popular even today.

Telugu literature reached great patronage under vijayanagara kings like Srinath, Peddana and Krishnadevraya. Kannad was influenced by Virshaivism and later patronized by Hoysalas. Rudrabhasa wrote Jagannath-Vijaya in Champu genre.


Q10. Give an account of Al-Beruni’s description of India.


Al-Beruni was born in 973 AD. at Khwarizmi. Following the capture of Khwarizmi in 1017-18 AD, Alberuni was brought to Ghazni where he lived toll his death in 1048 AD. During this period he completed his works on India, Kitab-ul-Hind in 1030 AD.

Alberuni extensively quotes from vast corpus of Sanskrit literature to write on the Indian society, religion, philosophy, astronomy, arithmetic and many more subjects. His work on India is purely scholarly and hardly reminds us of the incessant war between Islam and India. He did pass his own judgment on occasions and was not always objective. He talks about the conceit of Hindus and their depreciation of anything foreign. This attitude was undoubtedly the result of his contact with Brahmanical class. Thus Alberuni’sIndia in its few aspects is closer to Brahmanical India.

Alberuni extensively quotes Patanjali, Gita, Puranas and SamkhyaSchool of philosophy to discuss the Hindu belief in god. He rightly observes that belief of educated class differs from that of uneducated while class. The former strives to conceive abstract ideas and to define general principles the latter is happy with the derived rules without going for details.He enlists differing Hindu opinions for example on such philosophical concepts as action and agent. He also discusses the Hindu concept of paradise and hell. Alberuni makes a very interesting parallel between Patanjali’s definition of Moksha and terms of Sufi for the Knowing and attaining the state of knowledge.

Alberuni beautifully sums up the theories and practices of Indian caste system. He discusses the origin of Chatuh-varna system on the basis of Purushsukta hymn. The caste of shudra was followed by people called Antyaja, the low estate people who render various kinds of services. These people are not part of Chatuh-Varna system but are considered as members of certain craft or profession eg. Shoe-making, basket making, fishing, hunting, weaving etc. The untouchables like Hadis, Dombas, and Chandalas etc. are also enlisted. Hindus are said to differ among themselves as to which of these castes is capable of attaining Moksha. Alberuni reports that according to Hindu philosophers, Moksha is obtainable by all the castes and by the human race.

Indian customs, manners and popular festivals are also vividly portrayed by Alberuni.According to him there are many customs which differ from those of his country to such an extent that they simply appear as monstrous. He enlists all the annual important festivals without much comment upon them. Alberuni takes important note of the fact that most of the festivals are celebrated by women and children only.

On the technical sciences, Alberuni seems to have been impressed most by Indian knowledge of astronomy, meterology, arithmetic and geography. He makes an important observation that science of astronomy is perhaps the most popular with Indians because in various ways it is connected with their religion and that is why an Indian astronomer should be a good astrologer. He discusses at length five siddhantas on indian astronomy. He enlists contemporary weights and measures like Suvarna, Tola, Masha and Yava. An interesting comparison has been made between Tola and Arabian Mithkal. He also worked out an equivalent weight for the two.

Alberuni makes extensive use of Puranic tradition to discuss Indian knowledge of geography. He begins with the Indian concept of madhyadesa i.e.The middle of the realms. He mentions that madhyadesa has also remained an important political center because in former times it was the residence of their most famous heroes and Kings. Distance between Kannauj and various parts of country have been noted. We also get detailed accounts of routes to Nepal, Tibet, Malwa, Gujrat, North Western India and some parts of Southern India. References are made to the islands of South East Asia and those of the Chinese sea. An account is given of the monsoon season i.e.VarshaKal in India. He lists various rivers of India as given in the vayupurana and MastyaPuranaand the great knots of mythical mount Meru from where the rivers flow.

Alberunis approach on Indian society was so critical in certain aspects that one can easily make a good critique out of it. He introduces Hindus to his readers by emphasizing too much on the differences between the two communities. Alberuni quotes that they differ from us in everything which other nations have in common. It is unusual that such an educated observer who claims objectivity should have prevailed over his readers by stressing differences right from beginning.

Q11. Discuss the development of religious life during medieval Indian period.


Tantricism was the most important feature of religion during early medieval age. This concept was related to every existing religion in India during this period. Tantra refers to divine knowledge. This knowledge was received by great teachers from god directly. This knowledge was passed on from one generation to another through guru shishya tradition.

Vajrayana Buddhism and PanchratraVaishnavism were prominent examples of tantricism. It was prevalent in shaivism as well. The tantric shaiva teachers were known as Mantramarga. Shankaracharya was a prominent scholar of Tantricism. His book SaundaryaLahiri is one of the most authentic sources of Tantricism.

Tantricism was characterized by system of beliefs, meditation and rituals that could be used to channelize divine energy from gods to human beings. The women were accorded higher status than men in tantric tradition because women were considered as the main transporter of divine energy. It was emphasized that Kundalini could be aroused in women more easily than men. Every woman was considered as an incarnation of Shakti. Feminine energy was worshipped in temple by followers of Tantricism. The tradition of teacher and disciple is an important feature of Tantricism. The disciple was initiated by teacher in tantric system.

The cult of Bhakti was an important development in religious spheres during the medieval period of India. Islam provided a major challenge to Hinduism in this period. Continual defeats on the battle fields, loss of political power and domination of alien religion in this country accentuated frustration. The Hindus became self-critical and turned their attention to inner life. It gave birth to many mystic saints who devoted their lives in search of god.

None of these saints attached themselves to any social or religious sects. Most of them had no blind faith in any religious text and did not believe in priestly rituals. They believed that god did not reside in temples but in the heart of every human being and the truth lay in the person of every individual. These saints believed that a devotee should have direct communication with god through Bhakti. Bhakti devotion was the simplistic singular attitude towards God. The bhakti cult found expression in Maharashtra Dharma, Chaitanya movement of Bengal, various spiritual scholars such as Kabir, Nanak etc.

The proliferation of Sufi traditions and institution of Silsilasstroved to achieve the inner realization of divine unity by arousing intuitive and spiritual faculties.

Q12. How far do you think that the vishishtadvait of Ramanuja was in response to philosophy propounded by Shankaracharya?


Shankara was the greatest thinker born in 788 AD. In a short life he travelled all over Indiapropagating his philosophy of rigorously consistent monism and triumphing against all rivals. He propounded the philosophy of Advaita.

According to Shankarcharya, brahma is the supreme reality. He called it Parabramha. He put forward the concept of NirgunBramhaieBramhawithout attributes. He considers the matter or prakriti as maya and considers soul as brahma. The realization of Parabramha is salvation and it requires knowledge thus focus was on gyanmarga.

The religion preached by Ramanuja is known as VishisthAdvait or qualified monism. His efforts were to synthesize the concept of personal god with the philosophy of the impersonal absolute. According to Ramanujacharya brahma is supreme reality but brahma is qualified by soul and matter. Soul and matter are qualities of brahma. According to Ramanuja the soul becoming like brahma is salvation. The way to salvation is bhakti. The grace of god is important. He also gave the Prapatimarga. Prapati is complete surrender of oneself to Bhakti. It is the culmination of bhakti. Thus Ramanuja added the elements of Bhakti to the Shankaracharya’s Advaita.

Q13. How far it is correct to say that the establishment of Turkish rule in 1206 AD marked the beginning of new age?


The establishment of Turkish rule in India added a new chapter to Indianhistory. TheTurks brought new politico administrative, socio cultural, economic  and military practices to india. The existing institutions were changed under the influence of Turkish rule. These changes gradually moved from one part of india to another.

The references from Tabakat-i-Nasiri of MinhajusSiraj, Tarikh-i-firozshahi of ZiauddinBarani, Khazin-ul-Futuh of Amir Khusrau throw light on political, social, economic and military life of sultanate period. These sources help in understanding the nature and extent of impact of establishment of Turkish rule in India.

The age of political fragmentation had come to end for the 1st time in many centuries. A central authority emerged in north India. The military achievements of Turkish rulers carried out political unification of India. Gradually the peninsular India was also brought under Delhi control. Turks brought portfolio system of administration. Specific department was maintained by them to handle specific administrative responsibilities. The Turks also brought a new approach of handling administrative responsibilities from urban centers. They did not interfered directly in Indian rural life at local level. The existing institutional practices were allowed to continue.

The age of secular polity was came to end with establishment of Turkish rule. Islamic state system was followed by Turks. Iqta system was another Nobel element introduced by Turks. It was originally an Arabic practice. Under this system the nobles and military commanders were given responsibilities to administer a part of territory known as Iqta. The imperialistic outlook reemerged in north India as a result of establishment of Turkish rule. The sultans organized regular military campaigns to carry out territorial expansion.

The nature and character of Indian military changed fundamentally by the establishment of Turkish rule. Turks maintained the central standing armydirectly commanded by sultan. Turkish relied more on swiftness and efficiency of cavalry. Thus use of elephants in battlefields lost its relevance. Turks introduced new weapon systems and battle strategies. Traditionally Indian rulers used strategy of frontal attack with full military strength but the Turks used to follow strategy of surrounding the enemy from all sides. They used to maintain a part of army as reserve to attack enemy in the last part of day. This fatal blow used to play an important role in decisive victory of Turks. Regular inspection of army was also introduced by Turks. SultanAllauddinkhiljiintroduced the practice of Daag and Huliya so that the use of proxies could be eliminated.

Turks brought a new socio cultural outlook along with them. It was egalitarian and liberal. The evils of caste system and untouchability were absent. This positive Turkish culture left a deep impact on India. Egalitarian outlook of Islam inspired Bhakti saints to condemn the discriminatory Indian practices as a result the course began to be made for social equality and significant reforms were witnessed during 13th to 16th centuries. The arrival of Turks posed a serious threat to Indian socio cultural life as a result the degree of rigidity in society increased enormously. The fear associated with establishment of Turkish rule intensified the evils like child marriage, veiling, sati and Jauhar. The conversion of Indians into Islam also posed a major challenge to Indian society.

The arrival of Turks gave boost to Indian economy and a new phase of economic prosperity came in. The favorable economic outlook brought by Turks was favorable for secondary and tertiary activities. The artisans and craftsmen got high status in state. Merchants and traders as well as craftsmen were patronized by Turkish rulers in large number as a result of this positive outlook the economy got a boost. The new technologies brought by Turks were favorable for economic growth. E.g. Paper manufacturing, spinning wheel, cotton carder, pit loom, block printing etc. Gun powder was also brought by Turks. Irrigation facilities also got a boost as a result of establishment of Turkish rule. The progress in irrigation facilities helped in growth of agriculture. Monetization of economy also got a boost as a result of Turkish rule. The sultans like Iltutmish, Mohd. Bin Tughlaq issued large number of coins. The monetization resulted in growth of exchange networks. The trade and commercial transactions became easier. The unity and integrity established by Turks as well as uniform administration also helped in the growth of trade and commerce. The remarkable progress in economy during 13th century resulted in the emergence of a number of centers of art and craft and trade and commerce. This process resulted in urban revolution.

Thus the arrival of Turks brought new age in the spheres of political, social, cultural and economic fields.

Q14. Establishment of Delhi sultanate marked the era of theocracy. Critically examine.


The character of Delhi sultanate was interpreted by different historians differently. Some scholars try to portrait the sultanate as a theocracy. Theocracy refers to state in which the head of religion is also head of state. The political and regional power wasexercised by single person institution. In theocracy the king is guided by religious law as interpreted by priestly class. The king cannot exercise his judgment independently.

A theocratic state exists for religious cause. The political authority is dedicated to religious cause. Spread of religion is the most important duty of king. Also the religious class enjoys political status. The status of king is below them.

The sultanate was considered as theocratic stat because the Caliph was the real head of state and sultan used to recognize his supremacy. The sultan of Delhisought investiture from Caliph and claimed themselves as deputy of caliph. The name of caliph was inscribed on coins. The khutba was read in the name of Caliph also the holy robe sent by caliph was put on sultan while sitting on the throne. The supporters of theocratic character also emphasize that Islam was dominant religion and propagated by sultan by using authority of state. The evidences of breaking temples by rulers and imposition of Jaziya and forceful conversions show theocratic elements. The Ulemas enjoyed great political influence in Delhi sultanate. The sultan followed their advice. The supporters of theocratic state also emphasize on Shariat being the law of Delhi Sultanate.

The closer examination of nature of relation between caliph and Delhi Sultanate reveals that it was just a formal ceremonial relation. Its political significance was negligible. None of the sultans of Delhi got on the throne because of recognition from Caliph and none lost crown because of not recognition from caliph. No Delhisultan sought prior permission before issuing any order. The sultan of Delhi was an independent sovereign entity. The sultan ruled on the basis of his strength. The recognition of caliph was not the decisive factor.

The examination of status of Islam under Delhi sultanate does not support the theocratic character of state. Islam was the religion of sultan and ruling class but it was not imposed on the entire population by sultans of Delhi. In fact, no sultan ever attempted it. Iltutmish was suggested by Ulemas to convert India in Islam but he flatly rejected suggestion stating conditions of India are different from Central Asia. The examples of forceful conversions are also very few. The destruction of temples was not associated with promotion of Islam. They were carried out to either meet the need of mosque or to shatter the morale of people so that they remain subjected to authority of Sultan. Jaziya was also not the tools for religion conversion because majority of population was free from Jaziya e.g. women, unemployed, beggars and disables were free from Jaziya. Islam was religion of state but no restrictions were placed on other religions whatsoever. The political influence of Ulemas was indirectly proportional to strength of Sultan. Only in reign of weak sultans, Ulemas did influenced the state.

Islamic law was followed by Sultan only in general. It wasn’t rigidly imposed by anybody in the entire history of Delhi Sultanate. The sultans of Delhi issued secular orders i.e.Zawabit on situations demanding it. The status of Muslims and Hindu in delhi sultanate also does not support the theocratic character of it. Hindus were also allowed to live normal life. There was no state policy outlined expressively against Hinduism. Throughout sultanate period most of the land was owned by Hindus. Most of the villagers were also Hindus. The state had nothing to do in depriving Hindus of their resources.

Thus the sultanate could not be considered as theocratic state;at most it was an Islamic state in formal sense.

Q15. Discuss the aspects of society during period of Pallavas.


The society during the period of Pallavas witnessed the Aryanisation of South India. The process involves assimilation of Aryan pattern with Dravidian social ethos. The Aryan ideas and institutions got imbibed into Dravidian culture. They were evident vividly in upper strata of society.

The Aryanisation could be evident from the preeminent and privileged status of Brahmins, use of Sanskrit in inscriptions and evolution of Brahmanical educational institutions and system of Bramhadeya. The spread of Aryan culture served as catalyst and gave birth to new socio-religious ideas and forms. Tamil devotionalism was the product of vigorous interaction of Aryan and Dravidian pattern. The period saw culmination of two cultural strains and witnessed the crystalisation of Dravidian culture.

Brahmins were having preeminent a privileged position. They were the custodians of sanskritic culture and learning. They had larger share in land grants and were supported by kings. The period witnessed evolution of sanskitic educational institutions and their control in the hands of Brahmins eventually led to erosion of Buddhist and Jaina influence over educational institutions. The society of the period was under Brahmanical hegemony. Brahmins maintained class exclusiveness and emerged as protagonists of Varna regulations.

In educational fields, Sanskritic education assumed importance. The institution of Ghatikasserved as centres of education. They were attached to temples and open to all twice born Hindus. In later periods they became an exclusive Brahmin institution confined to advanced studies.

Institution of Matha became popular during the 8th century. They served the purpose of rest house, educational center and feeding center. Temples filled a large place in socio-cultural life of people. They got developed into social institution. They served as parliamentary house of community. They also served as educational centers. The daily routine associated with temple activities promoted employment e.g. priests, musicians, dancing girls etc. Temples organized festivals and also acted as land lord and banking institution. The economic activities flourished on the demands of temples.

The period witnessed the decline of Buddhism. Jainism was more popular than Buddhism. This was the period of intense controversy and protagonist of Hinduism enjoyed advantageous position.

Q16. Give an account of contribution of Pallavas to art and culture.


The Pallava kings were great patrons of architecture and sculpture. Numerous splendid temples at Kanchi still bear eloquent testimony to their achievements in the domain of art. The importance of Pallava art lies in the fact that it affords the earliest example of architecture and sculpture in southern India.

Pallava architecture consists of two phases. First were entirely rock cut and the second structural temples of stone. The rock cut phase includes two groups of monuments i.e. simple pillared mandapas of Mahendravarman I and the similar and more elaborate mandapas and monolithic rathas of the reign of Narsimhavarman I and his successors.

Mahendravarman gloried the construction of temples without the use of bricks, timber, metals or morter. The mahendra style shows progress in the evolution of pillars and capitals. The style was further refined and developed in the monuments of Narsimhavarman I mahamalla. The elegance of this improved style may be seen at Mamallapuram. Men and animals are sculpted in the most graceful forms. The animal sculpture is also spectacular.

Structural temples of Pallava period fall into two groups. The first is the Rajasimhagroup (700AD-800AD) and second is the Nandivarmangroup (800AD-900AD). Shore temple, Isvara temple and Mukunda temples of Rajasimha group are at Mamallapuram. The Kailasanatha temple and Vaikunthaperumal temple also representing Rajasimha group are at Kanchipuram. Nandivarman group marks no advance on the achievements of the earlier period and comprises generally smaller temples reflecting decline of Pallavas.

During the period of Pallavas the sculptural art developed as part of temple architecture. The beautifully sculpted images in the temple and premises represent the advancement of sculptural art during the period. The religious theme predominated and gods and goddesses, natural scenes, animals, kings and queens were depicted in sculptural art.

The developments in paintings of this period are also associated with the temple architecture. Paintings were depicted on the walls and roofs of temples. The paintings usually depicted gods and goddesses, lotus, ducks and geometrical designs. The paintings of Pallava period were represented by religious and secular social themes. The paintings as part of wall paintings could be found in Kailasanatha temple and Sittalwasan Jaina temple.

During the rule of Pallavas there was considerable literary activity and Sanskrit enjoyed royal patronage. Barring a few, all the early Pallava inscriptions were in Sanskrit. The Vedic colleges were then located in temples endowed by the rich and devout. Simhavishnu is represented as having invited the great poet Bhairavi to his court and it is believed that Dandin, the celebrated writer on poetics, lived in the court of Narsimhavarman II Rajasimha. One of the Pallava king Mahendravarman I was himself an author of repute. To him Mattavilasa-prahasana was attributed.

Q17. How far is it true to say that strength and vigor of Indian history during 500AD to 750AD lay in the south of vindhyas?


The period 500AD to 750AD represent the period of rare instance in the Indian history where south India occupies center stage while north India recedes to the background. The south not only emerged strong and pulsating in activities but also influenced north in some activities.

While north India was experiencing a political slowdown after the fall of Guptas, south india saw the emergence of Pallavas and Chalukyas. The later Guptas especially after skandguptas were a house in disaster faced with invasion like Pushyabhutis, Vakatakas and Maukharis. Though the Harshavardhana of Pushyabhuti dynasty conquered the north India but he was defeated by Chalukyan king Pulkesin II when he tried to extend his prestige beyond vindhyas. This provides the evidence of the power which lay beyond vindhyasand that it was an uphill task for north to control south.

The efficient administrative setup of Guptas was largely in a state of confusion and Harsha came only as a ray of light in otherwise dark scenario, the southern kingdoms had organized a vigorous administration with due attention to army, civil and local administration. It was here that the foundation of responsible and efficient local government in the form of Sabha, Nagaram and Ur were laid. The administrative divisions like Mandalams, Kottams, and Nadus were given decentralization of power. The king was powerful, hereditary and assumed titles like Maharajadhiraj, Dharmaraja etc. They were first to pay attention to a powerful navy. North was under grip of maladministration, mutual rivalries and frequent invasions.

The vigorous trade and commerce through sea route to countries of south east asia had made south rich. Many prosperous ports like Tamralipti, Arikamedu, Masulipatanam, Muziris etc. had developed while the north India was facing decline of trade since the late Gupta period. With the emergence of proto feudal economy in the north during this period the land set up was disturbed and peasantry also declined. The prosperity of south is evident by large number of temples built and description of travellers who visited south India.

In south the old Bhagvatism was turned into worship of Vishnu and Shiva by Alwars and Nainars. This movement is encouraged by the patronage of Pallava and Chalukyan kings in temple architecture to build the temples to worship Vishnu and Shiva. The movement slowly developed into full-fledged Bhakti movement. The number of temples built in this period in south and importance they had in day to day life of everyone testifies a vigorous religious life.

The art of sculpture also reached towering heights under th patronage of Pallavas and Chalukyas. The foundations of Dravida and Vesara style of architecture were laid. Some of the Ajanta cave paintings are of this period. In contrast the north saw a period of void in architecture and literature.

Through these aspects it may be said that the strength and vigour of history during 500AD to 750 AD lay south of vindhyas.

Q18. Were the Chola village assemblies democratic in nature? Give the details of administrative structure of Cholas as inferred from Uttarmerur inscription.


Local government in the Chola period in South India was in the hands of corporate assemblies at various levels. Three types of corporate assemblies existed at local levels in Chola period. The most significant among them was Nadu. In the pioneering workson the Chola period the working of these assemblies could be considered as democratic considering that they were representatives of all the inhabitants of locality.

Democracy existed during Chola periods at grass root but in degrees i.e. it was not absolute. Chola village assemblies were product of specific time and political culture and displayed their own variety of democracy. Some of their political practices were democratic but not all. Their democracy was intermeshed with various impending elements.

Chola polity was a monarchy and this monarchy was absolute. An democratic institution functioning under an overacting autocratic polity had its limitations. The central government through its officers exercisedgeneral supervision and had right to interfere in the matters of village under emergency situations. Therefore although autonomous the village assemblies had to take into account the policies of central government and thus grass root democracy was not absolute.

Uttarmerur inscription provide information about the criteria for contesting into election, transparent electoral process and constitution of various committees. The various qualifications like property, education etc., on the eligibility to contest election highlight the undemocratic character of these committees. In modern parlance the terms of eligibility in village assemblies cannot be called democratic.

Uttarmerur inscription belonging to the reign of Parantaka I throw light on the administrative set up of the Cholas. The Cholas brought south Indian territories under uniform administration. But their greatest achievement lies in development of institution of local self-government. These institutions which were existing during Pallava period like Ur, Sabha and Nagaram evolved into truly representative institutions during Chola period. The committee system called Variyam was responsible for the day to day administration and for executing developmental works. The committees like Samvatsara Variyam ie Annual committee, Eri Variyam ie. Tank committee, Totta Variyam ie Garden committee, Pon Variyam ie. Gold committee undertook the administrative and developemental works.

The empire was divided into provinces called Mandalams. Each Mandala was divided into number of Kottams. Each kottam was subdivided into number of districts called Nadus. The king was the head of administration. The Chola kings took up high sounding titles glorifying their achievements. They maintained large imperial households.

Q19. Discuss the theory of kingship of Balban and his contributions towards consolidation of sultanate.


Balban is believed to assert the theory of divine origin of kingship. According to him, the king’s heart is the reflection of gods. It is only when the god is merciful to his reflection that one is elevated to high position as sultan. Thus king does come into existence at the will of people but the result of divine will.

Balban made it clear that sultan was nobody’s equal; he was the vice-regent of god and his shadow on earth. He declared that the king’s superhuman awe and status can ensure peoples obedience. The dictum was reflected in austere and rigid court ceremonial. Jest and laughter were unknown and wine and gambling were also banned to promote good fellowship and familiarity. The concept of kingship is made to rest on power and prestige which depended upon dignity of king. The king should always keep in mind the honor, greatness and glory of sovereignty because it is representation of God. According to Balban king was the maker of pattern of life because the subjects follow the example of king.

Balban stressed dictum that kingship knows no kinship thus laying stress on impartial justice. According to him, the three essentials were army, treasury and nobles and the means of success were justice, beneficence, pomp and show.

As soon as Balban became prime minister he suppressed the Mewatis who used to rob and harass people living in the areas around Delhi.He cleared the jungles and set up police outposts at many places. Forts were built at particular places and military outposts were set up to check the ravages by dacoits. Campaign of Balban against dacoits has been fully explained by Barani.

Balban tried to suppress the Turkish land lords and jagirdars. He rendered nobles and ministers too weak to rise against him. In a ruthless manner Balban consolidated his power and silenced or subdued by means of drastic punishments allthat stood or were likely to stand in his way.

In the reign of Balban the Mongols began to invade India over and over again. The danger from these foreigners seemed to be so menacing that the sultan had to adopt a sutra policy to check their inroads.Balban built a well-organized and powerful army. Young,able,brave and courageoussoldiers were recruited in place of old and weak soldiers. Sultan resolved not to leave Delhi in time of emergency and gave up the idea of further conquest for the time being. The territories of Multan, Samana, Dipalpur etc. were declared the frontier provinces and special arrangement for their administration were made. A line of new forts were built between capital and North Westfrontier and old forts were repaired. Strong military troops were posted in these posts. Special attention was given to production of different arms and weapons.

Balban established Diwan-i-Arizi.e. Military department. The cavalry and infantry were placed under command of experienced and capable Maliks.The leaders of army were selected on the basis of their merit. These efforts made the army strong.

Along with strong army Balban organized a spy system to maintain peace and order throughout the country. Special spies were appointed to keep a strict watch on works of nobles and ministers. The spies did admirable work in detecting the conspiracies of rebellious amirs and Maliks.

Balban strengthened the Justice by giving equal justice to everyone. Balban strengthened the Iqta system by appointing khwajas and attaching them with Muqtis to maintain accounts and ensure deposition of Fawazil.

Q20. How far it is correct to say that Iltutmish was the real founder of Delhi sultanate? Analyze.


The real founder refer to the ruler who protects an established state from various internal and external challenges, provides a politico-administrative and economic base of such a strength that the existence of political entity doesn’t face any serious threat in future.

When Iltutmish set on throne in 1211 AD, the newly established Turkish Indianempire was facing a number of serious challenges to its existence. Rajputana had thrown away the yoke of Turkish rule. Revolts and rebellions were rampant and external claimants were emphasizing sovereignty. Sultan Iltutmish responded to these challenges in a determined manner by adopting a multipronged strategy.

He transformed the loosely patched Turkish Indian territory into a coherent empire. He gave a permanent capital to Turkish Empire at Delhi. To provide a solid administrative foundation to sultanate he created Turkan-i-chahalgani and recognized Iqta system. He was the first sultan to define duties and responsibilities of Iqtedar.

To strengthen the economic foundations of Delhi sultanate, Iltutmish issued pure Arabic coins. The silver coin issued by sultan was known as Tanka and copper coin was known as jittal.The monetization of currency helped in the growth of trade and commerce. Iltutmish reconquered the rebellious territories to ensure that the command of sultan was effective throughoutempire. Jalor, Ranthambore, Ajmer, Mandor were reconquered by him. The rebellious elements were suppressed by him at Banaras, Badayun, Kannauj to strengthen the empire internally. He also secured the frontiers by decimating the threat fromQubcha khan and Yaldoz. He saved the sultanate from Mongol menace by good diplomacy.

He also initiated steps to provide a solid cultural foundation to Delhi sultanate. A number of scholars were recognized by him in his court.

These efforts of Iltutmish provided a long term stability and peace and thus he was called as real founder of Delhi sultanate.

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