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Kerala Puls Two History Chapter Wise Questions and Answers Chapter 2 Kings, Farmers and Towns(Early States and Economies)
Who read the Brahmi Script?
Who was the first ruler of Magadha?
Which was the second capital of Magadha?
Who is the author of ‘Indika’?
Who were the rulers that took the name ‘Devaputhran’?
Who is the writer of ‘Prayag-Prasashti’?
To which group did the Vellalars belong?
Big agricultural landlords
Who was the first person to bring out coins with the name and picture of the ruler?
Who were the rulers that brought out the first gold coins?
Who read the Kharoshti Script?
Match the items in A with those of B.
Find out the relations of the items given under a) and b) with each number and complete the blank space accordingly.
i) Kautilya (Chanakya)
ii) Chandragupta Maurya
iii) Head of the Village
iv) Ocean Shore
Who was James Prinsep? What were the two ancient scripts found by him?
James Prinsep was an official of the East India Company. He is the one who read the Brahmi Script for the first time. Most of the inscriptions were about a king called Priyadarshi, which means joyful to look at. It was Prisep who found this out. He also found the Kharoshti script.
What is the meaning of Mahajanapada? Which were the most important of them?
In the 6th century BC, many independent countries came up in North India. Amongst these there were 16 big countries that were called Mahajanapada. The most important of them were Vajji, Magagham, Kosalam, Kuru, Panchaiam, Gandharam and Avanthi. The Buddhist and Jain Books often speak about these countries. The Buddhist book ‘Anguttara nikaya’ and the Jain religious books Bhagvat Sutra’ and ‘Vakhya Prajapati’ mention the following 16 Mahajanapadas.
Which was the first capital of Magadha? What are its special features?
The first capital of Magadha was Rajgraha. Rajgraha means the house of the king. It was situated among five hills. Fortresses were built around Rajgraha to protect it from enemies In the 4th century BC, the capital was moved to Pataliputra, known as Patna today.
Discuss the responsibilities of the Second Sub-committee in the Mauryan Empire.
The 2nd Subcommittee had extensive responsibilities. It had to prepare bullock carts for the transportation of goods, send food to soldiers and the animals and appoint servants and unskilled labourers to help the soldiers in their various activities.
The national leaders of the 20th century looked at King Asoka as a model and inspiration? Why?
They found that the messages contained in the edicts of Asoka quite different from those issued by other rulers. They showed that, compared to other rulers of the time, Asoka was efficient, hardworking, and humble. No wonder the national leaders of the 20th century looked at him for inspiration.
Point out three things that lessen the importance of the Mauryan Empire.
Some writers do not consider the Mauryan period as an important era in Indian history. The Mauryan Empire lasted for only a few decades. It was in power for only about 150 years. In the extensive history of the subcontinent, that period is not at all big. Moreover, it did not spread to the entire subcontinent. Even in the Empire itself, the control was of different kinds. Because of this loose administration, by the 2nd century BC, there were many small kingdoms and chiefdoms.
Explain the strategies the Kushans used to acquire higher social status.
The Kings and Chiefs found a short cut to acquire higher social status. They simply claimed themselves to be representatives of certain deities. Kushanstried this trick very efficiently. They were in power from 131 century BC to 1st century AD. They were part of Central Asian Tribe. They ruled an extensive region from Central Asia to the North-Western India. Kanishka was the most famous king in the Kushana Dynasty. Their history was recreated from the information in the inscriptions and some traditional books.
The concepts of the Kushans regarding kingship are inscribed on their coins and sculptures. Huge stat¬ues of Kushana Kings were discovered in the Mat temple near Mathura and also in Afghanistan. Some historians think that these huge statues point out that the Kushan Kings considered themselves equal to god.
Most of the Kushan Kings took the title ‘Devaputra’. They must have got their inspiration to do that from the Chinese Kings who thought themselves to be the sons of God.
Name the three sources that helped in recreating the history of the Gupta Dynasty.
Coins, stone edicts and Prasashtis (literature). From all these, the history of the Gupta Kings could be re-created.
Describe the physical achievements of the Gupta Empire.
The Gupta Empire made some physical gains and this increased their authority. Firstly, the centre of their activities was Central India which included Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. This was a very fertile region. Secondly, they were able to use the iron ore found in the Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
Thirdly, since their region was close to the Silk Route, they got many benefits. All these helped the Gupta Dynasty to establish their reign over Magadha, Ayodhya (Saketham), Prayag (Allahabad), and the Plains of Central Ganges. Gradually their kingdom became an all-India Empire.
The relations between the kings and the village people were often bad. Comment.
The relations between the Kings and their subjects, especially the villagers, were often not very good. The Kings taxed their subjects heavily with the only intention of filling their treasury. The farmers were the worst affected by this high taxation. To escape from this, they used one of the two techniques: a) flee into the forest, b) increase the production to pay the increased taxes.
Who was Prabhavati Gupta? What is her relevance in history?
The greatest king in the Gupta Empire was Chandragupta. Prabhavati was the second daughter of this king. The rulers of Deccan were the Vakatakas. She was married into this Vakataka dynasty. According to the Sanskrit Law Books, women had no right for land or other properties. But since Prabhavati was the queen she was able to make ‘bhoodan’ (land gift). Otherwise, it would mean that the laws of the Dharmasastra were not applied equally everywhere.
In 6th century BC, cities were coming up mainly along trade routes. Explain with examples.
In the 6th century BC, many cities came up in different parts of the subcontinent. Most of these towns were capitals of the Mahajanapadas. Many of them were situated close to the trade routes. Pataliputra was located on the banks of the river used for navigation. Ujjaini was near a trade route. Puhar was close to the sea. Many cities like Mathura were active centres in the commercial, cultural and political fields.
What does NBPW mean?
Kings, nobles, administrators and the rich lived in the citadel, which was protected by fortresses. At these abodes of the elite, a lot of remains of various kinds of artefacts have been found. The most important of them are the NBPW, short form for Northern Black Polished Ware. They are highly polished black clay pots and saucers. They are notable for their expertise in their making. They must have been used by the rich. Different ornaments made of gold, silver, copper, bronze, glass and clay were found here. There were also plenty of tools, weapons, pots and pans, statues and decorative pieces.
What are Guilds? What were their responsibilities?
Guilds or Shrines were organizations of trades and artisans. It is the Guilds that collected the raw materials and supplied manufactured goods to the markets. They worked like the modern banks, protecting the interests of their members. They also settled quarrels among members, issued their own coins and gave grants to educational institutions. Some Guilds became so strong that even the kings could not ignore them. To make enough different things for the use of the rich people who lived in the citadels, the artisans used iron tools.
What were the two methods used to increase agricultural production after the 6th century BC?
Villagers used many strategies or techniques to increase their agricultural production. They included use of ploughs, transplanting seedlings, weeding and irrigation. From 6th century BC itself, farmers used ploughs in their fields. In the banks of the Ganges and Kavery, cultivation after ploughing the fields became very popular.
In the fertile silt here and the places where there was plenty of rain, they used iron ploughshares to loosen the earth. Those who lived in the central areas of the subcontinent and on hillsides, they used spades to loosen the earth. It was the best suitable thing for such places. Transplanting of seedlings to increase production was begun in the Gangetic plains.
As a result, the production of paddy increased greatly. But this system was not practised extensively, it was suitable only for places where water was plenty. Transplanting seedlings is not easy work. It needs hard work on the part of the peasants. First, the seeds are germinated and then they are transplanted in the fields where there is standing water.
This system helps the seedlings to survive better and it ensures a good harvest. Another technique was irrigation. People made use of ponds, wells and water reservoirs for this purpose. Irrigation work was carried out by individuals and the community working together. Even kings and nobles took part in such community activities.
The 6th century BC was a turning point in the history of India. Describe the most important events that took place at this period.
The 6th century BC was considered a turning in the ancient Indian history. These things took place at that period.
- The rise of early nations. Countries known as Mahajanapadas were formed at this time.
- The rise of cities and towns. This is the second urbanization process that took place in India.
- Increased use of iron. As more and more iron was used, forests were cleared it led to the expansion of agriculture. The arms made of iron increased the importance of warriors.
- The development of coin system. The use of coins made of metals helped in the development of trade and commerce.
- The growth of religions like Buddhism and Jainism.
Who was Grihapati?
He is the owner and master of a household. He controls all the women, children, slaves and servants in the household He is also the owner of the land, animals and other household goods. This name was also used as a title for the rich traders in the city and also the elite in the society.
What are the sources of the history of Mauryas?
Historians have used different sources to recreate. the history of the Maurya Empire. Archaeological evidences literary books, things like statues etc. were included.
- An important source of the Maurya period in the contemporary writings of people like Megasthenes. His book called ‘Indika’gives valuable information regarding the Maurya society and the administration.
- Another important source is the ‘Arthasastra’ by Kautilya. It is a contemporary book giving detailed information regarding the rule by the Mauryas.
- The Buddhist, Jain and the Puranas literature throw light on the Maurya Empire.
- The book ‘Mudrarakshasam’ by Visakhadatta describes how Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Nandas.
- Statues, coins, inscriptions etc. also give valuable information about the Maurya. Empire. The inscriptions on the stones and pillars during the time of Asoka are very valuable.
- Asoka was the first ruler who got his messages to me subjects and officials inscribed on stones and pillars. He used these inscriptions to spread his religious policies.
- These inscriptions give great details about the life and policies of this great King.
Explain the main features of the Mahajanapadas.
In most Janapadas, it was monarchy, in some Mahajanapadas, there was rule by a group of people representatives. Such groups with ruling powers were sanghas’ or ‘ganas’. In the gana-ruled places, the administration was done by a person chosen by the people’s representatives (E.g. Suddhodanan, the father of Buddha) or by a group (e.g. the ruling groups known as Lichhavis). They were called by the common name kings. Mahavira and Buddha belonged to such gana-nations.
In some countries, the entire land was owned by the king (combined ownership). Some of these countries existed for more than a thousand years. Each Mahajanapada had a capital of its own. The capital was made safe by building fortresses around it. Mahajanapadas maintained armies and also a number of officials.
Magadha was foremost among the Mahajanapadas. Give reasons for the rise of Magadha.
The history of India from the 6th century BC is also the history of various Mahajanapadas fighting for supremacy among themselves. In these fights, the final victory was obtained by Magadha. It became the first among the 16 Mahajanapadas. Magadha included the present districts of Patna and Gaya in Bihar.
There are many reasons that made Magadha overcome its enemies and become number one. They are the following:
- Magadha was a fertile region. The fertile silt helped agriculture and increased production. They were able to produce surpluses.
- There were iron ore mines close to the capital and Magadha controlled them. They could make high-class weapons using iron from these mines.
- An essential part of the Magadhan army was elephants. They were plenty in the forests of Magadha. Magadha used elephants on a large scale in battles. Elephants were used in breaking the fortresses of the enemies and get across marshlands.
- The Ganges and its tributaries helped the Magadhans to travel quickly and cheaply and this helped them a lot.
- Rajagraha, the first capital of Magadha, and Pataiiputra, the second capital, were situated in strategic places. They offered Magadha protection from outside attacks.
Point out the arrangements for administering Pataiiputra by the Mauryans.
Each city and town has its history. For example, the history of Pataiiputra begins from the village called Pataligramam. In the 5th century BC, the Magadhan rulers decided to move their capital from Rajagraha to Pataligramam. They changed the name to Pataiiputra. This city which became the capital of Maurya Empire grew into one of the biggest cities in Asia. But gradually the. importance of this city decreased. When in the 7th century the Chinese traveller Hyuansang visited this place, it had become an unimportant place with just a few inhabitants.
Assess the historical importance of the stone edicts of Asoka.
Most of the stone edicts of Asoka were written in the ‘Prakrit’ language. But in the north-western regions of the subcontinent, Aramaic and Greek were also used. The edicts in the ‘Prakrit’ language are in Brahmi Script. But in the north-western regions, the script is ‘Kharoshti’. In the stone edicts of Afghanistan, Aramaic and Greek scripts were used.
How is the Kharoshti script read?
The inscriptions in the north-western regions of India – are in Kharoshti script. This region was ruled, in the 2nd century BC, by Indo-Greek kings. On the coins of that time, the names of the kings were inscribed in Greek and Kharoshti script. It helped in reading the Kharoshti script.
- European scholars who knew Greek-Kharoshti scripts could compare the letters in the inscriptions, and they could easily read them. For example, the sign “A” was used to write names like Appolodotus in both the scripts.
- James Prinsep recognized that the language in the inscriptions was Prakrit. This made it possible to read the longer inscriptions.
What are the special features of the inscriptions?
Inscriptions are the writings on the surfaces of stones, metals and pots. They were probably official documents issued by kings or rulers. Even private individuals used Inscriptions for different purposes.
- Inscriptions are found in different languages on pillars, walls of houses, copper plates and stones.
- They record the achievements, activities and ideas of those who get the inscriptions written. The victories of kings, the gifts people gave to religious institutions etc. can be seen in these inscriptions.
- Inscriptions are permanent records. In some, there are dates. In others, the date or the period is found through archaeological dating methods or through the style of writing.
- The early inscriptions were in Prakrit, the language used by the common people. Inscriptions were also written in Pali, Tamil and Sanskrit. Scholars have tried to read and understand the meaning of the inscriptions.
Point out the features of the trade beyond the subcontinent by land routes, in the 6th century BG.
There was considerable growth in trade and commerce in the 6th century BC. Trade and commerce relations along land, river and sea routes improved greatly. More countries were included in the trade.
- Trade through land routes extended into Central Asia and beyond.
- Trade through sea-routes went beyond the Arabian Sea into Africa and West Asia, Trade through Bengal spread into South East Asia and China.
- Kings tried to control these trade routes. It was their responsibility to protect the routes from thieves, robbers and pirates. For this protection, the Kings took special taxes from the traders.
Along these routes, there were itinerant traders, merchants and seafarers. The itinerant traders moved on foot. Merchants used bullock carts and beasts of burden, selling goods along the way they travelled. Trade by sea was risky but it was highly profitable. Those who succeeded in sea trade became very rich. They were called ‘masattuvas’ in Tamil and ‘sethis’ and ‘sathavahas’ in Prakrit.
- Trade was done in salt, clothes, grain, metallic ores, timber, herbs and precious stones.
- Pepper, other spices, clothes and herbs were in great demand in the Roman Empire. All these goods were taken through the Arabian to the Mediterranean Sea.
The evidences in the inscriptions have some limitations. Comment.
The inscriptions have a lot of importance in the history of India. But they have some limitations.
- They have some technical limitations. Some of the letters are very dim or in a faded state. It is not easy to read them.
- Some letters are completely erased or damaged somehow.
- The real meaning of some inscriptions is difficult to arrive at in context.
- Thousands of inscriptions have been found. They could not be read, translated or published.
- There were many inscriptions that could not survive. Many might have been destroyed. Only a few among the written ones are available now.
- Things we consider as important, like political and economic matters, are not recorded in the inscriptions. For example, we do not find anything about the agricultural practices or the joys and sorrows of daily life.
- They give preference to only serious and strange things.
- In the inscriptions what we see is the interest of those who caused the inscriptions. So to know the reality, we must look at them with a critical mind.
Explain with examples how far numismatics (study about coins) can be helpful in the recreation of the Indian history.
With the coming of coins, transactions became easier. The role played by the study of coins in recreating Indian archaeological history was great. On the early coins, there were no writings. There were only some signs on them. Such coins are called punch-marked coins. From many sites in the subcontinent, they have been found. Numismatists made use of these coins to learn more about the trade connections that existed among the nation in the ancient world.
The extensive use of gold coins indicates the high value of trade and transactions. It shows that trade was not limited to the bounds of a country. Although South India was not a part of the Roman Empire, there were close trade relations with them.
- Tribal republics also issued coins. The thousands of copper coins issued by the Yadavas Of Punjab and Haryana in the 151 century AD prove this. It also shows the interest and participation shown by them in matters of trade and commerce.
- The most beautiful gold coins were issued by the Guptas. Their gold coins were famous for their purity. These coins helped in making trade with distant countries easy.
What were the steps taken by the Mauryas in the administration of the Empire? Explain the important features of Maurya rule.
- Political centres of the Empire
- Rule of the provinces
- Urban rule
- Administering the military
- Revenue system
- judicial system
Mauryas had an extensive administrative system. The empire was huge and extensive. It contained mountainous regions, deserts, plains, border areas and sea shores. It was not easy to establish a unified system of government in such widely different areas. Therefore there were different kinds of administration in different areas.
In the empire, there were five important political centres. They were the capital Pataliputra and four provincial centres Thoshali, Takshasila, Ujjaini and Suvarnagiri. All these are mentioned in the inscriptions of Asoka. The capital Pataliputra was under the direct control of the King.
In the capital and the provincial centres, the control of the central government was strong. These centres were chosen with care. They all had much economic importance. For example, Takshsila and Ujjaini were situated along the trade routes to distance places. Suvarnagiri was important in exploiting the gold mines in Karnataka.
- The administration of the Mauryas was highly centralized. The supreme authority of the country and administration was the King. He also handled the military and judicial power.
- There was an Advisory Committee called the ‘Mantri Parishat’. This helped the King in the administrative matters.
- For carrying out the administrative work the Mauryas employed a huge number of officials.
- The Mauryas also had a highly developed spy system. The spies continued informing the king of the various developments in the country.
- Ruling the Provinces and Regional Administration: The Empire was divided into 4 provinces. Each province was under a governor or a viceroy.
- Often a prince acted as the viceroy. The provinces were divided into districts. The head of the district was known as ‘Stanika’.
The smallest part in the administrative set up was the village. The village head was called ‘Gramika’.There were special arrangements for the administration of the urban centres. The administration was extensive and planned. A Council with 30 members supervised the administration of the capital, Pataliputra. The Council was divided into 6 Committees of 5 members each. Each Committee had separate responsibilities.
- The 1st Committee supervised matters of health and hygiene.
- The 2nd Committee was in charge of taking care of the foreigners:
- The 3rd Committee recorded births and deaths.
- The 4th Committee controlled weights and measures.
- The 5th Committee inspected the manufactured goods.
- The 6th Committee collected taxes.
The army ensured the safety of the country and the people. The army was organized in an efficient manner. In the Maurya military, there were six divisions – footmen, cavalry, elephants, chariots, navy, and transport. As per the Greek sources, the Mauryan army had more than 60,000 footmen, 30,000 horses and 9000 elephants. But some historians think that these are exaggerated figures. Megasthenes says that to make the work of the army easy, there was a Committee with 6 sub-committees. Each subcommittee had the following responsibilities.
- 1 – supervised the navy.
- 2 – supervised transport and arrangements for.food.
- 3 – was in charge of the footmen.
- 4 – controlled the cavalry.
- 5 – was in charge of the chariots.
- 6 – took care of the elephants.
The 2nd subcommittee had extensive duties. It had to prepare bullock carts for moving goods, ensure that the soldiers and animals got proper food, and employ servants and helpers to take care of the needs of soldiers.
The Mauryas had their own judicial system. The king was the highest authority in their judicial system. He was also the supreme court. To handle the various civil and criminal cases there were courts across the country. The punishment was according to the crime. For small. offences, there were only fines. But for big offences, there could be the death penalty.
The country needed a lot of money to maintain a large army and a group of officials. Therefore. the government took plenty of taxes from people. Many of the economic activities were controlled by the government. The highest income was from land tax. Mining, licenses, import-export and customs also brought money into the treasury. Mining, selling of alcoholic beverages, and production of arms were the monopoly of the government. All this brought huge revenues.
Land and water transport was essential for the existence and prosperity of the country. Trade and commerce depended on these transports, Journeys from the central capital to the provinces took a long time. Therefore the government did a lot of things to improve the transport and communication system .and to ensure the safety of the travellers.