History: 2012: CBSE: [All India]: Set – I
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How did Brahmanas develop a sharper social divide? Give two examples.Marks:2
(i) Brahamanas developed a sharper social divide by dividing the society into four varnas. They compiled the new norms in Sanskrit texts called Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras.(ii) They also divided the Brahmana society into gotras. Women were supposed to give up their father’s gotra after marriage.
Explain the meaning of ‘Sufi Silsila’.Marks:2
(i) The word silsila means a chain, which signifies a link between a master and disciples. Therefore, all followers of a particular sufi saint were said to have belonged to his particular ‘sufi silsila’.(ii) The chain of connection of each sufi silsila stretched right up to the Prophet Muhammad. Devotees could attain spiritual blessings through this channel.
How were the hill-stations a distinctive feature of colonial urban development? Give two reasons.Marks:2
(i) Hill stations were a distinctive feature of colonial urban development as they were a basic need of the British army. The army used these stations as places for stationing troops, guarding frontiers and launching campaigns against the enemy rulers.(ii) These hill stations were also used as sanitariums for British citizens suffering from malaria and cholera. The British also used these places for escaping from the heat of the Indian plains.
Describe briefly what has been found in burials at the Harappan sites?Marks:5
a) Harappan civilization people used to place various articles with the dead body. Copper mirror, necklace of beads, semi precious stones were buried in the burials for both males and females of rich class.
b) Ornaments and pottery are found buried in some of the graves.
c) Poor people used to place pottery with dead body.
d) At Lothal, a dead body was buried with the goats and pottery.
Explain how Kharosthi was deciphered.Marks:5
a) The Kharosthi script was deciphered by James Prinsep, using the bilingual coins of the Indo-Greeks.
b) Prinsep followed the clues provided by other historians regarding the decipherment of Kharosthi.
c) After some mistaken readings, he was finally able to find the values of nineteen single letters and one compound of Kharosthi as well.
This led to the reading of the Edicts of Ashoka, some of which, from the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, were written in the Kharosthi script.
“Many rituals, religious beliefs and practices were not recorded in a permanent visible form- as monuments or sculptures or even paintings.” Critically examine the statement.Marks:5
(i) Reconstructing religious practices, rituals and beliefs is a problematic aspect for archaeological interpretation. No historical evidence directly points towards the belief system of the concerned period in history.
(ii) Historians have to piece together information gained from varied kinds of sources, such as artifacts, figurines, motifs, which could have been made for purposes other than religion. For example, seals of the Harappan period were meant for trade purposes, but are also studied in terms of religious beliefs.
(iii) Archaeologists and historians have to keep the preceding and succeeding periods of history in mind in order to piece together the religious history of a particular period. For example, the figure sitting in a ‘yogic’ position on Harappan seals has been attributed as ‘proto-Shiva’, as the succeeding Vedic period saw the rise of various deities, such as Rudra.(iv) The study of symbols relating to religious beliefs is purely a speculative study, in which arguments can be given both for and against a particular notion of the historian. For example, some scholars refuse to believe the ‘proto-Shiva’ aspect of the figure on Harappan seals, as Rudra in the succeeding Vedic period did not have anything to do with animals and was neither a yogi. This aspect of the Vedic God does not match with the figure on the seals.
Explain how the historians usually classify the contents of the present text of Mahabharata.Marks:5
(i) Historians use two categories to classify the contents of Mahabharata. These are known as narrative and didactic categories.
(ii) The narrative category caters to verses that tell a story to the reader, whereas, the didactic category showcases the prescriptions about the social norms of the period in question.
(iii) Nevertheless, the classification of the content along narrative and didactic means is not binding. Many stories seep into the didactic part of the content, while many narratives carry a social message.(iv) Most of the historians believe that Mahabharata was meant to be a constantly moving and was a dramatic story. The didactic elements were probably added later by other writers.
Explain briefly any five striking features about the location of Vijayanagara.Marks:5
(i) The natural basin formed by the river Tungabhadra is probably the most striking feature about the location of Vijayanagara.
(ii) Granite hills surround the city, forming a girdle around it. These form the basis of many streams flowing towards the city from the rocky outcrops.
(iii) The landscape around the city is very arid, which made it essential to make arrangements regarding rain water conservation. Water tanks, such as the fifteenth century Kamalapuram tank, were made to counter the dry seasons of the area.
(iv) Agricultural hinterland and forests were included in the city limits. The massive fort wall surrounded the agricultural tracts providing safety, not only to the rulers, but also to the farmers.(v) The Tungabhadra river also acted as the location for a dam, and fed Hiriya canal, which catered to irrigation requirements of the cultivators.
Describe the condition of an average peasant of North India during the seventeenth century.Marks:5
(i) Peasants during the seventeenth century were subjected to the changing political climate of the country. With the coming of the British, new land laws were introduced, which directly affected the life of peasants.
(ii) A few peasants became rich and constituted a new class called the ‘jotedars’. These peasants maintained large tracts of land and took on the role of a zamindar. As this class lived in the village, amongst other cultivators, it exercised more influence than the absentee zamindars.
(iii) Many peasant tribes like the Santhals, were given land on the outskirts to convert them into settled peasants. The new area brought to cultivation by these peasants was claimed by zamindars and taxed heavily. This led to a widespread revolt amongst these peasants.
(iv) With new revenue settlements, many peasants went into debt. Many of them also deserted their land on the account of not being able to pay high taxes.(v) In addition to unjust taxes imposed by the British, the peasants also suffered from falling crop prices and famines, which forced them to borrow cash from moneylenders or face death.
“For members of the nobility under the Mughals, imperial service was a way of acquiring power, wealth and highest possible reputation”. Examine the statement.Marks:5
(i) Ranks known as mansabs were held by those who were able and fortunate enough to be a member of the Mughal nobility.
(ii) This rank denoted the position of the noble in the imperial hierarchy and the amount of salary that was to be received by him.
(iii) The mansabdars were also supposed to maintain an army in order to aid the Mughal Emperor in times of need.
(iv) The Emperor took personal interest in reviewing the titles, ranks and official postings of the nobility. This made the nobility especially close to central figure of power.(v) Certain nobles known as the tainat-i rakab were stationed at the Mughal court, and had to report to the Emperor on a daily basis. These nobles managed to stay at the helm of Mughal affairs due to their proximity to the Emperor and his court.