HISTORY OF INDIA-III
IGNOU BHIC 105 Solved Free Assignment
BHIC 105 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Explain how chronicles and Vamsavalis are helpful as sources for the early medieval period?
Ans. The chronicle or ‘Vamsavali’ includes the history of a region, state or kingdom from its beginnings to the present.
It recorded various changes and local events particularly when the small kingdom emerged as a more powerful and larger one.
Vamsavali can refer to a historical account of events arranged in order of time usually without analysis or interpretation. It focus on the court or the temple or sometimes even on the caste.
Vamsavalis were also known by different names, such as pidhiyavali (the line of generations); prabandha and raso in Gujarat and Rajasthan; burunjis among the Ahoms of Assam; Madala Panji in Odisha.
Rajatarangini written on the history of Kashmir by Kalhan in 1148 describes Kashmir from the 9th to the 12th century as the centre of scholarship in grammar, aesthetics, and philosophy.
Rajatarangini composed in verse, consists of eight books or tarangas. The first three tarangas contain the history of the region till the 7th century CE, tarangas 4 to 6 till the 11th century, while the last two tarangas (the longest) deal with the 12th century.
It is believed that Kalhana was the son of Canpaka, a minister at the court of the king, who was killed in 1101.
Canpaka did not hold any official position but Kalhana thus was familiar with court circles, even if not serving at the court himself.
Thus, historians assume that Kalhana was not writing to pamper any particular patron. His work is about the past of Kashmir, the kingdom where he lived and the court at which his father had served.
He critically analysed the actions of the contemporary kings regarding severe judgements on various groups that exploited Kashmir.
Kalhana wrote narratives about Ashoka and Kanishka, and even Mihirakula. The text written in Sanskrit, provides the history of Kashmir and incorporates into the narration legends, chronology based on written records, and details of events closer to the author’s time.
Kalhana corrected the chronology by providing a connected account of the past by partly filling in gaps and removing fictitious genealogies. He also mentioned the consulted sources.
He looked up a variety of epigraphic sources relating to royal eulogies, construction of temples, and land grants; he studied coins, monumental remains, family records, and local traditions.
Besides presenting familiarity with the Epics and Puranas, his work categorised as historically- oriented writing, such as the historical biographies written by Bana and Bilhana.
He delved deep into such model works as the Harshacharita and the Brihat-samhita epics and used with commendable familiarity the local rajakathas (royal chronicles) and such previous works on Kashmir as Nripavali by Kshemendra, Parthivavali by Helaraja, and Nilamatapurana.
The information provided by Kalhana in Books IV-VIII covering the period from early seventh century AD to about the middle of the twelfth century are more trustworthy than what we find in the earlier three books from both historical and chronological points of view.
Book IV contains the history of seventeen kings from Durlabhavardhana to Utpalapida who belonged to the Karkota (also called Karkotaka) dynasty.
Durlabhavardhana, the descendant of Naga Karkota or Karkotaka, founded this dynasty.
As this dynasty belonged to 7th century CE, Chinese annals also provide incidental references to corroborate the text.
According to Chinese texts, Karkota king Candrapida requested assistance from the T’ang rulers against the Arabs in 713 CE, a time when the Arabs were attempting a conquest of Sindh.
Chamba Vamsavali was another important chronicle written by unknown scholar. The text is about the settlement at Brahmaur in the upper parts of the Ravi, connected by routes in various directions.
The inscriptions suggested that the town of Chamba, after which the kingdom was named, was located on a fertile plateau above the junction of the Ravi and Saho rivers, that was ruled by ranas, intermediaries who were under the suzerainty of the king of Chamba.
The text included the succession of rulers and events, other significant processes of change such as the formation of the kingdom, the emergence of intermediaries, the transition to a caste society, and the coming of Puranic Hinduism.
Q. 2. What do you understand by regional languages? Discuss the social background of the rise of regional language.
Ans. The rise in the regional languages in various parts of India have been the important features in this period.
The languages grew rapidly during this period in northern India included Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Assamese, Odiya, Marathi and Gujarati, which were originated from a corresponding Indo-Aryan Prakrit in its Apabhramsa stage.
Tamil, Kannada and Telugu were the three south Indian languages having a longer literary history than that of the north Indian regional languages. The origin of Tamil language traced back to the beginning of the Common Era.
Kannada and Telegu also have older literary traditions than the north Indian regional languages. Malayalam is the youngest among the south Indian languages that originated around the 14th century in literary form.
Social Background of the Development of Regional Languages
Following factors are contributed to the development of the literature in the regional languages during this period:
. The replacement of Sanskrit by Persian as the official language during the Sultante period.
. In 13th century Turkish conquest of North India led the end of the Rajput Brahman alliance and consequently the influence of the Brahmans effectless in the society.
. During the post-Gupta period the growth of feudal society, economy and polity led to the emergence of regional entities and cultures.
The conformist and radical monotheistic played an important role in the rapid growth of regional literature.
In 15th century the Bhakti movement played a crucial role in the development of the regional languages in North India.
According to scholars, the time period regarding the origin of Hindi language was between 7th and 10th CE, when Hindi was evolving out of Apabhramsa.
The dialects of Hindi included: Brajbhasha, Awadhi, Rajasthani, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Malwi, etc. from which the literature of Hindi language developed.
The period between 7th-8th and 14th century is characterised as ‘Veergatha Kala’ (age of Heroic Poetry) as most of poetry was composed by bards under the patronage of various Rajput rulers.
Prithviraja Raso, Visaldeva Raso, Hammir Raso, Khumana Raso, etc. are the example of heroic poetical narrative. The religious poetry was composed in an archaic form of Hindi by the Buddhist siddhas and later the Nathpanthi yogis.
The Jaina scholars also composed religious poetry in Rajasthani Hindi. Amir Khusrau also composed poems in mixed form of Hindi which ultimately developed into Khari Boli or Hindavi.
Tamil literary culture flourished under the two ruling dynasties, Pallavas and Pandyas. The origin of this may be traced back to the sixth century with the emergence of the Bhakti movement.
In Tamil literary tradition, the poets composed hymns dedicated to either Shiva or Vishnu. The Shaiva poets were known as Nayanars and Vaishnava poets were known as Alvars.
These hymns were significant as they were composed in the middle Tamil instead of the classical Tamil of the Sangam period.
These hymns was first compiled by suntarar. The Vaishnava canon ‘Nalayirativya- prapantam’ was compiled later in the 10th century by Natamuni.
Under the patronage of Cholas, new trends in Tamil literature emerged from the 9th century. Two new genres of panegyric literature parani and ula were introduced.
Parani mainly deals with military campaigns while the term ‘ula’ means ‘procession’.
Vikram-Chola Ula, Kulotunga Chola Ula, and Rajaraja Chola Ula were the three texts written by Ottukutar.
Kampan was the most famous Chola poet known for his composition of Tamil Ramayana.
A significant Jaina contribution to the Tamil literature was Jivakachintamani by a Jain ascetic Tiruttakkadevar. He introduced Sanskrit kavya literature style to Tamil.
Kannada literature developed under the reign of Rashtrakutas and their feudatories. ‘Kavirajamarga’ was the first important Kannada work written in the 9th century at the court of the Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha (814-878 CE).
Though its authorship is traditionally attributed to the king, some scholars believe that it was mainly authored by his court poet Srivijaya.
This text, consisting of 527 stanzas and three chapters, largely deals with the rules of Kannada grammar and poetics.
Pampa, Ponna and Ranna are considered as the three gems of Kannada literature, who wrote on themes of Jainism and Mahabharata.
Pampa was a court poet of Arikesari II of Vemulavada, a feudatory of the Rasthrakutas known for its two important works Adipurana and Pampa-Bharata. Ponna was the court poet of Rasthrakuta ruler Krishnaraja.
He wrote poems beautifully in both Sanskrit and Kannada, thus he adorn a title of Ubhaya-Kavi-Chakravarti (Imperial poet in both both the languages).
Shanti Purana is his most famous composition.
The third important poet Ranna is associated with the court of Western Chalukyas, Tailapa (973-997 CE) and his successor Satyasraya (997-1008 CE). His chief texts are Ajithpurana, based on the life of the second tirthankara.
Trishashti-lakshana Maha-Purana by Chavunda Raya and Chhandombuddhi by Nagavarma I are other significant texts.
The establishment of Virashaivism, a Shaiva sect founded by Basava brought a major change. They introduced a new kind of prose literature, Vachanas or sentences composed in a simple language by people of diverse backgrounds.
They mainly deal with religious issues like the futility of religious rites, wealth, and book education.
The translation of the Adi and Sabha parvas of the Mahabharata by poet Nannaya is the oldest work in Telegu literature (11th century CE).
Two poets Tikkana (1220-1300 CE) and Yerrapragada (1280-1350 CE) translated Virata-parva and Vana- parva respectively. All the three poets are regarded as kavitraya, who laid the foundation of Telegu literature.
Q. 3. Examine the contribution of educational institutions in various fields in spreading the philosophy of different religious traditions.
Ans. India had been a centre of learning since ancient times, where scholars used to come to study from various regions of the world. The nature of education in India was predominantly religious.
Agraharas, Brahmapuris, Ghatikas were the main centres of brahmanical learning during early medieval south India. Among them, ghatikas became the main centres of brahmanical learning.
Temples impart education through math attached to them. Many maths were established by Shankaracharya. The brahmana teachers called Mahajanas teached in these institutions.
Sanskrit was the language in many monastic institutions of Buddhists and Jainas. Vedanta philosophy was one of the important and complex subject.
The Kazhugumalai palli was a Jaina monastery, where fifteen female teachers and nuns taught during 8th and 12th CE.
Nalanda Mahavihara was one of the oldest and great university established by Kumaragupta. Aryabhata, Huien Tsang, Santarakhsita, Nagarjuna, Atisa Dipankar, etc.
were among some eminent personalities associated with it. Odantapuri mahavihara and Vikramashila mahavihara were other universities established by Palas rulers were also significant in the field of higher education.
Atisha Dipankar (980- 1054), a Buddhist in the Pala kingdom was an adhyaksha (head of the university) here.
He also founded Somapur Mahavihara in modern Bangladesh. Scholars from India travelled to different places to spread their teachings.
They visited modern Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and China through trade routes.
Kashmir too became an important centre of learning during the early medieval period. Abhinavagupta, Kshemendra, Somananda, etc. were among some scholars who belonged to Kashmir.
Anandavardhana, the writer of Dhyanalok, was given credit for reviving Sanskrit learning in Kashmir.
Shaivism became popular during early medieval period in Kashmir. Shivasutrani, Spandakarika, Pratyabhin- jnahrdyam, etc. are some of the incredible texts developed by Kashmiri scholars.
The Vedanta philosophy also led to the production of a corpus of religious literary works.
Q. 4. To what extent is the European model of Feudalism relevant in the Indian context? Discuss.
Ans. In 1979, Harbans Mukhia, a committed practitioner of Marxist history writing, questioned the Indian feudalism thesis on both theoretical and empirical grounds by comparing the medieval Indian scenario with medieval Europe.
The basic issue was whether feudalism could at all be conceived of as a universal system.
It can be possible only if the profit maximisation through capitalism gave rise to huge amounts of production to fulfil the need of ever expanding market until it encompassed the whole world under the hegemony of a single system of production, logically which is not possible.
The force of consumption rather than profit maximization drove pre-capitalist economic systems, thereby limiting their capacity for expansion beyond the local or the regional level.
Feudalism thus could only be a regional system rather than a world system. The problem can not be solved through positing different variations of feudalism: the European, the Chinese, the Japanese and the Indian, etc.
Whether feudalism became synonymous with every pre-capitalist system or, the ‘variations’ became so wide as to render it useless.
The comparison between the histories of medieval Western Europe and medieval India, pursued at three levels: the ecological conditions, the technology available and the social organization of forms of labour use in agriculture in the two regions.
The debate also includes the perspective of the ecology of Western Europe having four months of sunshine in a year; trends of cropping, all agricultural operations, technology used, labour productivity, etc.
The demand for labour was intense for the four months only, thus the practice of serfdom began. It gave rise to conflict between the lord and the serf in the very process of production.
This conflict led to technological improvement, rise in productivity to 1:4 by the 12th century, substantial rise in population and therefore untying of labour from land, expansion of agriculture and a sudden rise in trade and urbanization.
These changed circumstances led the rebels all over Europe especially during the 14th century, in which prosperous peasants participated rather than the poor peasants. By the end of the century, feudalism collapsed.
According to Indian ecological conditions, the agricultural processes could be spread out for almost ten months.
Due to appropriate climatic conditions like intense heat, followed by rainfall, fertile soil, it did not require deep, labour intensive digging. Thus, productivity of land was also much higher in medieval India i.e. 1:16.
Besides, two crops were cultivated in a year in many regions in India, something unheard of in Europe until the nineteenth century.
Labour use in agriculture in India follow a different pattern. Begar, or tied labour, paid or unpaid, was seldom part of the process of production but was involved in non-productive purposes such as carrying the zamindar’s loads by the peasants on their heads or supplying milk or oil, etc. to the zamindars.
Thus, the conflict between the peasant and the zamindar was beyond the process of production on the question of the quantum of revenue.
Thus, there were different levels of technological breakthroughs and transformation of the production processes in medieval India as compared with medieval Europe.
Thus, the medieval Indian system was characterised by a free peasant economy, whereas in Europe the system of agricultural production was set under the control of the lord.
Another difference was that the resolution of conflict over the control of labour resulted in transformation of the production system from feudal to capitalist in European agriculture from the 12th century onwards, while in India the production system was not affected by the tension over revenue.
Q. 5. Analyse whether the South-East Asian culture was completely influenced by the Indian culture?
Ans. Not just traders and merchants but also seafaring communities, religious groups, scholars and pilgrims contributed in the state formation through stimulating political development in Southeast Asia.
Various communication channels facilitated the transition of chiefdoms into nascent states in Southeast Asia.
The kingdom of Funan (now south Cambodia and south Vietnam) emerged during the first century CE, was the first Southeast Asian state having a good political base, which inculcated the Indian vocabulary and technical knowledge.
It was also the first dynasty in Southeast Asia to adopt Hinduism as its state- religion.
The Angkor or Khmer Empire (9th-13th century) under the rule of Jayavarman VII (c. 1181-1218) included vast territory comprising most of modern Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Srivijaya later evolved into the Shailendra Empire was a great centre of maritime trade and commercial power.
The kingdom of Mataram in Central Java adopted Buddhism and was exporter of rice due to presence of huge paddy terraces on the volcanic slopes.
According to Sanskrit inscriptional records, many religious teachers from Gujarat and Gaur (Bengal) reached Matram and helped it to create the first standardized indigenous coinage having local and Indian systems.
The Indian influence on Southeast Asia is reflected through a popular Southeast Asian folklore i.e. the Hindu kingdoms in the region originated through the marriage between an Indian brahmana named Kaundinya and a local Naga princess, Soma. G. Coedes puts emphasis on cultural dependency of Southeast Asian states on India which was caused by the introduction of Hinduism and Buddhism in the region.
The religious traditions of India were conducive to the political aspirations of chiefs who wanted to present themselves as secular and spiritually superior.
In this regard the role of Brahman priest and Buddhuist monk is important, who helped them in establishing their prestige and power and accentuate their divine status by relating them to the Hindu or Buddhist deities.
For example, the image of Jayavarman II (802-825 CE) bears a strong resemblance to the image of Shiva. He built a Shiva temple and after his death, his image would be shown as an incarnation of Shiva.
Because of proving patronage by the rulers to Sanskrit and Brahmana priests, Sanskrit became the language used to define kingship.
The suffix ‘varman’ which was used by the south Indian rulers was also adapted by the Khmer rulers with the prefix containing the name of a Hindu God.
The aspirations of the rulers were reflected through the construction of statues of Hindu and Buddhist deities, grand religious structures, adoption of Indian notions of kingship, issuing of scriptures in temples, etc.
All this confirms the Indian influence in the Southeast Asia region. Though, there was no forceful imposition of Indian elements on Southeast Asia and existence of peaceful interactions, there was an exceptional case, when the Cholas from South India attacked and defeated another naval power, the Srivijayas and destroyed their cities.
Q. 6. Origin stories of Rajputs.
Ans. The rise of new section called the Rajput dynasties is highly complex and controversial, because of om
(i) The Rajputa gotrochhara makes them Kshatriyas of the lunar family.
(ii) While old Kavyas said that they were of the solar race.
(iii) Rajasthani chroniclers regarded them as fire-born (Agnikula).
Agnikula myth written by a court poet. According to this myth Paramaras originated from the firepit of sage Vasishtha on Mount Abu.
Rajasthani bards also mentioned that the fire origin not only to the Paramaras but also the Pratiharas, the Chalukyas of Gujarat and the Chahamanas.
Chahamanas defeated the demons which was earlier not defeated by Pratihara, Chaulukya and Parmara. Overall this Agnikula myth was nothing more than poetic imagination of bards.
In early medieval period new social group Kshatriya emerged. Same period Rajput clans representing a mixed caste and constituting a fairly large section of petty chiefs holding estates, achieved political eminence gradually.
The Kshatriya origin of powers such as the Parmaras and Chahamanas too had not originated at the initial stage of the rise of these powers.
Q. 7. The nature of polity under the Palas.
Ans. Sasanka (606-637 AD) was the first known independent ruler of Bengal with his capital at Karnasuvarna (near Murshidabad), and even extended his rule upto Odisha.
Due to increasing military strength of Sasank, conflicts grew between him and Harshvardhana, the rulers of the Maukhari dynasty.
But Harshavardhana could seize Kannauj only after the death of Sasanka. After that the prevailing anarchy led the chiefs to elect Gopala as the ruler of the kingdom, which became the founder of the Pala dynasty in Bengal.
His son Dharmpala ruled the region after his death.
He raised the glory of the kingdom to great heights. He believes in Buddhism. Along with the many Buddhist monasteries, he established the famous Vikramshila University.
His son Devapala also emerged as a powerful king. He was the last powerful king of the Pala dynasty.
Their reign of the successor Vigrahapala and Narayanapala saw the decline of the glorious rule established by Dharmpala and Devapala.
When Palas were establishing a strong monarchy in Bengal, the Pratiharas under the king Vatsaraja were ruling over large parts of Rajputana and central India. Inscriptions indicate the conflict in both the kingdoms.
In the sametime, the Rashtrakulas of Deccan were trying to extend their dominance over north India. These circumstances created the Tripartite struggle for supremacy between the Palas, Pratiharas and Rashtrakutas.
Q. 8. Ur and Nadu.
Ans. The evidences found during this period refer to the following while giving the land-grant:
Natta who were the representatives of Nadu (locality) and Brahmadeyakkilavar who were the Brahmana donees of Brahmadeya and Devadana, Palliccanda, Kanimurruttu, Vettapperu who have been identified as tax-free villages and Nagarattar who comprised of the trading community and belonged to the nagaram.
The village was considered as a as a small component (fractional) of the Nadu which was important but it incorporated and represented the Urs (vellanvagai villages).
The Ur represented the section which was not literate. N. Karashima has discovered the two Tanjavur inscriptions of Rajaraja I and Gangaikondacolapuram inscription of Virarajendra.
However, Karashima believed that in the Vellanvagai villages differentiation is not noticed.
Subbarayalu believed that the hierarchical structure in these villages comprising of cultivators (kaniyudaiyar), tenant cultivators (ulukudi), artisans and the agricultural labourers.
The cultivators were generally referred to as vellals. Karashima proclaimed that the land was held in common in the Ur villages and Subbarayalu refers to the tendency towards ‘individual holdings’ in this period.
There are many inscriptions which indicate that in several Nadus the main village was Brahmadeya (land given to Brahmanas).
According to Nilakanta Shastri, the Nadu comprised of many villages which were the smallest component of administration and Mahalingam said that Nadu was an administrative unit and it was sub-divided into villages.
According to Subbrayalu, the Nadu and Ur represented a locality comprising of Vellanvagai villages and its representatives participated in the assembly of Nadu.
The historians argued that Nadu was not an administrative unit created by the Chola state but it was a natural collection of peasant settlements which was incorporated into the state system of the Cholas as a legacy from the previous period.
The evidence reveals that the Nattars were the Vellals and the functions of Nattar (Nadu) were performed by the Vellala who held the title of Velan. The agriculture was the main occupation of Nadu.
The Nattar supervised the irrigation works and served as stockists of donations made to temples.
The transfer the funds of temple for a specific purpose was reflected in the Variyilarkanakku (revenue register of royal authority) and the Nattuk-kanakku (revenue register of nadu).
These signifies the independent character of Nadu.
Q. 9. Sculptures: Stone and Metal Images.
Ans. In the early medieval sculpture, crucial importance was for the human figures, both male and female in the form of Gods and Goddesses and their attendants in all the art regions of India. But it did not reach at the similar time everywhere.
In Bihar and Bengal it was in the ninth-tenth centuries; in Orissa in the twelfth-thirteenth centuries; in Central India in the tenth- eleventh centuries; in Rajasthan in the tenth; in Gujarat in the eleventh; and in the southern parts, in the tenth-eleventh centuries.
Not only the cult images but non-ironic figure sculptures also had standardised kinds in each of the different art areas.
The figures relate to motif and subjects such as historical scenes; music and dance scenes, couples in different poses and attitudes,arrays of warriors and animals, etc.
Metal images cast in brass and asthta-dhata, copper and bronze in eastern India (Bihar, Bengal and Assam), Himalayan kingdoms (especially Nepal and Kashmir) and more particularly in the South.
The North Indian images mainly portray brahmanic and Buddhist deities. The South Indian metal images include several shapes of Shiva, especially Nataraja, Parvati, the Shaiva saints, Vaishna saints and figures of royal donors.
Q. 10. Women Education.
Ans. The formal education was not a part of women’s life. According to Mitakshara, women were treated like Shudra, having no right to upanayana ritual which debars women from entering into educational life.
Also mentioned in Asahaha, women lacked proper education and well developed understanding.
Rajashekhara, the poet refers to some poetesses, such as: Shilabhattarika, Vijjika, Prabhudevi, Vikatanitamba and Subhadra and said that ‘like men, women can also be poets’.
There is no single evidence of kavya written by any poetess; even the verses attributed to them are limited in number (about 140 verses ascribed to 33 poetesses).
The natya literature also refer about the position of women in the society and mention that even the high-class women are denied speech in Sanskrit which was generally meant for high born males.