POLITICAL STRUCTURES IN INDIA
MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment July 2021 & Jan 2022
Q 1. Discuss the nature of chiefdoms which evolved in Tamilakam in the early historic period.
Ans: Nature of chiefdoms which evolved in Tamilakam in the early historic period:
Our knowledge about the chiefdoms of Tamilakam is almost entirely based on the Tamil heroic literature.
That is very well justified, for the formation of chiefdoms in Tamilakam synchronises with the emergence of the Tamil heroic literary tradition.
The Ashokan edicts of the 3rd century B.C. refer to the Tamil chiefdoms as the Ceras, Colas and Pandyas (Keralaputa, Coda and Pandya) apart from satiyaputa.
The allusions in the Tamil heroic literary compositions, Tamil brahmi label-inscriptions and Graeco-Roman geographers’ (Ptolemy and Pliny) accounts would have us believe that the Tamil chiefdoms existed from the second century B.C and lasted till the close of the third century A.D.
Archaeology of the chiefdom level socio-economic processes goes further back in time to the mid first millennium B.C that witnessed the expansion of the iron using cultures, often distinguished by the megalithic monuments.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
Scholars have indicated the overlap between the cultures represented by the megalithic burial as well as habitat relics and the cultures represented by the heroic poems. It makes little
sense in distinguishing cultures as tagged to the source materials and naming them as megalithic culture,black and red ware culture, Sangam culture and so forth.
Instead, one should be able to visualise a scenario of the co-existence and interaction of peoples of different means of subsistence and shared cultural practices.
There are different levels of chiefly power represented in the poems that give us some clues to the pattern of distribution of power from the simple to the complex along the small and big descent groups.
The heroic poems unveil before us an active scenario of co-existence and interaction of these unevenly evolved chiefly systems.
They are mainly three: viz. the Kilar, Velir and Ventar systems. The kilar chiefs were hunter chiefs of the descent groups called vetar and kuravar. Like the Velir chiefs, the kilar chiefs were also hunter chiefs either of vetar or kuravar.
Certain kilar are also mentioned to have held sway over agrarian tracts who were relatively more resourceful. Kilar were also local big men in agricultural settlements.
The level of power represented by the Velir seems to be the most archaic and lineage conscious.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
A chief called Irunkovel, (located in semi arid zone between the Kaveri and Vaigai Valleys) one of the traditional five vels is mentioned in a poem as vetarkoman, the chief of vetar, to have belonged to a long line of 49 generations of chiefs.
The poems show that the Velir chieftains held sway over the Kurinji and mullai tracts, i.e. pastoral forest hills (malai).
They were hill chieftains heading mostly the descent groups called vetar, itaiyar and kuravar. Venkatamalai,Kantiramalai, Kollimalai, Mutiramalai, Kutiramalai, Parampumalai, Potiyilmalai, Payarmalai, Elilmalai and Najilmalai are the famous millet rich hill chiefdoms celebrated in the poems.
Elilmalai was the most prominent hill chiefdom of Kerala and the lineage of Nannan, the hunter chief of vetar (vetarkoman) was related to that of the chiefs of Kantiramalai. Another chiefdom closely linked to the southern end of Kerala was Potiyilmalai.
The poems celebrate the Ay as kuravarperumakan, the chief of kuravar in the hill
called Potiyilmalai rich in honey, jack fruit, elephants and monkey.
Q 2. What were the main characteristics of early medieval polities in peninsular India between 8th-12th centuries A.D.?
Ans:Main characteristics of early medieval polities in peninsular India between 8th-12th centuries A.D.:-The Sultans of Delhi came from relatively humble origins. They were slaves who rose to become generals in the armies of the Afghan ruler Muizz al-Din Ghuri.
Their transformation into rulers of a kingdom of great political influence in North India was a slow and discontinuous process that occurred through the thirteenth century.
For the better part of that century, there were many centers of social and politica power in the early Delhi Sultanate. MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
There were military commanders with contending political ambitions, as well as urban elites with contrasting social constituencies, religious ideologies, and personal commitments.
Such people did not always support authoritarian interventions seeking to create a monolithic state.
A theocratic state is one whose entire functioning is based on the tenets of a religion and a military state is one which depends on the military strength for its survival.
The Sultanate state was a theocratic as well as a military state. It combined religious elements as well as military elements.
The Delhi Sultanate like that of all other Muslim states of the time was a theocracy. This meant that its political and administrative institutions were, in theory, derived from the Islamic Law (Shariat) based upon the precepts of Quran.
Islamic theocracy, in a larger sense, also meant that the entire Islamic world was united under the religious and political authority of the Caliph, the representative of the Prophet.
Every Muslim State was look upon as the Caliph’s dependency and its ruler had to pay allegiance to the Caliph and to seek confirmation for his right to rule as the deputy of the Caliph. MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
Islam being the religion of the State, it was the primary duty of the State to promote Islam. The theocratic law was supreme and the civil law was subordinate to it.
The Ulemas, in general, interpreted the Islamic laws and thus had an influential position. The Sultan was expected to show remarkable respect to the Shariat, to levy taxes according to the Shariat.
In practice, however, this theory passed through some modifications. In a country like India, where nonMuslims constituted an overwhelmingly large majority of population, and the political and social conditions differed very widely from those contemplated by the Muslim-jurists, it was not possible to maintain the full rigidity of the Islamic law.
Also the degree of modifications depended on the personality, capability and power of the ruler and the situations circumventing his freedom, initiative and judgement.
To study the state under the Delhi Sultanate we need to bear in mind the means of acquiring and maintaining power at that time.
While it is true that power could be wrested by a group of people, usually with superior military skills, it is not as if this was enough for the rulers to rule. Rulers felt the need to legitimise their authority through various other means.
Legitimisation included not just patronage of important groups of people like the nobles or religious classes [in the Delhi Sultanate, the ulema, i.e, theologians), architectural constructions, etc. MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
but also by instituting various other systems of administration and control which would allow the ruling classes to demand and extract levies [in the forms of various taxes, for instance) which in turn would allow them to maintain their position of dominance.
These administrative structures (which you will read about in Block 6) allowed the rulers to make their presence felt in areas that were far away from the central/political capital of the kingdom.
To put it simply, these acts of legitimization give the state a dominant position in society.
Q 4 Analyse the nature of British colonial state.
Ans:The Battle of Plassey marks a significant break in the modern Indian history. The East India Company, whose original purpose was commercial gain, transformed itself into a ruling territorial power by acquiring all the attributes of the state.
It could wage war, make peace, raise taxes and administer justice in the conquered territories like any other sovereign power.
As a private enterprise, it administered its territories for the profits of its shareholders, but the ultimate source of sovereignty lay with the British Parliament and Crown, the twin institutions that regulated its governance before taking over direct administration of the Indian Empire in 1858.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
The colonial state was qualitatively different from the pre-colonial Indian states especially in the manner in which it marshalled military force and extracted resources from India.
The colonial state in a subtle way combined the radical method of social transformation with the use of conciliatory means to appease various social groups.
Being an alien force, the final sanction for the maintenance of colonial rule in India was necessarily physical force and repression.
It was the conviction of the colonial rulers that in colonies and in their governance, a strong and decisive executive action to secure order was necessary.
For instance, to crush the Kuka uprising in Punjab, many rebels were shot dead, blown from guns and hanged. We all know the notorious Amritsar massacre at Jalianwala Bagh.
In other words. army was the instrument for maintaining the coercive apparatus of the colonial state.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
However, even the most autocratic regimes require some sort of legitimisation. The British used various means and ideological strategies to justify their rule in the eyes of the Indian people.
The State, even though armed with an efficient bureaucracy and a huge amount of information about Indian society and people at its disposal, lacked the financial resources and sufficient military might to rule so vast and turbulent a land by force alone.
The colonial state was a product of historical circumst;ances and was shaped by the British ideologies.
The British ideologies projected the state established by the British in India as an engine of modernisation.
They laid stress on the positive virtues of colonial rule such as establishment of rule of law, a modem education system and an impersonal ‘rational bureaucracy that improved and made more efficient the work of maintaining law and order.
Despite its selective administrative intervention for initiating changes in the social sphere, the colonial state was to a large extent guided by the basic liberal principle: establishment of the principle of private, proprietorship of land. MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
But the principle of private proprietorship can be implemented only if contracts are guaranteed, and if law protects contraits and property rights.
The liberal ideology of the colonial state emphasised that the state should enable markets to function freely and act as the guarantor and protector of market by introducing the necessary laws and legal institutions.
The Romantic patemalist strand of colonial-ideology, however, feared that unregulated markets would disrupt indigenous institutions such as the village community and harm certain social groups in a manner that could jeopardize political stability
The problem of seeking legitimacy was also related to the issue of accommodating alien concepts and doctrines within the traditional structure of Indian society.
The colonial state’s anxiety to legalise existing rights and privileges of the powerful and the dominant groups (Indian intermediaries, e.g., Taluqdars in Oudh) often subverted and undermined their own ideals as in the case of the Permanent Settlement in Bengal.
Q 6 Discuss the working of the mansab and the jagir systems under the Mughals.
Ans. Akbar was the architect of the mansab system, an institution of political and economic significance that played a critical role in the consolidation and disintegration of the Mughal Empire.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
We also notice an evolution in the beginning and the growth of this institution. The word Mansab means a place, a position, an honour and a rank, which happened to be an integral part of the elaborate Mughal bureaucracy.
The Mansabdars were appointed to all civil and military posts except that of judiciary, and the positions like wazir, bakshi, faujdar and Subedar were held by the Mansabdars.
The Mansabdar appears to be a central Asian institution. There is a view that this institution came to India with Babur.
During Babur’s time, instead of the term of Mansabdar, the term Wajahdar was used. There is a definite difference between these two terms of Mansabdari and Wajahdari system.
Under the regime of Akbar, the Mansabdari system became the basis of military and civil administration. It is also believed that Akbar followed the principles of Changiz Khan in fixing up the grades of Mansabdars.
Abul Fazl states that Akbar provided 66 grades of Mansabdars ranging from commanders of 10 horsemen to 10,000 horsemen but he gives a list of 33 grades of Mansabdars.
Thus, the term “Mansab’ decided the status of the holder in the graded official hierarchy, it also fixed the pay of the holder or the Mansabdar and it also made it obligatory to maintain a specified number of contingent with horses and necessary equipment.
In the beginning and up to 1595-96, personal pay and the size of the contingent was represented by single rank of jat but from 1595-96, both the Jat and sawar ranks began to decide the position and status of the Mansabdar. MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
While Jat decided the Mansabdar’s personal pay or Talabkhasa and his rank in the official hierarchy and sawar fixed the horses and horsemen to be maintained by the Mansabdar and the amount he received to maintain his contingent.
Assignment of a piece of land to an individual for the purpose of collection of revenue in lieu of cash salary is an age-old practice in India. In the Delhi Sultanate period such assignments were called Iqtas and the holders Iqtadars.
The Mughal emperors also implemented this system and the areas assigned were called Jagirs and their holders, Jagirdars. It is to be remembered in this connection that it is not land that was assigned but the right to collect revenue or income from the piece of land.
The framework of the Mughal Jagirdari system began during the reign of Akbar and in course of time it underwent modifications. MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
Babur and Humayun continued the collection of revenue from the assigned territories through Wajahdars by fixing ‘wajah’. In the time of Akbar, the territory was broadly divided as Khalisa and Jagir.
Dam is a small copper coin. Generally, the jama included land revenue, in-land transit duties, port customs and other taxes too.
This is also known as ‘sair jihat’ and ‘hasil’ or the amount of revenue actually collected. There were various types of Jagirs or revenue assignments.
(1) Jagirs, which were given in lieu of pay known as Jagir Tankha.
(2) Jagirs given to an individual on certain conditions called Mashrut Jagirs.
(3) Jagirs with no involvement of obligations of service and were independent of rank known as Inam Jagirs.
(4) Jagirs, assigned to Zamindars in their home lands called Watan Jagirs.
Q 10 Write short notes on the following in 250 words each.
i) State formation under the Rajputs.
Ans. The Rajputs, defined simply, were a group of 36 clans set in western India, mainly Rajasthan which gained substantial power over the early medieval and medieval periods in India.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
The origin of Rajputs differs with various different writings, one traces Rajputs as foreign immigrants of the Post-Gupta age whereas others consider them of pure Kshatriya origin.
Historian C.V. Vaidya has stated that The Rajputs of Medieval India could not but have been the descendants of Vedic Aryans.
As according to him, none but Vedic Aryans could have fought so valiantly in defence of ancestral faith.
Another viewpoint according to various writings was that the Rajputs rose to prominence in the process of resisting foreign invasions and in doing so, fulfilled the role of Kshatriyas.
One can also understand that the history of Rajputs follows a pattern which has been characterized as a tendency to ‘dynastic’.
Which means the tendency to create lineages and genealogies and forming up a dynastic superstructure.
Which creates a both temporal and genetic relationship on them, where the data provides neither. One has to keep in mind the common claims to traditional ‘Kshatriya’ status made by groups during the medieval period.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
Such attempts were made to get away from their original ancestory and to hence glorify their lineage and juxtapose their stance in society(attempt to legitimize).
Hence, the Rajputs, like the traditional varna categories, were following a recognizable chanel of transition from tribal to state policy.
From records available across western India, we can distinguish certain clans undergoing this process as we come across terms such as ‘rajaputras’ in inscriptions and literature.
The closest way of recognizing genuine Rajput clans was to gather evidence from later literature.
Statements showing the list of clans, numbering 36, can be seen in a number of famous writings such as the works of Kumarapalacarita and the Varnaratnakara. The Rajatarangini too refers to the number 36.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
ii) Brahmadeya and Nagaram.
Ans. Brahmadeyas constituted the category of Brahmanas who were landholders in the agricultural tracts and who had been endowed with land (tax-free) and had organised themselves into a distinct group.
Nagaram comprised of traders who carried out trading and exchange activities in the pockets which had developed into commercial centres on account of the spurt in craft production and other activities carried out by artisans.
When the Cholas emerged as an important ruling power in the middle of 9th century CE in Thanjavur, there already existed many brahmadeyas which were densely populated and rich tracts in the Kaveri region.
The Karantai plates of Rajendra | refer to 1080 Brahmanas who inhabited Tribhuvanamahadevi Caturvedimangalam.
The assembly of these Brahmanas which inhabited agricultural tracts was called Sabha or Mahasabha. Most of the brahmadeyas or brahmana settlements were centered round the temple.MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
Through the temple and the ideological focus based on the Puranas and Itihasas, Bhakti and varnashrama dharma the differentiated society and monarchical polity were legitimized.
Nagaram settlement was a tract where traders and others (including artisans) lived. “An inscription of 1036 CE from Chidambaram distinguishes between non-brahmana inhabitants of superior status and those of inferior status.
Kudiga included two merchant groups: Sankarappadiyar and Vyaparin plus three other groups Vellalas, Saliyar and Pattinavar. The subordinate workmen were Taccar, Kollar, Tattar and Koliyar”.
Nagarattar was the representative body of traders. Nagaram settlement was a separate area. Committee of nagarattar was referred to as nagaravariyam. Nagaram also held land in common called nagarakkani.
This they acquired through purchase but they also leased out land and performed the task of levying taxes and rendering services to the local groups. They maintained their records regarding income and expenditure. MHI 04 Free Solved Assignment
They also paid royal levies in the form of gold and paddy. They also allocated taxes to the local temples viz. Kadamai, nagaraviniyogam etc. In some cases Nagaram were independent of nadu.
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