NCERT Class 8 Social Science Chapter 6 Colonialism and The City: The Story of An Imperial Capital

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NCERT Class 8 Social Science Chapter 6 Colonialism and The City: The Story of An Imperial Capital

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Also, you can read the NCERT book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Book guidelines. CBSE Class 8 Social Science Solutions are part of All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NCERT Class 8 Social Science Chapter 6 Colonialism and The City: The Story of An Imperial Capital and After, NCERT Class 8 Social Science Textbook of Our Pasts – III: History, Social and Political Life – III: Civics, Resources, and Development: Geography. for All Chapters, You can practice these here.

Colonialism and The City: The Story of An Imperial Capital

Chapter: 6




Q.1. State whether true or false:

(a) In the Western world, modern cities grew With industrialization.

Ans. True.

(b) Surat and Machlipatnam developed in the nineteenth century.

Ans. False.

(c) In the twentieth century, the majority of Indians lived in cities.

Ans. False.

(d) After 1857 no worship was allowed in the Jama Masjid for five years.

Ans. True

(e) More money was spent on cleaning Old Delhi than New Delhi.

Ans. False.

Q.2. Fill in the blanks:

(a) The first structure to successfully use the dome was called the _____________.

Ans. Minar.

(b) The two architects who designed New Delhi and Shahjahanabad were _____________ and ___________.

Ans. Edward Lutyens, Henry Baker.

(c) The British saw overcrowded spaces as ______________.

Ans. Black areas.

(d) In 1888 an extension scheme called the ______________ was devised.

Ans. Lahore Gate Improvement Scheme.

Q.3. Identify three differences in the city design of New Delhi and Shahjahanabad.


New DelhiShahjahanabad
(a) Unwalled city, constructed on Raisena Hills, south of Shahjahanabad or Old Delhi.(a) Constructed as a walled city with 14 gates, adjoining a fort palace complex, with the river Jamuna flowing near it.
(b) It had broad streets.(b) Shahjahanabad had mazes of narrow and winding lanes and bylanes.
(c) It had sprawling mansions set in the middle of large compounds.(c) It had crowded and congested mohallas.

Q.4. Who lived in the “white” areas in cities such as Madras?

Ans, British and Europeans lived in the “White” areas in cities (Bombay and Calcutta also) such as Madras (now Chennai).


Q.5. What is meant by de- urbanisation?

Ans Decline and decay of the cities is called de-urbanisation. For example; in the late eighteenth century, many towns manufacturing specialized goods declined due to a drop in the demand for what they produced. Also, earlier centres of regional power collapsed when local rulers were defeated by the British and new centres of administration emerged.

Q.6. Why did the British choose to hold a grand Durbar in Delhi although it was not the capital?

Ans. Following causes were responsible to this:

(a) During the Revolt of 1857, the British had realized that the Mughal emperor was still important to the people and they saw him as their leader. It was, therefore, important to celebrate British power with pomp and show in the city, the Mughal emperors had earlier ruled.

(b) In 1911, when King George V was crowned in England, a Durbar was held in Delhi to celebrate the occasion. The decision to shift the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi was announced at this Durbar.

Q.7. How did the Old City of Delhi change under British rule? 

Ans. (a) Delhi was captured by the British in 1803 after defeating the Marathas. The modern city of Delhi developed after 1911, when it became the capital of British India.

(b) When the British recaptured Delhi in September 1857, they ravaged and plundered the whole city.

(c) The area around the Red Fort was completely cleared for security purpose. 

(d) The gardens of the royal palace were shut down.

(e) Several places were razed and barracks were built in their place for British troops to stay.

(f) The Zinat-al-Masjid was converted to a bakery.

(g) One-third of the monuments in Delhi were demolished and the canals were filled up.

(h) Railway tracks were laid down, and thus, the city expanded beyond the huge walls.

Q.8. How did the Partition affect life in Delhi?

Ans. The following changes could be seen in Delhi after Partition:

(a) As a result of Partition of India in 1947, there was a mass transfer of people from both India and Pakistan. It resulted in an increase in population of Delhi, change of job and culture of the city and its people.

(b) The riots followed the Partition, thousands of people in Delhi were killed, their homes looted and burned.

(c) The refugees who came from Pakistan occupied the empty houses of Shahjahanabad. Many refugees came to Delhi from Punjab.

(d) As most of the migrants were from Punjab, the Urdu based culture of Delhi was replaced by the new culture of Punjab and other native places of migrants.

(e) New shops and stalls were set-up to meet the demands. New colonies of Lajpat Nagar and Tilak nagar were formed at this time.

(f) Old Delhi also witnessed the extinction of Havelis.


Q.9. Find out the history of the town you live in or any town nearby. Check when and how it grew, and how it has changed over the years. You could look at the history of the bazaars, the buildings, cultural institutions and settlements.

Ans. I am Shivaji Dhawle. I am living in Mumbai (previously called Bombay). 

I am giving the brief history and stages of its development below:

Architecture in Bombay:

(a) Joining of islands: Bombay was initially seven islands. As the population grew, the island were joined to create more space and the gradually changed into one big city. Bombay was the commercial capital of colonial India. As the premier part on the western coast it was the centre of international trade.

As the Bombay’s economy grew, from the mid nineteenth century there was a need to expand railways and shipping and develop the administrative structure. Many new buildings were constructed at this time. These buildings reflected the culture and confidence of the rulers.

(b) As a trade centre: By the end of the nineteenth century, half the imports and exports of India passed through Bombay. One important item of this trade was opium that the East India Company exported to China. Indian merchants and middlemen supplied and participated in this trade and they helped integrate.

(c) Style of Architecture of Buildings: The architectural style was usually European. This importation of European style reflected the imperial vision in several ways. First, it expressed the British desire to create a familiar landscape in an alien country and thus to feel at home in the colony. Second, the British felt that European styles would best symbolize their superiority, authority and power.

Initially, these buildings were at odds with the traditional Indian buildings. Gradually, Indians too got used to European architecture and made it their own. The British in turn adapted some Indian styles to suit their needs.

(d) Another style that was extensively used with the neo-Gothic, characterised by high-pitched roofs, pointed arches and detailed decoration. The Gothic style had its roots in buildings, especially churches build in northern Europe during the medieval period. Indians gave money for some of these buildings. The University Hall was made with money donated by Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, a rich Parsi merchant.


I am S. Karunanidhi. I am living at Chennai (previously called Madras). 

A brief history of it and stages of development are given below:

(a) Coming of the English on East Coast: The Company had first set up its trading activities in the well- established port of Surat on the west coast. Subsequently the search for textiles brought British merchants to the east coast.

(b) Purchase of the land for the city of Madras: In 1639, they constructed a trading post in Madras Padam. This settlement was locally known as Cheenapattanam. The Company had purchased the right of settlement from local Telugu lords, the Nayaks of Kalahasti, who were eager to support trading activity in the region.

(c) Fortification of Madras and its results: Rivalry (1746-63) with the French East India Company led the British to fortify Madras and give their representatives increased political and administrative functions. With the defeat of the French in 1761, Madras become more secure and began to grow into an important commercial town. It was here that the superiority of the British and the subordinate position of the Indian merchants was most apparent.

(d) White Town within Madras: Fort St. George became the nucleus of the White Town where most of the Europeans lived. Walls and bastions made this a distinct enclave. Colour and religion determined who was allowed to live within the fort. The Company did not permit any marriages with Indians. Other than the English, the Dutch and Portuguese were allowed to stay here because they were European and Christians. The administrative and the judicial system also favoured the white population.

(e) Black Town within Madras: The Black town developed outside the Fort. It was laid out in straight lines, characteristics of colonial towns. It was, however demolished in the mid-1700s and the area was cleared for a security zone around the Fort. A new Black town developed further to the north. This housed weavers, artisans, middlemen and interpreters who played vital role in the Company’s trade.

(f) Collection of taxation and information: For a long while they were suspicious of census operations and believed that enquiries were being conducted to impose new taxes. Upper caste people were also unwilling to give any information regarding the women of their household. Women were supposed to remain secluded within the interior of the household and not subjected to public gaza or public enquiry.

Q.10. Make a list of at least ten occupations in the city, town or village to which you belong and find out how long they have existed. What does this tell you about the changes within this area?

Ans. List of ten occupations of a village or town:

(i) Agriculture.

(ii) Carpentry. 

(iii) Jewellery-making.

(iv) Teaching.

(v) Medicine and surgery.

(vi) Rearing of animals.

(vii) Blacksmith.

(viii) Trade.

(ix) Textile designing.

(x) Interior decoration.

(i) Agriculture: Agriculture is the oldest occupation in the villages. The farming methods has been changed from traditional to modern. The new and improved irrigation methods, use of manures, fertilizers have been introduced.

(ii) Wood-work: The latest tools, implements and machines are being used which has improved the standard of living of carpenters. 

(iii) Jewellery making: Though the people have been using jewellery since ancient times, there have been drastic changes in the designs of jewellery.

(iv) Teaching: The latest methods of teaching with use of computers, CDs are being used.

(v) Medicine and surgery: Though the patients are being treated since old, there have been advancement in this field which has reduced the death rate.

(vi) Rearing of animals: The dairy farms have been developed which have electric fittings for cattle provide them facilities.

(vii) Blacksmith: With the help of latest technology, all types of grills, windows, iron-rods are being prepared, according to the needs of customers.

(viii) Trade: Traders are using greater use of services like banking, transport and modern methods of business management. 

(ix) Textile designing: From the traditional methods of wearing and spinning the latest methods of machine looms have increased both the quantity and quality of textile.

(x) Interior decoration: This is the emerging field in the area of occupations. The houses are designed in still manner taking care of safety measures.


Imagine that you are a young man living in Shahjahanabad in 1700. Based on the description of the area in this chapter write an account of your activities during one day of your life.

Ans. I am directed to suppose and to do the writing work as instructed in the activity work-Let’s imagine. I am a youngman of twenty years, living in Shahjahanabad in 1700.

1. Aurangzeb is our Emperor. Shahjahanabad is the capital town of the Mughal Empire. It is also a trade centre.

2. I used to go to Jama Masjid daily to offer my prayer to Allah, at least two times a day. I had to go to colourful world of poetry and dance alone because it was allowed only by men. Women are not allowed to visit colourful world of poetry and dance. I had to avoid celebrations and processions because generally these led to serious conflicts. I generally enjoy Urdu/Persian culture and poetry and participated in local festivals. I used to go five times daily to offer Namaz in Jama Masjid.

As a resident of the old city, we use to get fresh drinking water to our homes. There is an excellent drainage system also. I live in a haveli, which housed many families.



Q.1. Why did the importance of Machilipatnam decline in the 17th century?

Ans. Machlipatnam developed as an important town in the 17th century. Its importance declined by the late 18th century as trade shifted to the new British ports of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.

Q.2. What happened to the Delhi College in 1877?

Ans. The Delhi College was turned into a school and shut down in 1877.

Q.3. Write two features of Delhi during Shah Jahan’s time. 

Ans. (i) Delhi during Shah Jahan’s time was an important centre of Sufi culture.

(ii) It had several Dargahs, Khanqahs and Idgahs.

Q.4. What is an imperial capital?

Ans. Political centre (or capital) used as a central point of political activities, administration and control by any imperial power (or country) is called imperial capital. For example, (Approx. from 1757 to 1911) Calcutta was imperial capital of British India. Delhi was made imperial capital after the Royal Durbar of 1911.

Q.5. What are Dargah and Khanqah? 

Ans. Dargah: The tomb of Sufi Saint. 

Khanqah: A rest house for travellers and place where people come to discuss spiritual matters, get the blessings of saints or to attend music and dance sessions.

Q.6. Name presidency cities of India.

Ans. Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were presidency cities of India. 

Q.7. Define the term urbanisation.

Ans. The process by which more and more people began to reside in towns and cities is known as urbanisation.

Q.8. When did the British gained control over Delhi? 

Ans. In 1803, the British gained control of Delhi after defeating the Marathas.


Q.1. How many “Delhis” before New Delhi?

Ans. 1. As many as 14 capital cities were founded in a small area of about 60 square miles on the left bank of river Yamuna.

2. The remains of all other capitals may be seen on a visit to the modern city state of Delhi. Of these the most important are the capital cities built between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries.

3. The most splendid capital of all was built by Shah Jahan, Shahjahanabad in 1639 and consisted of a port place complex and the city adjoining it.

Q.2. When and why did the British establish hill stations?

Ans. (i) The British established hill stations during the 19th century to help army to guard frontiers.

(ii) In 1864, the Viceroy John Lawrence had officially turned Shimla into his capital. The official residence of the commander-in-chief of the army was also in Shimla.

(iii) The British liked living in these hill stations because of the pleasant weather and cool climate. They also set-up tea and coffee plantations in India to boost the economy of their home country.

Q.3. What steps were taken by the British so that Delhi forgets its Mughal past?

Ans. The following steps were taken by the British so that Delhi forget its Mughal past:

(a) The area around the Fort was completely cleared of gardens, pavilions and mosques.

(b) Mosques were either destroyed or put to other uses. For instance, the Zinat-al-masjid was converted into a bakery.

(c) No worship was allowed in Jama Masjid for five years.

Q.4. Write three constructional features of Shahjahanabad or Old Delhi.

Ans. Shahjahanabad was the most splendid capital whose construction began in 1639. Its positive features were:

(a) The main streets of Chandni Chowk and Faiz Bazaar were broad enough for royal processions to pass.

(b) It was also an important centre of Sufi culture. It had several Dargahs, Khanqahs and Idgahs. 

(c) Open squares winding lanes, quiet cul-de-sacis and water channels were the pride of Delhi’s residents. 

Q.5. What do you know about White and Black towns?

Ans. The British had set-up its mercantile offices in Bombay. Calcutta and Madras (now Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai respectively). Due to the cut throat competition among the European companies, the East India Company had fortified these cities. It built Fort St. George in Madras and Fort William in Calcutta. As these forts become the residence of British officials so they were called white towns. The Indian merchants, artisans and other workers who had economic dealings with European merchants settled outside these forts. These settlements were known as Black towns.


Q.1. What were the negative features of living style in Old Delhi?

Ans. The following were the negative features of living style in Old Delhi:

(i) Old Delhi was not an ideal city and its delights were enjoyed only by some. There were sharp divisions between the rich and the poor.

(ii) Havelis or mansions were interspersed with the far more numerous mud houses for the poor.

(iii) The colourful world of poetry and dance was usually enjoyed only by men.

(iv) Celebrations and processions often led to serious conflicts.

Q.2. Write a detailed note on the development of local bodies during British India.

Ans. 1. Local bodies were created between 1864 and 1868. The entire administration was under the British control.

2. Later Lord Ripon introduced the system of local government in 1882. His policy gave a chance to the non-official members to be elected to the District Boards and Municipalities.

3. In the presidency cities like Bombay, Calcutta and Madras (now Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai) local bodies functioned as a department of the provincial governments.

4. The Montague- Chelmsford Report of 1918 recommended that maximum possible independence should be given to local bodies.

5. The Government of India Act 1935 introduced provincial autonomy which gave further impetus to the development of local bodies.

Q.3. What were the features of the new urban centres built by the British?

Ans. (i) Many of the new urban centres like Calcutta and Madras developed- around forts.

(ii) The new cities had broad roads and large and imposing public buildings like government offices, public libraries, museum and town halls.

(iii) Most of the British in India lived outside the old walled town where the Indians lived. The areas where the Indians lived were generally crowded and conditions were often unhygienic.

(iv) The part of the city where the British lived was generally divided into the civil lines and the military cantonment.

Q.4. Discuss the development of Havelis.

Ans. (i) The Mughal aristocracy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries lived in grand mansions called Havelis.

(ii) A haveli housed many families. On entering the Haveli through a beautiful gateway you reached an open courtyard surrounded by the public rooms meant for visitors and business used exclusively by males.

(iii) The inner courtyard with its pavilions and rooms was meant for the women of the household.

(iv) Rooms in the havelis had multiple uses and very little furniture.


Q.1. What was the idea behind the extension scheme called the Lahore Gate Improvement Scheme?

Ans. Lahore Gate Improvement Scheme was planned by Robert Clarke which planned: 

(i) To draw resident away the old city to a new type of market square around which shops would be built.

(ii) Streets in this redevelopment strictly followed the grid pattern and were of identical width, size and character.

(iii) Land was divided into regular areas for the construction of neighbourhoods.

Q.2. Give a brief description of Shahjahanabad.

Ans. Shahjahanabad was one of the most splendid capital built by Shah Jahan:

(a) It consisted of a fort palace complex.

(b) Lal Qila or Red fort, made of red sandstone, contained the palace complex.

(c) To its west lay the walled city with 14 gates.

The main streets of Chandni Chowk and Faiz bazaar were broad enough for royal processions to pass.

(d) Jama Masjid in Shahjahanabad was one of the largest and grandest mosques in India.

(e) Delhi during ShahJahan’s time was also an important centre of Sufi culture. It had several dargahs, khanqahs and idgas.


Q.1. What were the main reasons behind the decline of the old towns and cities during British period?

Ans. The main reasons behind the decline of the old towns and cities during British period were:

1. The colonial ruler did not show any interest in the growth and economic development of their colonies in India.

2. India became a cheap source of raw material and labour to syphoned all British industries. As a result, Indian markets were flooded with machine, made British goods.

3. The emergence of Industrial Revolution left a deep impact on Indian economy and led to the decline of traditional means of production.

4. Pilgrimage and port towns lost their prominence due to the downfall of royal patron.

Colonialism and The City: The Story of on Img.


A. Multiple Choice Questions

1. When did the construction of Shahjahanabad begin?

(a) 1618

(b) 1620

(c) 1639

(d) 1650

Ans. (c) 1639

2. Which of these cities was de-urbanised during the nineteenth century?

(a) Machilipatnam.

(b) Surat.

(c) Seringapatam.

(d) All of these.

Ans. (d) All of these.

3. When did John Lawrence officially turn Shimla into his capital?

(a) 1863

(b) 1864

(c) 1860

(d) 1901

Ans. (b) 1864

4. Which of the following hill stations was developed by the British?

(a) Shimla.

(b) Darjeeling.

(c) Mount Abu.

(d) All of these.

Ans. (d) All of these.

5. Which one of these is a Cantonment town?

(a) Shimla.

(b) Meerut.

(c) Bombay.

(d) Surat.

Ans. (b) Meerut.

6. The capital of the British in 1803 was __________.

(a) Delhi.

(b) Mumbai.

(c) Calcutta.

(d) Jaipur.

Ans. (c) Calcutta.

7. The Delhi College was established in _________.

(a) 1782

(b) 1792

(c) 1800

(d) 1772

Ans. (b) 1792

8. Which of the following statements is incorrect?

(a) The period from 1830 to 1857 described as a period of Delhi renaissance.

(b) In 1803, the British gained control of Delhi after defeating the Marathas.

(c) Delhi became the capital of British India in 1910.

(d) The British wanted Delhi to forget its Mughal past.

Ans. (c) Delhi became the capital of British India in 1910.

9. When was the first railway introduced in India?

(a) 1856

(b) 1853

(c) 1857

(d) 1870

Ans. (b) 1853

10. In which of the following years Delhi became the capital of British empire in India?

(a) 1917

(b) 1919

(c) 1911

(d) 1901

Ans. (c) 1911

11. Who lives in Rashtrapati Bhawan?

(a) Prime Minister of India. 

(b) President of India.

(c) Members of Lok Sabha.

(d) Members of Rajya Sabha.

Ans. (b) President of India.

12. Why was a Durbar organized by Viceroy Lytton in 1877?

(a) To acknowledge Queen Victoria as the Empress of India.

(b) To declare Delhi as the capital of the British India.

(c) To declare George V as the King of England. 

(d) None of these.

Ans. (a) To acknowledge Queen Victoria as the Empress of India.

Q.2. Match the events in columns I with the years in columns II.

Column IColumn II
(a) Viceroy Lytton organized a Durbar(i) 1792
(b) King George V was was crowned in England(ii) 1870
(c) Establishment of Delhi College(iii) 1911
(d) Western walls of Shahjahanabad were broken to establish railways(iv) 1911
(e) The Delhi College was turned into school and shut down(v) 1877
(f) Delhi Improvement Trust was set-up(vi) 1877


Column IColumn II
(a) Viceroy Lytton organized a Durbar(vi) 1877
(b) King George V was was crowned in England(iv) 1911
(c) Establishment of Delhi College(i) 1792
(d) Western walls of Shahjahanabad were broken to establish railways(ii) 1870
(e) The Delhi College was turned into school and shut down(vi) 1877
(f) Delhi Improvement Trust was set-up(iii) 1911



“There was once a city of this name” 

Ghalib lamented the changes that were occurring and wrote sadly about the past that was lost. He wrote:

• What can I write? The life of Delhi depends on the Fort, Chandni Chowk, the daily gatherings at the Jamuna Bridge and the Annual Gulfarashan. When all these things are no longer there, how can Delhi live? Yes, there was once a city of this name in the dominions of India. 

Read the source given above and answer the following questions: 

1. What changes are talked about in the source above?

Ans. The changes in the life of Delhi are talked about in the source.

2. Who has lamented such changes?

Ans. Ghalib.

3. What is Gulfaroshan?

Ans. A festival of flowers.

4. What things could no longer be seen in Delhi?

Ans. The things like Chandni Chowk, the daily gathering at the Jamuna Bridge and the Annual Gulfaroshan could no longer be seen in Delhi.


The vision of New Delhi

This is how Viceroy Hardinge explained the choice of Delhi as capital:

The change would strike the imagination of the people of India”” and would be accepted by all as the assertion of an unfaltering determination to maintain British rule in India.

The architect Herbert Baker believed: The new capital must be the sculptural monument of the good government and unity which India for the first time in its history has enjoyed under British rule. British rule in India is not a mere veneer of government and culture. It is a new civilisation in growth, a blend of the best elements of East and West aaa..It is to this great fact that the architecture of Delhi should bear testimony (2 October 1912).

Read the source given above and answer of the following questions:

1. Who believed that the choice of New Delhi as capital was a determination to maintain British rule in India?

Ans. Viceroy Hardinge. 

2. Who was the architect of New Delhi?

Ans. Herbert Baker.

3. Write the good points that the architect of New Delhi believed about it.

Ans. (a) The New Delhi must be the creator of monument of the good government, i.e., the British government in India.

(b) India would feel united as a nation for the first time under the British rule.


Q.1. Look at the pictures and answer the questions that follow:

1. What does picture 1 show? 

Ans. Picture 1 shows a view of looking out from Jama Masjid.

2. What does picture 2 show?

Ans. Picture 2 shows view from Jama Masjid after surrounding buildings were demolished.

3. How were the changes shown in the two pictures meant to people living in the area?

Ans. The changes affected the people living in the area. There were many dwelling units, houses and fine buildings during the early months of the Revolt of 1857. However the British demolished many works and the area around the Red Fort was cleared completely, some gardens, some pavilions and places of prayers were destroyed. The view of Jama Masjid (in picture 2) represents quite a different view after the demolition work done by the British surrounding the historical mosque.

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