NIOS Class 10 Indian Culture and Heritage Chapter 6 Indian Languages And Literature – I

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NIOS Class 10 Indian Culture and Heritage Chapter 6 Indian Languages And Literature – I

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Indian Languages And Literature – I

Chapter: 6


Intext Questions 6.1

Q.1. Name the most important ancient language of India.

Ans: Sanskrit.

Q.2. Which is the oldest literary heritage of mankind?

Ans: Rig Veda.


Q.1. What does the word “Veda” mean?

Ans: Knowledge.

Q.2. Name the four Vedas.

Ans: 1. Rig Veda.

2. Yajur Veda.

3. Same Veda. and

4. Atharva Veda.

Q.3. What is the meaning of “Yajur” what information as does it give as to those times?

Ans: It means sacrifices and worship. It gives information about social and religious conditions of India at that time.

Q.4. How many musical tunes originated from the Same Veda?

Ans: Sixteen thousand.


Q.1. What is the meaning of Upanishad?

Ans: Upanishad means to sit near the Guru.

Q.2. Name some important Upanishads.

Ans: 1. Isha.

2. Kena.

3. Katha.

4. Brihadaranyaka. and

5. Chhandogya.


Q.1. Name the two ancient epics written in Sanskrit.

Ans: 1. The Ramayana. and

2. The Mahabharata.

Q.2. Who were the authors of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata?

Ans:1. The Ramayana ‘s writer is  valmiki.

2. The Maharashtra ‘s writer is vyas. 

Q.3. In the Bhagvad Gita what does Krishna explain to Arjuna?

Ans: Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborated on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies with examples and analogies. This makes Gita a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and a parochial, self-contained guide to life.


Q.1. How many puranas are there?

Ans: There are 18 Mahapuranas and 18 Upapuranas.

Q.2. Name a few characteristics of the Puranas.

Ans: 1. The Puranas deal with creation and recreations.

2. The Puranas tell historical, dynamic and important scientific concepts through stories. 


Q.1. In which languages are the earliest Buddhist and Jain texts written?

Ans: 1. Pali. and

2. Preeti.

Q.2. Name the Tripitakas.

Ans: 1. Vinaya pitaka.

2. Sutta pitaka. and

3. Abhidhamma pitaka.

Q.3. What do the Jataka tales tell us about?

Ans: Previous births of Lord Buddha wherein he practiced Dharma.

Q.4. Name some Jain scholars.

Ans: Two important Jain scholars are:

1. Haribhadra Suri (eighth century AD). and

2. Hemachandra Suri (twelfth century AD.)


Q.1. What is the subject of the Dharmashastras?

Ans: Law.

Q.2. Who wrote Rajatarangini?

Ans: Kalhen.

Q.3. Name a famous play by Kalidasa.

Ans: Abhijan Shakuntalm.

Q.4. Name a work by Jaidev.

Ans: Geet Govinda.

Q.5. Name the author of the book medicine.

Ans: Charak.


Q.1. “Sanskrit is the rook of many Indian languages”. Explain.

Ans: (i) Sanskrit is the mother of many Indian languages. The Vedas, Upanishads, puranas and Dharmasutrad are all written in different forms of Sanskrit.

(ii) Sanskrit is the most ancient language of our country. It is one of the teeny-two languages listed in the Indian Constitution. The literature in Sanskrit is vast, beginning with the most ancient thought embodied in the Rig Veda, the oldest literary heritage of mankind.

(iii) It was Sanskrit that gave impetus to the study of linguistics scientifically during the eighteenth century.

(iv) The great grammarian, panini analysed Sanskrit and its work formation in his unrivalled descriptive grammar Ashatadhyayi.

(v) Sanskrit is perhaps the only language that transcended the barriers of regions and boundaries. From the north to the south and the east to the west there is no part of India that has not contributed to or been affected by this language.

(vi) Kalhen’s Rajatarangini gives a detailed account of the kings of Kashmir whereas with Jonaraja we share the glory of prithviraj. The writings of kalidasa have added beauty to the storehouse of Sanskrit writings. 

Q.2. Discuss the importance of the Upanishads.

Ans: The importance of the Upanishads:

1. Upanishads are the final parts of the Vedas. As the Upanishads contamin abstruse and difficult discussions of ultimate philosophical problems, they were taught to the pupils at the end, that is why they are called the end of Veda. 

2. Vedas start with the worship of the manifest, as that is obvious, and then slowly transform to the knowledge of the unmanifest. 

3. The word Upanishad is derived from Upa (near) and nishad (to sit-down), that is, “sitting down near”. Groups of pupil sit near the Guru (teacher) to learn from him in the Guru -shishya tradition. 

4. The Upanishads form a vital part of our literary treasury. They deal with questions like the origin of universe, life and death, the material and spiritual world, nature of knowledge and several other questions. The earliest Upanishads are the Brihadaranyaka and Chhandogya.

Q.3. Make a list of two Buddhism and Jain literatures and then write about two of their words which you find interesting.

Ans: Introduction: The religious books of the Buddhists and Jains refer to historical persons or incidents. 

A. The Buddhist Literature: 

(i) The earliest Buddhist literary works were written in pali, which was spoken in Magadha and south Bihar.

(ii) The Buddhist works can be divided into the canonical and non-canonical.

(iii) The canonical literature is best represented by the “Tripitakas” that is three baskets:

(a) Vinaya pitaka.

(b) Sutta pitaka. and

(c) Abhidhamma pitaka.

– Vinaya pitaka: It deals with with rules and regulations of daily life. 

– Sutta pitaka: It has dialogues and discourses on morality.

– Abhidhamma pitaka: It deals with philosophy and metaphysics. 

(iv) The non-canonical literature of the Buddhists: It is best represented by the Jatakas. 

Jatakas are the most interesting stories on the previous births of the Gautama Buddha (or Lord Buddha). It was believed that before he was finally born as Gautama, the Buddha practising Dharma passed through more than 550 births, in many cases even in the form of animals.

Each birth story of Buddha is called a Jataka.The Jatakas throw invaluable light on the social and economic conditions ranging from the sixth century BC to the second century BC. They also make incidental reference to political events in the age of the Buddha.

B. The Jain Literature: 

(i) The Jain texts were written in prakrit and were finally compiled in the sixth century A.D. in Valabhi in Gujarat.

(ii) The important Jain works are known as Angad, Upangas, prakirnan Chhedab Sutras and Malasutras.

(iii) Among the important Jain scholars, reference may be made to Haribhadra Suri (eighth century AD) and Hemachandra Suri (twelfth century AD).

(iv) Contribution: Jainism helped in the growth of rich literature comprising poetry, philosophy and grammar. These words contain several passages which help us to reconstruct the political history of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Jain texts refer repeatedly to trade and traders. 

Q.4. Write a short notes on the following:

(i) Sangama literature.

(ii) The Vedas.

Ans: (i) The Sangama Literature:

(a) It is also called Ancient Tamil literature. Tamil as a written language was known since the beginning of the Christian era. It is, therefore, on wonder that considerable Sangama literature was produced in the early four centuries of the Christian era, although it was finally compiled by 600 AD.

(b) Poets who gathered in colleges patronised by rulers and chieftains produced the Sangama a literature over a period of three to four centuries. Such colleges (or assemblies) were called “Sangamas” and the literature produced in these assemblies was called “Sangama literature”. 

(c) The contributions of Tamil saints like Thiruvalluvar are noteworthy.

(d) The Sangama literature is collection of long and short poems composed by various posts in praise of numerous heroes and heroines. They are secular in nature and of a very high quality. 

(e) There are nearly 30,000 lines of poetry, which are arranged in eight anthologies called Ettuttokoi.

(f) There are two main groups-the patinenkil kanaku (the eighteen lower collections ) and pattupattu (the ten songs). The former is generally assumed to be older than the latter, and considered to be of more historical importance.

(ii) The Vedas: 

(a) The Vedas are the earliest known literature in India. The Vedas are written in a form of Sanskrit and were handed down orally from one generation to the other.

(b) The work “Veda” literally means knowledge. In Hindu culture, Vedas are considered as eternal and divine revelations. 

(c) There are four Vedas, namely the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Same Veda and Atharva Veda.

A brief description of all the four Vedas is given below:

1. The Rig Veda:

(a) This Veda is the earliest of the Vedas. It is a collection of 1028 hymns in Vedic Sanskrit. 

(b) Several hymns of the Rig Veda are beautiful description of nature.

(c) The prayers gives in Rig Veda are largely for seeking worldly prosperity.

(d) It is believed that these recitations are the national outpouring of Vedic rishikesh experiencing a mentally transcendental stage. 

(e Some of the well known rishikesh are

(i) Vasistha.

(ii) Gautama.

(iii) Gritasamada.

(iv) Vamadeva.

(v) Vishvamitra. and

(vi) Atri.

(f) The prominent Gods of the Rig Veda are Indira, Agni, Varum, Rudra, Aditya, Vayu, Aditi and the Ashwini twins.

(g) Some of the prominent Goddesses are Usha-the Goddess of dawn, Vak-the Goddess of speech and prithivi-the Goddess of earth.

2. The Yajur Veda:

(a) ‘Yajur’ means sacrifice or worship in company and with donation.

(b) This Veda is concerned mostly with rites and mantras of different sacrifices. It gives direction for the performance of the Yajnas. 

(c) Yajur Veda has both poetic and prose renderings. Being a treatise on rituals, it is the most popular of the four Vedas.

(d) There are two major branches of Yajur Veda, namely Shukla and Krishna Yajur Veda.

3. The Same Veda:

(a) Same means melody or songs. This Veda contents of 16,000 ragas and raginis consist of musical notes.

(b) Out of total 1875 verses, only 75 are original and others are from the Rig Veda.

(c) The Same Veda prescribes the tunes for the recitation of the hymns of the Rig Veda.

4. The Atharva Veda:

(a) The Atharva Veda is also known as the Brahme Veda. It contains treatment of ninety-nine diseases.

(b) The source of the Veda is traced to two rishis called Atharvah and Angiras.

Q.5. What is the story behind the twin epics of Silappadikaram and Manimekalai? 

Ans: Besides the Sangama texts, we have a text called Tolkkappiyam, which deals with grammar and poetry. In addition, we have the twin epics of Silappadikaram and Manimekalai. These two were composed around the sixth century AD. The first is considered as the brightest gem of Tamil literature and deals with a love story. The second epic was written by a grain merchant of Madurai. These epics throw light on the social-economic life of Tamils from second century to sixth century AD.

Q.6. What is the unique feature of Tarave’s Ramayana?

Ans: Tarave’s Ramayana is the first Ram Katha written in Kannada and is composed on the basis of Valmiki ‘s Ramayana.



Q.1. What do you mean by the terms: 

(a) Language. and

(b) Literature.

Ans: (i) Language: Language is a medium through which we express our thoughts.

(ii) Literature: Literature is a mirror that reflects ideas and philosophies which govern our society.

Q.2. Why it is important to understand to know a particular culture and its tributaries?

Ans: To know any particular culture and its traditions it is very important that we understand the evolution of its languages and various forms of literatures such as poetry, dance and religious and non-religious writings.

Q.3. Write names of some known scripts.

Ans: 1. Brahmin script.

2. Kharosthi script.

3. Persian script.

4. Gurmukhi script.

5. Devnagari script.

6. Roman script.


Q.1. What is the importance of invention of script?

Ans: Importance of Script:

1. Even since human beings have invented scripts, writing has reflected the culture, lifestyle, society and the polity of contemporary society. In this process, each culture evolved its own language and created a huge literary base.

2. This literary base of a civilization tells us about the evolution of each of its language and culture through the span of centuries.

Q.2. What is necessary to learn in order to understand the Vedas?

Ans: 1. In order to understand the Vedas, it is necessary to learn the Vedangas or the limbs of the Vedas.

2. Vedangas, the supplements of the Vedas provide phonetics (siksha), grammar, ritual (kalpa), etymology (nirukta), metrics and astronomy (jyotisha).

3. A good deal of literature grew around these subjects (mention in point 2). It was written in the form of precepts in the sutra style.

4. A percept was called sutra because if its brevity. The most famous example of this is panini’s grammar, Ashtadhyayi which illustrates the rules of grammar and also throws light on society, economy and culture of those times.

Q.3. Write a short note on Ramayana.

Ans: The Ramayana: Our two great epics written in Sanskrit in early ancient period are the Ramayana and the Maharashtra.

(i) The Ramayana of the Valmiki is the original Ramayana.

(ii) It is called Adikavya and Maharishi Valmiki is known as Adi kavi.

(iii) The Ramayana presents a picture of an ideal society.

Q.4. Write a short note on Maharashtra.

Ans: The Maharashtra:

(i) This epic was written by Ved Vyas. Originally, it was written in Sanskrit and continued 8800 verses and was called “Jaya” or the collection dealing with victory.

(ii) The verses of the Mahabharata were raised to 24,000 (from 8800) and came to be known as Bharata, named after one of the earliest Vedic tribes. The final compilation brought the verses to 100,000 which came to be known as the Mahabharata or Satasahasri Samhita.

(iii) The Maharashtra contains narrative, descriptive and didactic material, relating to conflict between the Kaurvas and the Pandavas.

(iv) The Mahabharata contains the famous Bhagavad Gita.

Q.5. Describe in a short paragraph about the Tamil literature, covering the world other than Sangama literature.

Ans: Tamil Literary works:

(i) Besides Sangama texts, we have a text called Tolkkappiyam, which deals with grammar and poetry.

(ii) The Thirukural is another important text which deals with philosophy and maxims of wisdom.

(iii) In addition (of above both texts), we have the twin epics of Silappadikaram and Manimekalai. These two were composed around the sixth century A.D. The first is considered as the biggest gom of Tamil literature and deals with a love story.

The second epic was written by a grain merchant of Madurai. These epics throw light on the socio-economic life of Tamils from second century to sixth century AD.

Q.6. Write a short note on the development of Malayalam literature during the Medieval Age. 

Ans: Malayalam Literature during the Medieval Age:

(i) Malayalam is spoken in Kerala and its adjoining areas. The language of Malayalam emerged around the eleventh century AD. By fifteenth century, Malayalam was recognised as an independent language.

(ii) Bhasa Kautilya, a community on Arthashastra and kokasandisan are two prominent literary works.

(iii) Rama panikkar and Ramanjan Ezhuthachan are famous writers of Malayalam literature.

(iv) Though it developed much later compared to other South Indian languages Malayalam has made a mark as a powerful medium of expression. Now a large number of journals, newspapers and magazines are published in Malayalam.

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