NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 14 Cultural Development in Medieval India

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NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 14 Cultural Development in Medieval India

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Also, you can read the NIOS book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of NIOS All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 14 Cultural Development in Medieval India, NIOS Senior Secondary Course History Solutions for All Chapter, You can practice these here.

Cultural Development in Medieval India

Chapter: 14




Q. 1. Who is a Pir?

Ans: A Pir is a Sufi teacher. 

Q. 2. Who was Al-Ghazali?

Ans: Al-Ghazali was an important Sufi who reconciled Islamic mysticism with Islamic orthodoxy.

Q. 3. What do you understand by the term ‘Sama’?

Ans: Sama is a term used to refer to devotional music.

Q. 4. Which famous chishti sufi saint lived during the time of the Khalji’s and Tughlaq’s?

Ans: Nizamuddin Auliya. 

Q. 5. Who was Shaikh Abdul Qadir?

Ans: Shaikh Abdul Qadir was the leader of Silsilah in Punjab and a supporter of Akbar.


Q. 1. The Bhakti movement attempted to break away from which system?

Ans: Orthodoxy Brahmanism.

Q. 2. Name any three important Bhakti saints.

Ans: Kabir, Tukaram, Chaitanya.

Q3. Who was Chaitanya? 

Ans: Chaitanya was an important Bhakti saint from Bengal.


Q. 1. What do you understand from the term Khalsa?

Ans: Khalsa is a Sikh having a direct link with the Guru.

Q. 2. Who were Khatris?

Ans: Khatris were an important mercantile caste in Punjab.


Q. 1. Name any two important texts written in Sanskrit.

Ans: Rajtarangini, Prithvirajavijaya.

Q. 2. What is a ‘Kavya’?

Ans: ‘Kavya’ is a poetical narrative. 

Q. 3. Who was Amir Khusrau?

Ans: Amir Khusrau was a Persian poet patronized during the Sultanate period. He was a disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya.

Q. 4. Name the two important works of Ziauddin Barani.

Ans: (i) Fatwa-i-Jahandari (ii) Tarikh-i- Firozshahi. 

Q. 5. What do you understand by the term Sabaq-i-Hindi?

Ans: It was a new form of Persian literature in India. 

Q.6. Name any four regional languages that developed during the Mediaeval period. 

Ans: (i) Marathi.

 (ii) Bengali.

(iii) Gujarati, and.

 (iv) Oriya.


Q. 1. Name the musical instrument created by Amir Khusrau.

Ans: Sitar.

Q. 2. Who played an important role in the development of the dhrupad style?

Ans: Raja Mansingh.

Q.3. What were the stylistic changes in Mughal Paintings seen during the reign of Jahangir?

Ans: The emergence of a formalist style and use of naturalistic representation.

Q. 4. Mention a few popular themes in Mughal miniatures.

Ans: Specific events in the court and portrait of leading personalities.


Q. 1. Name two important changes in architectural forms made during the Mediaeval period.

Ans: The arch and the dome. 

Q. 2. What is a true arch?

Ans: A style of arch making that emerged in the mediaeval period. The centre stone was important in this.

Q.3. Name a few monuments associated with early forms of Indo-Islamic architecture.

Ans: Quwwat ul Islam Mosque, Qutub Minar, Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra.

Q. 4. Which type of stone was used in the construction of Fatehpur Sikri?

Ans: Red sandstone.

Q. 5. Name some of the decorative styles used in mediaeval architecture.

Ans: Calligraphy and geometric shapes.


Q. 1. Discuss some of the important aspects of Sufi teachings. 

Ans: Some of the important aspects of Sufi teachings are as follows: 

(i) Sufis stress on the importance of traversing the path of the Sufi pir enabling one to establish a direct communion with the divine.

(ii) Fundamental to Sufism is God, Man and the relation between them that is Love. They believe that from man emerged the theories of ruh (soul), qurbat (divine proximity) and hulul (infusion of the divine spirit) and that form relation between God and Man ideas such as Ishq (divine love) and Fana (self annihilation) come into being.

(iii) The Khangah was the centre of sufi activities.

(iv) Al-Ghazali reconciled Islamic mysticism with Islamic orthodoxy, providing Sufi mysticism a secure place in Islam. He stressed on the need for the disciple to follow the guidance of the spiritual master.

Q. 2. Name the Sufi Order founded by Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshbandi. What were the important teachings of their Silsilah? 

Ans: (i) Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshbandi found the Naqshbandi Silsilah.

(ii) The mystics of this Order stressed on the observance of the shariat and denounced all innovations or biddat.

(iii) Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi of this Silsilah attempted to purge Islam from all liberal and what he believed were ‘un-Islamic’ practices. He opposed the listening of sama (religious music) and the practice of pilgrimage to the tombs of saints. He opposed interaction with Hindus and Shias. He criticised the new status accorded by Akbar to many non-Muslims, the withdrawal of the Jizyah and the ban on cow slaughter.

(iv) Sirhindi believed that he was the mujaddid (renewer) of the first millennium of Islam. He maintained that the relationship between man and God was that between the slave and the master and not the relation of a lover and beloved.

(v) Sirhindi emphasised the individual’s unique relation of faith and responsibility to God as creator. He tried to harmonise the doctrines of and the teachings of orthodox Islam.

Q. 3. What were the similarities in the teachings of various Bhakti saints?

Ans: Similarities in the teachings of various Bhakti Saints:

(i) Most of the bhakti saints belonged to the low castes and were aware that there existed a unity in their ideas. They were also aware of each other’s teachings and influence. In their verses they mention each other and their predecessors in a manner suggesting ideological affinity among them.

(ii) All of them were influenced by the Vaishnava concept of Bhakti, the Nathpanthi movement and Sufism. Their ideas seem to be a synthesis of the three traditions.

(iii) The importance given to the personal experience of Bhakti saint with God was another common feature among the monotheistic bhakti saints. Nirguna bhakti and not Saguna bhakti was what they believed in. They had adopted the notion of bhakti from Vaishnavism but they gave it a nirguna orientation. Though they called God using different names and titles their God was non-incarnate, formless, eternal and ineffable.

(iv) The Bhakti saints refused any formal association with the organized dominant religions of the time (Hinduism and Islam) and criticized what they to be the negative aspects of these religions. They rejected the authority of the Brahmans and attacked the caste system and practice of idolatry.

(v) They composed their poems in popular languages and dialects spoken across north India. This enabled them to transmit their ideas among the masses. It helped their ideas to spread rapidly among the various lower classes.

Q. 4. What were the important developments in the Bhakti Movement in Bengal/Maharashtra? 

Ans: Bhakti Movement in Bengal:

(i) The Vaishnava bhakti movement in Bengal was very different from north India and the south. It was influenced by the Vaishnava bhakti tradition of the Bhagavata Purana and the Sahajiya Buddhist and Nathpanthi traditions. These traditions focussed on esoteric and emotional aspects of devotion.

(ii) Jayadeva was an important bhakti saint in this tradition. He highlighted the mystical dimension of love with reference to Krishna and Radha.

(iii) Chaitanya was a popular bhakti saint from the region. He was considered as an avatara of Krishna. He popularized sankirtan. With Chaitanya the bhakti movement in Bengal began to develop into a reform movement with the notions of caste divisions that came to be questioned.

Bhakti Movement in Maharashtra :

(i) In Maharashtra the bhakti movement drew its aspiration from the Bhagavat Purana and the Siva Nathpanthis. Janeshwar was a pioneer bhakti saint of Maharashtra. His commentary on the Bhagavat Gita called Janeshwari served as a foundation of the bhakti ideology in Maharashtra. He believed that the only way to attain God was through Bhakti. He was against caste distinctions.

(ii) Vithoba was the God of this sect and its followers performed a pilgrimage to the temple twice a year. The Vithoba of Pandarpur became the mainstay of the movement in Maharashtra.

(iii) Namdev was another bhakti saint from Maharashtra. In north India he is remembered as a nirguna saint in Maharashtra. He is considered to be part of the varkari tradition.

(iv) Choka, Sonara, Tukaram and Eknath were some of the other important bhakti saints of Maharashtra.

(v) The teachings of Tukaram are in the form of the Avangas (dohas), which constitute the Gatha. Eknath’s teachings were in Marathi. He attempted to shift the emphasis of Marathi literature from spiritual to narrative compositions.

Q. 5. Highlight the important aspects of the teachings of Guru Nanak.

Ans: Important aspects of the teachings of Guru Nanak:

(i) The teachings and philosophy of Guru Nanak form an important part of Indian philosophical thought. His philosophy consists of three basic elements. These were: (a) a leading charismatic personality (the Guru), (b) ideology (Shabad), (c) Organization (Sangat).

(ii) Nanak evaluated and criticized the prevailing religious beliefs and attempted to establish a true religion, which could lead to salvation. He repudiated idol worship and did not favour pilgrimage nor accept the theory of incarnation. He condemned formalism and ritualism. He laid emphasis on having a true Guru for revelation. He advised people to follow the principles of conduct and worship: sach (truth), halal (lawful earning), khair (wishing well of others), niyat (right intention) and service to the lord.

(iii) Nanak denounced the caste system and the inequality it caused. He argued that the caste and honour should be judged by the acts or the deeds of individuals. He laid stress on concepts of justice, righteousness and liberty.

(iv) His verses mainly consist of two basic concepts, Sach (truth) and Nam (name). The bases of the divine expression for him were formed by, the Sabad (the word), Guru (the divine precept) and Hukam ((the divine order). He introduced the concept of Langar (a community kitchen). Guru Nanak identifies himself with the people or the ruled.

Q. 6. Highlight the development of new trends in Sanskrit literature during the mediaeval period.

Ans: Development of new trends in Sanskrit literature during the mediaeval period:

(i) The mediaeval period witnessed the growth of a rich corpus of Sanskrit literature. This period is marked with composition of poetical works called the Kavya and the texts that codified laws called Dharmashastras.

(ii) During the first half of the mediaeval period Sanskrit received patronage from the numerous smaller political establishments in central and south India. In western India Hemchandra Suri was an important Jain scholar who composed works in Sanskrit, as was Chaitanya.

(iii) Many dramas were written during this period. A new style of writing called the champu emerged during the period. It was a form that mixed prose and poetry.

(iv) Prithviraja vijaya and the Hammirmahakavya were written in Sanskrit and the patronage of the Rajput kings. Rajavoda which is a historical poem and biography of Sultan Mahmud Begarha of Gujarat was written by his court poet Udayraja. During this period Rajtarangini of Kalhan was also written. Jonaraja and Srivara wrote the second and third Rajtarangini respectively. During this period, semi historical texts prabandhas were also written in Sanskrit.

(v) In south India, the various genres of Sanskrit literature like Mahakavyas, Slesh Kavyas, Champu Kavyas, Natakas and the historical Kavyas continued. Govinda Dikshita wrote Sahitya Sudha and Sangit Sudhanidhi. Another important writers of the south India in the medievel period were-Appaya Dikshita in the court of the Nayaka ruler of Vellore, Nilanath Dikshita who was a minister in the court of the Nayaka of Madurai, and Chakrakavi, who was patronized by the rulers of Kozhikode.

(vi) The historical Kavyas gave a glimpse not just of the exploits of the various rulers but also a glimpse of the social perception of the writers. Some of the Mughals like Dara Shikoh also came to be mentioned in these Kavyas.

(vii) The Mughal prince is also credited with the composition of a prasasti in honour of Nrisimha Sarasvati of Benaras. There were also a few works composed in the courts of the rulers of Bijapur and Golconda, but Sanskrit literature during this period began to decline.

Q. 7. Who was Amir Khusrau? Highlight his contribution to the development of Persian literature?

Ans: (i) Amir Khusrau was a poet born in a family of Turkish immigrants and began as a poet in the reign of Sultan Balban. He was a disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya and was patronized in the courts of Jalaluddin Khalji, Alauddin Khalji and Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.

(ii) Amir Khusrau is said to have composed ninety-nine works on different themes and numerous verses of poetry. His poetry was written in the different forms of lyric, ode, epic and alegy. His writing style represents the first instance of Persian styles being composed in the Indian context. This is kown as Sabaq-i-Hind.

(iii) Mutla-ul-Anwar, Shirin Khusrau, Laila Majnun and Ayina-i-Sikandari were composed by him. These texts were dedicated to Alauddin Khalji. Tuhfat-us-Sighar, Baqiya Naqiya and Nihayat-ul-Kamal are his five Diwans (Ghazals). He also wrote masnavis (narrative poems) such as Qiran-us-Sa’dain, Miftah-ul Futuh, Tughlaq Nama and the Khazain-ul Futuh.

Q.8. What were the important features in the new painting styles that emerged under the Mughals?

Ans: The important features in the new painting style that emerged under the Mughals:

(i) Paintings in mediaeval India entered a new phase under the Mughals. They altered the character of painting across north India. The Mughal paintings are defined by the styles and subjects popular at the imperial court.

(ii) During the rule of Humayun two Persian artists, Mir Syed Ali and Abdus Samad were patronized. Akbar deputed them to illustrate manuscript of Hamzanama

(iii) Many paintings of Akbar’s period are collaborative efforts with two or even four painters working on one painting. Restricted movements of the figures, fineness of lines of drawings and flat depiction of architectural columns were the important features of the paintings of this period.

(iv) The Mughal paintings are also marked with a naturalism and rhythm, the clothing of the objects assumed Indian forms and the use of subsidiary scenes in the background. Specific events in the court and the portraits of leading personalities were the two most common themes in Mughal paintings of this period.

(v) During the reign of Jahangir there were other changes in the style of Mughal paintings. The paintings of the Jahangir period accentuate a formalist style and have broad margins which are well decorated with the depiction of flora and faces of human figures, the naturalistic representations matured during the reign of Jahangir. The use of trees, birds, streams and rivers in the backdrop of the paintings became very popular.

(vi) During the Shah Jahan reign scenes of love and portraits of women members attached to the royal court were the themes of the paintings.

(vii) The paintings of the Aurangzeb period provide glimpses of the Mughal emperor during his campaigns.

(viii) As in architecture the Mughal paintings also gave way to the growth and development of regional styles that tried to replicate the same features and characteristic decorative designs.

Q. 9. Examine the important architectural features and style of the Sultanate period.

Ans: Important architectural features and style of the Sultanate period:

(i) New architectural forms and styles were introduced in India during the mediaeval period. The arch and dome were new architectural additions of the period. The use of lime-mortar in the construction of buildings and houses altered the building techniques.

(ii) The development of the true arch was important feature of the architectural style of the period. The true arch required stones and bricks to be laid as voussoirs in the shape of a curve and bound together firmly by a good binding material. The arches were made in different shapes but the dominant one was the pointed form. In the 14th century a variant of the arch, called the four-centred arch was introduced by the Tughlaqs in their buildings.

(iii) There are only a few instances of early Turkish buildings in the sub continent where newly quarried material has been employed. In most of the buildings of the period the richly carved capitals, columns and shafts of older buildings are reused. Stone has been used abundantly in the masonry work of this period. The material commonly used for plastering buildings was gypsum. Apparently lime-plaster was reserved for places that needed to be secured against water leakage as in roofs, canals and drains. In the later period gypsum mortar became popular in buildings.

Q. 10. Discuss the emergence of new styles in Mughal architecture during the reigns of Akbar and Jahangir.

Ans: Emergence of new styles in Mughal architecture during the reign of Akbar:

(i) During the reign of Akbar many indigenous styles were encouraged leading to the common use of sandstone, the use of arches (mainly in a decorative form) and the decoration that comprised mainly of boldly carved or inlaid patterns complemented by brightly coloured patterns on the interiors.

(ii) Among the important monumental projects undertaken was the building of Agra fort, within the fort were many structures that were built in the Gujarat and Bengal styles, which were subsequently demolished by Shah Jahan who remodelled the fort and its interiors.

(iii) The Jahangir Mahal conceived as a robust building in red sandstone, is a fusion of Hindu and Islamic building designs. The combination of beam and bracket form the principal structural system, the same styles are seen in the palace fortresses of Lahore and Allahabad.

(iv) Mughal architecture under Akbar entered a new phase with the construction of Fatehpur Sikri. This city-palace was built entirely of red sandstone between 1571-1585. The buildings could be studied under two categories,religious and secular. Among the religious buildings are, the Jami Masjid, the Buland Darwaza and the tombs of Shaikh Salim Chishti. The secular structures are the palaces, administrative buildings and other structures.

(v) The Jama Masjid uses a typical plan of a mosque with a central courtyard, arcades on three sides and a domed skyline. In its courtyard lies the tomb of Salim Chishti.

(vi) Among the palaces are buildings known as the Jodha Bai Palace, the Panch Mahal (the size of this five storey structure that diminishes as one goes higher), the Diwan-i-Khas (is in the form of a rectangle and is two stories from outside) and the Diwan-i-Am. Among the other buildings here are the Hathi Pol and the Karkhana buildings.

Emergence of new styles in Mughal architecture during the reign of Jahangir:

(i) The important buildings of the reign of Jahangir include the Tomb of Akbar at Sikandara, and the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula.

(a) The tomb at Sikandara is designed as a tomb enclosure enclosed by a garden, the tomb itself is three stories high the first being an arcaded platform making the basement the middle portion is in three tiers of red sandstone while the highest one is made of white marble which is open on top with a screen surrounding it.

(b) The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula built in 1622- 28 marks a in architectural style from the Akbari period. This enclosed tomb with a dome roof is enclosed with a beautiful marble tracery.

(c) Jahangir is also known to have laid the famous Mughal gardens in Kashmir.

Multiple Choice Questions

Tick (✓) the correct answer. 

Q. 1. Sufism is a term used to refer to mystical religious ideas in which religion?

(a) Islam.

(b) Christianity. 

(c) Jainism.

(d) Sikhism.

Ans: (a) Islam.

Q. 2. In which century sufism emerged?

(a) 9th century.

(b) 8th century.

(c) 11th century.

(d) 10th century.

Ans: (b) 8th century.

Q. 3. Who were early known sufis? 

(a) Rabiaal-Adawiya.

(b) Al-Junaid.

(c) Bayazid Bastami.

(d) All of these.

Ans: (d) All of these.

Q. 4. Which of the following were important sufi centers?

(a) Iran.

(b) Khurasan.

(c) Syria. 

(d) All of these.

Ans: (d) All of these.

Q. 5. Who was among the most venerated of sufis?

(a) Al-Ghazali.

(b) Al-Hujwiri.

(c) Al-Junaid.

(d) Rabia-Al-Adawiya.

Ans: (a) Al-Ghazali.

Q. 6. In which century the sufi movement in India commenced?

(a) 8th century.

(b) 11th century.

(c) 10th century.

(d) 9th century.

Ans: (b) 11th century.

Q. 7. During the mediaeval period the practice of visiting tombs was known as:

(a) Silsilahs. 

(b) Sama.

(c) Ziyarat.

(d) None of these.

 Ans: (c) Ziyarat. 

Q. 8. The Chisti order was established in India by which of the following:

(a) Muinuddin Chisti.

(b) Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshbandi. 

(c) Shihabuddin Sahrawardi.

(d) Sheikh Abdul Qadir.

Ans: (a) Muinuddin Chisti.

Q. 9. The chishtis believed in which of the following:

(a) attitude of benevolence to all.

(b) use of simple language.

(c) love as the bond between God and the individual soul.

(d) All of these.

Ans: (d) All of these.

Q. 10.  Who was the best known Chishti saint of the sultanate period?

(a) Nizamuddin Auliya.

(b) Fariduddin Gang-i-Shakar.

(c) Nasiruddin Chiragh. 

(d) Bahauddin Zakariya.

Ans: (a) Nizamuddin Auliya.

Q. 11. The Suhrawardi Silsilah was founded by:

(a) Bahauddin Zakariya.

(b) Shihabuddin Suhrawardi.

(c) Nasiruddin Chiragh.

(d) Muinuddin Chishti.

Ans: (b) Shihabuddin Suhrawardi.

Q. 12. The Quadiriyya Silsilah was popular in which place?

(a) Punjab.

(b) Delhi.

(c) Bengal.

(d) Gujarat.

Ans: (a) Punjab.

Q. 13. Which of the following was a Bhakti Saint?

(a) Kabir.

(b) Nanak.

(c) Chaitanya. 

(d) All of these.

Ans: (d) All of these.

Q. 14. Kabir was a _____ Bhakti Saint.

(a) Nirguna.

(b) Saguna.

(c) Vaishnava.

(d) None of these.

Ans: (a) Nirguna.

Q. 15. The second Rajtaranginni was written by:

(a) Kalhan.

(b) Jonaraja.

(c) Srivara.

(d) Chaitanya.

Ans: (b) Jonaraja.

Q. 16. Amir Khusrau was patronized in the courts of which of the following Sultan? 

(a) Jalaluddin Khalji.

(b) Alauddin Khalji.

(c) Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.

(d) All of these.

Ans: (d) All of these.

Q. 17. Which of the following was composed by Amir Khusrau? 

(a) Ayina-i-Sikandari.

(b) Rajtarangini.

(c) Sahitya Sudha.

(d) Ain-i-Akbari. 

Ans: (a) Ayina-i-Sikandari.

Q. 18. Who adopted a style called the ultabasi?

(a) Kabir.

(b) Tulsidas.

(c) Chaitanya. 

(d) Mira Bai.

Ans: (a) Kabir.

Q. 19. Which of the following is regarded as the first work in Assamese?

(a) Hema Sarasvati Prahladacharita.

(b) Hara Gauri Samyada.

(c) (a) and (b) both.

(d) None of these.

Ans: (c) (a) and (b) both.

Q. 20. Which of the following area the important monuments of the reign of Shahjahan?

(a) Lal Quila. 

(b) Moti Masjid.

(c) Taj Mahal.

(d) All of these.

Ans: (d) All of these.

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