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NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 4 The Vedic Age (1500 BC-600 BC)
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The Vedic Age (1500 BC-600 BC)
TEXT BOOK QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.1
Q.1. What do you understand by the term Veda?
Ans: The term Veda means sacred knowledge.
Q.2. Which texts are included in the Mantra category of the Vedic texts?
Ans: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda.
Q.3. What kind of texts are included in the category known as shruti? Mention them.
Ans: Aranyakas and Upanishads.
Q.4. Explain the contents of the Brahmana category of texts.
Ans: Prose texts containing explanations of mantras and sacrificial rituals.
Q.5. Explain the term Vedanta.
Ans: The Aranyakas and the Upanishads are mainly appendices to the Brahmanas. These are also known as the vedanta and contain philosophical discussions.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.2
Q.1. How do we know that Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Hittite and Kassite languages belong to one gorup?
Ans: It is because words in these languages are similar in sound and meaning.
Q. 2. From where do we find the archaeological evidence of Aryan migrations?
Ans: We find the archaeological evidence of Aryan migrations from Andronovo culture situated in southern Siberia.
Q.3. Which are places which can be identified as the bearers of Aryan cultural traits?
Q.4. Mention the prominent markers of the Aryan culture.
Ans: Prominent markers of the Aryan culture were evidence of horses, spoked wheels, fire cult, cremation.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.3
Q.1. List the rivers included in the collective term sapta-sindhu.
Ans: Sindhu, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Sarasvati.
Q.2. With which regions did the Aryans come into contact in the Later Vedic period?
Ans: Kosala (U.P.) and Videha (north Bihar).
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.4
Q.1. Describe the main occupation of the early Vedic Aryans.
Ans: The early Vedic Aryans were pastoralists. Cattle rearing was their main occupation. They reared cattle, sheep, goats, and horses for purpose of milk, meat and hides. The cows were thought of a providers of everything. Prayers were offered for increase in the number of cattle.
Q.2. Mention a few examples which underscore the importance of the cattle.
Ans: Cattle rearing was the main occupation of the early Vedic Aryans. In Rigveda a large number of word are derived from the word go meaning cow. A wealthy person was known as gomat and the daughter called duhitri which means one who milks the cow. The word gaveshana literally means search for cows, but it also means battle since many battles were fought over cattle. The cows were thought of as providers of everything. Prayers were offered for increase in the number of cattle. All these show that cattle breeding was the most important economic activity of the Rigvedic Aryans.
Q.3. How important was agriculture in the life of the Early Vedic Aryans?
Ans: The early Aryans had the knowledge of agriculture and practised it to supplement their food requirement. They produced yava (barley).
Q.4. What economic activities were the early Vedic Aryans engaged in? Make a list.
Ans: (i) Cattle rear.
(ii) Small – scale cultivation.
(vii) Chariot making.
(viii) Metal smeltery.
Q.5. Explain the system of exchange during the early Vedic period.
Ans: The product of various economic activities were exchanged through barter system. However, cows were the most favoured medium of exchange.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.5
Q.1. What was the main economic activity during the Later Vedic period?
Ans: Agriculture was the main economic activity during the Later Vedic period.
Q.2. What changes do we notice in the life of the Aryans with the increased importance of agriculture?
Ans: The Aryans who were mainly cattle herders became agriculturists in Later Vedic period, and assisted by the knowledge of iron technology they were able to establish larger settlements in the Ganga-yamuna doad region.
Q.3. Who is known as the ‘lord of the plough’?
Ans: The god Indra acquires a new epithet ‘Lord of the Plough ’ in the Later Vedic period.
Q.4. Why is the tila ritually considered very important?
Ans: Because, it was first widely used vegetable food oil.
Q.5. How did the use of iron implements help agriculture during the Later Vedic period?
Ans: (i) Iron implements helped people in clearing the dense rain forests and converted them into cultivable pieces.
(ii) Iron plough could turn soil to make it fertile.
Q.6. What were the reasons behind the growing sizes of some painted grey were sites?
Ans: The reason behind the growing sizes of some painted grey were sites was continuous increase in the population during the Later Vedic period due to the expansion of the economy based on agriculture.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.6
Q.1. Describe the forms of marriages during the Early Vedic period.
Ans: Monogamy was the usual form of marriage but the chiefs at times practised polygamy.
Q.2. Was the Early Vedic society egalitarian in nature? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans: Yes. There was no caste division. Occupation was not based on birth. There was no occupation as taboo.
Q.3. On what basis was the Early Vedic society divided?
Ans: Varna or colour was the basis of initial differentiation between the Vedic and non-Vedic people. The Vedic people were fair whereas the non-Vedic indigenous people were dark in complexion and spoke a different language.
Q.4. How did inequalities appear in the Early Vedic society?
Ans: Besides Varna, certain practices during this period, such as concentration of larger share of the war booty is the hands of the chiefs and priests resulted in the creation of some inequalities within a tribe during the later part of the Early Vedic period.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.7
Q.1. What was the nature of the Later Vedic family?
Ans: The nature of the Later Vedic family was a joint family with three or four generations lived together.
Q.2. What do you understand by the term gotra?
Ans: The people of common gotra descended from a common ancestor. No marriage was allowed between members of same gotra.
Q.3. Which term signifies the beginning of the imposition of disabilities on the shudras?
Ans: The shudras were not entitled to the ritual of upanayana samskara. The other three varnas were entitled to such a ceremony and hence they were know as dvijas. This can be construed as the beginning of the imposition of disabilities on the shudras as well as the beginning of the concept of ritual pollution.
Q.4. Explain the composite term varna shrama dharma.
Ans: During Later Vedic period, an important institution that began to take shape was ashrama or different stages of life. Brahmacharya (student life), grihastha (householder) and vanaprastha (hermitage) stages are mentioned in the texts. Later, sanyasa, the fourth stage also came to be added. Together with varna, it came to be know as varnashrama dharma.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.8
Q.1. On what basis do we say that the attributes of the Rigvedic gods reflect the tribal and patriarchal nature of the society?
Ans: The attributes of the Rigvedic gods reflect the tribal and patriarchal nature of the society as there were not many goddess. Indra, Agni, Varuna, Mitra, Dyans, Pushana, Yama, Soma, etc., all are male gods. In comparison, Ushas, Saraswati, Prithvi, etc., were few goddess which occupy secondary positions in the pantheon.
Q.2. Describe the main features of the Rigvedic gods Indra.
Ans: God Indra was a weather god who brought rain. He carried the thunderbolt.
Q.3. Why did the tribal chiefs organise yajnas?
Ans: The tribal chiefs organise yajnas to invoke and propitiate gods.
Q.4. Why was the god Pushan important for the Rigvedic people?
Ans: The god Pushana was important for the Rigvedic people as he was the god of the roads, herdsmen and cattle.
Q.5. What was the main function of the fire god Agni?
Ans: Agni, the fire god was the god of the home and was considered an intermediary between gods and men.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.9
Q.1. Why did the performance of the yajnas increase in number during the Later Vedic period?
Ans: The performance of the yajnas increased in number during the Later Vedic period. It is due to growing importance of a class of brahmanas and their effort to maintain supremacy.
Q.2. What were the purposes of the yajnas?
Ans: To establish authority of chiefs over people and to reinforce territorial aspect of polity.
Q.3. Explain the significance of the yajnas.
Ans: The yajnas brought to brahmanas a large amount of wealth in the form of dana and dakshina.
Q.4. Why did people begin to oppose the performance of the yajnas?
Ans: People began opposing the performance of the yajnas as it was affecting the growth of economy.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.10
Q.1. Explain the functions of sabha and samiti.
Ans: All aspects of life were discussed in these assemblies. They may include wars, distribution of the spoils of wars, judicial and religious activities etc.
Q.2. What was the main function of the rajan?
Ans: The main function of the rajan was to protect jana and cattle from enemies.
Q.3. What was the nature of bali during the Early Vedic period?
Ans: Bali was a voluntary contribution made by ordinary tribesman on special occasions.
Q.4. Make a list of the main functionaries who helped the chief in various matters.
Ans: The main functionaries who helped the chief in various matters were Purohita, Senani, Kulapa and Gramini.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 4.11
Q.1. Describe the nature of the chiefship during the Later Vedic period.
Ans: The chiefship became hereditary. The brahmanas helped the chiefs in this process The elaborate coronation rituals such as vajapeya and rajasuya established the chief’s authority.
Q.2. Why did the powers of the popular assemblies decline during the Later Vedic period?
Ans: As the chiefs became more powerful, the authority of the popular assemblies started waning during the Later Vedic period. The officers were appointed to help the chief in administration and they acquired the functions of the popular assemblies as main advisors.
Q.3. What were the functions of the coronation rituals?
Ans: The functions of the coronation rituals were to establish the chief’s authority.
Q.1. Who were the Aryans? Where did they spread out from?
Ans: (i) In the 19th century, Aryans were considered a race. Now, it is thought of as a linguistic group of people who spoke Indo-European languages from which later emerged as Sanskrit, Latin and Greek etc.
(ii) Originally, the Aryans seem to have lived somewhere in the Steppes stretching from southern Russia to central Asia. From here, a group of them migrated to northwest India and came to called Indo-Aryans or just Aryans.
(iii) The archaeological evidence of migrations comes from what is known as Andronovo Culture situated in southern Siberia. This cultured flourished in the second millennium BC. From here people moved to north of Hindu Kush and they entered India.
(iv) During the period between 1900 BC and 1500 BC we get, in those regions, evidence of horses, spoked wheels, fire cult and cremation which formed important parts of Aryan life in which formed important parts of Aryan life in India.
(v) Apart from these, the artefacts and ceramics also suggest movement of people from Central Asian region to South Asian region.
Q.2. Indicate the geographical location of the Early Vedic people.
Ans: The geographical location of the Early Vedic people:
(i) The Early Vedic people lived in the area known as sapta-sindhu which means area of seven rivers. This area largely covers the north-western part of South Asia upto river Yamuna.
(ii) The seven rivers included Sindhu, Vitasta (Jhelum), Asikni (Chenab), Parushni (Ravi), Vipasha (Beas), Shutudri (Sutlej) and the Sarasvati.
(iii) In this area the Rigvedic people lived, fought battles, grazed their herds of cattle and other domesticated animals.
Q.3. Describe the main cultural traits of the Aryans.
Ans: The main cultural traits of the Aryans: The archaeological evidence of migration comes from what is known as Andromovo culture situated in southern Siberia. This culture flourished in the second millennium BC. From here people moved to north of Hindukush (the area known as Bactria — Margiana Archaeological complex) and from here they entered India.
Q.4. Explain the changes in the economic pattern of the Aryans during the economic pattern of the Aryans during the Later Vedic period.
Ans: Changes in the economic pattern of the Aryans during the Later Vedic period:
(i) The early Vedic Aryans were pastoralists. Cattle rearing was their main occupation. They reared cattle, sheep, goats and horses for purpose of milk, meat and hides.
(ii) The Early Vedic people grew yava (barley).
(iii) During Later Vedic period, agriculture became the mainstay of the Vedic people. Many rituals were introduced to initiate the process of agriculture. Ploughing with yokes of six or eight oxen became prevalent . The buffalo had been domesticated for the agricultural purposes.
(iv) The god Indra acquires a new epithet ‘Lord of the Plough ’ in this period.
(v) The number and varieties of plant food increased. Apart from barley, people now cultivated wheat, rice, pulses, lentils, millet, sugarcane etc.
(vi) The items of dana and dakshina included cooking rice. Thus, with the beginning of food production agricultural produce began to be offered in the rituals. Tila, came to be used in rituals.
(vii) The people of Later Vedic period began using iron instead of copper or bronze.
Q.5. How did the knowledge of iron technology help in the expansion of agriculture?
Ans: (i) The main factor in the expansion of agriculture during the Later Vedic period was the use of iron.
(ii) The people of Later Vedic period began using iron tools to clear the dense rain forests particularly the huge stumps left after burning. Large tracts of forest land could be converted into cultivable pieces in relatively lesser time.
(iii) The iron plough could turn the soil from deeper portion making it more fertile.
Thus, the knowledge of iron technology greatly helped in the expansion of agriculture.
Q.6. What kind of disabilities were imposed on women in the Later Vedic period?
Ans: (i) Some restrictions on women appeared during the Later Vedic period. In a text women have been counted as a vice along with dice and wine.
(ii) In another text a daughter has been said to be the source of all sorrows.
(iii) Women had to stay with her husband at his place after marriage.
(iv) The participation of women in public meetings was restricted.
Q.7. How did the Brahmanas become important in the Later Vedic period?
Ans: (i) The growing number of sacrifices and rituals during the Later Vedic period made the Brahmanas very powerful.
(ii) They conducted various rituals including those related to different stages of agricultural operations. This made them all the more important.
Q.8. Describe the functions of the popular assemblies during the Early Vedic period.
Ans: Functions of the popular assemblies during the Early Vedic period:
(i) The popular assemblies during the Early Vedic period include sabha, samiti, vidatha, gana and parishad.
(ii) Sabha and Samiti were the most important assemblies. In these assemblies all aspects of life were discussed. These may include wars, distribution of the spoils of wars, judicial and religious activities etc. Thus, these assemblies in a way limited the powers of the chiefs, Women were also allowed to participate in the deliberations of the sabha and samiti.