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NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 7 The Guptas and Their Successors (A.D. 300-750)
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The Guptas and Their Successors (A.D. 300-750)
TEXT BOOK QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.1
Q.1. Who was the real founder of the Gupta dynasty?
Ans: Chandragupta – I.
Q.2. Give two material advantage that helped the Guptas to establish an empire.
Ans: (i) Fertile area.
(ii) Rich in iron ore.
Q.3. How did the marriage alliance with the Lichchhavi’s help Chandragupta?
Ans: The marriage alliance with the Lichchhavi’s gave legitimacy, prestige and strength to Chandragupta.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.2
Q.1. What is the important of the Allahabad Pillar inscription in the history of Samudragupta?
Ans: It gives a detailed account of Samudragupta’s period.
Q.2. What do we know about Samudragupta’s personality from his coins?
Ans: We know about Samduragupta’s personality from his coins that he was a poet, a musician and a patron of learning.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.3
Q.1. Chandragupta II married his daughter into which dynasty?
Ans: He was able to target his other enemies better.
Q. 2. How did this alliance help Chandragupta II?
Ans: He was able to target his other enemies
Q.3. Name the Chinese pilgrim who visited India in the reign of Chandragupta II.
Q.4. Name the great Sanskrit poet and playwright who adorned the court of Chandragupta II.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.4
Q.1. Which group of family did Toramana belong to?
Q.2. Name the Gupta prince who was able to repulse the first raids of the Hunas?
Q.3. Name two dynasties that emerged in north India after the decline of the Guptas.
Ans: (i) Pushyabhutis at thanesar.
(ii) Maukharies at Kanauj.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.5
Q.1. Who is the author of Harshacharita?
Q.2. Hsuan Tsang visited India during the reign of which king?
Q.3. Which ruler defeated Harsha?
Ans: Pulakesin II.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.6
Q.1. Name the capital of the Chalukyas?
Q.2. What was Pulakesin II known as?
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.7
Q.1. Name the capital of the Pallavas.
Q.2. Who were the main enemies of the Pallavas in north?
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.8
Q.1. Give the titles adopted by the Gupta rulers.
Ans: Maharajadhiraja, Parambhattaraka and Parameshuara.
Q.2. What were the provinces known as in the Gupta period?
Ans: The provinces in the Gupta period were known as desha, rashtra and bhukti.
Q.3. Name the lowest unit of administration in the Gupta period.
Q.4. Who were the Kumaramatyas?
Ans: Kumaramatyas were the high level central officers.
Q.5. Name the two new taxes imposed by the Guptas.
Ans: (i) Uparikara.
Q.6. How was the law and order situation in Harsha’s time?
Ans: It was bad as Husan Tsang was robbed of his belongings twice.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.9
Q.1. What are shudras described as by Hsuan Tsang?
Q.2. What is stridhana?
Ans: Stridhana is the presents received by the bride at the time of her marriage.
Q.3. Where do we find the first epigraphical evidence to ‘Sati’?
Ans: We find the first epigraphical evidence to ‘Sati’ at Eran in Madhya Pradesh.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.10
Q.1. Name the commodities exported by the Indians to the eastern Roman empire.
Ans: Silk and spices.
Q.2. What were the Gupta gold coins known as?
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.11
Q.1. What are the Puranas?
Ans: Puranas are texts refer to stories about Hindu gods and mention the way to please them.
Q.2. Who was Andal?
Ans: Andal was the most famous Alvar woman saint of South India.
Q.3. What is the bhakti literature of the Nayannars called?
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.12
Q.1. Where in Uttar Pradesh are found Gupta temples?
Ans: In Uttar Pradesh Gupta temples are found at Bhitargaon in Kanpur and Deogarh in Jhansi.
Q.2. Name the north and south Indian styles of architecture.
Ans: Nagara and Dravida.
Q.3. Why is Mahabalipuram important?
Ans: It contains the seven ratha temples built by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.13
Q.1. Where did Harsha convene an assembly for Buddhism?
Q.2. Name the centre of education for Mahayana Buddhism during Harsha’s time.
Q.3. How many incarnations of Vishnu were perceived?
Q.4. Name the saints who popularized the worship of Vishnu and Shiva in south India.
Ans: Alvars and Nayannars.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 7.14
Q.1. Who was Aryabhatta and what theories did he propound?
Ans: Aryabhatta was an astronomer and a mathematician. He invented zero and brought forth the importance of decimal system. He for the first time suggested that the earth rotates on it axis revolves around the sun and causes eclipse.
Q.2. Name the text written by Varahamihira.
Q.3. Which is the most important example of the advancement in metallurgy in Gupta period ?
Ans: Iron pillar at Mehrauli in Delhi.
Q.1. Discuss the achievements of Samudragupta on the basis of Allahabad Pillar inscription.
Ans: Achievements of Samudragupta on the basis of Allahabad Pillar inscription:
(i) The inscription engraved on a pillar at Allahabad enumerates the people and the regions conquered by Samudragupta.
(ii) He adopted different policy for different area conquered by him. In the Ganga-Yamuna doab, he followed a policy of annexation. He defeated nine Naga rulers and incorporated their kingdoms in the Gupta empire. He then defeated the forest kingdom of central India. This area had a strategic value as it contained a route to south India. It enabled Samudragupta to proceed to south along the eastern coast conquering twelve kings on the way and reached as far as Kanchi.
(iii) Samudragupta, instead of annexing their kingdoms, liberated and reinstall these kings on their thrones.
(iv) This policy of political conciliation for south India was adopted because he knew that it was difficult to keep them under control and subservience once he returned to his capital in north. So, it was enough for him that these states recognised his suzerainty and paid him tributes and presents.
(iv) According to the Allahabad inscription, neighbouring five frontier kingdoms and nine republican states of Punjab and western India were occupied by the conquests of Samudragupta. They agreed to pay tribute and taxes to Samudragupta and obey his orders without any fight. This inscription adds that Samudragupta also received tributes from many kings of south-east Asia.
Q.2. Account for the decline of the Gupta empire.
Ans: Decline of the Gupta Empire:
(i) Long and the successive waves of Huna invasion made the Gupta’s very weak. This was one of the main factors which accelerated the disintegration of the Gupta empire.
(ii) By AD 485 Hunas had occupied eastern Malwa and a large part of central India. Punjab and Rajasthan also passed into their hands.
(iii) The first important ruler of the Hunas in India was Toramana who conquered an area stretching upto Eran near Bhopal in central India. His son Mihirkula was defeated by the kings of Gupta dynasty, but this victory over the Hunas could not revive the Gupta empire.
(iv) Besides the Huna invasion there was also a gradual decline in economic prosperity. It is indicated by the gold coins of later Gupta rulers which have less of gold content and more of alloy.
(v) In post-Gupta period, there was a gradual disappearance of coins. It led the kings to make payments in form of land rather than cash.
(vi) Under the practice of feudalism, the donee was given the right not only to collect the taxes but also to administer the only to collect the taxes but also to administer the donated land. This created small pockets of power trying ceaselessly to expand their sphere of influence at the cost of the ruling authority.
(vii) The decline of the Gupta empire resulted in the emergence of numerous ruling dynasties in different parts of northern India.
Q.3. Give an account of the Gupta administration.
Ans: The Gupta Administration:
(i) The Gupta administration was decentralized in nature. The feudatories i.e., local kings and smaller chiefs ruled a large part of their empire.
(ii) The imperial Guptas adopted the title of maharajadhiraja, param bhattaraka, paramesh-were etc. while the lesser rulers adopted the title of raja and maharaja.
(iii) The kingship was normally hereditary.
(iv) The king was the focus of administration. He was assisted by princes, ministers and advisors.
(v) The princes were made the viceroys of the provinces.
(vi) Provinces which were known as desha, rashtra or bhukti was headed by Uparika. The provinces were divided into a number of districts called pradesha or vishaya. The administrative head of the vishaya was known as vishayapati.
(vii) The vishayas were further divided into villages and each village was headed by gramadhyaksha who looked after the affairs of the village with the help of village elders.
(viii) The artisans and merchants took an active part in the town administration.
(ix) The Gupta bureaucracy was less elaborate. The high level central officers under the Guptas were called the Kumaramatyas and important functionaries like mantri, senapati were all recruited from that cadre. Administrative posts were not only hereditary but often several offices were combined in the hands of the same persons.
(x) Land taxes increased considerably. Bali was the land tax. It varied from 1/4th to 1/6th of the total produce. Uparika and Udranga were the two new agricultural taxes. In addition, the peasants had to meet the demands of the feudatories. The peasants also had to feed the royal army when it passed from the villages. The villagers were also subjected to forced labour.
(xi) The judicial system was very much developed. For the first time, civil and criminal laws were clearly demarcated. Elaborate laws were laid down about inheritance. Disputes connected in civil law. Theft and adultery fell under criminal law. The king upheld the law and tried cases with the help of the brahmanas.
(xii) The guilds of merchants and artisans were governed by their own laws.
Q.4. Write a note on the proliferation of castes during the period under study.
Ans: (i) During this period there was a proliferation of castes. With the extension of brahmanical culture in distant and different areas, a large number of tribals were assimilated in the brahmanical social structure of varna system fold, as were some foreigners such as the Hunas.
(ii) The foreigners and tribal heads were included as kshatriyas. The ordinary tribals were given the status of shudras.
(iii) During this period position of shudras improved. They were allowed to listen to the epics and the puranas. They could also perform some domestic rituals that were earlier prohibited for them.
(iv) During this period a distinction was made between shudras and untouchables. The untouchables were treated lower in status than the shudras. They are referred to chandalas. They were not allowed to live inside the village and so they lived outside the village and dealt in unclean jobs such as scavenging or butchery. Whenever they entered the towns or market places they would strike a piece of wood to announce their arrival, so that the others might not touch them and get polluted.
(v) During this period, slaves were also found. There were about fifteen types of slaves. They were mainly domestic servants employed in cleaning and sweeping. The prisoners of war, debt bondsmen, born of a slave woman were all considered slaves.
Q.5. Discuss the position of women and untouchables in the Gupta period.
Ans: Position of women: (i) The status of women continued to decline in Gupta period. The main reason for the subordination of women was their complete dependence on men for their livelihood.
(ii) The women were not entitled to inherit property. However, she had full right on her stridhana.
(iii) There was no purdah system in the society.
(iv) The practice of sati system was present.
Position of untouchables: During this period a distinction was made between shudras and untouchables. The untouchables were treated lower in status than the shudras. They are referred to as chandalas. They were not allowed to live inside the village and so they lived outside the village and dealt in unclean jobs such as scavenging or butchery. Whenever they entered the towns or market places they would strike a piece of wood to announce their arrival, so that the others might not touch them and get polluted.
Q.6. Give reasons for the expansion of agriculture in the period of our study.
Ans: Reasons for the expansion of agriculture: (i) The vast areas of land were brought under cultivation and improvements were made by in the existing methods of production to attain higher-yield.
(ii) One of the reasons for it was the practice of granting lands to brahmanas and secular officers in different areas. It helped in bringing virgin land under the plough.
(iii) The spread of knowledge regarding the use of iron plough share, manure, irrigation and preservation of cattle wealth in backward areas also contributed to rural prosperity.
Q.7. Why did the trade decline in Gupta period?
Ans: Decline of trade in Gupta period: (i) Trade and commerce declined during the Gupta period. Till AD 550 India continued to have some trade with the eastern Roman empire to which it exported silk and spices.
(ii) Around the sixth century the Romans learnt the art of rearing silk worms. This adversely affected India’s foreign trade in this precious commodity.
(iii) The disruption of north-western route by the Hunas was another factor for this decline.
(iv) They tried to make up the loss by carrying on trade with south-east Asian countries but it did not help revive the economy substantially.
(v) The loss in trade lessened the inflow of gold and silver into the country. The gold coins of each successive Gupta ruler after Chandragupta II, contain less of gold and more of alloy.
Q.8. Why is the Gupta age considered the Golden Age of art and literature?
Ans: The Gupta age is considered as the Golden Age of art and literature.
(i) Buddhism gave a great impetus to art in Gupta period. Beautiful images of Buddha were created at Mathura and Sarnath.
(ii) The finest examples of Buddhist art during Gupta period are the paintings of Ajanta caves.
(iii) Depicting the life of Buddha and the Jataka stories, these paintings with lustrous colours have not faded even after fourteen centuries. The Ajanta caves are now included in the list of the World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
(iv) It is for the first time in the Gupta period that the temples in the form of structures were constructed in north India. These temples were made in Nagara architectural style. Examples of these temples are—Bhitargaon in Kanpur made of bricks and Deogarh in Jhansi made of stone. Here the images of Vishnu are placed in the centre as a chief deity.
(v) The coins of Gupta period are also pieces of art. They are well designed and meticulously crafted. They carry aesthetically impressive depictions of the activities of the rulers.
(vi) The lyrist type of gold coins issued by Samudragupta show him playing a lute. Samudragupta also issued ashwamedha type of coins.
(vii) A huge body of religious and secular literature was compiled in this period. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata were finally completed in the fourth century. The stories of both the epics symbolise the victory of good over evil.
(viii) The Gupta period marks the beginning of the writing of the literature known as Puranas. The major Puranas written in this period are the Vishnu Purana, Vayu Purana and the Matsya Purana. Besides these, Shiva Purana, Varaha Purana, Vamana Purana and Narasimha Purana were also written.
(ix) Some Smritis or the law books were also compiled in the Gupta period. Narada Smriti is one of them. It throws light on the general social and economic rules and regulations of the period.
(x) During the rule of Chandragupta II, Kalidasa wrote Meghadutam, Abhijnana-shakuntalam, Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava and Ritusamhara.
(xi) The other famous dramatists in this period are Shudraka who wrote Mrichchhkatikam and Vishakhadatta who Mudrarakshasa.
Q.9. Write a note on Gupta coins.
Ans: Gupta Coins: (i) The Guptas issued a large number of gold coins called dinaras.
(ii) The coins are also pieces of art. They are well designed and meticulously crafted.
(iii) The Gupta coins carry aesthetically impressive depictions of the activities of the rulers.
(iv) The lyrist type of gold coins issued by Samudragupta show him playing a lute. He also issued ashwamedha type of coins.
Q.10. Discuss the contribution of Pallavas and the Chalukyas in the field of architecture.
Ans: Contribution of Pallavas and the Chalukyas in the field of architecture:
(i) The Pallava rulers constructed stone temples in seventh and eighth centuries to house the images of these gods.
(ii) The most famous are the seven rathas or temples each made out of a solid piece of stone constructed by king. Narasimhavarman at Mahabalipuram.
(iii) The Pallavas also built many structural temples. Kailashnath temple built in the eighth century is one of the most important temples.
(iv) The Chalukyas of Vatapi also built numerous temples at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal. Pattadakal has as many as ten temples built in seventh and eighth centuries and Virupaksha temple.
(v) The southern style of architecture came to be known as Dravida.
Q.11. Write a paragraph Bhagavatism.
Ans: Bhagvatism: (i) Bhagvatism centred on the worship of Vishnu and his incarnations. It put emphasis on Bhakti and ahimsa.
(ii) The new religion was quite liberal and assimilated the lower classes in its fold.
(iii) According to Bhagavadgita the chief text of Bhagavatism, whenever there was a social crisis Vishnu would appear in a human form and save the people. Thus, ten incarnations of Vishnu were perceived.
(iv) Puranas were written to popularise the virtues of each one of these incarnations.
(v) In south India from the 7th century on wards the Tamil saints called Alvars and Nayannars popularised the concept of bhakti Alvar saints popularised the worship of Vishnu and the Nayannar saints, the worship of Shiva.
Q.12. What were the factors that led to the rise of Tantrism in post-Gupta period?
Ans: Factors that led to the rise of Tantrism in post-Gupta period:
(i) From the 5th century the brahmanas had started receiving land in the tribal areas of Nepal, Assam, Bengal, Orissa, central India and Deccan. As a consequence, the tribal elements came to be assimilated in the brahmanical society. The brahmanas adopted their rituals gods and goddesses. It is this assimilation of brahmanical religion and tribal practices which resulted in the development of Tantrism.
(ii) It did not believe in any caste or gender bias and admitted both women and shudras in its ranks It put emphasis on ‘female’ as a source of power and energy.
(iii) The Tantrik concepts affected, Shaivism and Vaishnavism as well as Buddhism and Jainism. It resulted in the introduction of the worship of female deities in these religions.
Q.13. Discuss the development of science and technology from C.AD 300-750.
Ans: Development of science and technology from C. AD 300-750: (i) In the fifth century Aryabhatta who was an astronomer and a mathematician, for the first time suggested that the earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun and causes eclipse. He was the first to invent ‘zero’ and the use of the decimal system. He wrote Aryabhatta.
(ii) Varahamihira in the end of sixth century, was a great astronomer. He wrote a number of books on astronomy. His work Pancha-siddhantika deals with five astronomical systems.
(iii) During this period metallurgy also saw technological advancement. The bronze images of Buddha product on a considerable scale in the period are an example of advanced technology.
(iv) The twenty – three feet high iron pillar at Mehrauli in Delhi is a fine example of the iron technology. Standing in the open, this pillar has not gathered rust even after fifteen centuries.
(v) The wonderful paintings of Ajanta, still intact, indicate besides other things, the art of making colours during this period.