State True or False:
- We do not find inscriptions for the period after 700.
- The Marathas asserted their political importance during this period.
- Forest-dwellers were sometimes pushed out of their lands with the spread of agricultural settlements.
- Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban controlled Assam, Manipur and Kashmir.
Answer: (1) False, (2) True, (3) True, (4) False
Fill in the blanks:
- Archives are places where ____ are kept.
- ____ was a fourteenth century chronicler.
- ___, ___, ____, ____ and ____ were some of the new crops introduced into the subcontinent during this period.
Answer: (1) documents and manuscripts, (2) Ziyauddin Barani, (3) Potatoes, corn, chillies, tea and coffee
Answer the following questions:
Question 1: Who was considered a foreigner in the past?
Answer: In the past, the term foreigner meant a stranger who appeared in a given village, i.e. a person who was not a part of that society or culture. Thus a city dweller would consider a forest dweller as ‘foreigner’ whereas two farmers of the same village even if they belonged to different castes, religion etc.; were not foreigners to each other.
Question 2: List some of the technological changes associated with this period.
Answer: Appearance of the Persian wheel for irrigation, the spinning wheel for weaving and the firearms in combat.
Question 3: What were some of the major religious developments during this period?
Answer: Many major changes took place during this period in what we call Hinduism today. These changes include the worship of new deities, construction of temples by royalty and the growing importance of Brahamanas, the priests, as dominant groups in the society. Another major development during this period was the emergence of the idea of bhakti- of a loving, personal deity that devotees could reach without the aid of priests or elaborate rituals. During this period new religions like Islam also came into existence. The teachings of the holy Quran were brought by the merchants and migrants in the seventh century. Many rulers patronized Islam and the ulama.
Question 4: How were the affairs of jatis regulated?
Answer: The conduct of the members of jatis was managed by the rules and regulations framed by the jati. These regulations were enforced by the jati panchayat which was an assembly of elders. Jatis were also required to follow the rules of their villages which were governed by chieftains.
Question 5: What does the term pan-regional empire mean?
Answer: Pan-regional empire means an empire spanning different diverse regions i.e. not restricted only to a small area or adjacent areas.
Question 6: What were the difficulties faced by the historians in using manuscripts?
Answer: The continuous copying of manuscripts over centuries, which involved introduction of small changes every time led to a drastic difference between the original manuscript and the copied version. The original manuscript by the author was rarely available. Hence historians had to read different versions of the same manuscript to guess what the author had originally written.
Question 7: How do historians divide the past into periods? Do they face any problems in doing so?
Answer: The past is divided into periods based on homogeneity in social and economic set up and homogeneity in beliefs; for facilitating and simplifying its study. The problem in this classification is that since a period in itself is a large segment, i.e. it involves many centuries in it, there are many drastic differences within a period itself. Hence describing the entire period as one historical unit does not give a clear picture of the period.
Question 8: In what ways has the meaning of the word Hindustan changed over the centuries?
Answer: The term Hindustan has been interpreted differently over the years, which is detailed below:
Present Context: Today, this term refers to what we know as India, the modern nation-state.
Thirteenth Century: In this period, when this term was used by Mihaj-i-Siraj, a chronicler who wrote in Persian, it included;
- In the geographical sense: The areas of Punjab, Haryana and the lands between the Ganga and Yamuna was referred to as Hindustan.
- In the political sense: The lands that were a part of the dominions of the Delhi Sultan were referred to as Hindustan. The areas included in this term shifted with the extent of the Sultanate. It never included south India.
Sixteenth Century: This term was used by Babar to describe the geography, culture and fauna of the inhabitants of the subcontinent.
Fourteenth Century: The term Hind used in this period by the poet Amir Khusrau was somewhat similar to the way it was used in the sixteenth century.
The term Hindustan did not carry the political and national meaning that we associate with it today in spite of the existence of a geographical and cultural entity like India.