New Kings and Kingdoms
Short Answer Type Questions
Question 1: Write about the uses of the resources during the period.
Answer: The resources were put to the following uses:
- Financing the king's establishment
- Building temples and forts
- Fighting wars which were expected to lead to more wealth by way of plunder and access to land and trade routes.
Question 2: Write a note on how resources were obtained during the period.
Answer: The resources were obtained from producers who were often persuaded or compelled to surrender their produce partially. Sometimes their produce was claimed as ‘rent’ due to a lord who asserted that he was the owner of the land. Revenue was also collected from traders.
Question 3: Who were samantas? What was expected of them?
Answer: During the seventh century, there were many big landlords or warrior chiefs in the subcontinent, who were often acknowledged by the kings as their subordinates or samantas. The samantas were expected to bring gifts for the kings or overlords, attend their courts and provide them with military support.
Question 4: Briefly describe prashastis.
Answer: Prashastis contain details which may not necessarily be literally true. They tell us the way the rulers wanted to depict themselves; for example as great achievers, victorious, fearless, valiant etc. Brahamanas composed the prashastis, who occasionally helped in the administration also.
Very Short Answer Type Questions
Question 1: Were the kings independently very powerful? If no, with whom did they share their powers?
Answer: No, they were not fully independent. They shared their power with samantas and associations of peasants, traders and Brahamanas.
Question 2: What were the sources used by the author Kalhana in the twelfth century for composing his poem?
Answer: The sources Kalhana used for the Sanskrit poem were inscriptions, documents, eye witness accounts and earlier histories.
Question 3: What was the role of Vijayalaya during the period?
Answer: In the mid-ninth century Vijayalaya captured the delta from the Muttaraiyar and built the town of Thanjavur and also a temple of Goddess Nishumbhasudini there.
Question 4: Who was Rajendra I? What were his achievements?
Answer: Rajendra I was Rajaraja’s son. He continued his policies and even raided the Ganga Valley, Sri Lanka and countries of south-east Asia; developing a navy for these expeditions.
Long Answer Type Questions
Question 1: Describe the kings who were involved in warfare for wealth.
Answer: The following kings were involved in warfare for wealth:
Mahmud of Ghazni: The period of his rule was from 997 to 1030 and his control extended over parts of Central Asia, Iran and north-western part of the subcontinent. Almost every year he raided the subcontinent, mainly targeting wealthy temples as mentioned above. One of such temples he raided is that of Somnath, Gujarat. He used the wealth he plundered to create a splendid capital city at Ghazni. Since he was interested in knowing more about the people he conquered, he entrusted a scholar named Al-Biruni to write an account of the subcontinent. His Arabic work called Kitab al-Hind is still an important source for historians. To prepare this account he consulted Sanskrit scholars.
Chahamanas: The Chamanas, later known as the Chauhans ruled over the regions of Delhi and Ajmer. Their attempt to expand their territory in the west and the east was opposed by the Chalukyas of Gujarat and the Gahadavalas of western Uttar Pradesh. Prithviraja III, who ruled during the period 1168 and 1192, was the best known Chahamana ruler. He defeated an Afghan ruler, Sultan Muhammad Ghori in 1191. But he lost to him the next year.
Question 2: How did the Cholas rise to power?
Answer: In the Kaveri delta a minor chiefly family known as the Muttariyar held power. They were subordinate to the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. The control of the Cholas from Uraiyur to Thanjavur was done by Vijayalaya who belonged to the ancient family of the Cholas from Uraiyur. In the mid-ninth century he captured the delta from the Muttaraiyar and built the town of Thanjavur and also a temple of Goddess Nishumbhasudini there. The kingdom grew in size and power with the conquest of neighbouring areas by the successors of Vijayalaya. The Pandyans and Pallava territories to the south and north became part of the Chola kingdom. Rajaraja I was considered the most powerful Chola ruler. He became king in 985 and expanded control over most of the areas mentioned above. He reorganized the administration of the empire, and his son Rajendra I continued his policies and even raided the Ganga Valley, Sri Lanka and countries of south-east Asia; developing a navy for these expeditions.
Question 3: Write a note on administration of brahmadeya.
Answer: An assembly or sabha of popular Brahamana landowners looked after the affairs of the brahmadeya. These worked very efficiently and their decisions were recorded in detail in inscriptions often on stone walls of temples. Occasionally, the administrative functions in towns were performed by associations of traders known as nagarams. The details of the way in which sabha was organized are given in the inscriptions from Uttaramerur in Chingleput district of Tamil Nadu. The sabha had separate committees to look after irrigation, garden, temples etc. The names of people who were eligible to become member of the sabha were written in small tickets of palm leaf and these were put in an earthenware pot. A young boy was asked to take out these tickets one by one for each committee.
Question 4: Describe agriculture during the Chola period.
Answer: New developments in agriculture made many of the achievements of the Cholas possible. The river Kaveri (which was a part of the regions controlled by the Cholas) branches off into several small channels before entering the Bay of Bengal. The overflowing of the channels deposits fertile soil on their banks and also the water from them provides moisture needed for agriculture, particularly for rice crop. Only in the fifth and sixth century large scale agriculture was started in Tamil Nadu. For this purpose forests were cleared in some regions and land was levelled in some areas. Flooding in the delta region was prevented by building embankments and canals were constructed for carrying water to the fields. Two crops were grown annually in many areas.