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EHI-02

Section I

Ans 2: More than 4000 years ago there flourished a civilization in the north-western parts of the Indian
sub-continent. It derived its name from the main river of the region and is known as the Indus Valley
Civilization. A culture is also named after the site from where it came to be known for the first time.
Since it was at Harappa that the relics of this civilization were first discovered it is also known as the
Harappan civilization.

Anions the major Harappan sites mention may be made of Ganawarivvala, Rakhigarhi, Auri, Chunho-
daro, Lohun-jo-daro, Noa, Rupar, Kalibangan, Dholavira etc. Each of these cities was surrounded by vast
agricultural lands, rivers as well as forests that were inhabited by different pastoral groups, bands of
hunters and food-gatherers.

Social Life:

The ruins and various evidences of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro along with other sites reveal a great deal
about the socio-cultural life of the people of Indus valley. An analysis of the findings gives us sufficient
information about their highly developed social life. The civilization itself was a glorious conglomeration
of people of various origins. As the civilization centred around city culture the social life of the people
bore touches of an urban influence. Their civic life was highly disciplined and quite scientific. The
inhabitants preferred to live in a proper hygienic atmosphere, as is proved by their town-planning
systems.

Social Stratification:

The Harappan society seems to have been divided into three sections:

(a) The elite class associated with the citadel,

(b) A well-to-do middle class and

(c) A relatively weaker class occupying the lower towns that were generally fortified.

Some of the craftsmen and labourers, however, resided outside the fortified area. We do not know
whether these divisions were based purely on economic factors or had a socio-religious basis. At
Kalibangan site of Harappan culture it appears that the priests lived in the upper part of the citadel and
performed rituals on altars of fire in the lower part of it.

Women in the Harappan society seemed to enjoy high respect. The worship of Mother Goddess stands
as clear proof to the esteemed position of Harappan women. They were treated equally by their male
counterparts.

Religious belief:

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The affluent Harappan society was deeply religious in nature. In the absence of ruins of any temple, altar
or statue of gods, we have to rely only on figurines and seals of religious significance to have an idea
regarding their religious belief. Generally, there are two aspects of a religion.

They are:

(a) The conceptual or philosophical aspect and

(b) The practical or ritualistic aspect.

The conceptual part of religion is generally found in the metaphysical texts whereas the ritualistic part is
found in the material methods. Since the scripts on the Harappan seals have not yet been deciphered by
the scholars, it is difficult to know the metaphysical aspect of their religion.

From these available sources we can form an idea about their religion:

1. Worship of the Mother Goddess.

2. Worship of a male god, probably Shiva or Pasupatin.

3. Worship of animals in natural or semi-human form.

4. Worship of trees and plants in their natural state and the spirits dwelling in them.

5. Worship of inanimate stones or other objects in the form of linga or yoni symbols.

6. Worship of sacred incense-burners or chrematheism.

7. De-monophobia or faith in magic and charms.

8. Practice of Yoga.

Ans 3: The period that followed Rig Vedic Age is known as Later Vedic Age.

This age witnessed the composition of three later Veda Samhitas namely, the Samveda Samhita, the
Yajurveda Samhita, the Atharvaveda Samhita as well as Brahmanas and the Upanishads of all the four
Vedas and later on the two great epicsthe Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

All these later Vedic texts were compiled in the Upper Gangetic basin in 1000600 B.C. During the
period represented by Later Samhitas the Aryans covered the whole of Northern India, from the
Himalayas to the Vindhyas.

The Aryans of Vedic age had reached the highest stage of civilization. This age had excelled in every
walks of life. All the valuable things in mans lifephilosophy, religion, science and code of conduct
were all developed in the Vedic age.

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Political Organisation:

Rise of Big States:

With the progress of Aryan settlements in the eastern and southern part of India, the small tribal states
of Rig Vedic period replaced by powerful states. Many famous tribes of Rig Vedic period like Bharatas,
Parus, Tritsus and Turvasas passed into oblivion and new tribes like the Kurus and Panchalas rose into
prominence. The land of the Yamuna and Ganga in the east which became the new home of the Aryans
rose into prominence.

Growth of Imperialism:

With the emergence of big kingdoms in the Later Vedic Age the struggle for supremacy among different
states was of frequent occurrence. The ideal of Sarbabhauma or universal empire loomed large in the
political horizon of ancient India. The sacrifices like Rajasuya and Asvamedha were performed to signify
the imperial sway of monarchs over the rivals. These rituals impressed the people with the increasing
power and prestige of the king. The Rig Vedic title of Rajan was replaced by the impressive titles like
Samrat, Ekrat, Virat, Bhoja etc. These titles marked the growth of imperialism and feudal ideas.

The authority of the government in the later Vedic period was perhaps more democratic in the sense
that the authority of the leaders of Aryan tribes was recognized by the king. However in spite of the
existence of the popular assemblies the powers of the king went on increasing due to the growth of
large territorial states and the evolution of an official hierarchy.

Administrative Machinery:

The growth of the royal power was largely reflected in the enlarged outrage of the king. In the work of
administration the king was assisted by a group of officers who were known as Ratnins (Jewels). They
included the Bhagadugha (collector of taxes), the Suta (charioteer), the Akshavapa (superintendent of
gambling), the kshattri (chamberlain), the Govikartana (kings companion in the chase), the Palogala
(courtier) the Takshan (Carpenter), the Rathakara (Chariot marker) in addition to the ecclesiastical and
military officials like the Purohita (chaplain) the senani (general), and the Gramani (leader of host or of
the village).

Social Condition:

Changes of far greater significance were gradually taking place in their society.

Caste Society:

Most important change was the evolution of caste system. Various sub castes evolved in addition to the
traditional four-castes. The Brahmanas and Kshatriyas emerged as the two leading castes out of the
general mass of population, known as vaisyas. The vaisyas were superior to the sudras but their position
was steadily deteriorating. The Aitaraya Brahmana clearly indicates the absolute dependence of vaisyas
on the two higher classes. The Sudras were held in great contempt.

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The Brahmanas of the later Vedic age were the intellectual and priestly class. The Brahmanas retained a
high standard of excellence and knew the details of the rituals. The kshatriyas were the fighting class in
the society. War, conquest, administration of the kingdom was the principal duties of this class. By their
superior learning some kshatriyas raised themselves to the status of a Brahmana. They composed hymns
and performed sacrifices and also challenged the supremacy of Brahmanas.

Section II

Ans 5: The Mauryan Empire (322 BCE - 185 BCE) supplanted the earlier Magadha Kingdom to assume
power over large tracts of eastern and northern India. At its height, the empire stretched over parts of
modern Iran and almost the entire Indian subcontinent, barring only the southern peninsular tip. The
empire came into being when Chandragupta Maurya stepped into the vacuum created by Alexander of
Macedon's departure from the western borders of India. Chandragupta subjugated the border states,
recruited an army, marched upon the Magadha kingdom, killed its tyrannical king who was despised by
the populace, and ascended the throne. He thus founded the Mauryan dynasty. In his rise to power, he
was aided and counselled by his chief minister Kautilya (also known as Chanakya), who wrote the
Arthashastra, a compendium of kingship and governance.

Chandragupta used marriage alliances, diplomacy, trickery, and war to extend his kingdom. Under him,
the Mauryan empire stretched from eastern Iran to the western borders of the Burmese hills, and from
the Himalayan tribal kingdom to the southern plateaus of peninsular India. After ruling for about 25
years, Chandragupta abdicated in favour of his son, Bindusara, and became a Jain monk.

The empire that Ashoka inherited was large, but a small kingdom on the east coast, Kalinga, was outside
its pale. Ashoka decided to conquer it. The war that ensued was bloody and long. Kalinga resisted to the
last man but fell. After Kalinga, Ashoka did not attack any kingdom but proceeded on a mission of peace.
He erected several pillars throughout his kingdom, exhorting people to give up violence and live in
harmony with each other and with nature. He actively patronised Buddhism, built several stupas and
repaired older ones, and sent evangelical missions abroad, two of which comprised his own son and
daughter.

Ans 6: Migrations may have been accompanied with violent clashes with the people who already
inhabited this region. The Rig Veda contains accounts of conflicts between the Aryas and the Dasas and
Dasyus. The Rig Veda describes Dasas and Dasyus as people who do not perform sacrifices (akratu) or
obey the commandments of gods (avrata). Their speech is described as mridhra which could variously
mean soft, uncouth, hostile, scornful or abusive. Other adjectives which describe their physical
appearance are subject to many interpretations. However, many modern scholars connect the Dasas
and Dasyus to Iranian tribes Dahae and Dahyu and believe that Dasas and Dasyus were early IndoAryan
immigrants who arrived into the subcontinent before the Vedic Aryans.

Internecine military conflicts between the various tribes of Vedic Aryans are also described in the Rig
Veda. Most notable of such conflicts was the Battle of Ten Kings, which took place on the banks of the
river Parushni (modern day Ravi). The battle was fought between the tribe Bharatas, led by their chief
Sudas, against a confederation of ten tribes the Puru, Yadu, Turvasha, Anu, Druhyu, Alina, Bhalanas,

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Paktha, Siva, and Vishanin. The Bharatas lived around the upper regions of the river Saraswati, while the
Purus, their western neighbours, lived along the lower regions of Saraswati. The other tribes dwelt
north-west of the Bharatas in the region of Punjab. Division of the waters of Ravi could have been a
reason for the war. The confederation of tribes tried to inundate the Bharatas by opening the
embankments of Ravi, yet Sudas emerged victorious in the Battle of Ten Kings. Purukutsa, the chief of
the Purus, was killed in the battle and the Bharatas and the Purus merged into a new tribe, the Kuru,
after the war.

Ans 9: Buddhism and Jainism are two ancient Indian religions that developed in Magadha (Bihar region)
and continue to thrive in the modern times. Mahavira and Gautama Buddha are generally accepted as
contemporaries (circa 5th century BCE). Jainism and Buddhism share many features, terminology and
ethical principles, but emphasize them differently. Both are ramaa ascetic traditions that believe it is
possible to attain liberation from the cycle of rebirths and deaths (samsara) through spiritual and ethical
disciplines. They differ in some core doctrines such as those on asceticism, Middle Way versus
Anekantavada, self versus no-self.

Jains believe that their religions is ancient and eternal with 24 Tirthankaras. Of the 24, the last two
Parshvanatha and Mahavira are generally accepted as historical persons, with the 23rd Tirthankara
pre-dating the Buddha and the Mahavira by probably some 250 years. Buddhists trace the Buddha to be
the founder of their religion, but also believe that the Buddha had many previous rebirths as described
in the Jataka Tales.

Buddhist scriptures record that during Prince Siddhartha's ascetic life (before attaining enlightenment)
he undertook many fasts, penances and austerities, the descriptions of which are elsewhere found only
in the Jain tradition.

Ans 11: After many years of dominance, the Gupta Empire collapsed in 550 CE, due to invasions and
weak leadership of successive rulers.

In 415 CE, Chandragupta II was succeeded by his second son, Kumaragupta I, who ruled successfully
until 455 CE. The late years of his reign, however, faced difficulties. The Pushyamitras, a tribe of central
India, rose up in rebellion against Kumaragupta, while Gupta territories were invaded by the Western
Huna people, also known as White Huns.

The Huna were a Central Asian Xionite tribe that consisted of four hordes: Northern Huna, also known as
the Black Huns; Southern Huna, the Red Huns; Eastern Huna, the Celestial Huns; and the White Huns,
the Western Huna. The White Huns, those who invaded the Gupta Empire during the reign of
Kumaragupta, were also known as the Hephthalites, and caused great damage to the failing Gupta
Empire. Skandagupta died in 467 CE, and was followed onto the throne by his half-brother, Purugupta,
who ruled from 467-473 CE.

Thereafter came a succession of weak kings, beginning with Kumaragupta II from 473-476 CE, followed
by Budhagupta, the son of Purugupta. The Hephthalites broke through the Gupta military defenses in

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the northwest in the 480s, during the reign of Budhagupta, and by 500 CE much of the empire in
northwest was overrun by the Huna.

The empire thereafter disintegrated into numerous regional kingdoms, ruled by chieftains. A minor line
of the Gupta Clan continued to rule Magadha, one of the 16 Indian Mahajanapadas, or "Great
Countries," but the Gupta Empire fell by 550 CE.

Section III

Ans 13 a): The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of
human technology, beginning about 10,200 BC, according to the ASPRO chronology, in some parts of the
Middle East, and later in other parts of the world and ending between 4500 and 2000 BC.

Traditionally considered the last part of the Stone Age, the Neolithic followed the terminal Holocene
Epipaleolithic period and commenced with the beginning of farming, which produced the "Neolithic
Revolution". It ended when metal tools became widespread (in the Copper Age or Bronze Age; or, in
some geographical regions, in the Iron Age). The Neolithic is a progression of behavioral and cultural
characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals.

Ans 13 b): Megalithic cultures in India (including North India) have been roughly assigned to a prehistoric
period or to a great antiquity by different scholars like M.H. Krishna, R.S. Panchamukhi, G.S. Ghurye,
Panchanan Mitra and others. But their dating lacks the merit of being based on well observed
archaeological context. So, this dating is generally countered by the archaeologists.

R.E.M. Wheeler, for the first time, on the basis of excavations at Brahmagiri provided a firm
archaeological setting for megalithic cultures in South India. Based on archaeological evidence, he places
these cultures between the 3rd c. B.C and the 1st c. A.D. But the limits prescribed by Wheeler on the
basis of Brahmagiri evidence are unconvincing. Megalithic culture of South India had a much larger
chronological span than what Wheeler could visualise over five decades ago.

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