NCERT Solutions for Class 12th: Ch 2 King, Farmers and Towns History

NCERT Solutions for Class 12th: Ch 2 (Theme 2) King, Farmers and Towns (Early States and Economies) History

Page No: 51

Answer in 100-150 Words

1. Discuss the evidence of craft production in Early Historic cities. In what ways is this different fro the evidence from Harappan cities?


Widespread and deep excavation in the early historic towns has not been possible due to the fact that these towns are still in inhabited. In Harappan civilisation, we have been fortune enough that excavation has taken place widespread. Despite this shortcoming, we have found many artefacts in the historic towns. These throw the craftsmanship of those days. There are other evidences to throw light on the craftsmanship of those days. The salient features of such evidences are as follows:
(i) From the sights the fine pottery bowls and dishes have been found. They include fine pottery bowls and dishes, with a glossy finish, known as Northern Black Polished Ware, probably used by rich people.
(ii) There have also been evidence of ornaments , tools, weapons, vessels, figurines, made of a wide range of materials – gold, silver, copper, bronze, ivory, glass, shell and terracotta.
(iii) The donor inscription tells who all lived in towns in terms of professionals and craftsman. It include washing folk, weavers, scribes, carpenters, potters, goldsmiths, black smiths, ironsmith, etc. It is notable in Harappan towns there are no evidences of iron use.
(iv) The craftsmen and artisans built their guilds too. They collectively bought raw materials, produced and marketed their products.

2. Describe the salient features of mahajanapadas.


The salient features of Mahajanapadas are as follows:
(i) Most of the Mahajanapadas were ruled by powerful kings. However, there were some Mahajanapadas where rule was in the hands of people, we call them republics.
(ii) Every Mahajanpadas had its own capital. The capital normally would be surrounded by the fort. The fortification of capital was needed for the protection and economic resources.
(iii)The main jobs of kings to collect taxes from the farmers, traders, craftsman. They also accept donation.
(iv) It was around 6th century BC, Brahmins began to compile scripture called ”Dharmshastra” which states rule of morality including that of monarch. Herein it was mentioned that the king should be Kshatriya.
(v)It was considered fair to plunder neighbouring countries for riches.
(vi) Gradually Mahajanpadas began to have full time army and officials. Solders were the rank of farmers.

3. How do historians reconstruct the lives of ordinary people?


Ordinary people could not leave any historical evidence about their life. Hence, the historians use a variety of sources to reconstruct the lives of common people during the ancient times. The important sources are:
(i)Remains of houses and pottery give an idea of the life of common men.
(ii)Some inscription and scriptures talk about the relation between monarch and the subject. It talks about taxes and happiness and unhappiness of the common men.
(iii)Historians also depend upon folklores to reconstruct the lives of the people during the ancient times.
(iv) Changing tools of craftsmen and farmers talk about the lifestyle of people.

4. Compare and contrast the list of things given to the Pandyan chief (Source 3) with those produced in the village of Danguna (Source 8). Do you notice any similarities or differences?


The gift given to Pandya chief included things live ivory, fragrant  woods, honey, sandal-wood, pepper, flowers, etc. In addition to many birds and animals were also given as gifts.
On the country, items produced in the village of Danguda included grass, skin of the animals, flower salt and other minerals, etc.In both the lists the only common items is flower.

5. List some of the problems faced by epigraphists.


The specialists who study inscription are called Epigraphists. Some of the important problems they encounter when they try to decipher inscription are as follows:
(i)The inscription is written from the point of view of those who have created it. Hence in order to get an impartial understanding, we need to go beyond the written words, get an impartial understanding, we need to go beyond the Witten words, get into its interpretations.
(ii) Many of the inscriptions have description have description in symbolic words. Hence, deciphering them has become difficult.
(iii)Many of the inscription are not found in proper shape, they are partly damaged hence deciphering them becomes a knotty problem.
(iv) Sometimes the inscription is engrafted in very light colours. Hence, deciphering them becomes difficult.

Page No: 52

Write a Short Essay (About 500 words) on the following

6. Discuss the main featu res of Mau ryan administration. Which of these elements are evident in the Asokan inscriptions that you have studied?


Asoka inscriptions mention all the main feature of the administration of Mauryan Empire. Thus, the features of the administration of the Mauryan Emipre. Thus, the features of the administration are in the inscription of the Asokan age . The important features of the same are as follow:
(i)The capital of the Mauryan Empire was Patliputra. Apart from the capital there were four other centres of the political power in the empire. They were Taxila, Ujjayini, Tosali and Suvarnagiri.
(ii)Committee and sub continents were formed to run the administration and safety of boundaries. Megasthenes has mentioned that there were one committee and six sub committees. The six subcommittee and their areas of activities are as follows:
• The first subcommittee looked after navy.
• The second subcommittee looked after transport and communications.
• The third subcommittee looked after infantry.
• The fourth subcommittee had the responsibility of horses.
• The fifth had the responsibility of chariots.
• The sixth had the responsibility of elephants.
(iii)Strong network of roads and communications were established .It is notable that no large empire can be maintained in the absence of the same.
(iv) Asoka made an attempt to keep the empire united by the philosophy of Dhamma. Dhamma are nothing but moral principal that actuated people  towards  good conducts .Special officers called Dhamma are nothing but moral principles that actuated  people towards good conducts. Special officers called Dhamma mahamtras were appointed to propagate Dhamma. In fact Romila Thapar has made it the most important element of Asokans states governing principle.

7. This is a statement made by one of the best-known epigraphists of the twentieth century, D.C. Sircar: “There is no aspect of life, culture and activities of the Indians that is not reflected in inscriptions.” Discuss.


The statement of eminent epigraphist D.C Sirkar has highlighted the important of inscription as single sources of information that touch upon all areas of our life. Following are the main areas we get information about from the inscriptions.
(i) Determination of states’s boundaries: The inscription were cared in the territories of the kings and even more important is not often close to the borders. This helps us find out boundaries of kingdoms and their expansion thereto.
(ii) Names of kings: the names of the kings are mentioned in the inscriptions. The names and titles used by Asoka the great got revealed through inscription only.
(iii) Historic events: the important historical events are mentioned in the inscriptions. The best example is how the event of the killing war is mentioned in the inscription and how Asoka takes to Dhamma.
(iv) Information about conduct of kings: inscription describe the conduct a character of the kings quit well. It is through the inscription only that we know Asoka worked for the welfare of the masses.
(v) Informed about administration: inscription gave information about administration. It is through the inscription. We know that we know Asoka appointed his son as a viceroy.

8. Discuss the notions of kingship that developed in the post-Mauryan period.


In the post-Mauryan age, the idea of kingship got associated with divine theory of state. Now, the monarch began to talk about divine sanction to rule the people. Kushan rulers propagated the idea of the same at the unfrequented scale. They rule from central Asia to western India. We can discuss the kingship based on the dynasties.
(i) Kushan kings:  Kushan kings called themselves Devputra and hence, godly status. They built great statues of themselves in temples.
(ii) Gupta rulers: second development of kingship is found during Gupta dynasty. It was a period of large sized status. Such sates were dependent on Samantas who sometimes became powerful enough to usurp the power of kings too.
(iii) Literature, coins and inscription helped us in creating history of those days. Very often poets would describe the monarch often to praise them but giving insight into the history and kingship too. A good example is of harisena who praised Samudragupta, the great Gupta ruler.

9. To what extent were agricultural practices transformed in the period under consideration?


The demand for taxes increased in the post 600B.C.In order to meet the demand of excessive taxes, without taking lesser produce, forced the farmers to increase productivity. This resulted in the use of new tools and practices of agriculture. The important ones are as follows:
(i) Use the plough: ploughs became commonplace. They were hardly heard of the past. The use of the plough began in ganga and cauvery basins. In places where rain was abundant, the plough was used with iron tip. This increased the paddy production manifold.
(ii) Use of spade: another tool that changed the system of agriculture is spade. Those farmers who lived in the areas of harsh land used spade.
(iii) Artificial Irrigation: Apart from rainfall, the farmers now began to look at artificial from of irrigation. This prompted farmers to built wells, ponds, and canals often collectively. This increased the agricultural production.
The production increased due to new technology and tools. This created new strata in the society. In the Buddhist literature, there is a description of small and big famers. They were called Grihpatis. Similar description is given n Tamil literature too. The position of the village head was often hereditary. In such a situation the ownership of the land became very important.

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