Notes of Ch 6 Towns, Traders and Craftspersons Class 7th History

• During Medieval period, towns are specified in the functions.

• The types of towns included a temple town, an administrative centre, a commercial town or a port town or others.

• Also, sometimes all functions were combined in a single town as well.

Administrative Centres

• Thanjavur, the capital of the Cholas was an administrative centre.

• The perennial river Kaveri flows near this beautiful town.

• Rajarajeshvara temple was built by King Rajaraja Chola by the architect Kunjaramallan Rajaraja
Perunthachchan in this town.

• There are palaces with mandapas or pavilions.

• The town is bustling with markets selling grain, spices, cloth and jewellery.

Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres

• Thanjavur is also an example of a temple town which represent a very important pattern of urbanisation, the process by which cities develop.

• Temples were often central to the economy and society.

• Temples were granted land and money to carry out elaborate rituals, feed pilgrims and priests and celebrate festivals.
→ Pilgrims who flocked to the temples also made donations.

• Temple authorities used their wealth to finance trade and banking.

• Pilgrimage centres also slowly developed into townships.

A Network of Small Towns

• From the eighth century onwards, several small towns started developing from large villages in the subcontinent.

• They usually had a mandapika (or mandi of later times) and market streets called hatta (haat of later times) lined with shops.

• There were streets for different kinds of artisans such as potters, oil pressers, sugar makers, toddy makers, smiths, stonemasons, etc.

• Usually a samanta or, in later times, a zamindar levied taxes on traders, artisans and articles of trade and sometimes “donated” the “right” to collect these taxes to local temples.

Traders Big and Small

• Traders had to pass through many kingdoms and forests, they usually travelled in caravans and formed guilds to protect their interests.

• The Chettiars and the Marwari Oswal went on to become the main trading groups of the country.

• Gujarati traders, including the communities of Hindu Baniyas and Muslim Bohras, traded extensively with the ports of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, East Africa, Southeast Asia and China.

• The towns on the west coast were home to Arab, Persian, Chinese, Jewish and Syrian Christian traders.

Crafts in Towns

• The Panchalas or Vishwakarma community, consisting of goldsmiths, bronzesmiths, blacksmiths, masons and carpenters, were essential to the building of temples.

• Weavers such as the Saliyar or Kaikkolars emerged as prosperous communities, making donations to temples.

The Architectural Splendour of Hampi

• Hampi is located in the Krishna-Tungabhadra basin, which formed the nucleus of the Vijayanagara
Empire, founded in 1336.

• It was a well-fortified city.

• The architecture of Hampi was distinguished by arches, domes and pillared halls with niches for holding sculptures.

• Temples were the hub of cultural activities and devadasis (temple dancers) performed before the deity.

• Hampi fell into ruin following the defeat of Vijayanagara in 1565 by the Deccani Sultans.

A Gateway to the West: Surat

• Surat in Gujarat was the emporium of western trade during the Mughal period.

• In the seventeenth century the Portuguese, Dutch and English had their factories and warehouses at Surat.

• There were also several retail and wholesale shops selling cotton textiles.

• The Kathiawad seths or mahajans (moneychangers) had huge banking houses at Surat.

• Surat began to decline towards the end of the seventeenth century because
→ The loss of markets and productivity because of the decline of the Mughal Empire
→ Control of the sea routes by the Portuguese
→ Competition from Bombay.

Fishing in Troubled Waters: Masulipatnam

• The town of Masulipatnam or Machlipatnam (literally, fish port town) lay on the delta of the Krishna river.

• The fort at Masulipatnam was built by the Dutch.

• The competition among various trading groups the Golconda nobles, Persian merchants, Telugu Komati Chettis, and European traders made the city populous and prosperous.

• In 1686-1687 Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb annexed Golconda.

• This caused the European Companies to look for alternatives.

• As the Company traders moved to Bombay, Calcutta and Madras (present-day Chennai), Masulipatnam lost both its merchants and prosperity.

New Towns and Traders

• The eighteenth century saw the rise of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, which are nodal cities today.

• The “blacks” or native traders and craftspersons were confined here while the “white” rulers occupied the superior residencies of Fort St. George in Madras or Fort St. William in Calcutta.

NCERT Solutions of Chapter 6 Towns, Traders and Craftspersons

Previous Post Next Post