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Qno1. Explain the process by which social and political relations became complex in the later Vedic period. OR Discuss the nature of chiefdoms which evolved in Tamilakam in the early historic period.

Ans: The Vedic Period is the period during which the Vedas, the oldest sacred texts of the Indo-Aryans, were being composed. Scholars place the Vedic period in the second and first millennia BCE continuing up to the 6th century BCE based on literary evidence.

The associated culture, sometimes referred to as Vedic civilization, was centered in the northern and northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent. Its early phase saw the formation of various kingdoms of ancient India. In its late phase (from ca. 600 BCE), it saw the rise of the Mahajanapadas, and was succeeded by the Maurya Empire (from ca. 320 BCE), the golden age, classical age of Sanskrit literature, and the Middle kingdoms of India.

The reconstruction of the history of Vedic India is based on text-internal details. Linguistically, the Vedic texts could be classified in five chronological strata:

  1. Rigvedic: The Rigveda is by far the most archaic of the Vedic texts preserved, and it retains many common Indo-Iranian elements, both in language and in content, that are not present in any other Vedic texts. Its creation must have taken place over several centuries, and apart from that of the youngest books (first part of 1 and all of 10), would have been complete by 1000(?) BCE. Archaeologically, this period may correspond with the Gandhara Grave Culture, the Cemetery H culture of the Punjab and the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (OCP) further east. There is no widely accepted archaeological or linguistic evidence of direct cultural continuity from the Indus Valley civilization.
  2. Mantra language: This period includes both the mantra and prose language of the Atharvaveda (Paippalada and Shaunakiya), the Rigveda Khilani, the Samaveda Samhita (containing some 75 mantras not in the Rigveda), and the mantras of the Yajurveda. Many of these texts are largely derived from the Rigveda, but have undergone certain changes, both by linguistic change and by reinterpretation. Conspicuous changes include change of vishva “all” by sarva, and the spread of the kuru- verbal stem (for Rigvedic krno-). This is the time of the early Iron Age in north-western India, corresponding to the Black and Red Ware (BRW) culture, and the kingdom of the Kurus, dating from ca. the 10th century BCE.
  3. Samhita prose: This period marks the beginning of the collection and codification of a Vedic canon. An important linguistic change is the complete loss of the injunctive. The Brahmana part (‘commentary’ on mantras and ritual) of the Black Yajurveda (MS, KS, and TS) belongs to this period. Archaeologically, the Painted Grey Ware (PGW) culture from ca. 900 BCE corresponds, and the shift of the political center from the Kurus to the Pancalas on the Ganges.
  4. Brahmana prose: The Brahmanas proper of the four Vedas belong to this period, as well as the Aranyakas, the oldest of the Upanishads (BAU, ChU, JUB) and the oldest Shrautasutras (BSS, VadhSS).
  5. Sutra language: This is the last stratum of Vedic Sanskrit leading up to c. 500 BCE, comprising the bulk of the Śrauta and Grhya Sutras, and some Upanishads (e.g. KathU, MaitrU). All but the five prose Upanishads are post-Buddhist[1]). Videha (N. Bihar) as a third political center is established.
  6. Epic and Pāṇinian Sanskrit: The language of the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, and the Classical Sanskrit described by Pāṇini is considered post-Vedic, and belongs to the time after 500 BCE. Archaeologically, the rapid spread of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBP) over all of northern India corresponds to this period. The earliest Vedanta, Gautama Buddha, and the Pali Prakrit dialect of Buddhist scripture belong to this period.

Historical records set in only after the end of the Vedic period, and remain scarce throughout the Indian Middle Ages. The end of Vedic India is marked by linguistic, cultural and political changes. The grammar of Pāṇini marks a final apex in the codification of Sutra texts, and at the same time the beginning of Classical Sanskrit. The invasion of Darius I of the Indus valley in the early 6th century BCE marks the beginning of outside influence, continued in the kingdoms of the Indo Greeks, new waves of immigration from 150 BCE (Abhira, Shaka), Kushan and ultimately the Islamic Sultans. The most important historical source of the geography of post-Vedic India is the 2nd century Greek historian Arrian whose report is based on the Mauryan time ambassador to Patna, Megasthenes.

Rigvedic period

The origin of the Vedic civilization and its relation to the Indus Valley civilization, Indo-Aryan migration and Gandhara Grave culture related cultures remains controversial and politically charged in Indian society, often leading to disputes on the history of Vedic culture. The Rigveda is primarily a collection of religious hymns, and allusions to, but not explanation of, various myths and stories, mainly in the younger books 1 and 10. The oldest hymns, probably in books 2–7, although some hold book 9, the Soma Mandala, to be even more ancient, contain many elements inherited from pre-Vedic, common Indo-Iranian society. Therefore, it is difficult to define the precise beginning of the “Rigvedic period”, as it emerges seamlessly from the era preceding it. Also, due to the semi-nomadic nature of the society described, it cannot be easily localized, and in its earliest phase describes tribes that were essentially on the move.

RigVedic Aryans have a lot in common with the Andronovo culture and the Mittanni kingdoms as well as with early Iranians. The Andronovo culture is believed to be the site of the first horse-drawn chariots.

Political organization

The grama (wagon train), Vis and Jana were political units of the early Vedic Aryans. A vish was a subdivision of a Jana or “krishti”, and a grama was a smaller unit than the other two. The leader of a grama was called gramani and that of a vish was called vishpati.

The rashtra (polity) was governed by a rajan (chieftain, ‘king’). The king is often referred to as gopa (protector) and occasionally as samrat (supreme ruler). He governed the people with their consent and approval. He was elected from a restricted class of ‘royals’ (rajanya). There were various types of meetings such as the vidhata or “Sabhā”. Gana was the non-monarchial assembly that is a parallel one to the monarchial assemblies of that period headed by Jyestha the same was referred in Buddhist text named Jettaka. The Sabhā, situated outside of settlement, was restricted to the Vratyas, bands of roving Brahmins and Kshatriyas in search of cattle, with a common woman (pumscali) while the vidatha was the potlatch-like ritual distribution of bounty.

The main duty of the king was to protect the tribe. He was aided by several functionaries, including the purohita (chaplain) and the senani (army chief; sena: army). The former not only gave advice to the ruler but also was his chariot driver and practiced spells and charms for success in war. Soldiers on foot (Pattis) and on chariots (rathins), armed with bow and arrow, and were common. The king employed spaś (spies) and dutas (messengers). He collected taxes (originally ceremonial gifts, Bali), from the people which he had to redistribute.

In the Early Vedic Period all the three upper classes Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas were considered as —relatively— equal Arya, but in the Later Vedic Age the Brahmins and Kshatriyas became upper class. The Vaishyas were pastoralists and farmers; the Shudras were the lower class; they included artisans and were meant to serve the upper three classes. As the caste system became deep-rooted there were many restrictions and rules which were to be followed.

Vedic religious practices

The Vedic forms of belief are the precursor to modern Hinduism. Texts considered to date to the Vedic period are mainly the four Vedas, but the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and the older Upanishads as well as the oldest Shrautasutras are also considered to be Vedic. The Vedas record the liturgy connected with the rituals and sacrifices performed by the 16 or 17 Shrauta priests and the purohitas.

Vedic religion evolved into the Hindu paths of Yoga and Vedanta, a religious path considering itself the ‘essence’ of the Vedas, interpreting the Vedic pantheon as a unitary view of the universe with ‘God’ (Brahman) seen as immanent and transcendent in the forms of Ishvara and Brahman. These post-Vedic systems of thought, along with later texts like Upanishads, epics (namely Gita of Mahabharat), have been fully preserved and form the basis of modern Hinduism. The ritualistic traditions of Vedic religion are preserved in the conservative Śrauta tradition, in part with the exception of animal sacrifice, which was mostly abandoned by the higher castes by the end of the Vedic period, partly under the influence of the Buddhist and Jain religions, and their criticism of such practices.

The later Vedic period

The transition from the early to the later Vedic period was marked by the emergence of agriculture as the dominant economic activity and a corresponding decline in the significance of cattle rearing. Several changes went hand in hand with this. For instance, several large kingdoms arose because of the increasing importance of land and long distance trade. The late Vedic period, from ca. 500 BCE onward, more or less seamlessly blends into the period of the Middle kingdoms of India known from historical sources.


The late Vedic period was marked by the rise of the sixteen Mahajanapadas referred to in some of the literature. The power of the king and the Kshatriyas greatly increased. Rulers gave themselves titles like ekarat (the one ruler), sarvabhauma (ruler of all the earth) and chakravartin (‘who moves the wheel’). The kings performed sacrifices like rajasuya (royal consecration), vajapeya (including a chariot race) and, for supreme dominance over other kings, the ashvamedha (horse sacrifice). The coronation ceremony was a major social occasion. Several functionaries, in addition to the purohita and the senani, took part. The role of the people in political decision making and the status of the Vaishyas as such was greatly decreased.

In the south the pre-state social formation was a blend of four forms of subsistence patterns viz, hunting-gathering, cattle breeding, plough agriculture & craft production. The political structure was characterized by chiefdoms. The source of information about these chiefdoms is the Tamil heroic literature. The socio-economic & political system was undifferentiated & non-stratified. Thus it can be considered as a pre-state social formation. The transition to state in South India took place in the 6th century AD with the establishment of the rule of Pallavas, Pandyas, and Ceras & Colas.

The four ancient Tamil empires of Chera, Chola, Pandya and Pallava were of ancient origins. Together they ruled over this land with a unique culture and language, contributing to the growth of some of the oldest extant literature in the world. They had extensive maritime trade contacts with the Roman Empire. These three dynasties were in constant struggle with each other vying for hegemony over the land. Invasion by the Kalabhras during the third century disturbed the traditional order of the land by displacing the three ruling kingdoms. These occupiers were overthrown by the resurgence of the Pandyas and the Pallavas, who restored the traditional kingdoms. The Cholas, who re-emerged from obscurity in the ninth century by defeating the Pallavas and the Pandyas, rose to become a great power and extended their empire over the entire southern peninsula. At its height the Chola empire spanned almost 3,600,000 km² (1,389,968 sq mi) straddling the Bay of Bengal. The Chola navy held sway over the Sri Vijaya kingdom in Southeast Asia.

Qno2. Explain the rise of territorial states in the age of Budddha.   OR. Disuss the nature of the Mauryan sstate.

Ans: The transition from pre-state to state was a complex process. In North India the Vedic period especially the later Vedic was a transition stage leading to the establishment of territorial states. Among the states the gana-sangha can be categorized as an incipient state system whereas monarchies can be regarded as representing a mature and strong state system. The establishment of the Mauryan Empire illustrates the functioning of a strong monarchical state. The age of the Buddha was marked by great intellectual Endeavour and spiritual agitation. Though mystics and ascetics rejected the norms of Vedic society, major political and commercial developments continued; the emergence of kingdoms and administrative systems encouraged rulers to think in terms of empire.

By 600 BC, the association of tribes with the territories they had colonized had resulted in the consolidation of at least sixteen republics and monarchies, known as mahajanapadas (territories of the great clans). Some, like Kuru and Panchala, represented the oldest and earliest established kingdoms; others, like Avanti, Vatsa and Magadha had come into existence more recently. The hereditary principle and the concept of divinely ordained kings tended to preserve the status quo in the monarchies, while the republics provided an atmosphere in which unorthodox views were able to develop. The founders of the “heterodox” sects of Buddhism and Jainism were both born in small republics of this kind.

The consolidation of the mahajanapadas was based on the growth of a stable agrarian economy and the increasing importance of trade, which led to the use of coins and a script (Brahmi, from which the current scripts of India, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Java and Myanmar derive) and encouraged the emergence of towns, such as Kashi (Varanasi), Ayodhya, Rajagriha (first capital of Magadha), Kaushambi in the Ganges Valley, and Ujjain on the Narmada. The resultant prosperity stimulated conflict, however, and by the fifth century BC the four great kingdoms of Kashi, Koshala, Vatsa and Magadha and the republic of the Vrijjis between them held sway over all the others.

Eventually, Magadha emerged supreme, under Bimbisara (543-491 BC), a resolute and energetic organizer, and Ajatashatru (491-461 BC), who conquered Kashi and Koshala, broke up the Vrijji confederacy, and built a strong administration. Both kings set out to control the trade in the Ganges Valley with its rich deposits of copper and iron.

Magadha expanded over the next hundred years, moving its capital to Pataliputra (Patna) and annihilating the other kingdoms in the Ganges Valley or reducing them to the status of vassals. In the middle of the fourth century BC, the Nanda dynasty usurped the Magadhan throne; Mahapadma Nanda conquered Kalinga (Orissa and the northern coastal strip of Andhra Pradesh) and gained control of parts of the Deccan. The disputed succession after his death coincided with significant events in the northwest; out of this confusion the first and perhaps greatest of India’s empires was born.

Darius I, the third Achaemenid emperor of Persia, had claimed Gandhara in the northwest as his twentieth satrapy, and advanced into the Punjab near the end of the sixth century BC; but a second invasion in the fourth century BC was more significant. Alexander the Great defeated Darius III, the last Achaemenid, crossed the Indus in 326 BC, and overran the Punjab. He was in India for just two years and although he left garrisons and appointed satraps to govern the conquered territories, his death in 323 BC made their position untenable. Chandragupta Maurya was quick to take advantage of the political vacuum.

Gaṇa sangha

Gana-Sangha (equal assembly), or Gana-Rajya (equal government), refers to a type of republic or oligarchy in ancient India. During the Iron Age in India, the fertile Ganges plain slowly urbanized, with cities forming and trade developing. Like ancient Greece, India during this Vedic period, power lay in many city states rather than one empire. Some of these were kingdoms, and some were oligarchies or republics. Sophisticated urban life encouraged a flowering of philosophy and introspection.

The Buddha was born in one such state, Kapilavastu, home to the Shakya chiefdom. The shramana religions of ancient India, such as Jainism and Buddhism may have been influenced by this form of government, where Vedic Brahmanism was favoured in the kingdoms.


A monarchy is a form of government in which all political power is absolutely or nominally lodged with an individual. As a political entity, the monarch is the head of state, generally until their death or abdication, and “is wholly set apart from all other members of the state.”[1] The person who heads a monarchy is called a monarch. It was a common form of government in the world during ancient and medieval times.

There is no clear definition of monarchy. Holding unlimited political power in the state is not the defining characteristic, as many constitutional monarchies such as the United Kingdom and Thailand are considered monarchies.

Hereditary rule is often a common characteristic, but elective monarchies are also considered monarchies (the pope, sovereign of the Vatican City State, is elected by the College of Cardinals) and some states have hereditary rulers, but are considered republics (such as the stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, or the Great Council of Chiefs in Fiji).

Maurya Empir

The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive and powerful empire in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC. Originating from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic plains (modern Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bengal) in the eastern side of the Indian subcontinent, the empire had its capital city at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The Empire was founded in 322 BC by Chandragupta Maurya, who had overthrown the Nanda Dynasty and rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great’s Greek and Persian armies. By 320 BC the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

It was the world’s largest empire in its time. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east stretching into what is now Assam. To the west, it reached beyond modern Pakistan, annexing Balochistan and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and Kandahar provinces. The Empire was expanded into India’s central and southern regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded a small portion of unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga (modern Orissa).

The Mauryan Empire was one of the largest empires to rule the Indian subcontinent. Its decline began 60 years after Ashoka’s rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 BC with the foundation of the Sunga Dynasty in Magadha.

Under Chandragupta, the Mauryan Empire conquered the trans-Indus region, which was under Macedonian rule. Chandragupta then defeated the invasion led by Seleucus I, a Greek general from Alexander’s army. Under Chandragupta and his successors, both internal and external trade, and agriculture and economic activities, all thrived and expanded across India thanks to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration and security. After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced half a century of peace and security under Ashoka: India was a prosperous and stable empire of great economic and military power whose political influence and trade extended across Western and Central Asia and Europe. Mauryan India also enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge. Chandragupta Maurya’s embrace of Jainism increased social and religious renewal and reform across his society, while Ashoka’s embrace of Buddhism was the foundation of the reign of social and political peace and non-violence across all of India. Ashoka sponsored the spreading of Buddhist ideals into Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, West Asia and Mediterranean Europe.

Qno3. Explain the chief features of the Kushan state.   OR.   Analyze the socio-economic and political background which contributed to the rise of Satavahan state

Ans:  In the post-Mauryan period several powers dominated the political scene in North India. These were Kanvas ans Sungas who succeeded the Mauryas. Ganasangha polities also re-emerged in this period. An important feature of this period was the rise of the power of Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Parthinas and Kushanas who intruded through the north western frontier into India from central Asia and Iran. The most important among these were the Kushanas. With the establishment of Kushan State trading activities received great impetus. In the social and cultural sphere assismilative and syncretic tendencies emerged and were strengthened. In the Deccan this period was marked by the emergence of the Satavahana state.

Kushan State

In the post-Mauryan era Central Asia and north-western India witnessed hectic and shifting political scenes. The Great Yuehi-Chi driven out of fertile land in western China migrated towards the Aral Sea. There they encountered the Sakas and overthrew them. They settled in the valley of Oxus and with the occupation of the Bactrian lands the great hordes were divided into five principalities.

A century later the Kushan section attained predominance over the others. Their leader was Kadphises. Thus began the history of Kushans. Kadphises attacked the regions south of Hindu Kush, conquered Kabul and annexed Gandhara including the kingdom of Taxila. He died in 78 AD. By then the Kushans had supplanted the princes belonging to the Indo-Greeks Saka and Indo-Parthian communities along the frontiers of India. The successor of Kadphises was Vima Kadphsis. He conquered large parts of North India. His coins show that his authority extended as far as Benaras and as well as Indus basin. His power extended as far as Narmada and Saka Satraps in Malwa and Western India acknowledged his sovereignty.

The next ruler Kanishka belonged to the little Yuehi-Chi section of the horde. His capital was Purusyapura and here he built many Buddhist buildings. In his early days he annexed Kashmir and consolidated his rule in the Indus and the Gangetic basin. His army crossed the pamirs and inflicted a defeat on the Chinese. A large number of inscriptions were incised during the time of Kanishka and his successor. He became an active patron of Buddhist Church during the later part of the reign. His coins prove that he honoured a medley of Gods -Zoroastrian, Greek, Mitraic and Indian. The prominent Indian deity was God Shiva. He also convened a council of Buddhist theologians to settle disputes relating to Buddhist faith and practices.

The conclusions of this council were engraved on copper sheets and preserved in the stupa of the capital. The delegates to the council primarily belonged to the Hinyana sect. Soon the Kushan power declined. Within the Kingdom Nagas and Yaudheyas troubled Kushans. A Naga ruler probably performed ten ashvamedha sacrifices. A few other tribes also like Malavas and Kunindas probably regained their importance at the expense of the Kushan Empire. There was a brisk trade as the area covered by the Kushan Empire helped the flow of trade between the east and the west.

Gold coins of great complexity were issued by the Kushans. These coins speak of the prosperity of the people and show the figure of Kanishka standing and sacrificing at altar and deities belonging to various religions. The coins also show that Kushans were in direct contact with the Romans. Their greatest contribution was Gandhara art. Stone images of the Buddha and Bodhisattavas were carved out. The chief feature was blending of Buddhist subjects with Greek forms. Images of Buddha appear in the likeness of Apollo and the Yakshakubera is posed in the fusion of Zeus. The imprint of this school of art is still to be found in Mathura and Amaravati. The Chaitya built at Peshawar was as high as four storeys. Fahien passing through Gandhara during the fifth century praised the images of the Buddha, Bodhisattavas and numerous other deities. Kushan period saw propagation of Buddhism in Central Asia and China. Mahayana Buddhism was sanctified. The fourth Buddhist Council summoned by Kanishka canonized the doctrines of Hinayana and Mahayana. Not only Buddhism flourished but also different brahmanical sects started merging. Sanskrit language received an impetus. In a way the Kushan age constituted the prelude to the Gupta age.

The Kushan state was a buffer between the Aryan civilization and the nomadic hordes in Central Asia who time to time had overrun the civilized worlds with the sweep of avalanches. It was also responsible for the exchange of ideas and goods between different civilizations because of the peculiar geographical position occupied by the Kushanas.

Satavahana State

The government of the Satavahana kingdom was organized on the traditional lines. It was divided into Janapadas which were further divided into aharas. Each ahara was under an Amataya. The basic unit of the ahara was the grama with the village headman called gramika. Central control was maintained over the provinces. Princes were generally made viceroys. The kings were expected to maintain dharma. Taxation was not burden as the state derived its income from crown lands, court fees, fines and ordinary taxes of the Mauryan period were not imposed. Central control was not high because feudal traits emerged in the Satavahana period.

The feudal chiefs like maharathas, mahasenapatis and mahabhojas issued their own coins. The area under the Satavahana in general witnessed considerable prosperity. Broach was the most important port and it had a vast and rich hinterland. Pratishthana produced cotton, tagara and Ujjain produced muslin. The chief imports were wines, copper, tin, lead and gold and silver coins.

Another important port was Kalyan mentioned in the Perilus. The other ports were Sopara and Goa. Within the kingdom there were important cities like Tagara, Prathishthana, Nasik, Junnar and Dhanyakataka. Koddura and Chinnaganjam were the important ports on the east. Evidence shows that a many people emigrated from the Deccan to colonize the regions in South-East Asia. Encouraged by wealth the king’s patronized literature and architecture. Hala was an authority on the Puranas. He was the author of Sapta-Sataka. Leelavati deals with the military campaigns of Hala. The five gateways at Sanchi the rock-cut chaitya halls of Bhaja, Karle, Nasik and Kanheri and the stupas at Amaravati, Bhattiprolu, Goli and Ghantasala were built in this period.

The capitals of the pillars in Karle Caves were sculptured. Its construction began during the time of Gautamiputra Satakarni and was completed during the time of Yajna Sri Satakarni. Two Ajanta Frescoes came into existence during this period. The Satavahanas were great excavators of cave temples and the magnificent temples of Ellora and Ajanta were the continuation of the Satavahana tradition.

Satavahana Administration

The Satavahana administration was very simple and was according to the principles laid down in Dharmashastras. The king laid no claim of divine right. They had only the modest title of rajan. The king had no absolute power. Their power was checked in practice by customs and shastras. The king was the commander of war and of threw himself into the thicket of the frays.

A peculiar feature of the Satavahana administration was the presence of feudatories of different grade. The highest class was that of petty princes bearing the kingly title raja and striking coins in their own names. Next in rank was the maharathi and mahabhoja. Both titles from the beginning were hereditary and restricted to a few families in a few localities. Probably mahabhoja ranked higher than that of maharathi.

The mahabhojas were the feudatories of Satavahanas. They were primarily located in western Deccan. They were related by blood to the feudatory maharathi. It is definitely known that the maharathi were the feudatories of Satavahanas. They also granted in their own name villages with physical immunities attached to them. The maharathis of the Chitaldrug enjoyed the additional privilege of issuing coins in their own name.

Towards the close of the Satavahana period two more feudatories were created Mahasenapathi and Mahataralavara. Barring districts that were controlled by feudatories; the empire was divided into janapadas and aharas, the latter corresponding to modern districts. The division below that of ahara was grama. Non-hereditary governors were subject to periodical transfers. There were other functionaries like great chamberlain, store keepers, treasurers and dutakas who carried royal orders.

Qno4. Trace the rise of the Gupta power in north India in the 4th century AD. How would you characterize Gupta polity?  OR.   Discuss the nature and social origins of polities in south India between 3rd to 6th centuries AD.

Ans:  The Gupta empire disintegrated in the 6th A.D and several ruling houses emerged which had been vassals of the Gupta,s. Gupta state was based on the dominant Brahamanical-Puranic ideology and the concept of Varna hierarchy. The socio-political organization was legitimized by and based on the Dharmashastric tradition. The decline of Kushans in North India was accompanied with the rise of Gupta power. The Gupta’s had to contend with the power of a number of gana sangha polities and chiefdoms. The forest chiefs were also subjugated by the Gupta’s.

India’s so-called Dark Age — from 185 BCE to CE 300 — was not dark regarding trade. Disintegration of the Mauryan Empire and the invasions were mitigated by a continuing trade in which Indians sold more to the Roman Empire than they bought, with Roman coins piling up in India. The Kushan invaders were absorbed by India, Kushan kings adopting the manners and language of the Indians and intermarrying with Indian royal families. The southern kingdom of Andhra conquered Magadha in 27 BCE, ending the rule Sunga dynasty there, and it extended its power in the Ganges Valley, creating a new bridge between the north and the south. But this came to an end as Andhra and two other southern kingdoms weakened themselves by warring against one another. By the early 300s, power in India was returning to the Magadha region, and India was entering what would be called its classical age.

A Magadha raja named Chandra Gupta — who was unrelated to the Chandragupta of six centuries before — controlled rich veins of iron from the nearby Barabara Hills. Around the year 308 he married a princess from the neighboring kingdom of Licchavi, and with this marriage he gained a hold over the flow of northern India’s commerce on the Ganges River — the major flow of north Indian commerce. In 319, Chandra Gupta created for himself the title King of Kings (Maharajadhiraja), and he extended his rule westward to Prayaga, in north-central India.

Ten years into his rule, Chandra Gupta lay dying, and he told his son, Samudra, to rule the whole world. His son tried. Samudra Gupta’s forty-five years of rule would be described as one vast military campaign. He waged war along the Ganges plain, overwhelming nine kings and incorporating their subjects and lands into the Gupta Empire. He absorbed Bengal, and kingdoms in Nepal and Assam paid him tribute. He expanded his empire westward, conquering Malava and the Saka kingdom of Ujjayini. He gave various tribal states autonomy under his protection. He raided Pallava and humbled eleven kings in southern India. He made a vassal of the king of Lanka, and he compelled five kings on the outskirts of his empire to pay him tribute.  The powerful kingdom of Vakataka in central India, he preferred to leave independent and friendly.

Around 380, Samudra Gupta was succeeded by his son Chandra Gupta II, and Chandra Gupta II extended Gupta rule to India’s west coast, where new ports were helping India’s trade with countries farther west. His rule influenced local powers beyond the Indus River and north to Kashmir. While Rome was being overrun and the western half of the Roman Empire was disintegrating, Gupta rule was at the apex of its grandeur, prospering in agriculture, crafts and trade. Unlike the Mauryas, who had controlled trade and industry, the Guptas let people free to pursue wealth and business, and prosperity in the Guptan era exceeded that of the Mauryan era. Like the Cynics during Rome’s golden age, a few ascetics entertained pessimistic views of life. And maintained that asceticism would benefit all of humanity. But many Indians were pursuing pleasure and enjoying life. In the cities were wealthy and middle class people who enjoyed their gardens, music, dancing, plays and various other entertainments. They enjoyed a daily bath, artistic and social activities and a variety of food, including rice, bread, fish, milk, fruits and juices. And despite religious prohibitions, the Indians — especially the aristocrats — drank wine and stronger alcoholic beverages.

Greater wealth accrued to those who already had wealth, and the middle class prospered. Big estates grew with the help of dependent labor and slave labor. The poor stayed poor, but apparently there was little dire want. The caste system still existed. So too did the inferior status of women. But charities abounded. The Gupta kings were autocrats who liked to think of themselves as servants to all their subjects. Hospitals offered care free of charge to everyone, rich and poor. There were rest houses for travelers along India’s highways, and the capital possessed an excellent, free hospital created by the charity of the wealthy.

Although the Gupta’s were more organized in their administrations, with the increase in prosperity had come a greater liberality. The cruel punishments of Mauryan times had been abolished. People no longer had to register with government authorities or carry a passport when traveling within the empire. The government operated without the system of espionage often practiced by Roman emperors and by Mauryan rulers. Law breaking was punished without death sentences — mainly by fines. Punishments such as having one’s hand cut off were applied only against obstinate, professional criminals.

Among civilians, the avoidance of killing that had been a part of Buddhism and Jainism was widely observed. Across India most people had become vegetarians, except for fish which was widely consumed in Bengal and places to its south. And unlike parts of the Roman Empire, a traveler in India had little reason to fear robbery. A visitor from China, Fa-hien (Faxian), traveled about in India for eleven years and recorded that he was never molested or robbed.

With the good times came an intellectual revival. Literature flourished, and Indians exercised their proficiency in art, architecture and mathematics. It was now that India’s greatest poet and dramatist, Kalidasa, lived. He and other writers acquired fame expressing the values of the rich and powerful.

Decline and Fall

Chandra Gupta II died in 415 and was succeeded by his son, Kumara Gupta, who maintained India’s peace and prosperity. During his forty-year reign the Gupta Empire remained undiminished. Then — as was the Roman Empire around this time — India suffered more invasions. Kumara Gupta’s son, the crown prince, Skanda Gupta, was able to drive the invaders, the Hephthalites, back, into the Sassanian Empire, where they were to defeat the Sassanid army and kill the Sassanid king, Firuz.

In India, women and children sang praises to Skanda Gupta. Skanda Gupta succeeded his father in 455. Then the Hephthalites returned, and he spent much of his reign of twenty-five years combating them, which drained his treasury and weakened his empire. Skanda Gupta died in 467, and after a century and a half the cycle of rise and disintegration of empire turned again to disintegration. Contributing to this was dissention within the royal family. Benefiting from this dissention, governors of provinces and feudal chieftains revolted against Gupta rule. For awhile the Gupta Empire had two centers: at Valabhi on the western coast and at Pataliputra toward the east. Seeing weakness, the Hephthalites invaded India again — in greater number. Just before the year 500, the Hephthalites took control of the Punjab. After 515, they absorbed the Kashmir, and they advanced into the Ganges Valley, the heart of India, raping, burning, massacring, blotting out entire cities and reducing fine buildings to rubble. Provinces and feudal territories declared their independence, and the whole of north India became divided among numerous independent kingdoms. And with this fragmentation India was again torn by numerous small wars between local rulers.

Qno5. Analyze thevarious approaches to the study of medieval polity.   OR.  Discuss the process of state formation under the Rajputs.

Ans: A polity is a state or one of its subordinate civil authorities, such as a province, prefecture, county, municipality, city, or district. It is generally understood to mean a geographic area with a corresponding government. Thomas Hobbes considered bodies politic in this sense, in Leviathan. In previous centuries, body politic was also understood to mean “the physical person of the sovereign” (in monarchies and despotisms, the emperor, king, or dictator, and, in republics, the electorate). Today, it may also refer to a representation of the ethnic or gender demographics of a region; for example, in many liberal democracies, cabinets are chosen to represent the body politic.

The nature of polity under the Palas & the Rajputs helps us to understand the characteristic features of the polity of this period. These included land grants issued by the state for religious & secular purpose, emergence of feudatories within the state system & the transformation of lineages into ruling groups who established supra-local state structures.

A Rajput is a member of one of the major Hindu Kshatriya (warrior) groups of India. They enjoy a reputation as formidable soldiers; many of them serve in the Indian Armed Forces. During the British Raj, the Government accepted them and recruited them heavily into their armies. Current-day Rajasthan is home to most of the Rajputs, although demographically the Rajput population and the former Rajput states are found spread through much the subcontinent, particularly in North India and central India.

Rajputs rose to prominence during the 9th to 11th centuries. The four Agnivanshi clans, namely the Pratiharas (Pariharas), Solankis (Chaulukyas), Paramaras (Parmars), and Chauhans (Chahamanas) rose to prominence first. Rajputs ruled more than four hundred of the estimated six hundred princely states at the time of India’s independence in 1947. Rajputs ruled 81 of out the 121 Salute states extant at the time of independence.

History of Rajputs

The Rajputs (from the Sanskrit tatpurusha compound rājaputra, “son of a king”) are a ruling class of northern India. In the Hindustani language, those belonging to the Kshatriya Varna of Hindus are generally referred to as “Raj puts”. The ruling classes of most Indian states from 6th century to 19th century were mostly Raj puts. Most Raj puts claim descent from Shri Ram and Shri Krishna.

While it is widely recognized that no single origin for the rajputs can be authoritatively identified, various theories of origin have been put forward.The first Rajputs kingdoms are attested in the 6th century BC, and the Rajputs rose to prominence in Indian history in the ninth and tenth centuries. There is no mentioning of rajputs in ancient books.The rajput clan system and the traditional view of their origins is elaborated upon in Rajput clans while other hypotheses, ascribing to them a Scythian (Saka/Huna/Gurjar)and Kushans origin who came to India and settled here.Later, they entirely mixed themselves in the Indian society and almost lost their individuality. Their origin, are detailed in Origin of Rajputs

The foreign origin of the Rajputs is based on the fact that the word Rajput does not appear in ancient Sanskrit literature prior to the rise of the Hunas. Because of the fluid social structure in early medieval India, a tribe could gain or lose in status based on political importance and occupation. Many tribes over the course of time became extinct because of war, or relocated to another location and changed their names. Traditionally, every rajput must belong to one of 36 rajput clans, the Chattis Rajkuls. During the rule of the British, Lieutenant Colonel James Tod visited Rajasthan and attempted to write a definitive list of the 36 Rajput tribes. However, everyone that he spoke to gave him varying lists. It can thus be concluded that any caste or clan that had furnished warriors or was politically dominant in a particular region can justly call itself Rajput. James Tod uses this legend as a basis for speculating upon a scythian origin for the rajputs.

The rajputs first came into historical prominence around the 7th and 8th century BC; they emerged as a set of inter-marrying tribes located in central India and Rajasthan. They were allegedly migrants to India from Central Asia who mingled with the aboriginal tribes and were given Kshatriya, or warrior status by the priests. However, this view of Rajput descent from the Hepthalites or White Huns is disputed, and arises from the rise of Rajput ascendancy in the wake of the successful invasion by the Hepthalites into the Gupta Empire.

There 36 Rajput clans are mentioned in the Kumarpala Charita of Jayasimha and then in the Prithviraj Raso of Chandbardai. The lists include classical clans like Ikshvaku or Suryavansha of which famous branches are Bargujar, Guhilot,Dogra etc. and another line – the Chandravansha or Soma Vansha of which one branch was Yadu; some well-known Rajput clans are Bargujar,Kirar/Kirad Rathore, Shekhawat, Paramara, Rever, Raijada, Chauhan, Gaharwar, Chalukya, Ghughtyal, Parihar, Parmar, Somvanshi, Tomar or Tanwar and Chandela; as also lesser-known clans such as Silar (Shilahara), Sengar Chapotkat and Tank.Rajput thakur is also a major line of rajputs.

Today, (Amit Singh) with the aid of inscriptions and copper plates discovered, it is possible to trace the history of the royal clans with considerable certainty. However they were not available in 17-18th century when a number of chronicles (khyats) were compiled often based on oral tradition. By this time, the Agni-kunda myth had been expanded to explain the origin of four of the major clan. James Tod wrote his influential book The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan in 1829 and 1832 on the basis of these chronicles. Other authors have used some of his hypotheses, even though the texts discovered and read during the 20th century show that Todd’s hypotheses are sometimes inaccurate.

Pala Empire

The Pāla Empire was a Buddhist dynasty as well as one of the major middle kingdoms of India that ruled from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent. The Palas were often described by opponents as the Lords of Gauda. The name Pala (Modern Bengali: পাল pal) means protector and was used as an ending to the names of all Pala monarchs. The Palas were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. Gopala was the first ruler from the dynasty. He came to power in 750 in Gaur by a democratic election. This event is recognized as one of the first democratic elections in South Asia since the time of the Mahā Janapadas. He reigned from 750-770 and consolidated his position by extending his control over all of Bengal. The Buddhist dynasty lasted for four centuries (750-1120 AD) and ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal. They created many temples and works of art as well as supported the Universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila. Somapura Mahavihara built by Dharmapala is the greatest Buddhist Vihara in the Indian Subcontinent.

The empire reached its peak under Dharmapala and Devapala. Dharmapala extended the empire into the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent. This triggered once again the power struggle for the control of the subcontinent. Devapala, successor of Dharmapala, expanded the empire to cover much of South Asia and beyond. His empire stretched from Assam and Utkala in the east, Kamboja (modern day Afghanistan) in the north-west and Deccan in the south. According to Pala copperplate inscription Devapala exterminated the Utkalas, conquered the Pragjyotisha (Assam), shattered the pride of the Huna, and humbled the lords of Pratiharas, Gurjara and the Dravidas.

The death of Devapala ended the period of ascendancy of the Pala Empire and several independent dynasties and kingdoms emerged during this time. However, Mahipala I rejuvenated the reign of the Palas. He recovered control over all of Bengal and expanded the empire. He survived the invasions of Rajendra Chola and the Chalukyas. After Mahipala I the Pala dynasty again saw its decline until Ramapala, the last great ruler of the dynasty, managed to retrieve the position of the dynasty to some extent. He crushed the Varendra rebellion and extended his empire farther to Kamarupa, Orissa and Northern India.

The Pala Empire can be considered as the golden era of Bengal. Never had the Bengali people reached such height of power and glory to that extent. Palas were responsible for the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet, Bhutan and Myanmar. The Palas had extensive trade as well as influence in south-east Asia. This can be seen in the sculptures and architectural style of the Sailendra Empire (present-day Malaya, Java, Sumatra). The Pala Empire eventually disintegrated in the 12th century under the attack of the Sena dynasty.


The Gurjara Pratihara Empire, also known as Gurjar Parihars, formed an Indian dynasty that ruled much of Northern India from the 6th to the 11th centuries. At its peak of prosperity and power (c. 836–910), it rivaled the Gupta Empire in the extent of its territory. According to a legend given in later manuscripts of Prithviraj Raso, the Gurjar Pratiharas were one of the Agnikula clans of Rajputs, deriving their origin from a sacrificial fire-pit (agnikunda) at Mount Abu. The myth, as tripathi mentions, is apparently absurd. Historians such as Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermund stated that Kannauj was capital of imperial Gurjara Pratiharas.

The Pratihara dynasty is referred to as Gurjara pratiharanvayah, i.e., Pratihara clan of the Gurjaras, in line 4 of the “Rajor inscription (Alwar)”. Vincent Smith believed that the Pratiharas were certainly of Gurjara (or Gujjar) origin, and stated that there is possibility of other Agnikula clans being of same origin. Dr. K. Jamanadas and D. B. Bhandarkar also believed that Pratiharas were a clan of Gujjars. In his book The Glory that was Gujardesh (1943), Gurjar writer K. M. Munshi stated that the Pratiharas and some other Rajput clans were of Gujjar (or Gurjar) origin.Historians such as A. F. Rudolf Hoernle, A M T Jackson also hold the view that Pratiharas were one of the divisions of Gurjara (or Gujjar) tribe.


The Rashtrakuta Empire was a royal Indian dynasty ruling large parts of southern, central and northern India between the sixth and the tenth centuries. During this period they ruled as several closely related, but individual clans. The earliest known Rashtrakuta inscription is a seventh century copper plate grant that mentions their rule from Manpur in the Malwa region of modern Madhya Pradesh. Other ruling Rashtrakuta clans from the same period mentioned in inscriptions were the kings of Achalapur which is modern Elichpur in Maharashtra and the rulers of Kannauj. Several controversies exist regarding the origin of these early Rashtrakutas, their native home and their language.

The clan that ruled from Elichpur was a feudatory of the Badami Chalukyas and during the rule of Dantidurga, it overthrew Chalukya Kirtivarman II and went on to build an empire with the Gulbarga region in modern Karnataka as its base. This clan came to be known as the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta, rising to power in South India in 753. At the same time the Pala dynasty of Bengal and the Prathihara dynasty of Malwa were gaining force in eastern and northwestern India respectively.

This period, between the eight and the tenth centuries, saw a tripartite struggle for the resources of the rich Gangetic plains, each of these three empires annexing the seat of power at Kannauj for short periods of time. At their peak the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta ruled a vast empire stretching from the Ganga River and Yamuna River doab in the north to Cape Comorin in the south, a fruitful time of political expansion, architectural achievements and famous literary contributions. The early kings of this dynasty were Hindu but the later kings were strongly influenced by Jainism.

During their rule, Jain mathematicians and scholars contributed important works in Kannada and Sanskrit. Amoghavarsha I was the most famous king of this dynasty and wrote Kavirajamarga, a landmark literary work in the Kannada language. Architecture reached a milestone in the Dravidian style, the finest example of which is seen in the Kailasanath Temple at Ellora. Other important contributions are the sculptures of Elephanta Caves in modern Maharashtra as well as the Kashivishvanatha temple and the Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal in modern Karnataka, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Qno6. Trace the rise and consolidation of early medieval polities in peninsular India between 6th to 8th centuries AD.   OR.   Analyze the nature of political processes between 6th to 8th centuries AD in peninsular India.

Ans: The sixth to the eighth centuries marks a significant stage in peninsular India in several respects. It witnessed the emergence of several states, many of them for the first time in their respective localities. Secondly there took place and increase in the migration of Brahman communities from North India, thereby encouraging percolation of Brahmanical ideology and culture to South India as in Eastern India. Thirdly South India played a leading role in the spread of Indian culture overseas, through maritime contacts. In this period the states emerged in core areas centered around rivers like Kaveri, Krishna and their tributaries.

The important kingdoms in this period where the Pallavas of Kanchipuran, Pandeyas of Madurai, and Chalukayas of Badami.

1.The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty of South India which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and whole of Andhra Pradesh with their capital at Kanchipuram. The word Pallava in Sanskrit means branch. The Pallava dynasty is an offshoot of the Chola rulers. They expanded into the Guntur region of Andhra Pradesh. This area is still referred to as Palnadu or Pallava Nadu. Pallavas gained prominence after the eclipse of Satavahanas of Andhra and decline of Cholas in Tamil Nadu. The Pallavas patronized Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. Some of the most illustrious Sanskrit poets like Bharavi and Dandin and the seashore rock-cut temples of Mahabalipuram belong to the Pallavan era.

Pallavas rose in power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630 CE) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668 CE) and dominated the Telugu and northern parts of the Tamil region for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century. Throughout their reign they were in constant conflict with both Chalukyas of Badami in the north and the Tamil kingdoms of Chola and Pandyas in the south and were finally defeated by the Chola kings in the 8th century CE.

Pallavas are most noted for their patronage of architecture, still seen today in Mahabalipuram. The Pallavas, who left behind magnificent sculptures and temples, established the foundations of medieval south Indian architecture. Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang visited Kanchipuram during Pallava rule and extolled their benign rule. Many sources describe Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen school of Buddhism in China, as a prince of the Pallava dynasty, a contemporary of Skandavarman IV and Nandivarman I, and the son of Simhavarman II, though this is debatable.

  1. The Pandyan Empire was an ancient Tamil state in South India. The Pandyas, Chola, Chera and Pallava Dynasties are the four Dravidian Tamil Dynasties which ruled South India until the 15th century CE. They initially ruled from Korkai, a seaport on the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, and in later times moved to Madurai. Pandyan was well known since the ancient period, with contacts, even diplomatic, reaching the Roman Empire; during the 13th century AD, Marco Polo mentioned it as the richest empire in existence. The Pandyan empire was home to temples including Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, and Nellaiappar Temple built on the bank of the river Thamirabarani in Tirunelveli.

The Pandyas of Southern India are believed to have been founded around five to six centuries before the Christian era. Their recorded existence and mention are found in records dating to as early as 550 BC. Emperor Augustus of Rome at Antioch knew of the Pandyan of Dramira and received a Pandyan ambassador with letters and gifts from this ancient Tamil Kingdom. Strabo described an ambassador to Emperor Augustus Caesar from a South Indian King called Pandyan. The country of the Pandyas, Pandi Mandala, was described as Pandyan Mediterranea by Periplus and Modura Regia Pandyan by Ptolemy.

The early Pandyan Dynasty of the Sangam Literature faded into obscurity upon the invasion of the Kalabhras. The dynasty revived under Kadungon in the early 6th century, pushed the Kalabhras out of the Tamil country and ruled from Madurai. They again went into decline with the rise of the Cholas in the 9th century and were in constant conflict with them. The Pandyas allied themselves with the Sinhalese and the Cheras in harassing the Chola empire until they found an opportunity for reviving their fortunes during the late 13th century.

The Later Pandyas (1150-1350) entered their golden age under Maravman Sundara Pandiyan and Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan (c. 1251), who expanded the empire into Telugu country, conquered Kalinga (Orissa) and invaded and conquered Sri Lanka. They also had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya and their successors. During their history, the Pandyas were repeatedly in conflict with the Pallavas, Cholas, Hoysalas and finally the Muslim invaders from the Delhi Sultanate. The Pandyan Kingdom finally became extinct after the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate in the 16th century.

The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature before the Christian Era. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the South Indian coast, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world. Tradition holds that the legendary Sangams were held in Madurai under their patronage, and that some of the Pandya Kings were poets themselves.

  1. Chalukyas of Badami

In the 6th century, with the decline of the Gupta dynasty and their immediate successors in northern India, major changes began to happen in the area south of the Vindyas–the Deccan and Tamilaham. The age of small kingdoms had given way to large empires in this region. The Chalukya dynasty was established by Pulakesi I in 543. Pulakesi I took Vatapi (modern Badami in Bagalkot district, Karnataka) under his control and made it his capital. Pulakesi I and his descendants are referred to as “Chalukyas of Badami”. They ruled over an empire that comprised the entire state of Karnataka and most of Andhra Pradesh in the Deccan.

Pulakesi II, whose precoronation name was Ereya, commanded control over the entire Deccan and is perhaps the most well-known emperor of the Badami dynasty. He is considered one of the notable kings in Indian history. His queens were princess from the Alupa Dynasty of South Canara and the Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakad, clans with whom the Chalukyas maintained close family and marital relationships. Pulakesi II extended the Chalukya Empire up to the northern extents of the Pallava kingdom and halted the southward march of Harsha by defeating him on the banks of the river Narmada. He then defeated the Vishnukundins in the southeastern Deccan. Pallava Narasimhavarman however reversed this victory in 642 by attacking and occupying Badami temporarily. It is presumed Pulakesi II, “the great hero”, died fighting.

The Badami Chalukya dynasty went in to a brief decline following the death of Pulakesi II due to internal feuds when Badami was occupied by the Pallavas for a period of thirteen years. It recovered during the reign of Vikramaditya I, who succeeded in pushing the Pallavas out of Badami and restoring order to the empire. Vikramaditya I took the title “Rajamalla” (lit “Sovereign of the Mallas or Pallavas). The thirty seven year rule of Vijayaditya was a prosperous one and is known for prolific temple building activity.

The empire was its peak again during the rule of the illustrious Vikramaditya II who is known not only for his repeated invasions of the territory of Tondaimandalam and his subsequent victories over Pallava Nandivarman II, but also for his benevolence towards the people and the monuments of Kanchipuram, the Pallava capital. He thus avenged the earlier humiliation of the Chalukyas by the Pallavas and engraved a Kannada inscription on the victory pillar at the Kailasanatha Temple. He later overran the other traditional kingdoms of Tamil country, the Pandyas, the Cholas and the Keralas in addition to subduing a Kalabhra ruler. The last Chalukya king, Kirtivarman II, was overthrown by the Rashtrakuta King Dantidurga in 753. At their peak, the Chalukyas ruled a vast empire stretching from the Kaveri in the south to the Narmada in the north.

The political history of this period was marked by warfare territorial expansion outside the core areas. Political conflicts led to migration of people which brought about expansion of agriculture. It also resulted in the spread of new cultures, political ideas and development of regional identifies in these areas. Thus the tribal chips of this period were transformed into kings and Varna ideology led to the social stratification and legitimization of kingship. The political organization was monarchical in nature. The bureaucratic system as not very well developed and mature which is proved by the few references to Amatyas or ministers.

Administrative divisions existed but information about them is scanty. The local revenue administrations were important constituents of the administrative system. The state encouraged the creation of Brahmadeya settlements and promoted the art and architectural activities. The kings also gave patronage to religion. In this period, the early historical tribal polities, got transformed into a complex, agrarian order dominated by monarchy. The Brehmadeya and the temple mobilized and redistributed the resources and Puranic ideology provided the legitimating device.

Qno7. Discuss the nature of political organization at the local level beteen 8th to 12 centuries in peninsular India.    OR.   Analyze the nature of royal establishment in the political structure of peninsular India (8th to 12th centuries).

Ans: The period from the 8th to 12th century in political life in India is particularly dominated by the presence of large number of states. The bigger ones tried to establish their supremacy in northern India and the Deccan. The main contenders in this struggle for supremacy were the Pratiharas, the Palas and the Rashtrakutas. In the south the most powerful kingdom to emerge during this period was that of the Cholas. The Cholas brought about the political unification of large parts of the country but the general political picture was that of fragmentation particularly in northern India. It was in this period that India’s contact with the new religion of Islam began. The contacts began late in the 7th century through the Arab traders.

Later in the early 8th century the Arabs conquered Sind. In the 10th century the Turks emerged as a powerful force in Central and West Asia and carved out kingdoms for themselves. They conquered Persia but their lives were richly influenced by Persian culture and tradition. The Turks first invaded India during the late 10th and early 11th century and Punjab came under Turkish rule. Another series of Turkish invasions in the late 12th and early 13th century led to the establishment of the Sultanate of Delhi. Within a few centuries after the rise of

Islam in Arabia it became the second most popular religion in India with followers in every part of the country.

The political structure of the South India Kingdoms which emerged in the early medieval period. The important Kingdoms of this period were: Pandeyas of Madurai, Cheras of Mahodayapuram & Cholas of Thanjavur. The political organization of this period was based on hereditary monarchy. The king & his establishment was an important constituent of the political formation. Under the Cholas landed magnates functioned as state agents & constituted the officialdom. The Cholas had developed elaborate revenue machinery. The administration of justice was conducted by local communities. The military establishment comprised of bodyguards of kings & chiefs and mercenaries led by landed elite. Apart from the Chera, Chola and Pandya kings the realm was ruled by several chiefs who recognized the suzerainty of Cjhera, Chola and Pandyas.

In the later period, these chiefs got transformed in to state functionaries like the landed magnates. They were absorbed into the state system. The political aspirations of the local groups were articulated through the assemblies; Sabha (Brahmins) and Ur (non-Brahmans). The Nadus comprising of the Urs were the building blocks of south Indian polity in this period. The nagarams (corporate body of traders) and Brahmaeyas (Brahmanical villages) and Sabhas were the important local bodies of this period. In south India the emergence of state is attributed to social stratification derived from the principles of Varnashramaharam. Religion and its ideology also helped in providing legitimacy to the state. Various perspectives related to the study of political organization of the South India Kingdoms help us in critically analyzing the nature of polity of this period.

Qno8. Write a note on the features of the state under the Delhi Sultanate giving reference to Fakhr-i-Mudabirs and Ziya Baranis texts.    OR.    Analyze the vies of modern scholers on the nature of state under the Delhi Sultanate.

Ans: The Sultans of Delhi came from relatively humble origins. They were slaves who rose to become generals in the armies of the Afghan ruler Muizz al-Din Ghuri. Their transformation into rulers of a kingdom of great political influence in North India was a slow and discontinuous process that occurred through the thirteenth century. For the better part of that century, there were many centers of social and political power in the early Delhi Sultanate. There were military commanders with contending political ambitions, as well as urban elites with contrasting social constituencies, religious ideologies, and personal commitments. Such people did not always support authoritarian interventions seeking to create a monolithic state.

In the words of Mudabbirs text needs to be situated in the context of the Delhi Sultanate which was, at this time, in its infancy. He is therefore eager that power remains in the hands of the ruling classes and the text reflects this concern. Also, there was the threat of the Mongols from Central Asia at this time, and all this together created a sense of insecurity amongst the court intelligentsia. Information provided by him for over study of the state is aplenty, and the two following points are as under: 1. the sultan must formally invite the opponents to either except Islam. 2. If a Muslim city is besieged by non-Muslims then Muslim women can march to its defense without the permission of their men, and slaves who were employed in large numbers both by the sultan and the nobility at that time without the permission of their maters.

A Baranis idea on state and governance is also justice, the proper administration of which he considers to the main duty of the ruler. He too is concerned with the maintenance of power for the ruling classes; in fact, he is for more emphatic than Mudabbir in his ideas about the virtues and vices of the high low born people respectively. Contradictions’ are evident in his writings as well, although he was writing at a time when the Sultanate was much better grounded in its role as the state in the subcontinent.

Thus, Mudbbir and Barani, it is clear that state was not seen as a monolithic institution which could be simply superimposed by the ruling elite on the subjects of their conquered areas. On the contrary, State was almost always a procession formation, articulated through multiple actions and a complex network of advice and practice, where the Sultans had to take into account the ground realities of every area before deciding upon any action or policy.

The state under the Delhi Sultanate was not a unified entity which existed from the beginning to the end as a singular category. Rather, it was the coming together of various actions of the ruling classes as part of their act of effective governance. Some of its components were universal, such as taxation; others were variable, and there were still others which grew with the passage of time and according to need. Obviously, the immediate concerns of a newly emerging ‘state’ at the beginning of the 13th century were different from those of a more mature and confident political ‘state’ at the end of the 14th century. So, while the category of ‘state’ may still be employed as part of studying political governance under the Delhi Sultanate, it needs to be understood as a process rather than as a composite bloc that was superimposed up on the people.

The ‘state’ was an organic entity whose primary exercise was to ensure political dominance and effective rule, and this as possible only by addressing the ambitions of the ruling classes and the needs of demands of the ruled; towards that end, through its many actions and offices it aimed to integrate the diverse components of the kingdom into one unified, governed whole. Any action was good as a long as its achieved this desired end. It must therefore be seen as a continuing process of governance which, at particular points of time, could be identified as ‘state’, but when seen over a larger period, would emerge as a process at work. This governmental scaffolding was, of course, organized around the central person of the ruler whose own authority was enhanced by a skilful combination of effective rule, charismatic authority complemented by religious sanction from the ulema, and the bureaucracy as its main structural expression.

Thus, in as the ‘state’ as an expression of the vested interests of the ruling classes, it was a public political institution whose primary function was to bind together its subject population into a, universally disciplined mass –a community of people acculturated to structures of power-upon which political authority and power could be imposed. ‘Justice’, howsoever understood and articulated by the different groups, was the central axis of the state, and the degree of its success depended upon the skill with which the rulers were able to mobilize the [mainly economic] resources at their disposal, as also various other internal and external factors which determined their effectiveness.

Qno9. Write a note on the features of Vijayanagara polity.    OR.  Analyze the kingdoms of Bengal and Malwa in the context of mmedieval state.


The Vijayanagara referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was a South Indian empire based in the Deccan Plateau. Established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I, who identified themselves as [Reddy’s]. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts by the southern powers against Islamic invasions by the end of the 13th century. It lasted until 1646 although its power declined after a major military defeat in 1565 by the Deccan sultanates. The empire is named after its capital city of Vijayanagara, whose impressive ruins surround modern Hampi, now a World Heritage Site in modern Karnataka, India. The writings of medieval European travelers such as Domingo Paes, Fernão Nunes and Niccolò Da Conti and the literature in local vernaculars provide crucial information about its history. Archaeological excavations at Vijayanagara have revealed the empire’s power and wealth.

The empire’s legacy includes many monuments spread over South India, the best known being the group at Hampi. The previous temple building traditions in South India came together in the Vijayanagara Architecture style. The mingling of all faiths and vernaculars inspired architectural innovation of Hindu temple construction, first in the Deccan and later in the Dravidian idioms using the local granite. Secular royal structures show the influence of the Northern Deccan Sultanate architecture. Efficient administration and vigorous overseas trade brought new technologies like water management systems for irrigation. The empire’s patronage enabled fine arts and literature to reach new heights in the languages of Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit, while Carnatic music evolved into its current form. The Vijayanagara Empire created an epoch in South Indian history that transcended regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor.

Differing theories have been proposed regarding the Vijayanagara empire’s origins. Some claim that Harihara I and Bukka Raya I, the founders of the empire, or Kuruba people first associated with the Kakatiya kingdom who took control of the northern parts of the Hoysala Empire during its decline. Other historians propose they were Kannadigas and commanders in the army of the Hoysala Empire stationed in the Tungabhadra region to ward off Muslim invasions from the Northern India. Irrespective of their origin, historians agree the founders were supported and inspired by Vidyaranya, a saint at the Sringeri monastery to fight the Muslim invasion of South India. Writings by foreign travelers during the late medieval era combined with recent excavations in the Vijayanagara principality have uncovered much-needed information about the empire’s history, fortifications, scientific developments and architectural innovations.

Before the early 14th century rise of the Vijayanagara empire, the Hindu kingdoms of the Deccan, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal, the Pandyan Empire of Madurai, and the tiny kingdom of Kampili had been repeatedly invaded by Muslims from the north, and by 1336 they had all been defeated by Alla-ud-din Khilji and Muhammad bin Tughluq, the Sultans of Delhi. The Hoysala Empire was the sole remaining Hindu kingdom in the path of the Muslim invasion. After the death of Hoysala Veera Ballala III during a battle against the Sultan of Madurai in 1343, the Hoysala empire merged with the growing Vijayanagara empire..

The Vijayanagara Kingdom now imperial in stature, Harihara II, the second son of Bukka Raya I, further consolidated the kingdom beyond the Krishna River and brought the whole of South India under the Vijayanagara umbrella. The next ruler, Deva Raya I, emerged successful against the Gajapatis of Orissa and undertook important works of fortification and irrigation. Deva Raya II (called Gajabetekara) succeeded to the throne in 1424 and was possibly the most capable of the Sangama dynasty rulers. He quelled rebelling feudal lords as well as the Zamorin of Calicut and Quilon in the south. He invaded the island of Lanka and became overlord of the kings of Burma at Pegu and Tanasserim. The empire declined in the late 15th century until the serious attempts by commander Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya in 1485 and by general Tuluva Narasa Nayaka in 1491 to reconsolidate the empire. After nearly two decades of conflict with rebellious chieftains, the empire eventually came under the rule of Krishnadevaraya, the son of Tuluva Narasa Nayaka.

In the following decades the Vijayanagara empire dominated all of Southern India and fought off invasions from the five established Deccan Sultanates. The empire reached its peak during the rule of Krishnadevaraya when Vijayanagara armies were consistently victorious. The empire annexed areas formerly under the Sultanates in the northern Deccan and the territories in the eastern Deccan, including Kalinga, while simultaneously maintaining control over all its subordinates in the south. Many important monuments were either completed or commissioned during the time of Krishnadevaraya.

Bahamani kingdom in India extended from the northern Deccan region to the river Krishna. This empire was founded by Hasan Gangu who waged a battle against Muhammad bin Tughlaq and freed the Bahamani kingdom. He ruled under the title of Bahman Shah and was declared the founder of the Bahamani dynasty. This kingdom was in constant war with the Vijayanagar kingdom which was located to the south of the Bahamani kingdom. The Bahamani kingdom was founded around the year 1346. Read about the history of Bahamani kingdom.

One of the most notable rulers of the Bahamani kingdom was Firuz Shah Bahamani who waged three battles against the Vijayanagar Empire. He was a learned man who had the knowledge of numerous religious as well as natural sciences. He always wanted to develop the Deccan region as the cultural hub of India. Though he was a devout Muslim, the only vices he was extravagant on were drinking wine and listening to music. Firuz Shah was asked to give up his kingdom and throne for his brother Ahmed Shah I who was considered to be a saint because of his connection with the Sufi saint Gesu Daraz. He annexed the territories of Warangal.

With the invasion of Warangal, the balance of power in south of India changed to a large extent. The kingdom of the Bahamani extended and expanded its control rapidly. This was under the minister Mahmud Gawan. The nobles in the Bahamani kingdom were always causing problems by going against one another too often. They were broadly classified into two categories that is Deccanis (old comers) and the Afaquis (new comers). Mahmud Gawan was categorized as Afaqui and hence it was difficult for him to win the trust and confidence of the Deccanis. His policy of appeasement only made matters worse and could not stop both the parties from going against each other. Mahmud Gawan was executed at the age of seventy by Muhammad Shah of Deccan in the year 1482.

The chief economic activity in the Bahamani kingdom was agriculture and the main revenue of the state was produced in the form of agricultural products. The Bahamani kingdom flourished in architectural monuments. The best example would be the Gol Gumbaz, which is the largest dome in the world. Another famous monument is the Charminar located at Hyderabad. The Bahamani kingdom was like a cultural bridge between the north and south and the culture that developed during this time was a blend of both north and south styles and also had its own distinct styles. This style also influenced the Mughal culture.

The Malwa kingdom was a late medieval independent kingdom in the Malwa region of the present day Madhya Pradesh state in India from 1392-1562.

The kingdom was founded by Dilawar Khan Ghuri, the governor of the Delhi Sultanate in Malwa, who asserted his independence in 1392, but did not actually assume the ensigns of royalty till 1401. Initially Dhar was the capital of the new kingdom, but soon it was shifted to Mandu which was renamed Shadiabad (the city of joy). After his death, he was succeeded by his son Alp Khan, who assumed the title of Hoshang Shah. The Ghuri dynasty founded by Dilawar Khan Ghuri was replaced by Mahmud Shah I, who proclaimed himself, king on May 16, 1436. The Khilji dynasty founded by him ruled over Malwa till 1531. Mahmud I was succeeded by his eldest son Ghiyas-ud-Din. The last days of Ghiyas-ud-Din was embittered by a struggle for throne between his two sons, Nasir-ud-Din and Ala-ud-Din. Nasir-ud-Din however emerged victorious and ascended the throne on October 22, 1500. The last ruler Mahmud Shah II surrendered to Bahadur Shah, the sultan of Gujarat after the fort of Mandu fell to Bahadur on May 25, 1531.

During 1531 – 1537 the kingdom was under the control of Bahadur Shah though the Mughal emperor Humayun captured it for a short period during 1535-36. In 1537, Qadir Shah, an ex-officer of the previous Khilji dynasty rulers regained control over a part of the erstwhile kingdom. But in 1542, Sher Shah Suri conquered the kingdom defeating him and appointed Shuja’at Khan as the governor. His son, Baz Bahadur declared himself independent in 1555. In 1561, Akbar’s army led by Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad Khan attacked Malwa and defeated Baz Bahadur in the battle of Sarangpur on 29 March, 1561. Akbar soon recalled Adham Khan and made over command to Pir Muhammad. Pir Muhammad attacked Khandesh and proceeded up to Burhanpur but he was defeated by a coalition of three powers: Miran Mubarak Shah II of Khandesh, Tufal Khan of Berar and Baz Bahadur. Pir Muhammad died while retreating. The confederate army pursued the Mughals and drove them out of Malwa. Baz Bahadur regained his kingdom for a short period. In 1562, Akbar sent another army led by Abdullah Khan, the Uzbeg, which finally defeated Baz Bahadur. He fled to Chittor. It became a Subah of the Mughal Empire and Abdullah Khan became its first governor.

Gauda Kingdom of Bengal

After the fall of the Guptas, the dominion of Bengal gained its independence and was known as the Gauda kingdom, although this was far from including all of Bengal. The various regions which were later joined together as Bengal were known as Pundra Vardhana (now northern Bangladesh), Gauda (parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh), Dandabhukti (southern West Bengal), Karna Subarna (part of West Bengal), Varendra (northern Bangladesh), Rarh (southern areas of West Bengal), Summha Desa (south-western West Bengal), Vanga (central Bangladesh), Vangala (southern Bangladesh), Harikela (north-eastern Bangladesh), Chandradwipa (southern Bangladesh), Subarnabithi (central Bangladesh), Navyabakashika (central and southern Bangladesh), Lukhnauti (North Bengal and Bihar), and Samatata (eastern Bangladesh).

The first recorded independent king of Bengal, or Gauda, was a tribal leader named Shashanka. He pulled together the disparate sections of his kingdom at some point around the start of the seventh century, and was also a contemporary and adversary of King Harshavardhana of Thaneshwar. The kingdom of Bengal, or Gauda (the territory between the River Padma and the region of Bardhaman) had its capital at Karnasuvarna, and the famous metropolis was situated near Chiruti railway station, close to Rajbadidanga (ie. the site of Raktamrttika-mahavihara, or modern Rangamati) in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal.

The four important kingdoms that ruled over a period of two centuries preceding the establishment of the Mughal state throws some light on the broad features of the polity of this period. It is characterized as a polity headed by a strong ruler, supported by hierarchically organized administrative machinery and legitimized by the authority of religion. The new territorial states for all practical purposes declared their independent authority but the relationship with the Sultanate was not necessary completely cut off. Although one cannot completely ignore the religious dimension particularly in the case of conflict between the Vijayanagara and the Bahmini kingdoms but it was mainly for considerations like control over the Tungbhadra doab for economic resources which had a major contribution in precipitating conflicts between these states. Despite constant wars and dissensions amongst the ruling elites the period in no way can be portrayed as a period of political decadence, rather this period showed the remarkable strength and stability of regional polity.

Qno10. Analyze the important features of the Mughal theory of sovereignity.   OR.   Explain the nature of the Mughal state giving references to the views of different historians.


The Mughal state or Mogul Empire in former English usage, was an Islamic imperial power that ruled a large portion of Indian subcontinent which began in 1526, invaded and ruled most of Hindustan (South Asia) by the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and ended in the mid-19th century. The Mughal Emperors were descendants of the Timurids, and at the height of their power around 1700, they controlled most of the Indian Subcontinent—extending from Bengal in the east to Balochistan in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south. Its population at that time has been estimated at between 110 and 130 million, over a territory of over 4 million km2 (1.5 million square miles).

The foundation for the empire was established around the early 1500s by the Timurid prince Babur, when he took control of the Doab and eastern regions of Khorasan, which controlled the fertile Sindh region and the lower valley of the Indus River. In 1526, Babur defeated the last of the Delhi Sultans, Ibrahim Shah Lodi, at the First Battle of Panipat. To secure his newly founded kingdom, Babur then had to face the formidable Rajput confederacy led by Rana Sanga of Chittor, at the Battle of Khanwa. Rana Sanga offered stiff resistance but was defeated due to treachery within his own ranks.

Babur’s son Humayun succeeded him in 1530 but suffered major reversals at the hands of the Pashtun Sher Shah Suri and effectively lost most of the fledgling empire before it could grow beyond a minor regional state. From 1540 Humayun became a ruler in exile, reaching the court of the Safavid rule in 1554 while his force still controlled some fortresses and small regions. But when the Pashtuns fell into disarray with the death of Sher Shah Suri, Humayun returned with a mixed army, raised more troops and managed to reconquer Delhi in 1555.

Humayun crossed the rough terrain of the Makran people with his wife, but left behind their infant son Jalaluddin to spare him the rigours of the journey. Akbar, as Jalaluddin would be better known in his later years, was born in the town of Sindh in where he was raised by his uncle Askari. There he became an excellent outdoorsman, horseman, and hunter, and learned the arts of war. The resurgent Humayun then conquered the central plateau around Delhi, but months later died in an accident, leaving the realm unsettled and in war.

Akbar succeeded his father on 14 February 1556, while in the midst of a war against Sikandar Shah Suri for the throne of Delhi. He soon won his eighteenth victory at age 21 or 22. He became known as Akbar, as he was a wise ruler, set fair but steep taxes. He was born in a Hindu Rajput household. He was a more inclusive in his approach to the non-Muslim subjects of the Empire. He investigated the production in a certain area and taxed inhabitants one-fifth of their agricultural produce. He also set up an efficient bureaucracy and was tolerant of religious differences which softened the resistance by the locals. He made alliances with Rajputs and appointed Hindu generals and administrators. Later in life, he also came up with his own brand of religion based on tolerance and inspired by views from both Hinduism and Islam. However, after his death this religion did not catch on but is still remembered for its noble intentions of bringing people and minds together.

Jahangir, son of Emperor Akbar, ruled the empire from 1605–1627. In October 1627, Shah Jahan, son of Emperor Jahangir succeeded to the throne, where he inherited a vast and rich empire. At mid-century this was perhaps the greatest empire in the world. Shah Jahan commissioned the famous Taj Mahal (1630–1653) in Agra which was built by the Persian architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri as a tomb for Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. By 1700 the empire reached its peak under the leadership of Aurangzeb Alamgir with major parts of present day India, Pakistan and most of Afghanistan under its domain. Aurangzeb was the last of what are now referred to as the Great Mughal kings.

Mughal dynasty

The Mughal Empire was the dominant power in the Indian subcontinent between the mid-16th century and the early 18th century. Founded in 1526, it officially survived until 1858, when it was supplanted by the British Raj. The dynasty is sometimes referred to as the Timurid dynasty as Babur was descended from Timur.

The Mughal dynasty was founded when Babur, hailing from Ferghana (Modern Uzbekistan), invaded parts of northern India and defeated Ibrahim Shah Lodhi, the ruler of Delhi, at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. The Mughal Empire superseded the Delhi Sultanate as rulers of northern India. In time, the state thus founded by Babur far exceeded the bounds of the Delhi Sultanate, eventually encompassing a major portion of India and earning the appellation of Empire. A brief interregnum (1540–1555) during the reign of Babur’s son, Humayun, saw the rise of the Afghan Suri Dynasty under Sher Shah Suri, a competent and efficient ruler in his own right. However, Sher Shah’s untimely death and the military incompetence of his successors enabled Humayun to regain his throne in 1555. However, Humayun died a few months later, and was succeeded by his son, the 13-year-old Akbar the Great.

The greatest portions of Mughal expansion was accomplished during the reign of Akbar (1556–1605). The empire was maintained as the dominant force of the present-day Indian subcontinent for a hundred years further by his successors Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb. The first six emperors, who enjoyed power both ‘’de jure’’ and ‘’de facto’’, are usually referred to by just one name, a title adopted upon his accession by each Emperor. The relevant title is bolded in the list below.

Babur’s idea of sovereignty and kinship had direct linkage with the principles of the tribal Mongol tradition and the Islamic tradition in which he was brought up. Akbar made innovation in the Mughal theory of sovereignty by introducing a rational element. M. Athar Ali explains that this rational concept demanded obedience in fulfillment of a mutual, contractual duty and helped ‘to justify the sovereign’s absolute claims over the individual subject. The strength of this theory lies in its secular character on alleged social needs’. The Mughal emperor was the supreme authority within the empire commanding absolute loyalty of his entire subject. To counterbalance the threat from the heterogeneous nobility to the imperial authority the Mughals developed a novel mechanism of checks and balances. In the conflict among the nobles over sharing of poer and agrarian surplus the Mughal emperor ensured his position as a superior arbiter.

In analyzing the nature of the Mughal state some historians have classified it as a highly centralized bureaucrate empire. The Aligarh historians have stressed on the systemic perspective and the fiscal/resources management of the Mughal Empire in order to explain the nature and crisis of the empire. Irfan Habib has used the term ‘medieval Indian system’, a system characterized by the growing tendency of a highly centralized bureaucratic state apparatus to appropriate the surplus and exploit the peasantry. While scholars like Blake and Pearson have described the Mughal authority as essentially personal and patriarchal than despotic. Muzaffar Alam and Sanajay Subrahmanyan focus on the persistence of differences from region to region rather than the centrally imposed uniformity as suggested by some historians. Chetan Singh is also of the opinion of a regionalization of the administrative functionaries of the Mughal state. Decline of the Mughal Empire was not a sudden collapse of the imperial administrative apparatus, nor an individual ruler could be held responsible for the crisis, but the crisis in imperial structure because of economic and political reasons resulted in a shift of political and military power from the centre to regions. Emergences of successor and other states in the 18th century was the indication of this declining trend of the imperial polity.

Qno11. Discuss the process which led to the emergence and consolidation of the 18th century polities.   OR.   How did these polities legitimize their authority?

Ans: The 18th century a number of semi-independent, semi-sovereign states such as Awadh, Bengal, Maratha, Hyderabad and Mysore emerged on the debris of the Mughal Empire. The local landed gentry especially the ijaradars and the merchants were the main pillars on which the structure of the 18th century polities rested. These states were established by the process of rebellion against Mughal authority by the Mughal subedars or by new social groups aspiring for political power. The importance of credit, usury, banking and revenue in the 18th century state formation has been highlighted. These powers gained political ascendancy in the form of new secondary state formations. They were still in the process of establishing the legitimacy of their rule.

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, lived during a period of rapid change. The population was sharply increasing, the national income was rising, roads were improving, and literacy was spreading. Britain was on the verge of becoming a great power, driven by its burgeoning factories at home and fertile territories abroad. But with fewer than ten million people, the country was still small enough to be governed by an aristocratic oligarchy.

There were roughly two hundred peers (as British aristocrats are called) when Georgiana married the Duke of Devonshire. There were only twenty-eight Dukes, but because of their wealth and rank they exerted a disproportionate influence in politics. As a Duchess, Georgiana was one tier below royalty; below her the titles descended in the order of marquess and marchioness, earl and countess, viscount and viscountess, and lord and lady. The peers sat by right of birth in the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the Houses of Parliament. The only form of retirement for a peer was death. Indeed, in 1778 the Earl of Chatham made a dramatic exit from the floor of the Lords, dying of a heart attack in mid-speech.

While the two hundred or so peers sat in isolated splendour in the Lords, their sons, cousins, brothers-in-law, friends and hangers-on filled up the House of Commons, the lower chamber in Parliament. Britain was a democracy in the sense that every five years a general election took place and voters elected 558 members of Parliament, known as MPs, to sit in the Commons. However, property restrictions kept the number of voters small, roughly three hundred thousand, or 3 percent of the population. There were all kinds of legal anomalies and customs which enabled peers and gentlemen of sufficient wealth to actually own a seat outright, or have so much influence in the constituency, that democracy did not enter into the equation at all. The peerage spent a great deal of money and effort trying to control as many seats in the Commons as possible. But aristocratic patronage never extended to more than two hundred MPs, leaving the majority open to some form of contest.

There was enough popular participation to make politics as big a national obsession as sport, if not bigger. The emergence of national newspapers turned politicians into celebrities. The talk in coffee houses and inns up and down the country was on the quality of the speeches the day before, on who had acquitted himself in the finest manner and whether the government – meaning the monarchy – had won the argument. For the aristocracy, politics was not just a sport but a business. It dominated their lives, destroying some in the process and elevating others to even greater wealth and glory.

Although some did not have the vote, were barred from the House of Commons, and could not hold an official position, Georgiana was a passionate contestant in the political arena. She devoted herself to the Whig party; campaigning, scheming, fund-raising, and recruiting for it right up until the day she died.

Qno12. Discuss the chief characteristics of the Portugueese sea borne Empire.

Ans: Portuguese India was the aggregate of Portugal’s colonial holdings in India.

The government started in 1505, six years after the ‘discovery’ of sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de Almeida, then settled at Kochi. Until 1752, the name “India” included all Portuguese possessions in the Indian Ocean, from southern Africa to Southeast Asia, governed – either by a Viceroy or Governor – from its headquarters, established in Goa since 1510. In 1752 Mozambique got its own government and in 1844 the Portuguese Government of India stopped administering the territory of Macau, Solor and Timor, being then confined to Malabar.

At the time of British India’s independence in 1947, Portuguese India included a number of enclaves on India’s western coast, including Goa proper, as well as the coastal enclaves of Daman (Port: Damão) and Diu, and the enclaves of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which lie inland from Daman. The territories of Portuguese India were sometimes referred to collectively as Goa. Portugal lost the last two enclaves in 1954, and finally the remaining three in December 1961, when they were occupied by India (although Portugal only recognized the occupation after the Carnation Revolution in 1975).

Early history

The first Portuguese encounter with India was on May 20, 1498 when Vasco da Gama landed in Calicut (Kozhikode) in the present-day Indian state of Kerala. Over the objections of Arab merchants, Gama managed to secure a letter of concession for trading rights from the Zamorin, Calicut’s local ruler. Unable to pay the prescribed customs duties (that Gama sought to be waived) and price of his goods in gold (as was the practice then), the King’s officials detained Gama’s Portuguese agents as security for payment (who were released later). This however annoyed Gama, who carried a few Nairs and sixteen Mukkuva fishermen with him by force. Nevertheless, Gama’s expedition was successful beyond all reasonable expectation bringing in cargo that was sixty times the cost of the expedition.

Pedro Álvares Cabral (1500-01)

Pedro Álvares Cabral sailed to India, discovering Brazil on the way, to trade for pepper and other spices, establishing a factory at Calicut, where he arrived on 13 September 1500. In Cochin and Cannanore Cabral succeeded in making advantageous treaties. At Calicut this however precipitated matters with the Arabs. Matters worsened when Cabral notoriously captured several vessels at the port and massacred the crew which was retaliated by the locals who burned down the factory and butchered several Portuguese. Cabral started on the return voyage on 16 January 1501. He arrived in Portugal with only 4 of 13 ships on 23 June 1501.

Gama sailed the second time to India with 15 ships and 800 men and arrived at Calicut on October 30, 1502, where the Zamorin was willing to sign a treaty. Gama this time made a preposterous call to expel all Muslims from Calicut which was vehemently turned down. He bombarded the city and captured several rice vessels and barbarously cut off the crew’s hands, ears and noses. He returned to Portugal in September 1503.

Francisco de Almeida (1505-09)

On 25 March 1505, Francisco de Almeida was appointed Viceroy of India, on the condition that he would set up four forts on the southwestern Indian coast: at Anjediva Island, Cannanore, Cochin and Quilon. Francisco de Almeida left Portugal with a fleet of 22 vessels with 1,500 men.

On 13 September, Francisco de Almeida reached Anjadip Island, where he immediately started the construction of Fort Anjediva. On 23 October, he started, with the permission of the friendly ruler Kōlattiri, the building of St. Angelo Fort in Cannanore, leaving Lourenço de Brito in charge with 150 men and two ships.

Francisco de Almeida then reached Cochin in 31 October 1505 with only 8 vessels left. There he learnt that the Portuguese traders at Quilon had been killed. He decided to send his son Lourenço de Almeida with 6 ships, who destroyed 27 Calicut vessels in the harbour of Quilon. Almeida took up residence in Cochin. He strengthened the Portuguese fortifications of Fort Manuel on Cochin.

The Zamorin of Calicut prepared a large fleet of 200 ships to oppose the Portuguese, but in March 1506 Lourenço de Almeida (son of Francisco de Almeida)was victorious in a sea battle at the entrance to the harbour of Cannanore, the Battle of Cannanore (1506), an important setback for the fleet of the Zamorin. Hereupon Lourenço de Almeida explored the coastal waters southwards to Colombo, modern Sri Lanka. In Cannanore however, a new ruler, hostile to the Portuguese and friendly with the samorin, attacked the Portuguese garrison, leading to the Siege of Cannanore (1507).

In 1507 Almeida’s mission was strengthened by the arrival of Tristão da Cunha’s squadron. Afonso de Albuquerque’s squadron had however split from that of Cunha off east Africa and was independently conquering territories to the west.

The Portuguese decisively defeated Mamluk-Gujarati resistance at the Battle of Diu (1509).

In March 1508 a Portuguese squadron under command of Lourenço de Almeida was attacked by a combined Mameluk Egyptian and Gujarat Sultanate fleet at Chaul and Dabul respectively, lead by admirals Mirocem and Meliqueaz in the Battle of Chaul (1508). Lourenço de Almeida lost his life after a fierce fight in this battle. Mamluk-Indian resistance would be decisively defeated however at the Battle of Diu (1509).

In the year 1509, Afonso de Albuquerque was appointed the second Viceroy of the Portuguese possessions in the East. A new fleet under Marshall Cutinho arrived with specific instructions to destroy the power of Calicut. The Zamorin’s palace was captured and destroyed and the city was set on fire. But the King’s forces rallied fast to kill Marshall Cutinho and wounded Albuquerque. Albuquerque nevertheless was clever enough to patch up his quarrel and entered into a treaty with the Zamorin in 1513 to protect Portuguese interests in Kerala. Hostilities were renewed when the Portuguese attempted to assassinate the Zamorin sometime between 1515 and 1518. In 1510, Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the Bijapur sultans with the help of Timayya, on behalf of the hindu Vijayanagara Empire, leading to the establishment of a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa). The Southern Province, also known simply as Goa, was the headquarters of Portuguese India, and seat of the Portuguese viceroy who governed the Portuguese possessions in Asia.

The Portuguese acquired several territories from the Sultans of Gujarat: Daman (occupied 1531, formally ceded 1539); Salsette, Bombay, and Baçaim (occupied 1534); and Diu (ceded 1535).

Qno13. Explain the phrase of the Dutch Domination (1600-1680).

Ans: The Dutch Empire (Dutch: Nederlands-koloniale Rijk) consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, aided by their skills in shipping and trade and the surge of nationalism accompanying the struggle for independence from Spain. Alongside the British, the Dutch initially built up colonial possessions on the basis of indirect state capitalist corporate colonialism, via the Dutch East and West India Companies. Dutch exploratory voyages such as those led by Willem Barents, Henry Hudson and Abel Tasman revealed to Europeans vast new territories.

With Dutch naval power rising rapidly as a major force from the late 16th century, the Netherlands dominated global commerce during the second half of the 17th century during a cultural flowering known as the Dutch Golden Age. The Netherlands lost many of its colonial possessions, as well as its global power status, to the British when the metro pole fell to French armies during the Revolutionary Wars. The restored portions of the Dutch Empire, notably the Dutch East Indies and Suriname, remained under Dutch control until the decline of European imperialism following World War II.

Today, the Netherlands are part of a federacy called the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with its former colonies Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles.

The 17th Century was a golden age for the Dutch. Amsterdam was a major commercial center, while the Bank of Amsterdam served as the clearinghouse for credit transactions throughout Northern Europe. The Dutch controlled trade routes in the Baltic and the North Sea. With the formation of the Dutch East India Company in 1602, the Dutch revolutionized global trade, establishing factories, ports and settlements all over the Pacific.

The Dutch East India Company was a first of its kind in Northern Europe, having taken trade routes away from the Germanic Hanseatic League. It was a joint stock company formed by investors. This type of company had been used somewhat in Italy. But in Spain and Portugal, the leading countries of exploration at the time, it was unheard of.

The Dutch had already had great success trading in and around Europe. They bought goods in bulk and could rarely be undersold by competitors. Building on this success, the Dutch East India Company sought a way to bypass the Portuguese stronghold on the spice trade with the Far East. To help make their trading more efficient (something the Portugese weren’t) the Dutch set up factories in Bandar, on the Persian Gulf, and in Bantam on the Malay Archipelago. They also had a factory at Zeelander (modern day Taiwan) but were expelled by Chinese forces in 1662. By 1620, the Dutch East India Company was the biggest trading corporation in all of Europe and a force to be reckoned with.

In 1652 the Dutch set up a refueling station on the tip of Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope. The Dutch had also muscled the Portuguese out of several of their ports and holdings in India and the Malay Archipelago. Their headquarters were strategically placed at Batavia, on the Malay Archipelago. In 1641 they took Malacca from the Portuguese. In 1656 they set up a station in Chinsura, Benegal. That same year they also took Colombo (located on Sri Lanka) from the Portuguese. This was followed by the establishment of a harbor at Malabar in India in 1663. In 1669 a Dutch fleet took Macassar, on the Malay Archipelago, making its sultan a Dutch vassal.

In China, the Dutch along with other European powers, traded at Canton. In Japan, the Dutch had exclusive rights to trade at Nagasaki after 1639.

The demand for spices in Europe had continued to increase throughout the 16th and early 17th Century. At the start of the 1600s, the Portuguese were the only European country who imported spices from the Far East. It wasn’t long before the Dutch ousted the Portuguese from the Spice Islands and became the exclusive supplier of spices to Europe.

The Dutch East India Company peaked in 1669, when they employed over 10,000 soldiers, 40 warships and 150 merchant ships. Internal struggles, coupled with unrest in their settlements led to a decline for the joint stock company. At the same time, both England and France were growing in power and establishing more oversea colonies. By the end of the 18th Century the Dutch could no longer keep the English and French at bay in the Far East and the company was dissolved.
Qno15. Would you consider the Fench to be the oure runners of colonization in India? Elucidate.

French India is a general name for the former French possessions in India. These included Pondichéry (now Puducherry), Karikal and Yanaon (now Yañam) on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar coast, and Chandannagar in Bengal. In addition there were lodges (loges) located at Machilipatnam, Kozhikode and Surat, but they were merely nominal remnants of French factories.

The total area amounted to 526km² (203 square miles), of which 293km² (113 square miles) belonged to the territory of Pondichéry. In 1901 the total population amounted to 273,185.

The first French expedition to India is believed to have taken place in the reign of Francois I, when two ships were fitted out by some merchants of Rouen to trade in eastern seas; they sailed from Le Havre and were never afterwards heard of. In 1604 a company was granted letters patent by Henry IV, but the project failed. Fresh letters patent were issued in 1615, and two ships went to India, only one returning.

From 1658, François Bernier (1625–1688), a French physician and traveler, became for 12 years the personal physician of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

La Compagnie française des Indes orientales (French East India Company) was formed under the auspices of Cardinal Richelieu (1642) and reconstructed under Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1664), sending an expedition to Madagascar. In 1667 the French India Company sent out another expedition, under the command of François Caron (who was accompanied by a Persian named Marcara), which reached Surat in 1668 and established the first French factory in India. In 1669, Marcara succeeded in establishing another French factory at Masulipatam. In 1672, Saint Thomas was taken but the French were driven out by the Dutch. Chandernagore (present-day Chandannagar) was established in 1673, with the permission of Nawab Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor of Bengal. In 1674, the French acquired Valikondapuram from the Sultan of Bijapur and thus the foundation of Pondicherry was laid. By 1720, the French lost their factories at Surat, Masulipatam and Bantam to the British.

On February 4, 1673, Bellanger, a French officer, took up residence in the Danish Lodge in Pondichéry and the French Period of Pondichéry began. In 1674 François Martin, the first Governor, started to build Pondichéry and transformed it from a small fishing village into a flourishing port-town. The French were in constant conflict, in India, with the Dutch and the English. In 1693 the Dutch took over and fortified Pondichéry considerably. The French regained the town in 1699 through the Treaty of Ryswick signed on September 20, 1697.

Between 1720 and 1741, the objectives of the French were purely commercial. The French occupied Yanam (about 840 kilometers or 520 mi north-east of Pondicherry on Andhra Coast) in 1723, Mahe on Malabar Coast in 1725 and Karaikal (about 150 kilometers or 93 mi south of Pondicherry) in 1739. After 1742 political motives began to overshadow the desire for commercial gain. All factories were fortified for the purpose of defense.

In the 18th century the town of Pondicherry was laid out on a grid pattern and grew considerably. Able Governors like Pierre Christoph Le Noir (1726-1735) and Pierre Benoît Dumas (1735-1741) expanded the Pondicherry area and made it a large and rich town. Soon after his arrival in 1741, the most famous French Governor of Pondicherry and all French India, Joseph François Dupleix began to cherish the ambition of a French Empire in India but his superiors had less interest. French ambition clashed with the British interests in India and a period of military skirmishes and political intrigues began. Under the command of the Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau, Dupleix’s army successfully controlled the area between Hyderabad and Cape Comorin. But then Robert Clive arrived in India in 1744, a dare-devil British officer who dashed the hopes of Dupleix to create a French Colonial India.

After a defeat and failed peace talks, Dupleix was recalled to France in 1754. In spite of a treaty between the British and French not to interfere in local politics, the intrigues continued. For example, in this period the French were also expanding their influence at the court of the Nawab of Bengal, and expanding their trade volume in Bengal. In 1756, the French encouraged the Nawab (Siraj ud-Daulah) to attack and conquer the British Fort William in Calcutta. This led to the Battle of Plessey in 1757 where the British decisively defeated the Nawab and his French allies, and extended British power over the entire province of Bengal.

Subsequently France sent Lally-Tollendal to regain the French losses and chase the British out of India. Lally arrived in Pondicherry in 1758, had some initial success and razed Fort St. David in Cuddalore District to the ground in 1758, but strategic mistakes by Lally led to the loss of the Hyderabad region, the Battle of Wandiwash, and the siege of Pondicherry in 1760. In 1761 Pondicherry was razed to the ground by the British in revenge and lay in ruins for four years. The French had lost their hold now in South India too.

In 1765 Pondicherry was returned to France after a peace treaty with Britain in Europe. Governor Jean Law de Lauriston set to rebuild the town on the old foundations and after five months 200 European and 2000 Tamil houses had been erected. In 1769, the French East India Company, unable to support itself financially, was abolished by the French Crown, who took responsibility for administering the French colonies in India. During the next 50 years Pondicherry changed hands between France and Britain with the regularity of their wars and peace treaties.

Qno14. Trace the genesis of the princely states.   OR.   Whatwere the bbasic features of the administrative structures in the princely states?

Ans: A Princely State (also called Native State or Indian State) was a nominally sovereign entity of British rule in India that was not directly administered by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy. There were as many as 568 states in India before independence.

The Govindgarh Palace of the Maharaja of Rewa. The palace which was built as a hunting lodge later became famous for the first white tigers that were found in the adjacent jungle and raised in the palace zoo.

India under the British Raj or the British Indian Empire consisted of two divisions: British India and the Native States or Princely states. In its Interpretation Act of 1889, the British Parliament adopted the following definitions:

The expression British India shall mean all territories and places within Her Majesty’s dominions which are for the time being governed by Her Majesty through the Governor-General of India, or through any Governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India. The expression India shall mean British India together with any territories of a Native Prince or Chief under the suzerainty of Her Majesty, exercised through the Governor-General of India, or through any Governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India. (52 & 53 Vict. cap. 63, sec. 18)

(In general the term “British India” had been used (and is still used) to also refer to the regions under the rule of the British East India Company in India from 1600 to 1858. The term has also been used to refer to the “British in India.”)

Suzerainty over 175 Princely States, some of the largest and most important, was exercised (in the name of the British Crown) by central government of British India under the Viceroy; the remaining, approximately 500, states were dependents of the provincial governments of British India under a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or Chief Commissioner (as the case might have been). A clear distinction between “dominion” and “suzerainty” was supplied by the jurisdiction of the courts of law: the law of British India rested upon the laws passed by the British Parliament and the legislative powers those laws vested in the various governments of British India, both central and local; in contrast, the courts of the Princely States existed under the authority of the respective rulers of those states.

Princely status and titles

The Nawab of Junagadh Bhadur Khan III (seated center in an ornate chair) shown in a 1885 photograph with state officials and family.

The Indian rulers bore various titles—including Maharaja (“great king”), Badshah (“emperor”), Raja (“king”), Nawab (“governor”), Nizam, Wāli, and many others. Whatever the literal meaning and traditional prestige of the ruler’s actual title, the British government translated them all as “prince,” in order to avoid the implication that the native rulers could be “kings” with status equal to that of the British monarch.

More prestigious Hindu rulers (mostly existing before the Mughal Empire, or having split from such old states) often used the title “Raja,” or a variant such as “Rana,” “Rao,” “Rawat” or “Rawal.” Also in this ‘class’ were several Thakur sahibs and a few particular titles, such as Sar Desai.

The most prestigious Hindu rulers usually had the prefix “maha” (“great”, compare for example Grand duke) in their titles, as in Maharaja, Maharana, Maharao, etc. The states of Travancore and Cochin had queens regnant styled Maharani, generally the female forms applied only to sisters, spouses and widows, who could however act as regents.

There were also compound titles, such as (Maha)rajadhiraj, Raj-i-rajgan, often relics from an elaborate system of hierarchical titles under the Mughal emperors. For example, the addition of the adjective Bahadur raised the status of the titleholder one level.

Furthermore most dynasties used a variety of additional titles, such as Varma in South India. This should not be confused with various titles and suffixes not specific to princes but used by entire (sub) castes.

The Sikh princes concentrated at Punjab, usually adopted Hindu type titles when attaining princely rank; at a lower level Sardar was used.

Muslim rulers almost all used the title “Nawab” (the Arabic honorific of naib, “deputy,” used of the Mughal governors, who became de facto autonomous with the decline of the Mughal Empire), with the prominent exceptions of the Nizam of Hyderabad & Berar, the Wāli/Khan of Kalat and the Wāli of Swat. Other less usual titles included Darbar Sahib, Dewan, Jam, Mehtar (unique to Chitral) and Mir (from Emir).

Precedence and prestige

However, the actual importance of a princely state cannot be read from the title of its ruler, which was usually granted (or at least recognised) as a favour, often in recognition for loyalty and services rendered historically by the Mughal emperor, and later by the British rulers succeeding it as paramount power (first the HEIC, de facto; later the British crown, and ultimately assuming the style Emperor of India as successor to the emperor of the abolished Mughal realm). Although some titles were raised once or even repeatedly, there was no automatic updating when a state gained or lost real power. In fact, princely titles were even awarded to holders of domains (mainly jagirs) and even zamindars (tax collectors), which were not states at all. Various sources give significantly different numbers of states and domains of the various types. Even in general, the definition of titles and domains are clearly not well-established. There is also no strict relation between the levels of the titles and the classes of gun salutes, the real measure of precedence, but merely a growing percentage of higher titles in classes with more guns.

The gun salute system was used to set unambiguously the precedence of the major rulers in the area in which the British East India Company was active, or generally of the states and their dynasties. Princely rulers were entitled to be saluted by the firing of an odd number of guns between three and 21, with a greater number of guns indicating greater prestige. (There were many minor rulers who were not entitled to any gun salutes, and as a rule the majority of gun-salute princes had at least nine, with numbers below that usually the prerogative of Arab coastal Sheikhs also under British protection.) Generally, the number of guns remained the same for all successive rulers of a particular state, but individual princes were sometimes granted additional guns on a personal basis. Furthermore, rulers were sometimes granted additional gun salutes within their own territories only, constituting a semi-promotion.

While the states of all these rulers (about 120) were known as salute states, there were far more so-called non-salute states of lower prestige, and even more princes (in the broadest sense of the term) not even acknowledged as such. On the other hand, the dynasties of certain defunct states were allowed to keep their princely status—they were known as Political Pensioners. Though none of these princes were awarded gun salutes, princely titles in this category were recognized as among certain vassals of salute states, and were not even in direct relation with the paramount power.

After independence, the Maharana of Udaipur displaced the Nizam of Hyderabad as the most senior prince in India, and the style Highness was extended to all rulers entitled to 9-gun salutes. When these dynasties had been integrated into the Indian Union they were promised continued privileges and an income, known as the Privy Purse, for their upkeep. Subsequently, when the Indian government abolished the Privy Purse in 1971, the whole princely order ceased to exist under Indian law, although many families continue to retain their social prestige informally; some descendants are still prominent in regional or national politics, diplomacy, business and high society.

At the time of Indian independence, only five rulers—the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir state, the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda and the Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior—were entitled to a 21-gun salute. Five more rulers—the Nawab of Bhopal, the Maharaja Holkar of Indore, the Maharana of Udaipur, the Maharaja of Kolhapur and the Maharaja of Travancore—were entitled to 19-gun salutes. The most senior princely ruler was the (Muslim) Nizam of Hyderabad, who was entitled to the unique style Exalted Highness. Other princely rulers entitled to salutes of 11 guns (soon 9 guns too) or more were entitled to the style Highness. No special style was used by rulers entitled to lesser gun salutes.

As paramount ruler, and successor to the Mughals, the British King-Emperor of India, for whom the style of Majesty was reserved, was entitled to an ‘imperial’ 101-gun salute—in the European tradition also the number of guns fired to announce the birth of a (male) heir to the throne.

All princely rulers were eligible to be appointed to certain British orders of chivalry associated with India, The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India and The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire. Even women could be appointed as “Knights” (instead of Dames) of these orders. Rulers entitled to 21-gun and 19-gun salutes were normally appointed to the highest rank possible (Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India).

Many Indian princes served in the British army (as others in local guard or police forces), often rising to the high official ranks; some even served while on the throne. Many of these were appointed as ADC etc., either to the ruling prince of their own house (in the case of relatives of such rulers) or indeed to the British King-Emperor. Many also saw action, both on the subcontinent and on other fronts, during both World Wars.

It was also not unusual for members of princely houses to be appointed to various colonial offices, often far from their native state, or to enter the diplomatic corps.


On accession by a princely state, its territories and administrations merged into the Union of India. The rulers of the princely states were allowed to retain their hereditary titles and official residences. Depending upon their size, importance and revenue they were also allowed to retain additional properties and given privy purses (in compensation of the state’s revenue which now would go the new Union). On abolition of the Privy Purse (and the right to the hereditary titles) by the government in 1971 the princely states ceased to exist as recognized political entities.

Mohammed Abdul Ali Azim Jah, the former Prince of Arcot, is the only former royal in India who was not affected by the abolition of privy purses. In the order of precedence, he enjoys the rank of cabinet minister of the state of Tamil Nadu.

The former Nawab hails from a family that traces its lineage back to the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattāb. The title ‘Prince of Arcot’, uniquely using the European style prince, was conferred on his ancestor by the British government in 1870 after the post of Nawab of the Carnatic (a title granted by the Mughal emperor) was abolished.

Former states sometimes still maintain and observe their ceremonies as family traditions or as popular folk-customs. For example, processions during the popular Gangaur festival in Jaipur begin, as per tradition, from the City Palace, which remains the private residence of its former royal family.

Devgadh Baria was one of the princely states in western India which is planned on European town planning principles along with controlled architectural character at selected junctions in the town. The town is surrounded by about 250 mt high hills on three sides which dominate its skyline.


After independence, a new hereditary salute of 15 guns was granted in 1966 by President Ayub Khan, for the Wali of Swat, ruler of one of the last princely states to be created (1926). Before that, there were four Gun-Salute States in Pakistan: Bahawalpur, Chitral, Kalat, and Khairpur. A few lesser non-salute states also acceded to Pakistan, including Dir, Kharan, and Amb. In present-day Pakistan’s tribal region in the North-West Frontier Province, the princely states were maintained until 1971, when all states were abolished by merger into the republic; all princely titles were abolished in 1972.

Qno15. Analyze the local administration under the Cholas.   OR.    Give a brief account of the nature of Pallava kingship.    OR.   Explain the term sangam polity.

Ans: There are various Tamil texts like Silappadikaram, Manimekhalai, Pattupattu, Tolkappiyam, etc. which are grouped under the name called Sangam literature. The poets of this period used the grammar composed by scholars like Agastya and Tolkappiyar.

Sangam was an association of literary figures. It is said that they belong to the period from 2nd century B.C. to 2nd century A.D., approximately. The literature refers to the contact with Greco-Roman traders. We have discovered certain archaelogical sites in South India which indicate the existence of settlements of these foreign traders in South India. In these sites, Roman pottery with Roman wine has been discovered. These archeological sites belong to 1st century B.C. or 1st century A.D.

The statements found in Sangam literature are corroborated by those evidences found in Greek and Roman works. Sangam literature gives details regarding the nature of polity, economy and society. It mentions that there existed five ecozones which consisted of forests, hills, deserts, coastal regions and fertile plains. In these five regions there existed different pattern of economic and social life and there existed uneven development.

There are different kinds of poems like love poems and war poems. The love poems indicate the primitive marriage and family system in South India. There are many poems which describe cattle raids which meant that cattle were an important economic category and there was competition among tribes to capture as much cattle as possible. The cattle raiders where specialized in art of warfare.

There existed inter and intra tribal warfare which led to development of tribes skilled in art of warfare. Later it was these people who became the soldiers in the army of great kingdoms.

The Sangam literature gives the picture of a primitive society and the transformation of this primitive society into a developed one. There is reference to migration of Brahmans and Buddhists into South India. This infused certain changes in the South Indian society. There was the introduction of Varna system (social stratification) in South India.


The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty of South India which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and whole of Andhra Pradesh with their capital at Kanchipuram. The word Pallava in Sanskrit means branch. The Pallava dynasty is an offshoot of the Chola rulers. They expanded into the Guntur region of Andhra Pradesh. This area is still referred to as Palnadu or Pallava Nadu. Pallavas gained prominence after the eclipse of Satavahanas of Andhra and decline of Cholas in Tamil Nadu. The Pallavas patronized Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. Some of the most illustrious Sanskrit poets like Bharavi and Dandin and the seashore rock-cut temples of Mahabalipuram belongs to the Pallavan era.

Pallavas rose in power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630 CE) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668 CE) and dominated the Telugu and northern parts of the Tamil region for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century.

Throughout their reign they were in constant conflict with both Chalukyas of Badami in the north and the Tamil kingdoms of Chola and Pandyas in the south and were finally defeated by the Chola kings in the 8th century CE.

Pallavas are most noted for their patronage of architecture, still seen today in Mahabalipuram. The Pallavas, who left behind magnificent sculptures and temples, established the foundations of medieval south Indian architecture. Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited Kanchipuram during Pallava rule and extolled their benign rule.

The Pandyan was an ancient Tamil state in South India. The Pandyas, Chola, Chera and Pallava Dynasties are the four Dravidian Tamil Dynasties which ruled South India until the 15th century CE. They initially ruled from Korkai, a seaport on the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, and in later times moved to Madurai. Pandyan was well known since the ancient period, with contacts, even diplomatic, reaching the Roman Empire; during the 13th century AD, Marco Polo mentioned it as the richest empire in existence. The Pandyan empire was home to temples including Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, and Nellaiappar Temple built on the bank of the river Thamirabarani in Tirunelveli.

The Pandyas of Southern India are believed to have been founded around five to six centuries before the Christian Era. Their recorded existence and mention are found in records dating to as early as 550 BC. Emperor Augustus of Rome at Antioch knew of the Pandyan of Dramira and received a Pandyan ambassador with letters and gifts from this ancient Tamil Kingdom. Strabo described an ambassador to Emperor Augustus Caesar from a South Indian King called Pandyan. The country of the Pandyas, Pandi Mandala, was described as Pandyan Mediterranea by Periplus and Modura Regia Pandyan by Ptolemy.

The early Pandyan Dynasty of the Sangam Literature faded into obscurity upon the invasion of the Kalabhras. The dynasty revived under Kadungon in the early 6th century, pushed the Kalabhras out of the Tamil country and ruled from Madurai. They again went into decline with the rise of the Cholas in the 9th century and were in constant conflict with them. The Pandyas allied themselves with the Sinhalese and the Cheras in harassing the Chola empire until they found an opportunity for reviving their fortunes during the late 13th century.

The Later Pandyas (1150-1350) entered their golden age under Maravman Sundara Pandiyan and Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan (c. 1251), who expanded the empire into Telugu country, conquered Kalinga (Orissa) and invaded and conquered Sri Lanka. They also had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya and their successors. During their history, the Pandyas were repeatedly in conflict with the Pallavas, Cholas, Hoysalas and finally the Muslim invaders from the Delhi Sultanate. The Pandyan Kingdom finally became extinct after the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate in the 16th century.

The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature before the Christian Era. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the South Indian coast, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world. Tradition holds that the legendary Sangams were held in Madurai under their patronage, and that some of the Pandya Kings were poets themselves.

The Chola was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to the dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, a northern ruler; the dynasty continued to reign over varying territory until the 12th century AD.

The heartland of the Cholas was the fertile valley of the Kaveri River, but they ruled a significantly larger area at the height of their power from the latter half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th century. The whole country south of the Tungabhadra was united and held as one state for a period of two centuries and more. Under Rajaraja Chola I and his son Rajendra Chola I, the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-east Asia. The power of the new empire was proclaimed to the eastern world by the celebrated expedition to the Ganges which Rajendra Chola I undertook and by the overthrow after an unprecedented naval war of the maritime empire of Sri Vijaya, as well as by the repeated embassies to China. During the period 1010–1200, the Chola territories stretched from the islands of the Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh. Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, annexed parts of what is now Sri Lanka and occupied the islands of the Maldives. Rajendra Chola sent a victorious expedition to North India that touched the river Ganga and defeated the Pala ruler of Pataliputra, Mahipala. He also successfully invaded kingdoms of the Malay Archipelago. The Chola dynasty went into decline at the beginning of the thirteenth century with the rise of the Pandyas, who ultimately caused their downfall.

The Cholas left a lasting legacy. Their patronage of Tamil literature and their zeal in building temples have resulted in some great works of Tamil literature and architecture. The Chola kings were avid builders and envisioned the temples in their kingdoms not only as places of worship but also as centers of economic activity. They pioneered a centralized form of government and established a disciplined bureaucracy.

The Chola administration served as a model for all the other kingdoms of the South. The king had a council of ministers. The kingdom was divided into a number of provinces known as mandalams; the mandalams in turn were divided into valanadu and nadus. The next administrative sub divisions were kurrams and kottams.
The special feature of the Chola administration was the Local Self Government or the autonomous administration. The villagers themselves carried out village administration. It was more or less like the modern Panchayat Raj. Each village had a village assembly known as the Ur or the sabha. The members of the sabha were elected by lot, known as kudavolai system. There was a committee to look after the specified departments, such as justice, law and order, irrigation etc., which were called as variyams.

Qno16. Discuss the salient features of administrative system under the Mauryas.   OR.  Give an account of the administrative system in the post Gupta period.

Ans: The establishment of Mauryan Empire heralded the era of large monarchical states with elaborate administrative machinery. In the post Mauryan period especially during the Kushana period the notion of divine kingksip became prevalent.  The Maurya was a geographically extensive and powerful empire in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC. Originating from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic plains (modern Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bengal) in the eastern side of the Indian subcontinent, the empire had its capital city at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The Empire was founded in 322 BC by Chandragupta Maurya, who had overthrown the Nanda Dynasty and rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great’s Greek and Persian armies. By 320 BC the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

It was the world’s largest empire in its time. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east stretching into what is now Assam. To the west, it reached beyond modern Pakistan, annexing Balochistan and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and Kandahar provinces. The Empire was expanded into India’s central and southern regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded a small portion of unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga (modern Orissa).

The Mauryan Empire was one of the largest empires to rule the Indian subcontinent. Its decline began 60 years after Ashoka’s rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 BC with the foundation of the Sunga Dynasty in Magadha.

Under Chandragupta, the Mauryan Empire conquered the trans-Indus region, which was under Macedonian rule. Chandragupta then defeated the invasion led by Seleucus I, a Greek general from Alexander’s army. Under Chandragupta and his successors, both internal and external trade, and agriculture and economic activities, all thrived and expanded across India thanks to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration and security. After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced half a century of peace and security under Ashoka: India was a prosperous and stable empire of great economic and military power whose political influence and trade extended across Western and Central Asia and Europe.

Mauryan India also enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge. Chandragupta Maurya’s embrace of Jainism increased social and religious renewal and reform across his society, while Ashoka’s embrace of Buddhism was the foundation of the reign of social and political peace and non-violence across all of India. Ashoka sponsored the spreading of Buddhist ideals into Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, West Asia and Mediterranean Europe.

Chandragupta’s minister Chanakya wrote the Arthashastra, one of the greatest treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and religion ever produced in the India. Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are primary sources of written records of the Mauryan times. The Mauryan Empire is considered one of the most significant periods in Indian history. The Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath, is the national emblem of India.


The Empire was divided into four provinces, which one of the four, look like a giant crescents. With the imperial capital at Pataliputra. From Ashokan edicts, the names of the four provincial capitals are Tosali (in the east), Ujjain in the west, Suvarnagiri (in the south), and Taxila (in the north). The head of the provincial administration was the Kumara (royal prince), who governed the provinces as king’s representative. The kumara was assisted by Mahamatyas and council of ministers. This organizational structure was reflected at the imperial level with the Emperor and his Mantriparishad (Council of Ministers).

Historians theorize that the organization of the Empire was in line with the extensive bureaucracy described by Kautilya in the Arthashastra: a sophisticated civil service governed everything from municipal hygiene to international trade. The expansion and defense of the empire was made possible by what appears to have been the largest standing army of its time. According to Megasthenes, the empire wielded a military of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, and 9,000 war elephants. A vast espionage system collected intelligence for both internal and external security purposes. Having renounced offensive warfare and expansionism, Ashoka nevertheless continued to maintain this large army, to protect the Empire and instill stability and peace across West and South Asia.

The Gupta period

The Gupta period has been described as the golden age of Indian history. It extended from the period of 320AD to 480AD. During this period literature, art and science flourished. Religious toleration and freedom of worship speaks greatly of the Guptas. The great writings of Kalidasa which include Ritusamhara and Meghauta in Sanskrit literature at its highest quality.

The Gupta period is also regarded as a period of Hindu renaissance. Ashoka had succeeded in making Buddhism as the religion as the majority  people in Northern India. On doing this neither Brahmanical Hinduism of Jainism died out owing to Ashokas religious toleration propagated by Ashoka. After Ashoka all the rulers that followed showed religious toleration which only added  to the prosperity  of the territories they ruled. The Guptas though showed a preference  to their family deity Vishnu pursued the policy of perfect freedom of worship.

Music, architecture, sculptures and painting was at its best during the period of Gupta rule. The stoners temples of which one at Deogarh in Jhansi, a t Bhitergaon in the Kanpur district are few specimens depicting gupta excellence in architecture and sculpture Another area of Gupta excellence was their metallurgical skill. Various copper statues images of Buddha reflect the craftsmanship of the gupta period. The pillar at Delhi made of iron in the time of Samudragupta is also another piece of excellence The Guptas also excellent in the field of fine arts. All fields of fine arts received royal patronage. Another area of outmost importance during the Gupta reign is the exchange of intellectual ideas which is attributed to the royal patronage and contacts with foreign people of both east and west. Buddhism which was introduced in China from India fostered religious relations promoting constant communication. Chinese missionaries visited India to do reverence to the sacred spots of faith. These visits helped to the sacred spots of faith. These visit helped the Chinese pilgrim’s knowledge of Sanskrit. Besides China contacts with various islands of South Asia, Indonesia, Persia, Greece and Rome also proves the sound Gupta rule and their diplomatic tactics to provide the best of administration. All these adds to the statement that defines the Gupta period as the Golden age of India.

Contemporary with the rule of the Guptas their existed various other dynastic of which the Vakatakas of Bundelkhand of Berar was one. They were Brahmanas and they dominated the entire Bundelkhand country, Central provinces, Berars, and Northern Deccan up to the sea.

Vindyakasthi was its first ruler. His son was Paravasena who performed numerous sacrifices along with four Ashwamedha sacrifices. Gautamiputrra was his son. Paravasena’s grandson Rudrasena I. After his defeat by the Samudragupta he vacated central India and moved to the Deccan. Rudradeva’s first son Rudradeva II married the daughter of ChandraguptanII, Prabhadevigupta, thus the alliance of the two families proved advantageous against the Shakas of western India. After the Death of Prabhavati. RudrasenaII Prabhavati ruled on behalf of her minor son.

Qno17.explain the term law and what are its soures andclassification of law.   OR.   Analyze the judicial system prevailing in Ancient India.

Ans: Law is a system of rules, usually enforced through a set of institutions. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a primary social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading on derivatives markets. Property law defines rights and obligations related to the transfer and title of personal (often referred to as chattel) and real property. Trust law applies to assets held for investment and financial security, while tort law allows claims for compensation if a person’s rights or property are harmed. If the harm is criminalized in a statute, criminal law offers means by which the state can prosecute the perpetrator. Constitutional law provides a framework for the creation of law, the protection of human rights and the election of political representatives. Administrative law is used to review the decisions of government agencies, while international law governs affairs between sovereign nation states in activities ranging from trade to environmental regulation or military action. Writing in 350 BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, “The rule of law is better than the rule of any individual.”[6]

Sources of law are the materials and processes out of which law is developed. In modern nation states, the sources of law come either from the written law or the unwritten law. Constitution, statutes, case law, and regulations issued by government agencies. Sources of law for public international law and religious law differ, however, from the primary law of individual countries. The natural law theory argues that some rules objectively existing in the nature also are source of law, while legal positivism argues that only the rules made by sovereignty can be the sources of law.

There are three main sources of law in the world. They are

  1. legislation (it includes constitution and statutes which are prepared by Parliament)
  2. case law or decisions of the higher court
  3. customary law or custom

Classification of Law:  There are many ways to classify laws, but to narrow things down the law is divided into two broad categories—criminal law and civil law. To make it easy, civil law is all law other than criminal law, such as property law, which governs transfer and ownership of property, and contract law, which is the law of personal agreements; doesn’t that make things so much clearer? When a person has a grievance and it can’t be settled any other way, than an action has to be taken were the courts will settle the differences. This type of law is called a tort law and it’s a civil action in which an individual asks to be compensated for personal harm done to him or her. The harm may be either physical or mental and includes such wrongful acts as trespassing, assault and battery, invasion of privacy, libel (false and injurious writings against you), and last but not least, slander (false or injurious writings).

The judiciary (also known as the judicial system or judicature) is the system of courts which interprets and applies the law in the name of the sovereign or state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the judiciary generally does not make law (that is, in a plenary fashion, which is the responsibility of the legislature) or enforce law (which is the responsibility of the executive), but rather interprets law and applies it to the facts of each case.

This branch of government is often tasked with ensuring equal justice under law. It usually consists of a court of final appeal (called the “supreme court” or “constitutional court”), together with lower courts.

The term “judiciary” is also used to refer collectively to the personnel, such as judges, magistrates and other adjudicators, who form the core of a judiciary (sometimes referred to as a “bench”), as well as the staffs who keep the system running smoothly.

1. Judicial Administration in Ancient India

Law in ancient India meant “Dharma” in the broader sense.  The Vedas, regarded as divine revelation, were the supreme source of authority for all codes which contained what was then understood as law or dharma.  The traditional records have governed and molded the life and evolution of the Hindu community from age to age.  These are supposed to have their source in the Rigveda.


Justice was administered in ancient India according to the rules of civil and criminal law as provided in the Manusmriti.  There was a regular system of local courts from which an appeal lay to the superior court at the capital, and from there to the King in his own court. The King’s Court was composed of himself, a number of judges, and his domestic chaplain who directed his conscience; but they only advised and the decision rested with the King. Arbitrators in three gradations existed below the local courts: first of kinsmen, secondly of men of the same trade, and thirdly, of townsmen.  An appeal lay from the first to the second, from the second to the third, and from the third to the local court.  Thus under this system there were no less than five appeals.  Decision by arbitration, generally of five (Panches), was very common when other means of obtaining justice were not available.  The village headman was the judge and magistrate of the village community and also collected and transmitted the Government revenue.


Qno18. Discuss the nature of the administrative apparatus of the Delhi Sultanate.    OR.    Describe the provincial and local administration under the Dlhi Sultans.

Ans: The administrative apparatus of the Sultanate was a bland of West Asian, Central Asian and local traditions. Two distinct components emerged that is the central administration and provincial and local administration. The central administration was organized through various departments headed by senior nobles. The important departments were wizarat, Diwan-i-arz, Diwan-i-insha, Diwan-i-riyasat, Diwan-i-risalat and Diwan-i-qada. The provincial administration was entrusted to the governors who worked in collaboration with the officials and superior right holders. The local administrations along with customary officials were allowed to continue after making minor adjustments and working out new relationships.

The most significant new institution that evolved and played an important role in effective governance was the Iqta system. Iqta was a territorial assignment given to the officials in lieu of their salaries. The holders of iqtas were called muqtis and enjoyed their position as long as the sultan wished. They had no hereditary claim and were subject to transfer at the will of the Sultan. They were entrusted with the responsibility of collecting revenue and administering the territories assigned. They were also required to maintain a certain number of soldiers which were to be placed at the service of Sultan when needed. The holders of large territories were almost akin to provincial governor and the nomenclature applied to them was iqtadar, muqti or wali.

A separate department diwan-i-arz looked after the organization and supervision of army the department maintained exclusive contingents as the Sultans army. It also supervised the contingents of the muqtis.


Though five dynasties ruled during the era that is considered as the Sultanate Period, yet the administrative set up during these 320 years was very similar. In the central administrative system, the following were the key slots:

  1. Sultan: The Sultan was the head of the state. Though he owed nominal allegiance to the Abbasid Caliphs, yet for all practical purposes, he was totally independent. The chief responsibilities of the Sultan were the protection of the state, the settlement of disputes, the defense of the realm of Islam, the enforcement of laws, the collection of taxes, and the welfare of people. The nobility, civil services and ulema supported the Sultan. In most cases, a predecessor either nominated the Sultan, or he had to fight a war of succession.
  2. Wazir: The most important post next to the Sultan was that of the Prime Minister, or the ‘Wazir’. He was in charge of the entire fiscal administration of the realm and all matters relating to income and expenditures. He had the powers to appoint the revenue officials, organize and collect revenue, and control the state expenditure. His department was known as the Diwan-i-Wazir.
  3. Musharraf-i-Mumalik: This post was equal to the present-day Accountant General. This office was used to maintain the accounts of the state.
  4. Mustauf-i-Mumalik: This post was equal to the present day Auditor General. The duties involved auditing the accounts.
  5. Sadr-us-Sadar: The appointee was also known as Qazi-i-Mumalik. Qazi-i-Mumalik’s role was to deal with religious affairs and immunities to scholars and men of piety.
  6. Munshi-i-Mumalik: This post dealt with the entire state correspondence.

Revenue System

The revenue structure of the empire followed the Islamic traditions inherited from the Ghaznavids. Only in the details of agrarian administration was it modified in accordance with local needs and practices. The state depended on agricultural produce. Three methods of assessment were sharing, appraisement and measurement. The first was simple crop division; the second was appraisal of the quantity or value of the state demand on the value of probable crop yield; and the third was the fixation of the demand on the basis of actual measurement of land. Revenue was taken from the people in the form of cash or kind. Jazia was due on the non-Muslims. Women, children, old, mentally and physically disabled people, monks and priests were exempt from Jazia.

Army System

The army was administered by Ariz-i-Mumalik, whose duty was to provide horses and ration to the soldiers. His office maintained the descriptive roll of each soldier. He was to assign different tasks to the soldiers and also was responsible for the transfers of military personnel. Even officers of the court who held military ranks received salaries from his office. He was not the Commander-in-Chief of the army but was its Collector General. He exercised great influence on the state.

Judicial System

The Sultan used to sit at least twice a week to hear the complaints against the officials of the state. Qazi-i-Mumalik used to sit with the Sultan to give him legal advice. Decisions were made according to the Shariah. Cases of non-Muslims were decided according to their own religious laws.

Qno19. Discuss the characteristics of Nayaka system under the Vijayanagar rulers.     OR.    Describe the administrative structure of the Bahamanis.

Ans: The administrative structure of vijaynajar, Bahamani and other kingdoms viz Malwa and Gujrat. The important features of vijaynagar administrative system especially Nayak and Ayagar systems.

The first widespread use of the title Nayaka appeared during the Kakatiya period and was conferred to whoever served as a commander in the military. Its use spread throughout the Deccan during the expansion of the Vijayanagar Empire, the title was conferred upon individuals who served as commanders or governors. It was predominant during the seveteenth and eighteenth centuries in Vijayanagar dynasty in southern India

The provincial three level administration of the Vijayanagara empire consisted of:

  1. Hereditary Kings
  2. Imperial provinces: They were directly administered by the emperor through his representatives and were generally referred to as Rajas or Mandaleshwars or sometimes as Chavidis. The distinguished members of the royal family were appointed as governors. At times when suitable members were not found in the royal family or when a capable and trustworthy officer of the central government was required to administer a troubled area, such a person was appointed as governor. Generally the king used to appoint governors after consulting his ministers.
  3. Vassal states: They were administered through the Nayakas (or Samantas).

The first division of administration was the royal family who held ultimate power. In the second type of provinces, the administration was done by the feudal vassals, variously called Samanta, Nayaka, etc. The system of administration of the kingdom through these feudal vassals (Nayakas) is known as the Nayankara system in the Vijayanagara times. This system resembles somewhat the feudal system of medieval Europe. The king being the owner of the soil granted lands to some persons as a reward. They were called nayakas and ruled over the territory under their charge with great freedom. In return they had to pay a fixed amount as tribute to the king besides maintaining a prescribed number of troops for the service of the sovereign during war. On ceremonial occasions, these Nayakas offered the king great presents of money and costly gifts or presentations. Failure to conform to these obligations was liable for punishment.

The governors were required to submit regular accounts of the income and expenditure of their charges to the central government and render military aid in times of necessity. They maintained an agent at the imperial capital to keep themselves informed of the happenings at the court. In case of oppressive and tyrannical governors, the central government used to transfer them from one place to another. The autonomy enjoyed by these governors later led to the disruption of the empire under incompetent rulers.

The position of Nayaka was quite different from that of the Governor. He was merely a military vassal who had been assigned a district in lieu of certain military and financial obligations. He was not transferable and his office was personal but later on became hereditary, when the kings at the centre became weak. The Nayakas maintained two agents, one military and the other civil, representing their master’s interests at the imperial city. The Nayankara system had its own merits and demerits. It was because of this system of administration, new settlements were formed, irrigation facilities were extended, new hands were brought under cultivation and Hindu culture and civilization was fostered and developed. However the amount of autonomy which the Nayakas enjoyed gave them sufficient opportunity to engage themselves in local wars and mutual feuds. They even defied at times the Central authority. In spite of its inherent weaknesses, it served its purpose tolerably well.

The Bahamani kingdom was established as a result of rebellion of Amirs of Delhi Sultanate. The administrative system under the Bahamanis was to some extent basede on the pattern of Delhi Sultanate but with the consolidation of Bahamani power. The Bahamani kingdom was founded by Hasan Gangu, who led a rebellion against Sultan Muhammad- Bin-Tughlaq and proclaimed the independence of the Bahamani kingdom (1346 AD). He took the title of Bahaman Shah and became the first ruler of the dynasty. This kingdom included the whole of the northern Deccan upto the river Krishna. South of the kingdom was the Vijayanagara Empire with which it had to fight continueous wars for various reasons.

The most remarkable figure in the Bahamani kingdom was Firuz Shah Bahamani (1397 AD – 1422 AD), who fought three major battles with the Vijayanagara Empire without any major result. He was well acquainted with religious and natural sciences. He wanted to make the Deccan the cultural centre of India. Ferhishta calls him an orthodox Muslim, his only weakness being his fondness for drinking wine and listening to music. Firuz Shah was compelled to abdicate in favour of his brother Ahmad Shah I, who was called a saint (wali) on account of his association with the famous sufi Gesu Daraz. He invaded Warangal and annexed most of its territories.

The loss of Warangal changed the balance of power in south India. The Bahamani kingdom gradually extended and reached its climax under the prime ministership of Mahmud Gawan (1466 AD – 1481 AD). One of the most difficult problems which faced the Bahamanis was a strife among the nobles, who were divided into old-comers (Deccanis) and new-comers (Afaqis or gharibs). Since, Gawan was a new-comer, it was hard for him to win the confidence of the Deccanis. His broad policy of conciliation could not stop the party strife. In 1482, Gawan who was over seventy years was executed by Sultan Muhammad Shah of the Deccan.

After his death, the party strife became more intense and various governors became independent and were finally divided into five parts, namely, Adil Shahi of Bijapur, Qutub Shahi of Golconda, Nizam Shahi of Ahmadnagar, Barid Shahi of Bidar and Imad Shahi of Berar. This kingdom together crusaded against Vijayanagara Empire and defeated it in 1565. Later on, Imad Shahi was conquered by Nizamshah (1574 AD) and Barid Shahi was annexed by Adilshah (1619 AD). These three kingdoms played a leading role in the Deccan politics till their absorption in the Mughal empire during the seventeenth century. It was Aurangzeb, the Mughal king, who after the death of Shivaji, marched towards the south and annexed Bijapur (1686 AD) and Golconda (1689 AD) and brought an end to the Bahamani kingdom.

One of the largest domes of the world, Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur and Charminar at Hyderabad were the fine examples of architecture of this time. The Bahamanis, in many respects were similar to the Delhi sultanate. Their income came almost entirely from land and the administration revolved around the assessment and collection of land revenue. The Bahamani kingdom acted as a cultural bridge between the north and the south. The culture which developed as a result had its own specific features which were distinct from north India. These cultural traditions were continued by the successor’s states and also influenced the development of Mughal culture during the period.

Qno20. Discuss the Working of the mansab system under the Mughals.  OR. Describe the central and provincial administration of the Mughals.

Ans: The mansabdari system under the Mughals in India was the product of an evolutionary process. This institution was borrowed in some form from Western Asia and modified to suit the needs of the time in India.

The mansabdars were an integral part of the Mughal bureaucracy and farmed, as Percival Spear says, ‘an elite within elite’. They were appointed in all government departments except the judiciary. They held the important offices of wazir, bakshi, faujdar and the subadar, etc

Mansab system

The word mansab means a place or position and therefore it means a rank in the mansab system under the Mughals.

During Babur’s time, the term mansabdar was not used; instead, another term wajhdar was employed. The latter differed in some ways from the mansab system that evolved under the Mughals after Babur.

Akbar gave mansabs to both military and civil officers based on their merit or service to the state. To fix the grades of officers and classify his soldiers, he was broadly inspired by the principles adopted by Chingiz Khan. The latter’s army had been organised on decimal system. The lowest unit was of ten horsemen, then came one hundred, one thousand and so on. Abul Fazl states that Akbar had established 66 grades of mansabdars ranging from commanders of 10 horsemen to 10,000 horsemen, although only 33 grades have been mentioned by him.

Mansab denoted three things:

  1. It determined the status of its holder (the mansabdar) in the official hierarchy.
  2. It fixed the pay of the holder.
  • It also laid upon the holder the obligation of maintaining a specified number of contingents with horses and equipment.

The three classes of mansabdars system

In 1595-96, the mansabdars were classified into three, groups:

a) Those with horsemen (sawar) equal to the number of the zat;

b) Those with horsemen half or more than half of the number of the zat, and

c) Those whose sawar rank was less than half of their zat rank.

The sawar rank was either equal or less than the zat. Even if the former was higher, the mansabdar’s position in the official hierarchy would not be affected. For example, a mansabdar with 4000 zat and 2000 sawar (4000/2000 in short) was higher in rank than a mansabdar of 3000/3000, although the latter had a higher number of horsemen under him.

But there are exceptions to this rule particularly when the mansabdar was serving in a difficult terrain amidst the rebels. In such cases, the state often increased the sawar rank without altering the zat rank. Obviously the system was not a static one. It changed to meet the circumstances. Thus reforms were undertaken without modifying the basic scheme. One such reform was the use of conditional rank (mashrut), which meant an ‘ increase of sawar rank for a temporary period. This was an emergency measure adopted in the time of crisis, that is, the permission to recruit more horsemen at the expense of the state.

Appointment and promision of mansabdars

The mir bakshi generally presented the candidates to the Emperor who recruited them directly. But the recommendation of the leading nobles and governors of the provinces were also usually accepted. An elaborate procedure involving the diwan, bakshi and others followed after which it went to the Emperor confirmation. The Farman was then issued under the seal of the wazir. In case of promotion the same procedures were followed.

Granting of mansab was a prerogative of the Emperor. He could appoint anybody as mansabdar. There was no examination or written test as it existed in China Generally, certain norms seems to have been followed. A survey of the mansabdars appointed during the reigns of the Mughal Emperors show that some groups were more favoured than the others.

The most favored category were the sons and close kinsmen of persons who were already in service. This group was called khanazad.

Another group that was given preference was of those who held high positions in other kingdoms. The main areas from which such people came were the Uzbek and Safavi Empires and the Deccan kingdoms. These included Irani. Turani, Iraqi and Khurasani. The attraction for Mughal mansab was such that Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1636 requested the Mughal Emperor not to appoint mansabdars from among his nobles.

The rulers of autonomous principalities formed yet another group which received preferential treatment in recruitment and promotions. The main beneficiaries from this category were the Rajput kings.

Promotions were generally given on the basis of performance and lineage. Manucci, writing during the last years of Aurangzeb’s reign. says:

‘To get the hazari or the pay of one thousand, it is necessary to wait a long time and work hard. For the kings only grant it sparingly, and only to those who by their services or their skill in affairs have arrived at the stage of deserving it. In having this rate of pay accorded to you, they give you also the title of Omera (Umara) – that is noble.”

However, in actual practice racial considerations played important role in promotions. Unflinching loyalty was yet another consideration.

Compotion of mansabdars

Despite the theoretical position that mansabdari was open to all, the Mughals, in practice, considered heredity as an important factor. It appears that the khanzads (house-born; descendants of mansabdar) had the first claim. Out of a total number of 575 mansabdars holding the rank of 1000 and above during the reign of Aurangzeb, the khanzads numbered about 272 .Apart from the khanzads, a number of mansabdars were recruited from the zamindars (chieftains). Out of 575 mansabdars in 1707. There were 81 zamindars. The Mughals also welcomed Persian. Chagatai, Uzbeks as well as the Deccanis in the mansabdari. Certain racial groups were well entrenched. They were the Turanis (Central Asians). Iranis. Afghans. Indian Muslims (shaikhzadas), Rajputs. Marathas and the Deccanis, the last two were recruited by Aurangzeb on larger scale due to military reasons.

Mansabdari was the main institution of the Mughal Empire, which embraced both civil and military sectors of administration. The system was developed to create a centralized administrative system as well as creating a large force. Mansabdars and their large forces were used to expand the empire and administer it effectively. The main features of mansab system were as follows:

  • Mansabdars held dual ranks – zat and sawar, the former indicated the status of the officer in the administrative hierarchy, and which also determined the personal pay. The latter denoted the contingent they were expected to maintain.• Mansabdars were divided into 3 classes on, the basis of the ratio between their zat and sawar ranks.
  • The salaries and obligation of maintaining troops were governed by a definite set of rules which underwent changes from time to time.

For revenue purposes, all the land was divided into two – the jagir and khalisa. The land revenue collected from the khalisa went to the royal treasury while that from the jagir to mansabdars.

Mansabdars were paid through the assignment of jagirs. The jagir system as an institution was used to appropriate the surplus from the peasantry. At the same time it was used for distributing the revenue resources among the ruling classes.

The most important constituent of the Administrative system of the Delhi Sultanate was the iqta. However, since the time of Ibrahim Lodi we get reference to Jagirs which developed into a system of revenue assignment during the Mughal period. The administrative machinery which evolved since the time of the Iibaris underwent many changes and many new units of administration were introduced in the time of Tughlak and Afghans; shiq came into existence during the Tughlak period and sarkaar was introduced in the Afghan period. Top of Form


Qno21. Discuss the administrative measures of Murshid Quli Khan which laid the foundation of independent Bengal.    OR..   Analyze the features of administration during Nawabi role in Awadh.

Ans: the administrative and institutions structure of the successor states, which emerged as a consequence of the decline of the Mughal power. These states were Bengal, Hyderabad and Awadh. Bengal had a special position as a Mughal province with a low jama and few jagirs. Large zaminaris and practice of ijaradari came into existence in the 18th century and a network of collaboration developed between the and Nawabas, bankers and the zamindars.

Murshid Quli Khan was the first Nawab of Bengal. In fact circumstances resulted in his being the first independent ruler of Bengal post the death of Emperor Aurangzeb. Though he continued to recognize the nominal overlordship of the Mughal Emperor, for all practical purposes he was the de facto ruler of Bengal.

Evolution of the position of the Nawab of Bengal

The decay and downfall of the Mughal Empire began in right earnest after the reign of Aurangzeb. The Peacock Throne in Delhi became a “musical chair” for the successors of Aurangzeb and fueled by court intrigues of numerous nobles the tenure between 1707 and 1719 saw no less than eight Mughal Emperors (more than the sum of the last 180 years) namely Bahadur Shah I, Jahandar Shah, Farrukh Siyar, Rafi ud-Darajat, Rafi ud-Daulah, Neku Siyar, Muhammad Ibrahim and finally some stability came in the form of Muhammad Shah in 1719.

Such instability saw the rise of three notable nobles; Saadat Ali Khan the Subahdar of Oudh, Murshid Quli Khan the Subahdar of Orissa and Nazim of Bengal and Qamar ud-din Khan (also known as Asaf Jah I) the Subahdar of Deccan.

The distinguishing factor in these three nobles were that all were decorated generals of Aurangazeb and were old timers and unlike the “newer” nobles in the Red Fort; never got actively involved in court intrigues and were always on the “right” side of the Mughal Emperor, however weak the emperor might be. In stead these three nobles concentrated in entrenching themselves in their respective territories. Gradually while Delhi became weaker Oudh, Hyderabad / Deccan and Bengal became strong and prosperous. This was the direct outcome of the resources in Delhi getting strained due to the frequent changes of Emperors in Delhi. Every Mughal Emperor henceforth became more and more dependent on the three nobles and the nobles cleverly and tactfully extracted more and more for their “loyalty” till the time they became de-facto and then the de-jure rulers or Nawabs of the territories. The final blow came in 1724, when Nizam ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah I declared himself the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Meanwhile Murshid Quli Khan was gradually consolidating his position. In 1717, he renamed his capital city from Makhsusabad to Murshidabad (after himself). The then Mughal Emperor Farrukh Siyar granted formal approval to this (symbolic) change of name, paving the way for Murshid Quli Khan to become the de-facto Nawab of Bengal. He however continued to “act and function” as the viceroy of the ever weakening Mughal Emperor.


Murshid Quli never formally severed his links to the Mughals and continued to send annual tribute to Delhi. Although he laid the foundation of a well-run and economically viable state, it was his successor who made the rupture with Delhi.

Post 1717, Mushid Quli set about resolving matters of state, with an “iron fist”, very aggressively most of the times and with an undue heavy hand on others. As an administrative decision, Midnapore was separated from Orissa and annexed to the Subah of Bengal.

Revenue Collection

On matters of Revenue Collection Murshid Quli was absolutely non-compromising to the extent of being ruthless. Hindu Zamindars especially suffered under his rule and were terrorized by the Nawab and his ‘Amils’ (Collectors of Revenue). In aggressively collecting revenue, both current and arrears he put a complete stop to the authority of Zamindars over the collection and disbursement of the Imperial Revenue, he limited their source of income to profits of Nankar (tax-free lands give in consideration for services rendered) tenures. Accordingly a new Revenue Roll (some say a “Perfect Roll” before the Permanent Settlement of Bengal) was drawn up.

His Personality

Murshid Quli Khan was very powerful as a personality and his commands were so overawing, that his peons sufficed to keep peace in the country, and to overawe the refractory. And fear of his personality was so deeply impressed on the hearts of all, both the high and the low, that the courage of lion-hearted persons quailed in his presence. The Khan did not allow petty Zamindars access to his presence. The “Mutsadis” and “Amils” and leading Zamindars had not the heart to sit down in his presence; on the contrary, they remained standing breathless like statues. Hindu Zamindars were forbidden to ride on Palkis. The Mutasadis, in his presence, did not ride on horseback; whilst the Mansabdars attended at state functions in their military uniforms. In his presence one could not salute another; and if anything opposed to etiquette occurred on the part of anyone, he was immediately censured. Every week he held court on two days to listen to complaints, and used to mete out justice to the complainants. Amongst his deeds of justice, it may be mentioned, that to avenge the wrong done to another, obeying the sacred Islamic law, he executed his own son. In administration of justice, in administration of the political affairs of the country, and in maintenance of the respect due to the Mughal Emperor, he spared no one. Murshid Quli Khan’s uprightness in administration of justice (regardless of all family ties of attachment) is remarkable.

In brief Murshid Quli was no better or no worse than quite a few Muslim Rulers who set up kingdoms in India but most certainly he enhanced the material prosperity of Bengal in terms of Revenue.

Awadh also known in various British historical texts as Oudh, Oundh, or Oude, is a region in the centre of the modern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which was before Independence known as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. The traditional capital of Awadh has been Lucknow, the capital of the modern day Uttar Pradesh. The modern definition of Awadh geographically includes the districts of Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Balrampur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Gonda, Hardoi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Lucknow, Pratapgarh, Allahabad, Raebareli, Shravasti, Sitapur, Sultanpur, and Unnao.A strip of the northern areas of the region now lies with Nepal. The region is home to a distinct dialect, Awadhi, spoken by Awadhis.

History Ancient

Awadh’s political unity can be traced back to the ancient Hindu kingdom of Kosala, with Ayodhya as its capital. Modern Awadh finds historical mention only in the time of Akbar, in the late 16th century.

Under the Mughals

Until 1819, Awadh was a province of the Mughal Empire administered by a Nawab. Saadat Khan Burhanul Mulk was appointed Nawab in 1722 and established his court in Faizabad[1] near Lucknow. He took advantage of a weakening Mughal Empire in Delhi to lay the foundation of the Awadh dynasty. His successor was Safdarjung the very influential noble at the Mughal court in Delhi.

Awadh was known as the granary of India and was important strategically for the control of the Doaba, the fertile plain between the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers. It was a wealthy kingdom, able to maintain its independence against threats from the Marathas, the British and the Afghans.

The third Nawab, Shuja-ud-Daula fell out with the British after aiding Mir Qasim the fugitive Nawab of Bengal. He was comprehensively defeated in the Battle of Buxar by the British East India Company, after which he was forced to pay heavy penalties and cede parts of his territory. The British appointed a resident in 1773, and over time gained control of more territory and authority in the state. They were disinclined to capture Awadh outright, because that would bring them face to face with the Marathas and the remnants of the Mughal Empire.

The fourth Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah shifted his capital from Faizabad to Lucknow and laid the foundation of a great city. His rule saw the building of the Asafi Imambara and Roomi Darwaza, built by Raja Tikait Rai Nawab Wazir (Diwan) of Awadh, which till date are the biggest architectural marvels in the city.

In 1798, the fifth Nawab Wazir Ali Khan alienated both his people and the British, and was forced to abdicate. The British then helped Saadat Ali Khan to the throne. Saadat Ali Khan was a puppet king, who in the treaty of 1801 ceded half of Awadh to the British East India Company and also agreed to disband his troops in favor of a hugely expensive, British-run army. This treaty effectively made part of the state of Awadh a vassal to the British East India Company, though they continued to be part of the Mughal Empire in name till 1819.

Qno22. Iscuss the Orientalist and Evangelical understanding of the Indian socio political system. 


Orientalist may refer to

  • A scholar of oriental studies
  • Relating to the Western intellectual or artistic paradigm known as Orientalism (as in ‘an Orientalist painting’ or ‘painter’)

Oriental studies is the academic field of study that embraces Near Eastern and Far Eastern societies and cultures, languages, peoples, history and archaeology; in recent years the newer term Asian studies has mostly replaced it. European study of the region had primarily religious origins, which has remained an important motivation until recent times. Learning from Arabic medicine and philosophy, and the Arabic translations from Greek, was an important factor in the Middle Ages. Linguistic knowledge preceded a wider study of cultures and history, and as Europe began to encroach upon the region, political and economic factors encouraged growth in academic study. From the late 18th century archaeology became a link from the discipline to a wide European public, as treasures brought back filled new European museums. The modern study was influenced both by Imperialist attitudes and interests, and also the sometimes naive fascination of the exotic East for Mediterranean and European writers and thinkers, captured in images by artists, that is embodied in a repeatedly-surfacing theme in the history of ideas in the West, called “Orientalism”. In the last century, scholars from the region itself have participated on equal terms in the discipline, transforming it.

Orientalism is primarily a term used for the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists.

Since the 19th century, “orientalist” is the traditional term for a scholar of Oriental studies, however the use in English of “Orientalism” to describe academic “Oriental studies” is rare; the Oxford English Dictionary cites only one such usage, by Lord Byron in 1812. Orientalism was more widely used to refer to the works of French artists in the 19th century, who used artistic elements derived from their travels to non-European countries of in North Africa and Western Asia.

Nonetheless, the 20th century saw considerable change in the term’s usage. In 1978, American scholar Edward Said published his influential and controversial book, Orientalism; he used the term to describe a pervasive Western tradition, both academic and artistic, of prejudiced outsider interpretations of the East, shaped by the attitudes of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries. Said was critical of both this scholarly tradition and of some modern scholars, particularly Bernard Lewis.

In complete contrast, some modern scholars have used the term to refer to writers of the Imperialist era with pro-Eastern attitudes.

More recently, the term is also used in the meaning of “stereotyping of Islam”, both by advocates and academics in refugee rights advocacy. A particular aspect of this stereotyping, described as “neo-Orientalism”, occurs in the context of forced migration, particularly affecting women, and its alleged damage to refugee rights both in and outside the Arab and Muslim world.


Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian theological stream which began in Great Britain in the 1730s. Most adherents consider its key characteristics to be:

  • A belief in the need for personal conversion (or being “born again”)
  • Some expression of the gospel in “effort”
  • A high regard for biblical authority
  • An emphasis on teachings that proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus.

David Bebbington has termed these four distinctive aspects conversionism, activism, biblicism, and crucicentrism, noting, “Together they form a quadrilateral of priorities that is the basis of Evangelicalism.”

The term evangelical has its etymological roots in the Greek word for “gospel” or “good news”: ευαγγελιον (evangelion), from eu- “good” and angelion “message.” In that sense, to be evangelical would mean to be a believer in the gospel, that is the message of Jesus Christ.

By the English Middle Ages the term had been expanded to include not only the message, but also the New Testament which contained the message, as well as more specifically the four books of the Bible in which the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are portrayed. The first published use of the term evangelical in English was in 1531 by William Tyndale, who wrote “He exhorteth them to proceed constantly in the evangelical truth.” One year later, the earliest recorded use in reference to a theological distinction was by Sir Thomas More, who spoke of “Tyndale [and] his evangelical brother Barns.”

By the time of the Reformation, theologians began to embrace the term evangelical as referring to “gospel truth”. Martin Luther referred to the evangelische Kirche or evangelical church to distinguish Protestants from Catholics in the Roman Catholic Church. In Germany, Switzerland and Denmark, and especially among Lutherans, the term has continued to be used in a broad sense. This can be seen in the names of certain Lutheran denominations or national organizations, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and the Evangelical Church in Germany.

Qno23. Discuss the nature of land-settlements introduced by the Colonial State.   OR.   What role did the Colonial forest policy play in ddisturbing the traditional Indian socio-economic pattern?

Ans: The colonial state was to maximize the appropriation of agrarian surplus through land – revenue. Being an agrarian economy, land revenue continued to be the main source to be exploited. The changes in the cropping pattern and the attempts to expend irrigation were undertaken partly to meet the revenue demands of the colonial state. Gradually, however, there was a change in the composition of revenue resources of the colonial state and the significance of land revenue in government tax structure declined in proportion. The colonial state also simultaneously controlled many natural resources such as forest and water resources and introduced the principle of commercial exploitation of these resources. Even human resources of the colonies were utilized to expand the scope of private British enterprises especially plantations outside India.

Early maps of the Americas were crude, based on observation and approximation of distances. As settlements became more entrenched in the New World and competition for land increased between the French, English and Spanish, the methods and precision of the land surveys also improved; surveys and mapping were now conducted by professional surveyors and cartographers. These high quality maps were valuable to their respective countries, as they could advance the position and land claims of each country with a stake in the New World.

Cartographers and surveyors in Colonial America attempted to use the established European methods, but they were thwarted by the vast wilderness that the New World presented them with. Instead of using a theodolite, a surveyor’s tool used to mark the position of a celestial object on the horizon as a measuring marker, Colonial surveyors instead came to rely on the circumferentor, or surveyor’s compass, because it was more portable and much more usable in densely wooded than the bulky and cumbersome theodolite.

As settlers pushed farther and farther inland, and the population of the Colonies swelled, there became an even greater need for accurate surveys and maps. All sorts of boundaries needed to be set and verified, from individual land plots, to county and state borders, to official boundaries between different European colonies. From this need a new group of surveyors emerged – the colonial landowner. They were educated, and the best way of solidifying their own properties and holdings was to have accurate surveys of their own regions in place. Notable examples of landowner-turned-surveyor include George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Individual colonies also employed independent surveyors to verify landowner surveys as well as conduct surveys on behalf of the government. These individuals were very well respected and admired, and the position of Surveyor-General became a very desirous for upward-climbing member of Colonial society, especially in the larger cities such as New York and Philadelphia.

Perhaps the most famous example of surveying in Colonial America was performed by two men brought over from England to settle a border dispute. Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were brought in to survey and make official the border between Pennsylvania and Delaware, and also end the disputes over the land between the Penns of Pennsylvania and the Calverts of Maryland. Mason’s specialty was astronomy, and Dixon’s surveying, and they not only brought with them expertise and impartiality, they also brought with them new technology. The zenith sector, which observed the passage of stars crossing the meridian near the zenith, and a new field clock, loaned to them by the Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, which was far more advanced than anything the Americans had in their possession. The final line was established on October 7, 1767, and was more than 233 miles long. Even more important, the new technology and techniques Mason and Dixon introduced to the American surveyors would change and improve the methods they used when surveying.

When the initial settlers and surveyors arrived in the New World, they had no idea the challenges and terrain they would face in trying to carve a nation out of a wilderness. But the efforts of these early cartographers and surveyors have shaped the nation we know today.

Colonial forest policy in India

At the beginning of the 19th century more than two-thirds of the land mass in India was laying uncultivated (Singh, 1986). As lands close to village habitations were enough to satisfy the subsistence needs of the people, forests remote from habitations were generally never over-exploited. Often these virgin forests were concentrated in infertile highlands, where lived India’s indigenous communities, called adivasis or tribals.

The British presence from the late 18th century onwards started making a difference to land and forest usage in India. Guided by commercial interests the British viewed forests as crown lands, limiting private property rights only to continuously cultivated lands. On forest lands, ‘human resource-use practices such as grazing, product collection, and temporary or rotational swidden farming were rejected as a basis for ownership, even when taxes were paid’ (Poffenberger and Mc Gean, 1996: 59). Often such forests were under community management, and their annexation by government alienated the people from their erstwhile common resources, leading to their overuse by the same people.

By the turn of the last century some 20 million hectares (m ha) of land was brought under a category of forests called Reserve Forests (Stebbing 1926). These were used exclusively for producing timber by the Forest Department (FD) and the surrounding villagers had no rights other than the ones explicitly permitted by the State. There was another category of Government forests – Protected Forests (PF) – that was also managed by the Forest Department, but the people had certain rights in them, such as gathering fruits and other produce of the trees, specifically for household use (but not for sale). At the time of country’s independence in 1947 the areas under Reserve and Protected Forests were 31 and 15 m ha respectively. Since then the net area under the control of Forest Department has further increased to 67 m ha through several processes.

First, after the abolition of the princely states and landlordism, all uncultivated lands under their control became vested in the State. The larger tracts were handed over to the Forest Department generally as PF, and the rest were vested in the village panchayats which are under the overall supervision of the Revenue Department.

The second process of extending government control over forests was through acquisition of private forests. These laws were passed by the various state governments in the two decades following Independence. Massive felling of trees took place from these forests because of the fear that these forests would be nationalized, as indeed they were in the 1950’s and 60’s. For several years after this take-over an impression has continued in the villages that if trees are planted on private lands, not only would the trees belong to Government but land on which such plantation takes place would also revert to Government. Even as late as 1987 a SIDA team promoting farm forestry in South Bihar encountered tribal’s’ fears that if they planted trees their lands would be taken away by the government (GOB, 1987). The fear is not baseless as the Bihar Private Forest Act and similar other enactments did precisely this in the past, by “nationalizing” private trees.

Qno24. Discuss how the Colonial and the nationalist legacy influenced the shape of the post Colonial Indian polity.   OR.    What were the main features of the post Colonial Indian state?

The term “decolonisation” seems to be of particular importance while talking about post-colonialism. In this case it means an intellectual process that persistently transfers the independence of former-colonial countries into people’s minds. The basic idea of this process is the deconstruction of old-fashioned perceptions and attitudes of power and oppression that were adopted during the time of colonialism.
First attempts to put this long-term policy of “decolonising the minds” into practice could be regarded in the Indian population after India became independent from the British Empire in 1947.

However, post-colonialism has increasingly become an object of scientific examination since 1950 when Western intellectuals began to get interested in the “Third World countries”. In the seventies, this interest lead to an integration of discussions about post-colonialism in various study courses at American Universities. Nowadays it also plays a remarkable role at European Universities.

The british rule in Inda came to an end on 15th Augst 1947. Inian nationalists had resited the British colonial power and tried to counter its hegemony. Nationalists used certain ideological and cultural makers to develop the conception of the indian nation. The British contened that India was not a nation and would never become one because its people were divided along caste and community lines. The retreat of colonial power was only a partial success as the imperial power succeeded in dividing the subcontint according to its own design. The partition also ensured that the institutional patterns created by the colonial power remained intact. The transfer of power to the congress and Muslim Leaugue in two parts of the subcontinant also silenced the radical voices and discourses regarding the post colonial political scenario. Although India under Congress opted for a democratic and secular political setup, the new polity suited the interests of a new ruling block of capitalists, large landowners and bureaucatic managerial elites.

A major aspect of post-colonialism is the rather violent-like, unbuffered contact or clash of cultures as an inevitable result of former colonial times; the relationship of the colonial power to the (formerly) colonised country, its population and culture and vice versa seems extremely ambiguous and contradictory.
This contradiction of two clashing cultures and the wide scale of problems resulting from it must be regarded as a major theme in post-colonialism: For centuries the colonial suppressor often had been forcing his civilised values on the natives. But when the native population finally gained independence, the colonial relicts were still omnipresent, deeply integrated in the natives’ minds and were supposed to be removed. So decolonisation is a process of change, destruction and, in the first place, an attempt to regain and lose power. While natives had to learn how to put independence into practice, colonial powers had to accept the loss of power over foreign countries. However, both sides have to deal with their past as suppressor and suppressed. This complicated relationship mainly developed from the Eurocentric perspective from which the former colonial powers saw themselves: Their colonial policy was often criticised as arrogant, ignorant, brutal and simply naïve. Their final colonial failure and the total independence of the once suppressed made the process of decolonisation rather tense and emotional.

Post-colonialism also deals with conflicts of identity and cultural belonging. Colonial powers came to foreign states and destroyed main parts of native tradition and culture; furthermore, they continuously replaced them with their own ones. This often lead to conflicts when countries became independent and suddenly faced the challenge of developing a new nationwide identity and self-confidence.
As generations had lived under the power of colonial rulers, they had more or less adopted their Western tradition and culture. The challenge for these countries was to find an individual way of proceeding to call their own. They could not get rid of the Western way of life from one day to the other; they could not manage to create a completely new one either.

On the other hand, former colonial powers had to change their self-assessment. This paradox identification process seems to be what decolonisation is all about, while post-colonialism is the intellectual direction that deals with it and maintains a steady analysis from both points of view.

So how is this difficult process of decolonisation being done? By the power of language, even more than by the use of military violence. Language is the intellectual means by which post-colonial communication and reflection takes place. This is particularly important as most colonial powers tried to integrate their language, the major aspect of their civilised culture, in foreign societies.
A lot of Indian books that can be attached to the era of post-colonialism, for instance, are written in English. The cross-border exchange of thoughts from both parties of the post-colonial conflict is supported by the use of a shared language.

To give a conclusion of it all, one might say that post-colonialism is a vivid discussion about what happened with the colonial thinking at the end of the colonial era. What legacy arouse from this era? What social, cultural and economical consequences could be seen and are still visible today? In these contexts, one examines alternating experiences of suppression, resistance, gender, migration and so forth. While doing so, both the colonising and colonised side are taken into consideration and related to each other. The main target of post-colonialism remains the same: To review and to deconstruct one-sided, worn-out attitudes in a lively discussion of colonisation.

Qno25. Discuss the importance of Macaulay’s minute in the progress of English education in India?    OR.   Explain the term woods dispatch, sadler commission and Indian education commission.

Ans: Lord Macaulay came to India as law Member of the council of governor general on June 10, 1834. He was a learned scholar of English literature and a very fluent orator. He was appointed the chairmen of the society of public instructions of Bengal by Lord William Bentinck. At that time a violent oriental and occidental controversy regarding medium of education in India was very evident. The Britisher’s were held up because they were unable to solve the problem of medium of instruction in India. It was Lord Macaulay who solved this problem by presenting a forceful minute in 1835.

Lord Macaulay was to advise the government on its educational policy. Although Macaulay refrained from making any sweeping recommendations regarding the educational structure, he gave his famous Minute in February 1835 about the medium of instruction.

Main features of Macaulay’s Minutes:

  1. Macaulay discussed the problem of medium of instruction and examined the rival claims of the mother-tongue, the classical languages and English.
  2. Macaulay discarded the local languages, considered them absolute and thus adopted the English as medium of instruction.
  3. Macaulay argued that the word ‘literature’ used in clause 43 of the charter act 1813 meant English literature and not local literature.
  4. According to Macaulay ‘Indian scholar’ mans a scholar who studied English literature.
  5. The chief aim of Macaulay was to spread English education through English medium.
  6. The English language will civilize India.
  7. Downward filtration theory regarding the education of masses was advocated.
  8. Macaulay said that if government felt that old educational policy has failed, it can change its policy and stop the grants.

Criticism of Macaulay’s Minutes:

  1. He is responsible for introduction of western education through the medium of English. His claim that English was the only medium of instruction for rejuvenating Indian culture cannot be justified.
  2. Macaulay is also held responsible for spreading western political ideas in the country.
  3. Macaulay tried to cut of Indians from their past heritage through the substitution of a new language and culture.
  4. Macaulay is also blamed for supporting the filtration theory.

Woods Desspetch (1954): Woods Education Despatch, popularly known as Woods Despatch is the corner stone of Indian educational. It is termed as Magna Charta of Indian education. It was so comprehensive that it contained a scheme of education for all Indians. It is held that many experts put their hands together in drafting it.

Aims and objectives of the Woods Dispatch:

  1. To confer upon the natives of India those vast and material blessings which flow from the general diffusion of western knowledge?
  2. To raise the moral character.
  3. To provide the east India company which educated, reliable and capable public servants.
  4. To secure for U.K a large assumed supply of many articles necessary for her manufactures.
  5. To make India people familiar which the works of European authors.

Features of the Woods Dispatch:

  1. Aim of the education.
  2. Medium of instruction.
  3. Establishment of the educational department.
  4. Establishment of the universities.
  5. Establishment of graded schools.
  6. Expansion of the mass education.
  7. Grant in aid system.
  8. Training of teachers.
  9. Education for women.
  10. Muslim education.
  11. Vocational education.
  12. Education and employment.
  13. Policy of religious neutrality.

The Sadler Commission

In 1917 to 1919, he led the Sadler Commission which looked at the state of Indian Education.

Towards the end of the First World War, the Secretary of State for India, Austen Chamberlain, invited Sadler to accept the chairmanship of a commission the government proposed to appoint to inquire into the affairs of Calcutta University. Chamberlain wrote: ’Lord Chelmsford [the Viceroy] informs me that they hope for the solution of the big political problems of India through the solution of the educational problems’. After some hesitation, Sadler accepted the invitation. Under his direction the Commission far exceeded its initial terms of reference. The result was thirteen volumes issued in 1919, providing a comprehensive sociological account of the context in which Mahatma Gandhi was campaigning for the end of the British Raj and the independence of India. From the lines of inquiry pursued, it is possible to deduce a conception of expanding higher education that goes far beyond the traditional university image in its search to relate higher education to the 20th century, with its increasing availability of educational opportunities to women.

Prior to the publication of the Calcutta University Report, Sadler delivered a private address to the Senate of Bombay University. He put forward his personal conclusions as he surveyed The Educational Movement in India and Britain. It was a far-sighted address, characteristic of Sadler’s belief in the inter-relationship of all the various levels of education and the importance of teacher training. He warned his listeners about producing an academic proletariat with job expectations that could not be fulfilled. And finally he told the members of the Senate:

And in India you stand on the verge of the most hazardous and inevitable of adventures—the planning of primary education for the unlettered millions of a hundred various races. I doubt whether the European model will fit Indian conditions. If you want social dynamite, modern elementary education of the customary kind will give it to you. It is the agency that will put the masses in motion. But to what end or issue no one can foretell.

In 1919, Sadler was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India (KCSI).


The Indian Education Commission 1882-83, the first in the series, was set up under the chairmanship of William Hunter to enquire into the manner in which effect had been given to the principles of the Dispatch of 1854, with particular emphasis on elementary education. The primary education system was given an impetus by the Report of the Hunter Commission. The Commission also recommended, “Primary education be regarded as the instruction of the masses through the vernacular in such subjects as will best fit them for their position in life, and be not necessarily regarded as a portion of instruction leading up to University”. The inquiry of the Commission led to a great educational awakening in India and its main findings agreed largely with the Dispatch of 1854, which dominated the Indian educational policy.








  1. Pre-State to State.
  2. Territorial States to Empire.
  3. Polities from 2nd Century B.C to 3rd Century AD.
  4. Polities from 3rd Century AD to 6th Centuty AD.
  5. Early Medieval Polities in North India 7th to 12th Centuries AD.
  6. Early Medieval Polities in Peninsular India 6th to 8th Centuries AD.
  7. Early Medieval Polities in Peninsular India 8th to 12th Centuries AD.
  8. State under the Delhi Sultanate.
  9. Vijayanagara, Bahmani and other Kingdoms.
  10. The Mughal State.
  11. The 18th Century Polities.
  12. Colonial powers-Portuguese, Duch and French.
  13. Princely States.
  14. Administrative and Institutional Structures in Peninsular India.
  15. Administrative and Instiitutional Systems in North India.
  16. Law and Judicial Systems.
  17. The Delhi Sultanate.
  18. Vijayanagar, Bahamani and othr Kingdoms.
  19. The Mughal Empire.
  20. 18th Century Successor States.
  21. Ideologies of the Raj.
  22. Extent of Colonial Intervention: Education and Society.
  23. End of the Colonial State-Establishment of Democratic Polity.








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