Through The Eyes Of Travellers Class 12th Themes In Indian History Part Ii CBSE Solution

Class 12th Themes In Indian History Part Ii CBSE Solution

Exercises
Question 1.

Write a note on the Kitab-ul-Hind.


Answer:

Kitab-ul-Hind was written by Al-Biruni in 1301. It is also known by the name of Tarikh-ul-Hind, his book is divided into 80 chapters. His book is simple and lucid and deals with various subjects like religion, philosophy, astronomy, laws, social customs as well as the political life of the people. His book throws a light on the Indian Religion, philosophy, custom and tradition.

The highlight of the book was his distinctive style of writing. He extensively compared the Indian culture with other cultures. The book talks about the “caste system” in India and tried to explain it by looking for parallels in other societies. He also mentioned in his book that social divisions were not unique in India.


Question 2.

Compare and contrast the perspectives from which Ibn Battuta and Bernier wrote their accounts of their travels in India.


Answer:

Ibn –Battuta wrote the account of his travels in India in his book Rihala. He travelled extensively in India, Central Africa and lived at the court of Muhammad Bin Tuglaq. He recorded his observations about new culture, people’s beliefs and values. He particularly highlighted the things that he was unfamiliar with like the “coconut” and “Paan” in great detail. While travelling he crossed several “Bazaars”, and caught an eye on Indian “Postal system”. He described the conditions of slaves and the “city of Delhi”.

Francois Bernier in his book Travels in Mughal Empire. His account is marked by detailed observations, critical insights and its reflections. He compared what he saw in India with the situation of Europe. He blamed crown ownership of land and absence of private property as a reason for underdevelopment in the Indian society


Both of them wrote account on different perspective. Ibn Battuta mentioned and explained what he was impressed from whereas Bernier pointed out the things that were the weakness of the Indian society. He pointed the weakness of the Indian society and considered the Mughal India inferior to the European society. Ibn Battuta recorded observations about culture, people, beliefs and values.



Question 3.

Discuss the picture of urban centres that emerges from Bernier’s account.


Answer:

From Francois Bernier’s account we see the picture of rapid emerging urban centres in the Mughal period. During 17th century 15% of the population was living in town.

Bernier described mughal towns as court towns. He meant that these towns were dependent upon the imperial court for their survival and existence; the court grant concessions and levy policies and opportunity; the imperial court governed the lives in the urban centres. These towns came into existence with the imperial court and decline with the impanels court when they moved to other places. In his travel account, Bernier described many big towns and cities and the life within it, comparing that with the European society. Towns and cities such as Delhi, Mathura, Kashmir, Surat, Masulipatnam and Golconda gained importance as manufacturing centres, trading towns and sacred towns. The merchant communities had deep authoritative control in these cities. These urban trading centre were known as “Mahajans” in western india. Their head was called “Sheth”. The chief of Merchant community was known as “Nagarsheth”. Besides these trading groups, musicians, lawyers, painters, calligraphist, etc. lived in the town. Hence, from Bernier’s account we can figure that urban town was in flux open with different opportunities for trade and talent.



Question 4.

Analyse the evidence for slavery provided by Ibn Battuta.


Answer:

Ibn Battuta has given a detailed description on the practice of slavery prevalent in India. He used to stay with the sultanate of Delhi Muhammad Bin Tughlaq; Battuta mentioned that Tughlaq had a large number of slaves in his fort. Most of these slaves were forcibly captured during the aggressions and in won warfare. Many people sold their children as slaves, because of the severe poverty in their household. Slaves were also offered as the gits during this time to important people came to meet the king or Justas token of gratitude. Battuta when visited him, also brought many horses, camels and slaves for the Sultan and presented them in front of him. Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, himself had presented 200 slaves to Nasiruddin a religious preacher.

Nobles as well used to keep slaves in those days. Through these slaves, the Sultan used to keep an eye and get information about the activities of the noble and all other important events happening in the empire.


The women slave served as servants and sometimes acted as Spies in the house of the rich nobles. These women informed the sultan about the activities of their masters. Most of the slaves used to do domestic works and there was a lot of difference between the status of these slaves and the court slaves, the slaves also had different hierarchy within them.



Question 5.

What were the elements of the practice of sati that drew the attention of Bernier?


Answer:

Bernier in his book Travels in Mughal Empire mentioned the prevalent practice of sati

The practice of Sati according to Bernier showed the difference in the treatment of women in the western and the eastern society. He notices that how a child widow is forcefully burned screaming on the funeral pyre while many of the older women were reconciled with their fate.


Bernier noted that some women seemed to embrace death happily while others were forced to die in the name of love and honour. He witnessed one such Sati at Lahore which drew his attention to this whole ritual. That fearful event shook him and he decided to pen it down.


The following elements drew his attention about the horrifying ritual Sati:-


1. Under this cruel practices and Alive widow was forcibly made to sit on the Pyre of her husband.


2. People had no Sympathy towards them and everyone supported the practice even when the widow was against it.


3. Widow was made the victim of Sati and made her practice against her will; she was forced to be a Sati. Even the child widows were not stopped from this and forcefully sent to the burning pyre.



Question 6.

Discuss Al-Biruni’s understanding of the caste system.


Answer:

Al-Biruni understood and talked about the Indian caste system in his book. He tried to explain it by looking for parallels in other societies.

1. He described the social categories in Persia, and those were recognized as :-


Knights and princes. Monks, lawyers, physicians and other scientist and finally the peasants and artisans. He focused that social divisions were not unique in India.


1. Al-Biruni observed that there were four Varnas or social Categories in India. His narrative of caste system was influenced by the study of Sanskrit texts. There categories were created from ‘Brahman’; which is only another name for the force called ‘Nature’.


2. According to him, the highest caste are the ‘Brahmans’ and they were created from the head of the very best of mankind.


The next caste is the Kshatriyas who were created from the shoulders and hands of Brahman, Their degree is not much below than that of Brahmana.


After than follow the ‘Vaishya’ who were created from the thigh of Brahman. The Shudra were created from his feet.


3. Al-Biruni noted that this caste system was not Unique to India. He noted that in Orient Persia also there existed four social categories.


4. Al-Biruni accepted the Brahmanical description of caste system, but disapproved the notion of “pollution” assigned to a creation caste that is Shudras.


5. The concept of social pollution, intrinsic to the caste system, was according to him, contrary to the laws of nature. He was not able to foresee that the caste system was not rigid as portrayed in the Sanskrit texts.



Question 7.

Do you think Ibn Battuta’s account is useful in arriving at an understanding of life in contemporary urban centres? Give reasons for your answer.


Answer:

Ibn Battuta’s account is very useful in reaching at an understanding of life in contemporary urban centres with the help of his following observations:-

1. Ibn Battuta described Indian cities densely populated and prosperous.


2. According to him, cities provided exciting opportunities for those who had the necessary desire, resources and skills. It was open to people from all walks of life.


3. It appears from Ibn Battuta’s account that most cities had crowded streets and bright and Colourful markets that were stacked with a variety of goods. City acted both as centre for economic transaction and a hub for social and cultural activity.


4. Most Bazaars had a mosque and a temple and in some of them spaces were marked for public performances, by dancers, musicians and singers.


5. Delhi was the largest city in India with lots of population, another city that challenged Delhi in size was Daultabad.


6. Although Ibn Battuta was not particularly concerned with explaining the prosperity of towns, but historians have used his account to suggest that prosperity in Indian town was due to two reasons.


a. The towns derived a significant portion of their wealth though the appropriation of surplus from village.


b. He explained that towns were well – integrated with inter-Asian network of trade and commerce and Indian manufactures such as cotton textiles, muslins, silk and brocade were in great demand in both west Asia and South- East Asia. Wide range of trade and commerce made the city of Delhi prosperous and famous.


Thus, it is clear that Ibn Battuta gave a very complete and comprehensive account of urban centres.



Question 8.

Discuss the extent to which Bernier’s account enables historians to reconstruct contemporary rural society.


Answer:

Bernier gave two very different rather contradictory account of the rural society:

1. In his FIRST ACCOUNT he drew a very poor picture of the peasantry.


a. Vast tracts of the countryside was little more than sand, barren mountains, badly cultivated and highly populated.


b. A considerable portion of land remains untilled for want of labour.


c. The land lords are greedy and exploiting the peasants, when the peasants are unable to pay the revenue, their children are taken away as slaves. Thus the peasants are abandoning the countryside.


2. In his SECOND ACCOUNT Bernier wrote.


a. Vast tract of the countryside is extremely fertile, population is sufficiently abundant and the land is well tilled.


b. The kingdom of Bengal surpasses Egypt not only in the productions of rice and corn; but also in the production of commercial crops like silk cotton and Indigo.


c. Artisans are although lazy but are employed in the manufacturing of carpets, brocades and like and cotton cloth.


4. He also added that gold and silver from every part of the world is coming to India.


Thus, from the above two contradictory accounts, it is very difficult for historians to construct the rural history.


Bernier, actually belonged to a different intellectual tradition he was far more preoccupied with comparing India with the west and generally emphasizing on the superiority of the latter.


Not only this, Bernier was also participating in a debate in Europe between two economic systems ; Capitalism vs. socialism and his description of Mughal India (where peasantry was poor as the king was the sole owner of the land) was meant to serve as a warning to those who do not recognize the merits of private property.



Question 9.

Read this excerpt from Bernier:

Numerous are the instances of handsome pieces of workmanship made by persons destitute of tools, and who can scarcely be said to have received instruction from a master. Sometimes they imitate so perfectly articles of European manufacture that the difference between the original and copy can hardly be discerned. Among other things, the Indians make excellent muskets, and fowling pieces, and such beautiful gold ornaments that it may be doubted if the exquisite workmanship of those articles can be exceeded by any European goldsmith. I have often admired the beauty, softness, and delicacy of their paintings.

List the crafts mentioned in the passage. Compare these with the descriptions of artisanal activity in the chapter.


Answer:

In this Excerpt from Bernier’s account we see the description of the various, tools, ornaments and sculptures which were made by Indian artisan and how perfectly it had been carved that he was awestruck with their work and its beauty. Sometime they would the European art and made Bernier confided about its originality.

In this passage the craft such as making of Muskets and following pieces and making beautiful gold ornaments are mentioned. These products were skilfully made. Bernier was amazed to see these products. He would often compare the European style with the Indian art style for more variations.


Comparison of craft referred in the passage with the description of artisanal activity in the chapter like in the chapter both manufacturing and terracotta sculpture and temple architecture has been mentioned. Art of painting has been referred art of carpet manufacturing has been referred art of dance, music, calligraphy have been referred in the chapter description about Rajal Khamos have also been mentioned. A broad spectrum of artisanal activities was practiced in India. He praised the Indian Goldsmiths and their fine work in ornaments which were beautifully crafted alongside he admired the delicate paintings of the Indian artwork.


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