Total History and Civics Class 9 ICSE Morning Star Solutions Chapter 6 The Age of the Guptas.
These Solutions are part of Total History and Civics Class 9 ICSE Morning Star Solutions. Here we have given. Total History and Civics Class 9 ICSE Morning Star Solutions Chapter 6 The Age of the Guptas.
I. Short Answer Questions :
Who was Fa-hien ? What did he say about India ?
The Chinese traveler Fa-hien, visited India at the time of Chandragupta-II (Vikramaditya). He was deeply impressed by the ideal and mild administration affected by Buddhism, economic prosperity of Pataliputra and Magadha, simplicity of the people. He had also mentioned about the versatile religions including Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Buddhism and Jainism etc.
Who was the ruler when Fa-hien visited India? When did he visited India ?
Chandragupta II was the ruler at that time.Fa-hien started his journey from China in AD 399 and reached India in AD 405 and stayed in India up to 411.
Name the three dramas written by Kalidasa.
The three dramas written by Kalidasa were Malavikagnimitram, Abhijnanshakuntalam and Vikramorvashiyam.
Why is the Gupta Period known as the Golden Age of Indian culture ?
The Gupta Period is remarkable for all-around development in ideal administration, art, culture, economy, medicines, literature, education, astronomy etc. The famous universities of Taxila and Nalanda near Rawalpindi and in Bihar respectively. The temple of Bhitrigaon in Kanpur, Bhitari temple in Gazipur, Deogarh temple in Jhansi are examples of five architect. Aryabhatta, a famous astronomer and mathematician, Varahmibira, Brahmagupta was eminent astronomers. Charaka and Sushruta were excellent scholars of Ayurveda. The ‘Iron Pillar’ in New Delhi is the proof of high level metallurgy due to its high quality iron. Highly talented poets were Kalidas, Sudraka, Bhasa, Harishena, Dandin Subandhu, Bharavi, Banbhatta, Vishnusharma (writer of Panchatantra). Besides this, Puranas and Bhagvata Gita were written in this period. So it was the golden period of Indian culture, undoubtedly.
How was Samudragupta a bold and great conqueror ?
Samudragupta was a brave conqueror. He defeated many rulers. His empire extended from Yamuna and Chambal in the west to Brahmaputra in the east. He was known as the ‘Napoleon of India’.
Name the famous university that existed during the Gupta period ?
The famous university was Nalanda university in Bihar.
Name any two titles adopted by the Gupta rulers ?
‘Maharajadhiraja’ and ‘Napoleon of India’ were the two titles adopted by Gupta rulers.
Name the officer who collected the toll tax during the Gupta period.
The officer who collected the toll tax during the Gupta period was known as ‘Shaulkika’.
Name the officer who was. incharge of a province or bhukti during the Gupta period.
The officer who was incharge of a province or bhukti during the Gupta period was called Vishayapati.
What contribution did Aryabhatta make in the field of science, astronomy and mathematics ?
Aryabhatta discovered zero decimal system and calculated the value of pi (3.1416) and area of triangle in mathematics; movement of earth and sun in the astronomy.
Name two renowned Sanskrit authors and their important works during the Gupta period.
Kalidasa : The famous poet of Vikramaditya’s court, wrote famous poetic works, e.g. Ritusamhara, Raghuvamsa.
Sudraka: He wrote dramatic work ‘Mrichchhakatika’ orthe ‘ Little Clay Cart’, throwing light on socio-economic life of the people with a sense of humour.
During whose reign Hiuen Tasang visited India ?
Hiuen Tasang visited India during the reign of Harsha.
What was the chief architectural feature of the brick temple at Bhitrigaon ?
This temple dates back to 5th century AD. The temple has a pyramidal roof and its outer walls are decorated with statues and figures. There is a Shivalinga placed in the Garbagriha. The chief architectural feature is the arch, the curved structure supporting the weight of the roof.
Give two distinguishing features of Ajanta and Bagh paintings.
Ajanta and Bagh paintings are very impressive and lively with human faces, limbs drawn with grace and action along with flowers and birds depicting living action views.
Mention three important kingdoms which came to power in India between 320 BC and AD 162.
During this period (320 BC and AD 162), three important Kingdoms were Satraps Empire, Satavabana Empire and Kushana Empire.
Who was the author of Harshacharita ? What was the theme of this book ?
The author of ‘Harshacharita’, was Banabhatta. Theme of the book was to describe the deeds of Harsha along with his biography and socio-economic conditions during his reign.
Name one literary and another archaeological source to reconstruct the Age of the Guptas.
- Literary Source : Fa-hein visit to India.
- Archaeological Source : Allahabad Pillar Inscriptions.
Name the famous Inscription that tells us about the character and military achievements of Samudragupta.
Allahabad Pillar Inscription.
Which great conquest enabled Chandragupta II to carry the title of Sakaril
The Conquest of Gujarat and Kathiawar peninsula dominated by the Saka power, enabled Chandragupta II to carry the title of Sakari.
Who was Fa-hien? What is the title of the book that he wrote about India?
Fa-hien was a Chinese pilgrim, who travelled all over India for more than 13 years. The title of the book that he wrote about India was, Fo-Kwo-Ki (The Travels of Fa- hien).
What did Fa-hien write about the City of Pataliputra?
Fa-hien wrote about the City of Pataliputra that the City had two grand monasteries-one of the Hinayana and other of the Mahayana. He noticed the usual grandeur of Ashoka’s Palace as such. People living there, were quite prosper by all means. There was an excellent hospital run by the wealthy citizens of the town. Rest-houses existed in large town and on highways for the comforts of the travellers.
The relations between the followers of various sects were cordial. The people were honest and law-abiding. No uneven restrictions were imposed on them to move about anywhere in the City. The criminal law was mild. Capital punishment was out of practice.
Which Gupta ruler defeated the Hunas?
Skandagupta defeated the Hunas.
What does Fa-hien write about the life of the people during the Gupta age?
Fa-hien writes that the bulk of the population during the Gupta age was vegetarian and usually followed the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) .The caste-system prevailed and untouchability had become an established institution in this age. The Chandalas occupied the lowest rank in society. They were outcasts and lived away from the people. They did menial jobs. When they approached a city or a market, they had to strike a piece of wood, so that others might avoid coming in contact with them.Slavery also existed, although the Brahmins could not be owned as slaves. Women were educated in fine arts and domestic virtues. Widow-remarriage was viewed with disfavour. The practice of Devadasi was prevalent. In other words, some girls were being maintained to many temples for the service of Gods.
Mention an important cause for the revival of Brahmanical religion in the Gupta period.
The Gupta monarchs were staunch supporters of Brahmanishm, they gave a strong impetus to the restoration and enhancement of their religion.
Name any two famous poets of the Gupta period.
Kalidasa and Harisena.
Who was the greatest literary genius of the Gupta period?
Kalidasa was the greatest literary genius of the Gupta period.
Name two dramas and two epics written by Kalidasa.
Malavikagnimitra and Vikramorvasiya are the two dramas written by Kalidasa. The two epics are—Raghuvamsa and Kumarasambhava.
What is the importance of Panchatantra?
It is a collection of stories which intended to teach moral lessons to children.
Name three important sciences which made great progress during the Gupta period.
Astronomy, mathematics and medicine.
Mention the contributions of Aryabhatta in the field of astronomy.
Aryabhatta was the first Indian astromer to declare that the earth is spherical in shape and he proved that the earth revolves around the sun on its own axis.
Name the famous astronomer of the Gupta period after whom an Indian Satellite was named.
Mention the important contibutions of Varahamihira.
Varahamihira was a great scientist of the Gupta age, he wrote Brihat Samhita which deals with Astronomy, Mathematics, Botany and Physical Geography. He also wrote a famous book on different branches of Jyotishastra and another work Pancha Siddhantika, giving an account of the five systems of Astronomy.
Mention the famous work on medicine written by V riddha-V agabhatta.
Mention two famous temples of the Gupta period.
The Dasavatara Temple, also known as Vishnu Temple, at Deogarh near Jhansi, and Bhitargaon Temple near Kanpur.
Metion two important architectural features of the Dasavatara (Vishnu) Temple at Deogarh.
The Temple stands on a wide basement with a flight of steps in the middle of each side. It had a spire and its roof was supported by pillars.
Give two distinguishing features of the Gupta Sculpture.
Two distinguishing features of the Gupta Sculpture are :
- The Gupta Sculpture discarded foreign influence and adopted a style which was totally Indian in character. The techniques of carving and the subjects chosen, were purely of Indian origin.
- Several varieties of mudras (poses) were used.
Mention two pieces of evidence to show that the art of Sculpture excelled during the Gupta period.
The statue of the Standing Buddha discovered at Mathura and the figure of the Great Boar done in relief at the entrance of the Cave at Udayagiri are the two pieces of evidence that show that the art of Sculpture excelled during the Gupta period.
What is known as Frescoes?
The painting done on the walls are called Frescoes.
Mention two places famous for the art of painting during the Gupta period.
The Ajanata Caves in Maharashtra State and the Bagh Caves near Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
Metion two important features of the painting of Ajanta.
Two important features of the paintings at Ajanta are as follows :
- The rock walls were first plastered with a thick coating of clay, mixed with straw, gypsum and other materials. Then a thin lawyer of lime-plaster was applied to produce a glazed surface for making the painting more effective.
- On the glazed surface of the wall the outlines of the figures were drawn first. The artists used water colours.
Name the Chinese pilgrim who studied at the Nalanda University.
Hiuen-Tsang was the Chinese pilgrim who studied at the Nalanda University.
Mention the extent of King Harsha’s empire.
The extent of King Harsha’s empire included
- Eastern Punjab
- Kanauj (Uttar Pradesh)
- Magadha (Bihar)
How can we say that Harshavardhana was a patron of learning?
Matan Diwakar was the court-poet to Harshavardhana. His patronage to . authors like—Banabhatta, who wrote Harshcharita and Mayur, who wrote Suryashataka, shows his interest in literature. Harsha himself was a scholar and an author of three plays—Ratnavali, Nagananda and Priyadarshika. Nalanda University was patronised by Harshavardhana.
Who wrote Harshcharita?
Banabhatta wrote Harshcharita.
Where was the Fifth Buddhist Assembly held? Who presided over the Assembly’s deliberations?
The Fifth Buddhist Assembly was held at Kanauj, Hiuen- Tsang presided over the Assembly’s deliberations.
Mention the main conquests of Pulakesin II.
Pulakesin II, ruled, from 608 AD to 642 AD. He conquered northern Konkan and the Gujarat and Malwa regions.
Whose reign marks the climax of the Pallava power?
The reign of Narasimhavarman marks the climax of the Pallava power.
Name the Inscription that refers to the achievements of King Kharvela of Kalinga.
The Hathigumpha Inscription on the Udayagiri hills, near Bhubaneshwar in Orrissa.
Who converted Kanishka to Buddhism?
A Buddhist monk Asvaghosa converted Kanishka to Buddhism.
Name the two sects into which Buddhism got split during Kanishka’s reign.
During Kanishka’s reign, Buddhism got split into Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle) and the Mahayana (Great Vehicle).
Give one evidence to suggest that the sculptural art flourished during the reign of Satvahanas of Deccan.
The sculptures of Amravati and Nagarjunakonda Stupas.
Name a fine specimen of rock-cut architecture during the reign of the Satvahanas.
The Chaitya at Karle.
Name the two main crafts that flourished during the Gupta age.
Jewellery-making and sculpture flourished during the Gupta age.
Mention an important cause for the revival of Brahmanical religion in the Gupta period.
The Gupta monarchs were staunch supporters of Brahmanism, they gave a strong impetus to the restoration and enhancement of their religion.
Mention any one cause that led to the decline of the mighty Gupta empire.
The repeated invasions of the Hunas led to the decline of the mighty Gupta empire.
Mention the literary works of Dandin.
Dandin wrote Daskumarcharita and Kavyadarsha.
Name the literary work of Perundevanar.
Perundevanar wrote Bharatam.
How many Rathas are found at Mahabalipuram?
Eight Rathas are found at Mahabalipuram.
Name the ‘Pancha Pandava’ Rathas.
Draupadi Ratha, Dharamaraja Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Bhima Ratha and Sahadeva Ratha.
Name the largest and the smallest of the Rathas.
The largest Ratha is the Dharamaraja Ratha.
The smallest Ratha is the Draupadi Ratha.
II. Structured Questions.
With reference to the sources of information about the Gupta Age, write short notes on the following :
(a) Accounts of Fa-hien
(b) The Allahabad Pillar Inscription
(c) Nalanda University
(a) Accounts of Fa-hien — Fa-hien, in his book Fo-Kwo- Ki (The Travels of Fa-hien) mentioned about life of the people and religious conditions that prevailed in the early years. According to Fa-hien, Magadha was a prosperous country with large towns, teeming with wealthy population. Pataliputra was a flourishing city with numerous charitable institutions, including a hospital endowed by benevolent citizens. According to Fa-hien, although the people were wealthy, they led simple lives, generally observing the Buddhist rules of conduct. Fa-hien has mentioned that Vaishnavism, Shaivism and even Buddhism and Jainism existed in the society. People, however, had no ill-will towards other sects. Fa-hien said that Hindu gods and goddesses were depicted on coins and also in sculptures and paintings.
Fa-hien was pleased with the mildness of the administration. According to him, the penal code was mild and the offenses were ordinarily punished by fines only. From his accounts, it can be inferred that the Gupta Empire was prosperous and governed on enlightened principles.
(b) The Allahabad Pillar Inscription — Allahabad Pillar Inscription is one of the most epigraphic evidences of the Imperial Gupta. Achievements of different rulers of the Gupta image are mentioned in Allahabad Pillar Inscription. It gives a vivid description of the reign and conquest of Samudra- gupta. Historians, both ancient and modern, have considered the historical value of Allahabad pillar. It provides a pretty impressive lest of Kings and tribal republic that were conquered by Samudragupta.
(c) Nalanda University—It was the most renowned educational institution of ancient India. Located at Nalanda in Rajagriha in Bihar, it was originally set up by Sakraditya in the 5th century AD during the reign of Kumaragupta-I. The University of Nalanda had imposing buildings. There were at least 8 colleges built by different patrons including one by Balaputradeva, King of Sumatra. According to Hiuen Tsang the whole university area was enclosed by a brick wall.
The Nalanda University provided various facilities to the students for their studies. There were three great libraries called Ratnasagar, Ratnodadhi and Ratnaranjak. There were more than 10,000 students including teachers of all kinds. They came from Korea, Mongolia, Japan, China, Tibet, Ceylon and various parts of India. The subjects of study at Nalanda University were all the four Vedas, logic, grammar, medicine, samkya, yoga, nyaya and the Buddhist works of the different schools.
It was not an ordinary university. It was a post-graduate institution to which admission was very difficult. Before admission, an examination was held in which hardly 20% students passed and the rest of 80% were rejected. Only the most brilliant were admitted to the University.
Nalanda continued to be a beacon of light upto 12th century AD when it was destroyed by Mohammad-bin-Bakhtiyar Khilji, a general of Mohammad Ghori. Today only the remains of its magnificence and glory can be seen.
2. With reference to the Age of the Guptas, answer the following questions.
Explain the extent of samudragupta’s Empire based on the information given in the Allahabad Pillar Inscription.
The Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta describes four different kinds of rulers and tells us about Samudragupta’s policies towards them:
- The nine rulers of Aryavarta were uprooted and their kingdoms were made a part of Samudragupta’s empire.
- he twelve rulers of Dakshinpatha (South India), who surrendered to Samudragupta after being defeated, were liberated and allowed to rule again over their kingdoms.
- The inner circle of neighbouring states, including Assam, Coastal Bengal, Nepal and a number of gana sanghas (organisation of many kings) in the north-west. They brought tribute, followed his ordered and attended his court.
- The rulers of the outlying areas, who submitted to him and offered their daughters in marriage.
Explain how Chandragupta II expanded his empire.
Chandragupta II inherited the military genius of his father and . . extended the Gupta empire by conquest of his own. He annexed the territories of Sakas of Malwa, Gujarat and Saurashtra.Forthishe was given the title ‘sakari’ orconqueror of Sakas.
According to noted historian, Dr. Vincent Smith, “the annexation of Saurashtra and Malwa not only added to the empire, provinces of exceptional wealth and fertility, but opened up access to the ports of the western coast; and thus placed Chandragupta II in direct touch with the seaborne commerce with Europe through Egypt.”Chandragupta-II entered into matrimonial alliances as a part of his foreign policy. He married Kuberanaga of the Naga family. The Nagas were a powerful ruling clan and this matrimonial alliance helped the Gupta ruler in expanding his empire. The marriage of Chandragupta’s daughter, Prabhavati with the Vakataka ruler, Rudrasena II helped him to establish his political influence in the Deccan.
3. With reference to the administrative system of the Guptas, answer the following questions :
Explain the position and powers of the king during the Gupta Age.
The Gupta kings enjoyed a large number of powers which covered the political, administrative, military and judicial fields. They were the commanders-in-chief of the army. Samundragupta, Chandragupta II and Skandagupta personally led their armies. The kings appointed all the governors and important military and civil officers. The governors and their officers had to work under the control and guidance of the king. The central secretariat also worked under the supervision of the king. The king was the source of all honours and titles. All land in the country was the property of the king. He could construct dams, give shelter to foreigners, impose, recover and remit taxes and give justice. If any property was unclaimed, that went into the coffers of the king.
Describe briefly the administration of villages during the Gupta period.
The village administration was managed by the village headman. The Gupta inscriptions refer to the participation of leading local elements in the administration of the village or small towns called vithis. No land transactions could be effected without their consent and this may have been also true of other important affairs.
4. With reference to the picture given alongside, answer the following:
Identify the temple given in the picture. Where is it located?
This is the Vishnu temple located at Deogarh. It is also known as the Dashavatara Temple.
Mention the architectural features of this temple.
It was completely made of stone and bricks. The temple was
built on a 1.5 meter high platform. Four stairways outside the platform provide access to the temple. Its exterior is decorated with scenes from Ramayana. the entrance and pillars were adorned with countless paintings and carvings. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the god of preservation, Vishnu is shown asleep on the coil of the giant serpent called Sheshnaga. There was an outer wall around the temple.
Mention any three important features of Sanchi temple another temples built during the Gupta period.
The Sanchi temple, another temple in the Gupta period has a flat roof. The columns of the portico are surmounted by a bell capital. A large number of Stupas, Viharas and Chaityas were cut out of solid rocks.
5. With reference to Golden Age of Indian Culture answer the following questions.
Briefly describe growth of Sanskrit literature.
Sanskrit became the language of the learned and retained its supreme position for a thousand years. Guptas made Sanskrit official language for administrative purposes. They used Sanskrit instead of Prakrit in their inscriptions. Sanskrit was used in official documents as well as in inscriptions. The classical Sanskrit literature that flowered during the Gupta period consisted of epics, poetry, drama, lyrics and prose.
Give an account of the contribution of Aryabhatta, Varahamihira and Brahmagupta.
Aryabhatta (AD 471-500) — He wrote two famous books Aryabhattiyam and Surya Siddhanta. He told that the earth moves round the sun. He also discovered the rule for finding the area of a triangle. He calculated the exact value of pi which was equal to 3.1416. The credit for development of trigonometry should actually go to him. Aryabhatta was acquainted with the decimal system and use of ‘zero’. The decimal system has numbers from 1 to 9 and zero.
Varahamihira — He composed two famous books Panch Siddhantika and Brihat Samhita. He proved that moon rotates round the earth and earth rotates round the sun. He also studied movements of planets.
Brahmagupta — He wrote Brahma Sphutic Siddhanta and described law of gravitation, several centuries before Newton. This system is now in use throughout the world.
Describe the progress in medicine during this period.
Ayurvedic medicines were created by Charak and Sushijita in the 2nd century A.D., which are still today the basic promoter of herbal medicines e.g. ‘Chyavanprash’ and various digestive medicines.
6. With reference to progress in art and architecture during and after the Gupta period, describe the following:
Vishnu Temple at Deogarh and common architectural features of temples of this period.
The Vishnu temple at Deogarh was built in the beginning of 6th century AD, 112 km-away from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. It is built on a 1.5 meter high platform. The exterior is decorated with scenes of Ramayana. The main gate and pillars are adorned with paintings and carvings; with an outer wall around the temple.
Characteristic features of sculpture of this period.
The sculpture of Gupta period has the following distinctive
- It evolved through two main schools of art — of Mathura and Sarnath. Pataliputra also emerged as an important school.
- It was wholly Indian and free from foreign influence.
- Spirituality formed the background.
- For the first time, Indian artists paid detailed attention to drappery, both plain or folded.
- In the earlier period halo (the circle of light surrounding the head of a deity) was plain but now it was marked by graceful ornamentation.
- Gupta art also differed from earlier schools of art in respect of representation of Buddha in a variety of mudras (poses).
- Buddha is shown with curly hair instead of clean shaven head shown by Gandhara artists.
With reference to Imperial Age of Guptas, answer the following questions :
(a) Name three important Kings of Gupta period and state the extent of their empire.
(b) Give a brief account of political history of India before the Gupta Period.
- Chandragupta I (AD 320 – 325)
- Samudragupta (AD 335 – 375)
- Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya) (AD 375-414) Their empire extended from Indus valley (Punjab and Kathiavar in the west to Bengal in the east and upto Narmda- Tapi basin)
(b) The political history of India before Gupta period was very complicated. Firstly, after Alexander’s exit from India, his generals occupied Iran and Afghanistan. They attacked India under Demetrius II and occupied Kabul valley and parts of Punjab. Then Shakas entered and Rudradaman was the most famous Shaka ruler in India ruling Sindh, Gujrat, Konkan, Malwa and Kathiawar. There after Parthians and Kushanas ruled over Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Then came Mauryan empire followed by the Satavahanas.
With reference to political conditions in India between 6th and 8th centuries, answer the following questions:
(a) When did Harshavardhana ascend the throne ? Give an account of his reign ?
(b) Give a brief account of the Chalukya and the Pallava Kingdoms in the South.
(a) Harshavardhan ascended the throne in AD 606. He shifted his capital from Thanesar to Kanauj. He conquered Punjab, easthern Rajasthan and Ganga valley. Harsha was a great patron of art and was a good writer. He wrote three plays in Sanskrit-Ratnavali, Priyadarshika and Nagananda.
(b) Chalukya Kingdom : The great King Pulakesin-II checked advance of Harsha to south. Chalukyas ruled over Karnataka. In AD 642, the Chalukya kingdom along with its capital Vatapi or Badami was destroyed by Pallavas. In AD 755 their last king Kirtivarman-II was defeated and killed by another Deccan power, the Rashtrakutas.
Pallava Kingdom : This came in power after the decline of Satavahanas. The capital Kanchi became famous by construction of Kailashnath temple. Chalukya King Narsimhavarman Finally defeated and killed ?pulakesin-II and captured the Chalukya capital By the end 9th of century, the Pallavas were defeated by the Cholas, who put an end to Pallava dynasty.
With reference to the classical age ushered in during the Gupta period, answer the following questions :
(a) Name four important authors and their works during this period.
(b) Write short notes on Nalanda and Taxila Universities.
- Kalidas : Works are Ritu Samhara, Raghuvamsa Meghaduta, Kumarasambhava.
- Sudraka : Dramatic work is ‘Mrichchakatika’ ‘Little Clay Cart)
- Harisena : His work is on Samudragupta e.g. ‘Prashasti’
- Subandhu : wrote ‘Vasavadutta’.
- Nalanda University : It is located in Rajgirha in Bihar. It was set up by Sakraditya in 5th century, during the reign of Kumargupta-I, son of Vikramaditya. It was continued upto 12th century AD and destroyed by a general of Mohammad Ghori.
- Taxila university : It is situated 50 km. away from Rawalpindi. This oldest university imported education in religious subjects. The subjects also included astronomy, surgery, astrology, law archery accountancy and commerce. The famous teacher, Chanakya was also there in Mauryan period.
There are many sources to reconstruct the Age of the Guptas and Harsha’s times. In this context explain :
(a) the literary accounts of Fa-hien
(b) Allahabad Pillar Inscriptions
(c) Hiuen Tsang’s Memoirs with particular reference to his description of the Fifth Duddhist Assembly at Kanauj.
(a) The Literary accounts of Fa-hien : Fa-hien was a renowned Chinese traveller and pilgrim, known for his extensive travel through out India during the year 399 and returned to his homeland China in the year 414. Fa-Hien came to India with a view to trace the origin of Buddhist religion. As a part of his tour he visited various Buddhist shrines and interacted with prominent religious persons. The account Fa-hien wrote on his travel in India throws a valuable insight into the history of the land in ancient times. It describes his encounter with the people belonging to various dynasties and kingdoms. It contains a description of the famous places in India. It is a valuable resource to the researches studying the Buddhist religion and ancient history of the land.
(b) Allahabad Pillar Inscription : Allahabad Pillar Inscription is one of the most epigraphic evidences of the Imperial Guptas. Achievements of different rulers of the Gupta image are mentioned in Allahabad Pillar Inscription. It gives a vivid description of the reign and conquest of Samudra-gupta. Historians, both ancient and modern, have considered the historical value of Allahabad pillar. It provides a pretty impressive lest of kings and tribal republics that were conquered by Samudragupta.
(c) Hiuen-Tsang’s Memoir : Hiuen Tsang is an important source on Harsha era. He visited India in the 7th Century in India for about 15 years (630 to 645 A.D.). His memoirs Siyuki (Memoirs of the countries of the west) present a trustworthy account of political, social and religious conditions of Harsha’s times. Hiuen-Tsang visited the Chalukya ruler Pulakesin’s kingdom also.Hiuen-Tsang’s account reveals that Pataliputra and Vaishali were in a state of decline, whereas Prayag and Kanauj had become important centers of attention. The Chinese pilgrim takes notice of unfortunate lot of the so called untouchables and scavengers, etc.
Samudragupta earned a reputation as one of the greatest kings and conquerors. In this context, explain :
(a) His Conquests.
(b) His Personal Attainments.
Samudragupta earned a reputation as one of the greatest kings and conquerors. In this context, the given heads are explained below:
(a) His Conquests : Samudragupta first defeated the rulers of northern India and annexed their dominions. They included the Nagas of Mathura, Padmavati (near Gwalior) and Ahicchetra (the region in the neighborhood of Bareli) and the ruling chiefs of western Uttar Pradesh and eastern India. He won victories over twelve rulers including those of Orissa, Andhra and Tamil Nadu. He defeated these rulers, but did not annex their kingdoms. He allowed them to rule as tributaries of the Gupta empire.
The rulers of Bengal, Assam, Nepal, Rajashthan and Madhya Pradesh got impressed by his victories and submitted of their own free-will and agreed to pay tributes to him.
(b) His Personal Attainments : Besides a great conqueror, Samudragupta was also a scholar, a poet and a lover of music. He was called Kaviraja. He worshipped Lord Vishnu, but he showed respect for all religions. He was also a patron of learning.
The reign of Chandragupta II marks the zenith of the Gupta glory. In this context, briefly describe :
(a) His Conquests and the Extent of his Empire.
(b) Fa-hien’s Account of his times.
In context of the reign of Chandragupta II the given headlines are described below:
(a) His Conquests and the Extent of his Empire : Chandragupta II was determined to overthrow the Saka power in Gujarat and Kathiawar peninsula. With a view to pursuing his plan against the Sakas. He married Kubemaga, a Naga princess. He gave the hand of his daughter to Rudrasena II, the Vakataka prince. Thus, he secured the friendship of those rulers who could be of much service to him in his campaign against the Saka satraps. He attacked the Saka satraps. He conquered the Saka rulers and obtained the title of Sakari.He put an end to the domination of foreigners in India;
but added rich areas and prosperous parts to the empire. He defeated a united front of his enemies in Vanga (Bengal) and his victorious arms reached the northern Afghanistan (Vahilkas).
(b) Fa-hien’s Account of his times : Fa-hien in his book Fo- Kwo-Ki mentions that the City of Pataliputra has two grand monasteries—one of the Hinayana and the other of the Mahayana. He felt amazed to see the grandeur of Ashoka’s Palace which still existed. The capital city was enriched with wealth and prosperity. An excellent hospital was erected in the city which was run by the wealthy citizens of the town. In the large towns and on highways, Rest-houses were situated for the comforts of the travellers. Although the king has a devout Vaisnava, the relations between the followers of various sects were cordial. The people were law-abiding and free from unnecessary restrictions on their movement, they could go wherever they desired to go. The criminal law was mild and the punishment of death remained unknown.
The Gupta era witnessed an unprecedented intellectual progress. In this context explain :
(a) Enrichment of Sanskrit literature with reference to the works of Kalidasa and Visakhadutta.
(b) Technical and Scientific works of Aryabhatta and Varahamihira.
In context of the unprecedented intellectual progress that the Gupta era witnessed, the given headlines are explained as under:
(a) The Gupta age had been aptly called the “Golden Age of Sanskrit Literature”. In this period, the great poet and dramatist, Kalidasa made a significant contribution in the field of Sanskrit literature. Abhijanashakuntalam popularly known as Shaklmtala, is the well-known masterpiece of him, it is regarded as one of the best literary productions of the world. Malavikagnimitra and Vikramorvasiya are two other excellent dramas written by him. His literary skill is also displayed in his two epics—Raghuvamsa and Kumarasambhava and in the lyric poetry of Ritu Samhara and Meghadoota.
Visakhadutta was the another literary genius, he wrote the well known political drama Mudrarakshasa, in which he described the political revolution that led to the fall of the Nanda Dynasty and the establishment of the Mauryan empire.
Devichandraguptam was another play of him, dealing with the early life of Chandragupta II.
(b) Aryabhatta was a great astronmer and mathematician. He wrote two famous works, the Aryabhatiya and Surya Siddhanta. The former deals with Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra and Trigonometry. He worked out the exact value of p (pi) viz, 3.1416 and discovered a formula to find the area of a triangle.
In this famous work Surya Siddhanta, he explained scientifically the causes of the solar and lunar eclipses. He was the first Indian astronomer to declare that the earth revolves around the sun and rotates on its own axis. India’s first satellite sent into space was named ‘Aryabhatta’ after this great astronomer.
Varahamihira was another great scientist of the Gupta age, who flourished in the court of Chandragupta II. He wrote Brihat Samhita which deals with Astronomy, Mathematics, Botany and Physical Geography. He also wrote a famous book on different branches of Jyotishshastra and another work Pancha Siddhantika, giving an account of the five systems of Astronomy.
With reference to the progress in art and architecture during the Gupta era, answer the following questions :
(a) What are the distinguishing features of the Sculpture of that period?
(b) What are the characteristic features of the Ajanta painting?
(a) The distinguishing features of the sculpture of the Gupta period are :
- The Gupta sculpture discarded foreign influence and adopted a style which was totally Indian in character. The techniques of carving and the subjects chosen were purely of Indian origin.
- The status of Buddha possessed curly hair, in contrast to the Buddha statue with shaven head belonging to the Kushan School of Art.
- The drapery worn on was transparent either plain or with folds clearly revealing human form.
- Several varieties of mudras (poses) were used.
- The Buddha images present graceful poses and spiritual calmness in face and eyes.
(b) The characteristic features of the Ajanta Paintings are as follows:
- The paintings were done on walls and are called Frescoes,
- The rock walls were first plastered with a thick coating of clay, mixed with straw, gypsum and other materials. Then a thin layer of lime-plaster was applied to produce a glazed surface for making the painting more effective.
- On the glazed surface of the wall, the outlines of the figures were drawn first. The artists used water-colours.
- The paintings had three main subjects i.e., Buddha and Bodhisattvas; Incidents and scenes, taken from Jatakas, about the life of Buddha in his past and present lives; Beautiful designs of flowers, trees, animals and mythological characters,
- The painting conveyed secular message.
- The painting displayed a panoramic view of life in ancient India with the figure of kings and courtiers, royal ladies in their harem and ordinary women, masters and labourers, priests and ascetics, peasants and beggars.
The painting found in cave I, is the figure of Avalokitesvara Padmapani which represents a Bodhisattva. The artists have vehemently portrayed expression of compassion and tenderness which was characteristic of Padmapani, whose mission was to relieve human suffering by taking it upon himself.
Harshavardhana not only brought the greater part of northern India under his direct rule, he also consolidated his dominions by efficient administrative machinery. In this context explain :
(a) His Conquests and Extent of his Empire.
(b) His Administraction.
Harshavardhana consolidated his dominions by efficient administrative machinery in this context the given headlines are explained below:
(a) His Conquests and Extent of his Empire : Harshavardhana became the ruler of Thanesar after he succeeded his elder brother Rajyavardhana. After becoming the king, he immediately decided to rescue his sister and punish Sasanka. He advanced with a huge army and inflicted a crushing defeat on the enemy. Harsha administered the government of Kanauj in the name of his sister. Later, the kingdom of Kanauj was combined with that of Thanesar and the union, thus formed, was developed into an empire by Harsha.
Hiuen-Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim, said Harsha brought the Five Indies under his control.
These regions included
- Eastern Punjab,
- Kanuaj (Uttar Pradesh),
- Magadha (Bihar),
- Bengal and
He tried to expand his empire beyond the river Narmada, but he suffered a defeat at the hands of Pulakesin II, the Chalukya King. He died in 648 AD. He had no heir.
(b) His Administration : Harsha raised the small state into the most powerful kingdom in northern India. Hiuen-Tsang remarks, “the king personally supervised the affairs of his vast kingdom. The day was too short for him.” His officials and state-functionaries, both civil and military, worked very efficiently.The outlying provinces were put in charge of Governors and the provinces were further subdivided into districts, called-Visayas. The penal law was exceptionally severe. Imprisonment for life was a common penalt for breach of laws and conspiracy against the king. For offences against social morality, the punishment was to cut off nose or an ear or a hand or foot. Minor offences were punished by ordering offenders to pay a fine.
The Pallava period recorded brilliant achievements in the fields of literature, art and architecture. In this context explain :
(a) Their patronage to literature.
(b) Contribution in the field of architecture.
In context of the brilliant achievements in the field of literature during the Pallava period, the given headlines are explained as under:
(a) Their patronage to literature : The Pallava rulers patronised Sanskrit scholars. Mahendravarman himself was a scholar and a musician. He wrote Prahasans (farces) – Mattavilasa and Bhagavadajjuka. Dandin, who wrote Daskumaracharita and Kavyadarsha, lived in the court of Narasimhavarman II. Dinnaga Vatsayana the author of Nyayabhasya, was also associated with Kanchipuram, Sanskrit was the language of courts and men of literature, but Tamil became the vehicle for popular composition of devotional poetry. It received encouragement from the rulers.- Perundevanar wrote Bharatam and a court-poet of King Nandivarman III composed Nandikalambalkam.
(b) Contribution in the field of architecture: Many magnificent temples were built by the Pallava kings. Under the Pallava rulers of Kanchipuram, two forms of temple-architecture were evolved in the South-the rock-cut and the structural shrines. The rock-cut architecture includes two types of shrines—the Mandapas and the Rathas. Mandapas are open pavilions with one or more cells in the back-wall. This type of architecture is found in places like—Pallavaram, Trichinopoly and Dalavanur. Rathas are monolithic shrines. The best examples of monolithic shrines or Rathas are found at Mahabalipuram in Tamilnadu.
With reference to.the Gupta administration, mention briefly:
(a) The position of the King and his Ministers.
(b) Provincial and District Administrative Machinery.
With reference to the Gupta administration, the given headlines are explained ahead:
(a) The position of the King and his Ministers : The guptas discarded the modest title of Rajan and assumed titles like— Maharajadhiraja, Parambhattaraka and Paramadaxvata. An important feature of the period was the emphasis on divine character of kingship. Titles such as ‘Paramadaivata’ raised rulers to the level of Gods. Several ministers assisted the king in the task of administration. The Mantri stood at the head of civil administration. Other important officials included the Senapati (General of the Army), the Chief of the Palace Guards and Sandhivigrahika that is, the Minister for foreign affairs.
(b) Provincial and District Administrative Machinery : The empire was divided into several provinces called Bhuktis or Desas. The provincial governors were usually princes of royal blood. As governors, they were called Uparika Maharaja or Pradeshikas.A Bhukti was divided into districts called Vishyas, which were ruled by Vishayapatis, Prathamkayastha used to write letters and documents, Pushtapal, the keeper of records and Nagarshresthi, i.e., the chief banker. In urban administration, occupational bodies or guilds enjoyed considerate autonomy. They managed the various affairs of the town and played and important part in the administration of justice as well. They settled the disputes arising among their members.
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