1. Consider the following statements with regards to the Mauryan Empire:
(1) The concentration of power in the king characterised the Mauryan rule.
(2) The Mauryans may have maintained a naval force.
(3) Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan dynasty after defeating Mahapadma Nanda.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer: (a) Explanation: The accounts by Megasthenes and Arthashastra suggest that Chandragupta Maurya was an autocrat and concentrated the power onto kings’ hand. Hence, statement 1 is correct. Megasthenes provides details of administration of armed forces under Mauryas. According to Megasthenes, a board of 30 members were divided into six committees. The six wings of armed forces include – the army, the cavalry, the elephants, the chariots, the navy and transport. But as the original account of Megasthenes is now lost and only its fragments have survived so many historians claim that this source is not beyond dispute. Thus the words “may have” in the statement becomes important and makes the statement correct. Hence, statement 2 is correct. Chandragupta Maurya defeated Dhananand. Hence, statement 3 is incorrect.
2. With respect to Ancient Indian History, consider the following pairs:
Title : Role
1. Bhojaka : Village Headman
2. Grihapati : Rich Peasant
3. Balisadhakas : Tax Collector
Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?
(a) 3 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer: (d) Explanation: As per Pali texts, Village headmen were called Bhojaka. Hence, pair 1 is correct. Grihapati was the term for rich peasants or Vaisyas. They formed a major taxpaying community. Hence, pair 2 is correct. Balisadhakas collected the Bali, i.e. tax. Hence, pair 3 is correct.
3. Which of the following pairs is/are NOT correctly matched?
Traveller : Focus of Study
1. Al Biruni : Indian Varna System
2. Ibn Batuta : Poverty in India
3. Francois Bernier : Indian Cities
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 2 and 3 only
Answer: (b) Explanation: Al-Biruni was born in 973 A.D., in Khwarizm in present-day Uzbekistan. In 1017, when Sultan Mahmud invaded Khwarizm, he took several scholars and poets back to his capital, Ghazni; Al-Biruni was one of them. It was in Ghazni that Al-Biruni developed an interest in India. When Punjab became a part of the Ghaznavid empire, contacts with the local population helped create an environment of mutual trust and understanding. He in his book Kitab-ul-Hind tried to explain the caste system by looking for parallels in other societies (Thus 1st option is correctly matched). In spite of his acceptance of the Brahmanical description of the caste system, Al-Biruni disapproved of the notion of pollution. He remarked that everything which falls into a state of impurity strives and succeeds in regaining its original condition of purity. The sun cleanses the air, and the salt in the sea prevents the water from becoming polluted. Thus, pair 1 is correctly matched. Ibn Batuta was a Moroccan traveller born in Tangier. His book of travels, called Rihla, written in Arabic, provides extremely rich and interesting details about the social and cultural life in the subcontinent in the fourteenth century. Ibn Batuta found cities in the subcontinent full of exciting opportunities for those who had the necessary drive, resources and skills. They were densely populated and prosperous, except for the occasional disruptions caused by wars and invasions. It appears from Ibn Batuta’s account that most cities had crowded streets and bright and colourful markets that were stacked with a wide variety of goods. Ibn Batuta described Delhi as a vast city, with a great population, the largest in India. Thus, pair 2 is not correctly matched. Bernier’s Travels in the Mughal Empire is marked by detailed observations, critical insights and reflection of Indian Cities. His account contains discussions trying to place the history of the Mughals within some sort of a universal framework. He constantly compared Mughal India with contemporary Europe, generally emphasising the superiority of the latter. His representation of India works on the model of binary opposition, where India is presented as the inverse of Europe. Thus, pair 3 is correctly matched.
4. The twelfth century India witnessed the emergence of a new movement in Karnataka known as Virshaivism whose followers were known as Virshaivas or Lingayats. Which of the following statement is incorrect about this movement?
(a) The Lingayats worshipped Shiva in his manifestation as a linga.
(b) The Lingayats believed that on death the devotee would be united with Shiva and there will be no rebirth.
(c) The Lingayats bury their dead and do not cremate the body.
(d) The Lingayats disapproved the post-puberty marriage and the remarriage of widows.
Answer: (d) Explanation: The twelfth century India witnessed the emergence of a new movement in Karnataka, led by a Brahmana named Basavanna (1106-68) who was a minister in the court of a Kalachuri ruler. His followers were known as Virashaivas (heroes of Shiva) or Lingayats (wearers of the linga). Lingayats continue to be an important community in the region to date. They worship Shiva in his manifestation as a linga. (Thus option a is correct), and men usually wear a small linga in a silver case on a loop strung over the left shoulder. Those who are revered include the jangama or wandering monks. Lingayats believe that on death the devotee will be united with Shiva and will not return to this world. They also questioned the theory of rebirth. (Thus option b is correct).Therefore, they do not practise funerary rites such as cremation, prescribed in the Dharmashastras. Instead, they ceremonially bury their dead. (Thus option c is correct). The Lingayats challenged the idea of caste and the “pollution” attributed to certain groups by Brahmanas. These won them followers amongst those who were marginalised within the Brahmanical social order. The Lingayats also encouraged certain practices disapproved in the Dharmashastras, such as post-puberty marriage and the remarriage of widows (Thus option d is incorrect). Our understanding of the Virashaiva tradition is derived from vachanas (literally, sayings) composed in Kannada by women and men who joined the movement.
5. Which of the following statements regarding Sufism is incorrect?
(a) Sufism is an English word, and Tasawwuf is the word used in Islamic text for Sufism.
(b) All the Sufi lineages or Silsilas were named after their founding figures/fathers.
(c) Wali or friend of God was a Sufi who claimed proximity to Allah.
(d) The Sufi verses were incorporated in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs.
Answer: (b) Explanation: Sufism is an English word coined in the 19th century. The word used for Sufism in Islamic texts is Tasawwuf. Historians have understood this term in several ways. According to some scholars, it is derived from suf, meaning wool, referring to the coarse woollen clothes worn by Sufis. Others derived from suffa, the platform outside the Prophet’s mosque, where a group of close followers assembled to learn about the faith. Thus, option (a) is correct. Most Sufi lineages were named after a founding figure. However, some like the Chisti order were named after their place of origin, in this case, the town of Chishti in Central Afghanistan. Thus, option (b) is incorrect. Wali (plural Auliya) or friend of God was a Sufi who claimed proximity to Allah, acquiring his grace (Barkat) to Perform miracles (Karamat). Thus, option (c) is correct. Sufis such as Baba Farid composed verses in the local language, which were incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib. Thus, option (d) is correct.