1. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani’s Khanqah in Srinagar city remains a popular tourist attraction. Consider the following statements w.r.t him:
(1) He belonged to the Kubrawiya order of Sufism.
(2) He brought various crafts to the Kashmir valley which helped to boost the local economic activity
(3) Ladakh’s economy and society was influenced by him, besides holding influence over Kashmir valley.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer: (d) Explanation: Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani (1314-1384) was a Persian Sufi of the Kubrawiya order, a poet and a prominent Shafi'i Muslim scholar. He was born in Hamdan, and was buried in Khatlan, Tajikistan. It is said he traversed the known world from East to West three times. In 1370s-80s Hamdani lived in Kashmir. Hamdani is regarded as having brought various crafts and industries from Iran into Kashmir; it is said that he brought with him 700 followers, including some weavers of carpets and shawls, who taught the craft of pashmina textile and carpet-making to the local population. The growth of the textile industry in Kashmir increased its demand for fine wool, which in turn meant that Kashmiri Muslim groups settled in Ladakh, bringing with them crafts such as writing.
2. The Sikh gurus established Sikhism over the centuries, beginning in the year 1469. There are a total of eleven Gurus: Ten human-form gurus and the eleventh, or current and everlasting Sikh Guru, is the integrated Sikh scripture known as the Guru Granth Sahib. In this context consider the following statements:
(1) Guru Angad compiled the Adi Granth
(2) Guru Tegh Bahadur is known as the Soldier Saint
(3) Guru Arjan Dev created the Khalsa
(4) Guru Nanak founded the city of Amritsar
Which of the statements given above are not correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 1, 3, and 4 only
(c) 2, 3, and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Answer: (d) Explanation: Statement 1 is incorrect. Guru Arjan Dev compiled the Adi Granth. Guru Angad invented and introduced the Gurmukhi (written form of Punjabi) script and made it known to all Sikhs. Statement 2 is incorrect. Guru Har Gobind is known as the soldier saint. Guru Tegh Bahadur was publicly beheaded in 1675 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi. Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi mark the places of execution and cremation of the Guru's body. Statement 3 is incorrect. Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa (The Pure Ones) in 1699, changing the Sikhs into a saint-soldier order. Statement 4 is incorrect. Guru Ram Das founded the city of Amritsar and started the construction of the famous Golden Temple at Amritsar. Guru Nanak was born at Talwandi, now known as Nankana Sahib, which is today in Pakistan.
3. In light of Kutiyattam, theatre art from Kerala, consider the following statements:
(1) It is the only surviving art form that uses dramas from ancient Sanskrit theatre.
(2) Kutiyattam is traditionally performed in theatres called Kuttampalams.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: (c) Explanation: Statement 1 is correct – It is the only surviving art form that uses dramas from ancient Sanskrit theatre. It is a combination of ancient Sanskrit theatre with elements of Koothu, a Tamil/Malayalam performing art which is as old as Sangam era. Statement 2 is correct – Kutiyattam is traditionally performed in theatres called Kuttampalams, which are located in Hindu temples. Access to performances was originally restricted owing to their sacred nature, but the plays have progressively opened up to larger audiences. More information – Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre, which is practised in the province of Kerala, is one of India’s oldest living theatrical traditions. Originating more than 2,000 years ago, Kutiyattam represents a synthesis of Sanskrit classicism and reflects the local traditions of Kerala. In its stylized and codified theatrical language, netra abhinaya (eye expression) and hasta abhinaya (the language of gestures) are prominent. They focus on the thoughts and feelings of the main character. Actors undergo ten to fifteen years of rigorous training to become fully-fledged performers with sophisticated breathing control and subtle muscle shifts of the face and body. The actor’s art lies in elaborating a situation or episode in all its detail. Therefore, a single act may take days to perform and a complete performance may last up to 40 days. With the collapse of patronage along with the feudal order in the nineteenth century, the families who held the secrets to the acting techniques experienced serious difficulties. After a revival in the early twentieth century, Kutiyattam is once again facing a lack of funding, leading to a severe crisis in the profession. In the face of this situation, the different bodies responsible for handing down the tradition have come together to join efforts in order to ensure the continuity of this Sanskrit theatre. It is officially recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
4. Match the following pairs between the Sanskrit dramatists and their plays/poems:
Author : Text
A Bhasa : 1 Pratima Natak
B Ashvaghosha : 2 Sundarananda
C Shudraka : 3 Mrichchhakatika
D Bhavabhuti : 4 Uttararamacharita
A B C D
(a) 1 2 3 4
(b) 2 3 4 1
(c) 3 4 1 2
(d) 4 1 2 3
Answer: (a) Explanation: Bhasa is one of the earliest and most celebrated Indian playwrights in Sanskrit, predating Kalidasa. The plays of Bhasa had been lost for centuries, until the manuscripts were rediscovered in the early 20th century. His Uru-Bhanga and Karna-bhara are the only known tragic Sanskrit plays in ancient India. Pratima Natakam is his play based on Ramayana. Ashvaghosha was a Buddhist philosopher, dramatist, poet and orator. He is believed to have been the first Sanskrit dramatist, and is considered the greatest Indian poet prior to Kalidasa. Whereas much of Buddhist literature prior to the time of Ashvaghosha had been composed in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, Ashvaghoṣha wrote in Classical Sanskrit. He wrote an epic life of the Buddha called Buddhacharita (Acts of the Buddha) in Sanskrit. The monk I-tsing (Yijing) mentioned that in his time Buddhacarita was "...extensively read in all the five parts of India and in the countries of the South Sea (Sumātra, Jāva and the neighbouring islands). He also wrote Sundarananda, a kavya poem with the theme of conversion of Nanda, Buddha's half-brother, so that he might reach salvation. The first half of the work describes Nanda's life, and the second half of the work describes Buddhist doctrines and ascetic practices. Shudraka was an Indian king and playwright. Three Sanskrit plays are ascribed to him - Mrichchhakatika (The Little Clay Cart), Vinavasavadatta, and a bhana (short one-act monologue), Padmaprabhritaka. Mrichchhakatika play is set in the ancient city of Ujjayini in the first quarter of the fifth century BC. The central story is that of noble but impoverished young Brahmin, Sanskrit: Charudatta, who falls in love with a wealthy courtesan or nagarvadhu, Sanskrit: Vasantasena. Despite their mutual affection, however, the couple's lives and love are threatened when a vulgar courtier Shakara begins to aggressively pursue Vasantasena. Bhavabhuti was an 8th-century scholar noted for his plays and poetry, written in Sanskrit. His plays are considered equivalent to the works of Kalidasa. He was born in Vidarbha but was the court poet of king Yashovarman of Kannauj. Uttaramacharita is a Sanskrit play in 7 acts in the Nataka style by Bhavabhuti. It covers the events of the Uttara Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, the final years of Rama on Earth up to his ascension.
5. The reign of Muhammad Shah ‘Rangeela’, a Mughal Padshah of the later years, was known for patronizing cultural activities. Which of the following statements are correct in this regard?
(1) In this period Urdu language was developed and it gradually replaced Persian in the court.
(2) He encouraged the art of painting. The paintings during his era show many secular activities as well as syncretic culture of the Mughal court.
(3) He patronized Sadarang-Adarang, whose compositions popularised the musical form of Khyal.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer: (d) Explanation: Muhammad Shah Rangeela was the Mughal Emperor who ascended to the Peacock Throne in 1719 which he occupied till his death in 1748. The reign of Muhammad Shah Rangeela was the period in which the process of degeneration of the empire got inception in the right earnest. This period witnessed the rise of many independent and semi- independent regional rulers. Muhammad Shah trusted neither nobles nor religious elite who had replaced nobility during the reign of Aurangzeb. His soul had thrived on wine, music and poetry to the great dislike of religious elite. Therefore, he created new elite known as Intellectual elite who were the men of art and literature. Such people were already present at the Mughal court but were regarded as mere entertainer but now their status was enhanced. Muhammad Shah founded the culture of spending time in writing or listening to poetry that later on became the emblem of the Indian Muslim society. He created a Delhi that was the city of culture marked by easy going attitude with high values placed on etiquettes and courtesy. In this period Urdu language was developed and it replaced Persian. Urdu was earlier the language of commoners but now it became the language of the elite. During Muhammad Shah's reign, Qawwali was reintroduced into the Mughal imperial court and it quickly spread throughout South Asia. Muhammad Shah is also known to have introduced religious institutions for education such as Maktabs. During his reign, the Quran was translated for the first time in simple Persian and Urdu. Mohammad Shah was a patron of the performing arts, almost at the cost of administrative priorities, paving the way for the disintegration of governance. While Mughal political power did decline in his reign, the Emperor encouraged the arts, employing master artists such as Nidha Mal (active 1735–75) and Chitarman, whose vivacious paintings depict scenes of court life, such as Holi celebrations, hunting and hawking. The Mughal court of the time had musicians such as Niyamat Khan, also known as Sadarang, and his nephew Firoz Khan (Adarang), whose compositions popularised the musical form of Khyal. Naimat Khan composed Khyal for his disciples and he never performed Khyal. This key component of Indian classical music evolved, ascended and received princely patronage at the court of Muhammad Shah.