CHAPTER – 2: NEW KINGS AND KINGDOMS

Table of Contents

CHAPTER – 2: NEW KINGS AND KINGDOMS

1.Who were Samantas?

Solution:  Samantas were big landlords or warrior chiefs in different regions of the subcontinent. They were the subordinates of the king during the seventh century. They were expected to bring gifts for their kings or overlords, be present at their courts and provide them with military support.

2. Illustrate the emergence of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty.

Solution:   Initially the Rashtrakutas were subordinate to the Chalukyas of Karnataka. In the mid-eighth century, Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief, overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed a ritual called hiranya-garbha. With this ritual, he became Kshatriya despite not being by birth and established the Rashtrakuta Dynasty.

3. What was Hiranya – Garbha?

Solution:  The term hiranya-garbha literally means the golden womb. When this ritual was performed with the help of Brahmanas, it was thought to lead to the “rebirth” of the sacrificer as a Kshatriya, even if he was not one by birth.

4. Give an example of instances when men from enterprising families used their military skills to carve out kingdoms?  

Solution:  The Kadamba Mayurasharman and the GurjaraPratihara Harichandra were Brahmanas who gave up their traditional professions and took to arms, successfully established kingdoms in Karnataka and Rajasthan respectively.

5. From whom the resources were collected in the Kingdom?

Solution:  Resources were obtained from the producers i.e. peasants, cattle-keepers, artisans who were often persuaded or compelled to surrender part of what they produced. Sometimes these were claimed as “rent” due to a lord who asserted that he owned the land. Revenue was also collected from traders.

6. For what purposes resources were used in the Kingdoms?

Solution:  These resources were used to finance the king’s establishment, as well as for the construction of temples and forts. They were also used to fight wars, which were in turn expected to lead to the acquisition of wealth in the form of plunder, and access to land as well as trade routes.

7. What were Prashastis?

Solution:  Prashastis are inscriptions which depicts rulers as valiant, victorious warriors, etc. These were composed by learned Brahmanas, who occasionally helped in the administration. The details it contains may not be literally true.  

8. What were grant of lands?

Solution:  Kings often rewarded Brahmanas by Grants of land. These were recorded on copper plates, which were given to those who received the land. The person who receives grant of lands could collect taxes from it, could construct canal for irrigation and used to get more benefits from the land.

9. Who was Kalhana?

Solution:  Kalhana wrote a long Sanskrit poem (Rajatarangini) which contained the history of kings who ruled over Kashmir. He used a variety of sources, including inscriptions, documents, eyewitness accounts and earlier histories to write his account.

10. How Kalhana was different from the writers of Prashastis?

Solution:  Unlike the writers of prashastis, he was often critical about rulers and their policies.

11. What was “Tripartite Struggle”?

Solution:  For centuries, rulers belonging to the Gurjara-Pratihara, Rashtrakuta and Pala dynasties fought for control over Kanauj. As there were three “parties” in this long drawn conflict, it is also known as the “tripartite struggle”.

12. Who was Mahmud of Ghazni?

Solution:  Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni was a ruler from Afghanistan. He ruled from 997 to 1030 A.D., and extended control over parts of Central Asia, Iran and the north-western part of the subcontinent. He raided the subcontinent almost every year and mainly targeted wealthy temples, including that of Somnath, Gujarat. Much of the wealth Mahmud carried away was used to create a splendid capital city at Ghazni.

13. Who wrote Kitab-ul-hind?

Solution:  Al-Biruni.

14. Write a short note on Chahamanas?

Solution:  The Chahamanas were later known as the Chauhans, who ruled over the region around Delhi and Ajmer. They attempted to expand their control to the west and the east, where they were opposed by the Chalukyas of Gujarat and the Gahadavalas of western Uttar Pradesh. The best-known Chahamana ruler was Prithviraja III (1168-1192), who defeated an Afghan ruler named Sultan Muhammad Ghori in 1191, but lost to him the very next year, in 1192.

15. How did the Cholas rise to power?

Solution:  A minor chiefly family known as the Muttaraiyar held power in the Kaveri delta. They were subordinate to the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. Vijayalaya, who belonged to the ancient
chiefly family of the Cholas from Uraiyur, captured the delta from the Muttaraiyar in the middle of the ninth century. He built the town of Thanjavur and a temple for goddess Nishumbhasudini there. The successors of Vijayalaya conquered neighbouring regions and the kingdom grew in size and power. The Pandyan and the Pallava territories to the south and north were made part of this kingdom.

Rajaraja I was considered the most powerful Chola ruler. He became king in 985 and expanded control over most of these areas. He also reorganised the administration of the empire. Rajaraja’s son Rajendra I continued his policies and even raided the Ganga valley, Sri Lanka and countries of Southeast Asia, developing a navy for these expeditions.

16. Who built the temple of Thanjavur?

Solution:  Rajaraja I of the Chola dynasty.

17. Who built Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple?

Solution:  Rajendra I of the Chola dynasty.

18. What was “ur” and “nadu”?

Solution:  Settlements of peasants was known as Ur. It became prosperous with the spread of irrigation agriculture. Groups of such villages formed larger units called nadu. The village council and the nadu performed several administrative functions including dispensing justice and collecting taxes.

19. What kind of irrigation works were developed in the Kaveri deltaic region?

Solution:  From the fifth or sixth century the Kaveri deltaic region was opened up for large-scale cultivation. Forests had been cleared in some regions and land had been levelled in other areas. In the delta region embankments had to be built to prevent flooding and canals had to be constructed to carry water to the fields.
In many cases it was necessary to water crops artificially. A variety of methods were used for irrigation. In some areas wells were dug. In other places huge tanks were constructed to collect rainwater. Rulers as well as people living in villages, took an active interest in organizing labour and resources, maintaining these works and deciding on how water is to be shared.

20. What were the activities associated with Chola temples?

Solution:  Chola temples often became the nuclei of settlements which grew around them. These were centres of craft production. Temples were also endowed with land by rulers as well as by others. The produce of this land went into maintaining all the specialists who worked at the temple and very often lived near it like priests, garland makers, cooks, sweepers, musicians, dancers, etc. In other words, temples were not only places of worship; they were the hub of economic, social and cultural life as well.

21. What did the new dynasties do to gain acceptance?

Solution:  The new dynasties used to perform a ritual called hiranya-garbha by which they convert themselves into Kshatriya or in other cases, men from enterprising families used their military skills to carve out kingdoms.

22. What were the two major cities under the control of the Chahamanas?

Solution:  Delhi and Ajmer

23. What were the qualifications necessary to become a member of a committee of the Sabha in the Chola Empire?

Solution:  All those who wish to become members of the Sabha should fulfilled the following criteria:

  • They should be the owners of the land from which land revenue is collected.
  • They should have their own homes.
  • They should be between 35 and 70 years of age.
  • They should have knowledge of the Vedas.
  • They should be well-versed in administrative matters and honest.
  • If anyone has been a member of any committee in the last three years, he cannot become a member of another committee.
  • Anyone who has not submitted his accounts, and those of his relatives, cannot contest the elections.

Next Chapter – 3 : THE DELHI SULTANS

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