BA LLB history sample question answer first year first semester Society in Medieval India:In this article you will read Society in Medieval India|summary of medieval period in india| social and economic condition during medieval period |Give an account of Social, Religious, Political, Economical condition of India is Rajput age. Describe the social life during Delhi Sultanate. Give an account of social and economic conditions under the Mughal rulers.
Q. 1. Give an account of Social, Religious, Political, Economical condition of India is Rajput age.
Ans. The Rajput age is significant for political dismemberment of the country. The period of a central authority was over and numerous small Rajput states sprang. The Rajputs owned responsibility for the defence of the country and they tried to do it but failed ultimately. The Rajput age is known for its prosperity, literary, artistic, and architectural progress. We shall discuss in the following lines, the political, social, religious, literary, and other activities :
(A) Political Condition
(1) Political disunity – This was an age of political dismemberment. Mutual bickerings did not allow them to face the Muslim foreign invaders unitedly.
(2) Mutual distrust and acrimony-All these states looked each other with suspicion and distrust and disputed and let down one another. There was always an state of preparedness and war which of lasted for generations.
(3) Monarchical System – The eldest son succeeded the king after the latter’s death and on several occasions an unworthy, indolent, casy-going occupied the throne which often damaged the state of affairs.easy
(4) Autocratic and self-willed rulers – The raja was autocratic and concentrated all powers into their hands. Generally they were popular, because they looked after the well-being of their peoples but, in certain cases, an unworthy and cruel ruler made the lives of the people miserable because of his misdeeds and anti-people activities. The people, in such circumstances, became pessimistic and silently suffered.
(5) Feudal System – Feudal system was in vogue in the Rajput kingdoms. When a powerful neighbouring king conquered a state, he
restored the vanquished ruler to the erstwhile state as his vessal. The vessals were on the look-out of an opportunity and as soon as the central administration grew weak. They reclaimed their lost sovereignty and independence.
(6) Absence of border policy – The invaders came to India from the west across the Hindukush Mts. in ancient times even then the Rajputs did not formulate a permanent and practicable policy to defend the country against the prospective foreign incursions fortifications were not raised. The invaders continued to infiltrate into the country by defeating the weak border states.
(7) Old military Organization – The Rajputs fought in radial old manner. Most of them were fool soldiers who fought with swords and lances. Even they were good archers they did not employ archery in battles. Elephants were mostly pressed into the battles. The invaders, on the other hands had trained, experienced army comprised mostly of horsemen who were adept at military formations and fast in maneuvers.
(8) Ethical norms – The Rajputs followed traditional ethical norms in their fightings, provided, protection to refugees and vanquished adyersaries. They were averse to deceit and immoral tactics and did not raise their arms against women and children. They did not forsake the lofty moral conventions inspite of being harmed several times.
(B) Social Condition
(1) Rigid caste system – Caste system was unbending. Discrimination between high and low increased. The Shudras (low-caste) were looked down upon. Many of these low-caste Hindus assumed Islam during the Muslim occupation owing to the dehumanizing descriminations against them.
(2) Absorption ended – The vast Hindu society showed marvellous tendency of absorbing the foreign races such as the Shakas, the Huns. and the Greeks into it so much so that the remnants of their original culture are beyond reach of our researchers and scholars This capacity of assimilation however ended in the Rajput period and the Muslims stood alienated with their specific culture which later culminated into far-reaching consequences.
(3) Specific characteristics of the Rajputs-Rajputs are the
Fighting for whom fighting is their dharma and who belong to the ruling class. They had specific qualities and ideals. The society respected them for their self-
respecting and dedicating nature and were proud of their
descent. They were a large-hearted and generous people and protected the refugees and their vanquished foes.
(4) Status of women – Women were respected and their honour was guarded even during war-time. There was no purdah system and the women could move about freely. With Muslims came the purdah. Women used to receive education and followed lofty ideals. They gladly immolated themselves gladly along with the deal bodies of their husbands. This later deformed into the pernicious system of sati. Suambar marriages were in vogue. Both caste or inter-caste marriage were permissible. Poly-gamy was restricted to the ruling families.
(5) The Johar- The Johar was a peculiar rite with the Rajputs. The Rajputs besieged in their forts, & thinking their defeat imminent, dressed themselves in saffron clothes, fell upon their enemies like hungry lions, and fought till death. Their women-folk immolated themselves en-masse on a burning pyre in the fort.
(C) Economic Condition :
(1) Agriculture main-stay. The Rajput rulers dug out tanks, stepped-wells canals and collected rain water in artificial lakes for purpose of irrigation. The Chandela and the Parmar rulers of Mahoba arrested water in lakes : Madansagar and Manjusagar by raising dams. The Kashmir rulers built canals, and diverted the course of the Jellum river to prevent floods. The facilities improved the economic condition of the cultivators.
(2) Trade – Trade was in a better shape. The roads were locked after properly. They (roads) were used in transporting troops and merchandise from one place to another. The shape of internal or external trade was depressing. Industry and craft suffered.
(3) The taxes – Elaborate tax system was in practice. Several types of taxes, permanent and temporary were levied. The executive received some money from the income tax but land revenue was the chief source of income, which was determined under a set formula depending upon the soil-fertility, irrigation facilities, and the demands of the state-payable mainly in farm produce and a part in cash. The land revenue increased or decreased as times demanded. Gifts, fines, minerals, forests, and leased-out lands were additional sources of income.
(D) Religious Condition
(1) Bhahminism – The Rajputs followed the Bhahminism and
worshipped, Shiva and Vishnu mainly. Worshippers of Shiva-linga called
themselves the lingayatas in the south. Forces of nature were worshipped in the form of goddesses Durga and Kali : The Tantric sect – which practised magic spells, and talismans, and believed in ghosts and evil spirits made considerable impact on the psyche of the society.
Kumaril Bhatta, the Shankaracharya, and Ramanuj were great scholars and preaches of the Brahminism. Kumaril Bhatta denounced the Bodh heretics, who disputed the authenticity of the Vedas. The Shankaracharya professed the unity of being meaning that the supreme soul and all creations are one and similar and preached the Vedic religion. He set-up four religious centres or mathas in four corners of the country. These are Badrinath in the north, Rameshwaram in the south, Puri in the east, and Dwarka in the west. Ramanujacharya advanced the concept of Vishishtadwetvada meaning that Brahma – the creator, and Jiva – the creation are one and similar in essence but different in functional forms.
(2) Buddhism – Buddhism was on the decline. Kumaril Bhatta and Shankaracharya denounced the Buddhism and damaged it beyond repairs. The Tantric philosophy influenced it adversely. Foreign invasions struck the last nail in its coffin.
(3) Jainism – Jainism was not in good shape but went strong in the south. The lingayata sect harmed the Jainism in the south. Jainism continued to flourish in the Southern India.
Good literary books was written during the Rajput period. Sanskrit was the main language but other ancient languages continued to receive support from the courts. The Rajputs loved literature and patronized the literary figures. Sometimes they were great scholars themselves.
The Rajput courts gave shelter to poets, play-wrights, and philosophers. Poet Rajeshwar, creator of the poetic works Kapoor-Manjari, was the court poet of Mahendrapal, king of Kannauj. Git Govinda’s composer, Jaidev, was at the court of Luxmansen, ruler of Bengal. Kalhan, the author of Raj-Tirangini and Somdev. The writer of Kathasarit sagar, lived in Kashmir. Chandrabardai was the court-poet of Prithviraj Chauhan who created the marvellous epic poem Prithvi Raj Rasau. Bhavabhute was the famous play-wright of the age who wrote the plays : Uttar Ramcharit, Mahavircharit, and Malti-Madhava.
Kumaril Bhatta, the Shankaracharya, and Ramanujacharya were Ponowned philosophers of the Rajput age
The Rajput were great patrons of art. Generally forts, temples, and idols were made in this age. We shall discuss their achievements in art in the following lines :
(1) Architecture – The age represents confrontations struggles. Various rulers raised beautiful and strong forts for self-defence. The forts at Gwalior, Chittor, and Ranthambhor are remarkable for their Rajput architecture, strength, beauty, and impenetration. Mansingh’s palace and Hawa Mahal at Jaipur, and Udaipur’s palace are famous.
(2) Temple architecture – The temples built by the Rajput kings are rare specimens of architecture. The north-Indian temples are replete with beautiful decorations and figurative works with high and pointed spires. On the contrary, the south Indian temples are simple. Their design conforms to chariots or space-ships. Some of the few famous temples are : temples in Khajuraho, Martand temple in Kashmir, temples at Bhuvaneshwar in Orissa, the cave temple of Elora, Kailash temple of Ajanta, Jain temples on Mt. Abu and temples at Mathura, Kanchi, Tanjore and at other places, etc.
(3) Sculpture – Deities of Vishnu, Shiva, Surya, Ganesha, and Shanti were specifically, commissioned as the Rajputs followed the Brahminism. Besides, the idols of Lord Buddha and the Jain Tinhankaras were also figured out.
(4) Others – Progress was made in other branches of art. Paintings was specially favoured. Rare paintings can be seen on the walls of the temples and forts. The Rajput rulers patronized both vocal & instrumental music, dance, and acting etc.
Q. 2. Describe the social life during Delhi Sultanate.
Ans. Muslim Society – The Turks were the rulers of the Sultanate. They converted the Hindus to the Muslims under coercion. Several Hindus embrassed Islam because on the temptation of wealth, high ranks, and splendid life. The largest numbers converted to Muslims in order to secure their life and property. Thus a very large group of the Indian Muslims was born during the period. The Turks regarded themselves superior and looked down upon the native Muslims. The Sultanate maintained this discrimination and appointed the foreigners to higher ranks. Ala-Uddin Khilji appointed the capable native, Muslims to higher ranks and made the best use of their qualities to strengthen his empire. He raised Malik Kafoor, a convert, to the naib-ul-Mulk..
The Muslim society of the period had several social categories. Ulemas were the most honoured people. They held lofty ranks in the judiciary and education and continuously impressed upon the Sultan to assume the policy of intolerance and discrimination against the Hindus. The second were the influential amirs who played key roles in the administration and politics. They led luxurious lives. ‘Balban and Ala-Uddin Khilji tried to destroy them but failed to annihilate them completely. The Middle class was the third category. This included soldiers, seribes, and traders. They also sought good things of the life and maintained better proximity with the administration than the Hindus.
The Hindu Society – The Hindus faced a new situation. The foreign Muslims set up their empire in India. Compelled the Hindus to change their religion under threat, persuasion, and temptation and succeeded in creating a large group of new-converts. Besides, the Muslims, unlike previous traditions, maintained their separate and distinct identity. The war-like Rajputs and the Brahmins were the main targets of the Sultans 1. The Hindu, society was in shambles on the prevalent considerations of caste-system and untouchability. The Muslim rule aggravated the situation further. The Hindus became weaker and their capacity of absorption diminished. The Brahmins were still held in respect and the Hindus looked to them for guidance but they themselves proved unworthy of the responsibility. They wove a network of rites and elaborate procedures in the name of the religion which widened the split further. The Hindu society was divided into sections. The condition of the backward Hindus was the worst. The entire Hindu society feared the Muslim rulers and the honour of their women was not safe. They began to confine their women to the four walls of their houses and married away their daughters in their young age to pass over the responsibility of their protection to their in-laws. The opportunity of educating them was gradually denied. In this manner their condition deterioted.
. Mutual Contacts between Hindu and Muslim Societies – The Turks were the ruling class. Many Hindus became Muslims fór fear o repression or to protect their lile and properly, or to reach the higher ranks in the government. The Turks looked down upon them an hindered their progress. The native Muslims felt cheated and the
condition was even worse than that of the Hindus. The honour of their women was equally insecure. The Hindus haled them for their
conversion. The native Muslims spoke the Indian languages, wear Indian dresses, and observed all social norms. The vices of the Hindu society was rampant among them. The caste and purdah system still worked in them. Their frustration for the rulers brought then closer to the Hindus. The divide narrowed between the Hindus and the converted Muslims and a sense of belongingness and unity forged, clearly visible at the advent of the Mughals in India.
Proper it is to make an in-depth study of the economic life of the people during the Sultanate period with reference to agriculture, industry, trade, and living conditions.
Agriculture – A greater part of the Indian people was engaged in agriculture but their condition was miserable. The farmers had to part with a larger part towards land revenue. One-half of the agricultural produce was given towards land revenue during the reign of Ala-Uddin Khilji in addition to other taxes. Insurgencies and battles were common and armies spoiled much of the standing crops thus enhancing the chance of famines. Firoz Tughlak tried to improve the situation, reduced the taxes, exempted many levies, dug many canals, and sank many wells. Anarchy broke out after his death. The taxes and levies were raised and the crops began to be destroyed by the marching armies.
Industry and Crafts – Many crafts : textiles, metal work, stone-work, ceramic pottery, indigo, and paper-making progressed. A large number of factories ran in the capital. Silk industry made much name during the reign of Firoz Tughlak. It gave employment to a large number of people. Large industries were engaged in the manufacture of goods on sea-coast. Muslim of Bengal, Silk and satin cloth of Khambat in Gujarat were famous. Stone-work was carried out in Agra. Bengal manufactured sugar and paper.
Trade – Trade made significant progress. The Multani traders, the Gujarati whole-sellers and the gypsies carried out their business within the country. The Arab residents in India and other merchants were engaged in foreign trade and exported their goods to distant countries, along the Atlanic ocean, across the Red Sea.
Trade was also conducted by land. The caravans of the traders travelled via Multan-Queta or Kashmir to Afghanistan, Persia, and countries in central Asia. Silken cloth textiles, grain, and indigo were
exported. India imported horses, camels, wines, and items of luxury from abroad.
Standard of Living – There was a marked difference in the living conditions of the people. The nobles lived like princes; dressed in silk, and other valuable clothes, lived in palatial house; and maintained hordes of slaves (both men and women) and servants; patronized poets, singers and musicians; and kept good horses in their stables. They led a life of luxury, ease, and plenty but the condition of the common men was miserable.
Q. 3. Give an account of social and economic conditions under the Mughal rulers.
Ans. Gradation of the Society. Indian society in the time of the Mughals was some what in the nature of feudal organisation divided into different grades. At the top of the system was the king. His court was the centre of wealth and influence. Below him were the official nobles, the Mansabdars who held positions of honour and influence which none else outside the pale of imperial service could enjoy. The common people formed something like an unprivileged class and plied their humble trade and professions. The nobles initiated the luxurious life of the Court and were given to interference. They had no incentive to thrist as by the law of Escheat their whole property lapsed to the state after their death. They spend lavishly on wine and women and superfluous pomp. Bernier remarks that their was no middle class in Delhi “A man must either be of the highest rank or live miserably.”
The Hindus formed the back of population and the caste system wisted in full vigour. There were two classes in the Muhammadans ve The first comprised the foreign emigrants such as Twani Mughals who were shias hailing from Persia. The Persian were mostly physician, I lawyers and other professionlists. In the groups were also included
The Afghans. The second group consisted of indigenous Muhammadans ed to the Indian population before the commencement in mote civil offices which they shared with the Hindus of the castes. In the coastal region the Muhammadans were primarily who came originally from Arabia and the Persian Gulf and gave
Rise to communities of mixed origin. The Muslim population also included a number of Arabs, Turks and Abyssinians or Habshis, the last mainly as slaves. Armenians and jews also came to India as traders
And most of them settled here. The Parsis attracted the notice of Akbar
who was much interested in their religion. By the end of Shah Jahan’s reign they had established themselves as an important trading as well as agricultural community.
Slavery. Akbar abolished enslavement of prisoners of war but slavery as an institution flourished. Slaves were recruited by hunting forest tribes or by kidnaping. The cvil of slavery was rampant in Bengal. Some slaves were also imported from abroad particularly from Abyssinia. Shah Jahan in 1629 enslaved the whole population of the portuguese settlement in Hubli. The landless labourers were also treated as slaves. They had no freedom to choose their masters.
Economic condition of the lower order in society. The condition of the lower orders, was miserable as compared with that of the upper classes. Their clothing was scanty, shoes and woolen garments they could not afford to have. Their houses were built of mud and thatched roofs. They were even seized by force and made to work in the houses or nobles or officers who paid them what they liked. Towards the close of Shah Jahan’s reign when the administrative system grew worse the condition of the working classes deteriorated. We have it from Bernier that the peasants and artisans were cruelly oppressed and as a consequence agriculture was neglected.
Social Customs. The people were conservative in their habits and their life moved in traditional groves. The Hindus ‘venerated the cows and undertook long journeys to have a dip in the sacred rivers specially the Ganges. Belief in astronomy was common to Hindus and Muslims alike. Astronomers were consulted at the time of birth of a child and his horoscope got prepared. Every work was commenced according to the auspices dates declared by the Brahamans after consulting his Panchang. Among the social customs the two most prominent were the sati and the child marriage. Akbar tried to mitigate the evils of evil practices but with little success as they were very deep rooted are still practiced even to day in the rural areas. The purdah system was in vogue both among the Hindus as well as the Muslims. The women were entirely dependent on their husbands or their other male relatives. The relation between the Muslims and the Hindus was much better than it was in the Sultanate days. The preachings of saints and social reformers like Kabir and Nanak and the sufi saints and the tolerant policy of Emperor Akbar did much to produce greater harmony between the two communities. Most of the festivals were celebrated jointly by the
people of the two communities. Akbar observed Hindu festivals and Jahangir has praised Rakshabandhan. Some of the nobles observed the Holi festival and Daulat Rao Scindia and his officers joined Muharram processions in green dress like Muhammadan.
Economic Condition, Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazal and the accounts of foreign travellers supply valuable information about the ger.eral economic condition of India during the period of Mughal rule. That India was a rich country is testified to by almost all contemporary visitors. Babur who disliked India on account of its hot climate writes in his Memoirs’ that the chief excellence of Hindustan is that it is big country with plenty of gold and silver coined and in coined. His statement is carroborated by Howkines who says, “’India is rich in silver and gold for all nations being coins and carry away commodities for the same, this coin is buried in india and goeth not forth”. This indicates that trade and commerce were in a flourishing condition and it is common knowledge that nations of Europe vied with one another to share in lucrative trade with India. The wealth and prosperity of the country was reflected in the numerous and prosperous cities scattered all over the country. Agra and Fatehpur were far much greater than London. We have it from Monserrate that Lahore was second to no city in Europe. According to Abul Fazl Ahmedabad was a very rich city where the choicest production of the whole globe were to be had in plenty. The enormous spoil which Shivaji obtained from Surat alone gives us an idea of the wealth accumulated in the cities of the Mughal Empire.
Agriculture. Agriculture was the main industry. The Mughal · Emperors encouraged production through both agriculture and
industries. Land was cultivated in small holdings and the land revenue formed the largest source of the income of the state. Besides food crops
the agricultural products included cotton, indigo and opium Tobacco was introduced about 1604 and soon began to be cultivated.Its consumption developed rapidly so much so that Jahangir prohibited smoking in 1617.
Industries and Crafts.In Mughal age crafts and industries were – both private and state owned.Cottage industries turned out excellent ed by the court and the nobles. In the state tion was carried out on a large scale. Abul fazl said that Akbar paid much attention to various kinds of stuffs and employed skillful masters and workmen to teach people and employed
system of manufacture. Bernier saw many of these kankhanas or work shops in which different kinds of artisans were employed on different crafts under the supervision of an imperial officer. The most important industry. The most important industry in India was the manufacture of cotton cloth. Its principal centres were Banaras, Agra, Burhanpur, Gujrat Muslim of very fine quality was produced at Dacca and exported abroad. From Berniers account we learn that Bengal was the store house of a vast quantity of cotton and silk of every description which supplied the need not only of India but of the neighbouring countries and even of Europe. Silk wearing was also an important industry and its principal centre was Bengal Shawl and carpet weaving had their centre at Lahore and Kashmir. Salt petri was manufactured at many places but principally in Bihar and it was in great demand among the European merchants.
Foreign Trade. Foreign trade attained considerable dimensions in the Mughal period. The parts of Cambay, Surat, Salgaon in Bengal, the Coromondel coast, the Indus and the coast of Malabar for pepper were the principal outlets for foreign trade in the reign of Akbar. Piracy was a serious obstacle in the way of foreign trade particularly in the neighbourhood of Bengal. The chief exports in the days of Akbar’s reign were textiles pepper, indigo, and opium while imports included bullion, horses, raw silk, metals, ivory, amber, precious stones chinese porcelain and African slaves. On the whole India maintained a balance of trade in her favour.