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BHIC-101: History of India –I

BHIC-101: History of India –I

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BHIC-101/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BHIC-101

Assignment Name: History of India 1

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in the Sections.




Answer the following in about 500 words each. 20x2


Q1) Explain the significance of literary sources in the reconstruction of the history of Ancient India with special reference to Jain and Buddhist literature.

Ans) The majority of early Indian literature contains a great deal of information about religion, theology, cosmology, and cosmogony in addition to mythology, magic, ritual, and prayers. It may be challenging to date these writings because of the wide variations in the composition and compilation dates. The concentration of their substance, which is theology or religion, makes it difficult to understand them historically.


Buddhist and Jaina Literature

A sizeable portion of early Indian non-Brahmanical and non-Sanskritic texts are Buddhist and Jain. The Tripitakas, also referred to as the "Three Baskets," are a group of Pali texts that claim to have been composed after the Buddha's demise. They offer details on the political situation in India at the time of the Buddha and the sixteen Mahajanapadas. The commentaries written in Pali on the Buddhist canonical literature are referred to as "Tripitakas." The Tripitikas are also available in Tibetan, Chinese, and Pali. These scriptures are composed of three books: the Sutta, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma. The Sutta Pitaka contains stories, poems, and dialogues that illustrate the Buddha's teachings on various doctrinal subjects.


The Vinaya discusses the 227 rules and guidelines the Sangha has established for monks and nuns. It explains why each rule was established by the Buddha and provides supporting evidence. It describes the Buddha's life and times as well as the development of Buddhism up until the first schism. It was composed in 386 BCE. The Abhidhamma Pitaka, which also contains lists, summaries, and questions and answers, represents the Theravada school of Buddhism. One of the five Nikayas in the Sutta Pitaka is a collection of discourses called the Khuddaka Nikaya. It contains the Jatakas, Theragatha, and Therigatha, all of which are important historical texts.


The Jatakas recount the Buddha's past incarnations as devas, men, animals, fairies, spirits, or mythical characters. Many stories and motifs were derived from pre-Buddhist and non-Buddhist oral vernacular traditions. Due to their popularity, they were transformed into sculptural bas-reliefs in Bharhut, Sanchi, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. They are important because they provide an insight into how Buddhism and mainstream Buddhism have evolved.


The earliest Buddhist Sangha members told lyrics that are included in the poetry collection Theragatha and Therigatha. Therigatha is the first work of poetry by a purported Indian woman that is still extant. As a result, it is important for both Buddhism and gender studies. Therigatha gathas clearly support the notion that both sexes are capable of attaining the same degree of spirituality. A work of non-canonical Buddhist literature, Milindapanha is a discussion between the Indo-Greek monarch Menander and the Buddhist monk Nagasena. The Sinhalese chronicles Mahavamsha and Dipavamsha describe the history of Buddhism from the time of the Buddha's Enlightenment to the third century BCE in India and the fourth century CE in Sri Lanka.


Jaina literature is a notable subgenre of works produced in the Prakrit dialect known as Ardha Magadhi. While Digambara literature is written in Jaina Sauraseni, Shvetambara literature is composed in two Ardha Magadhi dialects. The first 14 Purvas were collections of the lessons Mahavira had taught his disciples. At Pataliputra in the fourth century BCE, Sthulabhadra convened a sizable assembly and rewrote the Jaina canon in 12 Angas.


Later in the fifth century CE, a council was held at Valabhi, when the prior writings were formalised and presented in writing. The Shvetambaras accept as authoritative texts the 12 Angas, 12 Upangas, 10 Prakirnas, 6 Chedasutras, 2 Sutras, and 4 Mulasutras. These writings deal with metaphysics, various stories, Jaina philosophy, and moral precepts. The Digambaras claim that most of the original Purvas have been lost.


As a result, the Digambaras disagree with the Shvetambaras' interpretation of the scriptures. The Digambaras use texts written by renowned Acharyas but based on Mahavira's original teachings for their religious practises. The Jaina literature can be used to study Jainism's theory and history, as well as competing schools' ideologies, saints' biographies, and the lives of sangha monks.


2) What do you understand by Palaeolithic? Write an essay on Palaeolithic art and practices.

Ans) Old Stone Age is another name for the Palaeolithic Period, a prehistoric cultural stage or degree of human evolution that was marked by the use of crude chipped stone tools. Tradition dictates that the earliest evidence of Homo making and using tools around 2.58 million years ago, at the start of the Pleistocene Epoch, marks the beginning of the Palaeolithic Period. But in 2015, archaeologists working in a dry riverbed close to Kenya's Lake Turkana found prehistoric stone tools encased in rocks from the middle of the Pliocene Epoch, 3.3 million years ago. These tools predate the earliest known species of Homo by about a million years, raising the likelihood that Australopithecus or one of its contemporaries invented toolmaking and calling into question when this cultural stage began.

Lower, Middle, and Upper Palaeolithic Periods are frequently separated into these three categories. However, because the technologies specific to various sectors evolved at various times and in various areas, anthropologists avoid putting strict chronological bounds on each subdivision and the stages within them. The fact that it took time for new technologies to proliferate and that some groups of people had access to more advanced technology sooner than their contemporaries also contributes to the degree of overlap between stages and subdivisions.


Pebble tools first appeared during the Oldowan Stage of the Lower Palaeolithic, and more complex hand axes and cleaving tools appeared during the Acheulean Stage of the Lower Palaeolithic. Some anthropologists have proposed adding a third stage, the Lomekwian Stage, to account for 700,000 years of early hammering and other rock-chipping tools that predated the Oldowan Stage, thanks to the finding of the artefacts unearthed at Lake Turkana. The Middle Palaeolithic, which spanned from roughly 250,000 to 30,000 years ago, was characterised by flake tools and the widespread use of fire. The Upper Palaeolithic, during which more advanced tools first appeared, lasted about from 50,000–40,000 years ago until 10,000 years ago.


Palaeolithic Art and Practices

There were only two types of art: mobile or static, and each had a narrow range. Because it had to be compact, portable art during the Upper Palaeolithic era mostly comprised of adorned objects or figurines. These objects were carved, or clay modelled. The majority of this era's portable art was figurative, which is it portrayed a recognisably human or animal figure. Since the figurines are undeniably female and of a build conducive to having children, they are frequently referred to as "Venus" as a group.


Simply put, stationary art wasn't moving. The most excellent examples can be found in Palaeolithic cave paintings in western Europe. Mineral mixtures, ochres, burnt bone meal, and charcoal were combined with water, blood, animal fats, and tree sap to create paints. Given that these murals are situated far from the cave openings where daily life was conducted, experts speculate that they may have had ritualistic or magical significance. The number of non-figurative paintings is much higher, suggesting that many of the elements are symbolic rather than realistic. The depiction of animals, which is incredibly lifelike, stands out as the glaring exception in this case.




Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. 10x3


Q1) Write an essay on Science and Technology in Ancient India.

Ans) Indian science has come a long way from the sculpture of the bronze dancer and the advanced urbanization found in the Indus Valley Civilization to the exploration of the surface of the moon. Indus Valley Civilization was a business-oriented civilization. Therefore, weighing systems were developed there. According to archaeologists, in the Indus Valley Civilization, a system of scale ratio of 16 was developed. The Yajurveda describes numbers up to 10 Kharab. The most prevalent number of the decimal system (0 to 9) in the present world was invented in India. The description of the innumerable (Infinity) is firstly found In the Jain text "Anuyogdwar". Geometry is described in Vedang literature. The knowledge of the description of trigonometry in Varahamihira’s 'Surya Siddhanta', Brahmagupta also provided sufficient information on trigonometry and he also constructed a sine table. Indian astronomy is thought to have originated from the Vedas.


People of Harappan culture are familiar with geometry. The brick formation, construction of buildings, cutting off roads at right angles are proof that people of that period knew geometry. First written knowledge about the Indian system of medicine is found in 'Atharvaveda'. The treatment of various diseases is given in Atharvaveda's 'Bhaisjya Sutra'. A detailed description is found on the topics of general medicine and mental medicine. 'Sushruta Samhita', 'Charaksamhita' are authentic and world-renowned texts of the medical science of ancient India. From the Indus Valley Civilization, India was a pioneer in the field of architecture. The urban system of the Indus is an inspiration for the present cities. Buildings, pillars, cave construction, chaitya construction during the Mahajanapada period and Maurya period are examples of advanced architecture of India. Ancient India has advanced series of temples. The Kailashnath temple built on the hillside is a great specimen of engineering. In ancient times, there have been great scientists like Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Nagarjuna, Charak, Sushruta, Boudhayan.


Undoubtedly, ancient India was technologically advanced in the fields of mathematics, medicine, physics, in the presence of scientists like Varahamihir, Aryabhatta, Nagarjuna. Contemporary civilizations of the Indus valley were not as scientific as the Indus. With this, in ancient India, almost India was technically and economically self-sufficient and was the leader of the entire world as a Vishwaguru.


Q2) Describe Mauryan art and architecture.

Ans) A lengthy process that began locally, grew through time, spread, and absorbed multiple impulses and inspirations led to the development of Mauryan art. Pre-Mauryan structures, including buildings and sculptures, are no longer in existence. All of the statues and structures that we currently own are remnants of the Mauryan period, particularly Ashoka's rule.


The second defining characteristic of Mauryan art is its Achaemenid connection. Chandragupta Maurya ruled over Chandragupta's Mauryan dominions, which included Afghanistan and the former Achaemenid lands. The Mauryan kings and the Hellenistic court maintained constant communication. Achaemenid art traditions were a major source of inspiration for and impact on Hellenistic art. Susa and Ekbatana come to mind when thinking of the Pataliputra ruins, but the Pillared Hall in Kumrahar is also eerily reminiscent of the Hall of Hundred Columns that Darius the Great erected at Persepolis. The Ashokan pillars and his inscriptions' layout also show that Achaemenid tradition had an impact on them.


Another school of thought maintains that the elements of Mauryan art originated with the native peoples. It worked well to combine folk and court themes. The wooden folk shaft was petrified in its entirety. Before the Mauryans, even the legendary Mauryan polish had its beginnings. Additionally, the indigenous roots of the bull, lion, lotus, and goose emblems used in the Ashokan pillars may be seen.


"Persepolitan" influences are thought to be present in the bell capitals and the Ashokan pillars of the campanile. The Persian and Ashokan examples are cognates because they both trace their origin to the Aryans, a West Asian ancestor. Additionally, the original wooden stambha architecture was changed to use stone as a new material. Bases and capitals eventually increased, and the shaft underwent a metamorphosis, taking on eight or sixteen sides.


Many pillars still had their Mauryan features, however those found in the caverns of Karle, Bedsa, Nasik, Kanheri, Ajanta, and Ellora may have undergone changes. As well-known in Indian culture as the lotus and swastika emblems are the bell capitals, which are either supporting female figures with bovine bodies below the hips, elephants, horses, or addorsed lions. However, they have a Persepolis-like mentality and organisation.


Q3) Write a note of the growth and principles and expansion of Buddhism in Ancient India.

Ans) Siddhartha Gautama's teachings serve as the foundation for Buddhism. In his first sermon in Sarnath, Buddha outlined the core principles of Buddhism. His profound understanding of life, death, and existence led him the nickname "the Buddha," which meaning awakened one. Lord Buddha disapproves of animal sacrifices because he does not believe in sacrifices and ceremonies. He provided instruction on how to progressively get rid of our negative thoughts such as resentment, jealously, and ignorance and nurture our positive ones such as love, compassion, and wisdom.


The Growth and Main Principles of Buddhism

  1. Triple Jewels: Taking shelter in The Triple Gems - the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha - does not entail complete self-renunciation or reliance on a third party or outside power for assistance or salvation.

  2. The Four Noble Truths Are: Dukkha, Samudaya, Nirhodha, and Magga are the Sanskrit terms for suffering, its cause, its effect, and its resolution, respectively. In his first sermon following his enlightenment, Buddha laid the cornerstones of Buddhism.

  3. The Eightfold Path: The Eightfold Path is a method for achieving enlightenment. The three main divisions of "The Eightfold Path" that adherents emphasise are "Ethical Conduct," "Wisdom," and "Mental Discipline." The "eightfold road" of right determination, right views, right speech, right living, right action, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration is the route to the end of suffering.

  4. The Five Precepts: These are the fundamental training guidelines that all Buddhists adhere to the letter which are (1) to abstain from killing living things. (2) to refrain from accepting what is not being provided. (3) Refrain from engaging in sexual misconduct. (4) Refrain from using bad language. (5) Avoid intoxicated beverages and medications that cause recklessness.


Expansion of Buddhism in Ancient India

In terms of popularity, Buddhism has grown immensely both inside and outside of India. Numerous elements contributed to this development and expansion. Traders praised it for being nonviolent and for publicly endorsing money lending. Its promotion of racial fairness and equality attracted Shudras. The Buddha's persona and character played a significant role in the rise of Buddhism. Intellectuals were drawn to his object-focused rationalism. The hearts and imaginations of ordinary people were affected by his principles and way of life. The rapid spread of Buddhism was largely due to the dedication and commitment of Buddhist missionaries.




Answer the following questions in about 100 words each. 6x5


Q1) Gangetic North India

Ans) The Ganga plains can be divided into three sub-regions:

  1. Upper,

  2. Middle, and

  3. Lower.


The Doab is primarily located in the Upper Plains in western and central Uttar Pradesh. Cultural synthesis and conflict have occurred here. There is more and more proof that the Harappan culture spread into this region. In the Later Vedic era, this was also the hub of the Painted Grey Ware civilisation and the site of frenetic activity.


Prayagaraj can be found at the terminal point of the Doab, where the Ganga and the Yamuna converge. Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar correlate to the Middle Ganga lowlands. Ancient Kosala, Kashi, and Magadha were located here. Since the sixth century BCE, it has served as the hub of the city's trade, economy, and money system. This area served as the foundation for Mauryan imperial development, and it had political significance well into the Gupta era.


Geographically, the Himalayas on the north and the Central Indian hills on the south define the Upper and Middle Ganga plains. The Bengal province and the Lower Plains are contiguous. The Ganga and Brahmaputra's alluvium contributed to the formation of Bengal's vast plains.


Compared to other comparable places, the Ganga plains have supported more settlements and a higher population density. Since the first millennium BCE to the Classical era, it has served as the centre of Indian culture. The Brahmaputra-created long Assam valley extends next to the Bengal plains. It covers a distance of more than 600 kilometres. Assam is similar to Bengal in terms of culture, but it started its historical development later than Odisha.


Q2) Harappan Crafts

Ans) Metals, stones, and shells were used to create Harappan artefacts. Tools, swords, jewellery, and containers were all made of bronze and copper. Ornaments and utensils were made of gold and silver. They created stone seals as well. The Indus Valley's artists and artisans were masters of a wide range of skills, including metal casting, stone carving, pottery production and painting, and the creation of terracotta pictures employing stylized themes of animals, plants, and birds.


All pieces of Harappan art, including clay and terracotta figurines, metal and stone sculptures, seals, and beads, are the work of master artisans. The pottery made by the Harappans was distinctive and meant to shine and be shiny. The sculptors of Harappan art were accomplished. Harappan art treasures include the bronze statue of the dancing girl and the statue of the bearded man. The unique lost wax technique was used to create the metal wax sculpture. Men and women wore necklaces, armlets, and earrings that were created by goldsmiths out of silver, gold, and precious stones. There were additional toys with birds, animals, figures, carts, and whistles.


Q3) Pre-Vedic Religion

Ans) The early Dravidian religion was a non-Vedic variation of Hinduism since it was historically or is currently gamic. The Agamas are not Vedic in origin[1] and have been classified as either pre- or post-Vedic writings. The Agamas are a collection of Tamil and Sanskrit scriptures that primarily cover four different types of yoga, philosophical ideas, meditation techniques, and ways for creating murtis and temples for worshipping gods. It is also acknowledged that Hinduism is a pre-Vedic Dravidian religion that has survived because to its veneration of tutelary deities, sacred plants, and animals.


Many of these characteristics are already present in the oldest known Indo-Aryan language, the language of the Rigveda, which also contains more than a dozen words borrowed from Dravidian, demonstrating the language's influence on early Vedic religion. As one progresses from the Samhitas down through the later Vedic writings and into the classical post-Vedic literature, the linguistic evidence for Dravidian influence grows stronger. This shows an early religious and cultural synthesis or fusion between ancient Dravidians and Indo-Aryans, which later influenced Indian culture.


Q4) Indian Philosophy and its Environmental Vision

Ans) Ancient Indian philosophy emphasised harmony with the environment. The surroundings was seen as living. Man was the smartest creature. Man was considered part of the environment. He disintegrated into it after death. Physically, man was near to all living and non-living things. On a spiritual realm, man has duties and obligations towards other species. Environmental damage was acknowledged. Ancient Indians believed in harmony and cooperation with nature. Srsti is how Indians view the universe. It meant Pasu, Pakshi, and Vanaspati. Hiranyagarbha's golden egg led to the formation of srsti.


Since God created humans and srsti, both must have friendly ties. Ancient Indians respected all life. Animals and birds had exceptional abilities and intellect. They could forecast weather and good or terrible happenings. Animal killing was considered a crime. Certain animals were made the vahanas of gods and goddesses, demonstrating their sanctity and they were godlike. Ancient philosophy viewed everything, living and non-living, as part of a totality. All beings need each other of this wisdom required respect and protection for the universe to work properly.


Q5) Saptang Theory

Ans) The Arthashastra is the first South Asian work to present the idea that the State is made up of seven basic components. To comprehend the State, which is a system of seven interconnected and interlacing constituent limbs or elements, Kautilya proposes the notion of saptanga-rajya. With a few adjustments, this saptanga-rajya notion was accepted and can be seen in much later writings such as the Mahabharata, Puranas, and the Dharmashastras.


These seven components were, in the following order:

  1. Swami (The King)

  2. Amatya (Ministers)

  3. Janapada (The territory and its people, i.e., subjects)

  4. Durga (A Fortified Capital)

  5. Kosha (The Treasury)

  6. Danda (Justice or Force)

  7. Mitra (Ally)


One could evaluate the individual strengths or weaknesses of each member by breaking the State down into its seven fundamental components. Each of the seven basic components is described by a set of ideal characteristics and also they are not all equal.

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