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BHIC-103: History of India –II

BHIC-103: History of India –II

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BHIC-103/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BHIC-103

Assignment Name: History of India-II

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.


Q1) Who were the Kushanas? Write a note on the assimilation of foreigners into the Indian mainstream.

Ans) The Kushanas were a significant royal family during the post-Mauryan period. The Yueh-chi, a nomadic people who lived in the area around Dunhuang until being forced to migrate across the Tarim Basin to Bactria due to battles with the Xiongnu between around 165 and 128 BCE, were the ancestors of the Kushanas. They belonged to one of the Yueh-chi tribe's five clan groups.


The Kushana realm has had a significant impact on the political history of the subcontinent and its northwest frontiers. Small territorial kingdoms in the Indo-Iranian frontiers were replaced by an Empire with the arrival of the Kushanas, which was made possible by the political unification of the area. It expanded the Kushana principality in Bactria into a vast empire that at times extended beyond Mathura through the Ganga plains to Bhagalpur in Bihar and covered parts of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, parts of Chinese Central Asia, and the north-western frontiers of the subcontinent. The Kushana Empire is sometimes referred to as the Central Asian Empire as a result.


The Rabatak inscription of Kanishka-I, written in the Bactrian language, found in the Puli Khumri region of Afghanistan provides the eloquent evidence of Kushana power till the Ganga valley. The Rabatak inscription reveals that Kujula Kadphises was preceded by another king before Vima Kadphises, despite the fact that the name of Vima Taktu as the immediate successor of Kujula Kadphises is not totally apparent. It is possible to connect Vima Taktu to "Soter Megas," the Kushana emperor who produced a line of coins that come after those of Kujula Kadphises and before those of Vima Kadphises.


Political, economic, ecclesiastical, and cultural ties between Central Asia and South Asia significantly expanded during the Kushana period, which lasted from the first to the third centuries CE. These ties are clearly visible in archaeological excavations, art historical material, coins, and inscriptions. Transoxiana and Bactria came to play a significant role in the Silk Route during Kanishka's control over those two countries. The Silk Road connected China to West Asia and the Mediterranean by way of Bactria.


New Elements in Indian Society

In the post-Mauryan period, there was extensive human migration across the northwest frontier. However, it would be incorrect to assume that throughout this time, north and north-west India were under foreign rule. The line between foreigners and Indians was not clearly defined during this time, and the Yavanas, Sakas, and other groups nonetheless assimilated into the population of the Indian subcontinent. The Indians eventually assimilated the Greeks, Sakas, Parthians, and Kushanas. Manu, a politician, said that the Sakas and Parthians were kshatriyas who had strayed from their obligations. As a result, they started to be viewed as lower class Kshatriyas. Assimilation of such a huge number of foreigners into Indian society was unprecedented in Indian history prior to the post-Mauryan period.


The majority of these kings lacked a distinct writing system, written language, or structured religion. They significantly contributed to Indian society and eventually formed a vital part of it. They improved the cavalry and widely adopted the use of horses. They made the reins and saddles that can be seen in Buddhist sculpture from the second and third century CE more widely used. Equestrian Kushana sculptures have been found in Afghanistan's Begram. The turban, tunic, pants, and bulky long coats were inventions of the Saka and Kushana tribes. The Central Asian warriors also wore caps, helmets, and boots. India later received their military technology.


Q2) Discuss the economic, political, and social organization of Tamilakam.

Ans) The village's residential area, or ur, was made up of a number of kudis, or family groups, each of which had a particular line of work. The kilar served as the ur's leader. The headman received a somewhat bigger shack to call home. Kinship is thought to have been a key component of clans. The fact that clan chiefs were referred to as "hero sons" komakan or perumakan leads him to this conclusion. This implies that serving as the headman was an inherited position. The kings are thought to have replaced the previous chiefs and system of chieftainships by emerging from marudams. The political structures varied among the tinais.


The chiefs' primary source of income was land revenue. Irai and tirai are two different forms of contributions that the chieftains received, according to Tamil literature. Tirai was a tribute, whereas Irai was a regular contribution. Regarding the rate and method of income collection, little is known. The fact that the rulers are frequently counselled to be moderate in revenue collection shows that coercion and excesses were used by the authorities.


All the resources needed to be gathered at one location, like the chiefs' home, in order to redistribute them effectively. The pooling of resources frequently resulted in the plundering and looting of agricultural fields. Marauders took grain and cattle, burned enemy fields, set fire to peasant settlements, and turned magnificent gardens into wasteland. The hill tracts' and pasture tracts' Marva fighters were used for looting. Raid loot was dispersed to brahmana priests and marava fighters as pre-stations and payment for ceremonial services. Numerous poems in the Sangam anthologies discuss abuses meted out to poor farmers.


A significant non-agricultural activity was trade. During this time, trade dramatically increased, especially marine trade. Coins, topaz, expensive apparel, antimony rods, coral, crude glass, copper, tin, lead, wine, wheat, and ceramics were among the imports from Rome. Gold coins made up the majority of these and were plainly used for luxuries products. For the Roman sailors who waited until favourable monsoon winds could transport them back, wine, wheat, and ceramics were provided. Raw resources for the regional bronze and bead industries, including crude glass, copper, tin, and lead, were traded. Pearls, beryl, and muslin were the items traded.


Activities involving crafts were also done. Since trading boosted their sociopolitical position, local leaders were likely to favour it. Exchange may be perceived on various levels. People's basic necessities were not dependent on long-distance trade. The majority of long-distance trading involved expensive commodities. Luxury commodities were circulated differently in the interiors because they did so through networks of kinship, patronage, and clients. The kurinci, mullai, and Marutam tracts engaged in local subsistence trade rather than high-end offshore trade.


With its kinship systems, totem worship, and other tribal cults and customs, early Tamilakam society was primarily tribal in nature. The introduction of the Brahmanical varna system led to an increase in complexity as old familial links were severing. There was a clear separation between "high" and "low," and there was social stratification or disparity between various social groupings. The brahmanas are described as a distinctive social class with a higher social position. Vedic sacrifice is mentioned in Sangam texts, although it doesn't seem to have become widely accepted. There are references of brahmanas eating with individuals from other communities, therefore the existence of brahmanas did not preclude their ability to freely mix.




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


Q1) Write a note on the craft production in North India, explain its organizational nature.

Ans) North India is famous for weaving and therefore one can find a lot of colourful and intricate embroidery here. Owing to the chilly winters the locals of different states weave colourful shawls, which have a huge demand in the national and international market. Mandi, Kullu and Chamba in Himachal Pradesh are famous for shawls. Shahtoosh and Jamawar are the best-known shawls of Kashmir and weaving these shawls require great dexterity and sense of artistry. Haryana is also known for shawls where the bagh design is very common.

  1. Embroidery in North India: Embroidery is another important craft of North India. It is more of a tradition, which girls learn in their childhood and do in their leisure.

  2. Carpet Weaving in North India: Carpet weaving and making durries is another important craft among the north Indian states.

  3. Pottery in North India: Various kinds of pottery have developed in the states, which have taken the form of a craft. Pottery as a craft varies from state to state so while in Uttar Pradesh shades of pottery are in colours like orange, brown and light red.


The crafts of north Indian are known for their vibrancy, aesthetic sensibilities, and decorative abilities. It can be said that crafts produced in the north Indian states have withstood the test of time. Innovation and invention continues even today to give the crafts a more contemporary look.


Organisational Nature

The basic unit of craft production in the countryside was the individual craftsman with his family, living amidst the agrarian communities, often in the company of the families of other professionals, including other craft specialists. A scatter of references, epigraphic and other, brings out the widespread dispersal of a number of crafts over the countryside: that of the potter, the weaver, the ironsmith, the carpenter, the jaggery-maker, the oil-miller, the leatherworker, the liquor-maker, and so on.


Some of these groups were treated as untouchables and suffered from spatial segregation, living outside the village. The composition of such groups, however, seems to have varied from region to region; thus, weavers were noticed by Alberuni as one such group of untouchable craftsmen who lived at a distance from the main settlement, but in a Jaina text, they are listed among a category of professional groups called narua, that is, not untouchable, distinct from the category of karua groups, that is, untouchable ones. The binary division of these professional groups as naru-karu has persisted down to modern times.


Q2) Describe the salient features of Pallava temple architecture.

Ans) The salient features of the Pallava temple architecture are as follows:


  1. The Pallava architecture shows the transition from the Rock Cut Architecture to the Stone built temples.

  2. The earliest examples of the Pallava art are the rock cut temples of the 7th century AD, while the later examples are of structural temples built in 8th and 9th century.

  3. The rock cut reliefs of the Pallavas are the earliest surviving royal portraits after the Kushana images.


At the end of 6th century, King Harsha ruled in the North and he patronized the Buddhist Institutions. In South, Pallavas expanded themselves from the much of the Andhra Pradesh of today to much of Tamil Nadu. The Pallava Kings are known to be one of the greatest patrons of the art, music, architecture, dance, and literature.


King Mahendravarman was a poet and a playwright who wrote a satire on contemporary life titled “Mattavilasa Prahasana“. Another King of Pallava Dynasty named Rajsimha was such a great lover of art that he used the title “Kalasamudra” for himself.


There are some example of Pallava temple architecture:

  1. Mandagapattu Rock Cut Temple: The earliest monument of Mahendravarman was Mandagapattu rock cut temple which was a single rock cut temple built without any wood, brick, or metal. It is located near Villupuram in Tamil Nadu. This temple has the icons of large Dwarapalas which later became a characteristic of almost all south Indian temples.

  2. Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram: Kailasanathar Temple is best building created during the reign of Pallava King Narsimhamvaraman. This temple is one of the most beautiful temples in India which has well balanced sculptures like a jewel box.

  3. Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram: Shore Temple is a granite made temple at Mahabalipuram built during the reign of Narsimhavarman. This group of temples is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is oldest structural temple in India. It’s a beautiful 5 storeyed temple, which is a combined complex of 3 shrines; 2 dedicated to Shiva and one to Vishnu.


Q3) What do you understand by the revival of commerce and trade in the early medieval period? Discuss.

Ans) Urban centres gradually experienced a rebirth of trade and urbanisation beginning in the tenth century CE. This resurgence virtually spread throughout all of India. It is frequently referred to as the Indian subcontinent's "third urbanisation." In addition to cereals and pulses, there was an increase in the production of cash crops. Demand was only for local and regional goods. In place of the preceding phase's isolated village economy, expanding commerce networks were emerging.


A surge in craft production was made in order to meet local and international demand. Particular note should be made of textile manufacture here. Bengal was well-known for its manufacture of fine cotton, Gujarat for its coloured cotton, and Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for its silk. According to an inscription from Karnataka, the oil industry was another profitable endeavour during this time.

There were mints in several regions of Rajasthan and Karnataka, according to archaeological evidence, although it is unclear whether or not there was a significant amount of currency in circulation.


The urbanisation that characterised this phase starting around 600 CE was distinct from that of the early historical phase. While the Ganga valley served as the epicentre during the 600 BCE–300 CE era and served as the foundation for the growth of secondary urban centres as well, no such epicentre could be found during the early mediaeval period. Given how deeply rooted in their agrarian regional contexts the early mediaeval urban centres were, research of their local formations and developments is essential.


Movement of goods within the region and abroad would be influenced by the expansion of agrarian resources as well as the desire for luxury goods by monarchs and affluent intermediaries. Sectarian bhakti cults have developed in the religious sphere, which has stimulated a lot of temple construction. This is how mercantile societies, weekly fairs, sectarian leaders, governing kings, and wealthy intermediaries were increasingly partaking in the rising commercial ethos. Merchant groups and reigning magnates are shown donating donations to mathas and temples.




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


Q1) Indo-Greeks

Ans) Greeks had already established themselves in Bactria, which corresponds to modern-day northern Afghanistan, southern Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Alexander's generals took over as kings after his passing. The Seleucid monarchy, which coexisted with the Mauryas, is one such example. Around 250 BCE, Bactria quickly seceded from the Seleucid Empire, and the Bactrian Greeks established their own empire as the easternmost outpost of Hellenism.


The nomadic raids of the Scythian tribes drove the Bactrians from Bactria. Between 145 and 130 BCE, the Greeks were driven away, and the Bactrian Greeks went south and eventually came to rule southern Afghanistan, spanning the region from the Hidukush to Gandhara. The history of the Indo Greeks starts from this point.


Q2) Puranic Hinduism

Ans) Puranic Hinduism refers to the mainstream Hindu faith, in which gods like Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Goddess Mother, the Sun, etc. are worshipped. These deities have their roots in purana mythology. Popular Hinduism has three primary sects Saivism, Vaishnavism, and Sakteyism, all of which are based on this mythology. The caste system is another aspect of puranic Hinduism. Sanatana Dharma, the authentic Indian spirituality of realised Rishis, stands in opposition to this.


The only One God, known as Brahman, is the subject of worship in Sanatana Dharma, and a realised Guru serves as the conduit for spiritual instruction. The trinity or other gods are objects of worship in puranic Hinduism, and temple priests serve as the religion's spiritual leaders. Trimurti system is another name for puranic Hinduism. The Upanishads include the Sanatana Dharma-aligned wisdom tradition of Indian Rishis.


Q3) Prakrits and Pali

Ans) People were speaking far simpler languages than Sanskrit by the time of the Buddha. The Prakrits were these.



Prakrit served as the common tongue. Beginning in the second or third century, it was employed in the creation of numerous literary pieces all throughout the subcontinent. Regional subtypes are reflected in Prakrit. Due to pressure from Sanskrit's intellectual advancements, grammars, dictionaries, and numerous treatises were eventually created in Prakrit. Sanskrit and Prakrit coexisted, but they did so in different contexts. Pre-Gupta inscriptions, particularly the Ashokan edicts, are written in Prakrit. Prakrit was used to write a variety of secular literary works. Sanskrit was far more complex than Prakrit, both in terms of sound and syntax.



It is challenging to assign this language to a specific place because it contains regional variations within itself. Like the Buddhists, the Jainas adopted Ardhamagadhi as their literary language in place of Sanskrit. Some academics think that the Buddhists understood that unless they chose a language that the brahmanas preferred, they would not be able to influence them. It has also been asserted that the spread of Buddhism into Mathura and the core of Aryavarta, the primary area of vaidika culture, led to the adoption of the Sanskrit language.


Q4) Ports

Ans) The ports on India's western and eastern seaboards were thriving throughout the first two centuries of the Common Era, according to Ptolemy and Periplus. The most well-known was Barbaricum at the Indus River's mouth. It was situated along the only navigable Indus middle channel. In the Indo-Roman trade, it was significant. It is known that the merchants made a sizable profit from the marine trade between Shentu, and Rome based on the Chinese literature Hou Han Shu. Up to the middle of the second century CE, Kushanas ruled over this region.


The Gange port at the Gangetic delta is referred to as the Periplus. The nation was sometimes referred to as Gange. The Chandraketugarh archaeological site is commonly confused with the port. It was known for its muslin. It was shipped to the port of Bhrigukachha via the Gangetic Valley or arrived on the coast in the Dravida nation. It was then shipped from there to marketplaces in Rome. The harbour of Tamralipta in the contemporary Tamluk region of Medinipur is most likely the same as the harbour of Tamalites reported by Ptolemy. For a few specific ports, Ptolemy used the name Emporion.


Q5) Urban Process

Ans) The character of urban processes during this time is open to debate. Sharma claims that this time period was marked by the decline of urban centres and de-urbanization. This unfolded gradually over two distinct time periods. The first period, roughly 350-400 CE, is associated with the Gupta empire's ascendancy. Studies in archaeology document the decline in quality of early historic communities or their abandonment. There were no people to be found in places like Bara, Hastinapura, Sohgaura, Kapilavastu, Kusinagara, Chirand, Sisupalgarh, Tamralipti, Brahmagiri, and others.

Huien Tsang also took note of some of these desertions. Purana Qila, Mathura, Taxila, Varanasi, Sringaverapura, and Vaishali are just few of the other ancient cities that have fallen into disrepair. Sharma evaluates this in several ways. The majority of these analyses focus on the deterioration of construction quality. Brickbats and mud are increasingly commonly used in the construction of homes in Mathura. In Purana Qila, residents repurposed ancient bricks to construct new buildings.

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