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BHIC-105: History of India –III (c. 750 – 1206)

BHIC-105: History of India –III (c. 750 – 1206)

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BHIC-105/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BHIC-105

Assignment Name: History of India-3

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.( Attempt any two questions from this part) 20x2


Q1) The genealogy and biography are important historical sources for the reconstruction of early medieval history. Discuss.

Ans) Post-Gupta writing includes charitas, prasastis, and vamsavalis. This form of historical writing is more important without ritual texts. Charitas are biographies. Charita literally means "moving", "doing", "going" These kavyas are significant for reconstructing history. Banabhatta's Harshacharita is notable. It's about Harshavardhana of Kannauj and his reign. Charitas are authority related.


According to Romila Thapar, the new tradition of historical writing in the form of charitas articulates historical consciousness as it concerns a particular person's acts, causes, and purposes, and time and location. The charita's subject is historical, and its fantasy is restricted. Charitas aren't historical critiques. They were literary. They're a valuable historical source.


Biographies, official inscriptions, dynastic chronicles, and regional chronicles were written in a distinct historical context after 1100 CE. Many new polities appeared. New courts needed court poets to write their biographies, legitimising the dynasty and publicising rulers' activities. Pre-Gupta courtly culture was different. Historiographers argue that, compared to earlier courts, courts after the seventh century were more dominant. The primacy of the individual in charita literature may be attributed to bhakti cults, where individual activities were the focus of life appraisal.


As the first millennium CE came to an end, the biographical tradition spread. The previous bios served as models. Because they show how the historical situation has changed, biographies are significant. The Puranas were becoming more and more worried about sectarian worship at this period. After the middle of the first millennium CE, dynastic lists are not mentioned in the Puranas. This void is filled by the charitas and inscriptions.


Ramacharita, Sandhyakaranandin's biography from the 12th century, is significant. It focuses on the eastern Indian Pala kingdom of King Ramapala. It details the recapture of Varendri by Ramapala from the Kaivartas. The first peasant uprising in India is described in this paper. Palas was opposed by Kaivartas' uprising. The document was written by Madanapala, Ramapala's successor. Ramapala's life is covered all the way up until his suicide. Not a recent incident, but one from Ramapala's reign is the subject of this charita. It shows how Ramapala's older brother Mahipala confines his younger brothers.


When the Kaivartas rebel against him, Divya and Bhima take control of Varendri. The vanquished king escapes, and his brother Ramapala becomes the new monarch. Because of this episode, the primogeniture law is under attack, therefore Charita must defend his accession. This emphasises a biography's authority, legitimacy, and wish to be a monarch. The elder brother's unworthiness serves as evidence of this. This paragraph attests to Varendri's capture by the Palas. It details Ramapala's conflicts with the Gahadvalas of Varanasi, the eastern Gangas of Odisha, the Deccan Karnatas, and the Colas of southern India.


Caritas like Ramacharita are crucial from a historical standpoint because they show how the king's connections with his subjects develop over time, especially when the opposition's political agenda is made clear. The caritas had room for the monarchs who were only briefly addressed in the vamsanucharita section of the Puranas. The storey of Malwa's King Sindhuraja Navasahasanka and his successful courtship of the princess Sashiprabha is told in Padmagupta's Navasahasankacharita, a work that is somewhat historically accurate. A eulogy for Vikramaditya VI, the Chalukyan king of Kalyani, is contained in the poem "Vikramankadevacharita" by Bilhana. Hemchandra's Kumarapalacharita tells the storey of Kumarapala, king of Anahilawada, while exemplifying grammar rules.


Q2) Describe the polity and achievements of the Pala dynasty in the early medieval period.

Ans) In the post-classical era of the Indian subcontinent, which began in the region of Bengal, the Pala Empire was an imperial force. It is called after the royal dynasty, whose members had last names that ended in "Pala." Gopala was chosen to rule Gauda as its first emperor in the latter half of the seventh century AD. Bengal and eastern Bihar, where the main cities of Gauda, Vikrampura, Pataliputra, Monghyr, Somapura, Ramvati, Tamralipta, and Jaggadala were located, served as the Pala stronghold.


The Palas were skilled negotiators and military conquestists. The huge war elephant corps in their army was well known. In the Bay of Bengal, their navy served both commercial and defensive purposes. The Pala empire reached its height under the emperors Dharmapala and Devapala at the beginning of the ninth century, expanding its influence into northern India as well. Its realm crossed the Gangetic plain to cover some areas of western, southern, and northeastern India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.


Emperor Mahipala I defended the imperial bastions in Bengal and Bihar against Chola incursions from South India after a brief period of decline. The last powerful Pala emperor, Emperor Ramapala, established control over Kamarupa and Kalinga. With several provinces being swamped and their excessive reliance on Samantas being exposed by an uprising in the 11th century, the empire was severely weakened. Finally, it resulted in the establishment of the resurgent Hindu Senas as a sovereign state in the 12th century and their final expulsion of the Palas from Bengal, signalling the end of the last significant Buddhist imperial power in the subcontinent.


One of the most illustrious periods in Bengali history is regarded as the Pala period. After centuries of civil violence between rival groups, the Palas brought stability and prosperity to Bengal. They produced magnificent works of art and architecture and improved the accomplishments of earlier Bengali civilisations. Palas supported the renowned institutions of Nalanda and Vikramashila and constructed beautiful temples and monasteries, such as the Somapura Mahavihara and Odantapuri. The Srivijaya Empire, the Tibetan Empire, and the Arab Abbasid Caliphate were all allies of the empire. During this time, Bengal first encountered Islam as a result of thriving intellectual and commercial ties with the Middle East. Tibetan Buddhism still bears traces of the Pala tradition.


The Nature of Polity Under the Palas

Brahmanas, priests, and temples received land gifts from the Pala rulers. These gifts lasted forever. Buddhist monasteries received land gifts from them as well. The land grants came with a number of financial and administrative perks. The Pala grants are primarily concerned with upholding law and order and carrying out justice. According to Manu, an official in north Bengal named Dasagramika was given one kula of land, according to a Pala gift. The peasant Kaivartas also received land grants. Rajas, Rajputras, Ranakas, Rajarajanakas, Mahasamantas, Mahasamantadhipatis, etc. are all mentioned in the Pala archives.


The inscriptions describe royal officials who appear to have been in charge of running the kingdom that included Bengal and Bihar. The names Maha-daussadhasadhanika, Mahakartakrtika, and Mahasandhivigrahika are among those given to Pala officials. The Palas controlled a number of locations along the Ganga, including Pataliputra, Mudgagiri, and others. The tributaries went to the victory encampment of the Palas. Gramapati and Dasagramika were in charge of units of one and 10 villages that were under the control of the Palas. They were royal officers in charge of these units' management. Regarding service awards made under the Palas, we have very scant epigraphic evidence.


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


Q1) Write a note on the Bhakti traditions of South India.

Ans) Essentially born in South India, the Bhakti Movement later made its way to the North in the late Middle Ages. The Movement itself is a historical-spiritual phenomena that originated in Late Antiquity in South India. It was led by mystics who praised love and devotion to God as the primary path to spiritual development. The sixty-three Nayanars and the twelve Alvars, who rejected the austerities advocated by Jainism and Buddhism in favour of promoting individual devotion to God as a method of salvation, were the leaders of the Bhakti movement in South India. These saints, some of whom were also women, travelled widely to promote their message of love and devotion to everyone, irrespective of caste, colour, and faith. They spoke and wrote in regional languages such as Tamil and Telugu.


The twelve Alvars and the sixty-three Nayanmars make up South India's 75 Apostles of Bhakti. They were all devoted followers of the Lord, with the majority hailing from the Tamil region. Among them, Appar, Sambandar, and Sundarar wrote the Tevaram, a compendium of canonical Saivite literature. The fourth of this distinguished group of Saiva bhakti-ites was Manikkavachakar, who lived in the ninth and maybe early tenth centuries. The majority of the Saiva saints lived between the 6th century and the late 8th century, while Kannappa Nayanar Karaikkal Ammai, Kochchenger Cholan, and a select few others belonged to the pre-6th century.


There were twelve Alvars among the Vaishnavites, and Pey, Bhudam, and Poygai whom they referred to as Mudal Alvars lived in the sixth century and are thought to have been their contemporaries. Nammalvar, who Vaishnavas regard as the greatest of the Alvars, was a renowned mystic who wrote the Tirywaymozhi, a collection of a thousand lines, and was a Velala saint. His hymns are regarded as having the same spiritual value as Vedic hymns. The alvars from Kerala, Perialvar Andak and Kulasekhara, were among the most recent in time. The Nalayariram, a collection of 4000 devotional songs performed by the twelve Alvars, was written by Tirumangai Mannan, a former bandit leader who became a devotee. His verses make up the greatest portion of the collection.


The following trend is apparent and should be noted in the growth of religion, particularly among the Tamil nation. A significant portion of this history might be characterised as an effort on the part of continuously revising Hinduism to adapt to the shifting environment generated by the Jainas and Buddhists, whose prominence fluctuated.


Q2) Describe the role of merchant associations in the growth of crafts, trade, and urbanisation.

Ans) The guilds were voluntarily organised groups of traders who dealt in similar goods such grains, textiles, betel leaves, horses, perfumes, etc. They were founded by both local and travelling salespeople. In comparison to the association of itinerant merchants, which was founded only for a particular voyage and was ended at the end of each endeavour, the local merchant association with permanent residents in the town was more long-lasting. Regarding membership and behaviour, the guilds established their own rules and regulations. They set the prices for their items and had the power to prohibit its members from selling a particular good on a given day.


Guilds of North India

The corporate body of merchants is referred to by a variety of titles in the digests and commentaries of the time, including naigama, shreni, samuha, sartha, samgha, etc. The naigama is defined as a group of caravan traders from various castes that journeyed together in order to conduct business with other nations. Medhatithi defined Shreni as a group of people who shared a vocation, such as traders, moneylenders, artisans, etc.; nevertheless, some authors only saw Shreni as a group of artisans. According to the Lekhapaddhati, the monarchs of western India established a special division known as the Shreni-karana to oversee the operations of the guilds of merchants and artisans in their area.


The Trading Organizations (Guilds) of South India

The Gatrigas, Nagarathar, Mummuridandas, Ayyavolu-500, Ubhayananadesigal, Settis, Settiguttas, Birudas, Biravaniges, Kavarai, and other trading guilds were active in mediaeval Southern India. The focal point of the nation's socioeconomic operations was its temples. Some trade guilds, like the Kavarai and Nagarathar, only met on temple grounds.


A few prominent trade guilds influenced the destinies of the country. One illustration is the trade guild of the Nanadeshis, which not only provided funding for regional construction projects and temple building but also lent money to the monarchs. Because they benefited from the guilds, the kings made every effort to accommodate them. Trade guilds functioned as a state within a state since they possessed troops, privileges, and links to other countries.


Trade guilds were frequently autonomous organisations over which kings attempted and occasionally failed to exert control. One such instance concerns the Bahmani Kingdom's bankers and moneychangers, who disregarded all warnings and melted every new coin that came into their possession before supplying the metal to the mints in Warangal and Vijayanagar.


Q3) Discuss the social transformation and new social order in the early medieval period.

Ans) In Indian history, the time frame from roughly 700 to 1200 CE is referred to as "early mediaeval." Beginning with the fall of the Gupta Empire in northern India, the early mediaeval period ends with the introduction of political Islam to India. Historians disagree on the characteristics of early mediaeval society, economics, and governance.


Social Transformation

With the growth of castes and subcastes and their social mobility, the early mediaeval period saw significant changes in society. The social environment became more complicated and flexible as a result. On the one hand, the social changes represented a substantial divergence from the brahmanical scriptures' simple ideal of a strict social structure, or the four-varna system. Contrarily, the Brahmanical writings themselves reflected the deviances from their ideal in the shape of the kali yuga, a period of social turmoil. The kali-yuga was portrayed in the Brahmanical discourse as the complete antithesis of the three yugas before it, Sat, treta, and dvapara.


The New Social Order

Every aspect of civilization changed during this time. Early mediaeval processes changed varna to jatis. Jatis become a distinctive feature of civilization. The dvija and a-dvija social divisions were eliminated. Mishra jatis or mixed castes grew from varna mix-ups. The 11th-century Kashmiri chronicle Rajatarangini confirms this. Jati created hierarchies. They created Uttamasamkara, Madhyamasamkara, and Adhamasamkara. Jati transformed sedentary communities into endogamous tribes. Occupational, indigenous, and non-indigenous groups were included in jati.


  1. Brahmanas: The brahmanas were not a cohesive or monolithic group. A number of gotras, pravaras, vamshas, pakshas, anvayas, ganas, gamis, etc. were separated into them.

  2. Ruling Class: There were numerous societal changes brought about by the growth of regional polities or ruling houses. In the early mediaeval era, new clan-based social groups known as "Rajputras or Rajputs" formed. They ascribed to being Kshatriyas.

  3. Vaishyas: Early mediaeval times saw changes to the vaishya varna as well. The vaishya varna now includes a variety of occupations due to caste proliferation. During this time, the term "Vaishyas" evolved to mean "vanij" or "merchant."

  4. Sudras: The origins of thousands of mixed castes are mentioned in the Vishnudharmamottara Purana. Xuanzang, a Chinese traveller, also makes reference to several castes. Sudra jatis of low or inferior castes and mixed castes were numerous.

  5. The Untouchables: The fifth varna were referred to as the untouchables. Some social groups were positioned at the bottom of the social scale. In the varna-jati order, they consequently experienced severe sociocultural prejudice.

  6. The Kayasthas and the Vaidyas: Another significant social development of the time is the rise of Kayastha as a community of scribes. A class of document writers or record keepers emerged as a result of the proliferation of land grants.




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


Q1) Rethinking Feudalism

Ans) Feudalism was a term used to describe the changes that took place in Western Europe from the late eighth to the fourteenth centuries. The land grant known as a “fief,” around which the social and economic connections of the time under study revolved, was at the centre of these developments. The German word "feud," which originally meant a plot of land, is where the word "feudalism" comes from. Prior to the industrial revolution, land was the main source of wealth in premodern society.


Who owned this property, who worked on it and under what conditions, and how much money each person made from it was not just a reflection of the state of society's economy but also of their personal riches and prestige. Knowledge feudal society requires an understanding of the relationships that governed the tilling of the land and the revenue from it. In this context, the term "feudalism" refers to the complete complex of social, economic, and political system that emerged from this essential link.


Q2) Literature and Drama

Ans) The rulers supported language and literature. Rulers authored numerous inscriptions, which were occasionally etched on metal plates and frequently inscribed on stone pillars. Political issues are mostly covered in the Sanskrit inscriptions. It caused the vocabulary of regional languages to grow. Buddhist instructional literature first appeared when Buddhism arrived. An adaptation of the Sanskrit writing system, the Kawi script was employed in much of maritime Southeast Asia between the 8th and 16th centuries.


Southeast Asian culture has also been significantly influenced by the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The exercise of power, political ties between rulers and their subjects, and supernatural components were the key themes that were introduced. It was decided to embrace The Ramayana, the tale of Rama, a fabled ideal monarch, his exploits, and his conflict with Ravana, the demon king. Characters and the plot stayed the same, but the setting was given an indigenous feel by the inclusion of numerous locals. In some instances, new components were included. The storey of Rama is told in the Yama Zatdow using dance and theatre. Rama's name is written as Yama.


Q3) Spread in Indian Tradition

Ans) It is hotly contested where Indian traditions first began to spread. The origin of the dissemination of Indian traditions to Southeast Asia, as suggested by George Coedes, Stargardt, etc., as well as whether it occurred through India's western interior or eastern shore, are topics of disagreement among historians. Some academics emphasise that because the Indian subcontinent was ruled by numerous different kingdoms, no one specific place can be blamed for the expansion of Indian influence. The Indian subcontinent did not practise a single culture. Early mediaeval times saw the flowering of many different religions, including Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and many new religious traditions including Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Bhakti, Tantrism, etc.


Q4) Cultural Impact of Arab Invasions

Ans) Ali Kufi's Persian work Chachnama, which was published in 1226 CE, is a significant source on Sindh's history. It contains useful information about its politics, government, etc. Chachnama, however, has only been viewed as a text on the conquest of Sindh and the arrival of Islam in the subcontinent as a result of the facts provided regarding the entrance of Islam in the Indian subcontinent being overemphasised in colonial and national understandings.


This has caused an overall distorted perception of this mediaeval source. However, historians who have read and studied it, such Yohanan Friedmann, Manan Ahmed Asif, and others, claim that in addition to the material about Sindh's conquest, it also serves as a repository for other kinds of data regarding Sindh's past. The Arab invasion of Sindh had profound social and cultural effects on both the Indian and Arab worlds, according to a nuanced reading of this and other works from the Arab peninsula.


Q5) Chachnama

Ans) The Chach Nama is a crucial historical text that has been appropriated by various interest groups for several centuries. As one of the only written sources about the Arab conquest of Sindh and, consequently, the origins of Islam in India, it has significant implications for contemporary conceptions of the role of Islam in South Asia. Its consequences are hotly debated as a result.


Manan Ahmed Asif asserts that the Chach Nama has historical significance. It served as a resource for colonial understanding of the Sindh region's role in the development of Islam on the Indian subcontinent. In the South Asian people's battles for independence from the colonial British Empire, the poem has served as a source of historiography and religious hostility.


According to Asif, the work has served as a foundation for some twentieth-century historians and writers' accounts of Muslim origins in South Asia as well as a colonial creation of the lengthy history of religious hostility between Hindus and Muslims. It was included in Pakistan's state-approved history textbooks. Prior to his 2010 Times Square vehicle bombing attempt, Pakistani-American terrorist Faisal Shahzad addressed the incident of seventeen-year-old Muhammad bin Qasim's attack on "Pak-o-Hind."

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