EHI-03 | IGNOU SOLVED ASSIGNMENTS (2020-21) | EHI-03-TMA-India from 8th to 15th Century- HINDI-MEDIUM


India from 8th to 15th Century 

 Course Code: EHI-03

Assignment Code: EHI-03/AST/TMA/2020-21

Total Marks: 100

Note:  (i) All questions are compulsory. Marks are indicated against each question.

Section 1: Answer each question in about 500 words.

Q. 1. Critically examine the emergence of new social ethos during the 8-13th centuries.

Ans. The New Social Ethos:-

The post-eights century social organisation which seems to have prevailed till at least the establishment of the Turkish political power in the thirteenth century was marked by:-

Ø  * Modifications in the Varna system such as the transformation of shudras into cultivators thereby bringing them closer to the vaishyas,

Ø  * Newly founded brahmanical order in Bengal and South India wherein the intermediary varnas were absent, and finally, rise of the new literate class struggling for a place in the Varna order,

Ø  * Phenomenal increase in the rise of new mixed castes,

   * Unequal distribution of land and military power, which, in turn, accounts for the emergence of feudal ranks cutting across Varna distinctions, and

Ø  * Increasing evidence of social tensions.

Emergence of Shudras as Cultivators:-

The expansion of the rural space and agricultural activities had been responsible for changes in notions about persons entitled to undertake these. The law books of the post-Gupta centuries include agriculture in the samanya-dharma (common occupation) of all the varnas. The smriti of Parashar further emphasizes that in addition to their traditional six fold duties (studying, teaching, sacrificing, officiating as sacrifice to help others, acceptance of gifts from a worth person of three higher varnas and making of gifts), the brahmanas could also be associated with agricultural activities, preferably through labour of shudras. It was also enjoined upon brahmanas that in order to avoid any kind of sin, they should show proper treatment to oxen and offer certain fixed quantities of corn to King, Gods and fellow brahmanas.

Surely, such formalities indicate that very significant dent was being made in the brahmanical social order and the Varna norms were being sought to be redefined. A major indicator of this effort was the bridging of the gap between the vaishyas and the shudras. While this trend makes it beginnings in the early centuries of the Christian era, it is significant that in the post-Gupta centuries the vaishyas practically lose their identity as a peasant caste. The famous Chinese traveler of the early seventh century, Hsuan-Tsang, mentions shudras as agriculturists, Al-biruni, who came to India along with Mahmud Ghaznavi in the first quarter of the eleventh century, also notes the absence of any difference between the vaishyas and shudras. The Skanda Purana talks about the pitiable conditions of the vaishyas. By the eleventh century they came to be treated with the shudras, both ritually and legally. Al-biruni, for examples,  says that both vaishyas and shudras were punished with amputation of the tongue for reciting of vedic texts. There were certain shudras who were called bhojyanna, i.e., food prepared by whom could be taken even by brahmanas. Many Tantric and Siddha teachers were shudras performing works of fishermen, leather workers, washer men, blacksmiths, etc. A text of the eight century states that thousands of mixed castes were produced as a result of marriage between vaishyas women and men of lower castes. There is also a mention of anashrita shudras (shudras who were not dependent) who were well-to-do and sometimes became members of the local administrative committees and even made their way into the ruling aristocracy. 


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