NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 2 Kings, Farmers and Towns

Q. Describe in detail the limitations of the inscriptional evidence for reconstructing the past events.

Ans. Some of the limitations are:

  1. There can be technical limitations as the letters are faintly engraved which can make the reconstruction tough.
  2. The damaging of the inscriptions and the missing of important letters is also one of the important limitations.
  3. The deciphering of the inscriptions is not an easy task and sometimes there can be irregularity in the meaning of the text.
  4. All the important political and economical activities are not mentioned in the inscriptions making them in comprehensive source of information.
  5. Inscriptions can be biased and can be based on the perception of the individual writers who commissioned them.

Q. Discuss the evidence of craft production in Early Historic cities. In what ways is this different from the evidence from Harappan cities?

Ans.  A wide range of artefacts have been recovered from excavations at different sites in early historic cities, so it is clear that craft production flourished in early historic cities. Fine pottery bowls, and dishes with a glossy finish, known as Northern Black polished ware have been found which were probably used by rich people. Ornaments, tools, weapons, vessels, made of wide range of materials such as gold, silver, copper, bronze, ivory, glass, shell and terracotta have been found which suggest abundance of raw material available for craft production.

Q. Describe the salient features of Mahajanapadas.

Ans.  Some of the features of the Mahajanapadas are:

  1. Some of the most powerful Mahajanapadas were Magadha, Vajji, Koshala, Kuru and Panchala.
  2. Most of the Mahajanapadas was ruled by the Kings and while some of them had oligarchy pattern of administration.
  3. Almost every Mahajanapada has a capital city that was properly fortified for protection from the enemy states.
  4. Mahajanapadas maintained armies and bureaucracy for its administrative purposes.

Q. How do historians reconstruct the lives of ordinary people?

Ans. The lives of the ordinary people are reconstructed by making the detailed analysis of the inscriptions:

  1. They are historically important as they act as a source of information about the social and political situation in those times.
  2. They generally gave information about the achievements of the Kings as the inscriptions were generally written by men under the service of the Kings.
  3. Some of the earliest inscriptions were generally written in the Prakrit.
  4. Some of the inscriptions also mentioned the date of their commission. In other cases the actual dates of the inscriptions can be determined by several techniques.

Q. Compare and contrast the list of things given to the Pandyan chief (Source 3) with those produced in the village of Danguna (Source 8). Do you notice any similarities or differences?

Ans. The things that was given to the Pandyan chief included things like ivory, honey, sandal-wood, pepper and flowers, etc. Numerous birds and animals were also given in the gifts. Some of the items that were produced in the village of Danguna are grass, skin of animals, flower salt and some other minerals. In both the examples the common items seems to be flower.

Q. List some of the problems faced by epigraphists.

Ans. Some of the problems faced by the epigraphists and the limitations of the inscriptional evidence are:

  1. There can be technical limitations as the letters are faintly engraved which can make the reconstruction really tough.
  2. The damaging of the inscriptions and the missing of important letters are also one of the important limitation.
  3. The deciphering of the inscriptions is not an easy task and sometimes there can be irregularity in the meaning of the text.
  4. All the important political and economical activities are not mentioned in the inscriptions that makes them not a comprehensive source of information.
  5. Inscriptions can be biased and can be based on the perception of the individual writers who commissioned them.

Q. Discuss the main features of Mauryan administration. Which of these elements are evident in the Asokan inscriptions that you have studied? 

Ans. The Mauryans establisheda soundadministrative system under which every duty was bestowed to a capable officials. Some of the features of the administration are:
Some of the important duties of the officials were:

  1. Some officials had the responsibility to measure the lands used for cultivation of crops and superintend the rivers in the empire.
  2. The management of the canal system for efficient irrigation were also managed by these officials.
  3. They controlled the activities of the huntsmen and also provided them suitable punishment for any violation.
  4. The collection of taxes were under their supervision.
  5. They monitor the activities of the people involved in the professions of carpentry, blacksmiths, miners and woodcutters.

Q. This is a statement made by one of the best-known epigraphists of the twentieth century, D.C. Sircar: “There is no aspect of life, culture
and activities of the Indians that is not reflected in inscriptions.” Discuss.

Ans. Inscriptions are a great source of information for understanding the different aspects of the life of the Mauryans.
Some of the important uses of inscriptions are:

  1. They are historically important as they act as a source of information about the social and political situation in those times.
  2. They generally gave information about the achievements of the Kings as the inscriptions were generally written by men under the service of the Kings.
  3. The inscriptions also gave information about the religious donations made by the Kings and princes.
  4. Some of the earliest inscriptions were generally written in the Prakrit.
  5. Some of the inscriptions also mentioned the date of their commission. In other cases the actual dates of the inscriptions can be determined by several techniques.

Q. Discuss the notions of kingship that developed in the post-Mauryan period.

Ans. There were several notions of Kingship in different ruling dynasties:
1. Kushana Kings: These kings used to address themselves as Devputra and claimed godly status. Some of these kings built great statues of them in the temples.
2. Gupta Rulers: In the Gupta dynasty the power and status of the Samantas was significant and on several occasions they were capable enough to usurp the King.

Q. To what extent were agricultural practices transformed in the period under consideration?

Ans. Some of the strategies used for increasing the agricultural production were:

  1. The practice of plough agriculture was adopted and the activities expanded to the valleys of Ganga and Kaveri.
  2. The iron-ploughshare was utiised for the purpose of making the alluvial soil more fertile.
  3. The technique of transplantation was used for increasing the production of the paddy.
  4. The people residing in the areas of the hills practiced hoe agriculture that increased the agricultural production drastically.
  5. Irrigation was widely improved by developing canals and constructing tanks and other water storage facilities.

Q. Look at the figure given below. Identify and name the sculpture of fourth century CE related to this figure.

sculpture

Ans. Emperor Kanishka, Kanishka I or Kanishka, the Great, the founder of the kushan dynasty or empire.