Study MaterialsImportant QuestionsImportant Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 5 Through the Eyes of Travellers (Perceptions of Society)

Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 5 Through the Eyes of Travellers (Perceptions of Society)

Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 5 Through the Eyes of Travellers (Perceptions of Society)

Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 5 – 2 Marks Questions

Question 1.
How had Bernier described a complex social reality of the artisans under the Mughals? Give one reason. (HOTS, Delhi 2011)
Answer:
Bernier projected the Mughal state as tyrannical, his descriptions hinted at a more complex social reality. He thought that artisans had no incentive to improve the quality of their manufactures as all the profits were enjoyed by the state.

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    Question 2.
    Mention any two characteristics of the cities in the Indian sub-continent as described by Ibn Battuta. (All India 2011)
    Answer:
    Ibn Battuta described the cities of the sub-continent and mentioned important features of these as follows:

    1. These cities were densely populated and prosperous.
    2. These cities had crowded streets, bright and colourful markets with a wide variety of goods.

    Question 3.
    Name the book written by Ibn Battuta. What was his observation about female slaves in the sub-continent? (All India 2008)
    Answer:
    Ibn Battuta wrote the book named ‘Rihla’.
    Ibn Battuta had following observation about the female slaves of Indian sub-continent:

    • The female slaves excelled in music and dance and they were employed in Sultan’s service,
    • They were also employed by the Sultan to keep an eye on his noble’s activities.

    Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 5 – 4 Marks Questions

    Question 4.
    Examine the causes that made Al-Biruni visit India. (All India 2017)
    Answer:
    There are many causes that made Al-Biruni visit in India. These are:

    • Al-Biruni arrived in Ghazni as a hostage by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. It was the place where he developed an interest for India.
    • When the Punjab became a part of the Ghaznavid Empire, Al-Biruni travelled widely in the Punjab and parts of northern India.
    • Al-Briuni spent years in the Company of Brahmana priests and scholars, learning Sanskrit and studying religious and philosophical texts. He read the Vedas, the Puranas, the Bhagavad Gita, the works of Patanjali, the Manusmriti, etc to understand Indian society properly.

    Question 5.
    “India had a unique system of communication during the fourteenth century”. Examine the statement of Ibn Battuta. (All India 2017)
    Answer:
    Ibn Battuta examined the unique system of communication of India which impressed him very much. He explained:

    • There were two kinds of postal system in India. These were uluq (horse post) and dawa (foot-post).
    • Uluq stationed at a distance of every four miles while the dawa has three stations per mile, means one-third of a mile.
    • The foot-post is quicker than the horse post and often it was used to transport the fruits of Khurasan.
    • Ibn Battuta was also amazed by the efficiency of the postal system which allowed merchants to not only send information and remit credit across long distances, but also to dispatch goods required at short notice.
    • The postal system was so efficient that while it took fifty days to reach Delhi . from Sind, the news reports of spies would reach the sultan through the postal system in just five days. Thus, enabled the ruler to keep a strict watch over the vast empire.

    Question 6.
    Examine why Bernier described the Mughal .towns as the ‘Camp Towns’. (All India 2017)
    Answer:
    Bernier described Mughal cities as ‘camp towns’. By camp towns he mean towns that depended for their survival on the imperial court. He believed that these towns came into existence when the imperial court moved in the area and rapidly lost their importance when imperial court moved out. These towns became singificant with the royal patronage, basically they did not have any other social and economic foundations. During Mughal period, 15 per cent of the population lived in these ‘camp towns’ according to Bernier.

    Question 7.
    State the inherent problems faced by Al-Biruni in the task of understanding Indian social and Brahmanical practices. Mention any two sources that provided him the support. (Delhi 2016)
    Answer:
    Al-Biruni mentioned several ‘barriers’ that obstructed proper understanding of Indian social and Brahmanical practices. These were:

    • Sanskrit was so different from Arabic and Persian that ideas and concepts could not be translated from one language to another.
    • The second barrier was the difference in religious beliefs and practices.
    • The self-absorption and consequent insularity of the local population constituted the third barrier.

    Two sources that provided Al-Biruni support were:

    • Al-Biruni depended exclusively on the Vedas, the Puranas and the Bhagavad Gita.
    • Al-Biruni also mentioned the support from the works of Patanjali and Manusmriti to understand Indian society.

    Question 8.
    “Bernier’s description of imperial land ownership influenced Western theorists like French philosopher Montesquieu and German Karl Marx.” Justify it with suitable arguments. (Delhi 2013)
    Answer:
    Bernier asserted that in Mughal empire, the land was owned by the state and hence it led to the decline of agricultural production. It was harmful both for the state and its people.
    This description of Bernier influenced the Western theorists from the 18th century onwards in following ways:

    ‘Oriental Despotism’ Theory by Montesquieu:
    Montesquieu further developed Bernier’s idea into oriental despotism. According to it, the rulers in Asia exercised the full authority over their subjects. The subjects were kept in the conditions of subjugation and poverty. All land belonged to the king and private property was non-existent. According to this view, everybody except the king and nobles barely managed to survive.

    Karl Marx’s Concept of ‘Asiatic Mode’ of Production:
    This idea was further developed as the concept of the Asiatic mode of production by Karl Marx in the 19th century.
    He argued that in India and other Asian countries, the surplus was appropriated by the state. He added that this led to the emergence of a society with a large number of autonomous and egalitarian village communities. Marx thought that it was a stagnant system.

    Question 9.
    Explain Al-Biruni’s description of caste system. (Delhi 2010)
    Answer:
    Al-Biruni’s description of the caste system was influenced by his study of the Sanskrit texts. These texts written by the Brahmanas and followed the four divisions of varna. Al-Biruni accepted this division. According to him, the Brahmana was created from the head of God, Brahma and regarded as the highest caste of society.

    The next caste was Kashatriyas, who were created from the shoulders and hands of Brahma. After them followed the Vaishyas, who were created from the thigh of Brahma. The Shudras were created from the feet of Brahma.
    However, as these classes differed from each other, they lived together in the same town and villages, mixed together in the same houses and lodgings. In real life, this system was not quite as rigid.

    Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 5 – 8 Marks Questions

    Question 10.
    “Ibn Battuta found Delhi as a city full of exciting opportunities.” Support your answer with evidences given by him. (Delhi 2013)
    or
    Explain the observations of Ibn Battuta about the cities of India, with special reference to Delhi. (All India 2010)
    Answer:
    Ibn Battuta arrived at Delhi in the 14th century. His description regarding Indian cities was very informative and helpful to understand the lifestyle of Indians.
    He described Indian cities in the following ways:

    • Indian cities were densely populated and prosperous although sometimes these were affected by the wars.
    • Most cities had crowded streets and bright colourful markets with a wide variety of commodities.
    • Delhi with its vast population became the largest city in India. Daulatabad was no less, easily rivalled Delhi in size.
    • The rampart round the city was widely expanded. Inside the rampart, there were houses for the night sentry, gate keepers and store houses.
    • The lower part of the rampart was built of stone and the upper part was of bricks. It had many towers.
    • There were twenty eight gates in Delhi, which were called as ‘Darwazas’. Of these gates, Budaun darwaza, Mandi darwaza, Gul darwaza were very famous.
    • The markets and bazaars of Indian cities were the places of economic transactions and social and cultural activities. Most of the bazaars had a masjid and a temple. These places also had fixed spaces for public performances by dancers, musicians and singers.
    • Ibn Battuta found that many towns derived their wealth and prosperity through the appropriation of surplus from villages.

    Question 11.
    “The conception of social pollution intrinsic to the caste system was contrary to the law of nature.” Examine Al-Biruni’s statement on Indian caste system. (HOTS, All India 2013)
    Answer:
    Al-Biruni wrote the voluminous text ‘Kitab-ul-Hind in which he elaborately discussed about the social life of India. According to him, the conception of the pollution intrinsic to the caste system in India was contrary to the law of nature. Al-Biruni tried to explain the caste system by looking for parallels in other societies. He noted that in ancient Persia, four social categories were recognised. These were kings and princes; monks, fire-priests and lawyers; physicians, astronomers and other scientists and peasants and artisans.
    He further explained that

    Social Divisions not Unique to India:
    In other words, he attempted to suggest that social divisions were not unique to India. At the same time, he pointed out that within Islam all men were considered equal, differing only in their observance of piety (deep respect for God).

    Rejection of Notion of Pollution: In spite of his acceptance of the Brahmanical description of the caste system, Al-Biruni disapproved the notion of pollution. He remarked that everything which falls into a state of impurity strives and succeeds in regaining its original condition of purity, e.g. the sun cleanses the air, and the salt in the sea prevents the water from becoming polluted. ,

    Cycle of Purification Important for Life on Earth: Al-Biruni believed that if there . were no phenomenon of removing impurity, then the life on Earth would have been impossible. Hence, the conception of social pollution intrinsic to the caste system, was according to him, contrary to the laws of nature.

    Al-Biruni’s description of caste system was deeply influenced by his study of normative Sanskrit texts, thus he described caste system from the point of view of Brahmanas. But in real life, the caste system was not so rigid.

    Question 12.
    Explain the views of Bernier about a more complex social reality of the Mughal empire, (All India 2010)
    Answer:
    Bernier had the following views about the complex social reality of the Mughal empire:

    • Bernier had a belief that the Mughal state was tyrannical.
    • He observed that artisans had no incentives to improve the quality of their manufactures, as the profit was appropriated by the state.
    • The manufacturers were consequently, everywhere in decline.
    • Bernier also pointed out that vast quantities of the world’s precious metals flowed into India, as manufactures were exported in exchange for gold and silver.
    • Bernier noted the existence of a prosperous merchant community engaged in long-distance exchange.
    • Bernier noted that a large portion of land were extremely fertile and the large kingdom of Bengal surpassed Egypt in agricultural production and innumerable articles like, silk, cotton, indigo, etc.
    • He observed that many parts of India were sufficiently populated and the land was well tilled.
    • People were employed in manufacturing carpets, brocades, embroideries, gold and silver cloths and various sorts of silk and cotton goods.
    • There were several kinds of towns in India. These were manufacturing towns, trading towns, port towns, sacred centres, pilgrimage towns, etc.

    Different community of people having different professions like mahajans, sheta, nagarsheth, hakim, pundit, wakil, puinters, archittes, musicians, calligraphers were there in Indian society.

    Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 5 Map Based Question

    Question 13.
    A Warning for Europe:
    Bernier warned that if European kings followed the Mughal model, their kingdoms would be very far from being well-cultivated and peopled, so well built, so rich, so polite and flourishing as we see them. Our kings are otherwise rich and powerful and we must avow that they are much better and more royally served.
    They would soon be kings of deserts and solitudes, of beggars and barbarians, such as those whom I have been representing (the Mughals)…. We should find the great cities and the great Burroughs (boroughs) rendered uninhabitable because of ill air and to fall to mine (ruin) without any bodies (anybody) taking care of repairing them; the hillocks abandoned and the fields overspread with bushes or filled with pestilential marishes (marshes), as hath been already intimated.

    1. In what ways did Bernier condemn Mughal rulers?
    2. What contrasts do the account of Bernier and Abul Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari?
    3. Pride has its fall if power and negligence of duty rules anyone Explain the statement in relevance to the Bernier’s warning. (All India 2016)

    Answer:
    1. Bernier suggested that one of the fundamental differences between Mughal India and Europe was the lack of private property in India. All the land was owned by the emperor and the nobles. It had disastrous consequences for the economy and society. Bernier criticised this land ownership system.

    2. Bernier suggested that the state was the sole owner of land. But this fact was not supported by Abul Fazl in his Ain-i-Akbari. Abul Fazl described the land revenue as “remunerations of sovereignty” that was claimed by the ruler for the protection he provided to them. It was not a rent on land that he owned. Thus, Abul Fazl’s view was totally different from Bernier’s view.

    3. Bernier thought that in the Mughal empire the emperor owned all the land and distributed it among his nobles. Thus, Indian society consisted of undifferentiated masses of impoverished people who were subjugated by a small minority of a very rich and powerfid ruling class. This had disastrous result for the economy and society. Bernier described the Mughal emperor as the king of ‘beggars and barbarians’.

    Question 14.
    The Poor Peasant:
    An excerpt from Bernier’s description of the peasantry in the countryside Of the vast tracts of country constituting the empire of Hindustan, many are little more than sand or barren mountains, badly cultivated and thinly populated. Even a considerable portion of the good land remains untilled for want of labourers; many of whom perish in consequence of the bad treatment they experience from Governors. The poor people, when they become incapable of discharging the demands of their rapacious lords, are not only often deprived of the means of subsistence, but are also made to lose their children, who are carried away as slaves.

    Thus, it happens that the peasantry, driven to despair by so excessive a tyranny, abandon the country. In this instance, Bernier was participating in contemporary debates in Europe concerning the nature of state and society and intended that his description of Mughal India would serve as a warning to those who did not recognise the ‘merits’ of private property.

    1. Name the book written by Francois Bernier on the critical insight and reflection on the empire of Hindustan.
    2. What description Bernier has given – on the condition of Indian peasantry during the Mughal empire?
    3. Which fundamental differences he found between Mughal India and Europe during 16th and 17th century? (Delhi 2015)

    or

    1. How have the tracts of Hindustan been described by Bernier?
    2. Why did the land remain untilled? Explain.
    3. What happens when the poor peasants are unable to fulfil the demands of their landlords? (Delhi 2011)

    or

    1. What were the problems about cultivating the land, according to Bernier?
    2. Why did the peasantry abandon the land?
    3. Explain the reasons given by Bernier for the exploitation of the peasants.
    4. How did his observation influence thinkers in Europe? Explain. (All India 2008)

    Answer:
    1. Francois wrote the book ‘Travel in the Mughal Empire’ on the critical insight and reflection on the empire of • Hindustan.

    2. Bernier gave a description of miserable condition of Indian peasantry during Mughal period. Sometimes, the poor peasants were unable to pay the demand of their lords due to bad harvest. They were not only deprived of the means of subsistence, but were also made to lose their children who were carried away as slaves.

    3. Bernier was a supporter of private property. He observed that the Mughal emperor owned all the lands and distributed it among his nobles. It led to a disastrous result for economy and society. The lack of private property to the common men was the main difference between the Mughal India and Europe during 16th and 17th century. He opined that ‘There is no middle state in India.’ But on the other hand, none of the Mughal official documents suggested that the state was the sole owner of the land.

    or

    1. On the vast tract of country constituting the empire of Hindustan, many were little more than sand, or barren mountains that were badly cultivated and densely populated. Even a considerable portion of good land remained untilled due to the lack of labourers.

    2. The land remained untilled for want of labourers as many of them perished in consequence of bad treatment they experienced from Governors.

    3. The poor people were exploited by the ways at the hands of the officials of the king. When they were incapable of discharging the demands of their greedy landlords, they were deprived of the means of subsistence and were also made to lose their children, who were taken as slaves.

    or

    1. According to Bernier, the problems about cultivating the land arose due to the following factors:

    • Lands were little more than sand.
    • Lands were in barren mountains.
    • Lands were badly cultivated.
    • Lands were densely populated.

    2. The peasantry abandoned the land due to excessive tyranny and bad treatment by the land owners.

    3. The poor peasants when they became incapable of discharging the demands of the greedy landlords, were often deprived of the means of subsistence. They were also made to lose their children who were carried away as slaves.

    4. Bernier’s description influenced Western theorists from the 18th century onwards. French philosopher Montesquieu used his account to develop the idea of oriental despotism. His idea was further developed as the concept of Asiatic mode of production by Karl Marx in the 19th century.

    Question 15.
    The Child Sati:
    This is perhaps one of the most poignant descriptions by Bernier.
    At Lahore, I saw a most beautiful young widow sacrificed, who could not, I think, have been more than twelve years of age.

    The poor little creature appeared more dead than alive when she approached the dreadful pit; the agony of her mind cannot be described; she trembled and wept bitterly; but three or four of the Brahmanas, assisted by an old woman who held her under the arm, forced the unwilling victim towards the fatal spot, seated her on the wood, tied her hands, feet, lest, she should run away, and in that situation the innocent creature was burnt alive. I found it difficult to repress my feelings and to prevent their bursting forth into clamorous and unavailing rage….

    1. Why did Bernier consider this treatment as a crucial marker of the difference between Western and Eastern societies?
    2. What role did the Indian patriarchal society play towards this social evil?
    3. Compare the conditions of the women of the era mentioned above to that of today. (All India 2015)

    or

    1. How has Bernier described the pratice of Sati?
    2. Describe the feelings of Bernier that he has expressed in the passage.
    3. Explain how Bernier has highlighted the treatment of women as a crucial marker of difference between Western and Eastern societies. (All India 2014)

    or

    • Describe what Bernier saw at Lahore.
    • How had the agony of the girl been described?
    • How and why was the girl forced towards the fatal spot? (All India 2011)

    Answer:
    1. Bernier considered this inhuman custom of Sati in which women were forced to die was the most cruel treatment the women got at that time. This marked a crucial difference between Western and Eastern societies regarding the treatment of women. Western society was free from this social evil but Eastern society was affected with this shameful social evil.

    2. The Indian orthodox patriarchal society had no respect and compassion for women. They supported this shameful custom and tried to maintain it.

    3. The Sati system was formally banned on 4th December, 1829 by Lord William Bentick. The practice of Sati of burning or burying alive the widows of Hindu was declared illegal and punishable by the criminal courts.
    Today the condition of women has changed a lot. Social awareness and education for all brought this change in the condition of women today. Our Constitution has given equal freedom, respect and opportunity for all, irrespective of gender.
    or
    Answer:

    1. Bernier described the practice of Sati in the following ways:

    • He saw a very beautiful young widow aged twelve years only being sacrificed. The poor little girl appeared more dead than alive when she approached the pyre.
    • The young widow trembled and wept bitterly.
    • Three or four Brahmanas and an old woman who hold the widow’ under her arm, forced her towards the pyre, seated her on the wood, tied her hands and feet and the unfortunate girl was burnt alive.

    2. Bernier was shocked to see this heinous crime. Really, it was an inhuman system of India in which widows were burnt alive. Bernier found it difficult to repress his emotion, thus he included this incident in his writings. ‘

    3. The Sati system was not found in Western society. It was only found in India as a result of patriarchal Brahmanical system. Bernier and other travellers highlighted this barbaric system as a crucial marker of difference in the status of women in Western and Eastern society.
    or
    Answer:
    1. Bernier saw the process of widow sacrifice or sati, in which a twelve year old girl was burnt alive.

    2. Bernier described the agony of the girl by indicating that she trembled, wept bitterly but was forced and burnt alive.

    3. The girl was forced towards the fatal spot by three or four Brahmans and assisted by an old woman. The girl was forced because she was a widow and was brought there for being burnt alive as a ‘sati’.

    Question 16.
    Travelling with the Mughal Army:

    Bernier often travelled with the army.
    This is an excerpt from his description of the army’s march to Kashmir.

    I am expected to keep two good Turkoman horses and I also take with me a powerful Persian camel and driver, a groom for my horses, a cook and a servant to go before my horse with a flask of water in his hand, according to the custom of the country.

    I am also provided with every useful article, such as a tent of moderate size, a carpet, a portable bed made of four very strong but light canes, a pillow, a mattress, round leather table-clothes used at meals, some few napkins of dyed cloth, three small bags with culinary utensils which are all placed in a large bag and this bag is again carried in a very capacious and strong double sack or net made of leather thongs. This double sack likewise contains the provisions, linen and wearing apparel, both of master and servants.

    I have taken care to lay in a stock of excellent rice for five or six days’ consumption of sweet biscuits flavoured with anise (a herb) of limes and sugar. Nor have I forgotten a linen hag with its small iron hook for the purpose of suspending and draining dahi or curds; nothing being considered so refreshing in this country as lemonade and dahi.

    1. Who was Bernier? Give his brief introduction.
    2. What was the purpose of his travel and what was expected of him while going on travel? Describe briefly.
    3. What things would you like to take with you while going on travel and why? Explain. (All India 2012)

    Answer:
    1. Francois Bernier was a French doctor, political philosopher and historian. He was in India for twelve years from 1656 to 1668. He was closely associated with the Mughal court.

    2. Bernier, like many other travellers came to the Mughal empire to seek opportunities. He was closely associated with the Mughal court and became a physician to Prince Dara Shukoh. Later he was appointed as an intellectual and scientist in Mughal court.
    At the time of going on travel, Bernier was expected to have two good Turkoman horses, a strong Persian camel and driver, a groom for horses, a cook and a servant alongwith all articles of daily needs.

    3. While going on travel, I would prefer to have all the necessary articles like medicines, food, clothes, etc which make my travel secured and comfortable. I also keep some important contact numbers which will be helpful in case, I face any unwanted situation during my travel. Finally, I must not forget to take my plastic money i.e. debit and credit cards while travelling.

    Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 5 Value Based Questions

    Question 17.
    Read the following passage and answer the question that follows.
    Contemporary European travellers and writers often highlighted the treatment of women as a crucial marker of difference between Western and Eastern societies. Not surprisingly, Bernier chose the practice of sati, some women seemed to embrace death cheerfully, others were forced to die.

    However, women’s lives revolved around much else besides the practice of sati. Their labour was crucial in both agricultural and non-agricultural production. Women from merchant families even taking mercantile disputes to the court of law. It therefore seems unlikely that women were confined to the private spaces of their homes.

    1. With the help of travellers and writers accounts, highlight the different conditions of women in which they were treated?
    Answer:
    1. According to travellers and writers accounts, the conditions of women were different in many places such as

    • In the sub-continent, social inequality persisted and women were considered a sort of thing kept inside the homes.
    • Women were treated as an inferior article. Some women slaves used to entertain the Sultans in their service like by music and dance performances and also worked as a sky to keep a watch on their nobles.
    • The discrimination between genders
      is apparent from this point that the price of female slaves was very low as compared to thier male counterparts.
    • Besides, the practice of sati made the condition of women more worse. Some seemed to embrace death cheerfully but who refused was forced to die.
    • Some women also worked in agricultural fields and non-agricultural production.
    • In merchant class, the situation Was very different. Women actively participated in commercial activities.

    Thus, it is not appropriate to say that women were only confined to the private space of their homes in the sub-continent.

    Question 18.

    1. Explain the unique system of communication in India which amazed Ibn Battuta with special reference to the postal system.
    2. How far this postal system is relevant in contemporary India? (All India 2008)

    Answer:

    1. Ibn Battuta was quite impressed by the communication system in India. The state took special measures by providing inns and guest houses in all trading centres. The advanced postal system allowed merchants to send information and remit credit across long distances and also to dispatch goods required at short notice. The postal system was of two types:

    • The horse-post called uluq.
    • The foot-post called dawa.

    2. This postal system is quite relevant in contemporary India as it is a symbol of all round and holistic progress. Letters and different objects i.e. parcels still today are delivered manually

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