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Karnataka State Syllabus Class 8 Social Science History Important Questions Chapter 3 Ancient Civilization of India
Where is Burzahom? What is its importance?
Burzahom is in Kashmir. Archaeologists have come across signs of huts and houses in Burzahom. They have excavated a cellar here. People of those times used to dig shallow pits in the soil and live in them. There used to be steps leading to the pits. This type of dwelling was built to provide protection from the cold weather and wild animals.
Where is Mehergarh? Explain the life of the people of Mehergarh.
Mehergarh is a site near the fertile plain of Bolan Pass, which leads to Iran. The people of Mehergarh were the first ones to have learnt the art of cultivating barley and wheat and rearing of goat and sheep.
People here lived in houses. Some houses had four or more rooms. This is the first village to be excavated. Here not only fossils of animals but also human graves have been discovered. People and animals used to be buried together.
How did the ancient sites of the Indus Valley come to light?
The ancient sites of Indus valley (Harappa] were discovered by the engineers when railway lines were being laid in the Indus valley region of Punjab. They thought that it was a mound made of excellent bricks. They utilized the bricks for the construction of railway lines.
In this way many houses, which had been buried under the soil, were destroyed. Subsequently, archaeologists undertook excavations and research in this area and came to the conclusion that a great civilization had been in existence here.
What do you mean by Harappa Civilization? How old is it?
The first site of the Indus Valley Civilization to be discovered was that of Harappa. Subsequently, archaeologists found many other sites which were similar to that of Harappa. Therefore, archaeologists began to call this civilization as Harappan Civilization. This civilization is about 4600 years old.
Write on the special features of the Harappan cities.
The city of Harappa had two parts. The western part was narrow and was situated on an elevated place. Archaeologists are of the view that it was a citadel. The eastern part was wide and was situated at a lower level. This area has been called the lower town. Every part had a wall made of burnt bricks placed in an interlocking manner for strength.
There were many noteworthy buildings inside the citadel. Mohenjodaro, one of the cities, had a bath tank. It was built of bricks to prevent the seepage of water from the tank. It had steps on either side, and rooms all around. Water was probably supplied to the tank from a well and the used water was let out.
Fire altars have been discovered in other cities like Kalibangan and Lothal. Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Lothal had constructed systematic granaries. The lower town in the low lying area of the city was the place of habitation of the people. The main door faced the street.
None of the windows opened onto the streets. There were bathrooms in the houses. Some houses had wells which supplied water. Systematically laid-out houses, roads and drains can be seen here. The cities had a neatly laid out underground sewage system.
Write a note on the sewage system in Harappa.
The cities in Harappa had a neatly laid-out underground sewage system. The drains were built of brick and covered with stone slabs. The gutter of each house was linked to the main drain outside, and enabled the flow of dirty water from the house to the main drain. Holes were created in the drains to enable timely cleaning.
Write about the distinct features of the city of Harappa.
The city of Harappa had two parts. The western part was narrow and was situated on an elevated place. Archaeologists believe that it was a citadel. The eastern part was wide and situated at a lower level. This area has been called the lower town. Every part had a wall made of burnt bricks. There were many prominent buildings like the Bath Tank, granaries inside the citadel.
Describe the structure of the ‘Great Bath’ of Mohenjodaro.
Write a note on the ‘Great Bath’ of Mohenjodaro.
Mohenjodaro had a water tank, which the scholars have referred to as the bath tank. It was built of bricks so as to prevent the seepage of water from the tank. The bath had steps on either side to go down and rooms all around. Water was probably supplied to the tank by a well and the used water was let out. Probably very important people used to take bath in the pool on special occasions.
Name the other important sites of the Harappan civilization.
Apart from Harappa and Mohenjodaro, Kalibangan and Lothal are the other important sites of Harappan civilization.
Write about the features of town planning of the Indus Valley Civilization.
The most striking feature of Harappan civilization was its town planning. The lower town in the low-lying area of the city was the place of habitation of the people. It was constructed in a methodical way. Systematically laid-out houses, roads and drains can be seen here. Almost every person lived in either a one or a two storied house.
The houses were built of bricks and had strong walls. The main door faced the street. None of the windows opened on to the streets. There were bathrooms in the houses. Some houses had wells which supplied water. The city also had a neatly laid-out underground sewage system.
The drains were built of bricks and covered with stone slabs. The gutter of each house was linked to the main drain outside and enabled the flow of waste water from the house to the main drain. There were holes in the drains to enable timely cleaning.
How was the nature of town planning during Harappan civilization?
Describe town planning during the Harappan civilization.
During excavations in Harappa, a variety of objects like metals, precious stones, beads, and seals have been found. These objects reveal the existence of a well-to-do class of people along with common people and also the existence of an administrative class. The discovery of seals with scripts engraved on them reveals that there was no dearth of literate people.
The people depended mainly on agriculture and trade. Wheat, barley, pulses and mustard were their main crops. They also grew cotton and made doth out of it. They used river water for irrigation.
They had domesticated the humped bull, cow, buffalo, sheep and goats which were engaged in cattle rearing, sheep rearing and poultry. Trade and commerce had assumed primary importance along with agriculture. The towns carried on business with rural areas.
Describe the economic life of the Harappan people.
The people of Harappa depended mainly on agriculture and trade. Wheat, barley, pulses and mustard were their main crops. They also grew cotton and made cloth out of it. They used river water for irrigation. They domesticated the humped bull, cow, buffalo, sheep and goats.
They were engaged in cattle rearing, sheep rearing and poultry. Trade and commerce had assumed primary, importance along with agriculture. The towns carried on business with rural areas.
What do the Indus seals found in Mesopotamia indicate?
The Indus seals found in Mesopotamia indicate the existence of trade relations between Indus Valley and places such as Baluchistan, Saurashtra and the Deccan.
When did the Indus valley civilisation begin to decline?
The decline of the Indus valley cities started around 4000 years ago. During this period the walls of the Harappan fort were strengthened. Towards the final days of this town, its west gate was closed completely.
The spacious rooms of Mohenjodaro became smaller. Huge buildings gave way to smaller huts. Neither town planning nor road planning was systematic. All these indicate gradual decline of the Indus cities.
What are the reasons for the decline of the Indus valley civilisation?
Historians have given various explanations for the decline of the Indus valley cities and towns.
- According to some, the rivers that dried up or which changed their course is the reason.
- Others have cited destruction of forests as the cause.
- Probably inundation by the floods may be a cause due to which people might have migrated to the east and south from these areas.
Who were Aryans?
The Aryans belonged to the early Indo-European tribe of southern Russian Ural mountain slopes.
How did the Aryans come to India?
The Aryans belonged to the early Indo-European tribe of southern Russian Ural mountain slopes. Many of the groups, of this tribe came to the Iran plateau through Central Asia and from there migrated to Punjab via Afghanistan.
Which period is referred to as the Vedic period?
The period between 1500 B.C.E. and 700 B.C.E. is identified as the Vedic period. This is divided into two periods – the Rig Vedic period or early Vedic period and the post Rig Vedic period. The period from 1500 B.C.E. to 1000 B.C.E. is referred to as the Rig Vedic period and from 1000 B.C.E. to 700 B.C.E. as the post Rig Vedic period.
Who compiled the Vedas?
The Vedas were compiled by the Aryans.
Name the four Vedas.
Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda are the four Vedas.
Write a short note on the Vedas.
Vedas are mainly a compilation of nature worship, yagas and black magic. There are four Vedas: the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda. Each Veda is sub-classified into four major types – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (texts discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge). The Vedas were compiled by the Aryans.
Which is the oldest veda?
The Rigveda is the oldest of the Vedas.
Write a note on Rig Veda.
The Rig Veda is the oldest of the Vedas. It has 1028 suktas or prayer songs. They are grouped under 10 mandalas. All these suktas were compiled over a period of five hundred years. The language used in the Rig Veda belongs to the Indo-European family of languages.
Which were the three classes among the Aryans in the beginning?
At the time of their arrival into India there were three classes among the Aryans – the Aristocracy, the priestly class and the common people.
Who were Shudras?
The Shudras who constituted the fourth varna, came into existence during the last stage of the Rig Vedic period. They were local tribal groups defeated by the Aryans and who worked as slaves for the first three varnas.
Name some of the tribes which formed the shudra vama.
The local tribal groups such as Dasyu, Paani and Dasa formed the shudra varna.
Describe the social system found in the Aryan society.
At the time of their arrival into India there were three classes among the Aryans – the Aristocracy, the priestly class and the common people. Later the varna system came into existence. The first three varnas – Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas – performed their roles in rituals administration and business and had right over agriculture and lands. The fourth varna – the Shudras – were forced to work as slaves for the first three varnas. The patriarchal family was the main social unit.
Describe the economic system that existed in the Aryan society.
The Rig Vedic people were basically into animal husbandry. Later agriculture emerged as a profession. Cattle were used for tilling, to lift water, to move carts and for agriculture. They also provided milk and meat. With the increase in the demand for cattle, village common meadows or grasslands meant for grazing came into existence.
Though the use of iron was not known, mature and processed plants were used as charcoal to melt metals. References are found to crafts like weaving, carpentry and other professional skills.
Describe the political system during the early Vedic period.
There are references to grama or village in the Rig Veda. Tribes were living in the gramas. Rajan was the head of the tribes. The position of Rajan was hereditary. The terms sabha and samithi were used to denote the assembly of common people.
The people who ruled over common people were called Kshatra. A soldier was referred to as Yodha. Power was concentrated in the kings and the rich. They gifted cows, horses, gold and cultivation tools to the priestly class.
Describe the religious system during the early Vedic period.
Yagna was the most important of the religious practices. Yagnas were organised primarily to get good rains and harvest, and to seek the help of gods to defeat their enemies. The priest who conducted the Yagnas was called Hothru. Idol worship did not exist during the time. Animal, human or other symbols were not in use.
During the period prominence was given to agni or fire. There are no references to belief in incarnations. Mahayagas were performed by the rulers and heads of the various tribes. References are found to minor gods like Kshetrasya Pathi or God of cultivation, Devi Sita or God of plough, artd Vasutosh Pathi or minor house deity.
Write a short note on Sama Veda.
The Sama Veda is named after the priest Samaan. Sama Veda has borrowed much from Rig Veda. It consists mainly of shlokas or mantras that are recited at the time of yagnas.
Write a short note on Yajur Veda.
The Yajur Veda is named after the priest Adhvaryu or one who recites Yajus sutras. Yajur Veda has two different types of texts called ‘Black’ (Krishna) and ‘White’ (Shukla). In the Black Yajur Veda there are explanations about the way of reciting mantras and commentaries and discussions on the same. The White Yajur Veda has only mantras without explanations.
Write a short note on Atharva Veda.
The Atharva Veda is named after the priest Atharvan or Angira, the priest of agni. Atharva Veda has taken much from the tenth mandala of the Rig Veda. It has used the language of the Brahmanas rather than the ancient language. The geographical details found here are different from those found in the Rig Veda.
What changes took place in the social system during the post Rig Vedic period?
During the post Rig Vedic period the fourfold division of society became stronger. Brahmins gained a prominent position in owning lands, receiving cows, offering pooja and in matters related to god. Rajanyas or Kshatriyas who were soldiers gained a lot of importance. Those who had political power were called Kshatriyas irrespective of their origin.
The Vaishyas had neither the right to perform yagnas nor the right to enter the place of yagna. They were placed lower than the first two varnas. Shudras were kept at the bottom of the varna system. They were not given any rights. They could not perform yagnas.
Women were placed at the lowest position in the social hierarchy. There is also a reference to dowry in the Atharva Veda. Child marriage was not in vogue. Polygamy was prevalent among the rich and powerful. A widow could remarry.
Explain the changes that took place in the economic system during the post Rig Vedic period.
Use of oxen for agriculture and for transport of goods increased during the post Rig Vedic period. The wealth of a person was calculated by the number of cattle that he possessed. Agriculture gained prominence over hunting and animal husbandry. Those not involved in agriculture or business were referred to as Vyathras or outsiders.
There are references to metals like gold, copper, iron, lead, brass and tin in the Rig Veda. Pottery making was in practice. Women were engaged in spinning, dyeing of clothes and embroidery work. There was increase in the number of specialised occupations. There were professions like makers of bows and arrows, rope makers, cowherds, fishermen, goldsmiths etc.
Name the professions of the post Rig Vedic period.
During the post Rig Vedic period the number of specialised professions increased. There were professions like makers of bows and arrows, rope makers, bamboo makers, firewood makers, fire makers, horse tenders, cowherds, hunters, fishermen, smiths, businessmen, doctors, astrologers and others.
Describe the political system during the post Rig Vedic age.
During the post Rig Vedic period the political system was controlled by tribes. The improved military power of the tribes helped them to extend their territory. As a result powerful kingships emerged. With the increase in the wealth and power of the kings, they came to be regarded as the representatives of god.
A coronation ceremony to mark the ascendancy of the king to the throne referred to as ‘Rajasuya’ came into existence. Ashwamedha Yaga as the symbol of king’s power gained importance.
Describe the religious system during the post Rig Vedic age.
The religious beliefs and rituals of the Rig Vedic period continued during the post Rig Vedic period but with some changes. Rudra and Vishnu gained significance during this period. Notions such as belief that all things happen in this world as a result of yagnas were incorporated into the puranas.
New concepts like karma and rebirth of the soul were created in the Upanishads. This became an important philosophical base for the continuation of the caste system in its institutionalised form.
What yagnas and yagas were important during the Vedic period?
Yagna was the epicentre of religious practices during the Vedic period. It was that all things that happen in this world, are the result of yagnas and such notions were incorporated in the Puranas. During the yagna, animals were sacrificed to appease the gods.
Yagnas were organised primarily for two reasons: to get good rains and harvest and to seek the help of gods to defeat their enemies. Mahayagas were performed by the rulers and heads of various tribes. Ashwamedha yaga gained prominence during the period, as a symbol of king’s power.
Multiple Choice Questions
People of _______ in Kashmir lived in pit houses.
(C) Bolan pass
The first village that has come to the notice of archaeologists is a site Mehergarh located near the ________ valley which leads to Iran.
The cities of Harappan Civilization are believed to be ________ years old.
The ‘Bath Tank’ is a structure found at
The most prominent feature of the Harappan civilization is
(B) burnt bricks
(D) town planning
(D) town planning
Which of the following were not excavated from the ruins of Harappa?
(A) Precious stones
(B) Bronze statues
(C) Iron implements
(C) Iron implements
The discovery of __________ has enabled the historians to believe that the people of Harappa knew the art of reading and writing. .
(C) Precious stones
The Harappan seals obtained from _________ establish the fact that Indus Valley people had trade relations with it.
Which one of the following may not have been a cause for the decline of the Harappan cities?
(A) Rivers which dried up and changed their course
(B) Submerging of land by floods .
(C) Rivers changing their course
The oldest of the Vedas is
Since Vedas have been orally transmitted from one generation to another, they are also called
Fill In The Blanks
- The fertile land near the Bolan pass is mehergarh
- Harappa was found in the sindhu valley of Punjab.
- The people of Harappa depended on agriculture and trade for their livelihood
- The oldest Veda is Rig veda.
- The priest who conducted yagnas was called as Hothuru in Rig veda
- People of Burzahom in Kashmir used to dig shallow pits and live in them.
- The structure known as ‘Bath tank’ was found at mohenjodaro.
- the king was advised by two assemblies called Sabha and Samiti.
- During the post Rig Vedic period, those not involved in agriculture or business were called Vyathras.
Match The Following
|a. Burzahom||1. Bath Tank|
|b. Mehergarh||2. Citadel|
|c. Mohenjodaro||3. Fire altars|
|d. Harappa||4. Pit houses|
|5. First known village|
a – 4, b – 5, c – 1, d – 2.