Q.1) Critically evaluate the achievements of Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas in Art and Architecture?
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Annapurna Garg
Ans) Chola, Cheras and Pandyas have been the three major dynasties of the Deep South. Their achievements in the art and architecture is as follows:
Cholas: Imperial cholas continued the tradition of Pallavas in temple building. Some majestic temples have been built by them – brihadeshwar temple, Airateshwar temple, and Gangaikondacholapuram are some famous examples. These temples represent grandeur, and fine workmanship. Chola school of art also spread to south east Asia and influenced the architecture there.
Bronze Nataraja also belongs to this period in Chidambram. This is one of the forms of Lord shiva.
Cheras: not much is known about cheras, especially about their art and architecture. Even sangam literature has scarce details about this kingdom. Nonetheless, there were some tempes built by them in Dravidian style, for example vadakkunnathan temple is a world heritage site.
Pandyas: Name of Pandyas is most popular for the organisation of Sangams in Madurai and origin of sangam literature. It is the most comprehensive account of Tamil history.
Pandyas also built some magnifucent temples – Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is a much revered one. Srivilliputhur temple is the official symbol of government of Tamil Nadu.
The three dynasties, thus, left deep footprints in South India.
Q.2) “Buddhism was not just a religious revolution, but a social revolution too.” Comment.
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Ramdas
Ans) Buddha did not intend to establish new religious or social order. But the simplicity of his teaching of truth connected with masses in such a manner that Buddhism became a completely new approach to look at religion and society. It became a new religious and social order.
– Explanation of Sufferings through 4 simple noble truths and the the wheel of dhamma was understandable by ordinary people unlike the scriptures interpreted by priests only.
– Focus was on ethical living of astangika marga rather than rituals, animal sacrifices, etc.
– A great stress was led to individual search of the truth and authority of Vedas was challenged. Faith was given rational basis.
– It preached atheism that is, there is no God that will help us in Moksha but we ourselves are the makers of our destiny.
– Further proliferation of multiple sects (Hinayana, Mahayana, etc) in Buddhism brought out characteristically new religious approaches
– Intimate connection between religion and society in those times led to the manifestation of Buddhism as egalitarian doctrine. It opposed caste and varna system, any form of hierarchy and discrimination.
– Women were given equal status as men which was against the Shastras like Manusmriti (social code).
– Use of Pali language as opposed to Sanskrit which could be read only by Priests, broke the monopoly over knowledge
– Emphasis on ahimsa, avoidance of extremes led to establishment of peaceful society.
– It became conducive to the of progress in the areas of art, architecture, sculpture, literature. Trade flourished and India’s political power spread far and wide in subcontinent.
Therefore, It was not only religious and social revolution but also revolution in every sphere of human thought and action.
Q.3) Ashoka is considered the greatest monarch to live in the first two millenia of recorded Indian history. Compare and contrast his achievements with Akbar the Great.
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Vikrant Madhusudhan Parab
Ans) When one talks about Ancient and Medival period it is totallyincomplete without Ashoka and Akbar who have left huge effect on Indian History. Following are difference in their achivements –
Military – Ashok was successful in Kalinga war whereas Akbar was successful in consolidating Agra to Gujrat and Agra to Bengal region. But, it is said that Ashok had largest army in the world whereas Akbar also had large army but including those of Feudatories.
Religious – Ashok framed Dhamma Policy and followed Buddhism by playing a major role in spreading it in India as well as other countries (eg- Sri Lanka). Akbar started his own religion Din E lahi. Both of them did not forced people to follow any religion.
Architecture – Ashok was successful in building many Stupas (eg- Sanchi Stupa). The use of stone started during his time. Akbar constructed various monuments (eg- Ibadat Khana) which is dome and arch type architecture unlike stone.
Political – The concept of Centralization of power is clearly reflected during Ashok’s time. Well management of Feudatories is reflected during Akbar’s time i.e. Decentralization.
Administration- Ashok was successful in implementing the concept of Mantri Parishad. Akbar brought new concept of Mansabdari, Bandobast system etc which affected the society to great extent.
Thus, both have touched the hearts of people to such extent that their greatness is still admired till date.
Q.4) Bahamani kingdom is lesser known when compared to their Vijayanagar counterparts due to a plethora of reasons. Enumerate these keeping in mind the needs of a changing society.
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Monk who sold his nano
Ans) The prominence of Vijaynagara over Bahamani has several reasons –
Geographical location – Bahmani was a buffer between the Delhi sultanate and Vijaynagara, so it suffered military invasions from both north and south. This created instability which later led to splitting of the kingdom into 5 smaller kingdoms.
Economic Resources – Vijaynagara empire had fertile tracks of Krishna and Cauvery basin and the Krishna- Godavari delta region. It had important ports which carried out trade to Persia, Arabia and China. On contrast Bahmani kingdom comprised the dry tracks of Telangana and Marathawad and had control over west coast for very short period of time.
Political structure and history of the region – Cholas and Pandyas had already built strong institutions and infrastructure in the region, Vijaynagara empire went onto build on those institutions as being Hindu both shared same socio-cultural outlook.
However Bahmani administration was at a stark contrast with the institutions established by Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. This implied civil unrest, which isn’t healthy for any nascent kingdom.
Q.5) With the advent of the Gupta empire, Buddhism declined due to the exclusive royal patronage given to Hinduism. How far is this statement true in the context of socio-political influence of mass-based religion?
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – SK
Ans) During the Gupta period Buddhism declined and Hinduism (Brahmanism) gained importance. The following changes in the socio-political field as shown by Fa-hien reflects this:
Guptas were actually Vaishyas. But the Brahmins regarded them as Kshatriyas and compared them with the status of Gods. As a result they received numerous land grants and privileges in the society.
Hinduism flourished in numerous ways. Number of Hindu castes proliferated during the Gupta period. This is due to the assimilation of foreigners into the society and absorption of tribals. For examples, the Hun invaders from central India were regarded as Rajputs.
The position of Shudras and women were improved in Gupta period. Shudras could take up agriculture and women were allowed to read Puranas. Thus, Hinduism strengthened.
Two new Gods appeared in the society – Vishnu and Shiva. Vishnu came to be the protector of the Varna system and Shiva, the destroyer. These Hindu Gods became dominant and replaced Buddhism.
In the same period, new text “Bhagavadgita” appeared which called for worship of Krishna and highlighted the functions of each Varna.
Literature on Hindu gods like Vishnu Purana, Vishnu Smriti appeared and attracted the people towards Hinduism.
These developments pushed Buddhism to the backseat and Hinduism found royal patronage. However, Buddhist art flourished during the Gupta period. For example, some Ajanta paintings, statues of Buddha at Mathura, Sarnath etc.