Ancient India – Miscellaneous


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

                                      Ancient India – Miscellaneous Questions
                                                                                            Wisdom IAS (New Delhi)
(1) Paleolithic or Old Stone Age sites are widely found in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. Which of the following statements are correct in this regard?
(i) Food was obtained by hunting animals and gathering edible plants and tubers.
(ii ) People used stone tools, hand-sized and flaked-off large pebbles for hunting animals.
(iii) Stone implements are made of a hard rock known as quartzite.
Select the answer from the codes given below -
(a)    (i) and (ii)                                              (b) (ii) and (iii)
(c) (i) and (iii)                                            (d) All of the above
Ans. (d)
Explanation: Paleolithic people are called as hunter-gatherers. They used stone tools, hand-sized and flaked-off large pebbles for hunting animals. Stone implements are made of a hard rock known as quartzite. Large pebbles are often found in river terraces. The hunting of large animals would have required the combined effort of a group of people with large stone axes. We have
little knowledge about their language and communication. Their way of life became modified with the passage of time since they made attempts to domesticate animals, make crude pots and grow some plants. A few Old Stone Age paintings have also been found on rocks at Bhimbetka and other places. The period before 10000 B.C. is assigned to the Old Stone Age.
(2) Consider the following statements -
(i) The most important public place of Mohenjodaro is the Great Bath measuring 39 feet length, 23 feet breadth and 8 feet depth.
(ii) The largest building in Mohenjodaro is a granary measuring 150 feet length and 50 feet
breadth.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) (i) only                                                   (b) (ii) only
(c) (i) and (ii)                                           (d) None of the above
Ans. (c)
Explanation:  The Harappan culture was distinguished by its system of townplanning on the lines of the grid system – that is streets and lanes cutting across one another almost at right angles thus dividing the city into several rectangular blocks. Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Kalibangan each had its own citadel built on a high podium of mud brick. The large-scale use of burnt bricks in almost all kinds of constructions and the absence of stone buildings are the important characteristics of the Harappan culture. The most important public place of Mohenjodaro is the Great Bath. Flights of steps at either end lead to the surface. There are side rooms for changing clothes. The floor of the Bath was made of burnt bricks. Water was drawn from a large well in an adjacent room, and an outlet from one corner of the Bath led to a drain. It must have served as a ritual bathing site. The largest building in Mohenjodaro is a granary. But in the citadel of Harappa we find as many as six granaries.
(3) The Chalcolithic age was followed by-
 (a) Old Stone age
(b) New Stone age
(c) Iron age
(d) Mesolithic age
Ans. (c)
Explanation: The Chalcolithic age is followed by Iron Age. Iron is frequently referred to in the Vedas. The Iron Age of the southern peninsula is often related to Megalithic Burials. Megalith means Large Stone. The burial pits were covered with these stones. Such graves are extensively found in South India. Some of the important megalithic sites are Hallur and Maski in Karnataka, Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh and Adichchanallur in Tamil Nadu. Black and red pottery, iron artifacts such as hoes and sickles and small weapons were found in the burial pits.
(4) Which of the following were the causes for the rise of Jainism and Buddhism in India -
(i) The religious unrest in India in the 6th century B.C.
(ii) The rigid caste system prevalent in India generated tensions in the society.
(iii)The Kshatriyas had resented the domination of the priestly class.
(iv) The growth of trade led to the improvement in the economic conditions of the Vaisyas.
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (d)
Explanation: The complex rituals and sacrifices advocated in the Later Vedic period were not acceptable to the common people. The sacrificial ceremonies were also found to be too expensive. The superstitious beliefs and mantras confused the people. The teachings of Upanishads, an alternative to the system of sacrifices, were highly philosophical in nature and therefore not easily understood by all. Other than the religious factor, social and economic factors also contributed to the rise of these two religions. The rigid caste system prevalent in India generated tensions in the society. Higher classes enjoyed certain privileges which were denied to the lower classes. Also, the Kshatriyas had resented the domination of the priestly class. It should also to be noted that both Buddha and Mahavira belonged to Kshatriya origin. The growth of trade led to the improvement in the economic conditions of the Vaisyas. As a result, they wanted to enhance their social status but the orthodox Varna system did not allow this. Therefore, they began to extend support to Buddhism and Jainism. It was this merchant class that extended the chief support to these new religions.
(5) Which of the following statements is not correct regarding Buddhist Councils?
(a) The first Buddhist Council was held at Rajagraha
(b) The second Buddhist Council was convened at Vaisali
(c) The third Buddhist Council was held at Prayag
(d) The fourth Buddhist Council was convened in Kashmir
Ans. (c)
Explanation: The first Buddhist Council was held under the chairmanship of Mahakasapa immediately after the death of Buddha. Its purpose was to maintain the purity of the teachings of the Buddha. The second Buddhist Council was convened around 383 B.C. The third Buddhist Council was held at Pataliputra under the patronage of Asoka. Moggaliputta Tissa presided over it. The final version of Tripitakas was completed in this council. The fourth Buddhist Council was convened by Kanishka under the chairmanship of Vasumitra. Asvagosha participated in this council. The new school of Buddhism called Mahayana Buddhism came into existence during this council.
(6) Which of the following were the causes of the Alexander’s invasion in India?
(i) He aimed at conquest of east and wanted to recover the lost Persian Satrapy of India.
(ii) The fabulous wealth of India attracted Alexander
(iii) His interest in geographical enquiry and love of natural history urged him to undertake an invasion of India.
(iv) He wanted to be the king of India.
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (a)
Explanation: Alexander ascended the throne of Macedonia after the death of his father Philip in 334 B.C. He conquered the whole of Persia by defeating Darius III in the battle of Arbela in 330 B.C. He also aimed at further conquest eastwards and wanted to recover the lost Persian Satrapy of India. The writings of Greek authors like Herodotus about the fabulous wealth of India attracted Alexander. He believed that on the eastern side of India there was the continuation of the sea, according the geographical knowledge of his period. So, he thought that by conquering India, he would also conquer the eastern boundary of the world.
(7) Consider the following statements -
(i) Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism was gradual and not immediate.
(ii) Ashoka appointed special officers called Dharma Mahamatras to speed up the progress of Dhamma.
(iii) Asoka convened the Third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra in 240 B.C. in order to strengthen the Sangha.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a)     (i) and (ii)                                              (b) (ii) and (iii)
(c) (i) and (iii)                                            (d) All of the above
Ans. (d)
Explanation: About 261 B.C. Asoka became a Sakya Upasaka (lay dsicple) and two and a half years later, a Bikshu (monk). Then he gave up hunting, visited Bodh-Gaya, and organized
missions.  In 241 B.C., he visited the birth place of Buddha, the Lumbini Garden, near Kapilavastu. He also visited other holy places of Buddhism like Sarnath, Sravasti and Kusinagara. He sent a mission to Sri Lanka under his son Mahendra and daughter Sangamitra who planted there the branch of the original Bodhi tree.  Third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra was presided over by Moggaliputta Tissa.
(8) Which of the following statements are correct regarding Nalanda University?
(i) The term Nalanda means “giver of knowledge”.
(ii) The professors of the University were called Dharmatma
(iii) It was a residential university
(iv) Education was free including the boarding and lodging.
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (c)
Explanation: The Nalanda University was founded by Kumaragupta I during the Gupta period. It was patronised by his successors and later by Harsha. The professors of the University were called panditas. Some of its renowned professors were Dingnaga, Dharmapala, Sthiramati and Silabadhra. Dharmapala was a native of Kanchipuram and he became the head of the Nalanda University. Nalanda University  was maintained with the revenue derived from 100 to 200 villages endowed by different rulers. Though it was a Mahayana University, different religious subjects like the Vedas, Hinayana doctrine, Sankhya and Yoga philosophies were also taught. In addition to that, general subjects like logic, grammar, astronomy, medicine and art were in the syllabus. It attracted students not only from different parts of India but from different countries of the east. Admission was made by means of an entrance examination. The entrance test was so difficult that not more than thirty percent of the candidates were successful. Discipline was very strict. More than lectures, discussion played an important part and the medium of instruction was Sanskrit.
(9) Which of the following statements are correct regarding Kushanas king Kanishka?
(i) His coins exhibit the images of not only Buddha but also Greek and Hindu gods.
(ii) During his reign Mahayana Buddhism came into vogue.
(iii) He patronised Buddhist scholars like Vasumitra, Asvagosha and Nagarjuna.
(iv) He convened the Fourth Buddhist Council in Ballabhi, Gujarat
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (a)
Explanation: Kanishka embraced Buddhism in the early part of his reign. However, his coins exhibit the images of not only Buddha but also Greek and Hindu gods. It reflects the Kanishka’s toleration towards other religions. In the age the Buddha came to be worshipped with flowers, garments, perfumes and lamps. Thus image worship and rituals developed in Mahayana Buddhism. Kanishka also sent missionaries to Central Asia and China for the propagation of the new faith. Buddhist chaityas and viharas were built in different places. He also convened the Fourth Buddhist Council to discuss matters relating to Buddhist theology and doctrine. It was held at the Kundalavana monastery near Srinagar in Kashmir under the presidentship of Vasumitra. About 500 monks attended the Council. The Council prepared an authoritative commentary on the Tripitakas and the Mahayana doctrine was given final shape.
(10) Which of the following statements are correct regarding Tamil literature?
(i) Tolkappiyam authored by Tolkappiyar is the earliest of the Tamil literature.
(ii) Both Ettutogai and Pattuppattu were divided into two main groups – Aham (love) and Puram (valour).
(iii) Pathinenkilkanakku contains eighteen works mostly dealing with love and romance
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a)     (i) and (ii)                                              (b) (ii) and (iii)
(c) (i) and (iii)                                            (d) All of the above
Ans. (a)
Explanation: Tolkappiyam is a work on Tamil grammar but it provides information on the political and socioeconomic conditions of the Sangam period. The Ettutogai or Eight Anthologies consist of eight works – Aingurunooru, Narrinai, Aganaooru, Purananooru, Kuruntogai, Kalittogai, Paripadal and Padirruppattu. The Pattuppattu or Ten Idylls consist of ten
works – Thirumurugarruppadai, Porunararruppadai, Sirupanarruppadai, Perumpanarruppadai, Mullaippattu, Nedunalvadai, Maduraikkanji, Kurinjippatttu, Pattinappalai and Malaipadukadam. Both Ettutogai and Pattuppattu were divided into two main groups – Aham (love) and Puram (valour). Pathinenkilkanakku contains eighteen works mostly dealing with ethics and morals. The most important among them is Tirukkural authored by Thiruvalluvar. Silappathigaram written by Elango Adigal and Manimegalai by Sittalai Sattanar also provides valuable information on the Sangam polity and society.
(11) Which of the following statements are correct regarding the Sangam period?
(i) The capital of Chola was first located at Uraiyur and then shifted to Puhar
(ii) In the Battle of Venni Karikala defeated the mighty confederacy consisting of the Cheras
(iii) Aryappadai Kadantha Neduncheliyan built Kallanai across the river Kaveri and also constructed many irrigation tanks.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a)     (i) and (ii)                                              (b) (ii) and (iii)
(c) (i) and (iii)                                            (d) All of the above
Ans. (a)
Explanation: The Chola kingdom of the Sangam period extended from modern Tiruchi district to southern Andhra Pradesh. Karikala was a famous king of the Sangam Cholas. Pattinappalai portrays his early life and his military conquests. In the Battle of Venni he defeated the mighty confederacy consisting of the Cheras, Pandyas and eleven minor chieftains. This event is mentioned in many Sangam poems. Vahaipparandalai was another important battle fought by him in which nine enemy chieftains submitted before him. Karikala’s military achievements made him the overlord of the whole Tamil country. He was responsible for the reclamation of forest lands and brought them under cultivation thus adding prosperity to the people. He also built Kallanai across the river Kaveri and also constructed many irrigation tanks.
There were two Neduncheliyans of the Pandyan dynasty. The first one was known as Aryappadai Kadantha Neduncheliyan (one who won victories over the Aryan forces). He was responsible for the execution of Kovalan for which Kannagi burnt Madurai.
(12) Which of the following statements are correct regarding Gupta king Samudragupta?
(i) The Allahabad Pillar inscription speaks of his magnanimity to his foes, his polished intellect, his poetic skill and his proficiency in music.
(ii) Inscription calls him Kaviraja because of his ability in composing verses.
(iii) His image depicting him with Veena is found in the coins issued by him.
(iv) He was an ardent follower of Vaishnavism
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (d)
Explanation: Samudragupta’s military achievements remain remarkable in the annals of history. He was equally great in his other personal accomplishments. He was also a patron of many poets and scholars, one of whom was Harisena. Thus he must be credited with a share in the promotion of Sanskrit literature and learning, characteristic of his dynasty. He was an ardent follower of Vaishnavism but was tolerant of other creeds. He evinced keen interest in Buddhism and was the patron of the great Buddhist scholar Vasubandu.
(13) During his reign, Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava capital Kanchipuram. Who was he?
(a) Sivaskandavarman
(b) Mahendravarman I
(c) Narasimhavarman I
(d) Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha
Ans. (c)
Explanation:  During the reign of Narasimhavarman I, Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava capital Kanchipuram. His description of Kanchi is vivid. He calls it a big and beautiful city, six miles in circumference. It had 100 Buddhist monasteries in which about 10,000 Buddhist monks lived. According to his account the people of Kanchi esteemed great learning and the Ghatika at Kanchi served as a great centre of learning. Narasimhavarman I was the founder of Mamallapuram and the monolithic rathas were erected during his reign.
(14) Which of the following statements are correct regarding Western Chalukyas kingdom?
(i) The most important ruler of this dynasty was Pulakesin II.
(ii) The Bhitari pillor inscription issued by Pulakesin II gives the details of his reign.
(iii) Hiuen Tsang visited Western Chalukyan kigdom during the reign of Pulakesin II
(iv) The administration was highly centralized unlike that of the Pallavas and the Cholas.
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (c)
Explanation: The Aihole inscription issued by Pulakesin II gives the details of his reign. He fought with the Kadambas of Banavasi and the Gangas of Mysore and established his suzerainty. Durvinita, the Ganga ruler accepted his overlordship and even gave his daughter in marriage to Pulakesin II. Another notable achievement of Pulakesin II was the defeat of Harshavardhana on the banks of the river Narmada. He put a check to the ambition of Harsha to conquer the south. In his first expedition against the Pallavas, Pulakesin II emerged victorious. But he suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Narasimhavarman I near Kanchi. Subsequently, the Chalukya capital Vatapi was captured and destroyed by the Pallavas.
(15) Which of the following is not a Chalukyan temple?
(a) Ladh Khan temple
(b) Huchimalligudi temple.
(c) The Jain temple at Meguti.
(d) Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi
Ans. (d)
Explanation: The Chalukya temples may be divided into two stages. The first stage is represented by the temples at Aihole and Badami. The second stage is represented by the temples at Pattadakal. There are ten temples here, four in the northern style and the remaining six in the Dravidian style. The Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi is the greatest architectural master piece of the Pallava art. Ladh Khan temple is a low, flat-roofed structure consisting of a pillared hall. The Papanatha temple is the most notable in the northern style.
(16) Which of the following scholars wrote during the reign of  Rashtrakutas (755 – 975 AD)?
(i) Trivikrama wrote Nalachampu
(ii) Kavirahasya was composed by Halayudha
(iii) Jinasena composed Parsvabhudaya
(iv) Gunabhadra wrote the Adipurana
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (d)
Explanation: The Rashtrakutas widely patronized the Sanskrit literature. There were many scholars in the Rashtrakuta court. Trivikrama wrote Nalachampu and the Kavirahasya was composed by Halayudha during the reign of Krishna III. The Jain literature flourished under the patronage of the Rashtrakutas. Amogavarsha I, who was a Jain patronized many Jain scholars. His teacher Jinasena composed Parsvabhudaya, a biography of Parsva in verses. Another scholar Gunabhadra wrote the Adipurana, the life stories of various Jain saints. Sakatayana wrote the grammer work called Amogavritti. The great mathematician of this period, Viracharya was the author of Ganitasaram.
(17) At Ellora, the most remarkable temple is the Kailasa temple. It was excavated during the reign of -
(a) Krishna I.
(b) Kirtivarman II
(b) Pulakesin II
(c) Pulakesin II
Ans. (a)
Explanation: At Ellora, the Kailasa temple was excavated during the reign of Rashtrakuta king Krishna I. It is carved out of a massive block of rock 200 feet long, and 100 feet in breadth and height. The temple consists of four parts - the main shrine, the entrance gateway, an intermediate shrine for Nandi and mandapa surrounding the courtyard. The temple stands on a lofty plinth 25 feet high. The central face of the plinth has imposing figures of elephants and lions giving the impression that the entire structure rests on their back. It has a three-tiered sikhara or tower resembling the sikhara of the Mamallapuram rathas. In the interior of the temple there is a pillared hall which has sixteen square pillars. The Kailasa temple is an architectural marvel with it beautiful sculptures. The sculpture of the Goddess Durga is shown as slaying the Buffalo demon. In another sculpture Ravana was making attempts to lift Mount Kailasa, the abode of Siva. The scenes of Ramayana were also depicted on the walls. The general characteristics of the Kailasa temple are more Dravidian.
(18) The military conquests of Cholo king Rajaraja I were-
(i) The defeat of the Chera ruler Bhaskararavivarman in the naval battle of Kandalursalai and the destruction of the Chera navy.
(ii)The defeat of the Pandya ruler, Amarabhujanga and establishment of Chola authority in the Pandya country.
(iii) The conquest of Gangavadi, Tadigaipadi and Nolambapadi located in the Mysore region.
(iv) He defeated Jayasimha II, the Western Chalukya king and the river Tungabadhra was recognised as the boundary between the Cholas and Chalukyas.
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (a)
Explanation: Rajendra I had demonstrated his military ability by participating in his father’s campaigns. He continued his father’s policy of aggressive conquests and expansion. Mahinda V, the king of Sri Lanka attempted to recover from the Cholas the northern part of Ceylon. Rajendra defeated him and seized the southern Sri Lanka. Thus the whole of Sri Lanka was made part of the Chola Empire. He reasserted the Chola authority over the Chera and Pandya countries. He defeated Jayasimha II, the Western Chalukya king and the river Tungabadhra was recognised as the boundary between the Cholas and Chalukyas. His most famous military enterprise was his expedition to north India. The Chola army crossed the Ganges by defeating a number of rulers on its way. Rajendra I defeated Mahipala I of Bengal.
(19) That village during Chola period was divided into thirty wards and each was to nominate its members to the village council. The qualifications to become a ward member were-
(i) Ownership of at least one fourth veli of land.
(ii) Own residence.
(iii) Above thirty years and below seventy years of age.
(iv) Knowledge of Vedas.
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (d)
Explanation: The system of village autonomy with sabhas and their committees developed through the ages and reached its culmination during the Chola rule. Two inscriptions belonging to the period of Parantaka I found at Uttiramerur provide details of the formation and functions of village councils.  That village during Chola period was divided into thirty wards and each was to nominate its members to the village council. Apart from the  qualifications to become a ward member certain norms of disqualification were also mentioned in the inscriptions. They were: (a) those who had been members of the committees for the past three years: (b) those who had failed to submit accounts as committee members: (c) those who had committed sins: and (d) those who had stolen the property of others.
(20) Which of the following are the works on Tamil Grammar during Chola period?
(i) Kalladam by Kalladanar
(ii) Moovarula written by Ottakuthar
(iii) Nannul by Pavanandhi and
(iv) Virasoliyam by Buddhamitra
Select the answer from the codes given below-
(a)    (i), (ii), and (iii)                                       (b) (ii), (iii), and (iv)
(c) (i), (iii), and (iv)                                       (d) All of the above
Ans. (c)
Explanation: The development of Tamil literature reached its peak during the Chola period. Sivakasintamani written by Thiruthakkadevar and Kundalakesi belonged to 10th century. The Ramayana composed by Kamban and the Periyapuranam or Tiruttondarpuranam by Sekkilar are the two master-pieces of this age. Jayankondar’s Kalingattupparani describes the Kalinga war fought by Kulotunga I. The Moovarula written by Ottakuthar depicts the life of three Chola kings. The Nalavenba was written by Pugalendi. The works on Tamil grammar like Kalladam by Kalladanar, Yapperungalam by Amirthasagarar, a Jain, Nannul by Pavanandhi and Virasoliyam by Buddhamitra were the products of the Chola age.


Tuesday, 05th May 2015, 08:09:31 PM

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