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History — Chapter 8

The Mauryan Empire

Class 6 - Effective History & Civics Solutions


Fill in the blanks

Question 1

Indica was written by Megasthenese.

Question 2

Chanakya was known as Kautilya.

Question 3

Bindusara had friendly relations with the rulers of Syria and Egypt.

Question 4

Ashoka gave up the policy of Digvijaya after the Kalinga war.

Question 5

Ashoka appointed dharma mahamatras to spread Buddhism.

Match the following

Question 1

Column AColumn B
1. Arthashastra(a) Monasteries
2. Stupas(b) National Flag
3. Lion Capital(c) Kautilya
4. Viharas(d) National Emblem
5. Dharmachakra(e) Dome shaped structures

Answer

Column AColumn B
1. Arthashastra(c) Kautilya
2. Stupas(e) Dome shaped structures
3. Lion capital(d) National Emblem
4. Viharas(a) Monasteries
5. Dharmachakra(b) National Flag

Answer the following questions

Question 1

Who founded the Mauryan Empire? State briefly Chanakya's role in founding the Mauryan Empire.

Answer

The Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya.

Chanakya vowed to expel the Greeks from the Indian territory and sought to inspire a number of Indian rulers to unite and fight the Greeks. Chanakya reached out to the ruler of Magadh, Dhanananad to seek his help. Dhanananda insulted Chanakya and removed him from his official position.
On that day Chanakya swore to take revenge on Dhanananda and for this reason he educated and trained Chandragupta to overthrow the Nandas and liberate north-west India from the Greeks.
With Chanakya's help Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Nandas and established the Mauryan Empire.

Question 2

Explain how Kalinga War changed Ashoka's life.

Answer

The Kalinga war was fought between the ruler of Kalinga and Ashoka. The ruler of Kalinga was very powerful and that's why Ashoka faced tough resistance. Ashoka won the war but both sides suffered heavy losses. Ashoka was so moved by the death, destruction and human suffering in the war that he decided not to wage any war in future. From then onwards, the policy of Digvijaya (conquest of territory) was replaced by Dhamma Vijaya (conquest through dharma). He embraced Buddhism and devoted the rest of his life for the welfare of his people.

Question 3

What were the main principles of Ashoka's dhamma?

Answer

The main principles of Ashoma's dhamma were the following:

  1. Live together in peace and harmony.
  2. Be friendly towards one another and do not fight over land and religion.
  3. Follow Ahimsa, i.e, non - injury and non - violence.
  4. Children should obey their elders and elders should treat children with affection.
  5. Be kind to slaves and servants.
  6. Be truthful and charitable.
  7. Do not indulge in unnecessary rituals.

Question 4

Mention some steps taken by Ashoka to spread his dhamma.

Answer

Ashoka took the following steps to spread dhamma:

  1. Ashoka set an example for others by following what he preached. He forbade killing of peacocks and deer for the royal kitchen. He also gave up all wars.
  2. Ashoka appointed officers called the dharma-mahamatras to spread Buddhism. These officers advised people to follow the dhamma.
  3. Ashoka issued edicts in Prakrit on which the principles of dhamma were engraved.
  4. He sent missionaries to many countries like Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka, etc. He sent his daughter Sanghamitra and son Mahendra to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism.
  5. Ashoka went on Dhamma yatras (pilgrimage) to holy places to spread the message of Buddha.

Question 5

Briefly explain the administrative set-up of the Mauryas.

Answer

The administration of the Mauryas can be studied under four main heads — Central, Provincial, District and Village administration.

  1. Central Government
    1. The Mauryans administration was highly centralized. The King was the head of administration and the supreme judge. A council of Ministers known as the Mantri Parishad assisted him. Ashoka made small changes to the administrative system by appointing Mahamatras (governors) to look after the welfare of his people.
    2. Military Administration — The Mauryans had a large, well equipped army consisting of infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots. A commission of 30 members divided into six boards each with five members looked after each wing of the army.
    3. Administration Of The Cities — Important cities, the capitals of provinces, had their own administrative systems. The head of the city was called Nagaradhyasksha.
  2. Provincial Government
    1. The empire was divided into provinces for administrative efficiency and convenience.
    2. During the reign of Chandragupta Maurya, the empire was divided into four provinces with their capitals at Taxila, Ujjayini, Suvarnagiri and Patliputra.
    3. Ashoka added the fifth province, i.e, Kalinga with its capitals at Tosali.
    4. Each province was ruled by a prince, called Kumara and assisted by a governor known as Mahamatra.
  3. District Government
    1. Each province was divided into a number of districts.
    2. The officer called Rajuka was the head of the district.
    3. The Yuktas were officers who carried on the administrative duties in the district.
  4. Village Administration
    1. The village was the smallest unit of administration.
    2. The head of the village was called the Gopa.

Question 6

Write short notes on the Mauryan art and architecture.

Answer

Mauryan contributions to art and architecture are summarised below:

  1. Ashoka is said to have built over 8400 stupas. Of the Ashokan stupas, the most famous are the Sanchi Stupa and Barhut Stupa in Madhya pradesh.
  2. The Mauryans built prayer halls and monasteries(viharas).
  3. The best specimens of the Mauryan art are a number of monolithic (carved out of a single piece of rock) stone pillars. These pillars have decorative tops, called Capitals, with beautifully carved animal figures.
  4. The most famous of these pillars is the Sarnath Pillar having the Lion Capital.
  5. The Lion Capital has been adopted as the national emblem of India.

Question 7

In what way was the Mauryan economy based on agriculture?

Answer

The Mauryan economy was mainly based on Agriculture. The state provided irrigation facilities. Slaves were engaged in agricultural work on a large scale.
The land revenue was the chief source of income in the Mauryan empire. It varied between one-sixth to one-fourth of the produce, depending on the fertility of the soil. The tax called Bhaga was levied on agricultural produce.

Question 8

Give three reasons for the decline of the Mauryas.

Answer

Three reasons for the decline of the Mauryan Empire were:

  1. Ashoka's successors were weak and incompetent.
  2. The empire was huge and far away areas could not be controlled from the centre.
  3. The funds were insufficient to maintain the administration and the army.

Picture Study

Question 1

Study the picture and answer the following questions:

Study the picture and answer the questions. Identify the structure given in the picture. Where is it located? What is the decorative top of this structure known as? Describe its important features. What is its significance in modern India? The Mauryan Empire, Effective History and Civics Solutions ICSE Class 6.

(a) Identify the structure given in the picture. Where is it located?

(b) What is the decorative top of this structure known as? Describe its important features.

(c) What is its significance in modern India?

Answer

(a) The structure given in the picture is Sarnath pillar. It is located in Sarnath.

(b) The decorative top of this structure is known as the Lion Capital. Its important features are the following:

  1. It has four lions sitting back to back so that they face four different directions.
  2. There is a Dharmachakara (Wheel of Law) in the centre of the base plate, with a figure of a bull on the right side and that of a horse on the left.

(c) Its significance in modern India is that the Lion Capital has been adopted as the National Emblem of India. It is printed on our currency and government documents. The Dharmachakara (Wheel of Law) appears on our National Flag.

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