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History — Chapter 2

The Vedic Period

Class 9 - Total History & Civics Solutions


Short Answer Question

Question 1

Name the two categories of Early Vedic Literature. Why was the Early Vedic Literature known as Shruti?

Answer

The two categories of the Early Vedic Literature were Shruti and Smriti.

The Early Vedic Literature was known as Shruti because it was revealed to the sages by God and they passed on the knowledge orally from generation to generation.

Question 2

Name the four Vedas.

Answer

The four Vedas are:

  1. The Rig Veda
  2. The Sama Veda
  3. The Yajur Veda
  4. The Atharva Veda

Question 3

State what the hymns in each Veda deal with.

Answer

  1. The Rig Veda — The hymns of The Rig Veda were dedicated by the sages to Gods. They are authentic source of knowledge of life of people of the time.
  2. The Sama Veda — The hymns of Sama Veda were meant to be sung at the time of sacrifice by the priests.
  3. The Yajur Veda — The hymns of Yajur Veda were recited during the performance of Yajnas.
  4. The Atharva Veda — The hymns of Atharva Veda deal with magic and charm as well as gyan (knowledge), karma (action), upasana (invocation) and medicines.

Question 4

What are the Upanishads? Name any two Upanishads.

Answer

The Upanishads are philosophical commentaries on the Vedas that include the doctrines such as Karma, Moksha and Maya.

The two Upanishads are:

  1. Chandogya Upanishad
  2. Kena Upanishad

Question 5

What are the Dharmashastras?

Answer

The law-books called the Dharmasutras and the Smritis together with their commentaries, are called Dharmashastras.

Question 6

Name the epics written during the later Vedic period.

Answer

The epics written during the later Vedic period were Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Question 7

What is known as Bhagwad Gita?

Answer

When the war of Mahabharata begin, Arjuna was reluctant to fight. Krishna ultimately gave him a discourse and prevailed upon him to do his duty. This discourse at the battlefield is compiled in the form of Bhagwad Gita. It forms a part of Mahabharata.

Question 8

Mention the importance of the Epics as a source of information about the Aryans.

Answer

The Epics serve as the main source of information on the political institutions and the social and cultural organisation of the Aryans. They provide information about various Aryan kingdoms, their armies and the weapons they used. The Kshatriyas were entrusted with the defence of their kingdoms. They reveal the high ideals of family life of the Aryans. The great heroes depicted in the Epics are the embodiment of high moral principles and made a great impact on successive generations.

Question 9

Which battle is known as the Mahabharata? For how long was this battle fought?

Answer

The battle which was fought between Pandavas and Kauravas is known as Mahabharata.

The battle of Mahabharata was fought for 18 days.

Question 10

State the role of iron in the development of agriculture during the Vedic Age.

Answer

The discovery of iron gave the Aryans new implements like axes to clear forest and cultivate land. The use of iron plough-heads, sickles and hoes, made it easy to cultivate a vast tract of land. Thus, agriculture became their important occupation. The surplus production of rice, wheat, barley, vegetables and fruits improved their standard of living.

Question 11

Give two features of Painted Grey Ware (PGW) Pottery.

Answer

The two important features of Painted Grey Ware (PGW) Pottery are-

  1. Painted Grey Ware (PGW) Pottery were very fine, smooth and even-coloured pottery.
  2. They were made up of high quality clay with geometrical patterns painted in black. Floral patterns and Sun symbols were also found.

Question 12

Name the four Varnas that existed during the vedic age.

Answer

The four Varnas that existed during the vedic age were-

  1. Brahmin
  2. Kshatriya
  3. Vaishya
  4. Shudra

Question 13

How did trade become a pivot around which the life of the people revolved?

Answer

During the Later Vedic phase, discovery of Iron led to development of agriculture. Agricultural surplus led to trade, giving rise to markets which further developed towns and cities. Thus trade become a pivot around which the life of the people revolved.

Question 14

State the difference in the position of women between the Early Vedic and Later Vedic Age.

Answer

During Early vedic period women were respected, the daughters were given freedom to choose their husbands and widow remarriage was prevalent but in Later Vedic period there was significant decline in the status of women. Their participation in Yajnas was not considered necessary. Their right to property and freedom to choose husband was curtailed.

Question 15

Name the four ashramas into which the human life span was divided, indicating the time span for each.

Answer

The four ashramas into which the human life span was divided were:

  1. The Brahmacharya ashrama — It lasted upto the age of 25 years.
  2. The Grihastha ashrama — It lasted from the age of 25 to 50 years.
  3. The Vanaprastha ashrama — It lasted from the age of 50 to 75 years.
  4. The sanyasa ashrama — It lasted from the age of 75 to 100 years.

Question 16

State briefly the change that occurred in the position of the Brahmins in the Later Vedic Age.

Answer

In the Later Vedic Age, the position of the Brahmins became stronger as the caste system became more rigid. They were said to have divine powers. No rituals or religious celebration commenced without the presence of Brahmins. They enjoyed many privileges.

Question 17

State two important changes that took place in the society in the process of its transition from the Early Vedic Period to the Later Vedic Period.

Answer

The two important changes that took place in the society in the process of its transition from the Early Vedic Period to the Later Vedic Period were-

  1. Women enjoyed equal rights in Early Vedic Period but their status in the society gradually declined during the Later Vedic Period.
  2. Caste system which was based on occupation earlier became hereditary and rigid with course of time.

Structured Questions

Question 1

With reference to the sources of information about the Vedic Age, write short notes on the following:

(a) The Vedas

(b) The Epics

(c) Role of Iron Implements

Answer

(a) The Vedas — The Vedas are storehouse of knowledge about Vedic Age. They give us information about the life of the people of Vedic Age. We get information about the social, economical, political, and religious aspects of their life. There are four Vedas — The Rig Veda, The Sama Veda, The Yajur Veda, The Atharva Veda. The Rig Veda gives an account of Early Vedic Period while the rest of Vedas give an account of Later Vedic Period.

(b) The Epics — The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the important epics. They serve as main source of information on the political institution and the social and cultural organisation of the Vedic Age. The Epics provide information on Aryan kingdoms, their armies and and the weapons and reveal the high ideals of family life of Aryans. They are considered as the finest literary works of the ancient period and are acclaimed for their literary and philosophical value. The great heroes depicted in the Epics are the embodiment of high moral principles and made a great impact on successive generations.

(c) Role of Iron Implements — In India, the Iron Age began in 1000 B.C. Iron was cheap, available in plenty, it was harder than copper and bronze and its deposits were found over large areas. It was used in the following areas:

  1. Agriculture — Iron gave Aryans new tools like axe to clear the forest and cultivate the land. Using iron plough-heads, sickles and hoes, they could bring vast tracts of land under cultivation. The production of more rice, wheat, barley, vegetables and fruits improved their standard of living.
  2. Occupation — The use of Iron provided durable implements like saws, chisels, hammers, nails and tongs. This gave rise to occupations such as weaving, spinning, carpentry, tanning and tool making.
  3. Defence — Iron was extensively used in making weapons like swords, armours and shields.

Question 2

With reference to the Society during the Vedic Age, answer the following questions:

(a) Explain briefly the class divisions that existed in the society.

(b) State the position of women in the Vedic period.

(c) Explain the four stages in the life of an Aryan.

Answer

(a) During the Early Vedic Period, the society was divided into different classes based on their profession. These professions became hereditary over the course of time. These occupational classes gradually took the form of caste. In the Later Vedic Period, the four classes or Varnas in which society was divided were Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. The Brahmins performed religious rituals. The Kshatriyas were fighters and they became the ruling class. The Vaishyas engaged in business and looked after agriculture as well as industry. The Shudras served the upper classes.

(b) During the Early Vedic Period the women were respected. They had right to choose their husband and to participate in rituals. Widow remarriage was prevalent. There are no examples of child marriage. The marriageable age in the Rig Veda seems to have been 16 to 17. During Later Vedic Period, there was a significant decline in the status of women. Their participation in Yajna was not considered necessary. Their freedom to choose husband and right to property was curtailed.

(c) The four stages in the life of an Aryan, also known as the four Ashramas were:

  1. The Brahmacharya Ashrama — It lasted up to the age of 25 years during which the pupil was expected to acquire knowledge in gurukul and observe strict discipline.
  2. The Grihastha Ashrama — It lasted from the age of 25 to 50 years during which man was supposed to marry and raise and maintain his family.
  3. The Vanaprastha Ashrama — It lasted from the age of 50 to 75 years. During this period the man was expected to retire from worldly life and acquire spiritual knowledge.
  4. The Sanyasa Ashrama — It lasted from the age of 75 to 100 years which was the period of renunciation. Man had to leave everything forever and go into meditation in order to attain moksha or salvation.

Question 3

With reference to economic organisation of the people in the Vedic Period, answer the following questions:

(a) State the methods used by the Aryans in agriculture.

(b) Why was the domestication of animals important to the Aryans?

(c) How was trade managed during this period?

Answer

(a) For the Early Vedic Period, there are very few references of agricultural activities in the Rig Veda. There are references to fire being used for burning the forest cover and the practice of shifting cultivation. In the Later Vedic Period, importance of agriculture grew due to the availability of vast tracts of fertile alluvial lands of the Ganga-Yamuna doab and the middle Ganga valley. The later Vedic texts refer to oxen yoked to the plough suggesting the prevalence of plough cultivation. Iron ploughshares and metal tools were used and a variety of crops were cultivated towards the end of this period.

(b) The domestication of animals was important to the Aryans because during the Early Vedic Period cattle was main source of income. For Aryans cattle was synonymous with wealth. Cow had religious value, animals like sheep were domesticated for wool. Leather workers have also been mentioned in Vedic Text. Moreover, the area received low rainfall and the major rivers were known to change course making it difficult to cultivate the alluvial lands near the rivers on a permanent basis thereby further increasing the importance of domestication of animals.

(c) During the Later Vedic Period agricultural surplus led to trade giving rise to markets from which developed towns and cities. Although coins were introduced, barter system was still dominant in trade with other countries.

Question 4

With reference to the picture given, answer the following question:

With reference to the picture given, answer the following question. Identify this ancient education system. Persons belonging to which ashrama of life attended this? Describe briefly the life in this ancient education institution. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of studying in this educational setup? The Vedic Period, Total History and Civics Solutions ICSE Class 9.

(a) Identify this ancient education system. Persons belonging to which ashrama of life attended this?

(b) Describe briefly the life in this ancient education institution.

(c) What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of studying in this educational setup?

Answer

(a) The given picture shows Gurukul system of education in which the students used to live with their teacher called guru.

Persons belonging to Brahmacharya ashrama of life attended the Gurukul.

(b) The residence of Guru called gurukul, was the most sacred institution. The Gurukuls were located on the outskirts of the city and even in forests. The students lived there. The guru treated his students like his own children. The student was required to do household chores for his teacher. They woke up early in the morning, took bath and chanted Vedic mantras. Most of the teaching was done orally. At the completion of education, a student used to give Guru Dakshina — a gift to his teacher. The main object of education was to bring about physical, mental and spiritual development of the pupils. The subjects of study included the Vedas, Puranas, Grammar, Mathematics, Ethics, Logic and Military Science.

(c) Advantages of gurukul system of education — It brought a sense of equality among the students as children of king and children of common man all studied in the same setup with the same rules. It helped in the physical, mental and spiritual development of the students.

Disadvantages of gurukul system of education — Education was oral. Students were required to be away from their homes and live a hard life without any personal choice. There was no fixed curriculum and methods of assessment for the students.

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