Short Answer Questions
What is meant by the term composite culture?
The term composite culture refers to the culture that developed due to the interaction of the Turks and the Indians. This culture was neither purely Persian nor entirely Indian, but a fusion of the best elements of the two. This culture is also known as Indo-Islamic culture.
Mention any two factors which promoted composite culture during the Mughal Age.
Two factors which promoted composite culture during the Mughal Age are:
- The immense wealth and the unlimited power in the hands of the Mughal emperors enabled them to continue their patronage of fine arts and literature. They used their wealth to build palaces, forts and monuments.
- The glorious and rich culture heritage of the Mughals on the one hand and Indians on other hand, created a unique atmosphere for the brilliant output of letters and fine arts.
What is Bijak? Name any two sections into which Bijak is divided.
The Bijak is the compilation of the verses of Kabir. Kabir was an oral poet, whose works were written by others. The Bijak is preserved by the Kabirpanthis (the followers of Kabir) in Varanasi and elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh.
Two sections into which Bijak is divided are:
- Sakhi — composed in Doha or couplet form.
- Ramaini — written in the form of chaupai and is usually based on musical raga.
Enumerate any two teaching of Kabir, according to the Bijak.
Two teaching of Kabir, according to the Bijak are:
- There is only one God. He may be worshipped under many names.
- Devotion to God and good actions are only means of salvation.
Who compiled Guru Granth Sahib? Why is it called the living Guru?
Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
Guru Granth Sahib is known as the living Guru because it is considered as a spiritual guide for the entire humanity and one can find in it all the answers regarding religion and morality.
State any two teachings of Guru Nanak according to the Guru Granth Sahib.
Two teachings of Guru Nanak according to the Guru Granth Sahib are:
- Guru Nanak preached the unity of God and the nnity of mankind.
- He advocated devotion to God in place of ritualism.
Which Sufi Saint's tomb is enshrined in the Ajmer Sharief Dargah? What was his main belief?
Ajmer Sharief is the holy shrine of the sufi saint, Khwajah Moinuddin Chishti.
The main beliefs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti were achieving oneness with God, devotion to the Divine, leading a pure life, showing compassion and charity for the helpless and poor.
Mention any two doctrines of the Bhakti cult.
Two doctrines of the Bhakti cult are:
- God is one. He must be worshipped with love and devotion.
- Guru, an enlightened teacher, is indispensable for realising God.
What is meant by Sufism? Name one sufi saint.
Sufism was a movement by Islamic sect that preached religious tolerance, brotherhood and oneness of God. The word 'Sufi comes from arabic word Suf meaning wool and was used for the mystics who used to wear only a coarse woollen garment.
Khwajah Moinuddin Chishti was one of the Sufi saints.
Mention any two doctrines of Sufism.
The two doctrines of Sufism are:
- Individual soul is the manifestation of the supreme God and human soul will finally merge with it.
- Fundamental unity of all religions.
Write a Short note on the life of St. Francis Xavier.
St. Francis Xavier was born on April 7, 1506 in the castle of Xavier in Spain. After completing his studies and working as teacher for sometime, St. Xavier displayed zeal and charity in attending to the sick in hospitals. In 1537, he became a priest. In 1541, he started his missionary journey towards India and landed at Goa in 1542. He spent the first five months in preaching and attending to the sick in hospitals. He worked relentlessly for ten years in India, and preached essentials of christianity. He died on December 2, 1552, when he was on a sea voyage to China. His mortal remains were brought back and reached Goa after a whole year. It is said that when the body reached India, after a whole year, it was still fresh as it was on the day of burial. The body of St. Francis Xavier is still enshrined in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa.
With reference to the sources of composite culture in India, state the significance of the following:
(b) Guru Granth Sahib
(c) Ajmer Sharief
(a) Bijak — Bijak is the compilation of verses of Kabir. Kabir was an oral poet, whose works were written by others. The Bijak is preserved by Kabirpanthis (the followers of Kabir) in Varanasi and elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh. Bijak comprises three main sections called Sakhi, Ramaini and Shabda and a fourth section containing miscellaneous folk song forms. According to Bijak, Kabir taught that there is only one God who is worshipped under many names. Kabir denounced idol worship, empty rituals, meaningless ceremonies and pilgrimage. Bijak presents Kabir's compositions in a simple style and exhorts his listeners to shed their delusions, pretensions and orthodox views in favour of direct experience of truth.
(b) Guru Granth Sahib — It is the only scripture of its kind which contains the songs, hymns and utterances of a wide variety of saints, sages and bards. This shows that Guru Arjan Dev wanted to affirm the fundamental unity of all religions and the unitary character of all mystic experience. It is indeed, a magnificent compendium of religions, mystic and metaphysical poetry written or uttered between the 12th and the 17th century in different parts of India. It is also at the same time, a mirror of the sociological, economical and political conditions of those days.
(c) Ajmer Sharief — Ajmer Sharief is the holy shrine of the sufi saint, Khwajah Moinuddin Chishti, located at Ajmer in Rajasthan. The Dargah of Khwajah Moinuddin Chishti is one of the most revered sites in India not only for the Muslims but also for the people of other faiths, who hold the saint in high esteem. Every year thousands of people visit Ajmer Sharief to pay reverence at the sanctified dargah. A yearly carnival, known as Urs is held for six days in the honour of the beloved saint.
Sufism was a liberal reform movement within Islam. With reference to Sufism, write short notes on the following:
(a) Devotion to God
(b) Caste distinctions
(c) Unity of all religions
(a) Devotion to God — Sufi saints like Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti and Hazrat Nizamuddin, stressed love and good actions as means of realising God. According to Sufism one can reach God through personal devotion and not through empty rituals. The Doctrines of Sufism include that individual soul is manifestation of the Supreme God and human soul would finally merge with it. Also inner purity and self-discipline are essential for gaining the knowledge of God.
(b) Caste distinctions — Sufism was a liberal reform movement which created an atmosphere on which liberal sentiments and views could grow and narrowness of cast and religion was shunned. Equality and brotherhood of all human beings irrespective of caste, colour, creed was emphasised. Sufism basically freed people from the holds of age old rigid caste system.
(c) Unity of all religions — Sufism believed in fundamental unity of all religions. It insisted that the God is one and only he is worshipped under different names. They shunned all the rituals of different religions as according to them one can reach the God through personal devotion and not through empty rituals. Sufism fostered the feelings of Hindu-Muslim unity. It played a great role in promoting feelings of tolerance among the rulers. People, irrespective of their religion, began to understand and appreciate others' faith.
Summarise the impact of the Bhakti movement with regard to:
(a) Equality of all human beings.
(b) Fostering unity and harmony between different communities.
(c) Promoting regional languages and devotional literature.
(a) Equality of all human beings — Bhakti saints preached universal brotherhood and emphasised equality of all men. The teachings of Kabir, Guru Nanak, Ravidas helped reform Indian society. They tried to evolve a new social order by following the principle of equality and by denouncing caste distinctions. By exposing the futility of empty rituals, they did away with the domination of priests. Thus, the Bhakti movement brought in social changes.
(b) Fostering unity and harmony between different communities —The Bhakti movement played an important role in fostering Indo-Islamic culture. The Bhakti movement emphasised the essential unity of Islam and Hinduism, and laid stress on a religion based on love and devotion rather than one based on rituals. Thus, they created an atmosphere in Which liberal sentiments and views could grow and religious narrowness was shunned. They preached that the God is one and only the ways of worshipping him are different. The God must be worshipped with love and devotion.
(c) Promoting regional languages and devotional literature — The Bhakti movement played an important role in promoting regional languages and devotional literature. The Bhakti saints preached in the language of people. Languages like Hindi, Bhojpuri, Maithili and Oriya became popular. Among important literary works of this period were Ramcharit Manas by Tulsidas, Gurmukhi literature of the Sikh Gurus and the Vaishnava literature in Bengal. The local languages became even more popular by Bhakti saints like Mira Bai and Sant Janeshwar.
With reference to the influnce of Christianity during the Mughal period, answer the following question:
(a) Explain the role played by St. Francis Xavier in spreading Christianity in India.
(b) How did the missionaries bring Europeans closer to Indians?
(c) Explain the role of Christian missionaries in promoting language, literature and art in India.
(a) St. Francis Xavier arrived in India in 1542. He spent the first five months in preaching and attending to the sick in hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a large number of people, he would take them to a church and explain the beliefs related to Christianity to them. During the six years that St. Xavier had been working in India, other Jesuit missionaries had arrived in Goa. In 1584, he sent these missionaries to the principal centres of India, where he has established missions. He worked relentlessly for ten years in India, and preached essentials of Christianity.
(b) The missionaries in order to understand and to be understood by the Indian people brought out grammars and dictionaries of the Indian languages. The missionaries began teaching Western music, dance and instrumental music in Church schools in India. The missionaries and the Church were also teachers and patrons in India of the arts of paintings, carving and sculpture. The religious paintings of the Churches influenced the Mughals. Portuguese, English and Mughal records show the interest of Akbar and Jahangir in Christian works of arts. The Portuguese Church provided the earliest introduction to European architectural ideas in India. The Missionaries were the best interpreters of India to the Western World with their popular letters from the mission field. All these works of the missionaries brought the Indians and Europeans closer.
(c) The Missionaries, in order to establish effective communication with Indian people, brought out grammars and dictionaries of the Indian languages. St. Francis Xavier learnt the language of Malabar and brought out a manual of grammar and a vocabulary which helped the Jesuits and other missionaries to learn the language of the people of Malabar. The English Jesuit, Thomas Stephens, brought out an epic in Konkani and a grammar book. Diogo Ribeiro, another English missionary, wrote a grammar book and booklets on Christian doctrines. The missionaries began teaching Western music, dance and instrumental music in Church schools in India. The Missionaries and the Church were also teachers and patrons in India of the arts of painting, carving and sculpture. The religious paintings of the Churches influenced the Mughals. The Portuguese Church provided the earliest introduction to European architectural ideas in India. This included the long, two-storeyed house, with high-pitched roof, balconies and verandas, many windows and elaborately carved walls.
With reference to the pictures given alongside, answer the following:
(a) Name the Bhakti Saints given in the pictures. Where were they born?
(b) How did the Sufi and the Bhakti movements foster the growth of Indo-Islamic culture?
(c) Mention any two teachings of each of these two saints.
(a) The Bhakti Saints given in the pictures are Mirabai and Sant Jnaneswar. Mirabai was born in Mewar, Rajasthan and Sant Jnaneswar was born in Apegaon village on the banks of Godavari river near Paithan in Maharashtra.
(b) A number of sufi and bhakti saints emphasised the essential unity of Islam and Hinduism. They laid stress on a religion based on love and devotion rather than one based on rituals. Thus, they created an atmosphere in which liberal sentiments and views could grow and religious narrowness was shunned. In these ways, the Sufi and the Bhakti movements played an important role in fostering growth of Indo-Islamic culture.
(c) Two Teachings of Mirabai are:
- She taught extreme devotion to God.
- She showed the people with her personal example how to surrender themselves to Lord Krishna.
Two Teachings of Sant Jnaneshwar are:
- He regarded bhakti or devotion as only mean of liberation.
- He taught people to live a simple and virtuous life.