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History — Chapter 6

The Age of the Guptas

Class 9 - Total History & Civics Solutions


Short Answer Questions

Question 1

Who was Fa-hien? What did he say about India?

Answer

Fa-hien was a Chinese pilgrim who visited India on a religious mission during the reign of Chandragupta II. He made careful unbiased observations about the conditions at that time.

Fa-hien gave following accounts about India:

  1. Magadha was a prosperous country with large towns and wealthy population.
  2. Pataliputra was a flourishing city with numerous charitable institutions including a hospital.
  3. People led a simple life, observing the Buddhist rules of conduct even though they were wealthy.
  4. Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Buddhism and Jainism were main religions. People had no ill-will towards other sects.
  5. Hindu Gods and Goddesses were depicted on coins and also in sculptures and paintings.
  6. The penal code was mild and the offences were ordinarily punished by fines only.

Question 2

Who was the ruler when Fa-hien visited India? Name the three places of pilgrimage that Fa-hien visited in India.

Answer

Chandragupta II was the ruler when Fa-hien visited India.

The three places of pilgrimage that Fa-hien visited in India were:

  1. Mathura
  2. Kannauj
  3. Kapilavastu

Question 3

Name two dramas written by Kalidasa.

Answer

Two dramas written by Kalidasa were:

  1. Abhijnanashakuntalam
  2. Malavikagnimitram

Question 4

Why is the Gupta period known as the Golden Age of Indian culture?

Answer

The Gupta period is known as the Golden Age of Indian culture because of the high level of civilisation and culture of this period. Along with the revival of Hinduism, the power of creativity was unleashed in the fields of education, literature, arts, architecture and science. This period also saw the extension of this influence beyond India's frontiers.

Question 5

How was Samudragupta a bold and great conquerer?

Answer

Samudragupta was a bold and great conquerer as he defeated all the rulers of his time and extended his empire from Brahmaputra in east to rivers Yamuna and Chambal in the west and from Himalayas in the north to Narmada in south. It is because of his bravery and generalship that he is known as 'Napoleon of India'. During his famous Deccan campaign he covered more than 3000 miles through dense forests. Though he defeated many powerful rulers, he did not annex southern territories. He made the southern kings accept his authority and allowed them to rule.

Question 6

Name the famous university that existed during the Gupta period. In which present day state is it?

Answer

The famous university that existed during the Gupta period was Nalanda University.

It is presently located at Nalanda in Rajagriha in Bihar.

Question 7

Name any two titles adopted by the Gupta rulers.

Answer

Two titles adopted by the Gupta rulers were:

  1. Parameshvara
  2. Maharajadhiraja

Question 8

During the Gupta period name the officer who (i) collected toll tax; and (ii) the one who was incharge of a province or bhukti.

Answer

  1. The officer who collected toll taxes was Shaulkika.
  2. The officer who was incharge of a province or bhukti was Uparika.

Question 9

Name any two famous literary figures of the Gupta Age.

Answer

Two literary figures of the Gupta Age were:

  1. Kalidasa
  2. Harisena

Question 10

What contribution did Aryabhatta make in the field of science?

Answer

Aryabhatta was a great astronomer and mathematician. The main contributions he made in the field of science are:

  1. He said that the earth moves around the sun.
  2. He discovered the rule for finding the area of a triangle.
  3. He calculated the exact value of pi which was equal to 3.1416. The credit for development of trigonometry should actually go to him.
  4. In his work Surya Siddhanta, he explained the exact causes of solar and lunar eclipses.
  5. He was well acquainted with the decimal system and use of 'zero'.

Structured Questions

Question 1

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

(a) Accounts of Fa-hien

(b) The Allahabad Pillar Inscription

(c) Nalanda University

Answer

(a) Accounts of Fa-hien — Fa-hien was the earliest Chinese pilgrim who visited India on a religious mission during the reign of Chandragupta II. During his stay in India, he went to Mathura, Kannauj, Kapilavastu, Kushinagar, Vaishali, Pataliputra, Kashi and Rajagriha. He gave unbiased details of that period. He gave following accounts:

  1. According to him, Magadha was a prosperous country with large towns.
  2. Pataliputra was a flourishing city with numerous charitable institutions including a hospital.
  3. People were wealthy but led simple lives following the Buddhist rule of conduct.
  4. Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Buddhism and Jainism were main religions. People had no ill-will towards other sects.
  5. Hindu Gods and Goddesses were depicted on coins and also in sculptures and paintings.
  6. The penal code was mild and the offences were ordinarily punished by fines only.

(b) The Allahabad Pillar Inscription — It is one of the important epigraphic evidences of the Imperial Guptas. It is also known as Prayag Prashasti and is written in praise of Samudragupta by his court poet Harisena. It describes the reign of Guptas in ancient India. It provides an impressive list of Kings and Tribal republics that were conquered by Samudragupta. The inscription is also important because of the political geography of India that it indicates by naming the different Kings and people who populated India in the first half of the 4th century AD.

(c) Nalanda University — It was the most renowned educational institution of ancient India. It was located at Nalanda in Rajagriha in Bihar. The University of Nalanda had imposing buildings. There were at least eight colleges built by different patrons including one by Balaputradeva, King of Sumatra. According to Hiuen Tsang the whole university area was enclosed by a brick wall. The Nalanda University provided various facilities to the students for their studies. There were three great libraries called Ratnasagar, Ratanadadhi and Ratnaranjak. There were more than 10,000 students and teachers. They came from Korea, Mangolia, Japan, China, Tibet, Ceylon and various parts of India. The subjects of study at Nalanda University were all the four Vedas, logic, grammar, medicine, sankya, yoga, nyaya and the Buddhist works of the different schools. Nalanda university was a post graduate institution. Only the most brilliant were admitted to the university through an admission examination in which hardly 20% students qualified. It was destroyed by Mohammad-bin-Bakhtiyar Khilji, a general of Mohammad Ghori.

Question 2

With reference to the Age of Guptas, answer the following questions:

(a) Explain the extent of Samudragupta's Empire based on the information given in the Allahabad Pillar Inscription.

(b) Explain how Chandragupta II expanded his empire.

(c) Briefly mention any four observations of Fa-hien about Chandragupta II's reign.

Answer

(a) According to The Allahabad inscription, the empire of Samudragupta extended from Brahmaputra in east to rivers Yamuna and Chambal in the west and from Himalayas in the north to Narmada in south. He further extended his empire upto the Chambal river by defeating the Naga kings of Mathura, Gwalior and Ahichhatra.

(b) Chandragupta II expanded his empire by conquering the territories of Sakas of Malwa, Gujarat and Saurashtra. For this he was given the title 'Sakari'. Chandragupta II entered into matrimonial alliance as a part of foreign policy, he married Kuberanaga of the Naga family. The Nagas were a powerful ruling clan and this matrimonial alliance helped the Gupta ruler in expanding his empire. The marriage of Chandragupta's daughter, Prabhavati with Vakataka ruler, Rudrasena II helped him to establish his political influence in the Deccan.

(c) Four observations of Fa-hien about Chandragupta II's reign were:

  1. Magadha was a prosperous country with large towns and wealthy population.
  2. Pataliputra was a flourishing city with numerous charitable institutions including a charitable hospital.
  3. Although people were wealthy yet they led simple lives, observing the Buddhist rules of conduct.
  4. Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Buddhism and Jainism were main religions. People had no ill-will towards other sects.

Question 3

With reference to the administrative system of the Guptas, answer the following questions:

(a) Explain the position and powers of the king during the Gupta Age.

(b) Describe briefly the administration of villages during the Gupta period.

(c) According to the Allahabad Pillar which kinds of rulers were there? How did Samudragupta deal with them?

Answer

(a) During the Gupta period, Monarchy was the prevailing form of government. Theory of the divinity of kings became popular. The Gupta Kings were compared to different Gods such as Yama, Varuna, Indra, Kubera and also Vishnu as they were preservers and protectors of the people. They enjoyed a large number of powers which covered the political, administrative, military and judicial fields. They were the commanders-in-chief of the army. The kings appointed all the governors and important military and civil officers and they all worked under the guidance and control of the king. The king was the source of all honours and titles. All land in the country was the property of the king. He could construct dams, give shelter to foreigners, impose, recover and remit taxes and give justice. All unclaimed property went into the coffers of the king.

(b) The village administration was managed by the village headman. The small towns or villages were called vithis. Leading local elements participated in the administration of the village. No land transaction could be effected without their consent and this may have been also true of other important affairs. Thus, villages in the Gupta period were managed from grassroot level.

(c) The Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta describes four different kinds of rulers and tells us about Samudragupta's policies towards them:

  1. The nine rulers of Aryavarta were uprooted and their kingdoms were made a part of Samudragupta's empire.
  2. The twelve rulers of Dakshinapatha (South India), who surrendered to Samudragupta after being defeated, were liberated and allowed to rule again over their kingdoms.
  3. The inner circle of neighbouring states, including Assam, Coastal Bengal, Nepal and a number of Gana Sanghas in the north west paid tribute, followed his orders and attended his court.
  4. The rulers of the outlying areas submitted to him and offered their daughters in marriage.

Question 4

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

With reference to the picture given alongside, answer the following. Identify the temple given in the picture. Where is it located? To which God is this temple dedicated? Mention the architectural features of this temple. Briefly describe the educational institution set up during this period. The Age of the Guptas, Total History and Civics Solutions ICSE Class 9.

(a) Identify the temple given in the picture. Where is it located? To which God is this temple dedicated?

(b) Mention the architectural features of this temple.

(c) Briefly describe the educational institution set up during this period.

Answer

(a) The given temple is Dashavatara Temple (also called Vishnu temple). It is located in Deogarh.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the God of preservation, who is shown asleep on the coil of the giant serpent called Sheshnaga.

(b) The architectural features of Dashavatara temple are:

  1. It was built of stone and bricks on a 1.5 metre high platform.
  2. Four stairways outside the platform provide access to the temple.
  3. Its exterior is decorated with scenes from Ramayana. The entrance and pillars were adorned with countless paintings and carvings.
  4. It was the first North Indian temple with a Shikhara or tower, although a part of it has disappeared.

(c) The educational institution set up during this period was Nalanda University. It was the most renowned educational institution of ancient India. It was located at Nalanda in Rajagriha in Bihar. The University of Nalanda had imposing buildings. There were at least eight colleges built by different patrons including one by Balaputradeva, King of Sumatra. The Nalanda University provided various facilities like libraries to the students. There were three great libraries called Ratnasagar, Ratanadadhi and Ratnaranjak. There were more than 10,000 students and teachers. They came from Korea, Mangolia, Japan, China, Tibet, Ceylon and various parts of India. The subjects of Study at Nalanda University were all the four Vedas, logic, grammar, medicine, sankya, yoga, nyaya and the Buddhist works of the different schools. Nalanda university was a post graduate institution. Only the most brilliant were admitted to the university through an admission examination in which hardly 20% students qualified. It was destroyed by Mohammad-bin-Bakhtiyar Khilji, a general of Mohammad Ghori.

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