Short Answer Question
State any two sources of information about the Mauryan Empire.
Two sources of information about the Mauryan Empire are:
- Arthashastra of Kautilya — It was written by Kautilya or Chanakya, the Prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya. It is a comprehensive manual that deals with politics, rules of diplomacy, principles of administration and other political topics.
- Indika — This book was written by Magasthenes, a greek ambassador at the court of Chandragupta Maurya. This book contains his impressions of what he heard and saw during his stay in India.
Who wrote Arthashastra? What is its importance?
Arthashastra was written by Kautilya, also known as Chanakya and Vishnugupta. He was advisor and Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya.
Arthashastra is one of the most important source of information about Mauryan times. It is a comprehensive manual that deals with politics, rules of diplomacy, principles of administration and other such political topics.
What is the importance of Ashoka's edicts?
The edicts of Ashoka form the most important source of Mauryan history. They are the oldest, best preserved and precisely dated records of India. The Ashoka's edicts provide an insight into the life and ideals of Ashoka in particular and about the history of the Mauryas in general. Details about Kalinga war, call for non-violence and peace are mentioned on these edicts.
Who wrote the Indika? What does it contain?
Indika was written by Megasthenes, a greek ambassador. It contains his impressions of what he heard and saw during his stay in India.
What is a Stupa? Name one Stupa built by Ashoka.
A Stupa is a semi-spherical solid dome like structure made of unburnt bricks and stones. It represents the spiritual body of Buddha containing his relics such as hair, teeth or bones.
Ashoka built the Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh.
How did the Chandragupta Maurya establish the Mauryan Dynasty?
Chandragupta Maurya was dismissed from the service of Nandas who ruled before him. He then met Kautilya, a Brahmin at Takshila. They joined hands to destroy the Nanda dynasty. After a long series of battles with Chandragupta, the Nanda capital at Pataliputra fell. This led to the emergence of Mauryan Dynasty with Chandragupta Maurya as the emperor.
What is the importance of the Kalinga war in the personal life of Ashoka?
Kalinga war changed Ashoka's personal life. He stopped hunting and eating meat and abandoned the life of luxury. He embraced Buddhism and followed some of the Buddhist principles in his state policy like non-violence and disapproval of empty rituals. He went on tours to preach Buddhism to people. He also sent missionaries to the various parts of the world. He sent his daughter Sanghamitra and son Mahindra to Sri Lanka to propogate Buddhism.
What was the impact of Ashoka embracing the policy of Dhammaghosha?
The impact of Ashoka embracing the policy of Dhammaghosha was:
- Ashoka abandoned the policy of 'conquest by force' (bherigosha) and ambition of 'victory in all directions' (Digvijay).
- He stopped hunting and eating meat and abandoned the life of luxury.
- The prisoners of war were used for agricultural work. It resulted in an increase in production and brought about economic prosperity in his empire.
- Ashoka started preaching Buddhism, sent missionaries to various parts of the world and sent his daughter, Sanghmitra and son, Mahindra to Sri Lanka to propagate Buddhism.
- He followed Buddhist principles in his State policy like non-violence and dissaproval of empty rituals.
- He erected several pillars and edicts, gave donations to Viharas and ordered construction of Stupas to keep the relics of Buddha.
- There was decline in military preparedness and efficiency due to abandonment of wars.
Name the two taxes mentioned in the Edicts of Ashoka.
The two taxes mentioned in the Edicts of Ashoka are:
- Bhaga — It was levied on agricultural produce and cattles.
- Bali — It was religious tribute.
How did the king keep himself abreast with whatever was happening in his kingdom?
The king has a wide network of spies in his empire. They kept the king informed about the important developments in his kingdom. The king was always kept informed of the working of the bureaucracy.
Name two officials who assisted the Mauryan king and in which capacity?
The Mauryan king was assisted by:
- Senapati — He advised the king on matters related to war and peace.
- Sannidhata — He was the head of treasure.
What is meant by Ashoka's Dhamma?
Ashoka's Dhamma was a 'Common Code of Conduct' or a 'Moral Law' or an 'Ethical Order' that was based on the unifying principles of all major religions of the world. It was not a religion or religious system. He wanted his subjects to follow this Dhamma instead of imposing any religion on them.
Give the basic principles of Ashoka's Dhamma.
The basic principles of Ashoka's Dhamma were:
- Respect for elders and love for children.
- Ahimsa or non-violence.
- Good deeds or good karma would give happiness to man in the next birth.
- He taught people to respect all religions.
- He disapproved empty rituals.
What was the impact of Dhamma on Ashoka's policy?
The impacts of Dhamma on Ashoka's policy were:
- Religious unity — People belonging to different religions followed their emperor's policy of religious tolerance.
- Moral values — People under the influence of Dhamma started living a moral life.
- End of crimes — Due to policy of Ahimsa, thefts, crimes and other such activities almost came to an end.
- Public welfare — With the policy of conquests and wars having come to an end, officials undertook public welfare and public work schemes. This resulted in prosperity and helped people to lead a peaceful life.
With reference to the sources of information on the Mauryan Empire, explain briefly the significance of the following:
(c) Sanchi Stupa
(a) Arthashastra — Discovered in 1909, it is the most important of all the sources on the history of Mauryas. It was written by Kautilya also known as Chanakya and Vishnugupta. Written in sanskrit, Arthashastra is a comprehensive manual that deals with politics, rules of diplomacy, principles and art of administration and other such political topics. It gives us information about the central and provincial governments and their officials.
(b) Indika — It was written by Megasthenes, who was a Greek ambassador sent by Seleucus, at the court of Chandragupta Maurya. Although original Indika has been lost but its fragments are available in the writings of later Greek authors like Strabo, Arrian and Diodorus. Indika contains whatever Megasthenes saw and heard during his stay. It tells us about the administration and political conditions of Mauryans. It also mentions about the ruler of Kalinga.
(c) Sanchi Stupa — It is located at Sanchi, 45 km from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. Its foundation was laid by Ashoka. It represents the spiritual body of Buddha containing his relics such as hair, teeth or bones. There are four gateways in four directions. They have carved panels depicting events from the life of Buddha and some tales from Jataka stories. Buddha is represented by Symbols like the peepal tree, lotus or a wheel. The pillars are surmounted by capitals which contain sculptures of lions. Sanchi Stupa reflects information about architecture and importance of Buddhism during Mauryan period.
With reference to Mauryan Empire, answer the following questions:
(a) Give a brief account of how Chandragupta established the Mauryan Empire.
(b) Give a brief account of the Kalinga war and its consequences.
(c) Name four important ways in which Buddhism spread under the royal patronage during the Mauryan times.
(a) Chandragupta Maurya worked with Nandas, who ruled before him. He was dismissed from the services by Nandas. He then met Kautilya, son of a brahmin, at Takshilla (Kautilya later became famous as Chanakya). Kautilya too was wronged by the Nandas. They joined hands with each other to destroy Nandas. After a long series of Battles, Chandragupta Maurya defeated Nandas and established the Mauryan Empire. Chandragupta Maurya took over the territories conquered by Alexander in the North-Western part of India after Alexander's death. Later on he defeated Seleucus and got Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Baluchistan from him. His empire extended from Kabul and Kandahar in the North-West to Mysore in the south; and from Bengal in the east to Saurashtra in the west.
(b) 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. The death and destruction caused by the Kalinga war brought about a great change in the personal and political life of Ashoka. He abandoned the policy of 'conquest by force' (bherigosha) and ambition of 'victory in all directions' (Digvijay) and embraced the policy of religion (Dhammagosha). He stopped hunting, eating meat and abandoned the life of luxury. He embraced Buddhism and engaged himself in spreading it. He adopted the policy of non-violence and disapproved empty rituals. The prisoners of war were used for agricultural work that resulted in the increase in production and brought economic prosperity in his empire.
(c) Four important ways in which Buddhism spread under the royal patronage during the Mauryan times were:
- Huge donations were given by Mauryan kings to Buddhist Viharas.
- Ashoka got erected several pillars and edicts to spread the teachings of Buddhism. These pillars had Buddhist teachings engraved on them. Ashoka ordered for construction of 84,000 Stupas to keep the relics of Buddha.
- Ashoka himself went on tours to preach Buddhism to people. He also sent missionaries to various parts of the world.
- Ashoka sent his daughter, Sanghamitra and son, Mahindra to Sri Lanka to propagate Buddhism.
With reference to Mauryan administration, answer the following questions:
(a) Why is Chandragupta Maurya regarded as the chief architect of the system of administration?
(b) Briefly describe the main features of civil and military administration under Mauryan rule.
(c) Explain briefly the Pan-Indian character of Mauryan administration.
(a) Chandragupta Maurya is regarded as the chief architect of the system of administration because he laid the foundation of an elaborate system of administration, under the guidance of Chanakya. Chanakya wrote a book Arthashastra in which he describes the principles of politics and the art of administration. The Mauryan administration had two main divisions — civil administration and military administration. There was a council of ministers and each minister was responsible for his own department.
(b) The main features of civil and military administration under Mauryan rule are described below:
- The civil administration had two main divisions — the Central Government and the Provincial Government.
- The Mauryan Government was centralised and was managed by several officials at different ranks.
- The king was supreme authority and supreme judge. His throne was hereditary.
- The king was assisted by the council of ministers headed by prime minister.
- The provincial government was headed by Kumar or Aryaputra and the district administration was looked after by Pradeshika, Rrajuka and Yukta.
- There were Mahamatras to assist Kumars. Pradeshika was the tax collector.
- There was an efficient Spy system to keep the king informed.
- Two kinds of taxes, namely Bali and Bhaga were levied.
- There was a huge army consisting of infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots. The army had 6,00,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, 9000 war elephants and 8000 chariots
- The chief weapon used were bows, arrows, shields, swords etc.
- The king was the commander in chief of army.
- The whole army was under a military commission of thirty members and they had a well laid recruitment policy.
- The soldiers were paid in cash.
- The Mauryan king had built forts at strategic places for safety and security of empire.
(c) The Mauryan Empire extended from Hindukush in north-west to river Pennar in south. The chief advantages of the Pan-Indian character of Mauryan Empire were the following:
- It marked the end of small states.
- It helped in establishing trade links with foreign countries.
- It made India strong and helped the Mauryan kings face foreign aggressions successfully.
- This helped the Mauryan kings to pay more attention to social and economic life of the people. Hence, there was an all-round economic prosperity.
With reference to provincial Governments under the Mauryan rule, answer the following questions:
(a) Name the different provinces and their capitals into which the Mauryan empire was divided.
(b) How was the provincial administration run?
(c) What changes were brought about in the Mauryan administration during Ashoka's reign?
(a) The different provinces and their capitals into which the Mauryan empire was divided are:
(b) The head of province was called Kumar or Aryaputra. Only princes were appointed to this position. The Kumar was assisted by the Governor (Mahamatra). According to some rock and pillar edicts of Ashoka, besides the Mahamatra, other officers took active part in the administration of the provinces. Pradeshika collected taxes. Rajuka performed the function of modern day Tehsildar or revenue officer and Yukta was the treasurer.
(c) The changes that were brought about in the Mauryan administration during Ashoka's reign were:
- Ashoka added a new province, Kalinga with Tosali as capital.
- The Mauryan centralised monarchy became a paternal despotism under Ashoka.
- Ashoka simplified many rigorous practices related to administration regarding taxation and crop collection.
- Ashoka appointed Mahamatras or Governors to look after the welfare of his subjects.
With reference to the Mauryan administration, write short notes on the following:
(a) The Central Government
(b) District Administration
(c) Revenue system
(a) The Central Government — The Mauryan Government was centralised. The king was supreme authority as well as the supreme judge. His throne was hereditary. He was assisted by a council of ministers or Mantri Parishad. The council of ministers was headed by Prime Minister. Each minister was responsible for his department. The council of ministers included Pujari (Purohit), Senapati (War related matters), Sannidhata (the treasure head), Samaharta (taxation expert), etc. The other officers were Accountant General, one incharge of Agriculture, Superintendent of Mines, Superintendent of ports, Controller of Commerce, as well as the Superintendent of Weights and Measures.
(b) District Administration — During Mauryan period, the provinces were further divided into Districts also known as Janapadas. Officers like Pradeshika (tax collector), Rajuka (revenue officer) and Yukta (the treasurer) looked after the administration of districts.
Important cities and the capital of provinces had their own administrative system. The head of the city was called Nagaradhyaksha.
(c) Revenue System — The Revenue System of Mauryan period was very efficient. It was regulated by Samaharta in the ministerial council. The land revenue was the main source of income. Two kinds of taxes were imposed namely Bali and Bhaga. Bhaga was levied on agricultural produce and cattles at the rate of one-sixth while Bali was religious tribute. Toll tax was imposed on articles which were brought for sale. Taxes were also imposed on liquor shops, gambling houses, forests and mines. The income from the revenue collected was used to develop various facilities like roads, irrigation, hospitals and meet expenses of the state.
Study the Ashokan edict and answer the following questions:
(a) What is an edict? Where are these edicts inscribed?
(b) What is the significance of edicts as a source of information?
(c) Explain briefly the importance of Ashoka's edicts giving example from one of his edicts.
(a) An edict is a decree issued by a sovereign. They are the oldest, best preserved and precisely dated records of India.
These edicts are inscribed on rocks and pillars throughout the country and include 14 major rock edicts, 7 pillar edicts and a number of minor rock edicts.
(b) The significance of edicts as a source of information lies in the fact that they provide us useful insight into the life and ideals of Ashoka in particular and about the history of Mauryans in general. They are most precisely dated records of Mauryan period.
(c) The edicts provide us the most accurate records and information about the ideals and political scenario of Mauryan empire. Taking Ashoka's Rock Edict-I as an example, reference to protection of animals is made in this edict. It tells us that in pursuance of his policy of non-violence, Ashoka prohibited killing of animals for sacrifices; advocated restraint in the number that had to be killed for consumption; protected some of animals, and in general condemned cruel act against animals.
Study the picture given below and answer the following questions:
(a) Name the structure given in the picture. Name the dynasty and the king who built it.
(b) Where is it located? Mention any two architectural features of this structure.
(c) What is the significance of a Buddhist Stupa?
(a) The structure given in the picture is Sanchi Stupa. It was built by King Ashoka of Mauryan dynasty.
(b) It is located at Sanchi, 45km from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
Two architectural features of this structure are:
- Stupa has a semi-spherical solid dome-like structure made of unburnt bricks and stones.
- There are four gateways in four directions. They have carved panels depicting events from the life of Buddha and some tales from Jataka stories.
(c) A Buddhist Stupa has special significance. It represents the spiritual body of Buddha containing his relics such as hair, teeth or bones. A casket containing these relics is placed at the base of the dome.