History relates the story of cooperative actions of a large number of men and women in their quest for a better life.
Jainism and Buddhism
Ancient India saw the rise of two very important religions, Jainism and Buddhism which left a lasting influence on Indian life and culture. Vedic religion was earlier also known as Brahmanism because the Brahmins played a major role in it. Later it came to be called Hinduism.
Iron Age Civilisations
Iron Age began about 3000 years ago when it came to be produced on a large scale and its use became common. It was much cheaper and stronger than copper and bronze. So, the use of iron tools and implements enabled our forefathers to clear forests and to reclaim lands for the extension of cultivation. Agricultural production thus increased considerably. This brought radical changes in the social and economic life of the people.
Bronze Age Civilisations
During the Stone Age human learnt to make tools and weapons of stone, bone and wood. They lived in caves and found food by hunting and food-gathering. Later, they learnt about agriculture, domestication of animals and led a settled life. The Stone Age was followed by the Metal Ages - Bronze Age and Iron Age.
Ancient World History
History is an account of events that have happened in the past. It is about the real people and the real things. It does not deal with mere ideas and ideals or what should have been. On the other hand, it is a study of what has been. History does not deal with individuals alone. It is concerned with nations and societies.
Rise of Nationalism in India
The rise of Nationalism is reflected in the spirit of Renaissance in Europe when freedom from religious restrictions led to the enhancement of national identity. This expression of Nationalism was furthered by the French Revolution. The political changes resulted in the passing of sovereignty from the hands of an absolute monarch to the French citizens, who had the power to constitute the nation and shape its destiny.
Questions on Resistance Against British Rule
1. List causes of popular resistance movements?
The four causes of popular resistance movements were: (a) Exploitation by the British (b) High revenue rates on the peasants (c) Compulsory growing of commercial and cash crops (d) Interference in the religious practices of the people by the British.
Popular Resistance Movements against British
British colonial rule had a tremendous impact on all sections of Indian society. When the British conquered India and colonised its economy they faced stiff resistance from the people. There were a series of civil rebellions. These rebellions were led by rulers who were deposed by the Britishers, ex-officials of the conquered Indian states, impoverished zamindars and poligars.
Indian Society in Early 19th Century
The Indian society, which you see today, is very different from the one in the first half of the 19th century. Two major social causes prevented the society’s progress. These were lack of education and subordination of women. Many sections of the Indian society were rigid and followed certain practices which were not in keeping with humanitarian values.
Methods of Colonisation In India
When the industrial revolution started in Europe, European states did not have sufficient raw materials for their industries, or markets for their finished goods. These countries now started looking for markets in Asia and Africa. England succeeded in controlling trade with India and established the East India Company in 1600.
Start of Colonial Rule
The European and the British traders initially came to India for trading purposes. The Industrial Revolution in Britain led to the increase in demand for raw materials for the factories there. At the same time, they also required a market to sell their finished goods.
Questions on Modern World - I
1. Define feudalism. Give at least two features of feudalism.
Feudalism is defined as a system in which people were given land and protection by lords in return for their labor. Its two features were: (a) The workers worked and fought for their lords. (b) The king was the most powerful feudal chief.
After the reign of King Harshavardhana, began a prolonged period of political decentralization between the 8th and 10th centuries during which several kingdoms struggled for supremacy. In Northern India, the three major kingdoms were those of the Palas, the Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas. Smaller kingdoms or principalities were established by the Rajput Dynasties of the Chauhans, Paramaras, Gahadavalas.
The rise of Gupta Power in the 4th century AD marked the beginning of a new era in Indian history. Confusion and political disunity were replaced by integrity. Under the leadership and patronage of the powerful Gupta monarchs, considerable progress was made in different aspects of Indian life. There was also a high material prosperity, as mentioned by Fa-hien, the Chinese traveler (4th-5th century AD).
After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, a number of foreign powers like the Bactrian Greeks, the Shakas, the Parthians and the Kushanas invaded India. They ruled in the western and north-western parts of India. The Kushanas were a branch of the Yue-Chi tribe of Central Asia. The first ruler of the Kushanas was Kujula Kadphises. He was succeeded by Vima Kadphises.
Out of the sixteen Mahajanapadas, it was Magadha that expanded considerably under powerful rulers like Bimbisara, Ajatashatru and Mahapadmananda. The last king of the Nanda dynasty was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BC. The Maurya Empire (322-185 BC) was a geographically extensive and powerful political and military empire in ancient India. It was the first empire to unify India into one state, and the largest on the Indian subcontinent.
Discovery of New Lands
The spirit of inquiry encouraged many adventurers to discover new lands. The new trade routes that were discovered changed the history of the world. It is said that "God, Glory and Gold" was the main motive behind these discoveries. But the motive of gold or economic need was the most important.
Development of Science
During the Renaissance, extraordinary accomplishments were made in the field of science. The Renaissance thinkers emphasized more on reason than on blind faith and stressed that knowledge could be gained by observation and experimentation. They rejected blind faith in tradition and established beliefs. This resulted in a scientific inquiry that had almost disappeared. Renaissance also brought about a scientific revolution.
The Medieval Catholic Church came to be associated with superstitions, corruption and greed for money. Superstitious peasants were convinced by the Church that it possessed the true Cross. People were used to paying fees for seeing a piece of wood as the true Cross because it was believed that sacred relics had healing power.
The modern period ushered the end of the Age of Faith and the beginning of the Age of Reason. It witnessed movements like the Renaissance and the Reformation. These movements brought many changes in cultural, intellectual, religious, social and political life of the people all over the world. This period is also characterized by urbanization, faster means of transport and communication, democratic systems and uniform laws based on equality.
Europe in Medieval Times
The Medieval Period refers to the period which succeeded the Ancient Period and came before the Modern Period. The term ‘Middle Ages’ was coined by Europeans in the 17th century because they saw it as a long and dark period of interruption between the Classical Period of Ancient Greek and Roman Civilisations and their own Modern Age.
The successor states of the Germanic peoples in the West managed to restore political stability after the collapse of the Roman Empire. One of these states managed to create a sizeable empire under the famous king Charlemagne, which began to collapse after about mid-9th century under the impact of fresh waves of invasions. The resulting political chaos led to the emergence of a new kind of political order called Feudalism. It was a hierarchical or graded organisation of political sovereignty.
Arab Civilisation During Medieval Period
Arabia is a peninsula of deserts. Before the founding of Islam, most Arabs were Bedouins, that is, wandering camel herdsmen. Their main source of livelihood was pastoralism and the produce of the desert oases such as dates. Craft production was very limited, trade was sluggish and urban development minimal. In the second half of the 6th century, the economy picked up some momentum due to a shift in long distance trade routes.
Quit India Movement
The failure of the Cripps Mission and the fear of an impending Japanese invasion of India led Mahatma Gandhi to begin his campaign for the British to quit India. Mahatma Gandhi believed that an interim government could be formed only after the British left India and the Hindu-Muslim problem sorted out. Mahatma Gandhi decided to initiate a new phase of movement against the British in the middle of the Second World War.
Government of India Act, 1935
The Government of India Act of 1935 was passed on the basis of the report of the Simon Commission, the outcome of the Round Table Conferences and the White Paper issued by the British Government in 1933. This Act contained many important changes over the previous Act of 1919.
The chief cause of the Khilafat Movement was the defeat of Turkey in the First World War. The harsh terms of the Treaty of Sevres (1920) was felt by the Muslims as a great insult to them. In 1920, the British imposed a harsh treaty on the Turkish Sultan or Khalifa. People were furious about this as they had been about the Jallianwala massacre.
Rowlatt Act and Satyagraha, 1919
During the World War I (1914-18), the British had instituted censorship of the press and permitted detention without trial. On the recommendation of a committee chaired by Sir Sidney Rowlatt, these tough measures were continued. In response, Gandhiji called for a countrywide campaign against the Rowlatt Act.
First War of Independence, 1857
The first war of independence in 1857 was suppressed and the British government took control of the East India Company's rule. After a hundred years of conquest and administration, the English East India Company faced a massive rebellion that started in May 1857 and threatened the Company’s presence in India.
British East India Company Rule
Aurangzeb was the last of the powerful Mughal rulers. He established control over a very large part of the territory. After his death in 1707, many Mughal governors (subadars) and big zamindars began asserting their authority and establishing regional kingdoms. As powerful regional kingdoms emerged in various parts of India, Delhi could no longer function as an effective centre.
Magadha formed one of the sixteen MahaJanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganges. Its first capital was Rajagriha (modern Rajgir), then Pataliputra (modern Patna). Many rivers such as the Ganga and Son flowed through Magadha. This was important for transport, water supplies and making the land fertile.
Cabinet Mission, 1946
After the Second World War, Lord Atlee became the Prime Minister of England. On 15 March, 1946 Lord Atlee made a historic announcement in which the right to self-determination and the framing of a Constitution for India were conceded. Consequently, three members of the British Cabinet, Pathick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A. V. Alexander, were sent to India. This is known as the Cabinet Mission.
Dandi March & Civil Disobedience Movement
On 12 March, 1930, Gandhi began his March to Dandi with his chosen 79 followers to break the salt law. According to this law, the state had a monopoly on the manufacture and sale of salt. Mahatma Gandhi along with other nationalists reasoned that it was sinful to tax salt since it is such an essential item of food.
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