Q. 1. Read the following excerpt carefully and answer the questions that follow :
RITUAL AND THE REAL WORLD
Here is a vachana composed by Basavanna;
When they see a serpent carved in stone they pour milk on it.
If a real serpent comes they say : ‘Kill’, ‘Kill’.
To the servant of the God who could eat if served they say; ‘Go away’, ‘Go away’!
But to the image of the God which cannot eat they offer dishes of food.
(i) Who was Basavanna?
(ii) From which cult and region he belonged to?
(iii) Describe Basavanna’s attitude towards rituals.
Ans. (i) Basavanna was a Brahmana (1106-68), initially a Jaina and a Minister in the Court of a Chalukya king.
(ii) He was from Karnataka region and the cult that he started was known as Lingayats (Wearers of Linga) or Virashaivas (heroes of Lord Shiva).
(iii) Lingayats believed that after death, the devotee will be united with Shiva. So, they do not practice funeral rites like cremation, instead they bury their dead. They were against the caste system and approved postpoverty marriage and widow remarriage.
Q. 2. Identify the relationship between the Alvars and Nayanars of Tamil Nadu with the state from the eighth to eighteenth century.
Ans. Relationship of the Alvars and Nayanars with the state:
Alvars are the devotees of Lord Vishnu and Nayanars were devotees of Lord Shiva. It was widest that the powerful Chola rulers supported Brahmanical and Bhakti traditions making land grants and constructing temples for Vishnu and Shiva. Royal patronage was granted to Nayanars during the Chola period. Some of the Shiva temples were situated at Chidambaram, Thanjaur, Gangaikanda Cholapuram and built under the patronage of Chola rulers. It was also the period where spectacular representation of Shiva as brahman sculpture were produced.
Clearly the vision of Nayanars inspired the artists. The Chola Kings often attempted to claim divine support and proclaim their own power by building splendid temples to recreate the visions of these popular saints who sang in the language of the people. These kings also introduced the singing of Tamil Shaiva hymns in the temple under royal patronage and also taking the initiative to collect and organise them into a text (Tevanam). Chola ruler Parantaka I constructed metal images of saints of Shaivism, that of Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar. They were carried in processions during the festivals of these saints. The Vellalu peasants revered both Nayanars and Alvars.
Q. 3. Who were Lingayats? Explain their contribution in the social and religious fields with special reference to caste system.
Ans. The 12th century saw the emergence of a new movement in Karnataka. It was led by a Brahmana named Basavanna (1106-68). He was initially a Jaina and a Minister in the Court of a Chalukya king. His followers were known as Virashaivas (heroes of Shiva) or Lingayats (wearers of the Linga). They continue to be an important community even today. They wore Linga in a silver case as a loop showing over the left shoulder and worship Shiva in the form of Linga. Those who were revered include the Jangama or wandering monks. They believed that at the time of death, the devotee will be united with Shiva and will not return to this world. They questioned the theory of rebirth.
So, they do not practice funeral rules such as cremation recommended in the Dharmashastras, but bury their dead. The Lingayats challenged the idea of caste and the ‘’Pollution’’ attributed by Brahmanas. They also encouraged certain practices disapproved in the Dharmashastras like post-poverty marriage and the remarriage of widows. Information of the Virashaiva tradition was derived from the Vachanas composed in Kannada by women and men involved in the movement.
Q. 4. Write a note on the growth of Sufism and its spread in India.
Ans. In the early cultures of Islam, a group of religiousminded people called Sufis turned to asceticism and mysticism in protest against the growing materialism of the Caliphate as a religious and political institution. They laid emphasis on seeking Salvahai through intense devotions and love to God by following his commands. The Sufis sought on interpretation of the Quran through personal experiences. Some mystic men started movements on the basis of Sufi ideas and these mystics scarved.
The Khanqah took to mendicacy and observed celibacy. They ignored rituals and followed asceticism. They were known by different names like Qalandars, Malangs, Madaris, Haidaris, etc. The Chistis were the most influential out of all Sufi groups who migrated to India in the late 12th century. They adopted the features of the Indian devotional traditions and local environments. The Khanqah was the centre of social idea. Shaikh Nizamuddin appointed few spiritual successors and sent them to different parts of the subcontinent to set up khanqahs.
In this way, the fame of Chistis spread around rapidly and a number of pilgrims began to flow to his shrine and his spiritual ancestors. Ziyarat to the tomb of sufi saints is prevalent all over the Islamic world. This practice is to seek the blessing of the Sufi saints and for the past 700 years, people of all castes, creed and background have shown their devotion to the Dargahs of the five great Chisti saints. Use of music and dance are part of the Ziyarat which includes mystical chants performed by musicians and Qawaals to develop divine ecstasy. The Sufis meditated God by reciting the zikr (the divine names) or evoking his presence through sama (audition).
Chistis adopted the local language in sama and the people of Delhi associated with Chisti silsila spoke Hindavi, the language of the common man. Sufism spread in the Deccan via the region of Bijapur (Karnataka), where Sufi poems were written in Dakhani, a variant of Urdu composed by Chisti saints living there around 17th and 18th centuries. Islam gained a place in the villages of the Deccan due to above mentioned efforts.