Q.1. Mention any two ways of propagation of Dhamma by Ashoka.
Ans. Ways of propagation of Dhamma by Ashoka:
(i) He inscribed the messages of Dhamma on the natural rocks and polished pillars.
(ii) Special officers, known as the Dhamma Mahamatta, were appointed to spread the messages of Dhamma.
Q.2. Why was James Prinsep’s contribution considered as the historic development in the Indian epigraphy?
Ans. James Prinsep was an officer in the mint of the East India Company. He was an epigraphist who deciphered Ashokan Brahmi Script in 1838. His contribution in the development of Indian Epigraphy was that he was able to decipher Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts used in the earliest inscriptions and coins.
Q.3. Why was Mauryan Empire regarded as a major landmark in the early Indian history?
Ans. The Mauryan Empire was the first empire in the early Indian history which was based on mutual harmony and religious tolerance. Many historians mentioned that the messages on Ashokan inscriptions were very different from that of other rulers suggesting that Ashoka was very powerful yet humble than latter kings who adopted titles. Stone sculptures developed during Mauryan rule were considered to be examples of spectacular art.
Q.4. How did Kushana rulers exemplify themselves with the high status?
Ans. One way of claiming high status was to identify themself among variety of deities. This was best exemplified by the Kushana rulers. Some historians feel that Kushana rulers considered themselves god-like as they adopted titles like deva putra or “Son of God”. Big statues of Kushana rulers were installed in shrines. (For example: Matth near Mahiva in Uttar Pradesh). The notion of kingship, they wished to project, could be seen in their sculptures and coins.
Q.5. How have the prashastis drawn the factual information about the Gupta rulers?
Ans. Factual information from prashastis about the Gupta rulers could be drawn by:
(i) Various sources of information about the Gupta rulers can be reconstructed from literature, coins and inscriptions, including prashastis composed in praise of kings by poets while historians often attempt to draw.
(ii) Those who composed & read them, consider them as works of poetry rather than as accounts.
(iii) The Prayaga Prashasti, also known as Allahabad Pillar Inscription, composed by Harisena in Sanskrit, For Example – The court poet of Samudragupta
Q.6. Mention any two features of the administrative system of the Mauryan Empire.
Ans. Mauryans ruled over a vast empire and organised a very elaborate system of administration. King was the centre, who had power to erect laws and his chief function was to maintain social order. The administration was not uniform keeping diversity in mind and vastness of the empire. The administrative control was strong in region around the capital and the provincial centres.
The Mauryan Empire had five major political centres. The capital Pataliputra and the provincial centres of Taxila, Ujjain, Tosali and Suvarnagiri were mentioned in Ashokan inscriptions.
Q.7. Historians used a variety of sources of the Mauryan Empire. State any four such sources.
“Historians used a variety of sources to reconstruct the history of the Mauryan Empire.” Explain.
Describe the sources used to reconstruct the history of the Mauryan Empire.
Ans. Mauryan Empire was established by Chandragupta Maurya in 321 BCE. There are many sources that help us reconstruct the history:
(i) The report of Megasthenese who was an Ambassador of Greece had written a book called “Indica” in which he had recorded the information about the Mauryan Empire. Detailed record of administration and army of the region was also there in this book.
(ii) Arthashastra which literally means, the financial management, by Kautilya/Chanakya, the Chief Minister of the Mauryan Empire gives us a detailed description about the financial stakes of the Mauryan Empire.
(iii) Ashokan inscription that mentions about a policy called Ashoka Dhamma which was issued by a Mauryan king Ashoka is a good source to understand the political policies. It had ethic related mention like respecting elders, respecting Brahmans, serving the poor and it also mentions about Satya (truthfulness), Dharma (duty), etc. The king had appointed the Dhamma Mahamattas for spreading his message.
(iv) The scriptures/manuscripts written in Pali, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Tamil, etc. give wide information about the Mauryan Empire. It has got King Ashoka’s policy and he was often referred to as Piyadasi in these scriptures.
These are the four sources through which we can reconstruct the Mauryan history.
Q.8. How were the coins used in the first century CE? Give two examples.
Ans. The first gold coins were issued in the first century CE by the Kushanas. These were identical in weight with those issued by contemporary Roman kings, Peathian rulers of Iran and also from several sites in North India and Central Asia. Its widespread use indicated network of traders. Coins were issued by tribal republics of Yaudheyas of Punjab and Haryana in 1st century CE. Archaeologists had unearthed several thousand copper coins issued by Yaudheyas, pointing to their interest and participation in economic exchanges.
Q.9: State any three limitations of inscriptional evidences.
Ans. Inscriptional evidences have been used extensively to know about past through pillars, structures, etc. But there are some limitations to what epigraphy can reveal.
(i) Letters are faintly engraved, so reconstructions are uncertain.
(ii) Inscriptions may be damaged or letter missing.
(iii) Inscriptions are not easy to decipher, publish and translate.
(iv) Not sure about the exact meaning.
Q.10. “There are limits to what epigraphy can reveal.” Justify with suitable arguments.
Ans. (i) There are technical limitation, letters are very faintly engraved and thus reconstruction are uncertain.
(ii) Inscription maybe damaged or letters missing.
(iii) It is not always easy to be sure about the exact meaning of the words used in inscription.
(iv) Not all has been deciphered, published and translated.
(v) Many inscriptions must have existed, which have not survived the ravages of time.
(vi) Not everything that we may consider politically or economically significant was necessarily recorded in the inscriptions.
(vii) The content of inscriptions almost invariably projects the perspective of the person who commissioned them.