Short Q & A :
Q1: What were the natural advantages that helped Magadha to become a powerful kingdom in North India?
The following natural features helped Magadha to become a powerful kingdom:
Q2: Write a short note on the important rulers of Magadha.
Ans : Bimbisara and Ajatasattu were two very powerful rulers of Magadha. They used all possible means to conquer other janapadas. Mahapadma Nanda was another important ruler. He extended his control upto the north-west part of the subcontinent. Rajagriha inBihar was the capital of Magadha for several years. Later the capital was shifted to Pataliputra.
Q3: Why were taxes imposed by the rulers on the people of Mahajanapadas?
Ans : Huge resources were required by the rulers of Mahajanapadas for building forts and maintaining large armies. Rajas of the janapadas depended on the occasional gifts brought by the people. So, instead of depending on these occasional gifts, the raja of the mahajanapadas imposed regular taxes on the people. Special officers were appointed to collect these taxes.
Q4: Why did rajas build large and tall walls around the cities?
Ans : The Rajas built large and tall walls around the cities in order to show their wealth and power. Moreover, with these huge walls the Kings could easily control the land and the people living inside the fortified areas.
Q5: How were regular taxes imposed and collected in the mahajanapadas?
Taxes were imposed on crops.This was most important since most people were farmers.
Q6: What resources were necessary to build the huge walls around the cities?
Ans : Building such huge walls required a great deal of planning. A number of resources had to be found for the building of these walls. Firstly, thousands of bricks or stones had to be prepared. Secondly, labour of thousands of men, women and children were required in the construction of these walls.
Q7: Name the Later Vedic books.
Ans : The Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda are the Later Vedic books.
Q8: What was the content of Later Vedic books.
Ans : Later Vedic books contained rules about the society.
Q9: How did the use of iron ploughshare increase the production during the age of mahajanapadas?
Ans : The use of iron ploughshare helped to turn over the heavy ,clayey soil which was not possible with a wooden ploughshare. This increased the production
Q10: Who provided the labour for the agricultural work done during the development of the mahajanapadas?
Ans : Slave men and women (dasas and dasis) and landless labourers (kammakaras) had to work on the agricultural land and therefore provide the labour.
Q11: What were the geographical features that made Magadha the most powerful Mahajanpada?
According to Historians, Magadha became the most powerful mahajanapadas due to the following geographical features:
Q12: What was the ashvamedha?
Ans : The ashvamedha or horse sacrifice was a ritual in which a horse is let loose to wander and it was guarded by the raja’s men. If the horse wandered into the kingdoms of other rajas and they stopped it, they had to fight. If they allowed the horse to pass, it meant that they accepted that the raja who wanted to carry out the sacrifice was stronger than them. These rajas were then invited to the sacrifice, which was performed by especially skilled priests, who were rewarded with gifts. The raja who organized the sacrifice was recognized as being very powerful, and all those who came brought gifts for him.
Q13: Where did Alexander live and what was his aim?
Ans : Alexander lived in Macedonia in Europe and wanted to conquer the whole world. But he was able to conquer only the parts ofEgypt, West Asia and some parts of the South Asia.
Q14: Name and explain different groups that existed during Vedic period.
Ans : There were several different groups in society at that time — priests and warriors, farmers, herders, traders, crafts persons, labourers, fishing folk, and forest people. Some priests and warriors were rich, as were some farmers and traders. Others, including many herders, craftsmen, labourers, fishermen and huntsmen and gatherers, were poor.
Q15: Who divided people into four groups and based on what?
The priests divided people into four groups, called varnas. According to them, each varna had a different set of functions.
Q16: Explain the term gana or Sangha and its functions.
Ans : In a gana or Sangha there were not one, but many rulers. Sometimes, even when thousands of men ruled together, each one was known as a raja, they together formed a republic. These rajas performed rituals together. They also met in assemblies and took decisions through discussions and debate. When they were attacked by the enemy, they gathered together and decided what to do.
Q17: What archaeological excavations tell about the ‘janapadas’ settlements?
Ans : Archaeologists have excavated a number of settlements in these janapadas, such as Purana Qila in Delhi, Hastinapur nearMeerut, and Atranjikhera, near Etah (the last two are in Uttar Pradesh). They found that people lived in huts, and kept cattle as well as other animals. They also grew a variety of crops — rice, wheat, barley, pulses, sugarcane, sesame and mustard.
Q18: What were the characteristics of the earthen pots used by the people in janapadas?
Ans : The people of janapadas made clay(earthen) pots. Some of these were grey in colour, others were red. One special type of pottery found at these sites is known as Painted Grey Ware. As is clear from the name, these were grey pots and had painted designs, usually simple lines and geometric patterns.
Q19: Why was the capital city of mahajanapadas fortified?
Ans : The capital city of mahajanapadas was fortified with huge walls of wood, bricks or stones around them because people were afraid of attacks from other kings and needed protection. Some rulers wanted to show how rich and powerful they were by building huge walls and forts.
Q20: How did the fortification of their land help the rulers in controlling their people living in the mahajanapadas?
Ans : The fortification helped the rajas in many ways; they were able to control the people and land inside the fortification.
Q21: Why were taxes collected by the rulers of the mahajanapadas?
Ans : For building huge forts and maintaining big armies, the rulers needed more resources. So the rulers collected regular levy instead of depending on occasional gifts from the people.
Q22: Describe the system of government in Vajji?
Ans : The system of government in Vajji was known as gana or sangha. Vajji was administered by not one but many rulers. Each ruler was known as a raja. These rajas performed all the rituals together. All these rajas met in assemblies. Through discussions and debates in these assemblies they decided what had to be done and how. Both Buddha and Mahavira belonged to ganas and sanghas.
Q23: What were the features of the taxation system in Mahajanapadas in the ancient India?
Ans : Taxes were collected in Mahajanapadas from the common people to build the infrastructure of the city and to maintain big armies for the protection of the city. Taxes from the crops were the most important source of revenue for the king’s officials. The crops tax was fixed at 1/6th of the produce or bhaga (share). Crafts people were also made to pay taxes in the form of labour provided for a day to the king. Herders were made to pay taxes in kind and would have to give up animals or animal produce as tax. There were taxes on tradable goods and forest produce also. The king was the main beneficiary of these taxes.
Q24: What is the difference between the Republican and the Monarchical Mahajanapadas ?
Ans : A republican Mahajanapad was ruled by a group elected by the common people called the sangha. Monarchies were ruled by kings and his word was law.
Long Q & A :
Q1: Why did the agriculture flourish in the Mahajanapadas?
Ans : Around 600 B.C two major changes occurred in the agriculture. One was an increase in the use of iron ploughshare. By using iron ploughshare heavy, clayey soil could be turned over better than with a wooden ploughshare. This led to an increase in production of grains. Secondly, transplantation of paddy began during this time. In this process, instead of scattering seed on the ground, saplings were grown and then planted in the fields. This led to increased production, as many more plants survived. As a result of these two changes, the agriculture flourished in the Mahajanapadas.
Q2: How did the use of iron ploughshare and the transplantation of paddy increase the production during the age of mahajanapadas?
Ans : The use of iron ploughshare helped to turn over the heavy ,clayey soil which was not possible with a wooden ploughshare.This increased the production. Second, people began transplanting paddy. This meant that instead of scattering seeds on the ground, from which plants would germinate, saplings were grown and then planted in the fields. This led to increased production, as more plants survived.This however was back breaking work.