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Kings and Chronicles

Kings and Chronicles

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Published by Ramita Udayashankar
Themes in Indian History II; Class XII History
Themes in Indian History II; Class XII History

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Published by: Ramita Udayashankar on Nov 19, 2011
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Kings and Chronicles2 marksWhat were the two groups of Indian nobles in Mughal Empire?
Two ruling groups of Indian origin entered the imperial service from 1560A.D onwards: the Rajputs and the Indian Muslims (Shaikhzadas). The first to join wasa Rajput chief, Raja Bharmal Kachhwaha of Amber, to whose daughter Akbar gotmarried.Aurangzeb appointed Rajputs to high positions, and under him the Marathasaccounted for a sizeable number within the body of officers.
Give an account of Honours given by the Mughal rulers.
Mughal Emperors conferred honours to the person on their achievements in their fieldregularly that included the robe of honour (khilat), a garment once worn by theemperor and imbued with his benediction. One gift, thesarapa (“head to foot”),consisted of a tunic, a turban and a sash (patka). Jewelled ornaments were often givenas gifts by the emperor. The lotus blossom set with jewels (padma murassa) was givenonly in exceptional circumstances.
What are chronicles?
The Mughal Emperors wanted to record their vision of their rule. They commissionedcourt historians to write accounts. These recorded accounts had information about theevents of the emperor’s time. These accounts also had information about the regionsof the subcontinent. Modern historians who write history in English have termedthose accounts as chronicles, because the accounts give information in a chronologicalmanner.
How did the term ‘Mughal’ originate?
The term ‘Mughal’ is derived from Mongol. But the Mughal Emperors did not callthemselves as the Mughals. The Mughal Emperors called themselves as Timurids, thedescendants of the Turkish ruler Timur. During the sixteenth century, Europeans usedthe term 'Mughal' to describe the branch of the family of Timur (Timurids).
Who established the Mughal Empire in India?
Zahiruddin Babar was the founder of the Mughal Empire. He first established himself at Kabul and then in 1526 moved further into the Indian subcontinent searching for territories and resources to meet the needs of his clan as his first aim was to get backup resources to reclaim his paternal territories.
Why Akbar is considered to be the great ruler of the Mughal Empire?
Akbar is considered to be a great ruler of the Mughals, because unlike other Mughalemperors, he expanded his empire and made it as the largest, strongest and the richestkingdom at the time of his rule. He was able to expand his empire up to theHindukush Mountains and prevented the Uzbeks of Turan (Central Asia) and theSafavids of Iran. Also he had initiated many cultural elements.
What were the features of the Mughal imperial structure during the sixteenthand seventeenth centuries?
The institutions of an imperial structure were created in the sixteenth and seventeenthcenturies. It had effective methods of administration and taxation. The court was thecentre of the Mughal power where political alliances and relationships were made andstatus and hierarchies were defined. The political system of the Mughals was based on
a combination of military power accommodating various traditions of thesubcontinent that the Mughals faced.
Which author was commissioned by Shah Jahan to write Badshah Nama?
The Badshah Nama was written by Abdul Hamid Lahori who was a pupil of Abu’lFazl. Shah Jahan commissioned the author to write about his rule like Akbar Nama.The Badshah Nama is in three volumes (daftars) of ten lunar years each. AbdulHamid Lahori wrote the first and second volumes on the first two decades of ShahJahan’s rule from 1627 to 1647. These two volumes were revised by Sadullah Khan,a wazir of Shah Jahan. The third volume was written by the historian Waris.
Who was Gulbadan Begum?
Gulbadan Begum was the daughter of Babur and sister of Humayun. She wrotethe Humayun Nama. She wrote her works in Turkish and Persian languages. In her work she wrote about the conflicts and problems between the kings and queens andthe role of elderly women in resolving some of these conflicts.
How “Calligraphy” was used by the Mughals?
Art of handwriting is called “Calligraphy”. Manuscripts of the Mughal werehandwritten. It was considered a skill of great importance. It was practiced withdifferent styles. Akbar’s favourite handwritten style was the nastaliq which was afluid style with long horizontal strokes. It was written using a piece of trimmed reedwhich had a tip of five to 10 mm called qalam. The reed was dipped in carbon ink (siyahi). The nip of the qalam was split in the middle to facilitate the flow of ink.
What is diachronic and synchronic account?
A diachronic account traces developments over time. But a synchronic accountdepicts one or several situations at one particular moment or point of time.
Why did British administrators show interest to study Indian history?
British administrators showed interest to study Indian history because they wanted tohave a proper understanding about the subcontinent in order to understand the peopleand their cultures, so they could rule accordingly. For this purpose Sir William Jonesin 1784 established Asiatic Society of Bengal and took the task of editing, printingand translating many Indian manuscripts.
What efforts were made by the British to publish the Mughals’ manuscripts inEnglish?
The Asiatic Society of Bengal published the edited versions of the Akbar  Nama and Badshah Nama in the nineteenth century. The English translation of the Akbar Nama was published by Henry Beveridge. But the Badshah Nama has not been translated in English completely till date, only its extracts have been translatedinto English.
How did Abu’l Fazl define sovereignty?
Abul Fazl defined sovereignty as a social contract. According to him the emperor should protect four essence of his subjects- life (jan), property (mal), honour (namus)and faith (din) and in return he should demand obedience and a share of resourcesfrom his subject.
Who was the famous finance minister of Akbar?
Raja Todar Mal was the famous finance Minister of Akbar. He belonged to the Khatricaste. He was credited with the introduction of dahasala system of land revenue. Hewas the only known minister of the Suri's administration who was later inducted inAkbar's administration also.
Mention the ranks of the holders of government offices.
The recruited officers for the service in the Mughal Empire were given ranks(mansabs) with two numerical designations- zat which was an indication of the position in the imperial hierarchy and the salary of the official (mansabdars). Another term used to indicate the number of horsemen was sawar. In the seventeenth centuryamansabdar with 1,000 zat was ranked as noble (umara- a plural term for amir). Byserving in the imperial offices the nobles acquired power, wealth and reputation.
How did the nobles provide military service to the Kings?
The nobles sent their armies and participated in the military campaigns and served inthe offices of the empire in the provinces. The military commander recruited,equipped and trained the main wing of the Mughal army i.e. the cavalry. Hemaintained horses which were branded on the flank by the imperial mark (dagh).
How was a person selected to the military service?
A person who wanted to enter in service petitioned to the Emperor through a noble. If his application was selected, a mansab was granted to him. The paymaster general(mir bakhshi) stood in the open court nearby the emperor and gave away theappointments or promotion orders which had his office seal and signature as well asthose of the emperor.
Why Mughals were called so? Who founded the Mughal Empire?
 Name Mughal was derived from ‘Mongol’. Mughals referred themselves as Timuridsi.e. successors of Timur. Babur the founder of Mughal rule in India belonged to bothTimurs and Mongols. It was the Europeans who referred them as Mughals. Babur laidthe foundation of the Empire in the year 1526 A.D by defeating Ibrahim Lodi in thefirst battle of Panipat.
Give a brief description of translation work initiated by British people.
The Asiatic Society of Bengal, founded by Sir William Jones in 1784 undertook theediting, printing and translation of many Indian manuscripts.Edited versions of the Akbar Nama and Badshah Nama were first published by theAsiatic society in the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century HenryBeveridge translated the Akbar Nama into English after years of hard labour. Onlyexcerpts of the Badshah Nama have been translated into English to date; the text in itsentirety still awaits translation.
How the Mughal Emperors tried to enforce the social control in the imperialcourt?
Social control in court society was exercised through carefully defining in full detailthe forms of address, courtesies and speech, which were acceptable in court. Theslightest infringement of etiquette was noticed and punished on the spot.The forms of salutation to the ruler indicated the person’s status in the hierarchy:deeper prostration represented higher status.The highest form of submission was
or complete prostration. Under Shah Jahanthese rituals were replaced with
chahar taslim
(kissing the ground).
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