Pratiyogita Abhiyan Refresher Vol 1
We have started a monthly magazine Pratiyogita Abhiyan Refresher, which will be released on the 10th of every month.
Pratiyogita Abhiyan Refresher will contain one chapter from each subject such as Maths, English, History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Current Affairs, Environmental Science, Computer awareness, etc.
Pratiyogita Abhiyan refresher will also contain a full-length mock test of 100 marks. OMR sheet and answer key will be provided for self-evaluation.
The language of the Refresher magazine is English.
Pratiyogita Abhiyan Refresher study materials have been compiled by experienced teachers from respective fields.
Here, you can see a sample chapter from Pratiyogita Abhiyan Refresher Vol I (March 2019 Edition)
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Sources of Ancient Indian History
Sources of Ancient Indian History- Literary, Archaeological. Foreign Account, Ancient Books
- Literary and Archaeological records are the two main categories that give pieces of evidence of Ancient Indian History.
- The literary source includes literature of Vedic, Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, and other literature along with other foreign accounts.
- The archaeological source includes epigraphic, numismatic, and other architectural remains.
- The archaeological explorations and excavations have opened the great landscapes of new information.
Indian Literary Sources
- The ancient Indian literature is mostly religious in nature.
- The Puranic and Epic literature are considered as history by Indians, but it contains no definite dates for events and kingdoms.
- The effort of history writing was shown by a large number of inscriptions, coins, and local chronicles. The principles of history are preserved in the Puranas and Epics.
- The Puranas and epics narrate the genealogies of kings and their achievements. But they are not arranged in chronological order.
- The Vedic literature contains mainly the four Vedas i.e. Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda.
- The Vedic literature is in a different language called the Vedic language. Its vocabulary contains a wide range of meaning and is different in grammatical usages. It has a definite mode of pronunciation in which emphasis changes the meaning entirely.
- The Vedas give reliable information about the culture and civilization of the Vedic period, but do not reveal the political history.
- Six Vedangas are the important limbs of Vedas. They were evolved for the proper understanding of the Vedas. The Vedangas are:
- Siksha (Phonetics)
- Kalpa (Rituals)
- Vyakarna (Grammar)
- Nirukta (Etymology)
- Chhanda (Metrics) and
- Jyotisha (Astronomy).
- Vedanga has been written in the precepts (sutra) form. This is a very precise and exact form of expression in prose, which was developed by the scholars of ancient India.
- Ashtadhyayi (eight chapters), written by Panini, is a book on grammar that gives excellent information on the art of writing in sutra (precepts).
- The later Vedic literature includes the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads.
- Brahmanas gives a description of Vedic rituals.
- Aranyakas and Upanishads give speeches on different spiritual and philosophical problems.
- Puranas, which are 18 in numbers give mainly historical accounts.
- The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are epics of great historical importance.
- The Jain and the Buddhist literature had been written in Prakrit and Pali languages.
- Early Jain literature is mostly written in Prakrit language.
- Prakrit language was a form of Sanskrit language.
- Pali language was a form of Prakrit language which was used in Magadha.
- Most of the early Buddhist literature is written in Pali language.
- Pali language reached to Sri Lanka through some of the Buddhist monks where it is a living language.
- Ashokan edicts had been written in Pali language.
- Mahavira and Buddha are considered as historical personalities (equivalent to God). They have created Jain and Buddhist religious ideology respectively.
- The Buddhist books are called as Jataka stories. They have been given some historical importance because they are related to the previous births of the Buddha. There are more than 550 such stories.
- The historical information mentioned in Jaina literature also helps us in reconstructing the history of different regions of India.
- The Dharmasutras and the Smritis were the rules and regulations for the general public and the rulers. It can be equated with the constitution and the law books of the modern concept of polity and society. For example, Manusmriti.
- Dharmashastras were compiled between 600 and 200 B.C.
- Arthashastra is a book on statecraft written by Kautilya during the Maurya period. The book is divided into 15 parts dealing with different subject matters related to polity, economy, and society.
- The final version of Arthashastra was written in the 4th century B.C.
- Kautilya acknowledges his debt to his predecessors in his book, which shows that there was a tradition of writing on and teaching of statecrafts.
- Mudrarakshasha is a play written by Visakha datta. It describes the society and culture of that period.
- Malavikagnimitram written by Kalidasa gives information of the reign of Pusyamitra Sunga dynasty.
- Bhasa and Sudraka are other poets who have written plays based on historical events.
- Harshacharita, written by Banabhatta, throws light on many historical facts about which we could not have known otherwise.
- Vakpati wrote Gaudavaho, based on the exploits of Yasovarman of Kanauj.
- Vikramankadevacharita, written by Bilhana, describes the victories of the later Chalukya king Vikramaditya.
- Some of the prominent biographical works, which are based on the lives of the kings are:
- Kumarapalacharita of Jayasimha,
- Kumarapalacharita or Dvayashraya Mahakavya of Hemachandra,
- Hammirakavya of Nayachandra
- Navasahasankacharita of Padmagupta
- Bhojaprabandha of Billal
- Priihvirajacharit of Chandbardai
- Rajatarangini, written by Kalhana, is the best form of history writing valued by modern historians. His critical method of historical research and impartial treatment of the historical facts have earned him a great respect among the modern historians.
- The Sangam literature is in the form of short and long poems consisting 30,000 lines of poetry, which arranged in two main groups i.e. Patinenkilkanakku and the Pattupattu. It describes many kings and dynasties of South India.
- The Sangam was the poetic compilation by a group of poets of different times mainly supported by chiefs and kings.
- The Sangam literature was composed by a large number of poets in praise of their kings. Some kings and events mentioned are also supported by the inscriptions.
- The Sangam literature generally describes events up to the 4th century A.D.
Archaeological remains and Monuments:
- Ancient ruins, remains and monuments recovered as a result of excavation and exploration are archaeological sources of history. The archaeological remains are subjected to scientific examination of radio-carbon method for its dates. Archaeological sources give us some knowledge of the life of the ancient people. India is rich with ancient ruins, remains, and monuments.
- Many historical places are lying buried under the earth. But excavations are being carried out to bring some such places to light. The material remains discovered from excavations and ruins speak a good deal of the past. For example, the excavations at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa brought to the knowledge of the world the existence of the Indus Valley Civilization.
- Excavations have been conducted at Taxila, Pataliputra, Rajgir, Nalanda, Sanchi, Barhut, Sarnath and Mathura. They are being done at many other places too. By digging the old sites and mounds, and discovering the material remains, historians try to understand the past. Archaeology is the science and method to explore and understand the ancient ruins and remains.
- All over India there are countless historical monuments like, Temples, Stupas, Monasteries, Forts, Palaces, and the like, which speak of their time. Similarly, tools, implements, weapons and pottery etc. throw light on the living conditions of the people. For historians, these are sources of information. In the opinion of some eminent scholars, the history of India before the third century B.C. was mainly the result of archaeological research. Information gathered from literature and oral traditions can be taken as historical accounts only if archaeological evidences are available as supporting material.
- Inscriptions supply valuable historical facts. The study of inscriptions is called epigraphy. The study of the writings on ancient inscriptions and records is called palaeography. Inscriptions are seen on rocks, pillars, stones, slabs, walls of buildings, and body of temples. They are also found on seals and copper plates. We have various types of inscriptions. Some convey monarchical orders regarding administrative, religious and major decisions to the public in general.
- India’s earliest inscriptions are seen on the seals of Harappa, belonging to the Indus Valley Civilisation. The most famous inscriptions of India are the huge inscriptions of Asoka. As that emperor himself proclaimed, he got his edicts engraved on stone so that they might last long. The Hatigumpha Inscription of Kharavela, the Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta, and many other rock and pillar inscriptions contain most valuable historical accounts. Political, administrative and religious matters are gathered from such sources.
- Earliest inscriptions, namely, the seals of Harappa, dated about 2500 BC, have not been deciphered so far by any epigraphist. The later inscriptions were engraved in the Prakrit Language in the third century B.C. Ashokan inscriptions were written in the Brahmi script from left to right. Some were also engraved in the Kharosthi script from right to left. Sanskrit was used as an epigraphic medium in the second century A.D. Inscriptions were also engraved in regional languages in the ninth and tenth centuries.
- Copper plates were more widely used for writing inscriptions. They are called Tamrapata or Tamrapatra or Tamrasasana. They were used even in the days of Buddha. Many copper plates contained land-grants. They were also used to carry administrative orders. The inscriptions are of many types. They were used for several purposes. For historians they carry enough interest.
- The study of coins is known as numismatics. Coins form another source of historical information. Ancient coins were mostly made of gold, silver, copper or lead. Coin moulds of Kushan period made of burnt clay have been also discovered. Some of the coins contain religious and legendary symbols which throw light on the culture of that time. Coins also contain the figures of kings and gods.
- Some contain names and dates of the rulers. Coins also throw significant light on economic life of ancient people. They indicate regarding trade and commerce and help to reconstruct the history of several ruling dynasties. Coins have been the primary source of our information regarding the various Indian states during the same period.
- The coins of the Kushana and the Gupta period give interesting accounts of those days. They throw light on religious, political, economic and commercial conditions. Every coin of the past has some story to convey.
- Herodotus was dependent upon the Persian sources for his information about India.
- Herodotus in his book Histories (written in many volumes) describes about the Indo-Persian relations.
- A detailed account of the invasion of India by Alexander was written by Arrian.
- The Greek kings send their ambassadors to Pataliputra. Megasthenes, Deimachus, and Dionysius were some of them.
- Megasthenes came in the court of Chandragupta Maurya. He had written about the Indian society and culture in his book called as ‘Indica’. Though the original work has been lost, but it had been frequently quoted in the works of later writers.
- A book ‘Periplus of the Erythrean Sea’ written by an anonymous Greek author who settled in Egypt on the basis of his personal voyage of Indian coast in about A. D. 80 gives valuable information about the Indian coasts.
- In the second century A. D., Ptolemy had written a geographical treatise on India.
- The Greek writing about India, however, is based on secondary sources. They were ignorant of the language and the customs of the country and hence their information is full of errors and contradictions.
- Many Chinese travelers visited India as Buddhist pilgrims from time to time; three important pilgrims were:
- Fa-Hien (Faxian) – visited India in 5th century A.D.
- Hiuen-Tsang (Xuanzang) – visited India in 7th century and
- I-Tsing (Yijing) – visited India in 7th century.
- Hiuen-Tsang had given valuable account about Harshavardhana and some other contemporary kings of Northern India.
- Fa-Hien and Hiuen-Tsang traveled many parts of the country and they have given an exaggerated account of Buddhism during the period of their visit.
- Hiuen-Tsang mentioned Harsha as a follower of Buddhism while in his epigraphic records, Harsha mentions himself as a devotee of Siva. Such contradictions may be considered due to the fact of multi-religious nature of Indian rulers, which might confuse a foreigner.
- AI-Biruni gave important information about India. He was Arab scholar and contemporary of Mahmud of Ghazni.
- AI-Biruni studied Sanskrit and acquired knowledge of Indian society and culture through literature. Therefore, his observations are based on his knowledge about Indian society and culture, but he did not give any political information of his times.
- Veda means knowledge
- Vedic literature includes all the four Vedas, Brahmans, Aryankas and Upanishads.
- Rigveda is the earliest Veda
- Rig means hymns
- Rigveda is divided into 10 mandalas.
- Rigveda comprises 1028 hymns.
- Total hymns of all Vedas are 20,000
- The third mandala of Rigveda comprises Gayatri Mantra, composed by Viswamitra
- Yajurveda is an elaborate elucidation of rituals.
- Atharvaveda is related with some non-Aryan traditions like magical charm and spell.
- Upanishads are called Vedanta.
- Rigveda, Samveda, and Yajurveda are collectively called Trayee.
- During the4th century B.C., Kautilyain his book ‘Arthashastra’ advises the king to dedicate some time for hearing the narrations of history.
- History was conferred holiness equal to pious Veda, Atharvanaveda, Brahmanas,and Upanishads. The Itihas-Purana is one of the branches of knowledge of history.
- There are 18 main Puranasand 18 subsidiary Puranas.
- ‘Rajatarangini’ written by Kalhana is another work of history, which enjoys the great respect among the historians for its approach and historical content.
- Ramayana: 24000 Slokas
- Poet: Valmiki (Also known as Adikavi)
- Mahabharata: 10,0000 slokas (It is called Satsahasri Sainhita and also Pancharu Veda.
- Geeta is a part of Bhishma Parva
- Dhanvantri is considered as the father of Ayurveda system.
- Atharvaveda gives first-hand information about Ayurveda.
- Charaka who belonged to Kushana period wrote Charak Samhita.
- Shushrut wrote Shushrut Samhita which also mentions about the surgical operation
- Vagbhata wrote Astangthidya which mentions about eight major organs of human body.
- Salihanna wrote on Asva Chikitsa
- Palkappya wrote on Gaja chikitsa
- Vriksha parasar describes numerous medicinal herbs and plants
- Aryabhatta wrote Surya Sidhantika.
- Varahamihir wrote Pancha Sidhantika, Vrihatjatak, aghu Jatak and Vrihat Samhita on astrology.
- Aryabhatta wrote Arybhattiyam which describes the decimal system and about zero.
- James Princep deciphered Ashokan Inscription in 1837.
- Ashokan inscriptions were written in Prakrit language and mainly in Brahmi script.
- Harappans did not use the coin.
- Coinage system evolved in the 6th cent. B.C.
- The earliest coins belong to Magadha and Kosala.
- Our earliest coin was made of silver.
- Kanishka’s coins depict Buddha’s figure.
- Chandra (Gupta Vikramaditya was the first Gupta ruler who issued silver coin.
- In south India, gold coins were known as Pon.
- Huen Tsang mentions that conch and shells were used as means of sale and purchase.
- Paper Rupees were first issued by Lord Canning (1860 AD)
- The oldest Brahmanic literature is-
- Which Veda has 10 Mandal, 1028 Sukta, and 10580 Richas?
- Which work provides detail information about political social and family life in later Vedic period?
(D) All of the above
- Which Veda is lyrical composition?
- Kathak, Kapisthak, Maitrayani, Taittriya, and Vajsaneyi are the branches of –
- Aitreya Brahman is attached to-
- Atharvaveda has as its Brahman book-
- Which is the matching pair?
(A) Rigveda-Tandav Brahman
(B) Yajurveda-Satpath Brahman
(C) Samveda-Gopath Brahman
(D) Atharvaveda-Panch Vimsha Brahman
- When the Tripitakas were written?
(A) Before Gautam Buddha
(B) During Buddha’s lifetime
(C) After Buddha’s death
(D) B and C
- Suttabibhang, Ravandhaka, Parivar are three parts of –
(A) Vinay Pitaka
(B) Sutta Pitaka
(C) Abhidhamma Pitaka
(D) None of the above
- To which of the following Pitaka does Khuddak Nikay belong?
(A) Vinay Pitaka
(B) Sutta Pitaka
(C) Abhidhamma Pitaka
- Manu Smriti is a standard work written during which of the following age?
(A) Sunga age
(B) Mauryan age
(C) Gupta age
(D) Later Vedic period
- Pushyamitra Sunga performed “Asvamedha yagya” is a fact known through-
(C) Kalika Puran
- Which is the rich source of information about Gupta age?
- An account of Gupta emperors from Buddhist angle is given in-
(A) Nandi Sutra
(B) Mool Sutra
(C) Chhed Sutra
(D) Arya Moolkalpa
- The Sixteen Mahajanapadas are referred to in-
(A) Anguttar Nikay
(B) Khuddak Nikay
(C) Sanyukta Nikay
(D) Deegh Nikay
- ‘Acharang Sutra’ describes-
(A) Sermons of Gautam Buddha
(B) Code of conduct for Buddhist monks
(C) Sermons of Lord Mahavir
(D) Code of conduct for Jain monks
- The book ‘Bhadrabahucharit’ described the events of which of the following regime?
(B) Chandragupta Maurya
- Which of the following book described The Greek invasion of North India?
- Who is the author of ‘History of the War’?
- Who has written the famous work ‘Historica’?
- Who is the Author of ‘Natural History’?
(D) Pliny the Elder
- Which author has written about Alexander’s invasion of India?
- Indica is a reliable source for the history of Chandragupta Maurya. It was written by?
- Who compiled and published Extracts from Indica in 1846 as ‘Megasthenese Indica’?
- Of the following Chinese travelers who did not visit India in the 7th century A.D.?
(D) None of the above
- Which is not a work on the history of Ceylon?
(D) None of above
- Which of the following works of Kalidas gives information about the history of Sunga dynasty?
- Who has written about India at the time of Mahmud’s invasion?
- Which of the following pair is matching one?
- Who is the author of ‘Rajtarangini’ the famous history of Kashmir?
- Which Chinese traveler has wrote his travelogue which tells us about Harsha?
(B) Yuan Chwang
(D) None of the above
- When was Manusmriti written?
(A) Sunga age
(B) Huns Age
(C) Mauryan Age
(D) Gupta Age
- The last 11 hymns, which are considered as the oldest part of Rig Veda are known as-
(A) Purusha Sukta
- Who was the greatest author on Chhanda Shastra
- Which is known as Sat Saharsi Samhita?
(A) Manu Smriti
(B) Yajnalkya Smriti
(C) Parashar Smriti
- Which is the earliest Smriti?
(A) Yajnovalkya Smriti
(B) Manu Smriti
(C) Narad Smriti
(D) Parashar Smriti
- Which Smriti describes the classes of Brahmanas who were against accepting alms.
(A) Narad Smriti
(B) Yajnalkya Smriti
(C) Parashar Smriti
(D) Manu Smriti
- Who wrote Asva Chikitsa?
- Which of the following is correct.
(i) Rig means Hymns.
(ii) The third Mandal of Rigveda is composed by Viswamitra.
(iii) The tenth Mandal is dedicated to Soma.
(iv) Philosophy about the unity of Atma & Parmatma has been described in Upanishads.
(A) All of the above
(B) iii only
(C) i, ii & iv
(D) None of the above
- Which of the following statement (s) is/are associated with archaeological sources?
It includes structures and objects found in excavation, inscriptions and numismatic sources.
II. Our knowledge of pre-historic times and the Harappan culture is exclusively based on the sources obtained from excavation.
Select the correct option
A. Only I
B. Only II
C. Both I & II
D. Neither I nor II
- Who among the following was the first Surveyor General of the Archaeological Survey of India?
A. James Burgess
B. Alexander Cunningham
C. James Prinsep
D. James Fergusson
- Which is/are types of inscriptions?
B. Pillars Inscription
D. All of the above
- Which is the oldest Brahmanic literature?
- When was Manusmriti written down?
B. Huns Age
D. Gupta Age
- Which of the following history book deals with the history of Kashmir?
- When was Tripitakas were written down?
A. Before Gautam Buddha
B. During Buddha’s life
C. After Buddha’s death
D. Both B & C
- Which of the following Sutra deals with the code of conduct for Jain monks?
A. Acharang Sutra
B. Panch Pratikraman Sutra
C. Tattvartha Sutra
D. Samayik sutra
- The oldest book in the world?
(C) Rig Vedas
(D) Zend Avesta
- Tripitaka was the religious text of Buddhist. It was written in?
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