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Class VII - Social: New kings & Kingdoms
One Word Answer Questions:
Q) Who held the sway in the Deccan region?
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Q) Which was the another kingdom that ruled the South India, apart from Pandyas and Cholas?
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Q) Who came to India with the Huns at the end of the 5th century AD?
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Q) Who established the Pratihara dynasty and took control of Ujjain?
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Q) Who declared their independence in AD 1160?
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Q) Who captured Kannauj, the imperial city of Harsha, and made it his capital?
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Q) The Chauhans were from which place?
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Q) They established kingdoms in Punjab, and Southern Rajasthan. Who are 'THEY' here?
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Q) What are the other two regions ruled by Rajputs?
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Q) Who ruled the eastern side of India during 700 A.D?
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Q) What was the warrior and cheiftans called during that period?
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Q) Who contributed to the politics of India between 8th and 12th centuries?
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Short Answer Questions:
Q) Write two points about Gujaras?
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Q) Explain briefly about Chauhans?
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Q) Write briefly about Paramaras?
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Q) Write a short note on achievements of Nagabhata?
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Q) Write a short note on Prashastis and Land Grants?
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Q) Write a short note on Mahmud Of Ghazni?
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Q) Write a short note on Mohammad Ghori ?
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Q) Write a short note on Rajput Period?
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Q) Write a short note on Gurjara - Pratiharas?
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Q) Write a short note on Warfare for Wealth?
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Long Answer Questions:
Q) Write a short note on Rashtrakutas?
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Q) Write a short note on Cholas?
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Q) Write a Short note about Muhammed Ghori?
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Q) Explain the Emergence of New Dynasties?
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Q) Explain the From Uraiyur to Thanjavur?
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Q) Explain the Splendid Temples and Bronze Sculpture?
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Q) Explain the Kingdoms Of The Deccan And South India?
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Q) Explain the Turkish Invasions?
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Q) Explain the Chahamanas Or Chauhans?
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Q) Explain the Palas Of Bengal?
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Q) Explain the Administration in the Kingdoms?
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Q) Explain the New Kings and Kingdoms?
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New Kings and Kingdoms
  • After the death of Harshavardhana in AD 700,his empire broke up into several small states and kingdoms
  • During this time, many warriors and chieftains came to power under the kings. They were called samantas or subordinates.
  • These subordinates became more powerful than the rulers and broke away from them to become independent rulers.
  • In the course of time, parts of northern and western India were taken over by the Rajputs. The more important of the Rajput kingdoms were the Gurjara-Pratiharas of Mandor, the Chauhans of Ajmer, the Paramaras of Malwa and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand.
  • On the eastern side were the Palas, who held sway in Bengal. In Deccan region, the Rashtrakutas and the Chalukyas established powerful kingdoms, while the Pandyas, Cholas and Cheras ruled over South India.
Administration in the Kingdoms:
  • Many of these new kings adopted highsounding titles such as maharaja-adhiraja (great king, overlord of kings),tribhuvana-chakravarti (lord of the three worlds)and so on.However,in spite of such claims,they often shared power with their samanthas as well as with the associations of peasants,traders and brahmins.
  • In each of these kingdoms,resources were obtained from the producers -that is,peasants,cattle-keepers,artisans -who were often persuaded or compelled to surrender a part of what they produced.Sometimes,these were claimed as "rent" due to a lord who asserted that he owned the land.Revenue was also collected from traders.
  • These resources were used to finance the king's establishment,as well as for the construction of temples and forts.They were also used to fight wars,which were in turn expected to lead to the acquisition of wealth in the form of plunder, and access to land as well as trade routes.
  • The functionaries for collecting revenue were generally recruited from influential families,and positions were often hereditary. This was true about the army as well.In many cases,close relatives of the king held these positions.
  • Warfare for Wealth:

    You may have noticed that each of these ruling dynasties was based in a specific region. At the same time, they tried to control other areas. One particularly prized area was the city of Kanauj in the Ganga valley.For centuries,rulers belonging to the Gurjara-Pratihara, Rashtrakuta and Pala dynasties fought for control over Kanauj.As there were three "parties" in this longdrawn conflict,historians often describe it as the "tripartite struggle".

Rajput Period(8th - 12thcentury)
  • Rajput claimed descent from the Kshatriyas.
  • They protected their land and religion with fierce patriotism
  • Their contribution to the politics and culture of India between the 8th and 12th centuries AD was so immense that this period of Indian history came to be called the Rajput period.
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The Gurjara - Pratiharas(6th - 11thcentury)
  • Many historians claim that the Gurjaras came to India with the Huns at the end of the 5th century AD.
  • They established kingdoms in Punjab, and Southern Rajasthan.
  • The Pratiharas were one of the most powerful of the various Gurjara clans and the empire they established came to be known as that of the Gurjara- Pratiharas.
  • NAGABHATA -I (AD 730-756) established the Pratihara dynasty and took control of Ujjain.
  • NAGABHATA-II captured Kannauj, the imperial city of Harsha, and made it his capital.
  • The Gurjara-Pratihara Empire broke up into several independent kingdoms around AD 950.
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The Chahamanas Or Chauhans (8th - 12thcentury)

Chahamanas, later known as the Chauhans,ruled over the region around Delhi and Ajmer. They attempted to expand their control to the west and the east,where they were opposed by the Chalukyas of Gujarat and the Gahadavalas of western Uttar Pradesh.The best-known Chahamana ruler was Prithviraja III (1168 AD-1192AD), who defeated an Afghan ruler named Sultan Muhammad Ghori in 1191 AD, but lost to him the very next year, in 1192 AD.

  • The Chauhans are believed to have been originally a desert tribe from the west of Jaipur.
  • In the 12th century AD, Ajeyaraja broke free from the Gurjara- Pratiharas and established the Chauhan dynasty.
  • He built his capital at Ajay-meru or Ajmer.
  • The best known Chauhan ruler was the legendary Prithviraj Chauhan.
  • In AD 1191, Prithviraj Chauhan challenged and defeated Mohammad Ghori, the Turkish invader, in the First Battle of Tarain.
  • Prithviraj Chauhan was defeated by Ghori in the Second Battle of Tarain.
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The Paramaras (10th - 12thcentury)
  • The Paramara dynasty of Rajputs ruled the region around Malwa from the 10th to the 12th centuries AD. The most famous ruler of this dynasty was Raja Bhoj.
  • The capital of the Paramaras was at Dhar.
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The Palas Of Bengal ( 775 AD - 810 AD)
  • In Bengal, in the period of AD 750, the people elected one Gopala as their ruler. His son, Dharmapala, founded the Pala dynasty ( AD 775-810).
  • Under Dharmapala and his son, Devapala, the Pala kingdom grew to include present-day Bengal, Bihar and parts of Odisha.
  • The Palas were Buddhists- they were the last major Indian dynasty to embrace Buddhism.
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Turkish Invasions
Mahmud Of Ghazni (Ad 1010-1026)

One of the rulers, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni,Afghanistan,ruled from 997 AD to 1030 AD,and extended control over parts of Central Asia,Iran and the north-western part of the subcontinent.He raided the subcontinent almost every year -his targets were wealthy temples, including that of Somnath,Gujarat.Much of the wealth that Mahmud carried away was used to create a splendid capital city at Ghazni.Sultan Mahmud was also interested in finding out more about the people he conquered,and entrusted a scholar named Al-Biruni to write an account of the subcontinent.This Arabic work,known as the Kitab al-Hind,is an important source for historians.Al-Biruni consulted Sanskrit scholars to prepare this account.

  • An ambitious Turkish chief called Sabuktgin, the Amir of Ghazni, began raiding India. One of his sons, Mahmud of Ghazni, attacked India several times between AD 1010 and 1026, taking back with him vast riches from this land.
  • Mahmud of Ghazni captured Kangra, Mathura, Kannauj, Thanesar, Gwalior and Somnath.
  • It was Mohammad Ghori, after one -and -a-half centuries, who established Muslim rule in India.
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Mohammad Ghori (Ad 1162-1206)
  • Mohammad Ghori was a general under the Ghorid dynasty.
  • Ghor, in Afghanistan, was a vassal state of the Ghazni empire.
  • When the Ghaznis started weakening, the Ghoris "Declared their independence in AD 1160."
  • He then conquered Multan, Peshawar and Lahore.
  • The main reason for the success of the Turks in India was the lack of unity among the Rajput chiefs.
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Kingdoms Of The Deccan And South India
  • South India and the Deccan enjoyed a period of relative calm.
  • The main kingdoms here were those of the Rashtrakutas, the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas,the Kakatiyas, the Kshatriyas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Cheras, and the Pallavas.
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Rashtrakutas (8th - 10thcentury)
  • The Rashtrakutas ruled over large parts of southern, central and northern India between the 8th and 10th centuries AD.
  • The Rashtrakutas came to power under the leadership of Dantidurga.
  • Dantidurga defeated the Chalukyas of Badami and the Gurjaras of Malwa.
  • He then went on to capture Kalinga, Kosala and Srisailam.
  • Krishna I succeeded Dantidurga.
  • Dhruva Dharavarsha, the later Rashtrakuta ruler, defeated the Palas and the Gurjara- Pratiharas and annexed Kannauj.
  • Amoghavarsha -I established his capital at Manyakheta, which remained the capital of the Rashtrakutas till the end of the empire.
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The Cholas (1st - 3rdcentury)
  • Chola rule is one of the well documented in the history of the South.Let us see how they became successful rulers.
  • The Cholas rose to power in the second half of the 9th century AD in South India.
    The administration system of the Cholas had a combination of a strong center and autonomous village councils, there was an efficient system of local self-government.
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From Uraiyur to Thanjavur:
  • How did the Cholas rise to power?A minor chiefly-family known as the Muttaraiyar held power in the Kaveri delta.
  • They were subordinates to the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram.Vijayalaya, who belonged to the ancient chiefly-family of the Cholas from Uraiyur,captured the delta from the Muttaraiyar in the middle of the ninth century.
  • He built the town of Thanjavur and a temple for goddess Nishumbhasudini there.
  • The successors of Vijayalaya conquered neighbouring regions and the kingdom grew in size and power.
  • The Pandyan and the Pallava territories to the south and north were made part of this kingdom.
  • Rajaraja I,considered the most powerful Chola ruler,became the king in 985 AD and expanded his control over most of these areas.He also reorganised the administration of the empire.Rajaraja's son Rajendra I continued his policies and even raided the Ganga valley,Sri Lanka and countries of Southeast Asia, developing a navy for these expeditions.
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The Chola kingdom and its neighbours
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The temple at Gangaikonda-Cholapuram
Splendid Temples and Bronze Sculpture:
  • The big temples of Thanjavur and Gangaikonda-Cholapuram, built by Rajaraja and Rajendra,are architectural and sculptural marvels.
  • Chola temples often became the nuclei of settlements which grew around them.They were also the centres of craft production.
  • Temples were also endowed with land by rulers as well as by others.The produce of this land went into maintaining the specialists who worked in the temple and very often lived near it -priests,garland makers,cooks,sweepers,musicians,dancers etc.
  • In other words,temples were not only places of worship,but also the hub of economic,social and cultural life as well.
  • Amongst the crafts associated with temples,the making of bronze images was the most distinctive.Chola bronze images are considered to be the finest in the world. While most images were of deities, some images of devotees were made as well.
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A Chola bronze sculpture
Agriculture and Irrigation:

Many of the achievements of the Cholas were made possible through new developments in agriculture.Look at Map again.Notice that the river Kaveri branches off into several small streams before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.These streams overflow frequently,depositing fertile soil on their banks.Water from the streams also provides the necessary moisture for agriculture,particularly the cultivation of rice.

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ninth century sluice gate in Tamil Nadu
  • Although agriculture had developed earlier in other parts of Tamil Nadu,it was only from the fifth or sixth century that this area was opened up for large-scale cultivation.
  • Forests had to be cleared in some regions;land had to be levelled in other areas.
  • In the delta region,embankments had to be built to prevent flooding and canals had to be constructed to carry water to the fields. In many areas,two crops were grown in a year.
  • In many cases, it was necessary to water the crops artificially.A variety of methods were used for irrigation.
  • In some areas,wells were dug. In other places, huge tanks were constructed to collect rainwater.
  • Remember that irrigation works require planning -organising labour and resources,maintaining these works and deciding on how water is to be shared.
  • Most of the new rulers,as well as people living in villages,took an active interest in these activities.
The Administration of the Empire:
  • How was the administration organised?
  • The king had a council of ministers to help him.He had a strong army and navy.The empire was divided into mandalams or provinces,further subdivided into valanadus and nadus.
  • Settlements of peasants, known as ur,became prosperous with the spread of irrigated agriculture.Groups of such villages formed larger units called Nadu.
  • The village council and the nadu performed several administrative functions including dispensing justice and collecting taxes.
  • Rich peasants of the Vellala caste exercised considerable control over the affairs of the nadu under the supervision of the central Chola government.
  • The Chola kings gave some rich landowners titles like muvendavelan (a velan or peasant serving three kings),araiyar (chief) etc.as markers of respect,and entrusted them with important offices of the state at the centre.
  • We have seen that brahmins often received land grants or brahmadeya.As a result,a large number of Brahmana settlements emerged in the Kaveri valley as in other parts of South India.
  • Each brahmadeya was looked after by an assembly or sabha of prominent Brahmana landholders.These assemblies worked very efficiently.
  • Their decisions were recorded in detail in inscriptions,often on the stone walls of temples.Associations of traders known as nagarams also occasionally performed administrative functions in towns.
  • Inscriptions from Uttaramerur in Chingelput district, Tamil Nadu, provide details of the way in which the sabha was organised.

  • The sabha had separate committees to look after irrigation works,gardens, temples etc. Names of those eligible to be members of these committees were written on small tickets of palm leaf;these tickets were put into an earthenware pot from which a young boy was asked to take out the tickets, one by one for each committee.
  • Types of land:
    • Chola inscriptions mention several categories of land:
    • Vellanvagai
    • land of non-brahmin proprietors:
    • Brahmadeya
    • Land gifted to brahmins:
    • Shalabhoga
    • Land for the maintenance of a school:
    • Devadana, Tirunamattukkani
    • Land gifted to temples
    • Pallichchhandam
      Inscriptions and texts:
      Who could be a member of a sabha?The Uttaramerur inscription lays down:
      • All those who wish to become members of the sabha should be owners of land from which land revenue is collected.
      • They should have their own homes.
      • They should be between 35 and 70 years of age.
      • They should have the knowledge of the Vedas.
      • They should be well-versed in administrative matters and be honest.
      • If anyone has been a member of any committee in the last three years,he cannot become a member of another committee.
      • Anyone who has not submitted his accounts, including details of his relatives,cannot contest the elections.
      • Do you think women participated in these assemblies?In your view,are lotteries useful for choosing members of committees?

      While inscriptions tell us about kings and powerful men, here is an excerpt from the Periyapuranam, a twelfthcentury Tamil work, which informs us about the lives of ordinary men and women.
      • On the outskirts of Adanur was a small hamlet of Pulaiyas,studded with small huts under old thatches and inhabited by agrarian labourers engaged in menial occupations.
      • In the thresholds of the huts covered with strips of leather,little chickens moved about in groups;dark children who wore bracelets of black iron were prancing about,carrying little puppies...
      • In the shade of the marudu (arjuna) trees,a female labourer put her baby to sleep on a sheet of leather;there were mango trees from whose branches drums were hanging; and under the coconut palms, in little hollows on the ground,tiny-headed female dogs lay after whelping.
      • The red-crested cocks crowed before dawn calling the brawny Pulaiyar (plural) to their day's work;and by day,under the shade of the kanji tree spread the voice of the wavy-haired Pulaiya women singing as they were husking paddy...
The Emergence of New Dynasties:

By the seventh century, there were many influential landlords or warrior chiefs in different regions of the subcontinent.Existing kings often acknowledged them as their subordinates or samanthas.They were expected to bring gifts for their kings or overlords, be present at their courts and provide them with military support.As samanthas gained power and wealth,they declared themselves to be mahasamantha,maha mandaleshvara (the great lord of a "circle" or region) and so on.Sometimes, they asserted their independence from their overlords.

One such instance was that of the Rashtrakutas in the Deccan.Initially,they were subordinate to the Chalukyas of Karnataka.In the mid-eighth century,Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief,overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed a ritual called hiranya-garbha(literally,the golden womb).This ritual was performed with the help of brahmins.It was thought to lead to the "rebirth" of the sacrificer as a Kshatriya,even if he was not a kshatriya by birth.

In other cases, men from enterprising families used their military skills to carve out kingdoms.For instance,the Kadamba Mayurasharman and the Gurjara-Pratihara Harichandra were brahmins who gave up their traditional professions and took to arms,successfully establishing kingdoms in Karnataka and Rajasthan respectively.

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Wall relief from Cave 15, Ellora,showing Vishnu as Narasimha,the man-lion.
Prashastis and Land Grants:
  • The invocation part of an inscription is Prashasti.Prashastis contain details about the ruling family such as their predecessors and the period to which they belonged.
  • They also contain exaggerated accounts of rulers and their achievements.But they tell us about how rulers wanted to depict themselves,for example valiant,victorious warriors.
  • These were composed by learned brahmins, who occasionlly helped in the administration.
The "achievements" of Nagabhata:

Many rulers described their achievements in prashastis.One prashasti,written in Sanskrit and found in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh,describes the exploits of Nagabhata, a Pratihara king, as follows:The kings of Andhra, Saindhava (Sind),Vidarbha (part of Maharashtra) and Kalinga (part of Odisha) fell before him Even as a prince....he won a war over Chakrayudha (the ruler of Kanauj)...He defeated the king of Vanga (part of Bengal),Anarta (part of Gujarat), Malva (part of Madhya Pradesh), Kirata (forest peoples), Turushka (Turks), Vatsa,Matsya (both kingdoms in north India).

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This is a set of copper plates recording a grant of land made by a ruler in the ninth century.
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