- Comparing the present-day culture with the Vedic times, it has been noticed that Indian culture has changed. Critically evaluate the statement. (10 marks)
- The present-day Bihar has been an epicenter of civilization. Examine the reason for the same? (10 marks)
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Q1. Comparing the present-day culture with the Vedic times, it has been noticed that Indian culture has changed. Critically evaluate the statement. (150 words) 10 marks
- The Vedic times refers to the time period when the cultural life of Aryans in India spanned from the period of 1500 BC to 600 BC. It can be further divided into two Early Vedic period and Later Vedic period.
- Continuity in present Indian culture compared to Vedic times
- Caste system still exists in Indian society: with people identifying themselves based on Jatis.
- Conditions of women: In male dominated patriarchal nature of Indian society where women are still considered inferior to men in major regions of India.
- People find their roots in traditional vedic culture: like giving importance to cows, worship of deities albeit in idol form etc.
- Agrarian society: Vedic society was agrarian society and even now Indian society is agrarian in nature with 52% of population depending on it.
- Resurgence of Ayurveda: with the push towards Ayurveda, ancient medical knowledge is still being considered as prominent in India.
- Gurukul system of education: the residential system of school is still prevalent in India based on experiential learning.
- Environment conservation: Since Vedic times, Indians have regarded plants and animals, rivers and lakes, mountains and seeds, as sacred groves and worthy of protection.
- Change in present culture compared to Vedic times
- Present culture involves the major role of temples in terms of worship of deities which was totally absent in Vedic culture.
- Most Indians follow Bhaktism/philosophies of medieval India rather than the purity of Vedic principles.
- Nature of worship transformed into idol worship with India becoming a country where 33 crore gods and goddesses exist.
- The concept of caste ideology: the concept and notion of purity has changed due to assimilation of people based on education and work culture.
- Materialistic: Overall life has become more materialistic with the advent of new technology and globalization.
- Language: Sanskrit is no longer the language of the priestly class along with the advent of multiple languages.
- No more Brahminical dominance: Affirmative actions by government like reservations for Dalits has helped in the upliftment of lower classes in society.
- Degraded education: Universities like Takshshila and Nalanda were considered topmost universities in the world, today our universities are not even in the top 200 universities worldwide.
- It could be said that the remnants of Vedic culture of ancient India still exist in the present Indian society despite a major shift in practices of society, culture and material life due to multiple factors.
Q2. The present-day Bihar has been an epicenter of civilization. Examine the reason for the same? (150 words) 10 marks
- Present day Bihar is celebrated as the womb of civilization in India with Chirand being the first Neolithic site. Later, great empires like Magadh, Mauryan, Nandas, Shungas, Gupta emerged and prospered in the region.
- Primary Reasons for Bihar being an epicenter of civilization:
- Strategic Location: Rajgir (Capital of Magadh) was situated between 5 hills making it practically impregnable.
- Iron availability: Iron mines in Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand and this helped in creation of weapons.
- Rivers: Pataliputra was situated on the confluence of Ganga, Gandak, Sone and Ghaghra.
- This acted as an artery for navigation, trade, commerce and also provided natural defense security.
- Plain area and presence of Silt: Floodplains of the rivers created fertile land for extensive agriculture.
- Timber availability: The presence of forests in the region was an easy source of timber needs for the Army.
- For E.g Boat manufacturing.
- Secondary reasons for Bihar being an epicenter of civilization:
- It had plenty of rainfall for natural irrigation and also increased the productivity of people in the region.
- It is evident from literature like the Buddhist Tripitaka, Sanskrit Meghdootam, Puranas, etc.
- Beasts of War: The forests were also a source of Elephants which multi-folded the strengths of militaries of the region.
- For E.g. Nandas maintained 6000 elephants.
- Production Surplus: Surplus amount of both agricultural produce and natural resources was conducive for trade.
- Taxation: High trade and commerce contributed towards taxes as bali, bhaga, shulka, kara etc and led to the formation of an economic base.
- E.g. Megasthenes mentions that one-quarter of the produce had to be paid as tax.
- Social infrastructure: The ancient kings paid attention to and invested in social infrastructure.
- For E.g. Nalanda was established by King Kumaragupta in the 5th century AD.
- The other conducive reasons such as the ambitious kings like Bimbisara, Ajathashatru etc. as well as unorthodox character of Magadha society assisted the present-day Bihar to emerge as the focal point of civilization.