Town Traders and Craft Persons – Class 7
Q1. Why did some rulers build temples?
Ans: Rulers built temples to demonstrate their devotion to various deities. They also endowed temples with grants of land and money to carry out elaborate rituals, feed pilgrims and priests and celebrate festivals. Pilgrims who flocked to the temples also made donations.
Q2. Why did many people settle near the temple?
How did temple towns grow? – explain with example.
Ans: Temple authorities used their wealth to finance trade and banking. Gradually a large number of priests, workers, artisans, traders, etc. settled near the temple to cater to its needs and those of the pilgrims.
Thus grew temple towns. Towns emerged around temples such as Somnath in Gujarat, Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
Q3. How did some larger villages help to grow a new network of small towns?
Ans: From the eighth century onwards the subcontinent was dotted with several small towns.
~ These probably emerged from large villages.
~ They usually had a mandapika to which nearby villagers brought their produce to sell.
~ They also had market streets called hatta (haat of later times) lined with shops.
~ Besides, there were streets for different kinds of artisans such as potters, oil pressers, sugar makers, toddy makers, smiths, stonemasons, etc.
Q4. Why did some Samantas or Jamindars build their palace near the towns?
Ans: Usually a samanta or, in later times, a zamindar built a fortified palace in or near these towns. They levied taxes on traders, artisans and articles of trade and sometimes “donated” the “right” to collect these taxes to local temples, which had been built by themselves or by rich merchants. These “rights” were recorded in inscriptions that have survived to this day.
Q5. Who were the Manigramam and Nanadesi?
Ans: Since traders had to pass through many kingdoms and forests, they usually travelled in caravans and formed guilds to protect their interests. There were several such guilds in south India from the eighth century onwards – the most famous being the Manigramam and Nanadesi. These guilds traded extensively both within the peninsula and with Southeast Asia and China.
Q6. Who were the traders in eighth century?
There were some communities like the Chettiars and the Marwari Oswal who went on to become the principal trading groups of the country. Gujarati traders, including the communities of Hindu Baniyas and Muslim Bohras, traded extensively with the ports of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, East Africa, Southeast Asia and China.
Q7. What did the traders of eighth century exchange each other?
Ans: They sold textiles and spices in the ports of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, East Africa, Southeast Asia and China and, in exchange, brought gold and ivory from Africa; and spices, tin, Chinese blue pottery and silver from Southeast Asia and China.
Q8. Why did the craft persons become more important in towns?
Because, craft persons were so famed for their inlay work in copper and silver. They also played an important role in the construction of palaces, big buildings, tanks and reservoirs. Some aspects of cloth making like cotton cleaning, spinning and dyeing became specialised and independent crafts.
Q9. What do you mean by ‘Bidri’?
Ans: The craftspersons of Bidar were so famed for their inlay work in copper and silver that it came to be called Bidri.
Q10. Why the Panchalas or Vishwakarma community was important in towns?
The Panchalas or Vishwakarma community, consisting of goldsmiths, bronzesmiths, blacksmiths, masons and carpenters, were essential to the building of temples. They also played an important role in the construction of palaces, big buildings, tanks and reservoirs.
Q11. How did Hampi form as the nuclei of Vijayanagara empire founded in 1336?
Ans: Hampi is located in the Krishna-Tungabhadra basin, which formed the nucleus of the Vijayanagara Empire, founded in 1336.
I) The architecture of Hampi was distinctive.
II) The magnificent ruins at Hampi reveal a well-fortified city.
III) They also had well-planned orchards and pleasure gardens with sculptural motifs such as the lotus and corbels.
IV) In its heyday in the fifteenth sixteenth centuries, Hampi bustled with commercial and cultural activities.
Q12. How did temples become the hub of the cultural activity?
I) Devadasis (temple dancers) performed before the deity, royalty and masses in the many-pillared halls in the Virupaksha (a form of Shiva) temple.
II) The Mahanavami festival in the south, was one of the most important festivals celebrated in this temple – Hampi.
III) They also practiced some cultural events, like wrestling bouts.
Q13. How did Hampi fall into ruin?
Ans: Hampi fell into ruin following the defeat of Vijayanagara in 1565 by the Deccani Sultans – the rulers of Golconda, Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Berar and Bidar.