Topic outline

    • What Books and Burials Tell Us 

      Q20. Why were portholes used for?

      Ans. Portholes were used as an entrance. Through these portholes the bodies of family members who died later were brought into the grave.


      Q21. Which two words were used to describe the people or the community as a whole?

      Ans. One was the word jana, which we still use in Hindi and other languages. The other was vish. The word vaishya comes from vish.


      Q22. Name the two groups described in terms of their work.

      Ans. There are two groups who are described in terms of their work — the priests, sometimes called brahmins, who performed various rituals and the rajas.

      Q23. Were some burial spots meant for certain families?

      Ans. Sometimes, megaliths contain more than one skeleton. These indicate that people, perhaps belonging to the same family, were buried in the same place though not at the same time.


      Q24. What were oracle bones?

      Ans. Around 3500 years ago, we find some of the first evidence of writing in China. These writings were on animal bones. These are called oracle bones, because they were used to predict the future.


      Q25. What do circle of stone boulders or a single large stone standing on the ground indicates?

      Ans. Sometimes, archaeologists find a circle of stone boulders or a single large stone standing on the ground. These are the only indications that there are burials beneath.


      Q26. In what ways are the books we read today different from the Rigveda?

      Ans. The books we use are written and printed. The Rigveda was recited and heard rather than read. It was written down several centuries after it was first composed, and printed less than 200 years ago.

      Q27. Differentiate between ‘Aryas’ and ‘Dasas’.




      The people who composed the hymns described themselves as Aryas.

      Aryas called their opponents Dasas or Dasyus. These were people who did not perform sacrifices, and probably spoke different languages.


      Q28. What kind of evidence from burials do archaeologists use to find out whether there were social differences amongst those who were buried?

      Ans. Objects were found in the grave of the dead person. Sometimes, more objects are found in one grave than in another. These finds suggest that there was some difference in status amongst the people who were buried. Some were rich, others poor, some chiefs, others followers.


      Q29. In what ways do you think that the life of a raja was different from that of a dasa or dasi?



      Dasa or Dasi

      1. Raja was a powerful leader who used to rule.

      1. They were often captured in war.

      2. Raja was a free person.

      2. They were treated as the property of their owners, who could make them do whatever work they wanted.

      3. The rajas led a luxurious life.

      3. They led a miserable life.

      Q30. How horses, cattle, chariot and battles are depicted in Rigveda?

      Ans. There are many prayers in the Rigveda for cattle, horses, chariot and battles. Horses were yoked to chariots that were used in battles, which were fought to capture cattle. Battles were also fought for land, which was important for pasture, and for growing hardy crops that ripened quickly, such as barley. Some battles were fought for water, and to capture people.


      Q31. Write a note on Rigveda.

      Ans. The oldest Veda is the Rigveda, composed about 3500 years ago. The Rigveda includes more than a thousand hymns, called sukta or “well-said”. These hymns are in praise of various gods and goddesses. Three gods are especially important: Agni, the god of fire; Indra, a warrior god; and Soma, a plant from which a special drink was prepared. These hymns were composed by sages (rishis). Most of the hymns were composed, taught and learnt by men. A few were composed by women. The Rigveda is in old or Vedic Sanskrit.


      Q32. Write a short note on the Wars fought in the Rigvedic period?

      Ans. Battles were fought for cattle, land, water, and to capture people. Some of the wealth that was obtained was kept by the leaders, some was given to the priests and the rest was distributed amongst the people. Some wealth was used for the performance of yajnas or sacrifices in which offerings were made into the fire. These were meant for gods and goddesses. Most men took part in these wars. There was no regular army, but there were assemblies where people met and discussed matters of war and peace. They also chose leaders, who were often brave and skilful warriors.


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