Nomads and Settled Communities
Q36. How do the present day historians use to write tribal
Contemporary historians and travellers give
very scanty information about tribes. A few exceptions apart, tribal people did
not keep written records. But they preserved rich customs and oral traditions.
These were passed down to each new generation. Present day historians have started
using such oral traditions to write tribal histories.
Q37. Who were Ahoms? How did they build a large state?
Ans. The Ahoms migrated to the Brahmaputra valley
from present-day Myanmar in the thirteenth century. They created a new state by
suppressing the older political system of the bhuiyans (landlords). During the sixteenth
century, they annexed the kingdoms of the Chhutiyas (1523) and of Koch-Hajo
(1581) and subjugated many other tribes.
Q38. How do Nomadic Pastoralists live and earn?
Who are nomadic pastoralists?
Nomadic pastoralists moved over long distances
with their animals.
lived on milk and other pastoral products. They also exchanged wool, ghee,
etc., with settled agriculturists for grain, cloth, utensils and other
products. They bought and sold these goods as they moved from one
place to another, transporting them on their animals.
Q39. What changes took place in varna-based society?
castes, or jatis, emerged within varnas. For example, new castes appeared amongst
the Brahmanas. On the other hand, many tribes and social groups were taken into
caste-based society and given the status of jatis. Specialised artisans –
smiths, carpenters and masons – were also recognised as separate jatis by the Brahmanas.
Jatis, rather than varna, became the basis for organising society.
Q40. What do you know about religion practised by Ahom society?
Originally, the Ahoms worshipped their own
tribal gods. During the first half of the seventeenth century, however, the influence
of Brahmanas increased. Temples and Brahmanas were granted land by the king. In
the reign of Sib Singh (1714-1744), Hinduism became the predominant religion.
But the Ahom kings did not completely give up their traditional beliefs after
Q41. How did the tribes earn their livelihood?
Many tribes obtained their livelihood from
agriculture. Others were hunter-gatherers or herders. Most often they combined
these activities to make full use of the natural resources of the area in which
they lived. Some tribes were nomadic and moved from one place to another. A tribal
group controlled land and pastures jointly, and divided these amongst
households according to its own rules.
Q42. Write a brief note on Banjaras.
Were the Banjaras important for the economy?
The Banjaras were the most important trader
nomads. Their caravan was called tanda. Sultan Alauddin Khalji used the
Banjaras to transport grain to the city markets. Emperor Jahangir wrote in his
memoirs that the Banjaras carried grain on their bullocks from different areas
and sold it in towns. They transported food grain for the Mughal army during
military campaigns. With a large army there could be 100,000 bullocks carrying
Q43. How did the emergence of large states change the nature of
The emergence of large states changed the
nature of Gond society.
Their basically equal society gradually got
divided into unequal social classes.
Brahmanas received land grants from the
Gond rajas and became more influential.
The Gond chiefs now wished to be recognised
as Rajputs. They began forming marital relation with Rajputs.
Q44. How was the administration of the Ahom state organised?
Administration of the Ahom state
The Ahom state depended upon forced labour.
Those forced to work for the state were called paiks.
A census of the population was taken. Each
village had to send a number of paiks by rotation.
People from heavily populated areas were
shifted to less populated places. Ahom clans were thus broken up.
By the first half of the seventeenth
century the administration became quite centralised.