Nomads and Settled Communities
Q45. Mention some special features of tribal societies.
Special features of tribal societies were:
They did not follow the social rules and
rituals prescribed by the Brahmanas. Nor were they divided into numerous
Members of each tribe were united by
Many tribes obtained their livelihood from
agriculture. Others were hunter-gatherers or herders.
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.
Q46. Write about the Rani Durgawati.
Durgawati was the daughter of Salbahan, the
Chandel Rajput raja of Mahoba. She got married to Dalpat, the son of Gond raja
Dalpat, however, died early. Rani Durgawati
was very capable, and started ruling on behalf of her five-year-old son, Bir
Under her, the kingdom became even more
extensive. In 1565, the Mughal forces under Asaf Khan attacked Garha Katanga.
A strong resistance was put up by Rani
Durgawati. She was defeated and preferred to die rather than surrender. Her
son, too, died fighting soon after.
Q47. Write about Ahom society.
society was divided into clans or khels. There were very few castes of
artisans, so artisans in the Ahom areas came from the adjoining kingdoms. A
khel often controlled several villages. The peasant was given land by his
village community. Even the king could not take it away without the community’s
consent. 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
adopting Hinduism. Ahom society was very sophisticated. Poets
and scholars were given land grants. Theatre was encouraged.
Q48. How did tribal societies change after being organized into
Changes in tribal societies
Considerable social change took place in
the subcontinent. Varna-based society and tribal people constantly interacted
with each other. This interaction caused both kinds of societies to adapt and
There were many different tribes and they
took up diverse livelihoods.
Over a period of time, many of them merged
with caste based society. Others, however, rejected both the caste system and
Some tribes established extensive states
with well-organised systems of administration. They thus became politically
powerful. This brought them into conflict with larger and more complex kingdoms
Q49. What do you know about Mongols?
The best-known pastoral and hunter gatherer
tribe in history were the Mongols. They inhabited the grasslands (steppes) of
Central Asia and the forested areas further north.
By 1206 Genghis Khan had united the Mongol
and Turkish tribes into a powerful military force. At the time of his death
(1227) he was the ruler of extensive territories.
His successors created a vast empire. At
different points of time, it included parts of Russia, Eastern Europe and also
China and much of West Asia.
The Mongols had well-organised military and
administrative systems. These were based on the support of different ethnic and
Q50. Write about the tribal people found in different parts of
Tribal people were found in almost every
region of the subcontinent. In Punjab, the Khokhar tribe was very
influential during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Later, the Gakkhars
became more important. In
and Sind, the Langahs and Arghuns dominated extensive regions before they were
subdued by the Mughals. The Balochis were another large and powerful tribe
in the north-west. In the western Himalaya lived the shepherd tribe of Gaddis.
distant north-eastern part of the subcontinent too was entirely dominated by
tribes – the Nagas, Ahoms and many others. In many areas of present-day Bihar
and Jharkhand, Chero chiefdoms had emerged by the twelfth century. The
Mundas and Santals were among the other important tribes that lived in this region
and also in Orissa and Bengal.
Maharashtra highlands and Karnataka were home to Kolis, Berads and numerous
south there were large tribal populations of Koragas, Vetars, Maravars and many
large tribe of Bhils was spread across western and central India. The Gonds
were found in great numbers across the present-day states of Chhattisgarh,
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
Q51. In what ways was the history of the Gonds different from
that of the Ahoms? Were there any similarities?
History of the Gonds was different from that of the Ahoms in the following
The Gonds lived in a vast forested region
called Gondwana – or “country inhabited by Gonds”. The
Ahoms migrated to the Brahmaputra valley from present-day Myanmar in the
Gonds practised shifting cultivation. The
Ahoms also introduced new methods of rice cultivation.
Gonds society was not as developed as Ahoms.
The Ahoms built a large state, and for this they used firearms. They could even
make high quality gunpowder and cannons.
Gonds were influenced by Rajputs. In order
to gain power and recognition, they had marriage alliances with Rajputs. Ahoms
annexed the kingdoms of the Chhutiyas and of Koch-Hajo and subjugated many
were many similarities between Gonds and Ahoms.
Both the tribal states were attacked by
Mughals at different times. Despite their brave defence, both were defeated by
Both granted land to the Brahmanas.
Both developed centralised administrative