Topic outline

    • The Making of Regional Cultures

      Q30. Mention the role of Cheras in the development of Malayalam.

      Ans. The Chera kingdom of Mahodayapuram was established in the ninth century in the south-western part of the peninsula, part of present-day Kerala. It is likely that Malayalam was spoken in this area. The rulers introduced the Malayalam language and script in their inscriptions. In fact, this is one of the earliest examples of the use of a regional language in official records in the subcontinent.


      Q31. Why were temples built in Bengal?

      Ans. Bengal witnessed a temple-building spree from the late fifteenth century, which culminated in the nineteenth century. Temples and other religious structures were often built by individuals or groups who were becoming powerful – to both demonstrate their power and proclaim their piety. As social and economic position improved, people proclaimed their status through the construction of temples.


      Q32. How did miniature painting develop under the Mughal patronage?

      Ans. The Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan patronised highly skilled painters who primarily illustrated manuscripts containing historical accounts and poetry. These were generally painted in brilliant colours and portrayed court scenes, scenes of battle or hunting, and other aspects of social life. They were often exchanged as gifts and were viewed only by an exclusive few – the emperor and his close associates.

      Q33. List all six “classical” forms of dance.

      Ans. Six “classical” forms of dance are:

      Kathak (North India)

      Bharatanatyam (Tamil Nadu)

      Kathakali (Kerala)

      Odissi (Orissa)

      Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh)

      Manipuri (Manipur)



      Q34. What are the important architectural features of the temples of Bengal?

      Ans. Important architectural features of the temples of Bengal are

                                i.        The temples began to copy the double-roofed (dochala) or four-roofed (chauchala) structure of the thatched huts.

                               ii.        In the comparatively more complex four-roofed structure, four triangular roofs placed on the four walls move up to converge on a curved line or a point.

                              iii.        Temples were usually built on a square platform. The interior was relatively plain, but the outer walls of many temples were decorated with paintings, ornamental tiles or terracotta tablets.


      Q35. What do you know about Rajput tradition of heroism?

      Ans. Rajputs are often recognised as contributing to the distinctive culture of Rajasthan. These cultural traditions were closely linked with the ideals and aspirations of rulers. From about the eighth century, most of the present-day state of Rajasthan was ruled by various Rajput families. These rulers cherished the ideal of the hero who fought valiantly, often choosing death on the battlefield rather than face defeat. Stories about Rajput heroes were recorded in poems and songs, which were recited by specially trained minstrels.

      Q36. Who were the pirs? What was their position in the society?

      Ans. The early settlers in Bengal sought some order and assurance in the unstable conditions of the new settlements. These were provided by community leaders, who also functioned as teachers and adjudicators and were sometimes ascribed with supernatural powers. People referred to them with affection and respect as pirs. This term included saints or Sufis and other religious personalities, daring colonisers and deified soldiers, various Hindu and Buddhist deities and even animistic spirits. The cult of pirs became very popular and their shrines can be found everywhere in Bengal.


      Q37. Write a short note on Kathak, a popular classical dance form of north India.

      Ans. Kathak now associated with several parts of north India. The term kathak is derived from katha, a word used in Sanskrit and other languages for story. The kathaks were originally a caste of story-tellers in temples of north India, who embellished their performances with gestures and songs. Kathak began evolving into a distinct mode of dance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with the spread of the bhakti movement. The legends of Radha-Krishna were enacted in folk plays called rasa lila, which combined folk dance with the basic gestures of the kathak story-tellers. Under the Mughal emperors and their nobles, Kathak was performed in the court, where it acquired its present features and developed into a form of dance with a distinctive style.


      Q38. Write a short note Bengali Literature.

      Ans. About Bengali Literature

                               i.        Early Bengali literature may be divided into two categories – one indebted to Sanskrit and the other independent of it. The first includes translations of the Sanskrit epics, the Mangalakavyas (literally auspicious poems, dealing with local deities) and bhakti literature such as the biographies of Chaitanyadeva, the leader of the Vaishnava bhakti movement.

                              ii.        The second includes Nath literature such as the songs of Maynamati and Gopichandra, stories concerning the worship of Dharma Thakur, and fairy tales, folk tales and ballads.

                             iii.        The texts belonging to the first category are easier to date, as several manuscripts have been found indicating that they were composed between the late fifteenth and mid-eighteenth centuries. Those belonging to the second category circulated orally and cannot be precisely dated.


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