History Class 12 Chapter 5 question answer in english

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Through the Eyes of Travellers questions answers: Ncert Solutions For Class 12 History Chapter 5 Through the Eyes of Travellers

ClassClass 12
ChapterChapter 5
Chapter NameThrough the Eyes of Travellers class 12 ncert solutions
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Are you looking for History Class 12 Chapter 5 question answer in english? Now you can download Ncert Solutions For Class 12 History Chapter 5 Through the Eyes of Travellers pdf from here.

note: All these questions and answers are based on the new syllabus. So the chapter numbers may seem different to you.

[ Answer in 100-150 words ] Class 12 History chapter 5 questions and answers in English

Question 1: Write a note on the Kitab-ul-Hind.

Answer 1: Kitab-ul-Hind was written by Al-Biruni in 1031. It was considered with India and also known by the name of Tarikh-ul-Hind and Tahqiq-ma-ul-Hind. It is divided into 80 chapters on subjects such as religion and philosophy, festivals, astronomy, alchemy, manners and customs, social life, weights and measures, iconography, laws and metrology. Al-Biruni has adopted a mathematical approach.

He begins each chapter with a question followed up with a description and comparison of cultures. Scholars viewed this method is result of his mathematical orientation. This geometric structure he followed is known for its precision and predictability. The main reason for this structure was Al-Biruni’s mathematical orientation.

Question 2: Compare and contrast the perspectives from which Ibn Battuta and Bernier wrote their accounts of their travels in India.

Answer 2: Ibn Battuta and Francois Bernier offer two distinct perspectives in their accounts of travels in India, shaped by their backgrounds and objectives. Ibn Battuta, an early globe-trotter, prioritized experiential knowledge over book learning. His approach to travel was to meticulously document the cultures, peoples, beliefs, and values he encountered. He reveled in the cosmopolitan culture of urban centers, where a multitude of languages such as Arabic, Persian, and Turkish and other languages, shared ideas, information and anecdotes. His accounts are rich with descriptions of novel and unfamiliar elements designed to impress his readers, such as the coconut and the paan. Ibn Battuta’s narratives were driven by a sense of wonder and excitement, capturing the unique and exotic aspects of the places he visited.

In contrast, Francois Bernier’s writings reflect a different intellectual tradition and purpose. He approached his travels with a comparative lens, contrasting the social and political conditions in India with those in Europe in general and France in particular, focusing on situations which he considered depressing. His idea was to influence the policy makers and intelligentsia to ensure that they made what he considered to be the “right” decisions. His comparisons were often framed in terms of binary oppositions, presenting India as the antithesis of Europe. This perspective served to underscore the perceived superiority of Europe and the inferiority of India. Bernier’s hierarchical ordering of these differences was intended to validate European preeminence and encourage, so that India appeared to be inferior to the Western world.

Thus, while Ibn Battuta’s accounts are characterized by a sense of curiosity and celebration of cultural diversity, Bernier’s writings are marked by a critical, comparative approach that seeks to reinforce European superiority. These differing perspectives not only reflect their individual experiences and objectives but also illuminate the broader intellectual and cultural contexts within which they were writing.

Question 3: Discuss the picture of urban centres that emerges from Bernier’s account.

Answer 3: François Bernier’s account of 17th-century Mughal India provides a vivid picture of urban centers during that period, highlighting their structure, significance, and the diverse communities that inhabited them. According to Bernier, around 15% of the population lived in towns, which aligns with the average urban population proportion of Western Europe at the time. His descriptions offer insights into the nature and dynamics of Mughal towns, often referred to as court towns due to their close association with the imperial court.

Court Towns and Their Dependency: Bernier characterized Mughal towns as “court towns,” a term indicating their reliance on the imperial court for their existence and prosperity. These towns emerged and flourished with the presence of the court and often declined when the court moved elsewhere. This transient nature underscores the significance of the imperial presence in sustaining urban life and economic activities.

Major Urban Centers: In his travel accounts, Bernier mentioned several significant towns and cities, including Delhi, Mathura, Kashmir, Surat, Masulipatnam, and Golconda. Each of these urban centers held unique importance:

  • Delhi: As a major political and administrative hub, Delhi was central to the Mughal empire.
  • Mathura: Known for its religious significance, particularly in Hinduism.
  • Kashmir: Famous for its scenic beauty and craft industries.
  • Surat: A key trading port on the western coast, vital for maritime trade.
  • Masulipatnam and Golconda: Important centers for trade and manufacturing in the Deccan region.

Economic and Social Composition: Bernier’s observations highlight the multifaceted nature of Mughal urban centers. These towns were not only administrative and political hubs but also significant for manufacturing and trade. The presence of various merchant communities had a profound influence on the urban economy. These merchants were organized into caste and occupational groups, ensuring a structured and cohesive commercial environment. In western India, these trading groups were known as Mahajans, with their leaders titled Sheth. In Ahmedabad, the chief of Merchant community was known as nagarsheth.

Cultural and Occupational Diversity: Apart from merchants, Mughal towns were home to a variety of professionals, including musicians, architects, painters, lawyers, and calligraphers. This cultural and occupational diversity contributed to the vibrant urban life. These towns were centers of cultural production and intellectual activity, attracting individuals with different skills and talents. The presence of such a diverse population highlights the towns’ roles as hubs of not only economic activity but also cultural and artistic expression.

Question 4: Analyse the evidence for slavery provided by Ibn Battuta.

Answer 4: Ibn Battuta’s accounts provide a detailed perspective on the presence and nature of slavery in the regions he visited. According to him, slaves were openly traded in markets like any other commodity and were regularly given as gifts. Upon his arrival in Sindh, he purchased horses, camels, and slaves to present to Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq. Similarly, when he reached Multan, he gifted the governor with raisins, almonds, a slave, and a horse. Ibn Battuta mentions an instance where Muhammad bin Tughluq, pleased by the sermon of the preacher Nasiruddin, awarded him with one hundred thousand coins and two hundred slaves.

The account of Ibn Battuta suggests that there was a great deal of diversity among slaves. Some female slaves serving the Sultan were proficient in music and singing. The Sultan also appointed female slaves to keep an eye on his nobles. Generally, slaves were used for domestic labor, and Ibn Battuta found their services particularly indispensable in carrying men and women on palanquins. The price of slaves, especially those female slaves needed for domestic labor, was very low, and most families that could afford to keep them had at least one or two.

Question 5: What were the elements of the practice of sati that drew the attention of Bernier?

Answer 5: The practice of sati according to Bernier showed the difference in the treatment of women in western and eastern society. He noticed how a child widow were forcefully burnt screaming on the funeral pyre while many of the older women were resigned their fate.

The following elements drew his attention.

  • (i) Under this cruel practices an alive widow was forcibly made to sit on the pyre of her husband.
  • (ii)People had no sympathy for her.
  • (iii)The widow was an unwilling victim of the sati-practice. She was forced to be a Sati.

[ Write a short essay (about 250-300 words) on the following: ] Class 12 history chapter 5 ncert solutions in English

Question 6: Discuss Al-Biruni’s understanding of the caste system.

Answer 6: Al-Biruni’s description about caste system as he understood. Al-Biruni tried to explain the caste system by looking far parallels in other societies. He described that in ancient Persia, four social categories were recognised.

  • (i) knight and princes.
  • (ii) monks
  • (iii) fire-priests and lawyers; physicians, astronomers, other scientists;
  • (iv) Finally, peasants and artisans. He attempted to suggest that social divisions were not unique to India.

His description of the caste system in India was deeply influenced by his study of Sanskrit texts. According to these texts, the highest castes were the Brahmins as they were created from the head of the Brahmins.

The Kshatriyas were the next caste created from the shoulders and hands of the Brahmin. The Vaishyas and Shudras were created from the thighs and feet of the Brahmin respectively.

Thus, he sought to understand the Indian caste system by looking for parallels in other societies. Nothing that ancient Persian society was divided into four categories he realized that social division was not unique to India.

But despite accepting the caste system he was against the notion of pollution. He believed that according to the laws of nature anything which becomes impure ultimately becomes pure again, e.g. the sun clears the air. The concept of social pollution is the bedrock of the caste system. Thus, the caste system was according to him contrary to the laws of nature. He failed to realize that the caste system was not as rigid as portrayed in the Sanskrit texts.

Question 7: Do you think Ibn Battuta’s account is useful in arriving at an understanding of life in contemporary urban centres? Give reasons for your answer.

Answer 7: Ibn Battuta found cities full of opportunities for those who had the necessary drive, resources and skills. They were densely populated and prosperous, except for the occasional disruptions caused by wars and invasions. According to Ibn Battuta, it appears that most cities had crowded streets and bright and colourful markets. He described Delhi as a vast city, with a great population, the largest in India. In his description of Delhi, he stated, “The rampart around the city is without parallel. … It has many towers …. There are twenty eight gates of this city which are called darwaza.” The bazaars were centres of economic, social and cultural activities.

Correctness of Descriptions: Ibn Battuta’s descriptions of cities such as Delhi, with its crowded streets and vibrant markets, resonate with the current state of many older cities in India. For instance, Delhi today still has densely populated areas and bustling bazaars, especially in its older parts like Chandni Chowk. This continuity in urban characteristics highlights the long-standing nature of certain urban features, providing a historical context to contemporary urban life.

Global Network of Communication: During Ibn Battuta’s time, Delhi was part of a vast network that connected various regions from China to North-West Africa and Europe. This indicates that urban centres were not isolated but were hubs of international trade, culture, and communication. Contemporary cities continue to function in a similar way, being interconnected in the global economy and serving as centres of cultural exchange and economic activity.

Agricultural Productivity and Urban Prosperity: The prosperity of towns during Ibn Battuta’s time was significantly influenced by the productivity of Indian agriculture. The Indian agriculture was also productive due to fertility of the soil. This led to prosperity of towns because the towns derived a significant portion of their wealth through the appropriation of surplus from villages. This agricultural base is still a cornerstone of urban prosperity in contemporary India, as cities often thrive on the economic activities generated by the surrounding rural areas.

Demand for Indian Goods: The high demand for Indian goods in regions like West Asia and Southeast Asia during Ibn Battuta’s time brought substantial profits to Indian artisans and merchants. This tradition of Indian goods being highly valued internationally continues today, with Indian textiles, spices, and other products being sought after globally. The historical continuity in trade practices underscores the enduring economic patterns and their impact on urban prosperity.

Question 8: Discuss the extent to which Bernier’s account enables historians to reconstruct contemporary rural society.

Answer 8: Bernier’s assessment about Indian rural society was not correct. It was far away from the truth, but it is not acceptable. There are some truth in his description which are evident from the following facts.

  • (i) According to his account, mughal empire was the owner of the land and distributed among its nobles. It had a disastrous impact on the society.
  • (ii) According to him the system of crown of ownership of land was good. It was because, the land holders could not pass on their land to their children. They did not make any long term investment on the land.
  • (iii) As there was no private property in land, there was not any improvement in the landlord class. This system ruin agriculture and led to opinion of peasants.

Bernier’s view regarding Indian society had the following features:-

  • (i) The rich people Were in minority.
  • (ii) It had the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich, no middle class existed there.
  • (iii) All the cities and towns were reined and had contaminated air.

Question 9: Read this excerpt from Bernier:

Numerous are the instances of handsome pieces of workmanship made by persons destitute of tools, and who can scarcely be said to have received instruction from a master. Sometimes they imitate so perfectly articles of European manufacture that the difference between the original and copy can hardly be discerned. Among other things, the Indians make excellent muskets, and fowling-pieces, and such beautiful gold ornaments that it may be doubted if the exquisite workmanship of those articles can be exceeded by any European goldsmith. I have often admired the beauty, softness, and delicacy of their paintings.

List the crafts mentioned in the passage. Compare these with the descriptions of artisanal activity in the chapter.

Answer 9:

  1. Names of the crafts mentioned in this passage.
    In this passage the crafts such as making of muskets and following pieces and making beautiful gold ornaments are mentioned. These products were beautifully made. Bernier was amazed to see these products.
  2. Comparison of crafts referred in the passage with the description of artisanal activity in the chapter.
  • (i) In the chapter boat manufacturing and terracottan sculpture and temple architecture has been mentioned.
  • (ii) Art of painting has been referred.
  • (iii) Art of carpet manufacturing has been referred.
  • (iv) Art of dance, music and calligraphy have been referred in the chapter.
  • (v) Description about Rajal Khamos have also been mentioned.

Question 10: On an outline map of the world mark the countries visited by Ibn Battuta. What are the seas that he may have crossed?

Answer 10: Countries visited by Ibn Battuta:

  • (i) Morocco
  • (ii) Mecca
  • (iii) Syria
  • (iv) Iraq
  • (v) Persia
  • (vi) Yamen
  • (vii) Oman
  • (viii) China
  • (ix) India
  • (x) Maldives
  • (xi) Sri Lanka
  • (xii) Sumatra (Indonesia)

Name of Seas:

  • (i) North Atlantic Ocean
  • (ii) South Atlantic Ocean
  • (iii) Indian Ocean
  • (iv) Red Sea
  • (v) Arabian Sea
  • (vi) Bay of Bengal
  • (vii) South China Sea
  • (viii) East China Sea.

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