1. What is known about the ‘Janapadas’ and their people.
Ans : The word janapada literally means the land where the jana set its foot, and settled down. Archeologists have excavated a number of settlements in these janapadas. They found that people lived in huts, and kept cattle as well as other animals. They also grew a variety of crops – rice, wheat, barley, etc. They made earthen pots, some of which were grey in colour and some red.
2. Why did the Mahajanapadas started collecting taxes.
Ans : As the rulers of the Mahajanapadas were (a) building huge forts (b) maintaining big armies, they needed more resources. And they needed officials to collect these. So, instead of depending on occasional gifts brought by people as in the case of the raja of the janapadas, they started collecting regular taxes.
3. What changes took place in agriculture in mahajanapada.
Ans : There are two major changes in agriculture around this time :
(1) Iron plough shares : Growing use of iron plough shares. This meant that heavy, clayey soil could be turned over better than with a wooden plough share; so that more grain could be produced.
(2) Transplanting paddy : People began transplanting paddy. This meant that interested of scattering seed on the ground, from which plants would sprout, sapling were grown and then planted in the fields. This led to increased production, as many more plants survived.
4. How was the governance system in ‘ganas’ or ‘sanghas’.
Ans : In a gana or a sangha, there were not one, but many rulers. Sometimes, even when thousands of men ruled together, each one was known as a raja. These raja’s performed rituals together. They also met in assemblies and decided what not to be done and how, through discussion and debate.
5. Why did Magadha became the most important mahajanapada.
Ans : Magadha became the most important mahajanapada as many rivers such as the Ganga and son flowed through Magadha. This was important for (a) transport (b) water supplies (c) making the land fertile. Parts of Magadha were forested. Elephants, which lived in the forest, could be captured and trained for the army. Forest also provided wood for building houses, carts and chariots. Besides, there were iron ore mines in the region that could be tapped to make strong tools and weapons.
Define the following :
(1) Raja – The Raja was a central figure in rituals. He often had a special seat, a throne or a tiger skin.
(2) Ashvamedha – The ashvamedha or horse sacrifice was ritual in which a horse was let loose to wonder freely and it was Guarded by the raja’s men. If the horse entered other kingdoms and they stopped it there would be a duel between the two kings. But if they allow the horse to pass through its kingdom it meant they have accepted the king who is performing the sacrifice is stronger.
(3) Varna – Each of the four categories of society, based on occupation and decided by birth, was referred to as Varna.
(4) Janapada – Kingdoms were referred to as janapadas: Jana means people and pada means foot.
(5) Mahajanapada – The most important of janapadas became Mahajanapadas.
(6) Gana or sangha – A form of government followed in the kingdom of Vajji.
Fill in the blanks :
(1) One special type of pottery found at janapadas sites is known as painted grey ware.
(2) Magadha had two very powerful rulers, Bimbisara and Ajatasattru.
(3) ‘Kammakaras’ was a word used for landless agricultural.
(4) Alexander was a ruler who lived in Mecedonia.
(5) The Gupta rulers conquered the last of the ‘ganas’ or ‘ sanghas’.
Tick the correct answers :
(1) Vajji had its capita city at ___________.
(1) Pataliputra (3) Magadha
(2) Rajagriha (4) Vaishali √
(2) The ashvamedha was the sacrifice of _________.
(1) goat (3) horse √
(2) ox (4) bull
(3) __________ were the most important taxes.
(1) taxes on crops √ (3) taxes on goods
(2) taxes on crafts person (4) taxes on animal produce
(4) Some janapadas became mahajanapadas about __________.
(1) 3000 years ago (3) 2300 years ago
(2) 2500 years ago √ (4) 1500 years ago
(5) The most vivid description of life in the sanghas can be found in _____.
(1) Vedas (3) The Ramayana
(2) Geeta (4) Buddhist books √