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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History

NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 3 Kinship, Caste and Class Early Societies

1. Explain why patriline may have been particularly important among elite families.

Patriliny refers to the social system in which inheritance, descent, and lineage are traced through the father’s line. This system was particularly important among elite families for several reasons. Firstly, As per the Dharmashastras it helped maintain the family’s wealth and status by ensuring that property and resources stayed within the family that’s why elite-class families wish to have sons, not daughters. 

A couplet of Rigveda in which was mentioned that a father at the time of the marriage of his daughter wishes that she should have the best sons with the grace of Lord Shiva. In patrilineal societies, sons inherit their father’s property, which allows the family to accumulate and pass on wealth from one generation to the next. Secondly, patriliny helped establish and maintain political alliances among elite families. 

Marriage alliances, in particular, were an important means of forging political connections between families, and patrilineal descent helped establish and maintain the legitimacy of these alliances. Most of the elite families followed Patriliny since 600 B.C. Finally, patriliny helped establish and maintain a sense of identity and continuity within the family. By tracing lineage through the father’s line, families could maintain a sense of connection to their ancestors and their history, reinforcing their sense of identity and continuity over time.

2. Discuss whether kings in early states were invariably Kshatriyas.

The Dharmasutras laid down norms for rulers and prescribed that they should be Kshatriyas. However, in reality, this was not always the case. Many kings who did not belong to the Kshatriya caste ascended to the throne through conquest, marriage, or adoption mentioned below :

  • Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Mauryan Empire, was a shudra by birth.
  • The best-known ruler of the Satavahana dynasty, Gotami-puta Siri-Satakani, claimed to be both a unique Brahmana and a destroyer of the pride of Kshatriyas.
  • Similarly, many kings of the Gupta dynasty who ruled North India from the 4th to the 6th century BCE were Brahmins.
  • The Chalukya dynasty, which ruled parts of southern and central India from the 6th to the 12th century CE, had kings who were either Kshatriyas or Brahmins.

4. In what ways was the Buddhist theory of a social contract different from the Brahmanical view of society derived from the Purusha sukta?

The Buddhist theory of social contract was different from the Brahmanical view of society derived from the Purusha sukta in several ways:

According to the Purusha Sukta, the four social categories, Brahmana, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras were created in a divine order. The Brahmana was created from the mouth of the divine being, the Kshatriya from his arms, the Vaishya from his thigh, and the Shudra from his feet. The Brahmanas used this verse to support their claims for ideal occupations of the four varnas and tried to convince people that their status was determined by birth. 

Compare between both

  • Equality: According to the Buddhist theory, all individuals were equal and deserved respect, regardless of their social status. In contrast, the Brahmanical view considered social hierarchy to be natural and that people were born into their respective castes.
  • Duty: In the Buddhist view, the ruler had a duty to serve and protect the people. The Brahmanical view, on the other hand, emphasized the duty of the people to serve and obey the ruler.
  • Power: The Buddhist theory of social contract did not grant unlimited power to the ruler. The ruler had to govern according to the principles of Dhamma and could be removed from power if he failed to do so. In contrast, the Brahmanical view granted the king absolute power, which was believed to be necessary for maintaining social order.
  • Violence: The Buddhist theory of social contract rejected violence as a means of achieving social harmony. In contrast, the Brahmanical view allowed for the use of force to maintain the social hierarchy.

Overall, the Buddhist theory of social contract emphasized the importance of compassion, morality, and justice in governance, while the Brahmanical view emphasized social hierarchy and the need for a strong and absolute ruler.

9. How important were gender differences in early societies? Give reasons for your answer.

Gender differences played a significant role in early societies, affecting the social lives of both men and women in several ways. Women had no right to claim a share of the paternal estate as per Manusmriti. They were also warned not to hoard family property or their valuables without their husband’s permission. The principle of patrilineal meant that sons could claim the resources, including the throne in the case of kings, of their fathers when they died. Women were also expected to adopt their husband’s gotra and give up their fathers after marriage. In some cases, men could have multiple wives under polygyny, with the Satavahana rulers being polygynous. Women were often treated as the property of their husbands, as illustrated by the example of Draupadi in the Mahabharata, who was staked by her husband in a game of dice.

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