Class 7 History Chapter 1 Important Notes

#Class 7 History Chapter 1 Important Notes
#Tracing Changes Through a Thousand Years
#Class 7 Social Science Notes

Medieval History

The part of history from 700 to 1750 AD is considered a medieval (middle age) part of Indian history.
During this period of a thousand years, Every aspect of life changed throughout the period in the Indian subcontinent. Some changes were slow and some were fast.
There were social, cultural, political, economical changes that made the base for the modern history of India.

Changes in Cartography

The science of making maps is called cartography.

While comparing two maps from different times, one by Arab geographer Al-Idrisi (1154) and another by a French cartographer (1720), we get to know the difference in the cartography techniques.

With time, information about places improved and the technique of making maps changed for the good.

Changes in Terminologies

Better availability of papers ensured that more and more copies of the manuscripts were created. Many new records were also written on various topics. There were chances of errors while copying or writing by hand.
The context and meanings of the terminologies changed with different periods.
For example,
The term ‘Hindustan’ was first used by Minhaj-i-Siraj, a Persian chronicler. It was used for the areas around Punjab and Haryana.
  • Later, it was used for areas between rivers Ganga and Yamuna.
  • In the times of Babur, it was used to describe the life and the culture of the people living in the subcontinent.
  • Now we use Hindustan to represent the whole of India.
Similarly, the meaning of the term ‘foreigner’ changed from -(A person from a different culture ⇒ A person from another country.)

  • A city-dweller was a stranger (foreigner) to the forest-dweller and vice-versa.

Sources of information for the Medieval Period

  • Manuscripts
  • Inscriptions
  • Archaeological objects
  • Text records from foreign travelers
  • Coins
  • Architecture
  • Handwritten copies of old text records etc.
People used it to write holy texts, biographies of rulers, letters, and teachings of saints, petitions and judicial records, and for registers of accounts and taxes.
Manuscripts were collected by wealthy people, rulers, monasteries, and temples. They were placed in libraries and archives. These manuscripts and documents provide a lot of detailed information to historians.
When the paper was available, The scribbles copied the manuscripts by their hand.
Many words got different forms and meanings while making copies. To get better information, historians study all the information available for a particular period.
#Class 7 History Chapter 1 Important Notes

New Technologies and ideas coming to the subcontinent

A variety of developments occurred over a thousand years.

  • Persian wheel in irrigation
  • Spinning wheel in weaving, and
  • firearms in combat
  • New foods and beverages – potatoes, corn, chilies, tea, and coffee.
Groups of people traveled long distances in search of trading and people from outside also came to the subcontinent along with many new innovations and technologies.
all these innovations, new technologies, and crops brought social, economic, political, and cultural changes in the subcontinent.

Formation of New Social and Political Groups

Groups of people were forming in the beginning of the 8th century and many groups became important.
One such important group was called “Rajputs”. Rajput means the son of the King.
  • Rajputs were generally the group of warriors who were Kshatriyas by caste. Rulers, chieftains, soldiers, commanders all were parts of Rajputs.
  • Loyalty, honesty, and courage were traits of the Rajputs as mentioned by their poets and bards.
Other important groups included Marathas, Sikhs, Jats, Ahoms, and Kayasthas (a caste of scribes and secretaries).

The spread of farming (Agriculture)

  • Forests were cleared for the agricultural lands.
  • Many people living in the forests (forest-dwellers) migrated and others became farmers (Peasants).
  • Some people had very fertile lands and also kept the cattle.
  • Some also did the artisanal work.
  • Others were having less fertile lands.
These new peasants were influenced by regional markets, chieftains, priests, monasteries, and temples. They became part of large and complex societies.
There were significant economic and social differences emerging amongst peasants.

Jati System

People were grouped into jatis or sub-castes and ranked based on their backgrounds and their occupations.
  • Ranks were not fixed permanently.
  • It varied according to the power, influence, and resources of the Jati member.
  • Rules and regulations were framed and managed by the elder members and leaders of the jatis.
  • Assembly of the Jati elders was called as Jati panchayat.
There were several jatis in a village and they all had to follow the rules as well. These village rules were framed by the village chieftains (leaders).
It was working like a small administrative unit in a village.

Kingdoms and Empires

During the medieval period of Indian history, many small and large kingdoms were formed. few rulers were very powerful and controlled the whole subcontinent.
  • Delhi Sultan Ghiyansuddin Balban was controlling the whole subcontinent during his rule (1266-1287) – As mentioned in a Sanskrit “Prashsti“.
  • Muhammad Tughlaq was also controlling the whole subcontinent and his empire was divided into 24 provinces – As per the information from an Egyptian text record.
Many small and large kingdoms were formed. Some became powerful enough to have the pan-regional rules.
In the eighteenth century, With the decline of the Mughal empire, many small and big regional states started to rise.

Changes in the Regions

By the 7th century, many regions were having distinctive geographical and cultural identities. These regions were having different languages.
In 1318, as noted by a famous poet, Amir Khusrau, there were many regional languages and Sanskrit was only known to the Brahmanas. Sanskrit did not belong to any specific region.
The pan-regional rules brought social and cultural changes in these regions. Many traditions and practices became common in these distinct regions. All the regions growing together without losing their distinctive identity.

Changes in the Religions

Changes in Hinduism

  • Worship of idols.
  • Constructions of temples.
  • The emergence of the idea of bhakti.

The knowledge of Sanskrit earned the Brahmanas a lot of respect in society. Their dominant position was consolidated by the support of their patrons.

Patron – A ruler or wealthy person who supports and encourages the artistic work by giving rewards to the artists, poets, etc.

Arrival of Islam to the subcontinent

Merchants and migrants first brought the teachings of the Holy Quran to India in the 7th century. Like Hinduism, Islam was interpreted in a variety of ways by its followers.
  • Shia Muslims – Believed in Ali (son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad) as the legitimate leader of the Muslim community.
  • Sunni Muslims – Accepted the authority of Khalifas (Early Arab Leaders) of the community.

There were also differences in the traditions and religious rules among these groups.

Segregation of History in periods

Historians study about various changes in society with time. This study becomes easy if the past is divided into segments having similarities or the same characteristics.
In the 19th century, British historians divided Indian history into three periods.
  1. Hindu
  2. Muslim
  3. British
This division only considered the religions of the ruler and ignored all the other aspects of the subcontinent.
Below are the most followed divisions of Indian history.

The ancient history of India

It includes –
  • Early hunters and gatherers
  • Early farmers
  • People living in towns and villages
  • Early empires and kingdoms.

The medieval history of India

It includes –
  • The spread of peasant societies
  • The rise of regional and imperial state formations
  • The development of Hinduism and Islam as major religions
  • The arrival of European trading companies.

The modern history of India

It includes –

  • British rule over India
  • India’s struggle for Independence
  • Independence of India and Partition
  • India after Independence

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