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  • Sunday, May 22, 2005

    Political Thoughts and Life in Ancient India First Set

    Political Thoughts and Life in Ancient India:
    Chapter II:
    Try to answer the following questions:
    Style: Book Based
    Suggestion:
    Use Chapter IV, The Wonder That Was India by A. L. Basham.
    Additional Note:
    If You like the question bank, and desire to answer it, then as given in the suggestion, get the Wonder That Was India by A. L. Basham. Open the chapter IV and start reading each paragraph slowly. After ending each paragraph try to look at the question. If you are able to answer the first set of question under the heading "The Nature of the Sources on the Political Thought in Ancient India" which corresponds to title "Sources", then you will understand the aim of this question bank. When you complete answering it, you may learn on your own that how this question bank is made.
    Then get any question bank made for civil services preliminary and try to answer the related questions. Develop your own estimate about the efficacy of this question bank.
    After completing this book, the questions answers will follow.
    I will be obliged if you put some comment in the comment box given at the end of the postings. It will be helpful for me to articulate my posting accordingly. It will become more fruitful endeavour for all of us.

    Kindly also refer to Ancient Question Bank on Religion of Vedas or click on Ancient History Question Bank One under the heading Some of the important posting from Archive on your right side of the page by pulling down the page.
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    The Nature of the Sources on the Political Thought in Ancient India:

    What is the main feature of the texts of political philosophy of India?
    How does the political philosophy of India differ from the political philosophy of Europe?
    What does the science of the administration of force call in Indian political philosophy?
    What are the usual contents of the texts of the sources of the political philosophy of India?
    Which are considered the earliest source of the information of the political life in India before the pre-Buddhist period?
    Which of the Buddhist sources are the sources of the information on the political life in India?
    Which is considered the first source in form of a book on the political philosophy of India?
    Who was the author of Arthashastra?
    Which reference in the Arthashastra raised the suspicion on the authenticity of Arthashastra as the work of Vishnu Gupta (Kautiliya), the teacher of Chandragupta Maurya?
    What is the view of the scholars about the possibility of the knowledge about China by the Indians?
    Which are the main objections on the authenticity of Arthashastra as the work of Vishnu Gupta (Kautiliya)?
    What is most probable time of writing of the Arthashastra in spite of the objection of its authenticity on the question of time of composition?
    What is the significance of the contents of the Arthashastra as a source on Indian history?
    Which is the second best source on the philosophy of politics in India after Arthashastra?
    Which book come next to Arthashastra in chronological order as the source on the political philosophy in India?
    Which part of Mahabharta is more important from the point of studying the political philosophy of India?
    What are the contents of the Shanti Parva, the twelfth section of Mahabharta?
    When was Shanti Parva composed?
    Which is the next to Mahabharta as an important source on the political philosophy of India?
    In which section of Valmiki Ramayana do we find the information on the political philosophy of India?
    Which is the best source on the sacred law of India?
    Which is the most important section of the Smrities on the sacred law of India?
    Who is the most important authority on sacred law as per the Smriti literature?
    When was the Manu Smriti composed?
    From which period do we get the maximum number of sources on the Indian polity and law?
    Which is the most important political text of Guptan period?
    Who is the writer of Nitisara?
    When was Nitisara written?’
    Who is the writer of Nitivakyamrita?
    What was the religion of Somadeva Suri?
    When did Somadeva write Nitivakyamrita?
    What is the recent view on question of writer of Nitivakyamrita?
    How far are the contents of Nitivakyamrita and Nitisara different from the contents of the earlier political texts of Ancient India?
    How far is all the Ancient Indian literature since the Rig-Veda times useful for understanding the political and legal ideas of the Indians?
    What are the other dependable archeological and historic literary sources on Indian polity, politics, and legal sphere of India?
    What is the nature of the contents of the political texts of Ancient India?
    Are the contents of the political texts viable?
    How far did the ancient Indian kings practiced the instructions of the political texts available to them?
    What were the other agencies, which gave recommendations to the ancient Indian kings, on the question of governance apart from the traditional political texts?
    What were the motivating factors, which provided the background to the authors of the political texts to write instructions on the statecraft for the benefit of the kings of ancient India?
    What was the reach of the instructions over the life of the subjects of an empire, as per the contents of Arthashastra?
    What was the frame of reference for the Vishnu Gupta to write the instructions in Arthashastra on the question of the governance over the various aspects of the life of the subjects?
    What was the type of the criminals for which the punishments were recommended in Manu Shastra (Smriti)?
    Were the punishments as recommended for religious criminals ever practices in reality?
    What is the actual nature of the contents of Smriti literature and other legal books of ancient India, which is considered the usual feature of intellectuals in ancient India?
    Did the emperors of India try to work and plan according to the advice of the ancient Indian political tests?
    How have the contents of the ancient Indian political texts effected the writing of the history of India?
    Heading: The King in Ancient India:
    What is the importance of Aitreya Brahman as a political treatise of ancient India?
    To which Veda does Aitreya Brahman belong?
    From where do we learn about the origin of the concept of kingship in ancient India?
    Where do we find the earliest legend about the origin of Kinship in the ancient literature of India?
    When was the Aitreya Brahman written?
    What is the legend concerning the origin of the King in ancient India?
    What was the need that led to the rise of the post of king among the ancient Indians?
    What was the first duty of a king as per the ancient Indian political philosophy?
    What is the legend concerning decision that the first duty of the king in the ancient India was to lead the subjects in the war?
    Who was elected as the first king by the gods to leas them in a war against the demons?
    What was the earliest need and necessity of the earliest Indians, which lead to the rise of the concept of kingship?
    Which text is next in sequence as per the chronological order, on political philosophy after Aitreya Brahman?
    What is the story in Taittiriya Brahman on the question of the rise of Kingship in the ancient India?
    How is the story of Taittiriya Brahman different from the story of Aitreya Brahman, on the question of the rise of kingship in ancient India?
    To which Veda does Taittiriya Brahman belong?
    What was the solution opted by the gods in Taittiriya Brahman, when they faced the grave situation at the hands of Brahmans?
    Who was the high god, who helped the gods against the attack of the demons?
    Who was deputed by Prajapati to help gods against the demons?
    Why did Indra was replaced by Soma in Aitreya Brahman?
    What was the main duty of the king till the eighth century BC?
    What was the importance of the existence of King for the tribal men?
    What was the significance of the story, about the status of the king among his subjects?
    What are those religious ceremonies, which establish the divine authority of the king to rule the subjects?
    What is the sanction behind the appointment of the king?
    Do the immortals also have the king and who is he?
    What is the importance of Rajsuya yajna?
    How is the king better than the ordinary mortals?
    What was an average duration of the Rajsuya sacrifice?
    What the merits of the king when he had performed the Rajsuya sacrifice?
    What other merits does the Rajsuya sacrifice apart to the king apart from bestowing divinity to the king?
    What is the difference between the person of king before the sacrifice and after the sacrifice?
    What is the ceremony, which equate the king with god Vishnu?
    What is the item, on which, when king takes the three steps, he is equated to Vishnu?
    What is the status of the king among the gods after the consecration?
    Who is the power behind the king after he is consecrated?
    How is the strength of the magical powers, acquired by the king at the time of Rajsuya sacrifice, maintained for the rest of reign of the king?
    What is the significance of Vajpeya yajna?
    What is the significance of Ashvmedha yajna?
    Which yajna is performed for the prosperity and fertility of the kingdom?
    What is the significance of the brahmanical rituals concerned with consecration of the king?
    What is the later form of Rajsuya yajna during the rest of the history of India?


    Special Note:

    The candidate must be able to differentiate between the three major Yajnas related to kingship.
    The three yajnas are Rajsuya Yajna, Vajpeya Yajna and Ashvmedha Yajna.
    You should also be able to write a short note on the political significance of the Yajana concerning Kingship in ancient India. While writing that note, you must emphasis that how the concept of Samrata and Chakarvartin were built around. It was the major definition of Bharatavarsha which should be derived from the reference of Vishnu Purana.

    The UGC NET students must give importance to these concepts as mentioned above. The questions on these concepts have appeared again and again.



    Where was the Brahmanic culture popular?
    Which were the dominant tribes of the Ganga-Yammuna Doab?
    What were the main political ceremonies based on Brahmanic culture, which dominated the Ganga-Yammuna political scenario?
    What was the status of the kings of the Kuru and Panchala tribes in the Ganga-Yammuna Doab?
    What is the basic central of the legends of Buddhist on question of the origin of kingship?
    Where was the Buddhist’s concept of the origin of kingship popular?
    Which other religious concept of the origin of kingship was similar to the Buddhist’s concept of kingship?
    When did the concept of the origin of kingship as given by Buddhism come into prominence?
    What was the author of the concept of the origin of kinship as given in Buddhism?
    From which Buddhist source do we learn about the Buddhist concept of the origin of Buddhism?

    Special Note:

    The candidates should also differentiate between the Vedic Culture, Brahmanic culture and Vaishnav culture or hero worship culture. They should be able to identify the chronological and historic progression related these cultures. The questions have been asked again and again on these aspects.
    Well, the answer which I may post on a later date may be good for 15 marks question for the civil services papers. However, it can be very useful for the UGC NET students. In case of writing a 60 marks question, I will like that there should be collective efforts among you and me. I will definitely give my presentation. However, I am not satisfied with that presentation. Being a teacher, I myself would not give more than 10 marks out of 20 for that answer. It means that at Mains level you may not get more than 30 marks for that. You must select such questions which can give you more 30 marks. For that other sections of the Mains syllabus, especially the Mauryan, Kushan, Gupta and Chola period can serve your purpose for Section A of Paper I of Mains. However, those who have some understanding of Sanskrit or can reproduce references from Ancient literature, they may perform well on above mentioned questions on Ancient political and social thought.


    Where did the man live in the earlier phase of the cosmic cycle as per the Buddhist religion?
    What were the main features of the life of the humankind, when it was living in the earlier phase of the cosmic cycle?
    When did the humankind become earthbound as per the Buddhist cosmology?
    Which needs had arisen when the humankind started living on the earth as per the Buddhist cosmology?
    What change had taken place in the social structure of the humankind when it started living on the earth?
    When did the humankind accept the institutions of property and family as per the Buddhist cosmology?
    When did the people enter mutual agreement among themselves as per the Buddhist cosmology?
    Which new institutions and need had emerged when humanity became earthbound as per the Buddhist cosmology?
    When did the need for the election was felt by the humanity as per the Buddhist cosmology?
    What was the aim of the human beings when they appointed a king among themselves to save them from different crimes as per the Buddhist cosmology?
    What was the title of the elected king as per the Buddhist cosmology?
    Why was the king also called the raja?
    From where had been the word raja derived?
    What is the meaning of the word raja?
    What is the English translation of the word Mahasammata?
    What is the story of Mahasammata as per the Buddhist literature?
    Form which Buddhist literature we learn about the story of the Mahasammata?
    What is the central idea of the story of Mahasammata?
    Which foreign theories are similar to the theory of Buddhist theory of rise of the concept of kingship?
    What is the main purpose of the establishment of government as per the Buddhist theory of the rise of the government?
    What is the role of the king as per the Buddhist theory of the government?
    What is the authority behind the existence of the king, as per the Buddhist theory of the rise of kingship?
    Which are the two main theories in India concerning the rise of the monarchy?
    Which of the theory on the origin of the kingship carried weight with the Indian monarchs and the public?
    How did the Arthashastra rate the monarch?
    What was the attitude of the Vishnu Gupta towards the divine origin of the kingship?
    Why did Arthashastra prefer divine origin of the monarchy when he treated the king as a mere common human being?
    How did Vishnu Gupta use the theory of kingship for the benefit of running the administration?
    What story did Arthashastra prefer to spread about the origin of the monarchy?
    Who was the first king as per the Arthashastra?
    Who was Manu Vaivasvata?
    Which theory did Arthashastra support?
    With whom did Arthashastra compare the king?
    Arthashastra had supported the contractual theory of kingship. However, which of the feature of divine origin theory had Vishnu Gupta preferred to popularize?
    What would befall a person who insults the king?
    What should be the attitude of the king, as per Arthashastra, when he led the soldiers to the battlefield?
    What stratagems are suggested in Arthashastra for the king, before going to battle, in order to impress the common people?
    What title did the Mauryan kings adopted with suggest the divine features of their status?
    Did the Mauryan emperors openly claim the direct divine origin for their existence?
    How was the Mauryan emperors treated by the contemporary subjects?
    Special Question: Discuss the various theory of the origin of kingship in India?
    Where do we find the first sign of the existence of an idea of a wide empire among the Indians?
    Who had realized the idea of a wide empire in reality in India?
    Who had realized the idea of the existence of Chakravartins in India?
    How were the Chakravartins depicted in portraits, coins, inscriptions, and the sculptures?
    What does a symbol of wheel suggest about the status of a king, if it is depicted in sculpture or a coin or in any other medium?
    Which religion had fully adopted and realized the concept of Chakravartins in India?
    Which religion apart from Hinduism also talks about the concept of Chakravartins?
    In which text do we find the clear-cut reference to the concept of Chakravartins?
    What is the position of emperors as per the cosmology of various Indian religions?
    What did the emperor have common with Buddha concerning their possibility of existence?
    Who are digvijayins as per the epics?
    What was the knowledge of the Jains about the emperors?
    Name the two Chakravartins of Ramayana?
    What is the meaning of digvijayins?
    How was the idea of Universal emperor considered by the ruling monarchs in practice during the ancient period of Indian history?
    Which new political factor had brought the new political ideas from West to East during the ancient period of Indian history?
    Who were the emperors, who had introduced new conceptions of kingships in India?
    What was the attitude towards the title of kingship among the Sakas, Greeks and Kushans?
    Which title of the foreign rulers had suggested their semi-divine status, which they had adopted after entering India?
    Name the different titles adopted by the foreign rulers in India during the ancient period.
    What was the attitude of the emperors of India towards the idea of giving the high sounding titles?
    What imperial tradition had influenced the Kushan kings to adopt the high sounding titles?
    What were the famous titles of the Kushan emperors?
    From which Indian dynasty did the practice of adopting the high-sounding titles start?
    What was the usual title of the Indian emperors to suggest their high status?
    What was the usual high-ranking title for a vassal king in ancient India?
    Where is the theory of the kingship India clearly mentioned?
    How are the epics and the law book of Manu highly useful for understanding the Indian view of the origin of Kingship?
    What was the situation, as per the Manu’s Law book, when there was fear all around?
    Who had created the king as per Manu?
    What are the characteristics of the king, created by the God, as per Manu?
    Why should a king be respected as per Manu?
    What was the status of the king, even if he was a child, as per Manu?
    Who is Kuber in Indian mythology?
    Which features of Brahmanic ceremonies was attach to the concept of Universal emperor by Manu?
    When was the Brahmanic rites related to political importance of the emperor not given must value?
    Who had revived the importance of the Brahmanic rites in political scenario of India after they had been made redundant during the time of Mauryas?
    Where was the Brahmanic rites related to the political activities practices?
    How was the Brahmanic rites related to political activities exploited by the various emperors of Ancient period of Indian history?
    How long did the importance of Ashvameda sacrifice continues as an important political and religious rite?
    Which is the last incidence of the performance of the Ashvameda sacrifice recorded in the history?
    Which title of the kings continues to suggest the divine origin of the king?
    What aspect of kingship was kept alive even when the use of Ashvameda discontinued?
    When was the last recorded Ashvamedha yajna performed?
    Who had performed the last recorded Ashvamedha yajna?
    When was the last recorded Ashvamedha yajna performed?
    Why was the Chola kings worshiped as the gods in the temples?
    What was the political situation between the reign of Mauryas and Guptas?
    What were the features of life during the period between the reign of Mauryas and Guptas?
    From which direction did the invading bands keep on coming during the interregnum between the reign of Mauryas and Guptas?
    What was the perception of Brahmans on the time, which extended between the reign of Guptas and Mauryas?
    When did the concept of Matsyanayaya emerge in the minds of Indians?
    What was the Socio-political scene which behind the emergence of the Matsyanayaya?
    What is the English translation of Matsyanayaya?
    How is the concept of Matsyanayaya explained Ramayana?
    What is the main situation under Matsyanayaya?
    What did the anarchy of the interregnum of Maurya and Guptas do to the existence and importance of the concept of kingship?
    Who was considered the first man on the earth in Indian mythology?
    Who are the parallel characters to Manu, as a first man, in other religions?
    What is the story, given by the law writer Manu, on the issue of the rise of the concept of kingship?
    Where does the story similar to the story of the law writer Manu, appear in another important ancient literature?
    In which Parva (section) does the story of the emergence of Manu, as the first king, appear in Mahabharta?
    Who is shown as the father of Manu, in the story, given in the twelfth Parva of Mahabharta, when he was appointed as the first king of the humanity?
    Why did the people seek the help of Brahma for the appointment of a king, when they had already established contract among themselves?
    What was the situation in the society at the beginning of the present cosmic cycle as per the epics?
    Who is the another identity, who was also considered to be the first king of the humanity?
    Who was Virajas, the other identity after Manu, who was also honoured with the position of the first king of the humanity?
    What is the difference between the appointment of Manu and Virajas, as the king of humanity?
    Where was the story of the appointment of Virajas as the king of humanity given?
    Name the children of Manu, the first king of humanity appointed by Brahma?
    Who was Ila?
    Who was Ikshvaku?
    How did the ruling Rajputs clans of India claim the divine origin?
    Which claim of one group of rulers among Rajputs was different from the solar and lunar clans Rajputs in order to claim the divine origin?
    Name the three main divine origin claims of Rajputs ruling clan of India?
    Were the Indian kings absolute in the exercise of their powers over the humanity?
    Did the divine origin of the kings ever permit the Indian kings totally absolute in the exercise of their kingly powers?
    What was the importance of the divinity of the kings among the Indians?
    Who were also considered divine apart from the kings in ancient India?
    What was the process of acquiring the divinity by the householders in ancient India?
    Were the Indian gods fallible of sins?
    Was the king the only god on the earth in ancient India? If no, then what were its implications?
    Who had totally denied the divine origin to the kings in ancient India?
    Who was the courtier, who had also denied the divine origin of the kings during the ancient India period?
    What justification Bana had given, for the existence of the divine origin of kings, in his writings?
    Where had Bana denied the divine origin of the kings in his writings?
    What was the main nature of the main function of a king in ancient India?
    What were the main protections functions, that an ancient Indian king was expected to perform?
    What is the phrase for the protection function of the king of ancient India?
    What is varnashram-dharam? How varnashrama system is different from varnashram-dharam?
    What were the perils for the king in ancient India if he overlooked the customs as given in the sacred texts?
    Whom should the king have feared when he overlooked the customs as written in the sacred texts?
    Could the lower order of the society also remove the king when the king overlooked the sacred laws as given in the sacred texts?
    How was the kings warned against their attempt to infringe the sacred laws?
    What was the fault of the king Vena?
    What was the fault of the king Vena concerning the social legislation?
    Suggest the historic examples, where the Brahmans removed the royal dynasties, when their rule went against the sacred laws?
    What is the recommendation of Mahabharata to the public for a king who did not follow the sacred laws in his governance?
    Where the various checks, as suggest in the ancient literature helped to restrain the ancient kings to go against the sacred laws on the bases of their divine origin?
    Where in Mahabharta, the revolt against an impious king had been suggested?
    Which is the other check on the autocracy of the ancient king apart from the Brahmans and the sacred laws?
    What is the suggestion to the advisor ministers to the ancient Indian kings in the textbooks of statecraft?
    Could the council of ministers remove the ancient Indian king? Give example.
    What is the check by the public on the ancient Indian king as per the textbooks on statecraft?
    Which were the public bodies, which were check on the activities of the king during the Vedic times?
    What was the advice to the kings, in the traditional political texts of ancient India, about the public opinion of the people?
    List the main checks on the power of the king to exercise his authority in ancient India.
    What is the importance if the Jatak stories for the social history in ancient India?
    Which area was the background for the information about the prevalent social, cultural and philosophical life in ancient India in Jatak stories?
    Upto which period can we get information about the social and cultural life of North India from Jatak stories?
    What do the Jataks tell about the significance of the public opinion?
    Which incidence in Ramayana is considered the best example of the force of the public opinion in operation?
    How was Krishna Deva Raya, a historic king of Vijayanagar Empire was checked by the public opinion?
    Does Mahabharta recommend bearing with an oppressive king? Why is there such an advice?
    What is the advice of Mahabharta to the common man about the importance of the right choice of a king?
    In which Parva of Mahabharta is there advice to the common man about the importance of the right selection of the kings?

    To be continued to the next posting....

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