The Wealthy Shudra
This story, based on a Buddhist text in Pali known as the Majjhima Nikaya, is part of a dialogue between a king named Avantiputta and a disciple of the Buddha named Kachchana. While it may not be literally true, it reveals Buddhist attitudes towards varna.
Avantiputta asked kachchana what he thought about Brahmanas who held that they were the best caste and that all other castes were low; that Brahmans were a fair caste while all other caster were dark; that only Brahmanas were pure, not non- Brahmanas; that Brahmanas were sons of Brahma, born of his mouth , born of Brahma, formed by Brahma, heirs to Brahma.
Kachachana replied : "What if a Shudra were wealthy . would another Shudra.. Or a Kshatriya of a Brahmana or a Vaishya .speak politely to him ?"
Avantiputta replied that if a Shudra had wealth or corn or gold or silver , he could have as his obedient servant another Shudra to get up earlier than he, to go to rest later, to carry out his order, to speak politely; or he could even have a Kshatriya or a Brahmana or a Vaishya as his obedient servant.
Kachchana asked : "This being so, are not these four varnas exactly the same?"
Avantiputta conceded that there was no difference amongst the varnas on this count.(i) What did Avantiputta want to know from Kachchana about Brahmanas? (3 Marks)
(ii) What was Kachchana's reply? Explain. (2 Marks)
(iii) If a Shudra had wealth, would Brahmanas and others speak to him politely ? Give reasons.(3 Marks)
A mother's advice
The Mahabharata describes how, when war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas became almost inevitable, Gandhari made one last appeal to her eldest son Duryodhana ;
By making peace you honour your father and me, as well as your well- wishers ... it is the wise man in control of his senses who guards his kingdom. Greed and anger drag a man away from his profits; by defeating these two enemies a king conquers the earth .. You will happily enjoy the earth, my son, along with the wise and heroic Pandavas . There is no good in a war, no law (dharma) and profit (artha), let alone happiness: your mind on war ..
Duryodhana did not listen to this advice and fought and lost the war.
(i) Explain briefly Gandhari's appeal to Duryodhana. (3 Marks)
(ii) Do you agree with Gandhari's advice to Duryodhana ? Give two arguments in support of your answer.(2 Marks)
(iii) Why did Duryodhana not listen to his mother's advice? Give two possible reasons.
How tanks were built
About a tank constructed by Krishnadeva Raya, peas wrote:
The King made a tank . at the mouth of two hills so that all the water which comes from either one side or the other collects there; and, besides this, water comes to it from more than three leagues (appromataly 15 kilometer) by pipes which run along the lower parts of the range outside. This water is brought from a lake which itself overflows into a little river. The tank has three large pillars handsomely carved with figures; these connect above with certain pipes by which they get water when they have to irrigate their gardens and rice-fields.
In order to make this tank the said king broke down a hill... In the tank I saw so many people at work that there must have been fifteen or twenty thousand men, looking like ants ..
(i) Explain briefly where the tank was constructed.(2 Marks)
(ii) Explain briefly the sources of water for the tanks. (3 Marks)
(iii) Explain briefly the advantages of constructing tanks.(3 Marks)
Cash or kind ?
The Ain on land revenue collection:
Let him (the amil-guzar) not make it a practice of taking only in cash but also in kind. The latter is effected in several ways. First, kankut: in the Hindi language Kan signifies grain, and kut, estimates . If any doubts arise, the crops should be cut and estimated in three lots, the goods, the middleing, and the inferior, and the hesitation removed. Qften, too, the land taken by appraisement, gives a sufficiently accurate return. Secondly, batai, also called bhaoli, the crops are reaped and stacked and divided by agreement in the presence of the parties. But in this case several intelligent inspectors are required; otherwise, the evil - minded and false. Are given to deception. Thirdly, khet-batai, after cutting the grain, they form it in heaps and divide it among themselves, and each takes his share home and turns it to profit.
Explain the term kankut.
(i) Explain the system of batai or bhaoli system of land revenue collection. (2 Marks)
(ii) Explain the system of Lang batai. (2 Marks)
(iii) Which system of land revenue collection, do you think, is better and why? (2 Marks)
"The real minorities are the masses of this country"
Welcoming the Objectives Resolution introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru, N.G Ranga said:
Sir, there is a lot of talk about minorities. Who are the real minorities? Not the Hindus in the so- called Pakistan provinces, not the Sikhs, not even the Muslims. No, the real minorities are the masses of this country. These people are so depressed and oppressed and suppressed till now that they are not able to take advantage of the ordinary civil rights. What is the position? You go to the tribal areas. According to law, their own traditional law, their tribal law, their lands cannot be alienated. Yet our merchants go there, and in the so-called free market they are able to snatch their lands. Thus, even though the law goes against this snatching away of their lands, still the merchants are able to turn the tribal people into veritable slaves by various kinds of bonds, and make them hereditary bond-slaves. Let us go to the ordinary villagers. There goes the money-lender with his money and he is able to get the villagers in his pocket. There is the landlord himself, the zamindar, and the malguzar and there are the various other people who are able to exploit these poor villagers. There is no elementary education even among these people. These are the real minorities that need protection and assurances of protection. In order to give them the necessary protection, we will need much more than this Resolution..
(i) How is the notion of minority defined by N.G. Ranga? (2 Marks)
(ii) Do you agree with Ranga? If not, mention who are the real minorities according to you and why. (2 Marks)
(iii) Explain the conditions of ordinary villagers.(2 Marks)
(iv) Describe the living conditions of the tribals.(2 Marks)
" I Believe separate electorates will be suicidal to the minorities"
During the debate on 27 August 1947, Govind Ballabh Pant said:
I believe separate electorates will be suicidal to the minorities and will do them tremendous harm. If they are isolated forever, they can never convert themselves into a majority and the feeling of frustration will cripple them even from the very beginning. What is it that you desire and what is our ultimate objective? Do the minorities always want to remain as minorities of do they ever expect to form an integral part of a great nation and as such to guide and control its destinies? If they do, can they ever achieve that aspiration and that ideal if they are isolated from the rest of the community? I think it would be extremely dangerous for them if they were segregated from the rest of the community and kept aloof in an air -tight compartment where they would have to rely on others even for the air they breathe .. the Minorities if they are returned by separate electorates can never have any effective voice.
(i) How will separate electorates prove suicidal to the minorities? Explain the views of G.B Pant. (4 Marks)
(ii) Will the creation of separate electorates solve the problem of minorities? If so, how? (3 Marks)
(iii) Suggest any one way to solve the problem of minorities. (1 Marks)