CBSE NCERT Class VII (7th) | Social Studies | History
Chapter : Tribes, Nomads and Settled Communities
CBSE NCERT Solved Question Answer
Q1 What was varna system of the Indian society?
In large parts of the subcontinent, society was divided according to the rules of varna. These rules, as prescribed by the Brahmanas, were accepted by the rulers of large kingdoms. The difference between the high and low, and between the rich and poor, increased. Under the Delhi Sultans and the Mughals, this hierarchy between social classes grew further.
Q2 Who were tribals?
Many societies in the subcontinent did not follow the social rules and rituals prescribed by the Brahmanas. Nor were they divided into numerous unequal classes. Such societies are often called tribes. People of these tribes were called the tribals.
Q3 Write a short note on the tribal people.
1) Members of each tribe were united by kinship bonds.
2) Many tribes obtained their livelihood from agriculture. Others were hunter-gatherers or herders. Most often they combined these activities to make full use of the natural resources of the area in which they lived.
3) Some tribes were nomadic and moved from one place to another. Many large tribes thrived in different parts of the subcontinent. They usually lived in forests, hills, deserts and places difficult to reach. In various ways, the tribes retained their freedom and preserved their separate culture.
Q4 How do the Tribes preserved their cultures?
The tribal people did not keep written records. But they preserved rich customs and oral traditions. These were passed down to each new generation. Present day historians have started using such oral traditions to write tribal histories.
Q5 What was the relationship between castes based society and the tribal society?
Sometimes the tribal societies clashed with the more powerful caste- based societies. But the caste based and tribal societies also depended on each other for their diverse needs. This relationship, of conflict and dependence, gradually caused both societies to change. Sometimes, with the support of the Brahmanas, many tribes became part of the caste system. But only the leading tribal families could join the ruling class. A large majority joined the lower jatis of caste society
A clan is a group of families or households claiming descent from a common ancestor. Tribal organisation is often based on kinship or clan loyalties.
Q7 Who were Bhils?
The large tribe of Bhils was spread across western and central India. By the late sixteenth century, many of them had become settled agriculturists and some even zamindars. Many Bhil clans nevertheless, remained hunter gatherers.
Q8 Who were nomadic pastoralists?
Nomadic pastoralists were the people who moved over long distances with their animals.
They lived on milk and other pastoral products. They also exchanged wool, ghee, etc., with settled agriculturists for grain, cloth, utensils and other products. They bought and sold these goods as they moved from one place to another, transporting them on their animals.
Q9 Name some of the occupations of the nomads.
1. Many pastoral tribes reared and sold animals, such as cattle and horses, to the prosperous people.
2. Different castes of petty pedlars also travelled from village to village. They made and sold wares such as ropes, reeds, straw matting and coarse sacks.
3. Sometimes mendicants acted as wandering merchants. There were castes of entertainers who performed in different towns and villages for their livelihood.
Q10 What was Tanda?
The Banjaras were the most important trader nomads. Their caravan was called tanda.
Q11 How were banjaras useful to different emperors and kings?
Sultan Alauddin Khalji used the Banjaras to transport grain to the city markets. Emperor Jahangir wrote in his memoirs that the Banjaras carried grain on their bullocks from different areas and sold it in towns. They transported food grain for the Mughal army during military campaigns.
Q12 What were jatis?
As the economy and the needs of society grew, people with new skills were required. Smaller castes, or jatis, emerged within varnas. On the other hand, many tribes and social groups were taken into caste-based society and given the status of jatis. Specialised artisans – smiths, carpenters and masons – were also recognised as separate jatis by the Brahmanas. Jatis, rather than varna, became the basis for organising society.
Q13 What is shifting cultivation?
Trees and bushes in a forest area are first cut and burnt. The crop is sown in the ashes. When this land loses its fertility, another plot of land is cleared and planted in the same way.
Q14 Name the tribal groups who did not adopt the caste system.
Many dominant tribes of Punjab, Sind and the North-West Frontier had adopted Islam quite early. They continued to reject the caste system. The unequal social order, prescribed by orthodox Hinduism, was not widely accepted in these areas.
Q15 Write a note on origin of Rajputs.
Among the Kshatriyas, new Rajput clans became powerful by the eleventh and twelfth centuries. They belonged to different lineages, such as Hunas, Chandelas, Chalukyas and others. Some of these, too, had been tribes earlier. Many of these clans came to be regarded as Rajputs. They gradually replaced the older rulers, especially in agricultural areas. Here a developed society was emerging, and rulers used their wealth to create powerful states.
Q16 Who were Gonds? What was the system of administration of the Gond society?
The Gonds lived in a vast forested region called Gondwana.
They practised shifting cultivation. The large Gond tribe was further divided into many smaller clans. Each clan had its own raja or rai.
The administrative system of Gond kingdoms was becoming centralised. The kingdom was divided into garhs. Each garh was controlled by a particular Gond clan. This was further divided into units of 84 villages called chaurasi. The chaurasi was subdivided into barhots which were made up of 12 villages each.
Q17 With the passage of time what changes were introduced in the Gond society?
The emergence of large states changed the nature of Gond society. Their basically equal society gradually got divided into unequal social classes. Brahmanas received land grants from the Gond rajas and became more influential. The Gond chiefs now wished to be recognised as Rajputs.
Q18 Who were Ahoms?
The Ahoms migrated to the Brahmaputra valley from present-day Myanmar in the thirteenth century. They created a new state by suppressing the older political system of the bhuiyans (landlords). The Ahoms built a large state, and for this they used firearms as early as the 1530s. By the 1660s they could even make highquality gunpowder and cannons.
However, the Ahoms faced many invasions from the south-west. In 1662, the Mughals under Mir Jumla attacked the Ahom kingdom. Despite their brave defence, the Ahoms were defeated. But direct Mughal control over the region could not last long
Q19 Who were paiks?
Ahom state depended on forced labour. Those forced to work for the state were called paiks. A census of the population was taken. Each village had to send a number of paiks by rotation.
Q20 How did the Ahom clans break up?
People from heavily populated areas were shifted to less populated places. Ahom clans were thus broken up.
Q21 What were the different kinds of work that the members of the Ahom society did?
Almost all adult males served in the army during war. At other times, they were engaged in building dams, irrigation systems and other public works. The Ahoms also introduced new methods of rice cultivation.
Q22 How was the Ahom society organized? Ahom society was divided into clans or khels.
There were very few castes of artisans, so artisans in the Ahom areas came from the adjoining kingdoms.
A khel often controlled several villages.
The peasant was given land by his village community. Even the king could not take it away without the community’s consent.
Originally, the Ahoms worshipped their own tribal gods. During the first half of the seventeenth century, however, the influence of Brahmanas increased. Temples and Brahmanas were granted land by the king. Hinduism became the predominant religion. But the Ahom kings did not
completely give up their traditional beliefs after adopting Hinduism. Poets and scholars were given land grants.
Theatre was encouraged. Important works of Sanskrit were translated into the local language.