NCERT Notes for Class 12 History Chapter 3 Kinship Caste and Class

Class 12 History Chapter 3 Kinship Caste and Class

TextbookNCERT
BoardCBSE Board, UP board, JAC board, HBSE Board, Bihar Board, PSEB board, RBSE Board, UBSE Board
Class 12th Class
SubjectHistory
ChapterTheme Three
Chapter Name Kinship, Caste and Class
TopicNCERT Notes for Class 12 History Chapter 3 Kinship Caste and Class
MediumEnglish

Class 12 History Chapter 3 Kinship Caste and Class

NCERT Notes for Class 12 History Chapter 3 Kinship Caste and Class, (history) exam are Students are taught thru NCERT books in some of the state board and CBSE Schools. As the chapter involves an end, there is an exercise provided to assist students to prepare for evaluation. Students need to clear up those exercises very well because the questions inside the very last asked from those.

Early societies (C.600 BCE-600 CE)

The changes in political and economic life betweenc.600 BCE and 600 CEinfluenced early Indian societies.

  • This chapter discusses the social issues of history, including class, caste, kinship, and gender.
  • It also introduces how historians have used textual traditions to reconstruct social history.

Importance of Textual Traditions

Historians used textual traditions to understandchanges in polity and economy.

  • Some text is used to set social behavior criteria (norms).
  • Other texts describe society and sometimes comment on various social situations and practices.
  • Each text and inscription was written from the point of view of particular social categories.
  • Using these Texts allows us to piece together attitudes and practices that shaped social histories.

The central story of Mahabharata

The colossal epic Mahabharata depicts a wide range of social categories and situations.

  • Like any other epic, the Mahabharata containsvivid descriptions of battles, forests, palaces, and settlements.
  • The central story of the Mahabharata is abouttwo sets of warring cousins.
  • It describes the struggle for land and power between two groups of cousins, the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
  • Both cousins belonged to a single ruling family of theKurus lineage dominating over one of the Janapadas.
  • The conflict ended in a battle in which thePandavas emerged victorious.After that,patrilineal successionwas proclaimed(announced).

The Critical Edition Of The Mahabharata

V.S Sukthankar and the critical edition of the Mahabharata

V.S Sukthanker was aSanskrit scholarof India.

He undertook the Project of preparing a critical edition of the Mahabharata and appointed a team of various Sanskrit scholars.

The Project Began in 1919 with a team comprising many scholars.

  • The first Team collectedSanskrit manuscripts of the text, written in various scripts, from different parts of the country.
  • The Team compared the verses from each manuscript.
  • Finally,the Team selected the verses that appeared common to most versions.
  • The Team published these verses in several volumes of13,000 pages, and The Project took 47 years to complete.

There wereseveral common elements in the Sanskrit versions of the story.

  • It was evident from the manuscripts found all over the subcontinent, from Kashmir and Nepal in the North to Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the South.

Enormous regional variations were also found.

  • Enormous regional variations transmitted over the centuries.
  • These variations were documented in footnotes and appendices to the main text.

The variations of Mahabharata reflect the complex processthat shaped social histories.

The historians explored issues of social history in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Scholars began studying other traditions, from Pali, Prakrit and Tamil work. Sanskrit texts were, on the whole, recognised as authoritative.

Kinship and Marriage Many Rules and Varied Practices

Finding out about families

  • All the families are not the same; they vary in terms of the number of family members, their relationship with each other, and the kinds of activities they share.
  • People belonging to the same family share food and live, work and perform rituals Together.

Families are generally alarger part of the network of people.

  • The termkinfolkis used forthe larger part of the network of peopleof relatives.
  • In Sanskrit texts,the kulaword is used to designate families.
  • jnatiis used for a larger network of families
  • the termvamshais used for lineage defined as relatives.

Family Relation

  • Familial ties are based on blood and regarded as “natural”.
  • They are defined in many ways, such asin some societies, blood relations with siblings (cousins, etc.) are considered relatives, and in other societies, they are not.
  • In the case of early societies, it is easy for historians to retrieve information about the families of the elite class.
  • On the other hand, it is very difficult to reconstruct the familial relationship of ordinary people.

The Ideal of Patriliny

Patrilinymeans Lineage(ancestry), Tradition Tracing from father to son, grandson and so on.

Matrilinyis the term used when Lineage(ancestry) Tradition is traced through the mother.

The idea of patriliny-Idea of kinship and succession

  • Sons were important in carrying forward the patrilineal lineage.
  • Under patriliny, sons could claim the resources of their fathers after his death.
  • Patriliny is evident in mantras in ritual texts such as the Rigveda.
  • In case the king did not have a son, one of his brothers used to become the throne’s successor.
  • Sometimes other kinsmen claimed the throne.
  • It was a very exceptional case where women exercised power(e.g.Prabhavati Gupta.)

Rules of Marriage

  • It was considered the right thing to marry a daughter to families outside their gotra(kin).
  • Girls and women from families of high prestige should be married at the right time and to the right person.
  • Due to its effect, Kanyadana or the gift of a daughter in marriage was considered an important religious duty of the father.

Types of Marriages

Endogamy (Inter marriage): Endogamy refers to marriage inside one’s own group. Here group stands for kin(gotra).

Exogamy (bahir marriage):Exogamy refers to the marriage outside one’s own group or kin(gotra).

Polygyny (multiple wife marriage): Polygyny refers to the marriage in which a man has several wives.

Polyandry(multiple husband marriage): Polyandry refers to the marriage practice in which a woman could have more than one husband.

Dharma sutras and Dharmashastras

With the rise of new cities, the social life of the people becomes more complex.

  • To Deal with this, The Brahmins prepared elaborate codes of conduct(Rules and regulation) for the society. Brahmins had to follow these codes of conduct exclusively. Along with this, the rest of the society also had to follow it.
  • Around 500 BCE These norms were compiled in Sanskrit texts called Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras.
  • The author of the book was a Brahmin. Brahmins believed that the rules made by them should be followed by everyone.
  • The most important of these was the Manusmriti, which was compiled between 200 BCE 200 CE.

Forms of Marriage

Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras recognized eight forms of marriage.

Approved Forms of Marriages

Four forms of marriage were considered as good.

Brahma Marriage

The gift of a daughter(Kanyadana) to a learned man in Vedas. who is respectfully invited himself by father of daughter. In this marriage there is no monetary transaction.

Daiva Marriage

On reaching the age of marriage and not getting a husband, The gift of a daughter(Kanyadana) is given to priest in lieu(place) of dakshina.

Arsha Marriage

The Groom(sage) presents a bull or a cow to girls father because the Groom doesn’t have special qualities. (this is not considered a noble marriage because noble marriages don’t have monetary transactions involved)

Prajapatya Marriage

In this form of marriage the fiance(groom) ask for the young girl hand to father in order to marry her.

UnApproved Forms of Marriages

The remaining marriages were condemned because they do not follow Brahmanic norms.

To Know UnApproved Forms of Marriages

GOTRA

  • gotra is a Brahminical system which came into vogue(circulation) after about 1000 BC.
  • This Brahmanical method was to Classify People(Especially Brahmanas) in terms of gotra.
  • Each gotra was named after a Vedic Seer(sage).
  • The members of the same gotra were considered to be the descendants of the sage.

Important rules of gotra.

  • After marriage, women had to leave their father’s gotra and follow their husband’s gotra.
  • Men and women belonging to the same gotra could not marry each other.

Did people follow the rules of marriage and gotra made by the brahmins as a normal practice?

  • To know whether the rules were followed or not, one has to analyze the male and female names and the names of gotras.
  • The Satavahana kings ruled over parts of western India and the Deccan.
  • The Satavahana kings did not follow all the rules made by the Brahmins.
  • Some Satavahana kings were followers of polygamy(multiple wife marriage).
  • The queens who married Satavahana kings retained their father’s gotra and did not adopt their husband’s gotra.
  • Some of the queens who married Satavahana kings were belonged from the same gotra.
  • This Endogamy (Inter marriage) is also prevalent(popular) in some communities of South India.

Were mothers important?

  • Satavahana rulers were identified through metronymics which suggest that mothers were given importance.
  • Several inscriptions of the Satavahana rulers mention the name of their mothers rather than their fathers. For e.g, Gautamiputra Satakarni, son of Gautami.

Social differences: Within and beyond the framework of Caste

Caste

  • Caste refers to a set of hierarchical social classifications.
  • The Brahmins believed that this social system in which the Brahmins got the first place, the Shudra and the Untouchables got the lower place. This is a divine order.
  • This supposed ideal system is mentioned in the Dharmashastras and Dharmasutras, written by Brahmins.
  • Brahmins took the support of Rigveda to prove the system created by Brahmins asthe divine system(Order).

According to the Purusha Sukta Mantra of the Rigveda, all the elements of the world, including the four varnas, were produced from the sacrifice of the primeval man.

  • The Brahmins originated from the mouth of the primeval man.
  • The Kshatriyas originated from the arms of the primeval man.
  • The Vaishyas originated from the thigh of the primeval man.
  • The shudras originated from the feet of the primeval man.

Ideal occupations as laid down in Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras

Brahmanas

  • Studying the Vedas, teaching the Vedas, performing Yagya(sacrifices) and conducting Yagya(sacrifices), giving gifts, receiving gifts, and begging for alms.

Kshatriyas

  • The duties of the Kshatriyas were to fight the war, protect the people, provide justice, study the Vedas, conduct yagya, and give charity.

Vaishyas

  • Studying the Vedas, conducting Yagya, donating, giving Dakshina, doing agriculture, cow rearing, and doing business.

Shudras

  • There was only one occupation for Shudras. To serve all three higher castes.

what Strategies developed by the Brahmanas to enforce the Varna system

  • People were made to believe that the varna system is a divine system.
  • Brahmins used to advised the king that the rules of Varna system should be followed in the kingdom.
  • People were made to believe that the varna system was based on birth.

Indian Kings of Non-Kshatriya origin

  • According to the Shastras, only Kshatriyas were supposed to be kings.

Mauryas

  • The Maurya dynasty that ruled over a vast empire were also non kshatriya.
  • According to the Brahmin scriptures, the Mauryas belonged to a low caste.
  • It is written in the Buddhist text that Chandragupta Maurya, the first ruler of the Maurya dynasty, was a Kshatriya.
  • According to Brahmin scriptures only Kshatriyas could be kings. If the Brahmin scriptures are to be believed, the Mauryas were of low caste, but the Mauryas ruled. This means even non kshatriya could become kings.

Shungas and kanvas

  • The shungas and kanvas were the successors of the Mauryan dynasty who were brahmins.
  • If Shungas and kanvas were from Brahmin caste then it was clear that whoever could muster political support and resources could become king.
  • Hardly becoming a king depended on being born in a Kshatriya clan.

Shakas

  • The Shakas came to India from Central Asia. Brahmins used to consider Shakas as Mlechchhas barbarians or outsiders (foreigners).
  • Rudradaman who was the most famous king of Shaka learned Sanskrit which only people of the upper three varnas could learn.
  • Rudradaman became the king even after being Mlechchhas barbarians and Rudradaman got constructed Sudarshan Lake for the third time.

Satavahanas

  • Gotamiputa siri-satakani, the great ruler of the Satavahanas dynasty, used to describe himself as a Brahmin.
  • According to Brahmin scriptures, the king should be of Kshatriya varna only.
  • The Satavahanas did not follow all the rules of the Brahmins.
  • Satavahana established marriage relations with Rudradaman’s family who were of a low caste to expand the kingdom.

Jatis and social mobility

  • Caste is another word that divides the society. Caste further classifies the complex society.
  • According to Brahmin scriptures, just as varna is based on birth, similarly caste is also based on birth.
  • The varnas were fixed at four but there were no restrictions on the number of jatis.
  • Caste was classified on the basis of work and occupation.
  • Those who could not be accommodated in the four varnas were classified into castes.

Some Jatis

  • The person who did the work of making gold ornaments and making other things using gold belonged to the Sonar caste.
  • The person who worked in leather belonged to the Chamar caste.
  • The person whose job was to do laundry was called a washerman(dhobee).
  • The person who used to make pottery was called a potter(kumhaar).

Beyond the four Varnas

  • Sanskrit literature mentions some people who were beyond the four varnas.
  • In Sanskrit literature, the community of these people has been portrayed as strange, uncivilized and animalistic.
  • This is the Nishad jati who lived in the forest and lived their lives.
  • Eklavya, a great warrior of the great epic Mahabharata, is also considered to belong to this Nishad jati.
  • The community of nomadic pastoralists was also considered outside the four varnas as these people were not like the common agricultural workers.
  • All these people were addressed as non-Sanskrit speakers and looked down upon as Mlechchhas.

Untouchables and duties prescribed for them in Manusmriti and Shastra

  • Brahmanas considered some people as being outside the varna system.
  • The Brahmanas considered these social categories as “untouchable”.
  • Some activities were considered as “polluting”.
  • These included handling corpses and dead animals. Those who performed such tasks were known as chandalas.
  • Untouchable were placed at the very bottom of the social varna system. Touching and seeing them was considered as “polluting “ by the Brahmanas.

The Manusmriti laid down the duties of the chandalas.

  • They had to live outside the village, use discarded utensils, and wear clothes of the dead and ornaments of iron.
  • They could not walk out in villages and cities at night.
  • They had to dispose of the bodies of those who had no relatives and serve as executioners.

Observations made by Fa Xian and Xuan Zang

  • Fa Xian came to India in ( c. Fifth century CE )and wrote that the “untouchable sounded “clappers” when they entered streets so that the people could avoid seeing them.
  • Xuan Zang who came in ( c. Seventh century CE )observed that executioners and scavengers(sweepers) were forced to live outside the city

Beyond Birth: Resources and Status

  • The social status of different classes was often determined by their access to economic resources.
  • The criteria on which property is granted are as follows:-

1. On the basis of Gender

2. On the basis of Varna

Gendered access to the property

According to Manusmriti Men can earn money in 7 ways.

Inheritance

  • According to Manusmriti, the ancestral property should be divided equally among all the sons after the death of the parents. but the eldest son should get more share

Finding

  • Men can also acquire property by finding valuable items.

Purchase

  • A man can also acquire wealth by purchasing land and property.

By winning

  • A man can acquire wealth by winning a war or by winning a competition.

Investment

  • A man can also earn wealth by investing in business.

By Work

  • Men can earn wealth even by doing a job. According to Manusmriti.

By Gift

  • Men can also acquire wealth by collecting gifts from good people.

Women’s right on property.

  • Daughters or women had no right on ancestral resources.

According to Manusmriti, Women can acquire property in 6 ways.

In front of the Marriage fire

  • Women can keep the gift received in front of the Marriage fire as their property.

Received gift at the time of marriage

  • Women can take the gift received at the time of marriage and keep it as their stridhan(literally, a woman’s wealth).
  • Women have ownership over the gifts received at the time of marriage, According to Manusmriti.
  • This property(stridhan) could be inherited by their children.
  • The husband had no right over the woman’s wealth(stridhan) .

Token of affection

  • Women can acquire the gift received as a symbol of affection as their property.

Gifts by brothers, mother and father

  • Women could acquire property by collecting gifts given by brothers, mother and father.

Gifts by husband’s family

  • Women can acquire wealth by collecting gifts from the husband’s family.

By Their Husband

  • Women can earn money by collecting gifts and presents given by their husband.

According to Manusmriti, it is wrong for women to keep family property or secret accumulation of their own valuable money against the permission of husband.

Varna and access to the property

  • According to the Brahmin texts, Varna is also a basis for acquiring a property.
  • According to Brahmanical texts, The only job for a Shudra was to serve the upper three varnas.
  • The Shudra has no property rights. According to Manusmriti.
  • Vaishyas can acquire wealth through business and social means according to Manusmriti.
  • In which men can earn property in 7 ways and women in 6 ways.
  • Kshatriyas were the richest people, According to the Varna system, only Chhatriyas could be kings.
  • Brahmins were both rich and poor because the property was given to the Brahmins through charity and dakshina.

Buddhism Criticism On Caste System

  • The Brahmin caste system has been severely criticized by Buddhism.
  • The best known criticisms developed in early Buddhism around the 6th century BCE.
  • Buddhists rejected social status based on birth.
  • Inequality existed in the society, but this inequality was neither natural nor permanent. Buddhists openly opposed it.

Another basis for achieving social status : Sharing wealth

  • Another basis for achieving social status was charity.
  • The person who was charitable was respected and the person who accumulated wealth for himself was the object of hatred.
  • The Tamil Sangam anthologies illustrate economic, and social relationships, suggesting that while there were differences between rich and poor.
  • Those who controlled resources were expected to share them.

Explaining Social Differences- A Social Contract

  • The myth found in Sutta Pitaka suggests:
  • The institution of kingship was based on human choice, with taxes as a form of payment for services rendered by the king.
  • At the same time, it reveals recognition of human agency in creating and institutionalizing economic and social relations.
  • It also recognizes the fact that since human beings are responsible for the creation of the system, they could also change it in the future.
  • The king was elected by the whole people (mahasammata)

Historians and the Mahabharata

The elements of consideration for historians while analyzing texts are as follows:

  1. Language of the text-whether it was ordinary people’s language or the language of the priests and elites
  2. Kind of text-whether it was a mantra or story.
  3. Author’s perspective in writing the text
  4. The audience to whom it was written
  5. Date of the composition or compilation of the text.
  6. The place of composition.
  • We have been considering the Sanskrit language Mahabharata.
  • The Sanskrit used in the Mahabharata is simpler than that of the Vedas or of the prashastis.
  • So it was probably better to be understoodBut who wrote the text?
  • The original story was composed by chariot-bards known as sutas who accompanied the Kshatriya warriors to the battlefield and composed poems celebrating their victories and other accomplishments.
  • These compositions were circulated orally.
  • By thefifth century BCE; the Brahmanas began committing this to write.
  • It is also possible that the upheaval occurring in social values being replaced by new norms at this time was reflected in Mahabharata.
  • Another phase is c.200BCE and 200BCE when the worship of Vishnu was growing and Krishna was being identified with Vishnu.
  • Between c.200and 400CE didactic sections resembling the Manusmriti were added.
  • All these additions made the text,which started with less than 10,000 verses to 100,000 verses.This work is traditionally attributed to sage Veda Vyasa.
  • The text presented is classified into two sections: One that contains stories, designated as the ‘narrative ‘
  • Another section, containingprescriptions about social norms, is known as ‘didactic’. This section includes stories and narratives containing social messages.

Excavation of Hastinapura

  • Excavations at Hastinapura (Meerut, U.P) were conducted in 1951-52 by B.B Lal of the Archaeological Survey of India.
  • Houses of this period were built of mud bricks as well as burnt bricks.
  • Soakage jars and brick drainswere used for draining out refuse water.
  • Terracotta ring wellshave been used both as wells and drainage pits.

Mahabharata: A Dynamic Text

  • Mahabharata was written in a variety of languages.
  • Those people who wrote versions of the epic added stories thatoriginated or circulated in their localities.
  • The central story of the epic was often retold in many ways. Episodes were depicted in sculpture and painting
  • They also provided themes for a wide range ofperforming arts plays, dance, and other kinds of narrations.

Keywords

Kula:Sanskrit texts use the term kula to designate families

Kin:A group of people having a common lineage.

Patriliny:Patriliny is referred to the tracing of lineage from the paternal side

Matriliny:Matriliny is referred to the tracing of lineage from the maternal side.

Metronymics:The system of deriving names from mother is known as Metronymics.

  • The Satavahana rulers were identified through metronymics.
  • TheBrihadaranyaka Upanishads,one of the earliest Upanishads contains a list of successive generations of teachers and students, many of whom were designated by metronymics.

Purusha sukta:Purusha sukta of Rigveda mentions about the division of society into four varnas.

  • The four varnas were said to have emanated from thebody of Purusha, the primeval man.
  • Brahmanas from the mouth, Kshatriyas from the arms,Vaishyas from the thighs, and the Shudras from the feet.

Vanik:A Sanskrit term used to designate merchants.

  • InMrichchakatika written by Sudraka,the hero Charudatta was described as both Brahmana and a merchant.

Class 12 history chapter 3 FAQs

What is the gotra system class 12?

gotra is a Brahminical system which came into vogue(circulation) after about 1000 BC.
This Brahmanical method was to Classify People(Especially Brahmanas) in terms of gotra.
Each gotra was named after a Vedic Seer(sage).
The members of the same gotra were considered to be the descendants of the sage.
Important rules of gotra.
After marriage, women had to leave their father’s gotra and follow their husband’s gotra.
Men and women belonging to the same gotra could not marry each other.

What did manusmriti say about women’s access to the property?

According to Manusmriti, Women can acquire property in 6 ways.
In front of the Marriage fire
Women can keep the gift received in front of the Marriage fire as their property.
Received gift at the time of marriage
Women can take the gift received at the time of marriage and keep it as their stridhan(literally, a woman’s wealth).
Women have ownership over the gifts received at the time of marriage, According to Manusmriti.
This property(stridhan) could be inherited by their children.
The husband had no right over the woman’s wealth(stridhan) .
Token of affection
Women can acquire the gift received as a symbol of affection as their property.
Gifts by brothers, mother and father
Women could acquire property by collecting gifts given by brothers, mother and father.
Gifts by husband’s family
Women can acquire wealth by collecting gifts from the husband’s family.
By Their Husband
Women can earn money by collecting gifts and presents given by their husband.
According to Manusmriti, it is wrong for women to keep family property or secret accumulation of their own valuable money against the permission of husband.

What were the ideal occupation of each Varna?

Brahmanas
Studying the Vedas, teaching the Vedas, performing Yagya(sacrifices) and conducting Yagya(sacrifices), giving gifts, receiving gifts, and begging for alms.
Kshatriyas
The duties of the Kshatriyas were to fight the war, protect the people, provide justice, study the Vedas, conduct yagya, and give charity.
Vaishyas
Studying the Vedas, conducting Yagya, donating, giving Dakshina, doing agriculture, cow rearing, and doing business.
Shudras
There was only one occupation for Shudras. To serve all three higher castes.

What did the Chinese traveler mention about chandalas?

Fa Xian came to India in ( c. Fifth century CE ) and wrote that the “untouchable sounded “clappers” when they entered streets so that the people could avoid the sight.
Xuan Zang who came in ( c. Seventh century CE ) observed that executioners and scavengers were forced to live outside the city

What is the central story of Mahabharata Class 12?

The central story of Mahabharata:-
The colossal epic Mahabharata depicts a wide range of social categories and situations.
The Mahabharata, like any other epic, contains vivid descriptions of battles, forests, palaces, and settlements.
The central story of the Mahabharata is about two sets of warring cousins.
It describes a feud over land and power.
These were the Kauravas and Pandavas who belonged to a single ruling family of the Kurus, a lineage dominating over one of the Janapadas.
The conflict ended in a battle in which the Pandavas emerge victorious. After that, patrilineal succession was proclaimed.

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