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IAS Prelims Exam: Medieval History NCERT Questions: Bhakti - Sufi Traditions

Feb 10, 2016 12:33 IST

    Questions asked from Medieval Indian History section in IAS Prelims Exam are quite easy but the candidates need to memorise well before appearing in the exam. The candidates should have balanced preparation of overall three sections of the History and its chronology is one of the most important parts of the subject history which enable candidates to memorise well every important aspects of history.

    Following Multiple Choice Questions of Medieval Indian History would help students in understanding the nature of questions asked in IAS Prelims Exam.

    Q1.Consider the following statements regarding the early traditions of Bhakti:

    I.In the course of the evolution of forms of worship, in many instances, poet-saints emerged as leaders around whom there developed a community of devotees.
    II.Brahmanas remained important intermediaries between gods and devotees in several forms of bhakti.
    III.At a different level, historians of religion often classify bhakti traditions into two broad categories: saguna (with attributes) and nirguna (without attributes).

    Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

    A.Only I
    B.I and II
    C.I and III
    D.All of the above

    Answer: D

    Explanation: In the course of the evolution of various forms of worship, in many instances, poet-saints emerged as leaders around whom there developed a community of devotees. Further, while Brahmanas remained important intermediaries between gods and devotees in several forms of bhakti, these traditions also accommodated and acknowledged women and the “lower castes”, categories considered ineligible for liberation within the orthodox Brahmanical framework. What also characterised traditions of bhakti was a remarkable diversity.

    Q2.Consider the following statements about Alvars and Nayanars:

    I.Some of the earliest bhakti movements (c. sixth century) were led by the Alvars (literally, those who are “immersed” in devotion to Vishnu) and Nayanars (literally, leaders who were devotees of Shiva).
    II.They travelled from place to place singing hymns in Tamil in praise of their gods.
    III.During their travels the Alvars and Nayanars identified certain shrines as abodes of their chosen deities.

    Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

    A.Only I
    B.I and II
    C.I and III
    D.All of the above

    Answer: D

    Explanation: During their travels the Alvars and Nayanars identified certain shrines as abodes of their chosen
    deities.Very often large temples were later built at these sacred places. These developed as centres of pilgrimage. Singing compositions of these poet-saints became part of temple rituals in these shrines, as did worship of the saints’ images.

    Q3. Consider the following statements regarding the attitudes of Alvars and Nayanars towards caste system:

    I.Alvars and Nayanars initiated a movement of protest against the caste system and the dominance of Brahmanas or at least attempted to reform the system.
    II.Alvars and Nayanars always supported the caste system in the society.
    III.The importance of the traditions of the Alvars and Nayanars was sometimes indicated by the claim that their compositions were as important as the Vedas.

    Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

    A.Only I
    B.I and II
    C.I and III
    D.All of the above

    Answer: C

    Explanation: Some historians suggest that the Alvars and Nayanars initiated a movement of protest against the caste system and the dominance of Brahmanas or at least attempted to reform the system. To some extent this is corroborated by the fact that bhaktas hailed from diverse social backgrounds ranging from Brahmanas to artisans and cultivators and even from castes considered “untouchable”. The importance of the traditions of the Alvars and Nayanars was sometimes indicated by the claim that their compositions were as important as the Vedas. For instance, one of the major anthologies of compositions by the Alvars, the Nalayira Divyaprabandham, was frequently described as the Tamil Veda, thus claiming that the text was as significant as the four Vedas in Sanskrit that were cherished by the Brahmanas.

    Q4. Which of the following statements is incorrect about Andal?

    A.Andal was a woman Alvar, the most striking features of her compositions were widely sung (and continue to be sung to date).
    B.Andal was a woman Nayanar, she incorporated the prevailing caste system in the society.
    C.Andal saw herself as the beloved of Vishnu; her verses express her love for the deity.
    D.Andal saw herself as the beloved of Krishna; her verses express her love for the deity.

    Answer: B

    Explanation: Perhaps one of the most striking features of these traditions was the presence of women. For instance, the compositions of Andal, a woman Alvar, were widely sung (and continue to be sung to date). Andal saw herself as the beloved of Vishnu; her verses express her love for the deity.

    Q5. Consider the following statements regarding the women devotees of the period:

    I.Karaikkal Ammaiyar, a devotee of Shiva, adopted the path of extreme asceticism in order to attain her goal.
    II.Andal and Karaikkal Ammaiyar renounced their social obligations, but did not join an alternative order or become nuns.
    III.Their very existence and their compositions posed a challenge to patriarchal norms.

    Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

    A.Only I
    B.I and II
    C.I and III
    D.All of the above

    Answer: D

    Explanation: Andal saw herself as the beloved of Vishnu; her verses express her love for the deity. Another woman, Karaikkal Ammaiyar, a devotee of Shiva, adopted the path of extreme asceticism in order to attain her goal. Her compositions were preserved within the Nayanar tradition. These women renounced their social obligations, but did not join an alternative order or become nuns. Their very existence and their compositions posed a challenge to patriarchal norms.

    Q6. Consider the following statements regarding the advent of Islam:

    I.Arab merchants, for instance, frequented ports along the western coast in the first millennium CE, while Central Asian peoples settled in the north-western parts of the subcontinent during the same period.
    II.From the seventh century, with the advent of Islam, these regions became part of what is often termed the Islamic world.
    III.In 711 an Arab general named Muhammad Qasim conquered South India, which became part of the Caliph’s domain.

    Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

    A.Only I
    B.I and II
    C.I and III
    D.All of the above

    Answer: B

    Explanation: Arab merchants, for instance, frequented ports along the western coast in the first millennium CE, while Central Asian peoples settled in the north-western parts of the subcontinent during the same period. From the seventh century, with the advent of Islam, these regions became part of what is often termed the Islamic world. In 711 an Arab general named Muhammad Qasim conquered Sind, which became part of the Caliph’s domain. Later (c. Thirteenth century) the Turks and Afghans established the Delhi Sultanate.

    Q7. Consider the following statements regarding the establishment of Delhi Sultanate:

    I.The Delhi Sultanate was established by the Turks and Afghans in c. thirteenth century.
    II.The establishment was followed by the formation of Sultanates in the Deccan and other parts of the subcontinent; Islam was an acknowledged religion of rulers in several areas.
    III.This continued with the establishment of the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century as well as in many of the regional states that emerged in the eighteenth century.

    Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

    A.Only I
    B.I and II
    C.I and III
    D.All of the above

    Answer: B

    Explanation: This was followed by the formation of Sultanates in the Deccan and other parts of the subcontinent; Islam was an acknowledged religion of rulers in several areas. This continued with the establishment of the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century as well as in many of the regional states that emerged in the eighteenth century.

    Q8. Consider the following statements regarding the growth of Sufism in India:

    I.In the early centuries of Islam a group of religious minded people called sufis turned to asceticism and mysticism in protest against the growing materialism of the Caliphate as a religious and political institution.
    II.They were critical of the dogmatic definitions and scholastic methods of interpreting the Qur’an and sunna (traditions of the Prophet) adopted by theologians.
    III.The sufis thus sought an interpretation of the Qur’an on the basis of their personal experience.

    Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

    A.Only I
    B.I and II
    C.I and III
    D.All of the above

    Answer: D

    Explanation: In the early centuries of Islam a group of religious minded people called sufis turned to asceticism and mysticism in protest against the growing materialism of the Caliphate as a religious and political institution. They were critical of the dogmatic definitions and scholastic methods of interpreting the Qur’an and sunna (traditions of the Prophet) adopted by theologians. Instead, they laid emphasis on seeking salvation through intense devotion and love for God by following His commands, and by following the example of the Prophet Muhammad whom they regarded as a perfect human being. The sufis thus sought an interpretation of the Qur’an on the basis of their personal experience.

    Q9. Consider the following statements regarding Khanqahs and silsilas:

    I.By the eleventh century Sufism evolved into a well developed movement with a body of literature on Quranic studies and sufi practices.
    II.Institutionally, the sufis began to organise communities around the hospice or khanqah (Persian) controlled by a teaching master known as shaikh (in Arabic), pir or murshid (in Persian).
    III.Sufis established rules for spiritual conduct and interaction between inmates as well as between laypersons and the master.

    Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

    A.Only I
    B.I and II
    C.I and III
    D.All of the above

    Answer: D

    Explanation: By the eleventh century Sufism evolved into a well developed movement with a body of literature on Quranic studies and sufi practices. Institutionally, the sufis began to organise communities around the hospice or khanqah (Persian) controlled by a teaching master known as shaikh (in Arabic), pir or murshid (in Persian).

    Q10. Which of the following statements is incorrect?

    A.Pilgrimage, called ziyarat, to tombs of rajas and kings is prevalent all over the Muslim world.
    B.The practice of ziyart is an occasion for seeking the sufi’s spiritual grace (barakat).
    C.For more than seven centuries people of various creeds, classes and social backgrounds have expressed their devotion at the dargahs of the five great Chishti saints.
    D.Amongst these, the most revered shrine is that of Khwaja Muinuddin, popularly known as “Gharib Nawaz” (comforter of the poor).

    Answer: A

    Explanation: Pilgrimage, called ziyarat, to tombs of sufi saints is prevalent all over the Muslim world. This practice is an occasion for seeking the sufi’s spiritual grace (barakat).

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