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IAS Foundation 2023-24, Batch Starts: 27th July

History Optional Paper I Section b by Rashid Yasin

  • Category
  • Test Date
    2022-06-02 07:00:00
  • Evaluated


  • Attempt both questions
  • The test carries 30 marks.
  • Write Each answer in 150 words.
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • Evaluated Copy will be re-uploaded on the same thread after 2 days of uploading the copy.
  • Discussion of the question and one to one answer improvement session of evaluated copies will be conducted through Google Meet with concerned faculty. You will be informed via mail or SMS for the discussion.

Question #1. Evaluate the accounts of foreign travellers about the Vijayanagara Eryipir i,101 /I° (2018)

Question #2. Akbar built the Mughal Empire by enlisting the support of the Rajputs; Aurangzeb destroyed it by alienating the Rajputs. Discuss critically.

(Examiner will pay special attention to the candidate's grasp of his/her material, its relevance to the subject chosen, and to his/ her ability to think constructively and to present his/her ideas concisely, logically and effectively).

Model Answer

Question #1. Evaluate the accounts of foreign travellers about the Vijayanagara Eryipir i,101 /I° (2018) 

Ans. The Vijayanagara Empire is a classic case of an empire that patronized many  foreign travelers and thus historicity of the Vijayanagara Empire is established through the accounts of foreign travelers. Vijayanagara Empire was established by Harihara and Bukka in 1336 AD. According to Ibn Batuta and Abdur Razzak, the Vijayanagara Empire from its very beginning was always in a state of war with the adjacent Bahmani Kingdom because of the following: 

  • The Raichur Doab (Krishna — Tungabhadra River). 
  • Krishna- Godavari delta. 
  • Marathwada region. 

According to a foreign traveler Nicolo Conti, there were often conflicts between the Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagara and the Muslim Kingdom of Bahmani. These regular conflicts made their kingdoms unstable but gave a boost to their military development. Nicolo Conti especially mentions about the military capability of the Vijayanagara Empire as it was based on a Portuguese set up and laden with new technological warfare products. Other famous travelers, Domingo Paes and Barbosa point out the superiority of the Vijayanagara Empire in the field of art and culture especially during the reign of Krishnadevaraya and their works are lit up in praise of him. 

Another prominent traveler Nuniz points out the superiority of the Vijayanagara Empire over the Bahmani Kingdom and also praises Krishnadevaraya for helping the Portuguese Governor Albuquerque establish Goa as their trading hub in 1510 A.D. 

Domingo Paes also mentions that the luminaries patronized by the Vijayanagara Empire even helped in carrying out some sort of administrative works. He mentions about the supremacy of Krishnadevaraya over the Gajapatis of Odisha, Pandyas and the Hoysala Kingdom too, thus making Krishnadevaraya the most prominent ruler at the beginning of the 16th century. Though the historiographical analysis also states that these foreign travelers were somehow biased with respect to the Vijayanagara Kingdom as they were patronized by the kings but overall, Vijayanagara Empire's history can be fully traced by these foreign travelers' travelogue. 

In this way, the historicity of the famous Vijayanagara Empire is reconstructed foreign travelers play an important role in tracing the history of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Question #2. Akbar built the Mughal Empire by enlisting the support of the Rajputs; Aurangzeb destroyed it by alienating the Rajputs. Discuss critically. 

Ans:  Akbar's policy towards Rajputs was based on practical consideration. He wanted a distinct support base from the Rajputs and Indian Muslims to counterbalance the ia orar the emperor. Turanis and Iranis, while at the same time creating a section personally loyal to the emperor. 

Thus, he strengthened relations with the Rajputs by granting them high Mansabs , and positions and cemented this with matrimonial alliances. 

The Rajputs who were enlisted in the Mughal service received their kingdoms as Watan- Jagirs and proved to be crucial in the Mughal expansion and defense serving in faraway regions like the Deccan and North - West.

Thus, Akbar was able to secure valuable service of the Rajputs who played a crucial role in administrating and conquering India. This mutually beneficial relationship was continued under Jahangir as well as Shah Jahan. 

However, critics like Jadunath Sarkar claim that abandoning this Rajput policy was the cause of the Mughal disintegration. 

The major hurdle for Aurangzeb in his Rajput policy was the Mewar province whereby after the death of Karan Singh, without any natural heir, he was forced to coronate Jaswant Singh of elder age on to the Mewar throne. 

Moreover, after the death of Jaswant Singh, there was no natural heir, so Aurangzeb crowned Inder Singh (son of Karan Singh) as the ruler of Mewar and Marwar. This led to a big problem further as after sometime Jaswant Singh's wife had a posthumous son, Ajit Singh. 

In order to promote the claim of Jaswant Singh's family, a leading Rajput warrior, Durga Das took Rana Ajit Singh to the Mughal court at Agra. This was taken by Since Aurangzeb as a sign of revolt against his decision and he arrested Durga Das politic along with Ajit Singh. This completely alienated the Rajputs from the Mughals and contributed towards severe crises. 

Durga Das managed to escape and reach Mewar and with the support of Rajput warriors and declared Rana Ajit Singh as the ruler of Mewar and Marwar. This was a banner of severe revolt against Aurangzeb that contributed towards the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. 

To some extent, Aurangzeb's interference in the succession dispute of Marwar did create a sense of endangerment and alienation in some Rajput States. Moreover, his proposal to divide Marwar was considered by some to be a strategy to weaken Marwar and Rajput States. 

Mewar already discontented with the loss of a few Para to Shah Jahan was aslo afraid of this unwarranted Mughal intervention and consequently was supported the rebellion. 

However, these measures of Aurangzeb were not guided by anti- Hindu motives or abandonment of the Rajput policy of Akbar. Akbar himself had established that awarding of Tika was a royal prerogative and could not be claimed as a right. Also, the precedence of dividing principalities among the rival claimants was started by Akbar himself.

It could be said that Aurangzeb's measures were not an abandonment of Akbar's Rajput policy. The Rajputs including Mewar and Marwar continued to serve under the Mughal command once the dispute was resolved. However, this breach of trust did result in a little alienation of Rajputs from the Mughal cause but this was largely a result of the Rajput desire for sovereignty and autonomy than a reaction against Aurangzeb. 

Thus, though Aurangzeb did not totally abandon Akbar's policy, the breach of trust with the Rajputs further fuelled their desire for autonomy and independence, becoming one of the causes for the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. 

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