Through The Eyes of Travellers (Perceptions Society) NCERT Textbook PDF

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Through The Eyes of Travellers (Perceptions Society) NCERT Textbook With Solutions PDF Free Download

Eyes Travellers Perceptions Society

Chapter 5: Through The Eyes of Travellers (Perceptions Society)

Al-Biruni was born in 973, in Khwarizm in present-day Uzbekistan. Khwarizm was an important center of learning, and Al-Biruni received the best education available at the time.

He was well versed in several languages: Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and Sanskrit.

Although he did not know Greek, he was familiar with the works of Plato and other Greek philosophers, having read them in Arabic translations.

In 1017, when Sultan Mahmud invaded Khwarizm, he took several scholars and poets back to his capital, Ghazni; Al-Biruni was one of them.

He arrived in Ghazni as a hostage, but gradually developed a liking for the city, where he spent the rest of his life until his death at the age of 70.

It was in Ghazni that Al-Biruni developed an interest in India. This was not unusual. Sanskrit
works on astronomy, mathematics and medicine had been translated into Arabic from the eighth century onwards.

When Punjab became a part of the Ghaznavid empire, contact with the local population helped create an environment of mutual trust and understanding.

Al-Biruni spent years in the company of Brahmana priests and scholars, learning Sanskrit,
and studying religious and philosophical texts.

While his itinerary is not clear, it is likely that he traveled widely in the Punjab and parts of northern India.

Travel literature was already an accepted part of Arabic literature by the time he wrote.

This literature dealt with lands as far apart as the Sahara desert in the west to the River Volga in the north. So, while few people in India would have read Al-Biruni before 1500, many others outside India may have done so.

Al-Biruni’s Kitab-ul-Hind, written in Arabic, is simple and lucid. It is a voluminous text, divided into
80 chapters on subjects such as religion and philosophy, festivals, astronomy, alchemy, manners and customs, social life, weights and measures, iconography, laws and metrology.

Generally (though not always), Al-Biruni adopted a distinctive structure in each chapter, beginning with a question, following this up with a description based on Sanskritic traditions, and concluding with a comparison with other cultures.

Some present-day scholars have argued that this almost geometric structure, remarkable for its precision and predictability, owed much to his mathematical orientation.

Language English
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NCERT Solutions Class 12 History Chapter 5 Eyes Travellers Perceptions Society

1. Write a note on the Kitab-ul-Hind.
Ans: Kitab-ul-Hind was written by Al-Biruni in 1031. It was considered with India and also known by the name of Tarikh-ul-Hind and Tahqiq-ma-ul-Hind. It was written in Arabic. It is divided into 80 Chapters.

They have thrown a detailed light on Hindu religions and philosophy, festivals, customs and tradition, and the social and economic as well as political life of the people.

In each chapter, he adopted a distinctive style and had a question in the beginning. It was followed by a description based on Sanskrit tradition, At last, he compare the Indian culture with other cultures.

This geometric structure he followed is known for its precision and predictability. The main reason for this structure was Al-Biruni’s mathematical orientation.

2. Compare and contrast the perspectives from which Ibn Battuta and Bernier wrote their accounts of their travels in India.
Ans: Ibn Battuta was an early globe-trotter. He considered experience gained through travels to be a more important source of knowledge than books.

He meticulously recorded his observations about new cultures, peoples, beliefs, and values. He enjoyed the cosmopolitan culture of urban centers where people who spoke Arabic, Persian, Turkish and other languages, shared ideas, information, and anecdotes.

He highlighted unfamiliar things in order to ensure that the listener or the reader was suitably impressed by accounts of distant yet accessible worlds.

For example, he described the coconut and the paan which was completely unfamiliar to his readers. Thus, Ibn Battuta described everything that impressed and excited him because of its novelty.

Francois Bernier, on the other hand, belonged to a different intellectual tradition. He tried to compare and contrast what he saw in India with the situation in Europe in general and France in particular, focusing on situations that he considered depressing.

His idea was to influence the policymakers and intelligentsia to ensure that they made what he considered to be the “right” decisions.

He compared Mughal India with contemporary Europe. He emphasized the superiority of Europe. His representation of India works on the model of binary opposition, where India is presented as the inverse of Europe.

He also ordered the perceived differences hierarchically, so that India appeared to be inferior to the Western world.

3. Discuss the picture of urban centers that emerges from Bernier’s account.
Ans: During the 17th century nearly 15% of the population was living in town. This was the average proportion of the urban population of western Europe.

Bernier described Mughal towns as court towns. By it, he meant those towns which depended upon the imperial court for their existence and survival.

These towns came into existence with the imperial court and declined with the impanel court when they moved to other places.

In his travel accounts, Bernier described many big towns and cities such as Delhi, Mathura, Kashmir, Surat, Masulipatnam and Golconda. These gained importance as manufacturing centres, trading towns, and sacred towns.

The merchant communities had deep influence in these cities. They remained organised due to their own caste and occupational bodies.

These trading groups were known as Mahajans in western India. Their head was called Sheth.

In Ahmedabad, the chief of the Merchant community was known as nagarsheth. Besides the trading groups, musicians, architects, painters, lawyers, calligraphies, etc. lived in towns.

4. Analyse the evidence for slavery provided by Ibn Battuta.
Ans: Battuta has given a detailed description on the practice of slavery prevalent in India. Delhi Sultan-Muhammad bin Tughlaq had a large number of slaves. Most of these slaves were forcibly captured during the aggressions.

Many people sold their children as a slave, because of acute poverty. Slaves were also offered as a gift during this time. Battuta when visited, also brought many horses, camels, and slaves for the Sultan to present to him.

Sultan Muhammad bin Tuglaq, himself had presented two hundred slaves to Nasiruddin a religious preacher.

Nobels are used to keep slaves in those days. Through these slaves, the Sultan used to get information about the activities of the noble and all other important events of the empire.

The woman slaves served as servants in the house of the rich (nobles). These women informed the Sultan about the activities of their masters (i.e., nobles).

Most of the slaves used to do domestic work and there was a lot of difference between the status of these slaves and the court slaves.

NCERT Class 12 History Textbook Chapter 5 With Answer PDF Free Download

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