New Social and Political Groups

A History Class!

The history class was about to begin. Abhishek was seated and was waiting for his teacher.

The history teacher asked the students, “Do you know about the changing period in our history?”

The students started thinking about it, but no one responded.

The teacher said, “The maximum changes happened between the period of 700 and 1750s. ”

Changes between 700 and 1750s

During this period, new changes like the Persian wheel and the spinning wheel had emerged.

New food and beverages like potatoes, corn, tea, coffee, etc. also arrived.

All these innovations came along with people who brought other ideas as well.

As a result, we can say this was a period of economic, political, social and cultural changes.

One group of people who became important in this period were the Rajputs.

Abhishek interrupted and asked, “Rajputs! Who are they?”

The Rajputs

The teacher replied, “The term Rajput is derived from the word Rajputra, meaning the son of a ruler.”

Rajputs were a group of warriors who claimed Kshatriya caste status.

Rajputs also comprised of soldiers and commanders who served in the armies of different kings.

Extreme courage and a great sense of loyalty were the qualities attributed to the Rajputs.

Abhishek then asked, “Ma’am, how did the lives of the people change?”

Throughout this period there was a gradual clearance of forests to extend agriculture.

This led to the migration of the forest dwellers. Others started cultivating the land and became peasants.

They began cultivating on the lands and progressed towards becoming labourers.

These peasants started to be influenced by local markets, priests, temples, etc.

They have to pay taxes and offer goods and services to the local lords.

Abhishek said, “This must have changed the whole society and created differences.”

Changes in the Social Structure

The teacher replied, as the society became more differentiated, people were grouped.

They were grouped into jatis who were ranked based on their backgrounds and occupations.

Ranks were not fixed and the status of a jati varied with the area based on power, the influence of the members of the jati.

Abhishek asked, “Who governed these different jatis?”

The teacher replied jatis were governed by the Jati Panchayat where rules were enforced by the elders.

Jatis framed their own rules and regulations to manage the conduct of their members. But jatis were also required to follow the rules of their villages.

Revision

Changes introduced between 700 and 1750s were the Persian wheel in irrigation and the spinning wheel in weaving.

Food and beverages like potatoes, corn, tea, coffee, etc. were also introduced.

One group of people who became important in this period were the Rajputs.

Extreme courage and loyalty were the main qualities of the Rajputs.

Agriculture was extended by clearing forests which led to the migration of the forest dwellers.

As society became more differentiated, people were grouped into jatis or sub-castes and ranked on the basis of their backgrounds and their occupations.

The End