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NCERT CLASS 12th HISTORY CHAPTER 4 THINKERS, BELIEFS AND BUILDINGS NOTES

1. A GLIMPSE OF SANCHI

  • In the 19th century, Europeans were very interested in the stupa at Sanchi

  • French and Englishmen were provided prepared plaster-case copies and the original remained in Bhopal State 

  • Shahjehan Begum and her Successor Sultan Jehan Begum provided money for the preservation of the ancient site

  • Stupa Complex has survived then due to the Wise decisions of  the rulers of Bhopal



2. THE BACKGROUND: SACRIFICES AND DEBATES

  • The first millennium BCE regarded as  a turning point.

(i) Emergence of thinkers such as Zarathustra in Iran, Kong zi in China, Socrates, Plate and Aristotle in Greece and Mahavira and Gautam Buddha from India

(ii) This was the time when Kingdoms and and new cities were developing social and economic life.


2.1 The Sacrificial tradition

  • Early Vedic traditions known from the Rigveda compiled between c1500 and. 1000 BCE Rigveda consists of hymns in praise of variety deities especially Agni,Indra and Soma.

  • Sacrifices such as the Ashvamedha and  rajasuya were performed by chief who depended on Brahman  priests to conduct the ritual.

2.2 New Questions

  • About the meaning of life

  • Possibility of life after death and rebirth. Was rebirth due to past actions ?

  •  People also began speculating on significance of  the sacrificial tradition.


2.3 Debates and Discussions

  • Debates took place in the kutagarashala (a hut with a pointed roof or in groves where travelling mendicants halted)

  • "Teachers, including Mahavira emphasised individual agency suggesting that men and women could strive to attain liberation from the trials  and tribulations of  worldy existence 

  • This was in marked constrast to the Brahmanical position.

  • How Buddhist texts were prepared 

  • The Buddha taught Orally  None of the speeches were written down during his lifetime After his death (C5-4th century BCE) his teachings were complied  by his disciples at a council at Vesali known as Tipitaka