20 important short questions on Evolution of Kingship in India


1. What actually was ‘rajan’ of the Rig-Vedic period? Why king was called ‘ganapati’?

‘Rajan’ of the Rig-Vedic period was nothing but a tribal chief. King was called ‘ganapati’ as because he was the head of the kin- based group.

2. Who was a Vispati of the Vedic period? Who was called ‘ganapati’?


Vispati of the Vedic period was a tribal chief. King was called ‘ganapati’ as he was the head of kin-based group.

3. What was meant by janapada? What was a mahajanapada?

Janapada meant a locality. Mahajanapada was a kingdom whose area was bigger. There developed sixteen Mahajanapada in the sixth century BC.

4. What constituted the ancient Magadha?


Magadha constituted present Patna and Gaya districts of Bihar. It is a very ancient kingdom. Magadha is also referred to in the Vedas.

5. Name one republic and one monarchical kingdom of the Sixteen Mahajanapadas.

Malla was a republican kingdom and Magadha was a monarchical kingdom of the Sodasamahajanapadas.

6. Who was the last Nanda king? Who uprooted him?


Dhanananda was the last Nanda king. Chandragupta Maurya uprooted him.

7. Who was the founder of the Nanda dynasty? Who was the last Nanda king?

Mahapadma Nanda was the founder of the Nanda dynasty. Dhanananda was the last Nanda king.

8. Who was the author of Arthashastra? What is the name of the book written by Megasthenes?


Kautilya was the author of Arthashastra. The name of the book written by Megasthenes is Indika.

9. With which foreign power did Chandragupta wage war? What was the result of the war?

Chandragupta waged war against Seleukas, the Greek king of Syria. Probably Seleukas was defeated because Chandragupta got more and other things as presents from him. Also Chandragupta obtained Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Baluchistan from the Syrian king.

10. Name two Greek rulers of Asia with whom Bindusara maintained friendly relations.


Bindusard maintained friendly relations with Ptolemy of Egypt. A he maintained friendly relations with Antiochus of Syria.

11. Name the new officials appointed by Asoka after the Kalinga war. In which year was the war faught?

Rajukas, Yutas, Dhammamahamatras, etc. were the official appointed by Asoka after the Kalinga war. The Kalinga war was fought in 261 or 260 BC.

12. What was the essential difference between Buddhism and t Dhamma as expounded by Asoka?

Buddhism is Buddha’s teachings. Asoka’s Dhamma constituted certain moral virtues. Dhamma could be adhered to by people belonging to any religion whatsoever.

13. Who composed the ‘Arthashastra’? By what other name was he known?

Kautilya was the author of Arthashastra. The other name by which Kautilya was famous was Chanakya. Chanakya was known to be an intelligent Brahmin.

14. Whom did Asoka deploy for the propagation of Dhamma? Name a foreign country where Asoka undertook benevolent work.

Dhammamahamatras were the officials appointed by Asoka for the propagation of Dhamma. Also he sent missions for benevolent work to Epirus.

15. Who was the last Mauryan Emperor? Who uprooted the Mauryan dynasty?

Brihadratha was the last Mauryan Emperor. Pushyamitra Sunga uprooted the Mauryan dynasty from Magadha.

16. What was the significance of the Sungas and Kanvas?

Sungas and Kanvas were Brahmins. They were ruling dynasties. This proved social mobility of the contemporary period. For in the varna scale the Kshatriyas were the only ruling class, not the Brah­mins.

17. Who were the Kushanas? What was the reason for the prosperity of their empire?

Kushanas were a Central Asian tribe. They were driven out from their original home when they entered India. Flourishing trade and commerce was the most important factor for the prosperity of their empire.

18. Who was the founder of the Satavahana dynasty? What was their capital?

Simuka was the founder of the Satavahana dynasty. The Satavahanas were also known as the Andhras. Pratisthan or Paithan in Maharastra was their capital.

19. Who introduced the Saka era? With which foreign country did Kanishka wage war?

Kanishka introduced the Saka era in 78 AD. With China Kanishka waged war. Pan-chao was the Chinese genera who were defeated by Kanishka.

20. Who inscribed the Hatigumpha Inscription? Of which kingdon he was the ruler?

King Kharvela inscribed the Hatigumpha Inscription. This is located in the Udayagiri hill near Bhubaneswar in Orissa. Kharvela was the king of Kalinga.

21. Who inscribed the Nasik Cave Inscription and the Nanagha Inscription?

Gautamiputra Satakani, the Satavahana ruler, inscribed the Nasik Cave Inscription. Nayanika, his queen inscribed the Nanaghat Inscription. The Nanaghat inscription refers to the Asvamedha sacrifices made by Gautamiputra Satakarni.

22. Which Satavahana king defeated the Sakas? Since when did the Satavahanas decline totally?

The Satavahana ruler Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated the Sakas. The Nasik inscription bears testimony to this. From the third century AD the Satavahana power declined.

23. Name two important sources of information regarding the Gupta period?

Allahabad Prasasti of Harisena is the most important source of our knowledge about Samudragupta and his conquest. Another source of information for the Gupta period is coin. Coin of the Gupta period has been unearthed in huge quantity.

24. What was the difference in the policy of conquest followed by Samudragupta in north and south India?

There is difference in the policy of conquest followed by Samudragupta in north and south India. In north India he annexed kingdoms to the Gupta empire after their conquest. But in south India he returned back the kingdoms to the rulers after they had offered submission.

25. Name the two groups of states that offered submission to Samudragupta.

The two groups of states who offered submission to Samudragupta were as follows: The frontier countries (Pratyanta Pradesh) were as follows: (a) The frontier countries (Pratyanta Pradesha) of Samatata, etc. (b) The forest kingdoms (Atavika Rajya) of the Vindhya region.

26. What were the two principles followed by Chandragupta II to become a ‘world conquerer’?

In order to become a world conqueror Chandragupta II followed two principles. One was to gain territories by entering into matrimonial alliances with powerful ruling dynasties. The second was the war of conquest.

27. What do the gold coins of Chandragupta II reflect?

During the rule of Chandragupta II the Gupta Empire economically prospered much. This was due to the flourishing trade and commerce particularly with Rome. The huge circulation of gold coins bears testimony to this.

28. Which Gupta king assumed the title of Mahendraditya? Who were the Pushyamitras?

The Gupta king Kumaragupta I assumed the title Mahendraditya. It is presumed that the Pushyamitras who invaded the Gupta Empire at that time were none but the Hunas.

29. What was the capital of the Guptas? Who introduced the Gupta era?

Pataliputra was the capital of the Guptas. Chandragupta I founded the Gupta Empire in 320 AD. The same year he introduced the Gupta Samvat or Gupta era to commemorate the foundation of the empire.

30. What was the distinction between Buddhism and the Dhamnia of Asoka?

Buddhism is the teachings of Gautama Buddha that his followers are to abide by. On the other hand the Dhamma of Asoka constituted certain moral virtues that could be practiced by all irrespective of their religion, cast and creed. This was the difference between the two.

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