Wednesday, October 27, 2010



Saptanga means seven elements of State, a theory of state as given by Kautilya and Valluvar. The seven elements are Swami, Amatya, Janapada, Durga, Kosa, Danda and Mitra.

Reference: R. S. Sharma, Aspects of Political Ideas and Institution in Ancient India, pp. 31, Chapter III.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Time Line Approach: Planning for Preparation

It is merely a view and an advice.

I believe those who prepare for history as an option in Civil Services or UGC/NET or any course in history, they must develop an approach of first raising a time line of period of their study in their mind. It should be developed on political history contents. After, a person is able to remember a time line of political events, then he/she may move towards social and economic developments over that period.

Whenever I teach Gandhi Era, I begin with Gandhi's political activities in 1917 which I generally call Shukla Indigo Champaran, Land Revenue Kheda, Mill Workers Bonus Ahemdabad. From there onwards, I continue to recollect the main political events associated with or around Gandhian activities upto 1948. I then impress upon my students to develop similar memory recall survey of the period.

I had desired to write a post in depth demonstrating what I have said in the above post. Fortunately, I have come across a post on Wikipedia which serves the same purpose. The list as given in there for each year is not all that exhaustive. In case of some of the entries even I do not have the information earlier. But I must recommend here that the aspirants for Civil Services and UGC/NET must go through that list. It may also help in revising their notes also and check how far they are able to recollect on events, personalities and concepts in chronological order.

The Post can be accessed HERE.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Define Caste

The Sociologists define a caste as follows:
A caste is a hereditary, endogamous, usually localized group, having a traditional association with an occupation and a particular position in the local hierarchy of castes. The relations between castes are governed, among other things, by the concepts of pollution and purity, and generally, maximum commensality occurs within the caste.

On spatial level, a caste is usually segmented into several sub-castes and each sub-caste is endogamous. This segmentation is probably the result of a long historical process in which groups continually fissioned off. As a result of this long process of development there has come into existence several cognate groups usually found scattered over a limited geographical region, each of which retains a sense of identity as well as its linkage with other similar groups. Hence, a perception that a caste has its limited social boundaries is limited view meant for a particular time and place only. It, under historic impact, keeps changing the social boundaries and even the spatial spread through the process of historic fission.

Srinivas M. N., Caste in Modern India and other essays, 1962, Media Promoters and Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, pp 2,3. Chapter 1, Introduction.


"The caste system is far from a rigid system in which the position of each component caste is fixed for all time. Movement has always been possible, and especially so in the middle regions of the hierarchy. A low caste was able, in a generation or two, to rise to a higher position in the hierarchy by adopting vegetarianism and teetotalism, and by Sanskritizing its ritual and pantheon. In short, it took over, as far as possible, the customs, rites, and beliefs of the Brahmins, and the adoption of the Brahminic way of life by a low caste seems to have been frequent, though theoretically forbidden. This process has been called -'Sanskritization'.”

Srinivas M. N., Caste in Modern India and other essays, 1962,Media Promoters and Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, pp 42. Chapter 2, A Note on Sanskritization and Westernization. Quoted by M. N. Srinivas from 'Religions and Society among the Coorgs of South India, Oxford, 1952, p.32.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shadhdarshana or Six Doctrines of Hinduism

The Shadhdarshana means the six Doctrines or the Six systems of Salvation or the Six Schools of Philosophies of Hinduism. They are as follows.

Sr. noName of the DoctrineName of the Rishi/Apostle
1Nayaya:AnalysisAkshapada Gautama
2Vaisheshika: Doctrine of Individual CharateristicsUluka Kanada
3Sankhya: The CountKapila
4Yoga: Now Most popular in West as a school of physical discipliningPatanjali
5Mimansa: EnquiryJamini
6Vedanta, also Uttara MimansaShankaracharya

Dus Avtaras of Vishnu

The Dus Avataras of Vishnu means the ten incarnations of Vishnus as per Hindu religion mythology. They are given below

Sr. no. Hindi NameProbable English Term
1MatsyaThe Fish
2KurmaThe Tortoise
3VarahaThe Boar
4NarasimhaThe Man Lion
5VamanThe Dwarf
6ParasuramaRama with the Axe
7RamaRaghukul Prince Rama of Ayodhya
8KrishnaKing Krishna of Dwarka of Vrishni Tribe
9BudhaPrince Sidhardha
10KalkinIn incarnation yet to come

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Vedangas are treatises which form the part of Vedic literature. They are six. The etymological meaning of Vedanga means limbs of Vedas. It suggests that they are helpful in understanding the Vedas. It is written by an established scholar that ‘the study of Vedanga was necessary either for the reading, the understanding, or the proper sacrificial employment of the Veda.’ Hence, these six limbs or the six treatise or the six subjects are necessary for fully understanding the Vedas which are Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda and Atharva Veda.

Further, R. C. Majumdar, specifically emphasis that they should not be taken as mere six books but the six subjects which are to be understood to appreciate the contents of the Vedas. It should be further remembered that they are treatises. It means that they are work of the intellect and memory of human beings. They are product of the use of human faculties.

These six treatises are:
  1. Sikhsha (pronunciation)

  2. Chhandas (metre)
  3. Vyakarana (grammar)
  4. Nirukta (explanation of words; etymology)
  5. Jyotisha (astronomy {Kindly note, not the astrology as it is generally believed. That is other thing, that it is latter used for astrology far more than for executing Vedic ceremonies.})
  6. Kalpa (ceremonial).

R. C. Majumdar has emphasised that
the first two are considered necessary for reading the Veda, the two next for understanding it, and the last two for employing it at sacrifices.

Therefore, it means that Sikhsha and Chhandas, that are metre and grammar are used for reading the Veda. They are used merely for reading. The Vyakrana and Nirukta, that are grammar and etymology, are used for understanding the Vedas. Finally, Jyotisha and Kalpa, that are astronomy and ceremonial involve the operational aspect, action aspect, the activity aspect of the Vedas.

Source Used: Majumdar, R. C., ‘Ancient History’.

External Links:

Status: Subject to change

Further reading:

It is related to:

It has relevance to:

Monday, September 29, 2008


This Format, as given below, is applicable from June 2008. The instruction of the style of paper as given before the syllabus given on the site of the UGC stands superseded by the following instructions. It is given in good faith and carry the meaning which is best near to the written words. The reader here is still advised to access the UGC website itself for self verification.

The University Grants Commission has restructured the format of Paper-III for all forthcoming NET examinations. The syllabi of all subjects, however, remain unchanged. Paper-III now consists of four Sections, in all containing 26 questions for the candidates to attempt.

NOTE: The instructions regarding Paper-III in the note given at the beginning of syllabus for each subject should be ignored as they have now become infructuous.

Section I: It requires the candidates to write a critique of a given passage or
stanza from a known thinker/writer. Five carefully considered specific
questions are to be asked on the given passage, requiring an answer in
upto 30 words. It shall carry 5 X 5 = 25 marks. In the case of science
subjects, a theoretical problem will be set for the candidates to
analyse. Five questions will be asked thereon. Questions in this section
shall be numbered as 1 – 5.

Section II: Fifteen questions will be asked across the syllabus for Paper-III(A).
The questions will be definitional or seeking particular information
and are to be answered in up to 30 words each. Each question will
carry 5 marks (15 x 5 = 75 marks). There will be no internal choice.
The questions in this section shall be numbered from 6 to 20.

Section III: Five extended answers based on analytical/evaluative questions will
be asked on the major specializations/electives. Questions will be
asked on all major specializations/electives and the candidates will be
asked to choose one specialisation/elective and answer the five
questions from it. The questions will be set from the syllabus for

Paper-III(B). There is to be no internal choice. Each question will be
answered in up to 200 words and shall carry 12 marks (5 x 12 = 60
marks). Where there is no specialization/elective, 5 questions will be
set across the syllabus for Paper-III. The questions in this section shall
be numbered from 21 to 25.

Section IV: Essay writing – One question with internal choice on general themes
and contemporary, theoretical or of disciplinary relevance will be
given. The candidate would write up to 1000 words. The question
should be numbered as 26.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Definition of Pre History and Proto History

Harneet Singh, the author of His-story or Vibrant History has written following defintion of Pre-History and Proto-History.I am reproducing them here for the my definition section.

Pre history

The word Prehistory has been formed of two words - Pre (Latin) which means 'before' and Greek word 'historia' which means History. the term is often used to describe the period before written history. Paul Tournal originally coined the term Pré-historique in describing the findings he had made in the caves of southern France. It came into use in French in the 1830s to describe the time before writing, and was introduced into English by Daniel Wilson in 1851.Prehistory can be said to date back to the beginning of the universe itself, although the term is most often used to describe periods when there was life on Earth; dinosaurs can be described as prehistoric animals and cavemen are described as prehistoric people.

Proto history

Protohistory refers to a period between prehistory and history, during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing, but other cultures have already noted its istence in their own writings. For example, in Europe, the Celts and the Germanic tribes may be considered to have been protohistoric when they began appearing in Greek and Roman texts. Protohistoric may also refer to the transition period between the advent of literacy in a society and the writings of the first historians. The preservation of oral traditions may complicate matters as these can provide a secondary historical source for even earlier events. Colonial sites involving a literate group and a non-literate group, are also studied as protohistoric situations.

Harneet Singh Kochar has taken the above definition from Wikipedia. For better understand, one must read Spinning Clio Essay suggested on this very blog. Similarly the essay of Lyall is must for understanding the Philosophy of History