NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 2: Kings, Farmers and Towns

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Chapter2. Kings, Farmers and Towns Early States and Economies
TextbookThemes in Indian History-I
CategoryNCERT Solutions for Class 12

It is important to use NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History as they can give students a clear understanding of the syllabus. Class 12 History has fifteen chapters, and our NCERT Solutions are a detailed guide that covers each of them. It provides step-by-step solutions to all the questions in the textbook. On this page, we have provided you with complete Solution of Chapter 2 – Kings, Farmers and Towns Early States and Economies.

NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 2

Kings, Farmers and Towns Early States and Economies Solutions

Answer in 100-150 Words

Q1) Discuss the evidence of craft production in Early Historic cities. In what ways is this different from the evidence from Harappan cities?

Answer) Various evidences of craft production in Early Historic cities have been found. These include fine pottery bowls and dishes, with a glossy finish, known as Northern Black Polished Ware, probably used by rich people and ornaments, tools, weapons, vessels, figurines, made of a wide range of materials – gold, silver, copper, bronze, ivory, glass, shell and terracotta. Iron was also used for making plough share, weapons and tools as well as to meet the growing demands in the cities.

On the other hand, the craft production in the Harappan cities included bead-making, shell-cutting, metal-working, seal-making and weight-making. The material used was stones, jasper, crystal, quartz, copper, bronze, gold, shell, faience and terracotta.

The evidence of craft production in the Harappan civilisation have been found from excavations. The evidences for the Early Historic cities have been found from excavations as well as from inscriptions. Another difference is that there were guilds in the early Historic cities. These were organisations of craft producers and merchants. These guilds or shrenis probably procured raw materials, regulated production and marketed the finished product.

Q2) Describe the salient features of mahajanapadas.

Answer) Mahajanapadas were states that existed between 6th and 4th BC centuries. Buddhist and Jain texts mention sixteen Mahajanapadas. The name of all these are not uniform in all texts but some names are common and uniform which means they were the powerful ones. These Mahajanapadas are Vajji, Magadha, Kaushal, Kuru, Panchal, and Gandhar.

The important features of the Mahajanapadas are as follows:

  1. Most of the Mahajanapadas were ruled by powerful kings. However, there were some Mahajanapadas where rule was in the hands of people, we call them republics. In some states the king and the subject had collective control on the economic resources of the state.
  2. Every Mahajanapadas had its own capital. The capital normally would be surrounded by fort. The fortification of the capital was needed for protection and economic resources.
  3. It was around 6th Qentury BC, Brahmins began to compile scripture called “Dharmshastra” which states rules of morality including that of monarch. Herein it was mentioned that the king should be Kshatriya.
  4. The main job of the king was collection of taxes from farmers, traders, craftsmen. They also accepted donations.
  5. It was considered fair to plunder neighbouring countries for riches.
  6. Gradually Mahajanapadas began to have full time army and officials. Soldiers were from the ranks of farmers.

Q3) How do historians reconstruct the lives of ordinary people?

Answer) Ordinary people could not leave behind any historical evidence about their life. Hence, the historians use a variety of sources to reconstruct the lives of the common people during the ancient times. The important sources are:

  1. Remains of houses and pottery give an idea of the life of common men.
  2. Some inscriptions and scriptures talk about the relation between monarchs and the subject. It talks about taxes and happiness and unhappiness of the common men.
  3. Changing tools of craftsmen and farmers talk about the lifestyle of the people.
  4. Historians also depend upon folklores to reconstruct the lives of the people during the ancient times.

Q4) Compare and contrast the list of things given to the Pandyan chief (Source 3) with those produced in the village of Danguna (Source 8). Do you notice any similarities or differences?

Answer) The defeated people gave the following things to the Pandya chief as a mark of respect to the victorious king: Ivory, fragrant wood, fans made of the hair of deer, honey, sandalwood, red ochre, antimony, turmeric, cardamom, pepper, coconuts, mangoes, medicinal plants, fruits, onions, sugarcane, flowers, areca*nut, bananas, baby tigers, lions, elephants, monkeys, bear, deer, musk deer, fox, peacocks, musk cat, wild cocks and speaking parrots.

The village of Danguna produced the following things : Grass, animal hides, charcoal, fermenting liquors, salt, khadira trees, flowers and milk.

Similarities: Both the lists contain the things of daily use such as honey, turmeric, i cardamom, pepper, mangoes, fruits, onions, flowers (Source 3) and grass, salt, flowers and milk (Source 8).

Differences: The things given to the Pandya chief included precious things such as ivory, fragrant wood, sandalwood and wild animals like tigers, lions, elephants, wild cocks. These things and animals prove that the forest people were brave and their economic condition was good. On the other hand, the things of the Danguna village did not include precious things. It included things such as grass, animal hides, flowers and milk which prove that they were ordinary people and their economic condition was bad. That was probably the reason for granting them various exemptions by Prabhavati Gupta.

Q5) List some of the problems faced by epigraphists.

Answer) The specialists who study inscriptions are called Epigraphists. Some of the important problems they encounter when they try to decipher inscriptions are as follows:

  1. Sometimes, the letters of inscriptions are very faintly engraved, and thus reconstructions are uncertain.
  2. Sometimes, the inscriptions may be damaged or letters missing.
  3. On certain occasions it is not easy to be sure about the exact meaning of the words used in the inscriptions, some of which maybe specific to a particular place or time. That is why scholars are constantly debating and discussing alternative ways of reading inscriptions.
  4. Several thousand inscriptions have been discovered but not all have been deciphered, published and translated.
  5. Many more inscriptions must have existed, which have not survived the ravages of time. Whatever is available, is only a fraction of all inscriptions.
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Q6) Discuss the main features of Mauryan administration. Which of these elements ate evident in the Asokan inscriptions that you have studied?

Answer) The main features of Mauryan administration are as follows:

  1. There were five major political centres in the empire i.e., the capital Pataliputra and the provincial centres of Taxila, Ujjayini, Tosali and Suvamagiri.
  2. The communication system existed along both land and riverine routes. It was very vital for the existence of the empire.
  3. As the journeys from the centre to the provinces could have taken a long time, there was arrangement for provisions as well as protection for the travellers,
  4. The Mauryans kept a large army. Magasthenes mentions a committee with six subcommittees for coordinating military activity which were as mentioned below:
    • One to look after the navy;
    • The second for management of transport and provisions;
    • The third was responsible for foot soldiers;
    • The fourth for horses;
    • The fifth for chariots;
    • The sixth for elephants.

The element that there were five major political centres in the empire – the capital Pataliputra, and the provincial centres of Taxila, Ujjayini, Tosali and Suvamagiri – all have been mentioned in the Asoka’s inscriptions.


This is a statement made by one of the best-known epigraphists of the twentieth century, D.C. Sircar: “There is no aspect of life, culture, activities of the Indians that is not reflected in inscriptions.” Discuss.

Answer) The statement of eminent epigraphist D.C. Sirkar has highlighted the importance of inscription as single source of information that touch upon all areas of our life. Following are the main areas we get information about from the inscriptions:

  1. Determination of state’s boundaries: the inscriptions were carved in the territories of the kings and even more important is not often close to the borders. This help us find out boundaries of kingdoms and their expansions thereto.
  2. Names of Kings: The names of the kings are mentioned in the inscriptions. The names and titles used by Asoka the Great got revealed through inscriptions only.
  3. Historic events: The important historical events are mentioned in the inscriptions. The best example is how the event of the Kalinga war is mentioned in the inscription and how Asoka takes to Dhamma.
  4. Information about conduct of Kings: Inscriptions describe the conduct and character of the kings quite well. It is through the inscriptions only that we know Asoka worked for the welfare of the masses.
  5. Information about administration: Inscriptions gave information about administration. It is through the inscription. We know that Asoka appointed his son as a Viceroy.
  6. Land settlement and Taxes: inscriptions mention how land were granted or gifted. It also talks about various taxes imposed by the ruler.

There is hardly any area of governance of our life that is not mentioned in the inscriptions. Hence, we are inclined to agree with D.C. Sirkar who says, “There is no aspect of life, culture, activities of Indians that is not reflected in the inscriptions.”

Q8) Discuss the notions of kingship that developed in the post-Mauryan period.

Answer) In the post-Mauryan age, the idea of kingship got associated with divine theory of state. Now, the monarchs began to talk about divine sanction to rule the people. Kushan rulers propagated the idea of the same at the unpresented scale. They ruled from central Asia to western India. We can discuss the kingship based on the dynasties.

  • Kushan Kings: Kushan Kings called themselves Devputra and hence, godly status. They built great statues of themselves in temples.
  • Gupta Rulers: Second development of kingship is found during Gupta dynasty. It was a period of large-sized states. Such states were dependent on Samantas who sometimes became powerful enough to usurp the power of kings too.

Literature, coins and inscriptions helped us in creating history of those days. Very often poets would describe the monarch often to praise them but giving insight into the history and kingship too. A good example is of Harisena who praised Samudragupta, the great Gupta ruler.

Q9) To what extent were agricultural practices transformed in the period under consideration?

Answer) The demand for taxes increased in the post 600 BC. In order to meet the demand of excessive taxes, without taking lesser produce, forced the farmers to increase productivity. This resulted in the use of new tools and practices of agriculture. The important ones are as follows:

1.Use of plough: Ploughs became commonplace. They were hardly heard of in the past. The use of ploughs began in the Ganga and Cauvery basins. In places where rain was abundant, the plough was used with iron tip. This increased the paddy production manifold.

  1. Use of spade: Another tool that changed the system of agriculture is spade. Those farmers who lived in the areas of harsh land used spade.
  2. Artificial Irrigation: Apart from rainfall, the farmers now began to look at artificial form of irrigation. This prompted farmers to build wells, ponds, and – canals often collectively. This increased the agricultural production.

The production increased due to new technology and tools. This created a new strata in the society. In the Buddhist literature, there is a description of small and big farmers. They were called Grihpatis. Similar description is given in the Tamil literature too. The position of village head was often hereditary. In such a situation the ownership of land became very important.

That’s it. These were the solutions of NCERT Class 12 History Chapter 2 – Kings, Farmers and Towns Early States and Economies. Our team hopes that you have found these solutions helpful for you. If you have any doubt related to this chapter then feel free to comment your doubts below. Our team will try their best to help you with your doubts.

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