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Wednesday, 11 May 2022

HISTORY (VII)-LESSON-6 TOWNS, TRADERS AND CRAFTSPERSONS (LESSON NOTES)

      

HISTORY (VII)-LESSON-6

TOWNS, TRADERS AND CRAFTSPERSONS

(LESSON NOTES)

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v INTRODUCTION: -

Ø Growth of urbanisation was the main features from 17th century onward. In medieval India, there were three types of towns—a temple town, an administrative town and a commercial town or a port town.

Ø Many outsiders as the Arabs, Turkish and Afghans settled in many parts of the country leading to the evolution of towns and cities.

v TYPES OF TOWNS

Ø ADMINISTRATIVE TOWNS OR COURT TOWNS

§  Some of the important court towns were Lahore, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Delhi, Thanjavur.

§  They were centres of administration.

§  Fatehpur Sikri was the new capital founded by Akbar.

§  Delhi was known as Shahjahanabad and was built by Shah Jahan in 1639.

Ø PORT AND TRADING TOWNS

§  Some towns developed as ports due to their proximity to the seashore.

§  Some major ports were Cambay, Surat, Broach, Masulipatanam, Nagapattinam, etc.

Ø TEMPLE TOWNS AND PILGRIMAGE CENTRES

§  Temples towns were important centres of urbanization and led to the development of cities, economy and society.

§  Pilgrims gave huge donations to temples. This wealth was used by temple authorities to finance their trade and banking.

§  Important temple towns were Bhillasvamin in Madhya Pradesh, Somnath in Gujarat, Kanchipuram and Madurai, Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, Sufi saint in Ajmer.

v THANJAVUR-COMBINED FEATURES

Ø Thanjavur, in Tamilnadu which was the capital of the Cholas a thousand years ago, emerged as an administrative centre as well as a temple town.

Ø The perennial river Kaveri flows near this beautiful town.

Ø The famous Rajarajeshvara temple built by King Rajarja Chola lies here.


Ø Here, Kings held courts in the mandapas where issuing orders to their subordinates and armies.

Ø The town is bustling with markets selling grain, spices, cloth and jewellery.

Ø Water supply for the town comes from wells and tanks.

Ø Here the Saliya weavers produce cloths and sthapatis (sculptures) made bronze statues and bells.

v HOW IMPORTANT WAS BRONZE

Ø Bronze is an alloy compound of copper and tin.


Ø Chola rulers used this metal to make statues through the lost wax’ technique.

v THE EMERGENCE OF SMALL TOWNS

Ø From the 8th century onwards, small towns emerged from large village in India.

Ø They had a ‘mandapika’ where villagers sold their produce. There were also market streets, called ‘hatta’, full of shops.

Ø Many villagers came to buy local articles and sell products like horses, camphor, saffron, betel nut, spices, salt, etc.

Ø Normally a Samanta later on Zamindar started to fortified the palaces and levy taxes from traders, artisans, etc.

v TRADERS COMMUNITIES

Ø Important trader communities were the Chettiars, Marwari, Banjaras, Baniyas, Muslim Bohras, etc.

Ø They mostly travelled in caravans by forming guilds.

Ø Trade was done on a regular basis within the peninsula and with South-east Asia and China and Africa even Europe through Red Sea port.

Ø They sold textiles and spices (pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried ginger, etc) in these ports and, in exchange, brought gold and ivory from Africa, and spices, tin, Chinese blue pottery and silver from Southeast Asia and China.

Ø These Indian spices and cloth attracted the European trader to India.

v GUILS OR SHRENIS

Ø The association of traders, merchants or craft persons were known as gilds or shrines. The most famous guilds in south India were the

§  Manigramam

§  Nanadesi.

v CRAFTS IN TOWNS

Ø Towns were very famous for their craftwork also. Craftwork of Bidar famous for their inlay work in copper and silver popularly known by Bidri.

Ø The goldsmith, bronzesmith, blacksmith, masons and carpenters were together called as the ‘Panchalas’ or ‘Vishwakarma’ famous for the building the temples.

Ø Some communities Saliyar or Kaikkolars famous for cloth making.

 

v CLOSER LOOK: HAMPI

Ø  Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire which was founded in 1336. It was located on the bank of Krishana and Tugbhadra River. Portuguese traveller, Domingo Paes, described Hampi in the sixteenth century.

Ø ARCHITECTURE OF HAMPI

§  The architecture of Hampi was distinctive. It was a fortified city.

§  No mortar or cementing agent was used in the construction of walls and interlocking techniques was used.

§  The buildings had splendid arches, domes and pillared halls with niches for holding sculptures.

§  They also had well-planned orchards and pleasure gardens with spculptural motifs such as the lotus and corbels.

Ø BUSTLED MARKET

§  It bustled with commercial and cultural activities during the 15-16th centuries.

§  Moors, Chettis and agents of European traders thronged the markets of Hampi.

Ø HAMPI TEMPLES -HUB OF ACTIVITIES

§  Temples were the hub of cultural activities and devdasis (temple dancer).

§  The most famous temples were Virupaksha (form of Shiva) temple and Vitthala.

§  The Mahanavami festival (Navaratri) was one of the most important festivals celebrated at Hampi. Archaeologists found Mahanavami platform where many activities took place as: -

·      King received guests and accepted tribute from subordinate.

·      From here he also watched dance and music performance.

·      Wrestling bouts also watched from here.

Ø DECLINE OF HAMPI

§  Hampi fell into ruin following the defeat of Vijayanagara in 1565 by the Deccani Sultans, the rulers of Golconda, Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Berar and Bidar.

 

v CLOSER LOOK: SURAT

Ø Surat was very popular for trade during the Mughal period. It was called the gateway for trade with West Asia via the Gulf of Ormuz. Surat has also been called the gate to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here.

Ø Gujarat was a cosmopolitan city. The textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders known as zari and had a market in West Asia, Africa and Europe.

Ø SURAT-A TRADING CENTER

§  Surat in Gujarat was a cosmopolitan city. People of all castes and creeds lived there.

§  From 17th century the Portuguese, Dutch and English established their factories and ware house.

§  The textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders known as zari and had a market in west Asia, Africa and Europe.

§  The Kathiawad seths or mahajans had huge banking houses at Surat. The Surat hundis were honoured in the far-off markets of Cairo in Egypt, Basra in Iraq and Antworp in Belgium.

Ø DECLINED OF SURAT

§  Surat began to decline towards the end of the 17th century. This was because of many factors:

·      The loss of markets and productivity because of the decline of the Mughal Empire.

·      Control of the sea routes by the Portuguese

·      Competition from Bombay (present-day Mumbai) where the English East India Company shifted its headquarters in 1668.

 

v CLOSER LOOK:  MASULIPATNAM

Ø The town of Masculipatnam was a centre of intense activity in the 17th century. As it became the most important port on the Andhra coast both the Dutch and English East India Companies attempted to control it.

Ø The Qutb Shahi rulers of Golconda decided to prevent the attempts of the various East India Companies.

Ø As a result fierce competition among various trading groups made the city populous and prosperous.

Ø However, Golconda was annexed by Aurangzeb in 1686-1687. This caused the European Companies to look for the alternatives.

Ø The Company traders moved to Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. This caused the decline of Masulipatnam in the 18th century.

v NEW TRADERS

Ø From 17th century onward, The English, Dutch and French formed East India Companies in order to expand their commercial activities.

Ø Initially great Indian traders like Mulla Abdul Ghafur and Virji Vora competed with them.

Ø However, the European Companies have more naval power and control sea trade and forced Indian traders to work as their agents.

Ø The English emerged as the most successful commercial and political power in the subcontinent.

v DECLINE OF WEAVERS INDEPENDANCEY

Ø Indian textiles were in great demand in Europe and west Asia.

Ø More and more people began to engage themselves in the crafts of spinning, weaving, bleaching, dying, etc.

Ø But the craftspersons were no more independent.

Ø They now began to work on a system of advances which meant that they had to weave cloth which was already promised to European agents.

v NEW CITIES:

Ø Bombay, Calcutta and Madras became important cities in the 18th century.

Ø The Europeans established Black Towns in these new cities and merchants and artisans were made to move there.

Ø The ‘white’ rulers occupied the superior residences of Fort St George in Madras or Fort St William in Calcutta.

 

v IMPORTANT TERMS-

Ø Emporium: A place where goods from diverse production centres are bought and sold.

Ø Hundi: It is recording a deposit made by a person. The amount deposited can be claimed in another place by presenting the record of the deposit.

Ø Factor: It referred to an official merchant of the East India Company.

Ø Sthapatis: Sculptors who made beautiful bronze idols and tall, ornamental bell metal lamps.

Ø Mir Jumla :-  He was the governor of Aurangzeb who was also a merchant. He began to play off the Dutch and the English against each other.

 

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