Ancient Indian History Questions for Government Job Preparation

1. Which among the following chronology is correct regarding four
‘samvatas’ ?
(1) Gupta–Gregorian–Hizri–Saka
(2) Gregorian–Saka–Hizri–Gupta
(3) Saka–Gregorian–Hizri–Gupta
(4) Hizri–Gupta–Gregorian–Saka

2. The home of Gargi, Maitrey, and
Kapila was at
(1) Vidisha (2) Ujjain
(3) Pataliputra (4) Mithila

3. Which area of India was known
as Avantika in ancient times ?
(1) Avadh (2) Ruhelkhand
(3) Bundelkhand (4) Malwa

4. The Social System of the Harappans was :
(1) Fairly egalitarian
(2) Slave-Labour based
(3) Colour (Varna) based
(4) Caste based

5. Which of the following Vedas provides information about the civilisation of the Early Vedic Age?
(1) Rig-veda (2) Yajur-veda
(3) Atharva-veda (4) Sama-veda

6. The university which became famous in the post-Gupta Era was :
(1) Kanchi (2) Taxila
(3) Nalanda (4) Vallabhi

7. Banabhatta was the court poet
of which emperor ?
(1) Vikramaditya
(2) Kumaragupta
(3) Harshavardhana
(4) Kanishka

8. The first Indian ruler, who established the supremacy of Indian
Navy in the Arabian Sea was :
(1) Rajaraja I (2) Rajendra I
(3) Rajadhiraja I (4) Kulottunga I

9. Which statement on the Harappan Civilisation is correct?
(1) Horse sacrifice was known
to them.
(2) Cow was sacred to them.
(3) ‘Pashupati’ was venerated by
(4) The culture was not generally

10. The First Tirthankara of the
Jains was :
(1) Arishtanemi (2) Parshvanath
(3) Ajitanath (4) Rishabha

11. The great silk-route to the Indians was opened by :
(1) Kanishka (2) Ashoka
(3) Harsha (4) Fa-Hien

12. The rulers of which dynasty
started the practice of granting
tax-free villages to Brahmanas
and Buddhist Monks?
(1) Satavahanas (2) Mauryas
(3) Guptas (4) Cholas

13. The most important text of vedic
mathematics is :
(1) Satapatha Brahman
(2) Atharva Veda
(3) Sulva Sutras
(4) Chhandogya Upanishad

14. Yavanika or curtain was
introduced in Indian theatre by
which of the following?
(1) Shakas (2) Parthians
(3) Greeks (4) Kushans

15. Who started the Saka Era which
is still used by the Government
of India?
(1) Kanishka
(2) Vikramaditya
(3) Samudra Gupta
(4) Asoka

16. What inspired the paintings of
Ajanta ?
(1) Compassionate Buddha
(2) Radha-Krishan Leela
(3) Jain Thirthankaras
(4) Mahabharata encounters

17. Who among the following was the
first to invade India ?
(1) Xerxes (2) Alexander
(3) Darius-I (4) Seleucus

18. Which among the following is the
oldest dynasty ?
(1) Maurya (2) Gupta
(3) Kushan (4) Kanva

19. With which of the following is the
classic “Jivaka Chintamani” in
Tamil associated ?
(1) Jainism (2) Buddhism
(3) Hinduism (4) Christianity

20. Where did Lord Buddha breathe
his last?
(1) Rajgir (2) Bodh Gaya
(3) Sarnath (4) Kushinagar

Answers and Explainations:

1. (b) Samvat is any of the various Hindu calendars. In
India, there are several calendars in use. The Saka
Samvat is associated with 78 A.D; Gupta Samvat with
320 A.D; and Hijri Samvat with 622 A.D. The first
year of Hijri era was the Islamic year beginning in AD
622 during which the emigration of Muhammad from
Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra, occurred. The
Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar
and the Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a
decree signed on 24 February, 1582.
2. (4) The name ‘Mithila‘ goes back to Puranic times. It
occurs in the Mahabharata and in Pali literature. According to the Puranic tradition the name has been
derived from that of Mithi (son of Nimi) King of Ayodhya and grandson of Manu who founded a kingdom which was called Mithila after him. It is associated with Valmiki, Ashtavakra, Yajnavalkya, Udayana,
Mahavira, Kanada, Jaimini and Kapila as well as the
women philosophers, such as, Gargi, Maitreyi, Bharati and Katyayani. After the era of the Ramayana it is
said that the three seats of culture in Vedic period –
Kosala, Kasi and Videha – merged to form the Vajjians
confederacy and the centre of political gravity shifted
from Mithila to Vaishali.
3. (4) Ujjain (Avanti, Avantikapuri), is an ancient city of
Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of
the Kshipra River, today part of the state of Madhya
Pradesh. Avanti with its capital at Ujjaini, is mentioned in Buddhist literature as one of the four great
powers along with Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha.
4. (1) The archaeological record of the Indus civilization
provides practically no evidence of armies, kings,
slaves, social conflict, prisons, and other oft-negative
traits that we traditionally associated with early civilizations. If there were neither slaves nor kings, a more
egalitarian system of governance may have been practiced. Besides, compared to other ancient civilizations
the houses were of nearly equal size indicating a more
egalitarian social structure i.e. The Social System of
the Harappans was fairly egalitarian.
5. (1) The Vedic period (or Vedic age) was a period in
history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures
of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the
period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence
indicates that the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas,
was composed roughly between 1700 and 1100 BCE,
also referred to as the early Vedic period. It is an
important source of information on the Vedic religion
and their Gods as well as presents a detailed account
of the life of the people at that time.
6. (3) Nalanda was an ancient centre of higher learning
in Bihar, which was a Buddhist centre of learning
from the fifth or sixth century A.D. to 1197 CE. Nalanda flourished between the reign of the Sakraditya
(whose identity is uncertain and who might have been
either Kumara Gupta I or Kumara Gupta II) and 1197
A.D, supported by patronage from the Hindu Gupta
rulers as well as Buddhist emperors like Harsha and
later emperors from the Pala Empire.
7. (3) Banabhatta was a Sanskrit scholar and poet of
India. He was the Asthana Kavi in the court of King
Harshavardhana, who reigned in the years 606–647
CE in north India. Bana’s principal works include a
biography of Harsha, the Harshacharita and one of
the world’s earliest novels, Kadambari. The other works
attributed to him is the Parvatiparinaya.
8. (1) Rajaraja Chola I created a powerful standing army
and a considerable navy, which achieved even greater success under his son Rajendra Chola I. One of
the last conquests of Rajaraja was the naval conquest
of the ‘old islands of the sea numbering 12,000’, the
Maldives. Chola Navy also had played a major role in
the invasion of Lanka.
9. (4) Potteries of the Harappan Civilization bring out the
gradual evolutionary trend in the culture. It is on the
basis of different types of potteries and ceramic art
from found over the different stages of the civilization, it can be said that Harappan culture was not
static and did not disappear suddenly. While showing signs of decay, in course of time it rejuvenated
itself by reviving some of the earlier ceramic traditions and evolving new ones in the transitional phase.
10. (4) In Jainism, Rishabh was the first of the 24
Tirthankaras who founded the Ikshavaku dynasty and
was the first Tirthankara of the present age. Because
of this, he was called Adinath. He is mentioned in the
Hindu text of the Bhagavata Purana as an avatar of
Vishnu. In Jainism, a Tirthankara is a human being
who helps in achieving liberation and enlightenment
as an “Arihant” by destroying all of their soul constraining (ghati) karmas, became a role-model and
leader for those seeking spiritual guidance.
11. (1) The Silk Road or Silk Route is a modern term referring to a historical network of interlinking trade
routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of
North and East Africa. Extending 6,500 km, the Silk
Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk
trade along it, which began during the Han Dynasty
(206 BC – 220 AD). The Kushan empire incorporated
Samarkand, Bokhara and Fergana, bordering on the
Silk Road towns of Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan.
The main route from Central Asia into India, connecting India with the Silk Roads and the Mediterranean,
ran through Gandhara. Kanishka sought to promote
the thriving trade with the Silk Road centres like Kashgar and beyond, sending an envoy to Ttajan in Rome.
12. (1) Land grants formed an important feature of the
Satavahana rural administration. Inscriptions show
that the Satavahanas started the practice of granting
fiscal and administrative immunities to Brahmins and
Buddhist monks. Earlier, the grants to individuals were
temporary but later grants to religious beneficiaries
were permanent. Perhaps the earliest epigraphic grant
of land is found in the Nanaghat Cave Inscription of
naganika, who bestowed villages (grama) on priests
for officiating at Vedic sacrifices, but it does not speak
of any concessions in this context. These appear first
in grants made by Gautamiputra Satakarni in the first
quarter of the second century A.D.
13. (3) The Shulba Sutras are sutra texts belonging to the
Strauta ritual and containing geometry related to firealtar construction. They are part of the larger corpus
of texts called the Shrauta Sutras, considered to be
appendices to the Vedas. They are the only sources
of knowledge of Indian mathematics from the Vedic
period. The four major Shulba Sutras, which are mathematically the most significant, are those composed
by Baudhayana, Manava, Apastamba and Katyayana.
14. (3) The most interesting term in Indian drama with
Greek connotation is yavanika, which means a stage
curtain. For the first time in Panini’s grammar, there
is a reference to Yavana and Yavanani writing.
However, the theory is not only erroneous but
ridiculous because there is no curtain in the Greek
drama and also there is no word “yavanika” in Sanskrit
language. There is Yavani meaning Greek woman.
15. (1) The mightiest of the Kushan rulers in India was
Kanishka. He was in power from 78 AD to 120 AD. It
was Kanishka who initiated the Saka Era in 78 AD.
Through inheritance and conquest, Kanishka’s
kingdom covered an area extending from Bukhara (now
in Uzbekistan) in the west to Patna in the Ganges
Valley in the east, and from the Pamirs (now in
Tajikistan) in the north to central India in the south.
His capital was Purushpura (Peshawar).
16. (1) The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are 30 rock-cut cave monuments which
date from the 2nd century BCE to the 600 CE. The
caves include paintings and sculptures considered to
be masterpieces of Buddhist religious art (which depict the Jataka tales) as well as frescos which are
reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings in Sri Lanka. The
Ajanta cave paintings depict the life of Gautam Buddha.
17. (3) In about 518 BCE, the Persians invaded India.
They were led by King Darius I, who conquered the
Indus Valley and the area that is now the state of
Punjab. Darius-I was successful in maintaining power, and his descendants continued to rule the area
when he died. Darius-I also began to collect a tribute
tax, and spread news of India’s many natural resources
to Europe.
18. (1) The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled
by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC. Originating from the kingdom of Magadha in the IndoGangetic plains (modern Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh
and Bengal) in the eastern side of the Indian subcontinent, the empire had its capital city at Pataliputra
(modern Patna). The Empire was founded in 322 BC
by Chandragupta Maurya. The Gupta Empire was an
ancient Indian empire which existed from approximately 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. The Kushan Empire was originally
formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria around the
Oxus River (Amu Darya), and later based near Kabul,
Afghanistan. The Kanva dynasty was a Brahman dynasty founded by Vasudeva Kanva, the minister of
Devabhuti, the last Sunga king in 75 BCE
19. (1) Jivaka Chintamani (fabulous gem) is a classical
epic poem, considered one of the five great Tamil
epics according to later Tamil literary tradition, the
others being Manimegalai, Silappadikaram, Valayapathi and Kundalakesi. It was composed during the
10th century CE by Thiruthakka Thevar, a Jain
monk. It narrates the romantic exploits of Jeevaka
and throws light on arts of music and dance of the
era. It is reputed to have been the model for Kamba
Ramayanam. The epic is based on Sanskrit original
and contains the exposition of Jain doctrines and
20. (4) Kushinagar is a town and a nagar panchayat in
Kushinagar district in the Indian state of Uttar
Pradesh. It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site,
where Gautama Buddha is thought to have attained
Parinirvana after his death. It is one of the most important four holy sites for Buddhists. At this location, near the Hiranyavati River, Gautama Buddha
attained Parinirvana (or ‘Final Nirvana’) after falling
ill from eating a meal of a species of mushroom, or
possibly pork.

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