Traders, Kings and Pilgrims (Class 6 History Chapter 9 Notes)

Buddha Figurine
Buddha/Image Source: Pixabay
Trade and Traders
  1. Trade is the major behind the finding of the things which belong to one place in another place. Traders carried things such as fine pottery from one place to another.
  2. It is because of trade, we learnt about the ancient connection between India and Rome. Traders across both nations travelled through sea and land routes to get exotic items.
  3. They took advantage of monsoon winds to cross the sea more quickly.

Kingdoms Along The Coasts
  1. The southern half of the subcontinent is marked by a long coastline. The chief or kings who had control over vital river or coastline were comparatively richer than their counterparts.
  2. Sangam poets mentions Muvendar. A tamil word collectively used for three chiefs of the Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas who became significant around 2300 years ago.
  3. Each chief had two power centres: one inland and another coastal. Of these six cities, Purhar (Kaveripattinam) of Cholas and Madurai of Pandyas were important.
  4. They did not collect regular taxes, but demanded or recieved tributes.
  5. Many poets, especially Sangam poets, have written about them in great detail.

Satvahanas
  1. Around 1900 years ago, Satvahanas became most powerful dynasty in Western India.
  2. The most important ruler of Satvahana was Gautamiputra Shri Satakarni. One learn about him through the poem composed by his mother Gautami Balashri.
  3. Satavahana rulers were known as lords of the dakshinapatha, the route leading to the south. He controlled a chunk of eastern and western coasts.

Silk Route
  1. The technique of making silk was first invented in China about 7000 years ago.
  2. Silk was the major export of China. Therefore, the route which connected traders from China to West Asia became to be known as Silk Route.
  3. Many rulers wanted to control the major portion of the route as it used to brought huge chunk of money in taxes and tributes.
  4. Around 2000 years ago, Kushanas controlled a major chunk of the route.
  5. His two capital cities are Peshawar and Mathura.
  6. During his rule, a branch of silk route was extended from Central Asia to the seaport at the mouth of Indus River (Arabian Sea).
  7. Kushans were first Indian rulers to issue gold coins.

The Spread of Buddhism
  1. Kanishka was the most famous Kushana ruler. He ruled around 1900 years ago.
  2. He organized fourth Buddhist council under the chaimanship of Ashvaghosha, who composed the biography of Buddha, Buddhacharita. Ashvaghosha translated many buddhist text into Sanskrit.
  3. A new form of Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, developed during his age. Till now, Buddha was depicted through symbols such his enlightment is shown through bodhi (peepul) tree, but from here on, his idol worship was started. Most of the Buddha idols were made in either Mathura or Taxila.
  4. The second change in belief came through Boddhisattva. Boddhisattvas are people who have achieved enlightment and they used to mediate in isolation thereafter. But from now, they started teaching in public and started spreading the teachings of Buddha.
  5. In addition to western and southern India, buddhism spread over Central Asia, China, Korea and Japan. In western and southern India, monasteries cropped up at several places. Several of them were built on land given by kings, queens or rich merchants.
  6. Buddhism also spread south-eastward to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. The older form of Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, is prevalent in these areas.

The quest of the pilgrims
  1. Pilgrims are  men  and  women  who  undertake  journeys  toholy places in order to offer worship. They travelled with traders to distant lands in caravans and ships.
  2. Some of the best known Chinese Buddhist pilgrims are Fa Xian, Xuan Zang and I-Qing. They visited places associated with Buddha as well as monasteries.
  3. They wrote extensively about their travel and took buddhist books alongwith them. Xuan Zang took over more than 600 manuscript along with him and spend rest of his life in translating the work from Sanskrit into Chinese (Mandarin).

The Beginning of Bhakti
  1. At this time, certain deities in Hinduism also became important. These are Shiva, Vishnu and Durga.
  2. There was a movement of worship began around this time known as Bhakti. The idea of Bhakti is presented in Bhagvad Gita.
  3. Bhakti means a person to devotion to his or her god without any discrimination. It emphasis on devotion and individual worship rather than elaborate sacrifice. It inspired some of the best expressions in arts - sculpture, poerty and architecture.