--> >-->
  • Ancient & Medieval Indian History Important Terms and Meanings for UPSC Prelims


    Ancient History Important Terms and Meanings for UPSC Prelims

       Ancient India

    Advent of the Aryans/Early Rig Vedic Age

    Avesta– oldest text in the Iranian Language

    Naditarna– another name for River Saraswati, called the best of the rivers in the Rig Veda.

    Dasa/Dasyus– indigenous inhabitants of India during Aryan migration

    Panchjana- Aryans were divided into 5 tribes called Panchjana

    Gavisthi – Term for war/search for cows in Rig Veda

    Ayas– terms used for metals- copper/bronze in Rig Veda

    Samudra– collection of water

    Rajan – a kind of chief during Rig Vedic age

    Samiti/Sabha/Vidatha/Gana– tribal or clan based assemblies

    Purohita– head priest

    Bali– voluntary offerings by people to the tribal chief

    Prajapati– the officer who enjoyed authority over a large land or pasture ground.

    Kula– Family

    Kulapas– head of a family

    Gramanis– head of the fighting hordes

    Vrajapati– when the units settled after wars, the Gramini became head of the village,with course of time he came to be identified as Vrajapati.

    Vrata/Gana/Grama/Sardha–  Different tribal groups

    Jana– tribe

    Griha– family

    Kula– family

    Purandara/Indra– breaker of forts/ warlord

    Agni– Fire God

    Varuna– Water God

    Soma – God of plants

    Aditi,Usha– deities,denoting dawn.

    Kula – family

    Kulapa– head of the family

    Grama– village

    Gramini- head of the village

    Vis– the clan

    Vispati– head of the clan

    Jana– the people

    Gopa/Gopati– head of the Jana

    Rashtra– territory/country

    Rajan– head of the rashtra

    Senani– army chief

    Purcharishnu– moving fort made for fighting  a war

    Kshira- pakamodanam– grain cooked with milk

    Aghanya– used for cow,meaning ‘not to be killed’

    Sura and Soma– alcoholic drinks


    Later Vedic Phase

    Shyam/Krishna Ayas– Iron

    Shatapatha Brahman- text talks about ploughing ritual

    Vrihi– rice in Vedic texts

    Vis – common people

    Rajasuya yajna– sacrifice ritual meant to confer supreme power to the King

    Ashwamedha yajna- unquestioned control over an area in which the royal horse ran uninterrupted

    Sangrihitri – officer for collection of taxes and tributes

    Vis/Vaishya– refractory people/common people

    Rajanyas– close kinsmen of the King

    Upanayana– investiture with the scared thread of 3 varnas according to the Vedic Texts

    Rathakar– chariot maker

    Gotra– cowpen/place where cattle belonging to the whole clan are ekpt.Later it meant descent from a common ancestor

    Goghna– guest or someone who was fed on cattle.

    Yajna– sacrifice rituals

    Yajmana– one who performed Yajna

    Official Positions in Later Vedic age

    Purohita– the priest

    Mahishi – the queen

    Yuvraja– crown prince

    Suta/Sarathi– charioteer

    Senani– General

    Gramani– head of village

    Kshata– gateman/chamberlain

    Sangrahitri– treasurer

    Bhagadudha – collector of taxes

    Akshavapa– courier

    Palagala- friend of king – mnemonics- Kings Pal

    Govikarta – head of forest department

    Ganas– corporations of merchants

    Sreshtins– aldermen


    Teritorial States and the First Magadha Empire

    Janapada– territory to which one belonged

    Ekarat– title of Mahapadma Nanda- the sole soveregin who destroyed all other ruling princes

    Jaladurga– water fort- Pataliputra in this case.

    State and Varna Society in the Age of Buddha

    Vessas– merchant streets

    Nishka/Satmana– coins/prestige objects made of metals

    Bhojaka– village headmen

    Gahaptis– rich peasants

    Mahamatras– higher officials in the court

    Mantrin – minister

    Senanayak – commander

    Ayuktas- a class of officers in the kingdom

    Gramabhojaka/Gramani/Gramika – different titles for village headmen

    Balisadhakas– officers appointed to collect compulsory payments- earlier voluntary payments were called Bali.

    Shaulkika/Shulkadhyaksha– toll officers who collected customs from traders

    Parishad- small body similar to Samitis/sabhas – consisting exclusively of Brahmins

    Bhandagarika– treasurer

    The Age of The Mauryas

    Bherighosha– policy of physical occupation

    Dhammaghosha– policy of cultural conquest

    Rajukas– officers vested with authority to reward or punish people as per policy of Dharma

    Sangiti – Buddhist council

    Bhaga– royal share of the produce

    Dhammamahamatra – officer of Ashoka for propagating Dharma among social groups

    Significance of the Mauryan Rule

    Dharmapravartaka – King/ promulgator of the social order

    Tirthas– important functionaries in the administration

    Pana – silver coin equal to 3/4 th of a tola

    Adhyakshas– 27 superintendents mostly to regulate the economic activities of the state

    Samaharta – highest officer in charge of the assessment of the taxation

    Sannidhata– chief custodian of the state treasury and store house

    Dushtamatyas- wicked bureaucrats

    Central Asian Contacts and Their Results

    doab – land between two rivers

    Strategos– military governors- system introduced by Greeks

    Avadanas – texts composed during progress of Mahayana Buddhism

    Yavanika – curtains borrowed from Greeks

    Yavana– branch of Greeks known to ancient India

    Horashastra– term for astrology/horoscope in Sanskrit

    Drachma – greek word for Drama

    Osadhi – plants

    Ausadhi – medicines

    Medieval India

    India and the World

    Manor– castle of the feudal lord

    Samantas– feudal lords

    Surya Siddhanta– work on astronomy revised and reformed by Aryabhatta

    Northern Age- Age of the 3 Empires

    aprabhamsha– corrupt languages considered forerunners of the modern Indian languages

    antahpur- officials of the riyal household

    bhukti– provinces

    mandala/visaya– districts

    uparika– governor of province/bhukti

    visayapati – head of a district

    samantas/bhogapati– chieftains/village headmen

    pattala – administrative unit below visaya

    grama mahajana/mahattara– village elders

    nad-gavundas/desa-gramakutas– hereditary revenue officers in the Deccan

    The Chola Empire

    mandalams– provinces

    valanadu/nadu– further division of povinces

    agraharas– Brahman villages

    Ur,sabha/mahasabha– assemblies in rural areas- meant for local self govt

    mandap -pillared hall

    Garbhagriha– chief deity room

    devadasis– women dedicated to service of Gods

    Gopurams– lofty gates of temples

    Tirumaris–  writings of Nyanars and Alvars in Tmail,collected under 11 volumes in 12th century- often called the 5th Veda.

    Nyanars– saint devotees of Shiva

    Alvars– saint devotees of Vishnu

    Economic and Social Life,Educational and Religious Beliefs

    shrenis/sanghas– trade guilds- emerged as sub castes with time

    dvadasa shreni– guild which became a sub caste of the vaishyas

    munja– a kind of grass

    samanta/ranak/rautta– feudal class,rajputs

    bhoga– revenue

    Mahasamantadhipati – high titles assumed by ministers,officials and feudal chiefs

    kotisvara– millionaire

    utpala saka– a wild vegetable of bitter taste

    Basadis– Jain temples

    Mahastambhas- pillars

    Advaitvada– doctrine of non dualism

    The Age of Conflict

    amir-ul-umra– meaning Commander of commanders-title granted by Caliph to generals who were able to carve out a separate sphere of authority

    Shikan– destroyer of images

    Deul/Garbhagriha– chief deity room

    jahan soz- meaning world burner- title of Sultan Alauddin because he ravaged Ghazni

    The Delhi Sultanate-I

    chahalgani- meaning- ‘the forty’- Turkish chiefs

    chhatr– royal insignia

    diwani arz– military department

    sijada and paibos– prostration and kissing of monarch’s feet – under Balban

    The Delhi Sultanate- II

    malik naib – vice regent of the empire

    shahna– high officer who controlled the market,merchants and prices

    banjaras– traders – asked in UPSC prelims earlier.

    dam – paisa

    jitals– unit of currency

    tankas– currency

    sawar– cavalryman

    khuts and muqaddams– landlords/village headmen

    amils– local officials

    diwani-amir-i-kohi– dept to improve cultivation in the doab

    jizyah – tax on non Muslims

    karkhanas– royal workshops

    The agricultural and land revenue system of the early Turkish Sultans rested on two foundations viz. the 

    • Iqta (assignment of land revenue,tax farming)
    • Kharaj (Land Revenue).

    Under Iqta System, the land of the empire was divided into several large and small tracts called Iqta and assigned these Iqtas to his soldiers, officers and nobles. In the beginning, an Iqta was based upon salary. Later, under Firoz Shah Tughlaq it became hereditary.

    Government,and Economic and Social Life under the Delhi Sultanat

    Khutba– islamic rulers accepting moral leadership of the Caliph

    ulama– religious class

    wazir– key administrative figure,earlier used for a military leader,later an expert on revenue matters

    diwan-i-arz– military department

    ariz-i-mamalik– head of military dept.

    dagh – branding system of horses

    diwan-i-risalat– dept of religious matters- headed by ‘sadr’

    diwan-i-insha– dept of state correspondence

    barids– intelligence agents

    wakil-i-dar– officer in charge of  dept of slaves under Firuz Tughlaq

    muqtis/walis– holders of iqtas

    Provinces were divided into the Shiqs and shiqs were divided into parganas.

    amil- head of pargana

    patwari – village accountant

    Rais– autonomus Hindu landlords

    tanka/dirham– currency

    muslin– fine cotton cloth from Bengal

    dhunia- cotton handler’s bow

    rahat– miscalled the persian wheel- used for lifting water for irrigation

    zawabit – sultans had to supplement the Muslim law by framing their own regulations

    jahandari– state based on worldly or secular considerations

    zimmis– status given to Hindu subjects as protected people who accepted muslims rule and agreed to pay jizyah

    • Firoz tughlaq made jizyah a separate tax from land revenue.

  • You might also like

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    Give your valuable feedback.
    If you have any doubts. Please let me know