Cultural Heritage of India and Northeast Region: SEBA Class 10 Summary

Cultural Heritage of India and Northeast Region
Photo by Saksham Gangwar on Unsplash

This article gives a brief summary and additional/extra questions and answers of the chapter "Cultural Heritage of India and Northeast Region" which is the fifth chapter of the History textbook of Class 10 under the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA).

Cultural Heritage of India

A developed civilization was formed in the Sindhu Valley around 4000 BC which included major towns like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Many are of the opinion that the Dravidians were the architects of this civilization. Right after the fall of this civilization, around 1500 BC, the Vedic era started. 

Usually, the period between 1500 BC to 1000 BC is considered to be the early-Vedic era, while the period between 1000 BC to 600 Be is considered to be the later-Vedic era. It is believed that the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were written in the last part of the later-Vedic era. It was during that time that the Arya culture extended towards the Brahmaputra valley and to Kanyakumari.

North East India

North-East India, however, has a traditional and distinctive cultural heritage and political history. The term "North-East" was coined by the British comprising the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam. Though Sikkim wasn't included in the region to begin with, today we consider the state as part of the region.

Among the eight states, Assam has one of the most varied cultural traditions and mix of cultures. In ancient times, Assam was known as Pragjyotishpur and Kamrup. At one point Assam was even connected with China by the Great Silk Route and China was connected to the Roman Empire via Assam. From time immemorial, different groups of people came to Assam and some opted to remain in the state. As a result, a mixed culture was developed.

Assam also has a rich literature. During the period from the 10th to 14th century, however, the only written Assamese literature was a collection of songs called Charyapada. During the 14th century, Hem Saraswati, Rudra Kandali, Haribar Bipra, Kaviratna Saraswati and Madhab Kandali composed literature in verse form based on Purana and other ancient Indian epics. It is necessary to mention that Madhab Kandali translated the Ramayana into Assamese, titled 'Saptakanda Ramayana', which was the first work of translation from Sanskrit into a North Indian language.

Culturally, in North-East, every tribe and sub-tribe has its own heritage as well as own dialects, folk-literatures, ornaments, food habits, housing-culture, agriculture, fishing culture, various festivals, style of using cane and bamboo, family and social relationships, customs and traditions, dresses, music, traditional musical instruments etc.

In Assam, Bihu is a community festival celebrated by the people with traditional gaiety. The Bohag Bihu is celebrated from the last day of the Assamese month of Sot (Chait) to the first six days of Bohag. The last day of the Sot month is called the Sankranti or Domahi and that day is observed as "garu bihu". The bihu dance is accompanied by musical instruments like Dhol (Drum), hom pipe (pepa), flutes (siphoong of Bodos), gagana etc., which are different in different communities.

Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions

1. Who were the main architects of the Sindhu civilization?

Answer: Many experts are of the view that the Dravidians were the main architects of the Sindhu civilization.

2. What were the different items that were recovered from different sites of the Indus Valley Civilization?

Answer: Different items like statues of Pashupati, Shivalinga, Mother Goddess and seals with symbols of swastika were recovered from different sites of the Indus Valley civilization.

3. How we know that the people of the Indus Valley Civilization were worshippers of totemism?

Answer: The discovery of seals having bulls, unicorn, etc. gives an idea that the people of the Indus Valley Civilization were mostly worshippers of totemism.

4. How many Scheduled Tribes are there in India?

Answer: India now has 705 recognized Scheduled Tribes.

5. How many languages are used as mother tongue in India?

Answer: According to the 2001 census, as many as 1013 languages are used as mother tongue in India, of which 122 are considered main languages. Altogether 22 languages have been recognized as the state languages by the Constitution of India. Apart from those, more than 3,000 local dialects are used in India.

6. In how many categories the sculptures of ancient India is divided? What are they?

Answer: The sculptures of ancient India can be broadly divided into three major categories. They are Gandhara, Mathura and Amarawati sculptures.

7. Write a short note on the sculptures of ancient India.

Answer: The sculptures of ancient India can be broadly divided into three major categories. They are Gandhara, Mathura and Amarawati sculptures. The Gandhar sculptures were developed mainly in North-West Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. It had been a living sculpture form from the first century BC to the 7th century. The Mathura style, though developed by itself, was also influenced by the Gandhar style and this style reached its peak during the Gupta era. The Amarawati style was practised for about 600 years from the 3rd century BC.

8. When was the culture of six skills of painting started? What are they?

Answer: In the first century BC the culture of six skills (saranga) of painting was started. These include shape, measurement, feelings expressing techniques, artistic presentation, knowledge of similarity and rule of using a brush.

9. How many dance forms have been recognised by the Govt. of India as Indian Classical Dance forms? What are they?

Answer: Eight dances have been recognised by the Govt. of India as the Indian Classical Dance forms. These are Kathakali (Malayalam, Kerala), Mohiniyattam (Kerala), Bharatnatyam (Tamilnadu), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), Odissi (Odisha), Kathak (Northern India), Manipuri (Manipur) and Satriya (Assam).

10. Who wrote Natyashastra and when? 

Answer: The Natyashastra was written between 200 BC to the second century by Bharat Muni. In the Natyashastra, different rules of drama, music and dances were outlined in around 6000 slokas.

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