Class 8 History Chapter 4 Tribal, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden age Important Questions

CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 4 Tribal, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden age Important Questions cover the major concepts of the chapter. Solving answers of these important questions help students to revise the Chapter most competently. We prepared these questions as per the latest NCERT book and CBSE syllabus. Practising the questions before the exam will ensure excellent marks in the exam.

CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 4 Important Questions PDF

Very Short Answer Type Questions

1: Mention different types of activities of the tribal people.
Answer: (a) Some practised jhum cultivation
(b) Some were hunter-gatherers.
(c) Some herded animals.
(d) Some took to settled cultivation.

2: Why did the British want tribal groups to settle down and become peasant cultivators?
Answer: It was because settled peasants were easier to control and administer than people who were always on the move.

3: Why did the British introduce land settlements?
Answer: They did so in order to get a regular revenue source for the state.

4: Why were some forests classified as Reserved Forests?
Answer: These forests produced timber which the British wanted.

5: What problem did the British face after they stopped the tribal people from living inside forests?
Answer: They faced the problem of shortage of labour.

6: Why did the Forest Department establish forest villages?
Answer: It did so in order to ensure a regular supply of cheap labour.

7: How did the tribal groups view the market and the traders?
Answer: They viewed them as their main enemies.

8: Who was Birsa?
Answer: Birsa belonged to a family of Mundas, a tribal group that lived in Chottanagpur.

9: What did people say about him?
Answer: People said that he had miraculous powers. He could cure all diseases and multiply grain.

10: What problems did Birsa set out to resolve?
Answer: (a) The familiar ways of tribals seemed to be disappearing.
(b) Their livelihoods were under threat.
(c) The religion appeared to be in danger. Birsa set out to resolve these problems.

11: Who were the outsiders being referred to as dikus?
Answer: Traders, moneylenders, missionaries, Hindu landlords and the British were the outsiders being referred to as dikus.

12: On what charges was Birsa convicted?
Answer: Birsa was convicted on the charges of rioting.

13: When did Birsa die and how?
Answer: He died of cholera in 1900.

14: When and where was the forest satyagraha staged?
Answer: The forest satyagraha occurred in 1930s in the Central Provinces.

Short Answer Type Questions

1: What were the main activities of the Khonds living in the forests of Orissa?

Answer: The Khonds were basically hunter- gatherers. They regularly went out on collective hunts and then divided the meat amongst themselves. They ate fruits and roots collected from the forest and cooked food with the oil they extracted from the seeds of the sal and mahua. They used many forest shrubs and herbs for medicinal purposes and sold forest produce in the local markets. All their activities were based on forest.

2: How did traders and moneylenders exploit the tribal people?
How were traders and moneylenders cause of the tribals’ misery?

Answer: Tribal groups often needed to buy and sell in order to be able to get the goods that were not produced within the locality. This led to their dependence on traders and moneylenders. Traders came around with things for sale. They sold the goods at high prices.
Moneylenders used to give loans with which the tribals met their cash needs, adding to what they earned. But the interest charged on the loans was very high. Thus, both traders and moneylenders always exploited the tribal people. It is therefore the tribals- saw them as evil outsiders and the cause of their misery.

3: How did the British officials view settled tribal groups and those who moved about from place to place?

Answer: The British officials saw settled tribal groups such as the Gonds and Santhals as more civilised than hunter-gatherers or shifting cultivators. These tribal groups lived in the forests and kept on moving. They did not have a fixed home. The British considered them wild and savage and therefore they needed to be settled and civilised.

4: Describe land settlements introduced by the British.

Answer: The British introduced land settlements to ensure a regular revenue source for the state. Under these settlements:

  • the British measured the land, defined the rights of each individual to that land, and fixed the revenue demand for the state.
  • some peasants were declared landowners, others tenants. The tenants were to pay rent to the landowner who in turn paid revenue to the state.

5: Why was the British effort to settle jhum cultivators not very successful?

Answer: (a) It is usually difficult to carry on settled plough cultivation in areas where water is scarce and the soil is dry.
(b) Jhum cultivators who took to plough cultivation often suffered since their fields did not produce good yields. Hence, the jhum cultivators in north-east India insisted on continuing with their traditional practice.
(c) The British faced widespread protests. Therefore, they allowed them to carry on shifting cultivation in some parts of the forest.

6: How did Birsa resume his movement after his release in 1897?

Answer: Birsa was released in 1897. Now he began touring the villages to gather support. He used traditional symbols and language to rouse people, urging them to destroy dikus and the Europeans and establish a kingdom under his leadership. Birsa’s followers began targeting the symbols of dikus and European power. They attacked police stations and churches and raided the property of moneylenders and zamindars. They raised the white flag as a symbol of Birsa Raj.

7: In what ways was the Birsa movement significant?

Answer: The Birsa movement was significant in two ways:
(a) It forced the colonial government to introduce laws so that the land of the tribals could not easily be taken over by dikus.
(b) It showed once again that the tribal people had the capacity to protest against injustice and express their anger against colonial rule. They did this in their own specific way, inventing their own rituals and symbols of struggle.

8: How did the status of the tribal chiefs change after the British established power in India?

Answer: The powers of the tribal chiefs changed after the British came to power. The chiefs did not have any administrative powers, they were only allowed to keep their land and rent them out if they wanted to. The tribal chiefs had to pay tribute to the British, and discipline the tribal groups on behalf of the British. The chiefs lost the authority they had earlier enjoyed amongst their people, and were unable to fulfil their traditional functions

9: Why did the British dislike ‘shifting cultivators’?

Answer: The British did not like people moving from place to place, as was the case with shifting cultivators. They wanted tribal groups to settle down and become settled cultivators as it would be easier to control and administer people who were in one place. The British also found it easy to collect revenue from people who were settled in one place and maintain records on them.

10: What is ‘Land Settlement Act’ and why was it enforced?

Answer: Land Settlement Act which was enforced by the British defined the rights of each individual to a measured piece of land, and fixed the revenue for that piece of land, which had to be paid to the British. The British enforced this law as they wanted a regular revenue source from the states.

11: What are ‘Reserved forests’?

Answer: Some forests were classified as Reserved Forests by the British as they produced timber which they wanted. The tribals were not allowed to move freely in these forests and practice Shifting cultivation. They were also not allowed to collect fruits or hunt animals in the reserved forests.

Long Answer Type Questions

1: What problem did the British face after they brought changes in forest laws? How did they solve this problem?

Answer: The British stopped the tribal people from living inside forests by introducing some changes in forest laws. This created a problem. They lost labour force because most of the jhum cultivators moved to other areas in search of work. Who would cut trees for railway sleepers and transport logs? Colonial officials solved this problem by giving jhum cultivators small patches of land in the forests and allowing them to cultivate these on the condition that these who lived in villages would have to provide labour to the Forest Department and look after the forests. The Forest Department established forest villages in many regions to ensure a regular supply of cheap labour.

2: Give a brief history of the revolts by different tribal groups in the country.

Answer: Several tribal groups in different parts of the country were unhappy with the changes they were experiencing and the problems they were facing under the British rule. Finally, they rebelled against the changes in laws, the restrictions on their practices, the new taxes they had to pay, and the exploitation by traders and moneylenders.

  • The Kols rebelled in 1831-32.
  • The Santhals rose in revolt in 1855.
  • The Bastar Rebellion in central India broke out in 1910.
  • The Warli Revolt in Maharashtra in 1940.
  • Birsa Munda also led one such movement.

3: Write a short note on ‘shifting cultivation’.

Answer: In shifting cultivation a plot of land is cleared by felling the trees and burning them. Small patches of land in forests were used for this kind of cultivation. The cultivators cut the treetops to allow sunlight to reach the ground. The ashes of burnt trees were mixed with the soil to fertilize it. The tribals used the axe to cut trees and the hoe to scratch the soil in order to prepare it for cultivation. They scattered the seeds on the field instead of ploughing the land and sowing the seeds. Once the crop was ready it was harvested.

After the soil lost its fertility, the land was abandoned and the cultivator moved to a new plot. Shifting cultivation is also known as ‘slash and burn’ agriculture.

Shifting cultivation usually starts with cutting trees and a fire which clears a spot for crop production. In the ideal case, shifting cultivation is a cycle where farmers come back to the original place after a couple of years

4: How did different tribal groups live? Describe in brief.

Answer: Tribal people were involved in many different types of activities:

(a) Some tribal people practised jhum cultivation also known as shifting cultivation. This was done on small patches of land, mostly in forests. The cultivators cleared off small patches of land. They then burnt the vegetation and spread the ash from the firing, which contained potash to fertilise the soil They used equipments like axe and hoe for preparing the soil for cultivation. Then they scattered the seeds on the field. Once the crop was ready, and harvested, they moved to another field. Shifting cultivators were found in the hilly and forested tracts of north-east and central India.

(b) Some tribal groups were engaged in hunting animals and gathering forest produce, hence known as “hunter-gatherers’. They saw forests as essential for survival. The Khonds were such a community living in the forests of Orissa. They regularly went out on collective hunts and then divided the meat amongst themselves. They ate fruits and roots and cooked food with the oil they extracted from the seeds of the sal and mahua. They got rice and other grains in return for their valuable forest produce. Sometimes they did odd jobs in the villages like carrying loads, etc.

(c) Some tribal groups lived by herding and rearing animals. They were pastoralists who moved with their herds of cattle or sheep according to the seasons. For examples, the Vicm Gujjars of Punjab hills, and the Labadis of Andhra Pradesh were cattle herders, the Gaddis of Kulu were shepherds and the Bakarwals of Kashmir reared goats.
(d) Some tribal community took to settled cultivation. They cultivated their fields in one place year after year, instead of moving from place to place. They began to use the plough and gradually got rights over the land they lived on.

5: Give a brief life sketch of Birsa Munda.

Answer: Birsa was born in the mid-1870s in a family of Mundas, a tribal group that lived in Chottanagpur. He grew up around the forests of Bohanda, grazing sheep, playing flute and dancing in the local akharas. As an adolescent Birsa heard tales of the Munda uprisings of the past and saw sirdars (leaders) of the community urging the people to revolt.

Birsa took great interest in the sermons of missionaries because they inspired the Mundas to attain their lost rights. He also enjoyed the company of a prominent Vaishnav preacher. He wore the sacred thread and began to value the importance of purity and piety.

He decided to reform tribal society. He urged the Mundas to give up all their bad practices like drinking liquor, etc. Here, it is worth-mentioning that Birsa also turned against missionaries and Hindu landlords.

He urged his followers to restore their glorious past. He talked of a golden age in the past—when Mundas lived a very good life. They did not kill their brethren and relatives. Birsa wanted to see these qualities again in the tribal society.

The British officials got terrified to visualise the political aims of Birsa Munda. As the movement spread, the government arrested him in 1895, convicted him on the charges of rioting. He was also jailed him for two years.

After Birsa was released in 1897, he began to tour the villages to gather support. He urged his supporters to destroy dikus and the Europeans. In 1900, he died of cholera and the movement faded out. But it proved significant in the long run.

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