Early Medieval Society & Religion Notes for UPSC Exam

When Muslims arrived, people from diverse regions and religions interacted with the local population. Society became divided into three classes: upper, middle, and lower. The Bhakti and Sufi movements influenced people’s social and religious lives. Songs, prayers, and the concept of a single God gained popularity. The topic is important for UPSC IAS and other state level exams.

Economic Progress in Medieval India

  • Agriculture saw significant advancements.
  • Kings and landlords benefited the most from agricultural produce.
  • The widespread use of the Jagir system was observed.
  • Middlemen controlled the sale of goods.

Cultural Developments in Medieval India:

  • Sanskrit continued to be a refined language.
  • Shad Darshanas, a set of philosophical systems, were formulated.
  • During Akbar’s rule, Sanskrit works like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Panchatantra were translated into various languages.
  • The Quran was translated into Persian.
  • Kings’ patronage led to the creation of instrumental music.
  • Renowned musicians like Amir Khusrau, Baz Bahadur, and Rupamathi emerged.
  • The term “Indo-Islamic art” was coined to describe this fusion of artistic styles.

Key Empires and Events of the Medieval Period in India:

  • The Khiljis (1290–1320 AD) – Jalaluddin Khilji and Alauddin Khilji played significant roles, with Alauddin ruling over much of South India.
  • The Tughlaqs (1320–1412 AD) – Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq, and Firoz Shah Tughlaq were prominent rulers.
  • The Sayyids and Lodhi Sultans (1414–1526 AD) – Brief rule by the Sayyids was followed by the Lodhis, who shifted the capital from Delhi to Agra. Minor kingdoms emerged as the Lodhi influence waned. 
  • The Vijayanagara Empire (1336–1565 AD) and the Bahmani Kingdom (1346–1689 AD) were significant during this period.

MCQs Test on Early Medieval Society & Religion

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