Life of the People in Maharashtra Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Life of the People in Maharashtra Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra State Board

The Hindawi Swaraj formed by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a State for the people, founded with the noble intention of the welfare of common people, removal of oppression and the protection of Maharashtra Dharma. In the period after Shivaji Maharaj, Maratha power spread to all parts of India. It lasted for about 150 years. We gathered information about the Maratha administration in the last few chapters. In this chapter, we shall study the social conditions and life of the people in that period.

Social Conditions:
Agriculture and occupations based on agriculture were the major sources of production at the village level. The Patil was responsible for the protection of the village and the Kulkarni handled the revenue. The Patil received land as inam for his work as a Patil. He also received a part of the village revenue. The balutedars were paid in kind (in the form of objects, food grains, etc.) for the work they did for the village people. The village occupations were divided into kali and pandhari. Peasants worked in their fields in the kali (land, earth, or soil) and others, in pandhari – within the village precincts. It was considered important to conduct the affairs of the village with mutual understanding. A joint family system was prevalent. There were twelve balutedars such as the blacksmith, carpenter, potter, goldsmith, etc. in a village. They worked for the village people.

Life of the People in Maharashtra Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Customs and Traditions:
Child marriages were prevalent. It was acceptable to have many wives. There are a few examples of widow marriages in this period. To perform the last rites, burning, burial, and immersion methods were used per tradition. Muhurta or auspicious occasions were sought for every little thing, and also to open battles. People believed in dreams and omens. ‘Anushthans’ were performed to avoid the wrath of gods and planets. Charitable deeds were also done for the same purpose. People believed in astrology. There was a general lack of a scientific attitude and offerings to god (navas) were considered more important than medical treatment.

Standard of Living:
A majority of people lived in villages. The villages were mostly self-sufficient. Only salt had to be imported from other places. The needs of farmers were limited. They grew jowar, bajra, wheat, ragi (nachani), maize, rice, and other grains in their fields. The daily diet consisted of bhakti, onion, chutney, and an accompaniment. The barter system was used for everyday transactions. Village houses were simple mud and brick constructions. Wadas with one or two stories were seen in cities. Rice, dal, chapatis, vegetables, salads, milk, and dahi products were mainly included in the rich people’s diet. Men wore a dhoti, kurta, angarakha, and mundase. Women wore nine-yard sarees and blouses.

People celebrated Gudhi Padwa, Nagpanchmi, Bail-pola, Dasara, Diwali, Makar Sankranti, Holi, Eid, and other festivals. In the Peshwa period, Ganeshotsava was celebrated in many homes. The Peshwa himself being a devotee of Ganesha, these celebrations acquired importance. Every year these celebrations lasted from Bhadrapad Chaturthi up to Anant Chaturdashi.

Life of the People in Maharashtra Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Dasara is considered as one of the three and a half most auspicious occasions, many new things were started on this day. Weapons were offered puja, and it was customary to cross the boundaries ceremoniously (seemollanghana) and distribute ‘apta’ leaves on Dasara. The Marathas launched their campaigns after Dasara. During Diwali, Balipratipada and Bhau-beej celebrations had special importance. In most of the villages, fairs were held. Wrestling bouts were a common feature of the fairs, (jatras). Gudhis were raised to celebrate Gudhi Padwa. Celebrations included entertainment programmes like songs and dances. Tamasha was a popular form of entertainment.
Life of the People in Maharashtra Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board 1

Pathshalas and madrasas were the institutes that imparted education. Reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught at home. The Modi script was used in most transactions.

Travels and Communication:
Transport was carried out by roads, through ghats, and across bridges on rivers. Cloth, foodgrains, and groceries were transported by loading them on the backs of bullocks. Small boats were used in rivers. Messengers and camel riders carried letters to and fro.
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Various sports were popular in this period. They were a means of entertainment. Wrestling and martial arts were very popular. Mallakhamb, dand, lathi, dandpatta, bothati were practiced. Hututu, kho-kho, and atyapatya were popular outdoor games, and chess, ganjifa, dice were popular indoor games.

Religion and Conduct:
The two major religions seen in this period were Hindu and Muslim. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had a liberal religious policy. The general understanding was that everyone should follow their own religion and should not impose it on others. The government gave grants to pathshalas, temples, madrasas, and mosques. Followers of both religions took part in the celebration of each other’s festivals. Varkari, Mahanubhav, Datta, Nath, and Ramdasi panths were prevalent.

Women’s Life:
Women’s life in those days was full of hardships. Their world was confined to the house of their father, and then their husband. Their education was neglected. Only a few exceptional women had achieved any progress in literacy, administration, and battle skills. They include Veermata Jijabai, Maharani Yesubai, Maharani Tarabai, Umabai Dabhade, Gopikabai, Punyashlok Ahilyabai. Customs like child marriage, unequal marriage, widowhood, keshwapan, sati, and polygamy had imposed harsh restrictions on the way women lived. The period from 1630 CE to 1810 CE is broadly defined as Maratheshahi. Let us review the art and architecture of this period in brief.

We find references to the restoration of Kasba Ganapati Mandir, the building of the Lal Mahal, the construction of Rajgad and Raigad, the building of sea forts, etc. that are related to architecture. Hiroji Indulkar was a famous architect of that period. While setting up a village, the usual pattern was roads cutting one another at right angles, stone construction along the sides and extensive ghats (steps) along the river bank. During the Peshwa period, a drinking water supply system was built like the one at Ahmadnagar and Bijapur. The Peshwas built underground pipes, small dams, gardens and courts, tanks, fountains, etc. The Mastani Talav at Diveghat, Hadapsar near Pune city is worth a mention in this regard.

Life of the People in Maharashtra Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Shaniwarwada and Vishrambagwada in Pune, Sarkarwada in Nashik, Raghunathrao Peshwa’s wada at Kopargaon, the wadas of the Satara Chhatrapati, as also the old wadas at Wai, Menvali, Toke, Shrigonde, Pandharpur are symbols of the medieval wada culture. Baked as well as unbaked bricks were used to build the wadas. Wooden columns, rafts, boards, dressed stones, arches, finely prepared lime, round tiles for the roof, mud, and bamboo were all used in the construction. The wadas were decorated with sketches, paintings, wooden sculptures, and mirrors.

The temples of this period were built in the Hemadpanti style of the Yadav period. The Shikhar of the Ambabai temple at Kolhapur, the temples on the Jotiba hill, the Shambhu Mahadev temple at Shikhar-Shinganapur, and the Ghrishneshwar temple at Verul are excellent specimens of sculpture. The Bhavanidevi temple on Pratapgad and the Saptkoteshwar temple at Goa were built by Shivaji Maharaj. Other temples of the Peshwa period are the Kalaram temple at Nashik, the Shiva temple at Trimbakeshwar, the Shiva temples at Kaygaon and Toke on the confluence of the Godavari and Pravara, and the Mohiniraj temple at Newase.
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Stone ghats built on a river or at the confluence of rivers are characteristic of Maratheshahi. The most remarkable specimen of a ghat is the one at Toke, Pravara Sangam on the confluence of the Godavari and Pravara. In a flight of steps, there would be one wide step at regular intervals. This would lend beauty to the entire ghat construction. Strong bastions were built at regular intervals so as to prevent damage due to water currents.

The paintings on the walls of Shaniwarwada are the important ones of the Peshwa period. Ragho, Tanaji, Anuprao, Shivram, and Mankoji are some of the important painters of this period. The painter Gangaram Tambat was famous at the time of Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa. The Peshwas encouraged painting. Wadas in the Pune, Satara, Menvali, Nashik, Chandwad, and Nipani regions during the Peshwa period had paintings on their walls. Temples at Pandeshwar, Morgaon, Pal, Benwadi, and Pashan near Pune have paintings on the walls. The themes of those paintings were Dashavatara, Ganapati, Shankar, Rampanchayatana, mythological stories, Ramayana, Mahabharata, festivals and so on. At Jamod in Vidarbha, Jin Charitra paintings adorned the Jain temple. Illustrations in the pots, miniatures, portraits, scenes, etc. were also painted.

Important specimens include the sculpture of the meeting between Mallamma Desai and Shivaji Maharaj at the time of his Karnataka campaign, the sculpture at Bhuleshwar temple including sculptures of individuals and animals (e.g., elephant, peacock, monkey), the sculptures on the Toke temple and the idols within, the Trishund Ganapati temple in Pune, the memorial to Punyashlok Ahilyabai in Madhya Pradesh, the sculptures at the Mohiniraj temple at Newase.

Metal Idols:
The Peshwas had specially commissioned the metal idols of Parvati and Ganapati in the Parvati temple for the purpose of Puja. Wooden sculptures were also seen.

Life of the People in Maharashtra Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Important forms of literature include the compositions of the Sants, mythological narratives, ‘teeka’ literature, owi, abhanga, treatises, narrative poems, biographies, aaratis of deities, powadas, bakhars, historical letters, etc.

At Tanjavur in the South, Marathi plays emerged near the end of the seventeenth century. Sarfoji Raje encouraged this art. Songs, music, and dance were prominent parts of these plays. So far we reviewed the medieval period of history and the rise and expansion of the Maratha power.

Well-maintained Maharashtra State Board Class 7 History Notes Life of the People in Maharashtra can serve as a reference for lifelong learning.

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