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Towns, Traders and Craftpersons: 7th CBSE SST Chapter 6

Towns, Traders and Craftpersons: NCERT 7th CBSE Social Studies Chapter 06

Towns, Traders and Craftpersons – Question: Fill in the blanks:

  1. The Rajarajeshvara temple was built in ………………..
  2. Ajmer is associated with the Sufi saint…………………
  3. Hampi was the capital of the ………….
  4. The Dutch established a settlement at…………….. in Andhra Pradesh.


  1.  early 11th century
  2. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti
  3. Vijayanagara
  4. Masulipatnam

Question: State whether true or false:

  1. We know the name of the architect of the Rajarajeshvara temple from an inscription.
  2. Merchants preferred to travel individually rather than in caravans.
  3. Kabul was a major centre for trade in elephants.
  4. Surat was an important trading port on the Bay of Bengal.


  1. T
  2. F
  3. F
  4. F

Question: How was water supplied, to the city of Thanjavur?

Answer: Water supply for the city of Thanjavur came from wells and tanks.

Question: Who lived in the ‘Black Towns’ in cities such as Madras?

Answer: Merchants, artisans (such as weavers), native traders and craftspersons lived in the ‘Black Towns’.

Question: Why do you think towns grew around temples?

Answer: The following factors are responsible for the growth of towns around temples :

  1. A large number of priests, workers, artisans, traders, etc. settled near the temple.
  2. They catered to the various needs of the people as well as of pilgrims who flocked to the temples. By and by towns grew, which came to be known as temple towns.

Question: How important were craftspersons for the building and maintenance of temples?

Answer: Craftspersons played an important role in the building and maintenance of temples :

  1. The Vishwakarma community consisting of goldsmith, bronzesmiths, blacksmiths, masons and carpenters were essential to the building of temples.
  2. Weavers such as the Saliyar or Kaikkolars were prosperous communities and they made ample donations to temples.
  3. The craftspersons of Bidar were skilled in their inlay work in copper and silver. They were also important for the building and maintenance of temples in their own way.

Question: Why did people from distant lands visit Surat?

Answer: People from distant lands visited Surat because of the following reasons:

  1. Surat was the gateway for trade with West Asia via the Gulf of Ormuz.
  2. Surat has also been called the gate to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here.
  3. There was a big market for cotton textiles. One could find several retail and wholesale shops selling cotton textiles.
  4. The textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders, Le. zari and had a market in West Asia, Africa and Europe.
  5. There were ample rest-houses for the visitors. Magnificent buildings and innumerable pleasure parks attracted people of far-off places.

Question: In what ways was craft production in cities like Calcutta different from that in cities Wee Thanjavur?

Answer: The craft production in Thanjavur was in form of inlay work in copper and silver white in Calcutta it was in the Form of cotton textiles, jute textiles and silk textiles.

Question: Compare any one of the cities described in this chapter with a town or a village with which you are familiar. Do you notice any similarities or differences?

Answer: Attempt yourself.

Question: What do temple towns represent?

Answer: Temple towns represent a very important pattern of urbanization.

Question: Why did the rulers endow temples with grants of land and money?

Answer: They did so in order to carry out elaborate rituals, feed pilgrims and priests and celebrate festivals.

Question: How did pilgrims contribute to the temples?

Answer: They made donations.

Question: What is bronze?

Answer: Bronze is an alloy that contains copper and tin.

Question: What is bell metal?

Answer: Bell metal contains a greater proportion of tin than other kinds of bronze. This produces a bell like sound,

Question: How did temple authorities use their wealth?

Answer: They used their wealth to finance trade and banking,

Question: What did the Indian traders bring from Africa?

Answer: They brought gold and ivory from Africa.

Question: Name a few Indian spices which became an important part of European cooking.

Answer: Pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried ginger, g.

Question: What were craftspersons of Bidar famous for?

Answer: They were famous for their inlay work in copper and silver,

Question: What do the ruins of Hampi reveal?

Answer: The ruins at the Hampi reveal a well-fortified city.

Question: Why has Surat been called the gate to Mecca?

Answer: Surat has been called the gate to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here.

Question: What were the textiles of Surat famous for?

Answer: The textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders Le. zarL

Question: What was special with the Surat hundis?

Answer: The Surat hundis were honored in the far-off markets of Cairo in Egypt, Basra in Iraq and Antwerp in Belgium.

Question: Why did the Dutch and English East India Companies attempt to control Masulipatnam?

Answer: Because Masulipatnam became the most important port on the Andhra coast,

Question: How did the European Companies gain control of the sea trade?

Answer: They gained control of the sea trade by using their naval power,

Question: What was the system of advances?

Answer: Under the system of advances the weavers had to weave cloth which was already promised to European agents.

Question: Name the residence meant for the white rulers in Madras.

Answer: Fort St. George.

Question: Name the residence meant for the white rulers in Calcutta.

Answer: Fort St. William.

Question: Mention some articles of trade on which temple authorities collected taxes.

Answer: Sugar and jaggery, dyes, thread, and cotton, coconut, salt, areca nuts, butter, sesame oil and cloth.

Question: What is ‘lost wax’ technique?

Answer: ‘Lost wax’ technique was used to make Chola bronze statues. This technique involved several stages :

  1. First of all an image was made of wax. This was covered with clay and left in sun to dry.
  2. It was then heated and a small hole was made in the clay cover. The molten wax was drained out through this hole.
  3. Then molten wax was poured into the clay mould through the hole. Once the metal cooled and solidified, the clay cover was carefully removed and the image was cleaned and polished.

Question: What purpose did small towns serve?


Describe various Junctions of small towns.

Answer: Several small towns came to be seen in the sub-continent from the 8th century onward. These towns usually had a mandapika or mandi where nearby villagers came to sell their produce. These towns also had market streets called halta or hoot lined with shops.

There were also streets for different kinds of artisans such as potters, oil pressers, sugar market, toddy makers etc.

Many traders came from far and near to these towns to buy local articles and sell products of distant places such as salt, camphor, horse, etc.

Question: Find out about the present-day taxes on markets. Who collects these taxes? How are they collected and are they used for?


  • The present-day taxes on markets are collected as licence fees of shops.
  • It is the duty of MCD to collect these taxes.
  • MCD does this work with the help of its various departments.
  • The taxes collected by MCD are used in welfare of the public, roads, sewage, electricity, water etc.

Question: Give an account of the architecture of Hampi.

Answer: The architecture of Hampi was distinctive in several ways :

  • Hampi was a well-fortified city. No mortar or cementing agent was used in the construction of these walls. The technique followed was to wedge them together by inter-locking.
  • The buildings in the royal complex had splendid arches, domes and pillared halls with niches for holding sculptures.
  • They also had well-planned orchards and pleasure gardens with sculptural motifs such as the lotus and corbels.

Question: How was Hampi in its heyday in the 15 – 16th centuries? When did it fall into ruin?

Answer: In its heyday in the 15 – 16th centuries Hampi was an important centre of commercial and cultural activities. Moors, which was a name used collectively for Muslim merchants, Chettis and agents of European traders such as the Portuguese, visited the markets of Hampi.

Temples were the hub of cultural activities. Temple dancers known as devadasis performed before the deities, royalty and masses in the many-pillared halls in the Virupaksha, a form of Shiva, temple. The Mahanavami festival was one of the most important festivals celebrated at Hampi.

Hampi fell into ruin following the defeat of Vijayanagara in 1565 by the Deccan Sultans.

Towns, Traders and Craftpersons – Question: What were the reasons of the decline of Swat?

Answer: Surat, which was an important trade centre during the Mughal period, began to decline towards the end of the seventeenth century. This was because of the following factors:

  1. Because of the decline of the Mughal Empire, Surat faced huge loss of markets and productivity
  2. The control of the sea routes went into the hands of Portuguese
  3. Surat could not complete with Bombay where the English East India Company shifted its headquarters in 1668.

Question: What made the city of Masulipatnam populous and prosperous?

Answer: The city of Masulipatnam (Machilipatnam) was a centre of intense activity during the 17th century. Both the Dutch and English East India Companies attempted to control this city as it became the most important part on the Andhra coast. Qutb Shah rulers of Golconda imposed royal monopolies on the sale of textiles, spices and other items in order to prevent the trade passing completely into the hands of the various East India Companies. This led to a fierce competition among various trading groups such as the Golconda nobles, Persian merchants, Telugu Komati Chettis and European traders. As a result the city became populous and prosperous.

Question: How did the system of advances snatch the freedom of the weavers?


How did the Indian Crafts persons lose their independence?

Answer: The Indian textiles were in great demand in the European markets. As a result, the English began to make attempts to control the Indian craftspersons by appointing Indian traders as their agents. They introduced the system of advances under which the weavers had to weave cloth which was already promised to European agents. Weavers no longer had the liberty of selling their own cloth or weaving their own patterns. Instead, they had to reproduce the designs supplied to them by the company agents. This system snatched the freedom of the Indian weavers. They began to be guided by someone else.

Towns, Traders and Craftpersons – Question: Describe the trade activities of the big and small traders belonging to the medieval time.

Towns, Traders and Craftpersons – Answer: There were many kinds of traders. These included the Banjaras and several traders especially horse traders.

The traders usually travelled in caravans and formed guilds to protect their interests. There were several such guilds in South India from the eighth century onwards – the most famous being the Manigramam and Nanadesi. These guilds traded extensively both within the peninsula and with Southeast Asia and China. There were also communities like the Chettiyars and the Marwari Oswal who went on to become the major trading groups of the country. Gujarati traders,including the communities of Hindu Baniyas and Muslim Bohras, traded extensively with the ports of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, East Africa, South east Asia and China. They sold textiles and spices in these ports and in exchange, brought gold and ivory from Africa; and spices, tin, Chinese blue pottery and silver from Southeast Asia and China.

The towns on the west coast were home to Arab, Persian, Chinese, Jewish and Syrian Christian traders. Indian spices and cloth sold in the Red sea ports were bought by Italian traders and eventually reached European markets, fetching high profits. This ultimately drew European traders to India.

Towns, Traders and Craftpersons – Question: Describe Swat as a gateway to the West

Towns, Traders and Craftpersons – Answer: Surat in Gujarat was the emporium of western trade during the Mughal period along with Cambay (now Khambat) and somewhat later, Ahmedabad. Surat was the gateway for trade with West Asia via the Gulf or Ormuz. Surat has also been called the gate to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here.

Surat was a cosmopolitan city inhabited by people of all castes and creeds. In the 17th century the Portuguese, Dutch and English had their factories and warehouses at Surat. Several retail and wholesale shops could be found in Surat. These shops sold cotton textiles. Here, it is worth mentioning that the textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders (zari) and had a market in West Asia, African and Europe. The state provided all the facilities to the people who came to the city from all over the world. The Kathiawad seths or mahajans (moneychargers) had huge banking houses at Surat. The Surat hundis were honored in far-off markets of Cairo in Egypt, Basra in Iraq and Antwerp in Belgium.

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