Chapter 4 – Medieval India: Development of Folk Arts, Rise of Modern Indian Languages and New Faiths (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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The rural masses got opportunities to display their creative skills in many fields. Several occasions associated with agricultural operations for example the tilling of soil, sowing of saplings picking of cotton, pilling out the weeds and many other social functions provided opportunities.

Development of Folk Arts

  • The advent of rains became occasions for dancing and merry-making. The gods were invoked and special pujas offered in the temples.
  • It was also an occasion for enjoying the swings. Ladies on their spinning wheels accompanied by other ladies would sit together and sing till late into the night.
  • It is important to note that almost every region developed its own peculiar dance form with a local flavour.
  • Formal education was not considered very important for women but this did not prevent them from showing their talent in various other fields.
  • In Rajasthan, girls came up with beautiful designs on Odhanis, shirts and ghagras.
  • The Rajasthanis also created beautiful designs of tie and dye work in fabrics used both by women and men.

Rise of Modern Indian Languages

  • Another important development during this period was the emergence of several modern Indian languages.
  • Urdu perhaps originated around Delhi. If developed as a camp language in the army of Allaudin Khilji when they were stationed in the Deccan around fourteenth century.
  • The language soon developed its own grammar and became a distinct language.
  • As time passed, it came to be used by the elite as well. The famous poet Amir Khusrau, who composed poetry in this language, also played some part in making it popular.
  • Along with Urdu, nearly all other modern Indian languages like Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Khari Boli, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Sindhi, Kashmiri as well as the four South Indian languages- Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam came to acquire their present form and developed during this period.

New Faiths

During this period two new religions faiths flourished in India. They were Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. To bring the established within religion various reform movements also started in India.

New Religion Faiths


  • The Sikhs, who mostly belong to Punjab, form a sizable group of our population. The orthodox Sikhs believe that their religion was revealed by God to Guru Nanak, whose spirit entered the second and the subsequent gurus till the tenth Guru.
  • Music has always been an important feature of Sikhism and they believed that though music one can attain ecstasy or samadhi.


  • The Parsi Zoroastrian was founded by Zarathustra or Zoroaster, in the eight century BC. He preached monotheism in the region now known as Perisa.
  • He taught the worship of fire and the presence of good and bad in the form of Ahura Mazda and Ahura man.
  • He also taught the ethical doctrine of kindness and charity. These doctrines are enshrined in the Zend Avesta.

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