NCERT Solutions For Class 12 History Chapter 12 Colonial Cities Urbanisation, Planning and Architecture

Here you will find NCERT Solution Questions for Class 12 History with Answers PDF Free Download based on the important concepts and topics given in the textbook as per CBSE new exam pattern. This may assist you to understand and check your knowledge about the chapters. These Solution Questions Answers are selected supported by the newest exam pattern as announced by CBSE.


Q1. To what extent are census data useful in reconstructing patterns of urbanisation in the colonial context? (or)
“A careful study of census reveals some fascinating trends of urbanisation in 19th century.” Support the statement with facts.

Answer: A careful study of the data collected through the census provides us a lot of information in understanding the trend of urbanisation. It can be examined as under:
(a) The process of urbanisation was sluggish in India after 1800.
(b) In the nineteenth century and in first two decades of the twentieth century the proportion of the urban population was very low and stagnant.
(c) Which recorded between 1900 and 1940, A 13% increase in the urban population which recorded between whereas during the same period, these was a overall 10% increase in the population of the whole country.
(d) The data, thus, collected helps us in the enumeration of people according to their age, sex, caste, religion, occupation, etc.

Q2.What do the terms “White” and “Black” Town signify ?

Answer:The British had white skin so they were often called the ‘white’. They suffered from the white man’s burden and considered themselves as superior to others. On the other hand, the blacks had brown or black skin. So, they were called the “black’, such as the Indians or Africans. Thus, white signified the superiority over the black.

According to the British, the black areas symbolised chaos and anarchy, filth and disease. On the other hand, the white area stood for cleanliness and hygiene. In black areas, epidemics like cholera and plague often spread. So, the British took stringent measures to ensure sanitation and public health.

They wanted to prevent diseases of the black areas. So, they ensured underground piped water supply. They also introduced sewerage and drainage system. In other words, the British paid a lot of attention towards sanitary vigilance. Thus, white towns were those parts of the colonial towns where the white people lived.

The cantonment areas were also developed at safe places. They had wide roads, barracks, churches and parade ground. Besides, they had big bungalows and gardens. In fact, the White Town symbolised settled city life. But in the black towns, the Indians lived who were said to be unorganised and a source of filth and disease.

Q3. How did prominent Indian merchants establish themselves in the colonial city?

Answer: The prominent Indian merchants and traders settled in colonial cities like Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. They served as agents or middlemen for the British and lived traditionally built courtyard houses in the Black Town. They centred over large tracts of land in these cities and heavily made investments for the future. They wanted to impress their British masters or colonial ruler or white people living in white towns by giving lavish parties during festivals seasons and built temples to establish their supremacy and prestige in society.

Q4.What were the motivating factors of town planning of Calcutta (Bengal) ? Describe the process of town planning of Calcutta under the reign of Lord Wellesley.
Examine how the concerns of defence and health gave shape to Calcutta.

Answer: Right from the early days of their rule in Bengal, the British took the task of town planning of Calcutta in their own hands. Following were the motivating factors behind it:
(i) The first factor was defence. In 1756 C.E., Calcutta was attacked by the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj- ud-Daulah. He captured the small fort, which was built by the British traders as their depot for goods. The traders of East India Company were not happy with the sovereignty of the Nawab. They neither wanted to pay the custom duty nor did they wanted to operate according to the terms given by the Nawab. On the other hand, Siraj-ud-Daulah wanted to assert his authority.

(ii) The battle of Plassey was fought in 1757 and Siraj ud-Daulah was defeated in it. Then, Siraj ud- Daulah the East India Company decided to build a new fort, which could not be easily attacked.

Town Planning : Calcutta was grown from the three villages of Sutnati, Kolkata and Govindapur. First of all, the Company cleared the land in the southern most village of Govindapur and ordered the traders and weavers to move out who resided over there. Around newly built Fort William, a vast open space was left, which locally came to be known as garer-math or Maidan. The main objective of keeping open spaces was that if enemy army advances towards the Fort then it could come to a straight line of fire.

Once, the British consolidated their power at Calcutta then they started moving out of the Fort and began building residences along the periphery of the maidan. In this way the British settlements in Calcutta came into being. The maidan or vast open space became a landmark. It was the first significant measure in the town planning of Calcutta.

Town Planning under Lord Wellesley : Lord Wellesley became the Governor-General in 1798. He built a palace for himself called the ‘Government House’. This building was a symbol of British authority. When Wellesley arrived at Calcutta, he became very much concerned about the condition of the Indian part of the city—the excessive vegetation, the crowding, the dirty tanks, the smells and poor drainage.

The British were worried by these conditions because they believed that the poisonous gases hum pools of stagnant water and marshlands were the main cause of most of the diseases. Even the tropical climate of India was seen as unhealthy and enervating. There was one way of making the city healthier and that was creating open places in the city. Wellesley issued an administrative order in 1803 on the need for town planning.

Many committees were set up for this purpose. A number of bazaars, ghats, tanneries and cremation grounds were cleared. From then, the idea of public health became an idea, which was used in projects of town planning and town clearance.

Q5. What are the different colonial architectural styles which can be seen in Bombay city?

Answer: In the past, buildings were at odds with the traditional Indian buildings. Gradually, Indians too got used to European architecture and made it their own. The British in turn adapted some Indian styles to suit their needs. One example is the bungalow which was used by government officers in Bombay. The colonial bungalow was set on extensive grounds which ensured privacy. The traditional pitched roof and surrounding veranda kept the bungalow cool in summer months. These bungalows can still be seen in the city. Other than that traditional styles of decoration and building exist. The lack of space in the city and crowding led to a type of building unique to Bombay, the chawl.

Q6.How were urban centres transformed during the eighteenth I century ? Explain the changes reflected in the history of urban centres in India during the 18th eentury with special I reference to network of trade. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.))

Answer:In the 18th century, many old towns declined and were replaced by new towns which soon emerged and developed. As there was a gradual erosion in the power of the Mughals, it caused an eclipse of various cities associated with their rule. Delhi and Agra, which were the capitals during the Mughal rule, lost their political authority and grandeur.

(i) Emergence of New Regional Powers : During the 18th century, many new regional capitals emerged and soon gained importance. Such powers were Lucknow, Hyderabad, Seringapatam, Poona, Nagpur, Baroda and Thanjavur. Those traders, artisans and administrators who earlier lived in the Mughal centres of power now left these places and migrated to new capitals in search of work and patronage. Many mercenaries also came to these new cities in search of employment.

(ii) Creation of New Urban Settlements : Many officials and local notables lived in the Mughal cities. They created their new urban settlements such as the ‘Qasbah’ and ‘Ganj’. However, there was an uneven growth of cities. Some places flourished because of their economic activities but some faced economic decline due to war, plunder and political instability.

(iii) Growth of Trading Centres : The emergence of urban centres brought many changes in the network of trade. For example, the Portuguese settled in Panaji in 1510 and the Dutch in Masulipatnam in 1605. The British came in Madras in 1639 and the French took hold of Pondicherry in 1673. It led to an expansion of economic and commercial activity. So, many towns grew around these trading centres. By the end of the eighteenth century, the land-based empires in Asia were replaced by the powerful sea-based European empires. It ushered in International trade, mercantilism and capitalism in the society.

(iv) Emergence of Colonial Port-Cities : In the mid-eighteenth century, the commercial centres like Dhaka and Masulipatnam lost their importance. With the British becoming more powerful after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the trade shifted to cities like Madras, Calcutta and Bombay, which emerged as new economic capitals due to the trade activities of East India Company. So, these cities also became centres of colonial, political and administrative power. By the end of 1800, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay had become the biggest cities in India.

Q7. What were the new kinds of public places that emerged in the colonial city? What functions did they serve?

Answer: The Indians found the new colonial cities as bewildering. They were surpassed the new transport facilities available here. The means of transport facilities which included horse-drawn carnages, tram11 and buses. Enabled the people to live at far away places from the city centre. Now they lived at some other places and served at some other places.

Emergence of new public places: The new colonial cities far away place witnessed new public places such as the theatres, cinema-halls, gardens, public parks, etc. Besides these were clubs and Garden Houses.

Functions: These newly created public places were very exciting. They were an important source of entertainment and helped increasing social interaction. The people were able to express their opinions on society and government. They could also question the practice of social customs.

Q8.What were the concerns that influenced town planning in the nineteenth century ?

Answer:After the Revolt of 1857, the British nurtured various concerns and worries regarding town-planning, which is evident from the following points:
Constant fear of rebellion : Having faced the Revolt of 1857, the white men in India had a constant fear of rebellion from the Indians. So, they wanted to live in more secure and segregated enclaves. To ensure their defence, they wanted to live away from the native people from whom they faced the threat of rebellion. So, they cleared many agricultural fields and pasture lands and set up urban spaces called the Civil Lines. The Englishmen lived in these Civil Lines and also set up cantonment areas for the stationing of the armed forces.

Safe enclaves : The British considered the Civil Lines and cantonment as safe enclaves as they ensured better defence. These areas were separate from the Indian towns. They had broad streets and also big bungalows amidst large gardens. They also had a Church. The Cantonment areas had barracks and parade ground. So, all these places — Civil Lines as well as cantonment—were a model of ordered urban life. They were also a safe place for all the Europeans.

Development of white towns : The British were also concerned about epidemics like cholera and plague, which often spread in India, killing thousands of people. So, they demarcated both Black and White areas. The black areas symbolised only chaos and anarchy. They stood for filth and disease. The British always feared that disease would spread froimthe Black to the White areas. So, they developed White Towns for themselves. These towns signified hygiene and cleanliness. The British took stringent administrative measures to ensure sanitation of these areas. They also regulated the building activity. They also made arrangements for the underground piped water supply. They cared a lot for sewerage and drainage systems. In fact, they kept an utmost sanitary vigilance.

Q9. To what extent were social relations transformed in the new cities?

Answer: (i) There was a big contrast between extreme wealth and poverty in the new cities. New means of transport facilities such as horse-drawn carriages, trams, buses, etc. made travelling from home to work an interesting experience.
(ii) Creation of public places like theatres public parks and cinema halls provided new forms of entertainment and social interaction.
(iii) New social groups were formed people of all classes started to migrate to the cities. With an increased demand for lawyers and engineers the “middle class” increased. Debate and dicussion became popular and established social norms and practices were questioned.
(iv) Cities also offered new opportunities for women. They chose new professions in the city as factory workers, teachers, film actresses, etc. for a long time so women remained objects of social censure.

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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History

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