Welcome to the NCERT Solutions for Class 10 Social Science History Chapter 8 “Novels, Society and History” provided by Swastik Classes. In this chapter, you will learn about the emergence and popularity of novels during the colonial period in India and how they reflected the society and culture of the time. You will also explore the works of several prominent Indian authors like Premchand, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Rabindranath Tagore, and their contributions to Indian literature. Additionally, this chapter delves into the role of literature in shaping the national identity and fostering cultural exchange. Our solutions are designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the concepts discussed in the chapter and help you score well in your exams. So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of Indian literature and its connection to society and history.

Writing responses to the class 10 Social Science questions provided in the exercise might be challenging for students for a number of reasons. One should not omit any NCERT textbook content in order to get the highest possible grade. Use the Swastik Classes’ NCERT answers for Social Science class 10 as a resource. Important exam-based questions are covered in depth in each chapter.


Write in brief

1. Explain the following:

(a) Social changes in Britain which led to an increase in women readers.

Solution : As the middle classes became more affluent in the eighteenth century, women got more leisure time to read and write novels. Also, novels began to explore the world of women, their emotions, identities, experiences and problems. Domestic life became an essential subject of novels- a field women had an authority to speak about. They drew upon their experience, wrote about family life and earned public recognition. The most exciting element of the novel was the involvement of women. Women novelist did not simply popularise the domestic role of women, often their novels dealt with women who broke established norms of the society before adjusting to them. Such stories allowed women readers to sympathise with rebellious actions.

(b) What actions of Robinson Crusoe make us see him as a typical coloniser?

Solution : The hero of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is an adventurer and a slave trader. There are many actions of Robinson Crusoe that make us see him as a typical coloniser. Shipwrecked on an island inhabited by coloured people, Crusoe treats them as inferior beings. He is portrayed as “rescuing” a native and then making him his slave. He is arrogant enough not to ask him his name and gives him the name Friday. Colonised people were seen as barbaric and primitive, and colonialism became their self-professed civiliser. So Crusoe’s behaviour was not seen as unacceptable or odd at that time and Crusoe was a direct representation of this ideology of colonisers.

(c) After 1740, the readership of novels began to include poorer people.

Solution : Initially novels did not come cheap. After 1740, the readership of novels began to include poorer people because of the introduction of circulating libraries. The books also become affordable due to technological improvements. In countries like France, publishers found that they could make super profits by hiring out novels by the hour. The novel was one of the first mass-produced items to be sold. This made books easily available to the poor people, who could not afford books earlier due to high costs and absence of lending libraries.

(d) Novelists in colonial India wrote for a political cause.

Solution : Novelists in colonial India wrote for a political cause because the novel was a powerful medium for expressing social defects and suggesting remedies for the same. Colonial rulers considered the contemporary Indian culture as an inferior one. On the contrary, Indian novelists wrote to develop modern literature to produce a sense of national belonging and cultural equality with their colonial masters. It also helped establish a relationship with the past. Since people from all walks of life could read novels, it was an easy way to popularise anti-colonial ideas. It also helped bring about a sense of national unity and creating a sense of collective belonging on the basis of one’s language among the people.

2. Outline the changes in technology and society which led to an increase in readers of the novel in eighteenth-century Europe.

Solution :

(a) Changes in Technology

1. Change in print technology increased the affordability, accessibility and readership of the novels. Publishers also started hiring out novels. Books could now be read in private or could be heard by more people,

2. Improved communication like railways connected small towns and rural areas increrasing the readership.

3. Prosperity, due to industrialisation, made new groups to join the readership for novels. Besides the aristocratic and gentlemanly classes, new groups of lower-middle-class people such as shopkeepers and clerks joined in.

(b) Social changes.

1. Unlike other literary forms novel depicted the life of a common man. It made novels real,  absorbing and believable. The novel created in them a feeling of connection with the fate of rural communities.

2. Readers were drawn into the story and identified themselves with the lives of fictitious characters. They now could think about issues like love and marriage, proper conduct for men and women.

3. The rise in the earnings of authors freed them the from the patronage of aristocrats. They could now experiment with different literary styles. Epistolary novel – Samuel Richardson’s Pamela – written in the 18th century was the first of its kind. It was a story told through letters.while one of them read it out.

4. Due to prosperity, women got leisure time and they became readers as well as writers. They wrote about their domestic life so it increased the readership amongst women.

All these changes increased the number of readers.

3. Write a note on:

(a) The Oriya novel

Solution :

• In 1877-78, Ramashankar Ray started to serialise the first Oriya novel, “Saudamini”; but it remained incomplete.

• Orissa’s first major novelist was Fakir Mohon Senapati. He wrote “Chaa Mana Atha Guntha” that deals with land and its possession. It is the story of Ramchandra Mangaraj, a landlord’s manager who cheats his idle and drunken master and then eyes the plot of fertile land owned by Bhagia and Shariya, a childless weaver couple. This novel illustrated that rural issues could be an important part of urban concerns.

• The Oriya novels were path breaking and mainly based on rural issues of land and its possession.

(b) Jane Austen’s portrayal of women

Solution :

Jane Austen is an English novelist. Her novels give us a glimpse of the world of women in genteel rural society in mid nineteenth century Britain.
Austen’s plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security.
Women, at that time, were encouraged to look for a good marriage and find a wealthy and propertied husband. Her famous novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ depicts this well. It writes ‘it is the truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a good wife’.
The main characters are shown to be pre-occupied with marriage and money.

(c) The picture of the new middle class which the novel Pariksha-Guru portrays.

Solution :

1. ‘Pariksha Guru’ is the first modern novel in Hindi literature and was written by Shrinivas Das of Delhi in 1882. It cautioned young men of well to do families against the dangerous influences of bad company and consequent loose morals.

2. The novel portrays the difficulties of the new middle class in adapting to colonised society while preserving its cultural identity. It emphasises that Western ideals must be inculcated, but without sacrificing the traditional values of middle-class households.

3. The characters in this Hindi novel by Srinivas Das are seen endeavouring to bridge the two different worlds of modern education and traditional ethics.

4. But the novel did not go down well with the middle class readers due to it’s over moralising style and tone.


1. Discuss some of the social changes in nineteenth-century Britain which Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens wrote about.

Solution :

(i)Social changes in 19th century Britain highlighted by Thomas Hardy

• Thomas Hardy was a 19th century English novelist.

• The breaking up of rural communities because of industrialization. Due to industrialization, peasants who toiled with their lands were disappearing as large or big farmers enclosed lands, bought machines and employed labourers to produce for the market.

•  In his novel ‘Mayor of Casterbridge’, Hardy mourns the loss of the more personalized world which is being replaced by a more efficiently managed urban culture.

(ii) Social Changes highlighted by Charles Dickens

• Through his novels ‘Hard times’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ Charles Dickens looked at the terrible conditions of the life under industrial capitalism.

 • Charles Dickens wrote mainly about the emergence of the industrial age and its effects on society and the common people.He wrote about the terrible effects of industialisation on people’s lives and characters.

• Growth of factories and expanded cities led to the growth of business and economy and increased the profits of capitalists.

• Dickens criticised not just the greed for profits but also the ideas that reduced human beings into simple instruments of production.

(iii) At the same time workers faced immense problems. Use of machines resulted in the unemployment of ordinary labour; they became homeless, creating a problem of housing. Pursuit of profit became the goal of factory owners while the workers were undervalued and almost lost their identity Human beings were reduced to being mere instruments of production.

2. Summarise the concern in both nineteenth-century Europe and India about women reading novels. What does this suggest about how women were viewed?

Solution : In 19th-century women in India and Europe were readers as well as writers. TheProtagonist in the society concerned about their reading due to the following reasons. The concern in both nineteenth-century Europe and India about women reading novels bore more or less similar fears. Women were seen as easily corruptible and an imaginary world that the novel provided was seen as a dangerous opening for the imaginations of its readers. They feared that women would neglect the role as wives and mothers and houses would be in disorder. In certain Indian communities, it was felt that women who read novels would leave their domestic environments and aspire to be part of the outside world- the male domain. This suggests that women were viewed as delicate and incapable of being independent. They were merely expected to marry a man who could take care of their financial needs while they maintained his household and remained subservient to him.

3. In what ways was the novel in colonial India useful for both the colonisers as well as the nationalists?

Solution : The novel in colonial India was useful for both the colonisers as well as the nationalists on account of a variety of reasons.
For Colonisers: Colonial rulers found ‘vernacular’ novels illuminating for the information they provided on native customs and life. It was useful in the governance of this diverse country. Many British and Christian missionaries translated these novels into English for their valuable information.
For Nationalist: Indian nationalists used the form of the novel to criticise colonial rule and instil a sense of national pride and unity amongst the people. They glorified accounts of the past, these novels helped in creating a sense of national pride among their readers. These novels also portrayed inbuilt contradictions in the Indian society like caste systems, untouchability etc. It made Indians introspect to directed them to work for social integration.

4. Describe how the issue of caste was included in novels in India. By referring to any two novels, discuss the ways in which they tried to make readers think about existing social issues.

Solution : Indians used the novel as a powerful medium to criticise what they considered defects in their society and to suggest remedies. The issue of caste was included in Indian novels for this same purpose. Novels like Indirabai and Indulekha were written by members of the upper castes with upper-caste characters.

• Potheri Kunjambu, a lower-caste writer from north Kerala, wrote a novel called Saraswativijayam in 1892. It was a direct attack on caste oppression. The novel’s hero, an ‘untouchable’ leaves his village to escape from the cruelty of a Brahmin overlord. He converts to Christianity, receives modern education and returns to his village a judge of a local court. In the meantime, the villagers bring the landlord to his court, they believe the landlord’s men had killed the hero. The judge reveals himself and the Nambuthri landlord repents and promises to reform. The novel emphasises the role of education in uplifting the lower classes.

• A Bengali novel Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (1956) written by Advaita Malla Burman depicts the lives of peasants and the ‘low castes’. The people described are the Mallas – community of fishermen. The story covers three generations and describes the oppression of the upper castes. The lives of the Mallas is tied with river Titash. As the river dries, the community dies too. This novel is special because the author himself a ‘low caste’ describing the anguish of low-caste people.

5. Describe the ways in which the novel in India attempted to create a sense of Pan-Indian belonging.

Solution : The ways in which the novel in India attempted to create a sense of pan-Indian belonging were:

• Colonists depicted India as a weak, divided and dependent community. On the other hand, nationalist novelists tried to show India’s glorious past and a sense of unity amongst Indians.

• Many historical novels were about Marathas and the Rajputs which produced a sense of a pan—Indian belonging in Bengal. They imagined the nation to be full of adventure, heroism, romance and sacrifice. The novel allowed the colonized to give a shape to their desires. Rabindranath Tagore wrote about history in his early novels and later shifted to writing stories about domestic relationships. Tagore’s novels are striking because they make us rethink both man-woman relationship and nationalism.

• Bankim’s Anandmath is a novel about a secret Hindu militia that fight Muslims to establish a Hindu kingdom. It was a novel that inspired many kinds of freedom fighters.

• Shivaji, the hero of the novel Anguriya Binimoy (1857) written by Budhadeb Mukhopadhyaya’s (1827-94) engages in many battles against clever and treacherous Aurangzeb, what gives him courage and grit is his belief that he is nationalist fighting for the freedom of Hindus.

• Imagining a heroic past was one way in which the novel helped in popularising the sense of belonging to a common nation. It was another way to include various classes in the novel so that they could be seen as belonging to a shared world. Premchand’s novels, for instance, are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of society.


NCERT Solutions for Class 10 Social Science History Chapter 8 “Novels, Society and History” provided by Swastik Classes have shed light on the emergence and impact of novels in colonial India. The chapter highlights how literature has played a significant role in shaping the social and cultural fabric of the country. Through the works of Indian authors like Premchand, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Rabindranath Tagore, we see how literature served as a medium of expression and as a tool for social reform. The chapter also emphasizes the importance of cultural exchange and the role of literature in fostering a sense of national identity. Overall, this chapter provides an insightful look into the role of literature in society and its significance in understanding history. The NCERT solutions provided by Swastik Classes offer a comprehensive understanding of the chapter’s concepts and help students prepare for their exams.

Q1. What is the significance of literature in shaping society?
A1. Literature plays a significant role in shaping society by reflecting its values, beliefs, and cultural practices. It serves as a medium of expression for writers to convey their perspectives and ideas, which in turn can influence the thinking of the masses. Moreover, literature can also serve as a tool for social reform by bringing attention to issues that require change.
Q2. Who were some of the prominent Indian authors during the colonial period?
A2. Some of the prominent Indian authors during the colonial period were Premchand, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Raja Rammohan Roy.
Q3. What was the role of novels in colonial India?
A3. Novels played a crucial role in colonial India by providing a platform for Indian writers to express their views on social, political, and cultural issues. They also served as a means of spreading knowledge and promoting education among the masses.
Q4. How did literature contribute to the national identity of India?
A4. Literature contributed to the national identity of India by reflecting the country’s diversity and cultural richness. It played a vital role in shaping the idea of India as a nation with a unique identity that celebrates its cultural heritage while embracing modernity.
Q5. How did the colonial period influence Indian literature?
A5. The colonial period had a significant impact on Indian literature, as it led to the emergence of new literary genres and styles. Indian writers were exposed to Western literary traditions, which influenced their writing and contributed to the growth of Indian literature as a distinct form. Additionally, the colonial period provided a platform for Indian writers to express their views on the socio-political issues of the time, which contributed to the growth of a national consciousness among the masses.

swc google search e1651044504923