Chapter Notes- History Kingdoms Kings and Early Republic
Valley called Aryans.
Fig: Aryan Valley
What is Janapada:
i)The term Janapada is a compound composed of ‘Jana’ meaning tribe and ‘pada’ meaning foot. Its literal meaning, thus, is realm and subject population.
ii)Early Vedic texts reveal about several Janas or tribes of the Aryans living in semi- nomadic tribal state.
iii)In due course of time, these early Indian Iron Age Rigveda Janas coalesced into geographically fixed Janapadas.
iv)They were governed by rulers or rajas each having their own army and capital.
v)The kings maintained large armies who were paid regular salaries by using punch marked coins.
Features of Mahajanapadas:
i)Each Mahajanapadas was ruled by a king.
ii)Villagers were controlled by a village headman called Gramini.
iii)Varna system was divided into four castes-Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.
(i)The political organization of the mahajanpadas was organized into two forms- monarchy and republican system.
ii)In a monarchy, king was the head of the state. Magadha was its example.
iii)In a republican system, state was ruled by an elected chief called Ganpat. Mallas was its example.
i)As Mahajanapadas needed huge amount of money, they imposed taxes.
ii)One-sixth tax was fixed on crops; tax on crafts persons, herders, goods bought and sold through trade.
(iii)Further hunters and gathers had to give forest produce to the raja.
Agricultural System of Mahajanapadas:
(i)Two major changes were introduced in agriculture.
(ii)One, was the rapid use of iron ploughshares.
(iii)Second, people started transplanting paddy.
Varna System of Mahajanapadas:
i)Varna means group in Sanskrit.
ii)Varna decided one’s group. It was not based on birth.
iii)Gradually in later Vedic age, Varna system changed to caste system.
iv)The Brahmins imparted knowledge, Kshatriyas were rulers, Vaishyas contributed to trade while Shudras were slaves who were denied entry into the mainstream.
Magadha and Vajji
i)Magadha in South Bihar, on the banks of river Ganga was a fertile and industrial area which contributed to one of the most powerful kingdoms and some great kings like Bimbisara and Ashoka in India.
ii)Vajji in northern part of Ganga, was a confederacy of eight clans of whom the Videhas, Lichchhavis and the Jnatrikas were the most popular. Vaishali was a prosperous city under them.