Introduction - Agrarian Structure in the Post-Gupta Period UPSC Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : Introduction - Agrarian Structure in the Post-Gupta Period UPSC Notes | EduRev

The document Introduction - Agrarian Structure in the Post-Gupta Period UPSC Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims.
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Introduction

  • The establishment of the Gupta rule marked the beginning of a new consolidation of forces and king’s prerogative rights over all lands came to be recognised without doubt. Land grants to the Brahmanas became frequent in the Gupta period. They could not make any grant without possessing royal prerogative over all land.
  • Different rulers and kings in different parts of India seem to have claimed absolute ownership over land and they disposed it off as they liked.
  • The seeds of feudalism can be traced to a very early period but in the Gupta period the system of land grants came to be more and more marked.
  • We learn from Baigram copper-plate of the time of Kumaragupta I that revenue free lands were 
  • purchased and after being properly surveyed and measured, were gifted to the Barhmanas according to the principle of Aksayanivi (permanent endowment).
  • The Damodar plates refer to the sale of state land for the purpose of making gifts. In one of these plates the grant was made according to the principle of Nividharma, while in another we find that the grant was made by destroying the conditions of Apradaksaya (non-transferability).
  • Specific forms of land tenures were Nividhrama, Aksayanivi, Navimaryada, Bhumichidranyaya. Aksayanivi implied permanent endowment and was not to be dismissed or destroyed in any circumstances.
  • Bhumichidranyaya signifies full property 

 

Know The Important Facts

  • Fields which were owned by cultivators themselves are generally described as Kautambakshetra, owned by certain individuals as Sakta and tilled by certain individuals as Prakrsta or Krsta.
  • Most of the free gifts of land were regarded as aprada, sasana, chaturvaiayagrama, brahmadeya etc.
  • Bhaga—Royal share of the produce.
  • Bhoga—Periodical supplies of fruits, firewood, flowers etc. Which they had to furnish to the king.
  • Kara—The tax to be paid besides the grain share.
  • Hiranya—The King’s share of certain crops payable in cash.
  • Pratyaya—Duties
  • In Gujarat, private persons were granted grama pattaka upon agreeing to pay a fixed amount of land revenue in cash for the entire village.
  • The Manasara informed that the Chakravarti, maharaja or adhiraja, narendra, parsnika and pattadhara received one-tenth, one-sixth, one-fifth, one-fouth, and one-third of the produce as revenue.
  • Some of the most popular land measures were the nivartana, pattikahala, Kedara, bhumi, Khandukavapa, pataka, gocharma, kharivapa, kulyavapa, dronavapa, adhavapa, nalikavapa etc.

 

rights, that is, complete freedom from the payment of revenue and other dues. It did not carry with it the right to oust tenants.

  • An important developement during the later half of Gupta period, was the grant of cultivated land to temples and Brahmanas in northern and eastern Bengal, and in the eastern part of modern Madhya Pradesh.
  • From the time of the Vakataka king Pravarasena II onwards (fifth century A.D.) the ruler gave up his control almost over all sources of revenue, including pasturage, hides and charcoal, mines, for the production of salt, and all hidden treasures and deposits.
  • Royal ownership of mines, which was an important sign of sovereignty, seems to have been transferred to the Brahmanas. 
  • The grant of agrahara by the kings led to the expansion of a large number of temporary tenants because the Brahmanas were not able to cultivate themselves.
  • Land charters from the fourth to the sixth century A.D. in Maharashtra and Gujarat clearly establish that the recipient was given the right of enjoying the land cultivating it or getting it cultivate on lease. 
  • Inscriptions inform us that sometimes the donees could even replace old peasants by new ones and thus might oust their tenants.
  • Thus by virture of religious grants priests and temples collected rent from temporary or permanent tenants as the case may be, but did not forward any portion of it as revenue. 
  • In the post-Gupta period the land charters created a considerable class of landed magnates who were given not only the right to collect taxes but also some right to maintain law and order.
  • Perhaps the major portion of land continued to be in possession of free peasants, who paid revenues directly to the state.
  • Besides having to pay a fixed portion of their produce as regular revenues to the state, the peasants were subjected to various impositions such as udranga (frontier tax), upanikara (tribute to the divisional officer), and hiranya (cash payment).
  • The villagers had to make not only various kinds of contributions to royal troops and officials when they passed through their areas, but they had also to perform forced labour of all varieties, probably for military purposes.
  • Vatsyayana informs us that peasant women

 

Know The Important Facts

  •  The whole village granted to the Brahmins was known as Brahmagrama.
  •  The royal writs of land grants during the post-Gupta period were known as sasanapatra.
  •  During the post-Gupta period, the taxation system was most oppressive in Kashmir.
  • The most interesting details on land and land use are available in the land grant charters.
  • Among the foodgrains, the most widely cultivated crop was Rice.
  • A religious sect, born out of agrarian protest against the existing system, was lingayat.
  • The body of officials entrusted with the job of collection of taxes was known as panchkula.

 

were compelled to fill up the granaries of the village headman, take things into or out of his house, clear or decorate his residence, work in his fields, and spin yarn of cotton, wool, flax or hemp for his clothes

  • The land revenue which in theory was usually to the extent of 1/12, 1/8 or 1/6 of the produce according to the fertility of the soil and yield, in practice varied considerably under the influence of the feudal system. 
  • An important development in Gupta and Post-Gupta times was the rise of local units of production. Irrigation tended to be a local responsibility.
  • In the Gupta period the repair of the famous Sudarsana lake in Saurashtra was carried out by the local provincial government.
  • The local units of production were coming into existence can be inferred from the paucity of coins of common use from the Gupta period onwards.
  • Reference has been made to the issue of copper coins by several indigenous ‘tribes’ and dynasties of northern India in Post-Muarya times.
  • The nigamas or towns also began to issue coins during Gupta and post-Gupta periods. This practice shows symptom of the rise of self-sufficient economy.
  • After the 6th century A.D. habitation in many urban sites disappeared. This is true of a number of sites such as Sanghol in Ludhiana, Purana Qila (Indraprastha), Hastinapura, Mathura, Kausambi, Rajgir, Chirand etc.
  • It is significant that nigama which earlier meant a town came to mean a village in early medieval times. Marketisation had reached a low ebb and local needs were met by local production.
  • Under such conditions the jajmani system became prominent. Since artisans did not have much scope for the sale of their products in towns they moved to far-off villages where they catered to the needs of the peasants who paid them at harvest time in kind.
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