NCERT Textbook - New Kings and Kingdoms Class 7 Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : NCERT Textbook - New Kings and Kingdoms Class 7 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


16 OUR PASTS — II
M
any new dynasties emerged after the
 seventh century. Map 1 shows the major ruling
dynasties in different parts of the subcontinent between
the seventh and twelfth centuries.
2
NEW KINGS AND KINGDOMS
Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1
Major kingdoms,
seventh-twelfth
centuries
Locate the
Gurjara-Pratiharas,
Rashtrakutas,
Palas, Cholas
and Chahamanas
(Chauhans).
Can you identify
the present-day
states over which
they exercised
control?
?
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


16 OUR PASTS — II
M
any new dynasties emerged after the
 seventh century. Map 1 shows the major ruling
dynasties in different parts of the subcontinent between
the seventh and twelfth centuries.
2
NEW KINGS AND KINGDOMS
Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1
Major kingdoms,
seventh-twelfth
centuries
Locate the
Gurjara-Pratiharas,
Rashtrakutas,
Palas, Cholas
and Chahamanas
(Chauhans).
Can you identify
the present-day
states over which
they exercised
control?
?
©NCERT
not to be republished
17
?
The emergence of new dynasties
By the seventh century there were big landlords or
warrior chiefs in different regions of the subcontinent.
Existing kings often acknowledged them as their
subordinates or samantas. They were
expected to bring gifts for their kings
or overlords, be present at their courts
and provide them with military
support. As samantas gained power
and wealth, they declared themselves
to be maha-samanta, maha-
mandaleshvara (the great lord of a
“circle” or region) and so on. Sometimes
they asserted their independence from
their overlords.
One such instance was that of the
Rashtrakutas in the Deccan. Initially
they were subordinate to the Chalukyas
of Karnataka. In the mid-eighth century,
Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief,
overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed a ritual
called hiranya-garbha (literally, the golden womb). When
this ritual was performed with the help of Brahmanas,
it was thought to lead to the “rebirth” of the sacrificer as
a Kshatriya, even if he was not one by birth.
In other cases, men from enterprising families used
their military skills to carve out kingdoms. For instance,
the Kadamba Mayurasharman and the Gurjara-
Pratihara Harichandra were Brahmanas who gave up
their traditional professions and took to arms,
successfully establishing kingdoms in Karnataka and
Rajasthan respectively.
Administration in the kingdoms
Many of these new kings adopted high-sounding titles
such as maharaja-adhiraja (great king, overlord of
kings), tribhuvana-chakravartin (lord of the three
worlds) and so on. However, in spite of such claims,
NEW KINGS AND
KINGDOMS
Do you think
being born as a
Kshatriya was
important in order
to become a ruler
during this period?
Fig. 1
Wall relief from Cave
15, Ellora, showing
Vishnu as Narasimha,
the man-lion.
It is a work of the
Rashtrakuta period.
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


16 OUR PASTS — II
M
any new dynasties emerged after the
 seventh century. Map 1 shows the major ruling
dynasties in different parts of the subcontinent between
the seventh and twelfth centuries.
2
NEW KINGS AND KINGDOMS
Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1
Major kingdoms,
seventh-twelfth
centuries
Locate the
Gurjara-Pratiharas,
Rashtrakutas,
Palas, Cholas
and Chahamanas
(Chauhans).
Can you identify
the present-day
states over which
they exercised
control?
?
©NCERT
not to be republished
17
?
The emergence of new dynasties
By the seventh century there were big landlords or
warrior chiefs in different regions of the subcontinent.
Existing kings often acknowledged them as their
subordinates or samantas. They were
expected to bring gifts for their kings
or overlords, be present at their courts
and provide them with military
support. As samantas gained power
and wealth, they declared themselves
to be maha-samanta, maha-
mandaleshvara (the great lord of a
“circle” or region) and so on. Sometimes
they asserted their independence from
their overlords.
One such instance was that of the
Rashtrakutas in the Deccan. Initially
they were subordinate to the Chalukyas
of Karnataka. In the mid-eighth century,
Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief,
overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed a ritual
called hiranya-garbha (literally, the golden womb). When
this ritual was performed with the help of Brahmanas,
it was thought to lead to the “rebirth” of the sacrificer as
a Kshatriya, even if he was not one by birth.
In other cases, men from enterprising families used
their military skills to carve out kingdoms. For instance,
the Kadamba Mayurasharman and the Gurjara-
Pratihara Harichandra were Brahmanas who gave up
their traditional professions and took to arms,
successfully establishing kingdoms in Karnataka and
Rajasthan respectively.
Administration in the kingdoms
Many of these new kings adopted high-sounding titles
such as maharaja-adhiraja (great king, overlord of
kings), tribhuvana-chakravartin (lord of the three
worlds) and so on. However, in spite of such claims,
NEW KINGS AND
KINGDOMS
Do you think
being born as a
Kshatriya was
important in order
to become a ruler
during this period?
Fig. 1
Wall relief from Cave
15, Ellora, showing
Vishnu as Narasimha,
the man-lion.
It is a work of the
Rashtrakuta period.
©NCERT
not to be republished
18 OUR PASTS — II
?
they often shared power with their samantas as well as
with associations of peasants, traders and Brahmanas.
In each of these states, resources were obtained from
the producers, that is, peasants, cattle-keepers,
artisans, who were often persuaded or compelled to
surrender part of what they produced. Sometimes
these were claimed as “rent” due to a lord who asserted
that he owned the land. Revenue was also collected
from traders.
Four hundred taxes!
The inscriptions of the Cholas who ruled in Tamil Nadu
refer to more than 400 terms for different kinds of taxes.
The most frequently mentioned tax is vetti, taken not in
cash but in the form of forced labour, and kadamai, or
land revenue. There were also taxes on thatching the
house, the use of a ladder to climb palm trees, a cess on
succession to family property, etc.
Are any such taxes collected today?
These resources were used to finance the king’s
establishment, as well as for the construction of temples
and forts. They were also used to fight wars, which were
in turn expected to lead to the acquisition of wealth in the
form of plunder, and access to land as well as trade routes.
The functionaries for collecting revenue were
generally recruited from influential families, and
positions were often hereditary. This was true about
the army as well. In many cases, close relatives of the
king held these positions.
Prashastis and land grants
Prashastis contain details that may not be literally true.
But they tell us how rulers wanted to depict themselves
– as valiant, victorious warriors, for example. These were
composed by learned Brahmanas, who occasionally
helped in the administration.
?
In what ways was
this form of
administration
different from the
present-day
system?
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


16 OUR PASTS — II
M
any new dynasties emerged after the
 seventh century. Map 1 shows the major ruling
dynasties in different parts of the subcontinent between
the seventh and twelfth centuries.
2
NEW KINGS AND KINGDOMS
Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1
Major kingdoms,
seventh-twelfth
centuries
Locate the
Gurjara-Pratiharas,
Rashtrakutas,
Palas, Cholas
and Chahamanas
(Chauhans).
Can you identify
the present-day
states over which
they exercised
control?
?
©NCERT
not to be republished
17
?
The emergence of new dynasties
By the seventh century there were big landlords or
warrior chiefs in different regions of the subcontinent.
Existing kings often acknowledged them as their
subordinates or samantas. They were
expected to bring gifts for their kings
or overlords, be present at their courts
and provide them with military
support. As samantas gained power
and wealth, they declared themselves
to be maha-samanta, maha-
mandaleshvara (the great lord of a
“circle” or region) and so on. Sometimes
they asserted their independence from
their overlords.
One such instance was that of the
Rashtrakutas in the Deccan. Initially
they were subordinate to the Chalukyas
of Karnataka. In the mid-eighth century,
Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief,
overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed a ritual
called hiranya-garbha (literally, the golden womb). When
this ritual was performed with the help of Brahmanas,
it was thought to lead to the “rebirth” of the sacrificer as
a Kshatriya, even if he was not one by birth.
In other cases, men from enterprising families used
their military skills to carve out kingdoms. For instance,
the Kadamba Mayurasharman and the Gurjara-
Pratihara Harichandra were Brahmanas who gave up
their traditional professions and took to arms,
successfully establishing kingdoms in Karnataka and
Rajasthan respectively.
Administration in the kingdoms
Many of these new kings adopted high-sounding titles
such as maharaja-adhiraja (great king, overlord of
kings), tribhuvana-chakravartin (lord of the three
worlds) and so on. However, in spite of such claims,
NEW KINGS AND
KINGDOMS
Do you think
being born as a
Kshatriya was
important in order
to become a ruler
during this period?
Fig. 1
Wall relief from Cave
15, Ellora, showing
Vishnu as Narasimha,
the man-lion.
It is a work of the
Rashtrakuta period.
©NCERT
not to be republished
18 OUR PASTS — II
?
they often shared power with their samantas as well as
with associations of peasants, traders and Brahmanas.
In each of these states, resources were obtained from
the producers, that is, peasants, cattle-keepers,
artisans, who were often persuaded or compelled to
surrender part of what they produced. Sometimes
these were claimed as “rent” due to a lord who asserted
that he owned the land. Revenue was also collected
from traders.
Four hundred taxes!
The inscriptions of the Cholas who ruled in Tamil Nadu
refer to more than 400 terms for different kinds of taxes.
The most frequently mentioned tax is vetti, taken not in
cash but in the form of forced labour, and kadamai, or
land revenue. There were also taxes on thatching the
house, the use of a ladder to climb palm trees, a cess on
succession to family property, etc.
Are any such taxes collected today?
These resources were used to finance the king’s
establishment, as well as for the construction of temples
and forts. They were also used to fight wars, which were
in turn expected to lead to the acquisition of wealth in the
form of plunder, and access to land as well as trade routes.
The functionaries for collecting revenue were
generally recruited from influential families, and
positions were often hereditary. This was true about
the army as well. In many cases, close relatives of the
king held these positions.
Prashastis and land grants
Prashastis contain details that may not be literally true.
But they tell us how rulers wanted to depict themselves
– as valiant, victorious warriors, for example. These were
composed by learned Brahmanas, who occasionally
helped in the administration.
?
In what ways was
this form of
administration
different from the
present-day
system?
©NCERT
not to be republished
19
The “achievements” of Nagabhata
Many rulers described their achievements in prashastis
(you read about the prashasti of the Gupta ruler
Samudragupta last year).
One prashasti, written in Sanskrit and found in
Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, describes the exploits of
Nagabhata,  a Pratihara king, as follows:
The kings of Andhra, Saindhava (Sind), Vidarbha (part of
Maharashtra) and Kalinga (part of Orissa) fell before him even
as he was a prince …
He won a victory over Chakrayudha (the ruler of Kanauj) …
He defeated the king of Vanga (part of Bengal), Anarta (part
of Gujarat), Malava (part of Madhya Pradesh), Kirata (forest
peoples), Turushka (Turks), Vatsa, Matsya (both kingdoms in
north India) …
Kings often rewarded Brahmanas by grants of land.
These were recorded on copper plates, which were given
to those who received the land.
Fig. 2
This is a set of copper
plates recording a
grant of land made by
a ruler in the ninth
century, written partly
in Sanskrit and partly
in Tamil. The ring
holding the plates
together is secured
with the royal seal, to
indicate that this is an
authentic document.
See if you can find
some of the areas
mentioned in the
inscription on
Map 1. Other rulers
made similar
claims as well.
Why do you think
they made these
claims?
?
NEW KINGS AND
KINGDOMS
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


16 OUR PASTS — II
M
any new dynasties emerged after the
 seventh century. Map 1 shows the major ruling
dynasties in different parts of the subcontinent between
the seventh and twelfth centuries.
2
NEW KINGS AND KINGDOMS
Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1 Map 1
Major kingdoms,
seventh-twelfth
centuries
Locate the
Gurjara-Pratiharas,
Rashtrakutas,
Palas, Cholas
and Chahamanas
(Chauhans).
Can you identify
the present-day
states over which
they exercised
control?
?
©NCERT
not to be republished
17
?
The emergence of new dynasties
By the seventh century there were big landlords or
warrior chiefs in different regions of the subcontinent.
Existing kings often acknowledged them as their
subordinates or samantas. They were
expected to bring gifts for their kings
or overlords, be present at their courts
and provide them with military
support. As samantas gained power
and wealth, they declared themselves
to be maha-samanta, maha-
mandaleshvara (the great lord of a
“circle” or region) and so on. Sometimes
they asserted their independence from
their overlords.
One such instance was that of the
Rashtrakutas in the Deccan. Initially
they were subordinate to the Chalukyas
of Karnataka. In the mid-eighth century,
Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief,
overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed a ritual
called hiranya-garbha (literally, the golden womb). When
this ritual was performed with the help of Brahmanas,
it was thought to lead to the “rebirth” of the sacrificer as
a Kshatriya, even if he was not one by birth.
In other cases, men from enterprising families used
their military skills to carve out kingdoms. For instance,
the Kadamba Mayurasharman and the Gurjara-
Pratihara Harichandra were Brahmanas who gave up
their traditional professions and took to arms,
successfully establishing kingdoms in Karnataka and
Rajasthan respectively.
Administration in the kingdoms
Many of these new kings adopted high-sounding titles
such as maharaja-adhiraja (great king, overlord of
kings), tribhuvana-chakravartin (lord of the three
worlds) and so on. However, in spite of such claims,
NEW KINGS AND
KINGDOMS
Do you think
being born as a
Kshatriya was
important in order
to become a ruler
during this period?
Fig. 1
Wall relief from Cave
15, Ellora, showing
Vishnu as Narasimha,
the man-lion.
It is a work of the
Rashtrakuta period.
©NCERT
not to be republished
18 OUR PASTS — II
?
they often shared power with their samantas as well as
with associations of peasants, traders and Brahmanas.
In each of these states, resources were obtained from
the producers, that is, peasants, cattle-keepers,
artisans, who were often persuaded or compelled to
surrender part of what they produced. Sometimes
these were claimed as “rent” due to a lord who asserted
that he owned the land. Revenue was also collected
from traders.
Four hundred taxes!
The inscriptions of the Cholas who ruled in Tamil Nadu
refer to more than 400 terms for different kinds of taxes.
The most frequently mentioned tax is vetti, taken not in
cash but in the form of forced labour, and kadamai, or
land revenue. There were also taxes on thatching the
house, the use of a ladder to climb palm trees, a cess on
succession to family property, etc.
Are any such taxes collected today?
These resources were used to finance the king’s
establishment, as well as for the construction of temples
and forts. They were also used to fight wars, which were
in turn expected to lead to the acquisition of wealth in the
form of plunder, and access to land as well as trade routes.
The functionaries for collecting revenue were
generally recruited from influential families, and
positions were often hereditary. This was true about
the army as well. In many cases, close relatives of the
king held these positions.
Prashastis and land grants
Prashastis contain details that may not be literally true.
But they tell us how rulers wanted to depict themselves
– as valiant, victorious warriors, for example. These were
composed by learned Brahmanas, who occasionally
helped in the administration.
?
In what ways was
this form of
administration
different from the
present-day
system?
©NCERT
not to be republished
19
The “achievements” of Nagabhata
Many rulers described their achievements in prashastis
(you read about the prashasti of the Gupta ruler
Samudragupta last year).
One prashasti, written in Sanskrit and found in
Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, describes the exploits of
Nagabhata,  a Pratihara king, as follows:
The kings of Andhra, Saindhava (Sind), Vidarbha (part of
Maharashtra) and Kalinga (part of Orissa) fell before him even
as he was a prince …
He won a victory over Chakrayudha (the ruler of Kanauj) …
He defeated the king of Vanga (part of Bengal), Anarta (part
of Gujarat), Malava (part of Madhya Pradesh), Kirata (forest
peoples), Turushka (Turks), Vatsa, Matsya (both kingdoms in
north India) …
Kings often rewarded Brahmanas by grants of land.
These were recorded on copper plates, which were given
to those who received the land.
Fig. 2
This is a set of copper
plates recording a
grant of land made by
a ruler in the ninth
century, written partly
in Sanskrit and partly
in Tamil. The ring
holding the plates
together is secured
with the royal seal, to
indicate that this is an
authentic document.
See if you can find
some of the areas
mentioned in the
inscription on
Map 1. Other rulers
made similar
claims as well.
Why do you think
they made these
claims?
?
NEW KINGS AND
KINGDOMS
©NCERT
not to be republished
20 OUR PASTS — II
?
What was given with the land
This is part of the Tamil section of a land grant given by
the Cholas:
We have demarcated the boundaries of the land by making
earthen embankments, as well as by planting thorny bushes.
This is what the land contains: fruit-bearing trees, water,
land, gardens and orchards, trees, wells, open spaces, pasture-
land, a village, anthills, platforms, canals, ditches, rivers,
silt-laden land, tanks, granaries, fish ponds, bee hives, and
deep lakes.
He who receives the land can collect taxes from it. He can
collect the taxes imposed by judicial officers as fines, the tax
on betel-leaves, that on woven cloth, as well as on vehicles.
He can build large rooms, with upper stories made of baked
bricks, he can get large and small wells dug, he can plant
trees and thorny bushes, if necessary, he can get canals
constructed for irrigation. He should ensure that water is not
wasted, and that embankments are built.
List all the possible sources of irrigation mentioned
in the inscription, and discuss how these might have
been used.
Unusual for the twelfth century was a long Sanskrit
poem containing the history of kings who ruled over
Kashmir. It was composed by an author named
Kalhana. He used a variety of sources, including
inscriptions, documents, eyewitness accounts and
earlier histories, to write his account. Unlike the writers
of prashastis, he was often critical about rulers and
their policies.
Warfare for wealth
You may have noticed that each of these ruling
dynasties was based in a specific region. At the same
time, they tried to control other areas. One particularly
prized area was the city of Kanauj in the Ganga valley.
©NCERT
not to be republished
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