- The theory of the emergence of feudalism in the post-Gupta period is disputed on the ground that—
(I) All the lands were not given in land grants;
(II) Private ownership also existed and the status of peasants were not that of serfs.
- The beginning of the practice of land grants with fiscal and administrative immunities to Brahmins and Buddhist monks was made by the Satavahanas.
- The most significant result of the surrender of administrative rights to the tonees of lands was that it enfeebled royal control over the country side.
- Agrahara land grant:
(I) It was a village granted tax-free to Brahmins;
(II) The King had the power to confiscate it, due to the behavior of the grantee;
(III) It underlined the privileged position of the Brahmins.
- The secular land grants were given
(I) In lieu of salary to officers;
(II) As reward or pension to warriors and other as a gift on festive occasions.
- The whole village granted to the Brahmins was known as Brahmagrama.
- In North India the land grants empowered the recipients of grants to punish the criminals.
- In the South, crown lands were rented out to Tenants-at-will.
- The royal writs of land grants during the post-Gupta period were known as Sasanapatra.
- Literary sources relevant for the agrarian condition of the post-Gupta period:
(i) Kalhana’s Rajatarangini
(ii) Jimutavahan’s Dayabhaga
(iii) Medathiti’s commentary on manusmriti.
- In the post-Gupta period royal deeds of lands were known as sasanas and private person’s deeds were called, Lankikalekha and Karyalekha.
- The term Satka-Kautumbikakshetra was used for land which was crown land.
- The King’s share of the produce was normally known as Bhaga.
- Udranga-uparikara found mentioned in several post-Gupta epigraphs, has been interpreted as a tax;
(i) Levied for the maintenance of police;
(ii) On fish and other water products;
(III) On cultivators not having propriety rights.
- The burden of taxation during this period was generally heavy and discriminatory.
- The most popular industry, relating to agricultural products, was oil milling.
- The King’s share of the produce was normally one-sixth to one-tenth.
- The body of officials entrusted with the job of collection of taxes was known as panchkula.
- 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.
- The most important change in the agrarian life of the post-Gupta period was the large-scale transfer of land and land revenue to both secular and religious elements.
- The pressures on the agrarian economy increased during the post-Gupta period because:
(i) Due to the decline of trade and commerce, urban artisans and craftsmen shifted to rural areal
(ii) The largest share of agricultural surplus went towards payment of revenue and rent
(iii) Total burden of the state and landed intermediaries fell on the agrarian classes.
- A religious sect, born out of agrarian protest against the existing system, was Lingayat.
- The predecessors of Harsha were all rulers of the land of Srikantha (Thanesvar)
Fig: King Harshavardhan
- Harsha Charita, Kadambini and Parvathy Parinay of Bana.
- From the accounts of Hiuen-Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim.
- We get some information about the political condition in the dramas of Harsha such as Ratnavali, Nagananda and Priyadarsika.
- Nausasi copper plate gives us information about Harsha’s successful expedition against Valabhi. He defeated Dhruvasena II.
Rule of Harsha
- Rajyavardhan elder was killed by Sasanka.
- Harsha succeeded his brother. he rescued his sister and drove out sasanka from Kanauj.
- He assumed the title of ‘Siladitya’.
- Chalukyan records of Pulakesin’s successors mention the defeat of Harsha by Pulakesin.
- Ravi Kirti (the court poet of Pulakesin II and the author of the Aihole inscription) also hints vaguely of Pulakesin’s victory.
- Rajasthan, Punjab, UP, Bihar and Orissa were under his direct control.
- Kashmir, Sind, Vallabhi and Kamrupa acknowledged his sovereignty.
- Harsha governed his empire on the same line as the Guptas did, except that his administration had become more feudal and decentralised.
- Harsha is credited with the grants of land to the officers by charters.
- The territory of the empire was called rajya or desa which was divided into bhuktis, vishyas and gramas.
- Harsha, in the early years of his reign was devout Shaiva, but then was liberal in his religious views.
- Brahmanism, which reasserted itself under the Guptas, got further strengthened during this period.
- Brahmanism was frankly given to idolatry.
- The most popular Brahmancial deities were Adhiya, Siva and Vishnu.
- Buddhism appeared to be in a quite flourishing condition, but it had suffered decline in several localities like Kosambi, Vaishali and Sravasti.
- Jainism marked neither progress nor decay.
- Shaivism became the main the istic system of this period.
- Vedic ceremonies and rituals once again came to be regarded as integral constituents of Brahmanism.
- The assembly at Kannauj was held in honour of the Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen-Tsang who became a great friend of Harsha.
Fig: Hiuen Tsang
- When the assembly at Kannauj was abruptly brought to an end, Harsha invited Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang to attend the quinquennial festival at Prayaga at the sacred confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna.
- We are told that Harsha assigned the revenue of eighty large towns of Orissa to a noted Buddhist scholar, named Jayasena, who however, thankfully declined thistempting offer.
- Hiuen-Tsang says that Harsha earmarked on-fourth of the revenue of the state for rewarding men of intellectual eminence.
- Harsha died in or about 647 A.D. after reign of forty years.
- left no successor to his throne.
- His empire was divided amongst his nobles and provincial governors which meant destruction of the Vardhana empire.
- After his death Bhaskaravarman of Assam appears to have annexed Karnasuvarna and the adjacent territories.
- In Magadha Adilyasena, who was feudatory of Harsha, declared his independence.
- In the west and north-west the Gurjaras of Rajputana and the Karakotakas of Kashmir asserted themselves with great vigour.
- On the ruins of Pallavas and Kanchi the Chola empire was established.
- The Rashtrakuta king who defeated Parantaka I and caused a temporary setback to the cholas, was Krishna III.
- The Chola monarch who conquered the northern part of Sri Lanka and made it a province of his empire, was Rajaraja.
- The economic motive behind Rajaraja’s conquest of Cheras, Pandyas and Sri Lanka was to bring the trade with South-east Asian countries under his control and open the sea routes to China.
- The greatest historical contribution of Rajaraja was the tradition of beginning the Chola epigraphs with historical introductions.
- In the fields of agrarian and fiscal administration the most important contribution of Rajaraja was introduction of the system of auditing of the accounts of the village assemblies and other local bodies.
- The only ruling power in the history of South India to have under-taken overseas naval campaigns were the Cholas.
- The Khmer king of Cambodia sought the friendship of the Chola king Rajendra I.
- Chola king Rajendra I lead a naval expedition against the Saliendra empire to remove obstacles to India traders and to expand Chola trade with China.
- The Cholas maintained close political and matrimonial relations with the Chalukyas of Vengi.
- The Chola monarch murdered by the rebellious mobs was Adhirajendra.
- The Chola monarch who in order to remove bitterness, completely freed Sri Lanka and married his daughter with the Sinhalese prince, was Kulottunga I.
- The chola king who assumed the title of Mummadi Chola was Rajaraja.
- Titles assumed by the Chola king Rajendra I was Gangaikonda, Mudikonda, Pandita Chola etc.
- In the Chola kingdom, a very large village administered as a single unit was called Taniyur.
- Besides Sri Lanka, the Cholas also directed their imperialistic expeditions against Maldives.
- The administrative innovation introduced by Rajaraja was the system of associating the yuvaraja with the administration of the country.
- The unique feature of Chola army were its severity regiments which were named after royal titles.
- The best organised limb of the Chola army was Infantry.
- The Bay of Bengal has been described as a ‘Chola lake” because the Cholas dominated it with their strong navy.
- The number of provinces of mandalams in the Chola empire were Eight.
- A small group of paid employees of the village assembly who helped to manage its affairs were Ayagars.
- The executive committee of Sabha was called variyam.
- The Uttaramerur Inscription which describes in great detail the institution of the Sabha, pertains to the reign of Prantaka I.
Qualifications required for election on the variyam:
(i) Ownership of more than one quarter of the taxpaying land
(ii) Residence in a house built on one’s own site
(iii) Age between 35 and 70 years.
(i) Membership of any of the committees during the past three years
(ii) Failure of submitting the accounts during the membership of any of the committees.
(iii) Commission of incest of other grave sins (namely killing a Brahmin, drinking alcohol, theft and adultery).
The Sub-committees of variyam
(i) Annual committee
(ii) Garden Committee
(iii) Tank Committee
- Garden Committee was responsible for maintenance of village roads.
- One-third of the produce was generally collected as land tax.
- The largest single source of income to the Chola state was Land tax.
- The tenures which were meant for educational purposes, were Salabhoga.
- The basis of exchange for commonplace articles in rural areas was Paddy.
The important items of export of China and the West:
(i) Superior quality textiles,
(ii) Perfumes and spices
(iii) Precious stones.
- The single most important item of import to the Chola empire was Horses.
- Categories of Gigantic merchant guild of the Chola country: Manigraman, Valanjiyar, Nanadesis.
- The broad division of society was into Brahmins and non-Brahmins. Among the non-Brahmins the most prominent were the Shudras.
The secular functions performed by the temples of the Chola period were:
(i) Employment of musicians and dancers
(ii) Provision of education and medical treatment
(iii) Acting as bankers and granting loans to weavers.
- With the growth of trade, commerce and industries, there was a rise in the position of the industrial classes and some of these industrial classes, to improve their social status, tried to gain privileges which led to social tensions.
- The Devadasi System became quite prevalent from the Chola period because the temples became large complexes which required a large number of permanent woman workers.
- The Chola monarchs were patrons of Shaivism.
- The most famous and beautiful Chola bronzes were those of Nataraja.
- The most famous Buddhist monastery in the Chola empire, to which liberal donations were made by the Chola monarchs as well as by the Shailendra kings of Sri Vijaya, was at Negapatam.
- Temple architecture in South India attained its climax under the Cholas. The Pallava-Chola style of architecture is commonly known as Dravida.
- The main feature of this Dravida style of temple architecture was Vimana.
- The finest and most elaborate example of Chola architecture is Brihadiswara temple at Thanjavur.
- The glory of the Rashtrakuta art and architecture is Kailash temple, Ellora.
- The art of sculpture attained a high standard in South India during this period. It was, however, in bronze sculpture that on Chola craftsmen excelled
- A remarkable feature of the period was the growth of literature in the local languages of South. The popular saints (nayanars and alvars) were largely responsible for this development.
- Kamban wrote the Ramayana which is considered as a classic in Tamil literature.
- The Chalukya king of Kalyani who is said to have established a new era in place of the old Saka era was Vikramaditya VI.
- The bitterest enemies of the Chalukyas of Kalyani were Cholas of Thanjavur.
- Vishnuvardhana established kingdom for the Hoysala dynasty.
- The independent Yadava kingdom of Devagiri was founded by Bhillama.
- The Kakatiya ruler who has been mentioned in glowed term by the Venetian traveller Marco Polo, is Rudramma.
- The Pandyan King who defeated Kulottunga III (Chola king) and established the glorious period of Pandya imperialism during the thirteenth century, was Sundara Pandya.
- The Pandyan empire was finally absorbed into the Vijayanagar kingdom.
- The Chola king who subjugated the Chera ruler and destroyed his naval fleet was RajarajaI.