Ans. The past Rig Vedic age when the three Vedas, their commentaries, the Upnishads and the Vedic literature were composed is called the later Rig Vedic Age. The distinction between the early and later Rig Vedic Age does not amount to saying that the cultures of these two periods were different. The fact, however, is that the Aryan culture of the Rig Vedic Age had gone under significant changes in the Later Vedic Age. We shall now study these changes. Expansion of Geographical Boundary in the Later Vedic Period
The Rig Vedic culture was confined to Punjab which expanded in the later Vedic period, from the regions of Sapta Sindhu to Bihar. The inhabitants led a life of peace and happiness. The Aryans made all-round development during this period. The culture of this period departed of from the Vedic Age of the Rig Veda. The kingdoms, were not small as those of the Rig Vedic period. The following is their brief descriptions –
1) The Kuru Kingdom – The extensive kingdom covered the regions north to Thanesar, Delhi, the Ganga & Yamuna. Hastinapur – was its capital – Parekshat and Janmejay were its great rulers. There is a mention of their successors in the vedic literature. Among them was Satrajit who defeated the ruler of Kashi.
Vedeh Kingdom – The kingdom existed in the Trihut province. Mithila was the capital. Raja Janak mentioned in the epic Ramayana was one of its rulers. The sanskrit philosopher Yagyavalkya was his
Kaushala Kingdom – The kingdom of Kaushala was in the
region of Avadh ruled by Ikshvakuvanshiya Aryan Kings. Ayodhya was
(4) Panchal Kingdom – All the five races of the Aryans triumphed the Ganga-Yamuna plains and were jointly called the Panchal the kingdom touched the areas of Farrukhabad in the later Vedic period. One of the king was a scholar’ of philosophy. Famous philosopher Aarunishuwetketu was his courtier.
(5)Kashi Kingdom – The kingdom of Kashi included areas around Varanasi. The world famous, Ajatshatrue of the Brahamdutta dynasty,
was its ruler.
Besides these, were the Kekai kingdom spreading over the districts of Jehlum, Gujarat and Shahpur, and the Gandhar kingdom on the bank of the Indus river with its capital at Taxila. Political, Social and Religious Life in Later Vedic Age ..
1. Political Organization – The condition of political organization in the later vedic period is given in the following lines –
(1) Big powerful Statęs – According to the western historians the Aryans had occupied the northern India upto the present day Bihar and set up big, powerful states in the region. Descriptions of the states has been given in the Athar veda. The people were happy and led peaceful life. Some of the important states mentioned were the Kuru, Panchaal and Kashi. The Magadha and the Kalinga were the empires. Imperialism was in the initial stage of the this time.
(2)the King- The office of the king became heriditary. However, at some places it was still an elected office while assuming the office the king swore to serve the people in the constitutional manner. The Samiti counselled the king to work for the welfare of the people and in case the king worked against the wishes or the directives of the Samiti it could remove him from the throne. He respected the brahmins. revered the cow, led the army to the battle and heard and cases of the people.
(3) Other offices of the king, The states grew big and extensive and therefore assumed regidity. The king needed a large number of officers to run the state. They were the purohit, Commnaders in the
nishad, Koshaadhyaksha, dwarpala, niyadhish, and etc
The Sabha and the Samiti – The Sabha and Samiti lost much of their power and importance as compared to those in the Rig Vedas
period. To summon the session of the Samiti emergently was not possible owing to the extensive nature of the states. The Sabha had two types of members : (1) the permanent ones always present at the court, and (2) the others called to it for important and emergent consultations. Political and state affairs were discussed in both of them. Women were · not called to participate in them.
(5) The Judicial System – The king was the Chief Judge but he had delegated some of his functions. The grampanchayat heard some cases. The gramvahini had the jurisdiction over small causes cases of the villages. Tradition was that the alleged persons proved their innocence by entering into fire or water. The murder of a brahmin was a severe crime. Revolt against the state was punishable with life. Civil suits were heard by the parichas and a few cases were decided by the king with the help of the Sabha.
(6) Revenue – The people paid their taxes to the state regularly. Bali is the term used for the state taxes in the Brahangirantha. The Bhagdeeth was the officer incharge of for the collection of revenue. The trading community (the Vaisha) were the chief contributors. The taxas or the levies were collected in the form of grains or cattle. The sixteenth part of the revenue was spent on the king. Taxes were not excessive.
2. Social Organization – The social organization of the Aryans in the Later Aryan period as not as simple as it was in the Rig Vedic period. The caste system became static and regid and their basis gradually shifted to birth from the choice of work. We shall study the system in detail, in the following lines – .
The Caste-system – The Vedic Aryans had initially four castes determined on the basis of their work. But in the Later Vedic period the castes were determined by the birth. Feelings of low or high became pronounced. The Brahmins regarded themselves superior to others. The Kshatriyas were superior to the Vaishyas and Vaishyas (o the shudras. inter-marrying and inter-dining were still current the sense of high or low lcd furiket to sub-divisions among the castes.
Untouchability – The Shudras developed into a lowest distinct caste. They were considerably deteriorated. The rights to study the Vedas and performing of the yagiyas were denied to them. The Aryas did not marry the shudra women. They regarded the shudra artisans degraded.
(3) The system of ashrams – The Aryans developed their social order, in the Rig Vedic period, through caste system. But they never neglected the amelioration of an individual and thought of the Ashram System. They divided life (normally of 100 years) into four ashrams. The Aryans believed that man had to pay off four types of loans and each ashram was destined to clear off one loan. The four ashrams were : the brahmacharya, ghirasthya, vanprastha and sanyasa. The period for each ashram was 25 years. The brahmacharya was meant to remain in the guru-ashrams in order to acquire knowledge. For the next 25 years, or upto the age of 50, he led marital life-earned money, bore children and brought them up. Then he renounced his family, served the society and led the vanprastha life upto an age of 75 years. The last was the sanyasa ashram. He even renounced society and tried to attain spiritual salvation through meditation, etc.
(4) Women – The women did not receive as much respect in the Later Vedic period as they had enjoyed on the Rig Vedic period. Their status began to deterioate. Renowned women scholars like Maitreye and Vidushi were rare, generally education was denied to them. They could not participate in the yagyas along with their husbands. However, they could own property. Instances of polygamy and child marriages were there. The widows could still marry. Expression of joy at the birth of a son and grief at the birth of a daughter was an indication of their o falling status.
(5) The institution of marriage, The marriage were, generally,
performed between grown-ups. Inter-caste marriages are also mentioned. Marriages between the children born in the seventh generation from the father’s side and fifth generation from the mother’s side were prohibited. But relaxation upto three or four generations was granted to the brahmins. Polyandry was in existence. The dowry system was started.
3. Economic Life – Much progress was made in the economic life. The Aryans settled down in the cities along with villages. The life of the people was comfortable. Landlords had occupied ownership of big piece of land or villages. Development of the economic life of the people in the later Vedic period has been described in the following lines –
Agriculture- Agriculture was the chief vocation of the Aryans.
bullocks were put to the yoke for tilling. The number of bullocks increased considerably. As many as twenty four bullocks were put to a yoke. Cow.dung was used to increase the fertility of the land. Irrigation was carried out from the wells, ponds, Takes, rivers and canals. Wheat, barley, paddy, oil-seeds (til) were grown. The Aryans had learnt when co grow a certain crop.
(2)Cattle-farming-Cattle farming, along with agriculture, was the chief occupation of the people in the villages. Cows, bullocks, sheep and goats were reared in large numbers. Cattle was considered a wealth. Cow was a sacred animal and worshipped grazing grounds were left along with the villages. Milk was in plenty which nourished the people. The king gave away cows in charity to the brahmins.
(3) Use of the Metals – Gold was used in the Later Vedic period. There is a mention of gold in the Vedic literature. The Aryans regarded gold sacred. Ornaments were made of silver. Copper or iron were in use. The Vedic literature refers to glass, lin and other metals (ayasta).
(4) Other vocation – There were fishermen, coach-drivers, cowherds, weavers, washermen, carpenters, barbers, black-smiths, makers of bows and carpets and etc. Acrobats and flutists are mentioned. Boat making was a special vocation.
Textile and woolen were largely produced in this period. Gunny bags were in use. Women spun yarns and weavers wove cloth on looms, Women did a variety of work. Besides the household work, dyeing weaving, embroidering, sewing, making of carpets and basket weaving were done by women.
(5)Trade – The word vanijya has been used in the Jaitriyabrahmin which denotes that trade was conducted in the country. Barter was the system of exchange in the beginning. Currency came later. Shalmanya, Krishna and Paad are words used for currency or coins. The traders had formed their associations.
4. Religion and Philosophy – Following is the detailed description of the religious life of the people in the Later Vedic period –
(1) Jagya or tap-Stiffness now entered into religion Mantra became more important. The number of the yagyas increased. Brahmin and the purohits acquired. positions of importance. Animals were sacrificed at the time of havanas. The Aryans sought purity and cleansing of their souls through penance.
(2) Deliverance and Rebirth – The Upnishads claims that a-man ks rebirth does some good deeds, and works for deliverance through the rebirths. Soul is immortal. The body dies but the soul lives. It assumes a new body in its rebirth and enjoys or suffers the fruits of its deeds of its previous birth. This is the rule. Cycle of life and death continues till the soul is completely cleansed of all time and obtains deliverance or solution. The Aryans believed in the concept.
(3) The Gods – Some gods or goddesses became more important whereas importance of some decreased. Prajapati, Vishnu and Shiva grew importance. The importance of Indira, Varuna and earth deminished. The Aryans tried to please Vishnu because he was the god of general good.
. (Tulsi Ans. Ramayana is regarded as divine; the protection of the Sacred religion being the chief duty of the king. Both Valmiki and Tulsi_believe in monarchy and consider the presence of the king essential in all conditions. The king is also regarded as the most important limb (anga) of the body-politic. The evils of the state of anarchy (kingless state) have been described at length. The king “a the promulgator of truth and dharma; and he is the protector or the people. Since the king performs the ideal function of protecting the truth and destroying untruth, he has been described as possessing divine element (Ishwarensh).”
Both Valmiki and Tulsi subscribe to the three principles regarding the appointment of a king. First, appointment by the rule of seniority, i.e. the eldest son should be crowned king. This is the tame as the principle of heredity. Second, possession of qualities of character; it may also be termed as the principle of capability. Third, appointment swith the consent of the people or with that of their representatives. Dama was crowned as heir-apparent, because the proposal was approved in an assembly of the popular representatives, although he fulfilled the other conditions as well. We find in the Ramayana that among the Ikshvakus primogeniture
Gun then. Dashratha made up his mind to install Rama as was a rule. Even then, Dashratha made in The brir-apparent only after satisfying himself with the capability, virtues and accomplishments of the prince. Then he consulted the ministers
and the Sabba, which was fairly representative. It gave its verdict in favour of Rama. Dashratha told him very clearly ‘O my son, hear me, it is the will of my people that you become their sovereign; I shall, therefore, install thee as my successor.
The proposal coronation of Rama’ as Yuvaraja, was held in accordance with the practice and ideas current in those days. The Janapadas and Pauras were present in place of the Gramani and Sajata and the guild of merchants and traders in place of the Vedic ‘rattikaras’ and karmaras’. Aster their deliberations they asked the king to consecrate the prince, whom they said that they wanted. But the king was somewhat surprised and said, ‘As you desire the Raghava prince to become protector, a doubt has arisen in my mind which please remove. O you rulers (Rajanah, Kings’), although I am ruling this country in accordance with law, yet how it is, you gentlemen want to see my son appointed as king assistant with high powers ?’
The spokesmen for the members of the Paura-Janapada gave their reasons. They said that Rama was the best of the ikshvakus on merits; that lie was born before Bharata; that he was brave; that he enquired after the well-being of the Pauras; that he knew the principles of government; and not only the people of the kingdom and the capital, but also the Paura-Janapada both their inner and outer bodies, admired the prince. The king was satisfied with the proposal that they desired to have his eldest son in the office of the Yuvaraja. When the king promised that their desire would be carried out, his reply was acclaimed.
Rania’s Coronation. Rama’s coronation, after his return from the exile, has been described at length by Valmiki. It was performed in accordance with Vedic rites, subject to certain variations necessitated by the changed circumstances. Valmiki has described the qualities of king Dashratha; from that we can easily infer the qualities which should be found in an ideal monarch. He was well versed in Vedic learning; he observed dharma in all respects; he was far-sighted, powerful and he was loved by his subjects; he performed all the sacrifices; he practised restraint; he had no enemies; in the collection of wealth he was like Kubera; and as a ruler he was like Indra. According to Tulsi, a true king is he to whom subjects are us dear as his own life and who observes dharma in all respects. The king should always pursue the path of dharma. Happiness of the people is the happiness of the king. He is
an embodiment of discipline. But for the sake of maintaining the limits of dharma or good order both firmness and gentleness should be combined in him.
Duties of the king. According to both Valmiki and Tulsi, the chief duties of the king are – observance of dharma and work for the pleasure (or welfare) of the people. We may give here two examples from Valmiki’s Ramayana. In Balakanda, canto 10, Rishi Viskwamitra, while advising Rama to kill demoness Tadka, says : ‘In the interest of four varnas, you should kill her. A king who is always engaged in pleasing his subjects, should perform even such acts, which may be considered cruel in another age, as not being cruel. A king, who has been entrusted with the burden of ruling over the kingdom, should perform even such apparently sinful acts as bam: righteous acts; for a king these are in accordance with the teachings of the Vedas; so you should kill this evil doer, she has no traces of dharma sit for human beings. Similarly, in Aranyakanda, canto 5, the saints assembled and went to Rama. They told him about the kingdom of Ravana : ‘In his kingdom, great irreligious acts are performed. Although he released one-sixth part of the people’s produce, yet he does not protect his people like his children. A king, who always works for the pleasure (welfare) of his people and protects them like his own person, earns eternal fame.’
The best account of the duties of a king has been given by Valmiki in Ayodhyakande, canto 3, on the occasion when the decision to consecrate Rama as the heir-apparent has been made. At that time king Dashratha says to Rama; ‘Oh, son ! although you possess all the qualities of a good king, yet out of love for you, I tell you some beneficial things :
(i) by observing greater discipline, you should always control your senses;
(i) you should give up all vices arising from lust and anger;
(iii) indirectly through spies you should find out the difference between truth and falsehood, in the royal council. You should directly test the truth and by doing justice to the people you should keep the ministers, other officials and even the people pleased; and
(iv) by proper methods you keep your treasury full of wealth and precious metals, royal stores full of essential goods and army stores full
of weapons and arms, and all these things should be used for the good of the people.
The questions, which Rama put to Bharata in Ayodhyakanda, contain the essence of state policy and good administration. Their substance may briefly be stated as: Kings should be pious, they should respect the elders, the learned and persons of good conduct; they should lead a disciplined life; they should keep away from vices and evil tendencies; they should pursue the three ends of life – dharma, artha and kama; they should try to secure the friendship of the learned, wise and pious people; and they must learn the art of public administration. In a nut-shell they should make their subjects satisfied, strong, prosperous and happy.
Here is a brief account of the capital city of Ayodhya and its people. Rich in royal worth and valour, rich in holy Vedic lore, Dashratha ruled his empire in the happy days of yore. Loved of men in fair Ayodhya, sprung of ancient Solar Race. Royal rishi in his duty, great as Indra in his powers, bounteous as Kubera, his dauntless deeds subdued his foreman. Like the ancient monarch Manu, rather of the human race, Dashratha ruled his people with a father’s loving grace. Truth and justice swayed each action and each baser motive quelled. People’s love and monarch’s duty every thought and deed impelled, and his town like Indra’s city-tower and dome rose in proud and pearless beauty on Sarayu’s limpid wave. Peaceful lived the righteous people, rich in wealth, in merit high, envy dwell not in their bosoms and their accents shaped no lie. Fathers with their happy households owned their
cattle, corn, and gold: Galling penury and famine in Ayodhya had no · hold.
Neighbours lived in mutual kindness, helpful with their ample wealth. None who bagged the wasted refuse, none who lived by fraud and stealth. And they were the gem and ear-ring, wreath and fragrant sandal paste, and their arms were decked with bracelets, and their necks with nishkas graced. Cheat and braggart and deciever lived not in the ancient town. Poorer fed not the richer, hireling friend upon the great, none with low and lying accents did upon the proud man wait. Impure thought and wandering fancy stained not holy wedded life. Robed in gold and graceful garments, fair in form and fair in face, win some were Ayodhya’s daughters, rich in wit and woman’s grace.”
Twice-born men were free from passion, lust of old and impure greed, Faithful to their rites and scriptures, truthful in their word and deed.
The origin of kingship has already been discussed in the preceding section, in connection with the origin of the state. The epic mentions several titles of rulers: Bajan, Bboja, Virat, Samtat etc. These indicate the various kinds of kings as well as of their kingdoms. According to Bhishma, the king is divine, because he observes dharma. But he is not a representative of God,his divinity depends on his good conduct. He himself is accountable for his actions; and his orders are to be carried out only so long as he acts in accordance with law, i.e., dharma. The king himself is bound by the limits of rajadharma.
• Role of the King. In the state, the king is head of the administration. Since he is always engaged in sustaining and protecting the people as well as in working for their wellare, his importance in the state is the highest. If there were no king for protection, evil policy would reign everywhere; mixed castes would increase; and there would be famine in the country. As people sleep at will inside the house by closing its doors in the same way people move about fearlessly within the state under the protection of the king. So it is never proper to show disrespect to the king by taking him for a human being, because he is a god in human form and resides on earth. The king is called pious (pavaka) because he destroys sins; he is known as sun (bhaskara) because he knows about the actions of all through spies and performs deeds for the welfare of the people, he is known as god of death (Yama), because he destroys sinful people and consers his grace upon the religious people; and he is known as protector (vaishnava), because he satisfies those who’benefit others and destroys those who harm others. The king is the cause of mental development, good conduct, dignity and greatest happiness of the people, because by working like several gods he is always devoted to the welfare of his people.A Good King. A good king is the embodiment of all good qualities.he is truthful, forgiving, brave and one who never deviates from the destined path. He is a true king who has conquered anger evil tendencies; who has faith in the teachings of the religious texts;and who always pursues the four ends of life: dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Such a king should be skilled in the art of war; he should give
gifts to the deserving on all occasions; he should always observe pious conduct; and he should conquer his senses. One who respects the learned scholars, studies religious texts and always works for the welfare of his people, is not suited to be a king. The chief evils of a ruler have also been mentioned in the Sabhaparva, a good ruler should give them up. These are: atheism, anger, avoiding the company of the learned, laziness, keen on sexual pleasures, not performing good deeds, not maintaining the secrecy of state policy, doing anything without proper consideration, etc. Elsewhere the seven vices of the kings have been mentioned as: hunting, drinking, gambling, indulgence in women, harshness of tongue, severity of punishment, and abuse of wealth.
The Shantiparva is one long argument for the vested interest of the community in the welfare of the king. This is surely the reason for the kind picture of the state of nature presented in chapter 67. But the king should merit loyalty, he must have conquered pride, lust and weakness-replacing them with righteousness, vigour, and wisdom…Bhishma exhorts the king to be both mild and strict (without being oppressive) in order to preserve respect. It will be to his advantage to assume a variety of forms, as the occasion demands. Yet the king must be mainly enough to endure unpopularity in the greater interest of the state. ‘Me is the best of kings who is wise, who is liberal, who is ready to take advantage of the shortcomings of foes, who has an agreeable countenance, who is conversant with what is good and what is bad for each of the four orders of his subjects, who is prompt in action, who has anger under control, who is no vindictive, who is high-minded.’ The coronation oath of Hie Kurus limited royal authority to the protection of the people, the maintenance of custom, and punishment, and made the king subject to the laws of the realm.
Hereditary Kingship. There is no doubt that the office of the king has already become hereditary, even then it appears that in the appointment of the king assent of the people was implied. When kings Prateep and Yayati gave their thrones to their younger sons Shantanu and Puru respectively by ignoring the churns of their elder sons, the people assembled in front of the palace and protested against their decisions. They desired to know the reasons for such decisions; so they
went away satisfied after hearing the kings. This clearly shows that the Principle of seniority for succession to the throne had been accepted,
and not that the people had any part in the selection of the king. In the epic a new king has generally to be accepted by the people. The minor episodes of the epic also point to hereditary succession and popular acceptance of the kings.’
But Jayaswal says : ‘In the sirst book of the Mahabharta we actually find a free election of an emperor by a collection of kings and his consecration to that position. The datum of the Sabha-parva also implies that the system had been introduced by the rulers for self-protection, but that Jarasandha had abused it and reduced other sovereigns to slavery.’ Even the number of electors (rajakartah) has been given in the Mahabharata. These included : 4 Brahmanas, 8 Kshatriyas, 21 Vaishyas and 4 Shudras, all of whom must be above 50 years. (12, 85, 7-9) In addition to these, the chief ministers, whose number has not been given, were also members of this body. There is a clear mention of the practice of appointing a crown-prince. There is also the description that an heir-apparent was appointed during the time of the ruling monarch. In the Adipana it has been said that king Nahusha appointed his son as his heir-apparent with the consent of the people living in the town and countryside. There is also the mention of a recent having been appointed as such during the minority or invalidity of the ruler. The coronation ceremony continued to be important as no one was recognised as a valid ruler without the consecration. A detailed account of the coronation ceremony of king Yudhisthira is given in the epic.
Appointment of the king Divine Appointment
Here we shall be concerned not with the origin of the state or kingship, but with the methods that prevailed in ancient India for the appointment of kings. According to ancient writers and political thinkers, the two chief methods were: divine appointment or election. We would, therefore, discuss these and their implications. First we take up the question of divine appointment. Spellman observes: ‘The concept of divine appointment of the king appears as the dominant theme. It is spiritual punishment rather than temporal that is held out as the
Score of unjust rule. It is the divine law of dharma, not the
statutory law of men which the king must obey. This type of thought was not unusual for the times.’
His argument runs as follows: The Shantiparva relating how Prthu came into kingship says: ‘The eternal Vishnu himself conferred his power, telling him, ‘No one, O King shall transcend thee’. The divine Vishnu entered the body of that monarch in consequence of his penances. For this reason the entire universe offered divine worship unto Prthu numbered among human gods. This is merely a germ of the idea later expressed rather more forcibly in Manu.’ He, in whose favour resides Padma, the goddess of fortune, in whose valour dwells victory, in whose anger abides death; is formed of the luster of gods. A king is an incarnation of the eight guardian deities of the world, the Moon, the Fire, The Sun, The Wind, Indra, The Lords of wealth and water (Kubera and Varuna), and Yama. Because the king is provided by (those) lords of the world, no impurity is ordained for him; for impurity of caused and removed by those lords of the world.
The Ramayana tells : ‘It is because he that governs his subjects is a fourth part of Indra himself that the king being bowed down unto by all enjoys the choicest things. Yet another method by which a king can arrogate divinity to himself is by claiming to rule as the regent or representative of a god or gods. In China, the ruler was known by the familiar phrase. ‘The Son of Heaven’ who as emperor and parent of men formed the connecting link between heaven and earth. He was Heaven’s representative in place of direct rule by god. In the English coronation ceremony, we find the same ideas of divine appointment and aid. And as Solomon was anointed king by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, so be you appointed, blessed, and consecrated Queen over the Peoples whom the Lord your God hath given you to rule and govern.’ We have already spoken of the Vajapeya sacrifice during which the king, in ritually shooting arrows, is clearly the representative of Prajapati. It is interesting to note that divinity through being a regent of the gods did not reach its fullest development in ancient India.’ But in early Vedic times the king did not usually claim divine descent. At the Rajasuya ceremony the king was called ‘the son of such a man and the son of such a woman’. Nevertheless, in later periods, with claims of divine origin, divine coronation and the like, it may be understood that the kings claimed divine descent and the descent
of the kings lighting in the Mahabharata war was regularly of a divine
Another writer, Mabbott, says that there are many references to kings as gods, implicit in the titles they take, in the descent they claim, in the justification given by law-books for their power, in the myths of the prehistoric origins of society. “They do not necessarily imply more than that the occasion makes possible a mystic communion with the gods who enter into the persons of the sacrificers – not necessarily kings alone. Numerous references attest the equivalence of the position of the king to that of a god, as where it is said that the coronation of the king is really the coronation of Indra. These concepts appear to have a ceremonial and symbolic significance, which may indeed be important for our understanding of the institution but do not actually mean that the monarch is divine.’ But some passages make an explicit identification… The king is not a man, he is a great god in human form. He is a god born on earth. Even an infant king is not to be despised because he is really a god. ‘Such references as these, among many others which indicate different degrees of association of kingship with the super-natural, haw been seen as evidence of a theory of royal
Although the king was regarded as divine, yet Hindu thinkers did not give him the divine right of kingship as was the case in Europe. ‘The Hindu conception of the power of the king was unlike the divine right of the Stuarts, the divinely ordained duty to afford protection of his subjects. P.N. Banerjee thinks that only a righteous monarch was regarded as divine and notes that the king was not devata but only a Naradevala’. Jayaswal writes : ‘By constitutional writers the very theory was converted into a divine Theory of the servitude of the king to the subiect : That the king was a mere servant or slave of the people and that he was made so by the creator… The king who properly employs it (Dauda) prospers, but he be selfish, abnormal and deceitful, Danda destroys him.’
It appears that the ancient Indian theory agrees with the normal Theory of medieval Europe on the point that political authority is a
diving institution which must be obeyed by the people but there is the characteristic difference that the end of political authority is conceived
in the former instance not so much as justice as being the maintenance
of individual security and the stability of the social order. What is more important in Indian theory from first to last does not present a parallel to the theory of Divine Right as conceived in the Middle Ages, and more fully in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of European history. It is true that the conception of monarchy as a divinely ordained institution follows as a natural corollary from the Vedic and Smriti doctrines of Divine creation of the Kshatriya order and more especially of kingship. But the doctrine of king’s accountability to God alone is completely alien to our ancient thinkers. On the contrary the authoritative Smritis conceive the king to be subject to the law of his order and the rules of the state, law governing his rights and duties in respect of his subjects while they invoke the inexorable law of karma for keeping him true to his obligation.
Appointment by Election
The other method of appointment was said to be that of election. Spellman agrees with Macdonell and Keith, that there is no proof that monarch was sometimes elective. ‘It is possible to suggest that these passages indicate that the king in Vedic times needed the active consent of the vis (people) to rule. This may imply a residual power in the populous which suggests the elective principle ai some earlier time. Meanwhile we must remember that the dominant theory of the origin of kingship was by divine appointment, and vox regis rather than vox populi was considered near to vox dei. In addition, the Vedic passages cited above are not free from the implication of divine interference.’
Jayaswal holds that the king was elected by the people assembled in the Samiti. The people assembled were said to elect him to rulership unanimously. The Samili appointed him and he was asked to hold the state. It was hoped that he would not fall from his office. From Atharvavedi, he gives a complete song of election; the following lines may be reproduced here : ‘Gladly you come among us; remain firmly without Matiering; all the people want you; may you not fall off the State. Here be you firm like the mountain and may you not come down. Be you firm here like Indra; remain you here and hold the State.’
The origin of kingship is described in the Digha Nikaya. When it was found that theft had appeared in the society, the people assembled together, and agreed to choose as king one who would punish those
Scanned with deserving blame, banish those deserving banishment and in return would
get a share of peddy from the people. Then they selected the most beautiful, gracious and powerful individual among themselves and made a contract with him on the above terms. He was called Great Elect (Mahasammata) for being chosen by a great multitude of men (mahajana-sammata). Kshatriya as he was lord of the fields (khettanampati) and king (rajan) as he delighted (ranjesi) the others in accordance with the law.
In a passage of the Sanskrit Buddhist canonical work, the Mahavatsu Avadinam, the Buddha is represented as recounting to the assembled monks the story of the origin of kingship. The creatures, so runs the story in substance, assembled together and agreed among themselves to choose one that was the most gracious and mighty of them all. The purpose that the latter might punish those deserving punishment and cherish those deserving to be cherished. Then the creatures fixed their choice upon an individual, in return for their own payment of 1/6th of the produce of the paddy fields, to undertake the task of punishing the wicked and favouring the good.
According to Mabbett, the evidence for election of kings or for the dependence of kings on the populace does not demonstrate much beyond the contents of ceremonial invocations. Various Vedic passages have been cited and these seem to support two claims : that rajas had the approval of the people, and that the ratnins were ‘king-makers’; they elected or appointed the raja. It is said, for example, that they are the givers of the kingdom or kingship to the raja. Such passages show perhaps that rajas hoped for the approval of their fellow tribesmen, and suggest that some sought it; and they also show that there were ceremonies at which perhaps clan seniors initiated their fellows or their leaders, symbolically giving them their new dignity like archbishops putting crowns on the heads of new monarchs. But they do not show that there were democratic elections.
Thère can be no doubt that, even if Vedic kingship was sometimes elective, it was also hereditary in many cases. The Satapatha Brahmana records a ‘Kingdom of ten generations’ (dasapurusam-rajya). Kane
Accepts that Rudradaman was elected king by the people of Saurastra and according to the Junagadh inscription took an oath circa A.D. 150. This is the only historical illustration during our time that might be hold up as evidence. Altekar, however, rejects this with the argument
that these statements occur in panegyric documents composed by the court poet and cannot be taken too seriously. He points out that elsewhere Rudradaman is said to have become king by his own powers as a conqueror. The evidence, however suspicious, does exist and the safest conclusion at present is that we do not have sufficient corroborating materials to determine the validity and significance of the details given in the inscription.
Some passages speak explicitly of people choosing (vrnanah) a raja, but the context, usually descriptive of gods who are compared to rajas, suggests that tribal practice was that of choosing a military leader in the face of an emergency (perhaps at a tribal assembly). This is not to say that such choosing may not have been part of the process whereby a raja came to be a unique leader rather than a member of a class. But is is not the same thing as a democratic election.
Mabbett rightly observes : What identified a king us a king was partly his Kshatriya birth, partly the fact that he was actually engaged in ruling. Tim is a fairly pragmatic view of kingship, and there is nothing in it about constitutions. We do not find the doctrine that a kirig must take office according to the established institutions of his own country. . True, there are plenty of references suggesting that a king should seek the approval of his people. It was not only in Vedic times that ‘king-makers’ were mentioned; the epics have them too. Santanu and Puru are offered the crown at a palace assembly. Dashratha submits his heir to the approval of vassals and others. But what such passages show is chiefly that there were ceremonies attached to becoming a king, and that to be successful a king needed right from the start as much support from influential men as possible. The scheme is one of palace intrigue and knightly rivalry. There is no suggestion anywhere of constitutional elections or formal machinery.
The ratnins in the early Vedic society, there was a group of ratnins or jewel-bearers of the king. The various texts differ as to the exact number and names of these officials; but the measure of difference is not significant. According to the Satapatha Brahmana, there are twelve ratnins including the king. The Scnni was the commander of the army. The royal priest or Purohita became a sort of prime minister for the king. During the Brahmana period, the king usually had more than one
queen. The mahisi was usually included in the ratnins. The Suta was
also an official who looked after the state horses and was responsible for the maintenance of dynastic tradition. The exact position of the Gramani is not clear; he was the village headman or probably the village headman of all the realm, who performed some additional military duties. The royal chamberlain is followed inmost lists by the Samgrahitr. The position is variously translated us charioteer’, ‘treasurer or ‘collector general. The keeper of (lice Aksuvapa) was also included in the list of ratnins. He was the Govikartana which appeared to have something to do with cows. The last of the ratnins mentioned in the Satapatla Brahmana is the Palagaln, the courier who was, in all probability, the forerunner of later ambassadors (dutas).
According to Spellman the ratnins were considered to have some influence over the king. They were especially significant the coronation sacrifice and were, therefore, called rajakrt or king-makers. The king paid obeisance to them at the Vajapeya ceremony and took a sacrificial sword from the priest. He performed the oblations of the ratnins; thus he became their king. Altekar, Majumdar and others assert that the ratnins were a council of the king, and were called upon to give advice, especially since they were some of the leading figures of the body politic. It is difficult to believe that the Superintendent of Dicing, the Commander of the Army and the Chief Queen are in a political sense even roughly equal. Nor do we see any reason for accepting that each of the ratnins represented a particular group and the king was, as it were, recognising the importance of various trade union leaders. These ratnins, who were called the king’s jewels, were treasurers not so much in a political sense as they were in the religious or magical sense. Mabbett concludes : ‘But if the meaning is that the ratnins as a class
had a ceremonial rather than a politicai lask, this is clearly acceptable. One can see these offices as perhaps palace sinecures given as rewards for service. Thus we cannot discover anything that can meaningfully be called a state apparatus in the course of an examination of the titles and functions of Vedic tribal dignitaries. This does not mean that none existed. It only means that we should beware of making unwarranted assumptions.
Origin in Contract
The first hint of the contractual theory appears in the Aitateya brahmana but the idea is not extensively developed until the Buddhist
literature. The Hindu government contract, like the Buddhist, was in essence an exchange of taxes for protection, and the king’s authority was limited by sacred law. “The theory of contract is not tied to a conception of the people as the ultimate source of authority. In fact, at least one source suggests that the contract is made for inspiring confidence among all classes of the people, and the Arthashastra recommends, evidently as a kind of Platonic noble myth, that the contractual explanation of the king’s origin be circulated among the people. It is difficult to find instances of actual conditions placed on the exercise of royal power by the people-conditions which would normally accompany a contract. The coronation oath is a pledge of loyalty to dharma, and only indirectly is it a pledge to the people.”
Modern commentators on ancient Indian polity frequently see the contract as evidence of popular authority. Though references to the state of nature exist in almost all the major documents, it is doubtful whether they were meant to suggest an actual histories’ period. Often the state of nature appears to be no more than logical deduction. Narada claims that when mortals were bent doing their duty alone and (were) habitually veracious, there exists neither law suits nor hatred, nor selfishness. The practice of duty having died out among mankind, law suits have been introduce and the king has been appointed to decide law suits, because he has authority to punish. “We may wonder whether the Smriti looks back to an idyllic state of nature such as we find in the Buddhist sources, or to the ancient tribal community of an age before property I become a fundamental institution of society.
The Puranas remark that with the cultivation of the soil and development of private property, contention and vice came into the world as men sought to appropriate more and more for themselves. Buddhist Digha Nikaya describcs a golden age; the ethereal domininated the corporeal and men danced in the air. Gradually the elites manifested themselves and the social institutions necessary their satisfaction evolved. Man became the slave of the passions, I it was now imperative that a leader be appointed to establish order. In return the ‘Great Elect’ would receive a share of the people’s grain. The prepolitical society pictured in the Mahabharata degenerated to the rule of lang and claw. Afterthe fall on ‘absolute’ dharma, men ceased to be guided by wisdom, justice, righteousness. Property is precarious, honour and morality dine,
men give themselves up to the excesses of their passions, sacrifices are not celebrated, the Brahmanas do not practice austerities, and castes can no longer be distinguished from one another. Coercion (danda) had become necessary to maintain order, to preserve virtue, and to hold men to the duties of their respective castes. Hence the function of the state is to maintain stability by employing danda : dharma cannot exist without danda in a world of perfect men.
This degradation is never fully elaborated in the political treatises. The state of nature may be meant to do no more than dramatise the need for an authority to restrain the worst impulses of men. In serving the community, the king seeks to fulfili the obligations of his rajadharma, and since dharma remains in theory the sovereign authority, it is really only implicitly and indirectly-through the acceptance of the framework of social duty by both parties – that a contract between the king and subjects exists..
The constant reiteration of the need for coercion (danda) in the preservation of the dharmic order suggests a cynical view of human nature. In addition to the Mahabharata, Kautilya and Kamandaka the Manusmriti and the Shukranitisara all attest to the natural depravity of man. The suspicion of human nature that dominates Hindu thought can be summed up in the words of Manu: A guiltless man is hard to find, a society without constraints is no society at all; men feed on one another as do the beasts of the jungle and the fish in the sea. When the law of punishment is kept in abeyance, it gives rise to the disorder implied in the proverb of the fishes…!
The Rise of the Republics The early Vedas make no mention of the republics. Departure from the prevailing from the monarchy was made in post-vedic times. Megasthenes records the tradition. ‘Sovereignty (Kingship) was dissolved and democratic government set up’ in various places. The hymns of the Rig and Atharvan, in view of the Mahabharata and the tradition which Megasthenes heard in India in the fourth century B.C., all point to the fact that republican form of government in India came long after monarchy and after the early Vedic Age It appears in the later Vedid literature in the Rigvedic Brahmana, the Aitreya a
Brahmana, the Aitreya, and in the Yajurveda and its Brahmuana the ‘Tailtriva.
The Hindu republics existed and flourished as early as the age of the Aitreya Brahmana. According to the Brahmana, the greater portion of Aryan India – North, West and South – was covered with republican constitutions. Only in the middle the Madhyadesa, which extended from the Kuru land (the district of Delhi upto Allahabad) monarchy prevailed. Further East in the Prachi (with its centre in or about Magadha) there was the constitution called Samrajya – a combination of monarchies. Except the Doab (between the Ganges and the Jamuna) and Magadha the whole country was republican. Such was nearly the case also in the time of the Buddha, as it appears from Pali authorities.
Republican System : Post-Vedic and Post-Tribal. The republican system was not only post-vedic and artificial, it was also post-tribal and philosophic. The names of Technical constitutions Vairajya (kingless), Svarajya (sell-ruling), Bhaujya (temporary rulership) were not derived from tribes; the names of the tribes did not give names to forms of government. The names of constitutions were artificial and philosophic. According to the tradition of the Puranas, Yaudheya and Madra, two cadels of the monarchical house in the Middle Country, went out to the Punjab and sounded states called.
Aster tribal names, ‘This Puranic history is in full agreement with known facts: corporate institutions were named after founders. The Madras and Yaudheyas thus were not tribes but states and artificial ‘political tribes’, like the artificial, religious Sakya-putras. It was the state in these two cases which gave the name to the citizens, a name which was artificially tribal, or in modern phraseology a name which denoted political nationality as opposed to what we may call tribal nationality. The Kshudrakas and Malavas, like the Madras and Yaudheyas, were political nations or states called after two personal names.
The real questions is whether a state organization is yet tribal it is the outcome of intelligent thinking of theories, of conscious experience and experiments. The age when stale is felt to be based on contract and the ruler is regarded to be a servant of the ruled and when political loyalty is even open to strangers, is a high water-mark of constitutional development voting and ballot voting, motion, resolution and legislation,
legalism and formalism in procedure of deliberation, are other indicia of that state.
Buddhism first arose in one of the republican states – that of the Sakayas of Kapilavastu. Its inhabitants lived in independence, though under the over-lordship of Koshala. In the same region, similar states existed among the Mallas of Kubinara and Pava among the Vrijis. The confederation of eight states bearing this name included the Lichchhavis of Vaishali. At the other end of India, republics of the Melloi (Malavas) and Oxydraci (Kshudrakas), though rivals, had combined before the Greek menace. The Sabavae (Sambastai) had thrcé archons; the Nyasans were governed by a senate of 300 members; and the Patalas, at the top of the Indus della, had two kings. A third group of republics, mentioned in the Mahabharatas, existed between the Ganges and the Jumna and the Deccan. These were the Yadavas, the Kamindas, the Malavas, the Sibis and the Arjunayanas. The Yadavas, were a federation of small clans, each with its hereditary chief; but their common affairs were managed by a body of elected senators. It seems that although each state was monarchic, yet the federation was republican.
Kind of Republics
Kautilya divides the republics into two broad groups : (1) The Rajashabdopjivins and (2) The Vartashastropajivin. In the great Andhaka-Vrishni Samgha only the descendants of some aristocratic families-Svapalaka, Chaitraka, Sini and Vasudeva – could be called Rajanayakas and all other Ksliatriyas could be called Rajanyas only. The Rajanyas were the Abhishikta Vansya, Kshatriyas, i.e., the Kshatriya families consecrated to rulership. The Samghas of Kambojas, Kshatriyas and Srenis and others lived by trade, agriculture and arms.
According to Jayaswal, Kshatriyas and Srenis were republics and not warrior guilds. The constitutions had two characteristics (i) it was incumbent on their citizens to acquire military skill, so every citizen, was a soldier; and (ü) these republics, being different from the other kind, had no king consul. Thus, the Vartashastropajivin , Samghas observed the practice of arms or military arts. They were also called Avidhajivin Samgha. These constitutions viz., Puga, Vrata and Avudhavivi were in different stages of political evolution. Panini refers to four kinds of Ayudhajivins.
Samghas in Vahtka. These occupied the regions between the
Indus and Sutlej, and included the Yaudbeyas, the Kshudrakas, the Malavas etc. They were most advanced among the Ayudhajivins.
(2) Of Parvata or Mountain Country. They also belonged to north-western regions, i.e., the high-lands of the north-west including Kashmir and Afghanistan. The Mahabharata refers to them as ‘Girigahvaras” in Bhishmaparva and as Pratichyah Parvatiyah in Udyogaparva.’ According to Arrian the mountainous Indians fought in the army of Darius against Alexander and they offered a tough resistance to the Macedonian invader in Bactria and Gandhara.
(3) Pugas. These were organised under their Gramani into some form of Samgha government. The Mahabharata refers to them as ‘Sindhukulasrita gramaniyah.’ But it may be a reference to the City States as well.
(4) Vrata. They lived by depredation and violence and had only the semblance of a Samgha.
In the other group – The Rajashabdopajavinah, Kautilya includes (i) the Lichchhavikas, (ii) the Vrijikas, (iii) the Mallakas, (iv) the Madrakas, (v) the Kukuras, (vi) the Kurus, (vii) the Panchalas and others. The Madrakas : The Uttara-Madras are referred to along with the Uttarakurus in the Aitareya Brahmana. THe Vairajya consecration was prevalent among them and they inhabited the territories beyond Himvanta (Pare Himvantam).
Zimrner locates them in Kashmir region. The Madras proper, too, are mentioned in the Brihndaranyakopanishad.
The Kukuras. The Kukuras are mentioned in the Mahabharata as a branch of Yadu race or a member of the Andhaka-Vrishni Jeaeue. Their territory probably was in central and south-western India.
The Kurus. In the early period Kurus were under monarchical constitution: they seem to have switched over to republican constitution in pre-Mauryan days and after the Buddhist period.
The Panchalas In the Vedic period, they were monarchical in characıer. But Kautilya mentions them as a republic and so does Patanjali,
Republican League. The rise of the unitary republics mentioned as accompanied by the formation of a few republican leagues. Among such icagucs may be included those of the Vajjis of Vaishali in the middle Ganga basin, the Andhaka-Vrishnis in the upper Ganga valley
and the Kashudraka Malayas in the Indus valley. It is said that the federation of the Vajis consisted of eight component clans. The Andhaka-Vrishnis had formed a federation based on joint rule by the supreme executives of these tribes.
Small and Bigger Altekar points to the differences between the smaller and bigger republics. In case of the former, most of the members of the supreme central assembly lived in the capital and met in their moot halls. They translated the state business in a democratic way. Each member of the ruling aristocracy was called ‘Raja’ in most cases, Besides this aristocracy, there was the executive wing of the republic consisting of the official hierarchy. The commoners, viz., the farmers, the artisans, the labourers, the servants and the serfs had no voice in the state affairs. On the contrary, the bigger republics were divided into provinces with the governors as their heads. The president of the republic seems to have made the appointment of the governors and Other state officials, with the approval of the central assembly. The voice of the central assembly might have been overriding. The governors and all other important state officials were appointed from the ruling aristocratic class (Kulaputtas).
A Brief Description of Some Republics
Some of the republics mentioned in the Sutras are as follows :
The Vrika An individual member of the Samgha was called ‘Garkenya’ and the entire samgha Vrika. Their country seems to identical with Hyrcania lying to the north of Parthia and on the eastern corner of the Caspian Sca. The Persians named the Varaka and other northern war-like people as ‘Sacas’.
The Yaudheyas The name itself is derived from ‘Yodha and signifies warrior.’ This military nation or republic în arc survived the onslaughts of Mauryan imperialism and closed their ranks in face of Machiavellian Magadhan state-craft. They disillusioned the Sunga ambitions and subsequently defied the alien Sakas and Kushanas, resisted their advance and were instruments in bringing their downfall.
The Sakyas of Kapilavastu They were settle in the territory bordered on the north by the Himalayas, on the bank by the river Rohini. and on the west and south by the Rapti. Then capital, Kapilavastu, stood close to the western bank of the Rohini. They had an aristocratic
Government consisting of 500 councillor each of whom contributed an
elephant to the state. There are numerous references to them in the Pali canon. They are remembered not because of their might or power, but because they gave humanity one of its greatest teachers, viz., Gautama Buddha.
The Koliyans They were the eastern neighbours of the Sakayas. The waters of the river Rohini were used for irrigation by both of them and that was often the cause of conflict and bloodshed between them.
The Mallas of Para The Mallas had two headquarters – Pava and Kusinara: References to the Mallas of Pava are comparatively infrequent. The river Kakutta divided the two territories of the Mallas. It has been identified with the river Kuker. The Mallas were a samgha, every member of which was entitled to call himself a Raja. They were a martial race devoted to mainly sports like wrestling. Later they fell prey to Magadhan imperialism. Their territory formed a part of the Mauryan empire in the third century B.C. Kautilya mentions them as one of the Rajashabdopajivi Samghas. Kasika also mentions them.
The Lichclihavis of Vaishali There is no reference either to the Lichchhavis or the Vrijis either in the Vedic or Epic literature. But the Pali canon is full of their references. The name of Mahavira’s mother was Trisala, also called Videhadatta, and described as belonging to the Videhan clan. She was the sister of Lichchhavi king Chetaka; this is why she has been described both as a Lidehan and a Lichchhavi.
Vajjis of Vaishali. The entire confederacy was vajjis and its capital was Vaishali. Vajjis were also a confederate clan of this samgha. We get numerous references to them in the Pali canon. According to Ray Chaudhuri the Vajjian consederation was organised after the decline and fall of the royal house of Videha. Their territory lay north of the · Ganga and extended as far as the Nepal hills. On the west, river Gandaka separated its territories from the land of another republic, i.e., the Mallas and Koshalas.
In his campaign against India, Alexander came across a number of republics. A brief description of some of the important republics is as follows:
The Kathaians. They were one of the strongest nations of India and they enjoyed the highest reputation for courage and skill in the art of war.” The Kathaians have been identified with the Kathas or
Kathakas, the famous authors of the Kathopanishad; they have also
been identified with Kantha or Klatha. Strabo points out that ‘some writers place Cathai and the country of Sopeithes, one of the monarchs, in the tract between the rivers Hydaspes and Acesines (i.e., the Jhelum
The Adraistai, Adrestai or Adrestae. European scholars have defined them with with Aratthas, but Dr. Jayaswal identifies them with that of Panini and the Ganapatha. They dwelt on the eastern side of the Hydraotes Ravi and their main stronghold was Pimprama.
The Siboi They were the friendly neighbours of another famous republic Malloi. They lived in the lower part of Rechna Doab in the Sherkot region of the present district of Jhang, below the junction of the Jhelum and Chenab. A majority of scholars identify them with Siva people mentioned in the Rigveda where their defeat at the hands of Sudas is described.
The Ağalassoi They were the neighbours of the Siboi people, and mustered an army of 40,000 foot soldiers and 3,000 horsemen to challenge the Macedonians conqueror.
The Sudracae or Oxydraki They were the neighbours of the Siboi and the Agalassoi and occupied a part of the territory below the confluence of the Jhelum and Chenab (in Montgomery District). Their name represents the Sanskrit Kshudraka. They seem to have formed a confederation with the Mallois. The ‘Oxydrakai’ and the ‘Malloi’ have been described as autonomous tribes; and they have been identified respectively with the Kshudrakas and the Malavas, who are quoted in the Paninian grammatical tradition as examples of republics, unlike territories rules by single kings..
The Malloi They have been identified with Malavas, who occupied a territory in the Punjab at the time of Alexander’s invasion, yet there is some difference of opinion about their exact location. According to McCrindle, their territory lay between the doab of Akesines and Hydraotes (Chenab and Ravi) and the confluence of the Indus and Akesines (Multan and Montgomery districts). Ray Chaudhuri places them in the valley of lower Hydraotes (Ravi) on both the banks of the river. The Mahabharata its them in the Punjab with the Sibis and Trigartas.
The Agesinae (Accsinui, Agalasoi, Argesinae, etc.) They meet the Macedonian army soon after its terrible encounter with the Mallois and
fought very gallantly. Earlier accidental scholars have identified them with Arjunayanas, but Jayaswal identified them with Agrasrcnis on philosogical grounds. He also identifics them with the ‘Sreni Samgha’ of the Arthashastra described as ‘Varta Shostro-pajivi’ by Kautilya..
The Abastanoi Their territory lay below the Malava country, above the confluence of Chenab and the Indus, on the banks of lower Chcnab. They have been identificd with Sanskrit Ambasht has almost unanimously by the scholars. They have been cxpressly described as a democracy. At the time of Alexander’s attack they at first elected three generals for defcncc. After hearing the counsels of thcir ciders they decided not to fight, but sent instcad filty of their most cminent citizens’ to negotiate for their surrender.
The Xathroi and the Ossudioi They have been identified with ‘Kshatriya’ of Sanskrit literature. Manu trcals them as of mixed origin. The Ossadioi have been identificd with Vastai of the Mahabharata by Saint Martins. The Mahabharata associates with thc Sibis and Sindhu-Sauvriras of lower Indus valley. According to Dr. Ray Chaudhuri, they occupied the territory between the confluence of thc Ravi and Indus, on lower Chenab. Thc Xathroi seem to be identical with the ‘Kshatriya Samgha’ described as “Varta-shastropajivi’ by Kautilya.
The Sodrai (Sogadoi) and the Massanoi The sodrai: have been almost unanimously identified with Sudra tribe of Sanskrit literature (Surayanas of Ganapatha). According to the Greek writers their capital “Basilcion’ stood on the Indus, where Alexander founded another Alexandria after getting their submission. They were descated together with Massanoi. Patanjali mentions them, grouping them the Abhiras. Nakula defeated them along with the Abhiras in his western campaign in the region where the river Sarasvati vanishes into the desert. In the Harivamsa Purana they are grouped with the Madras.
The Ambasthas They have been spell as Sambastai and Abastanoi by the Greeks. They were known for their numbers as well as bravery. Their form of government was democratic and their army consisted of 60,000 foot, 6.0 cavalry and 500 chariots. The Ambasthas as a political community have also been mentioned by Patanjali and the Mahabharata.
Nysa This was a small hill stale which lay at the foot of Mt. Mcros between the Kphen or Kabul river and the Indus. It had a republican constitution The city was alleged to have been founded by Greek
colonists long before the invasion of Alexander. Arrian says : The Nysacans are not an Indian race, but descended from the men who came to India with Dionysus.’ Curiously enough, a Yona or Greek state is mentioned along with Kambhoja in the Majjhima Nikaya as flourishing in the time of Gautama Buddha and Assalayana. The free city of Nyasa has been described as an aristocracy ruled by a President and a governing body of 300 men.
Patala It was situated to the south of Punjab in the delta of the Indus. Disdorus says that its political constitution was drawn on the same lines as the Spartan, because in this community the command in war was vested in two hereditary kings of two different houses while a Council of Elders ruled the whole state with paramount authority.
The Kambojas The carliest reference to them is in the Vasa-Brahmana of Samaveda, where a vedic teacher named Kamboja Aupamanayava is mentioned. Yaska records in his Nirukta ihat Kambojas were so called because they were ‘Kamaniyabhojas’ or the enjoyers of pleasant things including ‘Kambala’ (blanket).
The Surashitras (Sattrashlras) ‘Surashtra country is mentioned in the Budhayana-Dharmasutra and is located in the Dakshinapatha. The country is mentioned in the Ramayana, where it is located in the western part of India. Ptolemy and Pliny mention the Surashtra country as Syrastrene and Horatae respectively. They were in Kahiawar.
The Kshatriyas and the Srenis Dr. Jayaswal identifies the two republics (i) the Kshatriyas, and (ii) the Srenis with the tathroi and Agesinai (Agalassi, Accnsoni) respectively. The Kshatriyas and the Srenis have been mentioned as neighbours in Sind in the records of Macedonian writers. The Kshatriyas have been called them Xathroi; they seem to survive in the numerous caste called : Sindhi-Kshatris; but the Kshatris of the Punjab may also represent them. Various terms have been used by classical writers to denote what seems to be Agra-Srenis or the First Sernis
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