6th Class Social – Emergence of Kingdoms and Republics

→ The rivers Ganga and Yamuna flow between the Himalayas and the hills of the Deccan plateau. It is called the Gangetic valley. As this plain receives very high rainfall, it is very fertile. These rivers bring silt from the Himalayas and flow throughout the year. So different tribes settled down to practice agriculture in this valley. These tribes were called ‘Jana in Sanskrit and the place where they settled was called Manapada’.

→ They cleared the forests with the help of iron tools and tilled the land to grow paddy and other crops. Widespread use of iron in the Gangetic plain created conditions for the formation of larger territorial units. Large groups of such villages and towns were called ‘Mahajanapadas’ or ‘big Janapadas’. Most of the Mahajanapadas had a capital city and many of those were fortified.

→ Some important archaeological sites at the time of Mahajanapadas are Hastinapura (Modern Delhi), Atranjikhera, Kausambi (Near Allahabad), Pataliputra.

6th Class Social – Emergence of Kingdoms and Republics

→ Agriculture was managed by landowners called Grihapatis or Gahapatis, who usually worked along with their family members on the fields. They also employed ‘Dasas’ or slaves and workers ‘Haruka’s or who worked on their fields and homes in return for wages. The use of iron plowshare and plantation of paddy saplings improved agricultural productivity.

→ The largest landowner became the headman of the village. He was the leader of the village. He is everything for the village. In most of the villages, there were craft persons. Probably the Grihapatis gave them grains in return for their products. Agrarian surplus and increase in craft products resulted in the emergence of trading and exchange centers.

→ Most of the Mahajanapadas were ruled by kings. The kings commanded and led their armies in battle. They took a personal interest in the welfare of; their people. Yagnas and animal sacrifices became very important during the period. The kings collected taxes from the people. The Grihapatis had to divide their crops into six equal parts and give one part to the king. That was called Bhaga. During that period, the use of coins had just begun. Some of the taxes were probably in the form of coins.

6th Class Social – Emergence of Kingdoms and Republics

→ The term ‘Gana means ‘people of equal status. ‘Sangha’ means ‘assembly’. The Gana -sanghas covered a small geographical area ruled by an elite group. A ‘kingdom5 means

→ a territory ruled by a king or queen. In a kingdom (monarchy), a family, which rules for a long period becomes a dynasty.

→ One of such Mahajanapadas is Maghada. It spread on both sides of the River Ganga.

→ The river made the land very fertile. The river was also used for transporting goods and armies. In the southern parts of Magadha, there were iron ore deposits that could be used for making weapons, etc. All this enabled Magadha to emerge as a very powerful kingdom. Bimbisara and his son Ajatasatru were early kings who built Magadha.

→ Vajji Mahajanapada was to the North of Magadha and it had a Gana form of government. Gana was, ruled by a group of rulers instead of a single ruler. Buddha and Mahavira belonged to Ganas and became famous teachers respected in all Mahajanapadas. All the Ganas were conquered by the Gupta Kings,

→ Jainism which is codified by Mahavira and Buddhism founded by Siddhartha was not satisfied with the Vedic rituals of that period and questioned the authority of the Vedas. There were other religions like Lokayata and Ajivaka that questioned the supremacy of Vedas.

6th Class Social – Emergence of Kingdoms and Republics

→ Archaeology: This is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material cultures.

→ Gana: This is used for a group that has many members.

→ Sangha: means organization or association.

→ DlghanLkaya: This is a Buddhist scripture, the first of the five Nikaya in the Sutta Pitaka.

→ MaJhImanIkaya: is a Buddhist scripture, the second of the five Nikayas, in the Sutta Pitaka

→ Upanishads: are the philosophical texts called ‘Vedanta’

6th Class Social - Emergence of Kingdoms and Republics



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