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Harappan Civilization

as old as the civilizationsof Egypt and Mesopotamia

Marshall concluded that the Harappan civilization was about five thousand
years old
seals, sealings, written script and works of art found in Harappa were totally
different from those with which scholars were already familiar
Similar, Mohenjodaro in Sind
In Mohenjodaro settlement lay underneath a Buddhist monastery belonging to
the Kushan period
Evidence--did not know the use of iron
found objects similar to those of Harappa and Mohenjodaro in Mesopotamia
Mesopotami~n cities came into existencein the early 3rd millennium B.C
Marshall's chronology of Harappa has been further supported by new
methods--Radio carbon dating
nearly thousand settlements having similar traits, have been discovered
most of the settlements were discovered in the plains of the river Indus and its
tributaries---named it the 'Indus Valley Civilization
geographical space
areas of Rajasthan, punjab, Gujarat, Pakistan and some of the surrounding
forefathers of the Harappans living in villages and small towns before they
built up the towns and cities
engaged in pastoral nomadic activities
some went in for trade
culmination of a long period of evolution of agricultural and semi-nomadic
dry weather
scanty rainfall
some important variations
Punjab and Sind are dominated by the alluvial plains
areas of Baluchistan--steep craggy hills
North-Eastem Baluchistan- some possibilities of agriculture , inhabited by
pastoral nomads
areas of these border lands which cut out into the Indus plains are a
continuation of the eastern Iranian Plateau
many passes Khyber, Gomal and Bolan acted as highways of traffic for
nomads, merchants, warriors and various groups of people
Early harappan
earliest evidence---Mehrgarh, near the Bolan pass, Baluchistan province of
Pakistan, emergence of agricultural communities
turned into a settled village in the 5th millennium B.C
wheat, barley. cotton and dates and tending sheep, goat and cattle
located at the place where the alluvial plains of the Indus join the uneven hilly
plateau , of the Indo-lranian border land

mud houses which could sometimes have five to six rooms

By the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C
many small and large villages had sprung up around the Indus, Baluchistan
and Afghanistan area.
better known--Kili Ghul Muhammad in Baluchistan, Mundigak in
agriculturists learnt to exploit the highly fertile flood plains of the Indus
a sudden expansion in the size and numbers of villages
learnt to exploit the Indus plains and to contro! the flooding of the Indus
Richer returns per acre planted resulted in larger surpluses
increase in the number of settlements in Sindh, Rajasthan, Baluchistan and
other area
managed to exploit stone quarries and mines useful to them
indications of the existence of pastoral nomadic communities
interactions with these groups
helped agriculturists exploit resources from other regions as the pastoral
nomads are known to engage in trading activities led to the development of
small towns
period of this new development is called 'the Early Harappan'
Southern AfghanistanMundigak
located on a trade route,
inhabitants of this place using artifacts show affinities with some Iranian
towns and some Baluchistan towns, place grew into a township of
impressive proportions,
evidence of a defensive wall with square bastions of sun dried bricks,
large building with rows of pillars has been identified as a palace, Another
large structure looks like a temple
variety of potteries--naturalistic decorations showing birds, ibex, bull and
Pipal tree
Terracotta female figurines using bronze shafthole azes and adzes, semi
precious stones lapis-lazuli and steatite
contacts with Iran and central Asia since these stones are not available
Quetta Valley
South east of Mundigak
place called Damb Sadaat, large houses having brick walls belonging to the
beginning of the 3rd millennium B.C
painted potteries similar to those of Mundigak
using clay seals and copper In a place called Rana Ghundai
using finely made painted pottery with friezes of humped bulls in black
Another excavated site Periano Ghundai has yielded female figurines of a
distinctive type
Central and Southern Baluchistan
sites like Anjira, Togau, Nindowari like
In Balakot remains of large buildings have been discovered
contact with Persian Gulf

people of the entire Baluchistan province were using similar kinds of pottery
show distinct influences from the Persian Gulf towns on the one hand and
from the Indus valley towns on the other
using motifs on their pottery like the.humped bull and Pipal which continued
into the Mature Harappan phase
Indus Area
By the middle of the 4th millennium B.C. the Indus alluvial plains become the
focal point of chang
Amri habitations show people living in houses of stone and mud brick
constructed some kind of a granary also
painted such animal motifs as the humped Indian bulls on their pottery.
very popular during the 'Mature Harappan' phase
wheel-made pottery
Similar finds have been reported in places like Tharro and Kohtras Buthi
fortified their settlements before the coming of the Harappan civilization.
Kot Dii
Opposite Mohenjodaro on the left bank of the river Indus
had a massive defensive wall built around their settlement
using a wheel-thrown pottery having decorations of plain bands of dark
brownish paint
kind of pottery has been reported from the pre-Harappan habitations in far
flung places like Kalibangan in Rajasthan and Mehrgarh in Baluchistan.
Kot-Diji variety of pottery has been found along the entire stretch of the river
Thismovement towards similar methods of decorating pottery indicates greater
communication among the people of the Indus plain
anticipates the process of the convergence of cultures seen in the Harappan
certain other earthen vessels showed similarity with those of Mundigak
make various kinds of beads of stone
Lapis-lazuli, one of the precious stones used by them is found only in the
Badakshan region of Central Asia
Seals are used as a mark of authority in situations of interpersonal exchange
Mehrgarh seals were probably used by merchants for guaranteeing the quality
of goods that were being sent to faraway lands
Similarities in the designs of potteries, terracotta figurines and objects of
Fopper and stone indicate that these people were in close contact with the
neighbouring towns of Iran
most of the pottery used by the people of Mehrgarh was similar to the ones
used in the neighbouring settlements of Damb Sadaat and the Quctta Valley
large number of female terracotta figurines are also found
very similar to the ones found in Zhob Valley
Rahman Dheri
Early Indus' township has been excavated

Oblong in shape
houses, streets and lanes laid out in a planned fashion
protected by a massive wal
beads of turquoise and lapis lazuli have been found
shows their contact with Central Asia
Seals, tools made of stone, copper and bronze have also been found
Tarkai Qila
evidence of fortification
discovered large samples of grains which included many varieties of wheat
and barley, lentils and field pea
at a site called Levan , huge factory site for making stone tools was discovered
most of the people used tools made of stone
people in Levan were making ground stone axes, hammers, querns, etc.
importing suitable rocks i from the surrounding areas too.
presence of lapis lazuli and terracotta figurines indicates links with Central
Punjab and Bahawalpur
pottery found here seems to have similarities with the Kot Dijian ware.
. In the Bahawalpur area about 40 sites of the 'Early Harappan' period have
been located in the dry bed of the Hakra rive
most of the sites were simple villages, some of them were carrying out
specialised industrial activitie
t most of the sites averaged about five to six hectares in size
Gamanwala spreads over an area of 27.3 hectare
Gamanwala was larger than the Harappan township of Kalibanga
larger townships must have carried administrative and industrial activities
apart from agricultural activities
People lived in houses of mud brick
mud bricks had standard size
a rampart around the settlement
A few varieties of potteries like the 'offering stand' continued to be used
during the urban phase
remarkable find was that of a ploughed field surfac
The exploitation of the Khetri copper mines in Rajasthan might have begun in
the 'Early Harappan' period itself
Cultivators colonised the alluvial plains of the Indus during this period
using tools of copper, bronze and stonc
using plough and wheeled transport
Indus people reared cattle
At the same time a gradual unification too took place in the pottery tradition
a particular kind of pottery first identified in Kot Diji spread over almost the
entire area of Baluchistan, Punjab and Rajasthan
Terracotta mother goddesses, motif of horned deity could be seen in Kot Diji
or Kalibangan.
Some of the communities surrounded themselves with defensive walls

larger surpluses would also permit the elaboration of non-farming

at the time of the emergence of the Harappan civilization many sites like Kot
Diji and Kalibangan were destroyed by fire.

Harappan Civilization
presence and domination of large cities
presence of specialisedcraftsmen
long distance trade
existence of rich and poor people
presence of kings
general features common to all the Civilizations
particular features of the Harappan Civilization
using the same written script
whether it was staying in Rajasthan or Punjab or Sind would be using the
same sets of weights and measures
copper-bronze tools used by them were also uniform in design, shape and siz
bricks they used had a proportion 4:2: 1
Some of their town's were also characterised by uniformities in the planning
of the buildings, citadels etc.
seals, shell (shankh) bangles, carnelian beads and the disc beads of steatite
were also uniformly designed in the entire geographical space
Most of the time use of a pinkish pottery with bright red slip
pottery had standard representations of trees, animals, birds and geometric
motifs in black
there was a continuity of population and technical skill between the 'Early
Harappan' and Harappan periods
process of evolution was evident in the agricultural settlements, and basic
crafts and the distinct Indus style itself were probably carried over from
earlier regional tradition
Harappa, Ghaggar, Mohenjodaro axis represents the heartland of the
Harappan Civilization
characterised by certain uniformities
entire zone is a flat stretch of land having similar subsistence pattern
Snowmelt from the from the Himalayas and monsoon rains define its flooding
create similar kinds of possibilities for agriculture and pastoralism
Kachhi plains to the west of the b d u s system is in the transitional zone of
the Iranian borderlands
flat alluvial outwash locqted at the foot of the Bolan pass and the lake
Manchar inhospitable except for its periphery is completely dry
settlements of Sutka-koh and Sutkagen-Dor on the Makran coast represent the
driest part of the hilly Baluchisran region
western boundaries of the Harappans--Shortughai in north-eastem
Afghanistan--isolated colonies of the Harappans.

eastern borderlands of the Harappan Civilization -- Bargaon, Manpur and

Alamgirpur in U.P had higher rainfall and denser forests--wheat producing
area Manda in Jammy-and Ropar in Wnjab , the northern extremities of the
Harappans in India
settlements of Daimabad in Maharashtra and Bhagatrav in Gujarat --southern
frontier of the Harappans.
Harappans in Gujarat were familiar with rice and millet.
area was larger than those of the contemporary Civilizations of Mesopotamia
and Egypt
The smallest towns of modern India would have a larger population than the
biggest towns of ithe Harappans.
in the Harappan period the fastest means of transport was bullock-cart
With such primitwe technology, a civilization which managed to bring
together far flung areas in a complex web of socio-economic relationship was
a stunning achievement in those days
located on the bank of the Ravi in Western Punjab
substantial section of the population was engaged in aqiuities other than food
production like admin$trati\on, trade, craft work or , religion.
these people were not producing foo themselves someone else would have to
do it for them
Productivity was Low was quite difficult for maintaining these non-food
mobilise a very large number of people for procuring and transporting food
from L the food producidg areas
these areas would not have been very far from the city because transportation
of grains was done by bullock carts and boats
Harappa located in midst of important trade routes connected central Asia,
Afghanistan, Jammu
located in the Larkana district of Sind on the bank of the river Indus
largest site of the Harappan Civilization
information regarding town planning, hbusing seals comes from Mnhcnindaro
regular floods caused deposition of alluvial soi
continuous deposition of silt over the centuries has riised the level of the land
around Mohenjodaro by about thirty feet
ground water table has risen correspondingly
located in Rajasthan along the dried up bed of the river Ghaggar
largest concentration of the Harappan settlements
yielded evidence for the existence of Pre-Harappan and Harappan habitations.
In the areas of present day Haryana, East Punjab and Western U.P. Harappan
sites like Bara, Siswal and Alamgirpur have been distovered
distinct local traditions in pottery along with the Harappan pottery

mediator between the Harappan cultural zone and the eastern provinces
Gujarat settlements
Rangapur, Surkotada and Lothal
Lothal is located in the coastal flats of the Gulf of Cambay
outpost for sea-trade with contemporary West Asian societies
located near the Makran coast which is close to the Pakistan-Iran border.
At present the settlement is land-locked in dry inhospitable plains
citadel surrounded1by a stme wall built for defence
material characteristics of Harappan Civilization
1. town planning
2. pottery
3. tools and implement
4. arts and crafts
5. scripts
6. subsistence pattern
division of each town into two parts
one part was a raised citadel--rulers were stayin
other part of the town lived the ruled and the poor
houses, the temples, the granaries and the streets themselves will be almost
identical to those of Mohenjodaro or any other Harappan town
settlements of Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Kalibangan show certain
uniformities--citadel on the west side--lower town'on the eastern side of the
citadel was built on a high podium of mud brick
large structureswhich might have functioned as administrative or ritual centres
lower city contained residential areas
Mohenjodaro and Harappa the citadel was surrounded by a brick wal
Kalibangan both the citadel and the lower city were surrounded by a wall
streets ran from north to south in the lower city and cut at right angles
this kind of alignme'nt of streets and houses represents conscious town
Mohenjodaro was not constructed in homogeneous horizontal units built in
different times
Harappa and Mohenjodaro baked bricks were used for buildings
Kalibangan mud bricks were used.
Kot Diji and Amri- no fortification of the city
site of Lothal in Gujarat also shows a very different layout.--rectangular
settlement surrounded by a brick wall did not have any internal division into
citadel and lower city.--eastern side of the town was found a brick basin which
has been identified as a dockyard
Surkotada in Cutch was divided into two equal parts and the building materials
were basically mud bricks and lumps of mud.
baked and unbaked bricks of standard size

brick making was organised on a large scale

Mohenjodaro showed excellent I arrangements for sanitation.
waste water from houses through chutes connected with public
drains aligned to the margin of the streets.
presence of a civic administration which would take &sons for the sanitary
requirements of all the townsmen.
Some Large Stnrdures
'Great Bath' of Mohenjodaro
brick built structure
12 m. by 7 m--3 m. deep
either end by flights of step
bed of the bath was made water tight by the use of bitumen
Water was suppliedby a large well in an adjacent room
corbelled drain for disgorging water too
bath was surrounded by porticoes and sets of rooms
twenty seven blocks of brickwork crisscrossed by ventilation channel
Below the granary were the brick loading bays from which grains were raised
into the citadel for storage
residenceof a very high bfficia
To another side of the Great Bath is a lohg building (230 x 78feet)
open court of 33feet squareon to which threeverandas open
assembly hal
four rows of five brick plinths upon which wooden columnswere erected
In a row of rooms to the west of it was found a seated male statu
Granary at harappa
series of brick platform
formingthe base of two rows of six granarie
the southof the granary-rows of circular brick platforms- used for threshing
grains--chaffs of wheat and barley were found in the crevices of the floors
Fire altars
Kalibangan was a smaller city compared to Mohenjodaro and Harapp
significant discoverieshere have been those of fire altar
a row of seven 'fire altars'
pit containing animal bones and antlers
Housing Pattern
variations in the sizes of house
It could be single room tenemepts meant for slaves
other houses complete with courtyards and Mving upto twelve room
bigger houses were provided with privatewells and toilets
same plan
square courtyard around which were a number of rooms
entrances to the houses were from the narrow lanes which cut the streets at
right angle
No windows faced the street
Some of them bathed in an exclusive swimmingpool (The Great Bath

others who lived in barrack

who lived in larger houses belonged to the rich clas
living in the barracks might have been part of a servile class of labourers.
large number of workshop--Potters kiln--dyers vat--shops of metal worker-shellornament makers--bead makers
blending of the ceramic traditions of Baluchistan and the cultures east of the
Indus system
Harappan pottery Most plain substantial part treated )witha red slip and black
painted decoration
horizontal tinesof varied thickness
leaf patterns, scales, cheque, lattice
palm, pipal trees
Birds, fishes and animal
e natable shapes pedestal , dishe, goblet, cylindrical vesse various kinds of
in areas like Gujarat ahd Rajasthan a variety of other khds of potteries
continued to be produced along with the Harappan pottery
, it is still unclear how such a large area exhibited a uniform pottery tradition.
Tools and Implements
show a stril'iing degree of uniformity in designs and in technique of
tools made of copper, bronze and stone
basic tools type--flat axe, chisels, knives, spear heads and arrcwheads
the later stages daggers knives and flat tang
techniques of casting bronze and coppe
Stone tools were also in common use. They were produced on a large scalein
factory sites like Sukkur in Sind and then sent to various urban centre
making long regular blade indicate a high level of cqmpetence and
specialisation with little or no concern fo beauty and innovation
Arts and Craft
give us an insight into how the societyrelates itself to its surrounding
give us an idea of how it views nature, human beings and divinity
In pre-modern societies it is difficult to separate arts and crafts.
the most famous art piece from the Harappan Civilization-- bronze dancing
nude figure discovered in Mohenjodar, head drawn backward, drooping eyes.
right arm on the hip, left arm hanging down the figure is in a dancing stance.
wearing a large number of bangle, hair is plaited in an elaborate fashion
masterpiece of the Harappan ar bronze figurines of a buffalo and a ram have
beautifully caught the stance of the animal
two little toy carts of bronze are also fairly well known objects-- one was
discovered in Harappa--other at Chanhudaro a distance of over 650 km,
identical in design
stone sculpture of a bearded head found in Mohenjodaro--face is bearded-upper lip shaved-- half closed eyes might indicate a state of meditation-Across the left shoulder is a cloak carved in relief with trefoil pattern

Two small male torsos discovered in Harappa are sometimes believed to have
belonged to'later period
Harappans do not seem to have used stone or bronze for their arristic
creations on a large scal
Terracotta figurines have been found in large number used as toys or cult
variety of birds and monkeys, dogs, sheep and cattle are represented in these
forms along with humped and humplessbull
large number of.male and female figurine
bullock carts used in those times are ancestors of the actual bullock carts
used in modem times
remarkably beautiful beads
precious and semi-precious stones
agate, turquoise, carnelian and steatite.
making these beads --workshop in Chanhudaro--stone was first sawn into an
oblong bar--flaked into a cylindrical shape and polished-bored either with
chert drillsor with bronze tubular drills
Gold and silver beads have also been found
commonest material used for making beads was steatite.
barrel shaped beads with trefoil pattern
Carnelian beads
More than 2000 seals have been found from the Harappan settlements.
generally square in shape and made of steatit
some round seals have also been found
Some seals have only scripts carved on them
some others bear human and semi-human form
Some seals show the use of various kinds of geometric patterns
animal motifs-- Indian bison, Brahmani bul, rhinoceros, tiger and elephant
face of a man with trunk and tusks of an elephant, the horns of bull, the forepart of a ram and the hind-quarters of a tiger might have been used for
religious purpose
Seals could have also been used for exchange of goods between distant cities
The seal of a homed deitysitting in a yoga posture and surrounded by animals
has been identified with the god Pashupati
artworks of the Harappans disappointed on two count
1. finds are very limited in number
2. do not seem to have the variety of expression seen in the
cobtemporary Civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia
Stone sculptures was rare
undeveloped compared to those fashioned by the Egyptians
terracotta pieces also cannot compare with those of Mesopotamia in quality
The Indus Script
seals used by the Hafappans carried some form of writing.
mystery to us
used ideograms
wrote from right to left.

Subsistence Pattern
Harappans urbanism was based on agricultural production.
Apart from sheep and goat, humped cattle seems to have been domesticated
Bones of boars, buffaloes, elephants and camels--domesticated or hunted wild
a representation of a caprisoned elephant on some seals indicates that this
animal had been domesticated
Bones of fowls
bones of deer, rhinoceros, tortoise etc
Horse seems to have been unknown to the Harappans
Two varieties of wheat are frequently found
Barley has been frequently found
dates and varieties of leguminous plants, such as peas.
mustard and sesamum were also grown
At Lothal and Rangapur rice husk was found embedded in clay and pottery
At Mohenjodaro fragment of a cotton cloth
mastered the art of growing cotton and wearing cloth
evidence of a furrowed field in Kalibangan--pattern of crossed furrows
widely spaced in one direction and closely spaced in another, is still followed
in this area--modern cultivator furrows this pattern for sowing horse gram or
sesamum in one direction mustard in another
towns are dependent on the surrounding countryside for food supplies
the relationship between the city and the village was unequal.
a major reason for cities establishing contacts with faraway land: was to cater
to the needs of the rich and powerful
settlements showing overwhelming Harappan influence have been found in an
area of approximately 1.8 m

illion square km.

Emerging in the fertile Indus-Hakra plains, the rich Harappans wanted
possession of more and more luxury items
In quest of this they strengthened the ties that already existed with central Asia
and Afghanistan
Also established settlements in places like Gujarat and the Gangetic Valley.
existence of granaries in Harappa and Mohenjodaro
meant for storing grains
indicates the attempt of the rulers to possess an assured source of food supply
indicates the attempt of the rulers to possess an assured source of food supply
Vast quantities of grains would have to be collected and transported in bullock carts
and boats
difficult to haul up large quantities of fooct over a great distance
towns were usually located in the most fertile areas that were available in the region,
and I probably the grains were cdlected from the surrounding villages.

Mohenjodaro was located in the Larkana district of Sind

Even in modern times this is the most fertile area of Sind
some other settlements sprangup on important trade routes or industrial sites
entire geographical space to its north-west has not yielded evidence of any other
Harappan settlement
Harappa was located at a point which separated the zone of agricultural settlements to
its south
a zone of pastoral nomads to its north-west
could exploit the resources of both the neighbouring communities
could exploit the resources of both the neighbouring communities
Harappa did not have any advantage in terms of food prod
grew into a large city because of its strategic location as a trading settlement.
advantageous location
access to the Hindukush and North-West Frontier
access to such precious stones as Turquoise and lapis lazuli
could get mineral sa<t from the salt range
Tin and Copper were accessible to them from Rajasthan.
could also exploit the sources of amethyst and gold in ~ a s h m
could control the river transport of all the five rivers of Punjab
access to timber from the mountains zones of Kashmir
located in a place which is crossed by many,trade routes from West and East even in
modern times
Mohenjodaro was closer to the sea compared to Harapp
would give them easier access to the Persian gulf and Mesopotayia which dere
probably the chief suppliers of silver
Lothal was drawing resources from Southern Rajasthan and Deccan
probably helped the Harappans procure gold 'from Karnataka, where contemporary
neolithic sites have been discovered near the gold mides
villages supplied the essential food grains and other raw materials to the towns
in return?
rulers of the towns used force to collect grainscalling it tax which was to be given in
return for administration.
the ability of the urban centres to collect a whole range of items that were not
available locally and supply them to the rural hinterland.
stone tools
almost all the Harappan towns and villages were using parallel-sided stone blades
blades were made out of very good quality stone not found everywhere
such stone was brought from sites like Sukkur in Sind
Other such items would be copper and bronze.
Copper is available only in certain pockets
However, almost all the Harappan sites have yielded copper-bronze tools
tools also show a uniformity in design and execution in almost all the Harappan sites
production and distribution must have been handled by centralized decision making
the Harappan settlements-big and small-have yielded objects of gold,
silverand very many precious and semi-preciousstones
procured by the merchants and rulers of the cities

Sites like Mohenjodaro reveal evidence of extensive bead-making.
These products filtered down to the rich and powerful ib the small villages and towns
Balakot on the coast of Baluchistan and Chanhu-daro in Sind
centres for shell-working and bangle making.
Lothal and Chanhu-daro
producing beads of carnelian, agate etc.
Mohenjodaro has yielded evidence for the presence of a large number of craft
specialists like, stone workers, potters, copper and bronze workers, brick-makers,
seal-cutters and bead-makers, etc
intensive exchange network among the Harappans catering to the needs of the rich
acquired copper from the Khetri-mines of Rajasthan.
settlements Of Jodhpurs, Bagor and Ganeshwar in Central Rajasthan which ' are
generally considered coptemporary with the Harappans might have supplied copper
At the same time the people in these settlqments were subsistingwith a combination of
pastoral nomadism and,hunting-gathering
do not indicate influences from the darappan civilization
Gold was most probably obtained from Kolar gold fieldsof Karnataka and Kashmir
Silver vessels are frequently found in the Harappan sites
e no known sources for silver in this are
might have been imported from Afghanistan and Iran
Indus merchants also exchanged their goods with the Mesopotamians for silve
Lead may have come from Kashmir or Rajastha
Some minor sources were located from Punjab and Baluchistan also
precious stone lapis-lazuli was available only in Badakshan in North-East
Harappans exploited this source is confirmed by the discovery of Harappan sites like
Shortughai and Altyn-Depe in this are
Turquoise and Jade could have been obtained from central Asia alon
. Agate, chalcedony and carnelian were from Saurashtra and Western Indi
. Agate, chalcedony and carnelian were from Saurashtra and Western Indi
come from the sea-coast of Gujarat and western Indi
trading and proclirement of exotic materials was an important concern of the
Trading seems to have been more an administrative activity than an exchange activity
between traders, since establishing a colony at a distance of around 500 km would not
be possible for a trader. It were the administrators of Harappa who were trying to
bring under direct control resources of distant areas.
. In those times large areas of the country were inhabited by hunter-gatherers
Some other areas were occupied by pastoral nomad
others were just beginning cultivation
others were just beginning cultivation
Harappans represented an advanced stage of civilization
we know very little about the Harappan exchange system
exchange might not have been @ regular affair
exchange might not have been @ regular affair

it would be determined by. seasonal migrations and gatherings of these communities.

Harappans would send their merchants to the spots where such seasonal gatherings
took place
pastoral nomads too could have brought goods from distant regions, in course of their
Among the Harappan Towns
Even the far flung Harappan sites have yielded uniform systems of weights and
weights followed a binary system in the lower denominations
1,2,4,8, to 64, then going to 160and then
decimal multiples of 16, 320, 640, 1600, 3200 etc
Made of chert, limestone, steatite, etc. they are,generally cubical in shape
measures of length
based upon a unit of foot of 37.6 cm
a unit of cubit of about 51.8 to 53.6 cm
uniform system pf&eights and measures indicates an attempt by the central authorities
to regulate exchange among the Harappans themselves and possibly with the nonHarappans too.
Seals and sealings are marks of ownership meant to guarantee the quality of the
product being sent to faraway land
many of the sealings bear impressions of cords and matting behind them.
seals carried intaglio designs of various animals and a writing which has not been
deciphered as yet
Archaeological Evidenqe
typical Harappan seals .- 34 in Mesopotamia
About two dozen seal
found in the Mesopotamian cities like Susa, Ur,
same of the Persian Gulf ancient sites 'like Failaka and Behrain have also - yielded
Harappan seals.
In the settlement df Tell Asmar
found certain Harappan ceramics, etched Carnelian beads and kidney shaped bone
A distinctive type of terracotta figurines generally found in the Indus Valley has been
found in Nippur in Mesopotamia
figurines depicting a male nude with obese stomach ' animal like faces, stubby tails
and shoulder holes for the aniichment of movable a d s are mmmon at the Harappan
Indus dice types (1/2,3/6,4/5) were found in the Mesopotamian cities of Ur, Nippur
and Tell Asmar
Beads from Chanhudaro with single, double or triple circular designs closely resemble
some beads discovered in ~ i s h in ~ ~ e s o ~ o t a
m i a . ~ a i a p p a n weights have been found in Persian Gulf and Mesopotamian
From the Harappan civilization
finds of objects o Mesopotamian origin are almost non-existent.
In Mohenjodaro
three cylinder seals o\ the Mesopotamian type have been found.
Some metal objects might have been derived from Mesopotamia

a circular button seal

This seal has been found in, Large numbers in the excavations at the port at Behrain.
bun shaped copper ingots have been found in Lothal.
similar to the ones found in the Persian Gulf islands and Sus
Literary Evidence
famous king Sargon of Akkad (C. 2350 B.C.) in Mesopotamia boasts that the ships of
Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha were moor d at his capita
Scholars have generally identified Meluhha with the coastal towns o f b e Harappans
or the region of the river Indus
Magan referred to the Makran coast
other docum nts used by the merchants of the city of Ur
indicate ttat the merchants of Ur imported copper, carnelian, ivory, shell, lapis lazuli,
pearls and ebony from Meluhha
The early Mesopotamian literature also refers to a community of merchants from
Meluhha living in Mesopotamia
written documents from Mesopotamia refer to an official interpreter of the Meluhhan
links between the Harappans and the Mesopotamians were not indirect
Given the distance
we cannot expect regular interaction
The absence of Mesopotamiari goods in Harappa can be explained
The absence of Mesopotamiari goods in Harappa can be explained
Mesopotamians exported items like garments, wool, perfumed oil and leather
are perishable and as such they have not left any trace
Silver was not available in any known Harappan source. However, they were using it
in large quantities. This could be an import from Mesopotamia.
Yany representations of ships and boats are found on seals in Harappa and
At Lothal
a terracotta model of a ship with a stick impressed socket for the mast and eyeholes
for fixing rigging
a brick basin 219 by 37 metres in length, with brick walls of 4.5 metres in height
a dockyard
a dockyard
Even in the inhospitable Makran coast Harappan siteslike Sutkagen-Dor and
Sutkakoh have been discovered
The primary reason for their location in those inhospitable tracts was that they were
safe from the dangerous monsoon storms and currents hitting the sea-coast in Western
India and Sind
inland transport was done with bullock carts
Many terracotta models of bullock carts have been found in Harappan settlements.
a bronze model of a caqt with a seated driver and also models of little carts which are
very ' similar to the modem 'Ikka' used in Punjab.
a bronze model of a caqt with a seated driver and also models of little carts which are
very ' similar to the modem 'Ikka' used in Punjab.
Dress Styles

examining the terracotta figurines and stone sculptures

examining the skeletal remains
looked like the present day north Indians
faces, complexion and height were more or less similar to the present day people
living in those areas.
Men are mostly shown wearing a dress which would be wrapped round the lower half
of the body with one end worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm-like the
modern saree
other dress
kilt and a shirt worn by both men and women
men arranged their hair in various I ways sometimes making buns and using
men used many ,more ornaments than the modem Indians
wearing ring, bracelets .and ornaments round their neck and hand
Growing beard was fashionable but they would shave their moustaches
Women seem to have used ornaments on their waist
Women wore a large number of necklaces
Bangles too were in fashion and of course there was no end to the number of ways in
which hair was arranged
Men and women alike had long hair.
used cotton clothes also that in one sculpture the cloth was shown as having trefoil
pattern and red colours
Food Habits
Harappans of Sind and Punjab ate wheat and barley as their staple food
who stayed in towns of Rajasthan had to be content with barley only
Harappans of Gujarat in places like Rangpur and Surkotdla preferred rice and millet.
supply of fat and oil from sesame seeds, mustard and possibly Ghee.
might have used honey to sweeten their food
Seeds of jujube and dates b u n d in the Harappan sites indicate their preference for
these fruits.
also ate bananas, pomegranates, melons, lemons, figs and of course mangoes.
a whole range of wild nuts and fruits
eating peas too
Fish, milk and curd too would be known to them
they had neither tea nor potato-chips
Language and Script i
language written there is ancestral to the Dravidian group of languages like Tamil
ancestral to an Aryan language like Sanskrit
no one has proved his case beyond doubt
they played dic
at the time of the emergence of the Harappan Civilization many 'Early Harappan'
sites like Kot Diji and Kalibangan were burnt down
more likely that some of the settlements were burnt down by victorious human
there is the
there is the evidence of some skeletons lying scattered in the streets of Mohenjodaro
there is the evidence of some skeletons lying scattered in the streets of Mohenjodaro
Human societies from times immemorial have disposed off the bodies of their dead in
some ordered fashion

The presence of citadels and fortification around many Harappan towns also indicates
a need for protection against outsiders
protection walls might have been bunds for protection against floods
contrast to the surrounding rural communities
ikely that the Harappans wanted to protect their wealth and life by fortifying their
Many copper and bronze weapons have also been reported.
Main Crafts
Main Crafts
Bead making was one of the favourite activities of the Harappans
there were specialised bead makers for each type of stone
Some other Harappans specialized in making stone tool
groups of potters
copper and bronze workers
stone workers
builders of houses
brick makers
construction and maintenance of 'elaborate drainage system and streets would require
a municipal authority in the cities
the granaries indicate the presence of an authority which would collect food grains
from the surrounding hinterland and redistribute it among the citizen
the tools, weapons, bricks etc. show a remarkable uniformity of design
mass-producedin one place and then distributed
covering thousands of kms. would give tremendous power to those who decided how
much to produce and where to send the products
sheer range and xolume of products consumed by the residents of the largej
citiesindicate that some kind of a ruling class resided in them
monumental structures like temples, palaces etc. The people who lived in these
stductures exercised political or economic or religious authority
the seals which are considered marks of authority of traders, priests or administrators
are found in largest numbers in Mohenjodaro where the largest number of
monumental structures have also been found.
We do not know who the rulers, of the Harappans were.
In the lower city at Mohenjodaro
large building has been discovered
monumental entrance and a double stairway leading to,a raised platform on which
was found a stone sculpture 161/2inches high
seated man with hands on knees.
seated man with hands on knees.
seated man with hands on knees.
bearded face with a fillet passing over a receding forehead and hanging down in two
strands at the back
Another stone statue was discovered in the same building.
Another stone statue was discovered in the same building.
The Great Bath
ritual significance
Near the Gre,at Bath: was found another large structure (230 X 78 feet)

residence of some high priest or college of priests

an oblongassembly hall has also been reported from the citadel area
To the west of this structure was found a complex of rooms in one of which was
discovered a seated male statue
Objects of Worship
evidences that come from the seal
evidences that come from the seal
a deity
wearing a buffalo-homed head-drek is shown sitting in a yogic postur
deity is surrounded by animals like goats, elephants, tiger and antelop
several instances he has a sprouting plant I emerging between his horns
several instances he has a sprouting plant I emerging between his horns
another cas
another cas
another cas
with horns and flowing hair is standing nude between the'branches of a Pipal tree
worshipper is kneeling in front of it
worshipper is kneeling in front of it
worshipper is kneeling in front of it
ehind the worshipper is a man-faced goat and below are seven other human figure
have long pigtails and tall head-dresses
In one sea
snakes t accompanying the yogic figure
in some Harappan settlements the phallic emblem of Siva (Lingam) has been found
Mother Goddess
very large number of terracotta figurines.
wear a fan-shaped head dres
Sometimes they are shown with an infan
general notion of fertility is indicated by many representations of pregnancy.
indicate the prevalence of cults of fertility and mother goddess worship
Tree Spirit
Pipal tree
many cases worshippers are shown standing in front of the tre
other cases a tiger or some other animal is shown in front of the tree
one case seven human figures are shown standing in front of it, with a horned-figure
standing in it
The Pipal tree has been worshipped in India for ages and in many cases the Pipal tree
and Siva are worshipped together
Some Mythical Heroes
Human figures with horns on the head and long tails are frequently shown on the
Sometimes, they have hoofs of cattle and hind legs.
Animal Worship
A large number of animals also seem to have been worshipped.
A seal has been reported from Chanhudaro depicting a bull-bison with erect penis,
fecundating a supine human figure
A plant is sprouting from the head of the human figure
indicative of some fertility cul
The Brahmani bull with its heavy dewlap is frequently represented on the szals

The Brahmani bull with its heavy dewlap is frequently represented on the szals
present day reverence for bulls and cows had its beginnings in the Harappan
Mythical Beasts
Mythical Beasts
One important animal frequentlyrepresented on the Harappan seals is the unicorn
a horn issuing from the middle of its head
In front of the animal occurs a curious object which is not shown in association with
any other anima
It consists of a bowl on a central post carrying a cage like objec
'unicorn' was a mythical animal, since there is no such real beast. It is likely to have
been a cult object.
Harappans at Kalibangan and Lothal seem to have followed different religious
At Kalibangan in the citadel were found a seriesof raised brick platforms crowned
with 'fire altars' i.e.,a series of brick-lined pits containing ash and animal bones.
At Kalibangan in the citadel were found a seriesof raised brick platforms crowned
with 'fire altars' i.e.,a series of brick-lined pits containing ash and animal bones.
This area also had a well and bathing places
Many houses in the lower town also contained a room having 'fire altars'
At Lothal too, firealtars have been found
Harappans staying in different geographical areas followed - different religious
the fire ritual was central to the Vedic religion.
The Burial of the Dead
The Burial of the Dead
life after death
Harappan civilization has not yielded any monuments for the dead yhich could equal
the pyramids of Egypt or the Royal cemetery of the Mesopotamiancityof Ur, in its
Dead bodies were generally placed \ in a north-south orientation.
Bodies were laid on their back.
A large number of earthen pots were placed in the grave
some cases the dead were buried with ornaments like shell bangles, necklace, and an
ear ring
somecasescopper mirrors, I mother of pearl shells, antimony sticks etc.
number of graves were constructed with bricks
A coffin burial has been found at Harappa
A coffin burial has been found at Harappa
At Kalibangan some other kinds of burial practices were encountered
Smallcircu!ar pits containing large urns and aacompaniedby pottery have been found
But they dld not have any skeletal remains
From Lothal some examples of pairs of skeletons with a male and a female in each
case buried together
disposal ofthe dead among the Harappans was different from the one followed
Fire worship was prevalent in Kalibangan and Lothal but unknown in Harappa and
Ritual bathing evidenced at Mohenjodaro might have been absent in Harappa

burial practices show wide variation ranging from extended inhumation to double
burials and pot burials.
Finds in Kalibangan also show that different kinds of burial practices were being
followedin the same settlement
This kind of diversity of religious beliefs and practices even in the same settlement
reflects the complell nature of the urban centres
apparently means that urban centres were formed by the political and economic
integration of varied social groups
apparently means that urban centres were formed by the political and economic
integration of varied social groups
Unlike tribal societies where every member 6f ihe tribe followssimilar kinds of
religious practices,
Unlike tribal societies where every member 6f ihe tribe followssimilar kinds of
religious practices,
an urban centre means the presence of traders from different regionswith their own
religious practices
These groups retained their social mores and customs but lost their political and
economic independence
The abandonment of the cities of the Indus is roughly dated to about 1800B.C
supported by the fact that the Mesopotamian literature stops referring to Meluhha by
the end of 1900B.C
abandonment of the major cities
de-urbanisation of other settlements indicates the decline of the Harappan civilization.

urbanisation during the sixth century B.C

urbanisation during the sixth century B.C
sixth century B.C. saw the emergence of cities in ancient India for the second time
endured for a longer time
the beginnings of a literate tradition
contemporary literature is full of references to cities like Rajagriha, Sravasti, Kashi,
Buddha and Mahavira were preaching to urban audiences most of the time.
reliable criteria for defining an urban or nualcentre
identify the kinds of activities people are performing
In a village most of the people are engaged in food production.
social landscape of the villages is dominated by fields and farmer
In the towns
dominant people are either rulers or rherchants or priests
non-agricultural activities
the other characteristic of an urban centre
it functions in relationship to a large hinterland
residents of the city might provide administrative, economic or religious sewides to a
population residing in an area much larger than the physical space of the city
the residents of the city are able to harness the resources of the people living in the
might be done in the form of taxation in kind or tribute
the class of 20 kings, priests and merchants Iiving in the cities have more wealth than
a common man
Apart from the kings. prlests and merchants and farmers various groups of craft
specialists also stay in the city who produce luxury items for the city and other objects
needed by the people outside the cit
craft specialistsneed not enjoy the same privileges as the rich
the administrator or merchant might be very rich but blacksmiths or masons or
carpentersmight be quite poor

Thus, the city is characterised by the presence of rich and poor people.
The need to keep in check hostilities between the rich and poor and the need for
mobilising agricultural produce for urban consumption also create the possibilities for
the emergenceof a centralized power
The emergence of centralized decision-makinggroups coincides with the emergence
of groups exercising monopoly over the use of forc
The archaeological records indicate
many agricultural settlements came into existence between 8th to 6th century B.C.
Two factors which proved to be of great help in increasing agricultural production
increasing use of iron tools
practice of wet rice cultivation in the middle Gangetic Valley
By about 1000B.C. Indians had learnt the art of smelting iron
next three or four centuries
came into increasing use
a large number of iron tools and implements have been found from Uiain, Sravasti
and Hastinapu
Iron weapons
have increased the power of the warrior classes vis-a-vis the peasants
increased their desire for war, conquest and booty
direct impact on the economy too
Iron axes could be used to clear forests
iron plough shares could facilitate agricultural operations
Wet Rice Cultivation
Wet Rice Cultivation
substantiallyhigher than tho5e of wheat or millet in traditional agriculture
much larger output of foodgrains in the rice producing middle Gangetic Valley than
the wheat producing upper Gangetic Valley
Larger food production made it possible to sustain increased population
increase in the number of settlements
All this created the possibility of the emergence of social groups not engaged in food
The Vedic sacrifices
the surplus accumulated by the chiefs was gifted away at the time of performing
the middle Gangetic Valley de' Vedic rituals and sacrifices did not have the kind of
hold as in the upper Gangetic Valle
the surpluses which were collected by the chiefs were not spent away during
groups that grew up conirolling this surplus wealth became the ruling class of the
newly emergent kingdoms
on the foundation of this wealth were born the cities of the sixth century B.C.
many sources
terms that are frequently used to denote cities in ancient Indian literature

Puramentioned even in the early vedic literature

fortified settlements or temporary places of refuge or cattle pen
used for f the residence of the king and his retinue or for the families of the ruling
group in the Gana Samghas
Durgafortified capital of a king
fortificationsmade it easier for the ruling classes to control the activities of the
population residing in the city
frequently used in the Pali literature to denote a town
merchant town where the sale and purchase of goods used to take place
Sometimesliterary texts would refer to a particular section of a city as Nigama where
craft specialists would live and work
Nagaramost commonly used
used for the first time in the Taittiriya Aranyaka
roughly dated to the 7th 6th century B.C.
combined the political functions of the Pura and the commercial functions of the
Kings, merchants and preachers resided in these cities
Buddhist literature refers to six Mahanagaras
located in the middle Gangetic Valley
located in the middle Gangetic Valley
Champa, Rajagriha, Kashi. Sravasti,Saketa and Kausambi.
Pattana, Sthaniya etc. are also used to refer to towns and cities.
kings and their followers lived in fortified settlements
fortified settlementsled to the development of a network ' of relationships
led to the emergence of urban centres
a ~ i n g called Kusamba is said to have founded Kausambi
a ~ i n g called Kusamba is said to have founded Kausambi
Hastin founded Hastinapura
Sravasta founded Sravasti
In Buddhist literature
cities are associated with sages, plants and animals
Kapilavastu is said to have been named after the sage. Kapila
Kausambi was named after the Kusarnba trees growing in that region.
tradition of cities being founded by kings is quite strong.
Pandavas are said to have founded Indraprastha
In the Ramayana also princes of the,ruling family are supposed to have founded
various cities.
Some of the political centres also became great commercial centres in the.suhsequent
overshadowed those which were only political centres
Hastinapura never experienced the kind of prosperity that we associate with Kasi or

At Least in two cases political capitals were relocated in areas connected with
impprtant trade-routes
capital of Kosala was shifted from Ayodhya to Skiasti
the capital of Magadha was shifted from Rajagriha to Pataliputra
It was the patronage of kings and merchants that led to the development of cities in
ancient India
The literature of this period is full of descriptions of caravansof merchants going to
distant areas to conduct trad
Rich merchants along with princes are described as the main supporters of the
Books :ike the Divyavadana and Apastamber Dharma* rub.provideus with an idea of
the city in those times
Ancient Indian literature gives an W s e d view of cities.
Ayodhya described in Ramayana or Vaisali described in the Buddhist texts would be
almost identical if one goes by their description
cities were surrounded by defensive walls and moat
Wide streets, high mansions with colourful banners, busy markets, flowering gardens,
ponds filled with lotus and geese are part of this description
Wide streets, high mansions with colourful banners, busy markets, flowering gardens,
ponds filled with lotus and geese are part of this description
Well dressed men, beautiful women dancing and singing complete the picture of the
The cotton cloth of Kasi attracted quite a large numbers of buyer
Woollen blankets brought from the distant north-westeni province of Gandhara could
attract only the ric
Horses brought from Sind and Kamboja would also be on sal
buyers were only the super-rich of those days.
Bangles of conch shell, beautiful ornaments of gold and combs and ornaments made
of ivory and various kinds of precious stones were also in high demand
each item was sold in a separate stree
no shops selling a variety of items
various kinds of trade
: the shopkeepers (apanika)
retailers (KrayaVikrayika
money investors (Setthi-Gahapati)
The coin of highest value was the silver sataman
followed by the Karsapana
copper masas and kakani were coins of smaller denominatio
Buddhist stor
t the daughter of a merchant on seeing a chandala (i.e. of the outcaste categories)
washed here eyes for fear of pollution
With tbe emergence of citie
class of washennen, scavengers, beggars and sweepers also came into existence
services of sweepers, and the people involved in cremating corpses were essential forcities
these people were the most impoverished and deprived sections of society
had to stay on the fringes of the city with no hopes of economic or social
improvementin their condition
group of beggars also emerged as a result of the breakdown of kin-based society and
increasing demands on the produce by the rulers

a stor
the king's men looted the village in day time and the robbers at night.
, it is difficult to sift out the material of the later phases of history from the early
phases of history
archaeological data can be dated with greater certainty
literary sources exaggerate the opulence and splendour of the cities
By about 700 B.C
places like Ayodhya, Kausambi and Sravasti small settlements came into existence
people living in these settlements used various kinds of potteries
the Painted Grey Ware is important because many people lividg in the upper Gangetic
Valley were also using this pottery
People in other settlementsof the middle Gangetic Valley were using a pottery called
the Black and Red Ware
By about the sixth century B.C.
people of this entire zone started using along with other varieties of pottery
the Northern Black Polished ware
one of the indicators of the broad cultural uniformity in the Gangetic Valley towns of
the sixth century B.C
Coins came into use in this period for the first time in ancient India.
coins are made of silver and copper
Punchmarked coins
various kinds of symbols on one side and were probably initially issued by merchant
coinage proqioted organised commerce
copper cast irons
did not have any writings on them, appear in this phase at some sites
The introductionof money also led to the emergence of the class of money-lenders
larger settlements in this period show the use of baked bricks for housing
Soak Pits made from superimposedJars or rings of terracotta used for the disposal of
dirty water have also been reported
indicate some kind of planning
In some sites drains and refuse bins have been reported
None of the cities of the sixth century B.C. show evidence of a planned layout,
whereas literary works always talk about planned layouts of cities
Large scale excavations in the ancient site of Taxila show
this town might have come into existence by 8th-7th hntury B.C.
However, planned township came into existence only around the 2nd century ' B.C
houses were more like humble hutments.
No monumental buildings are in evidence
evidences of fortification
fortifications are a way in which the urban community is demarcated from the rest of
the population
This population could be easily controlled by the king
prosperous cities with large palaces came into existence during the Mauryan period.
literature available to us seems to have used Mauryan cities as the standard
description for the cities of the preceding period too
society and economy in the period between the 6th century B.C. and 4th century B.C
Towards the end of this period the society had acquired the knowledge of writing and
the earliest script of ancient India is called the Brahmi script

invention of writing expanded the horizon of knowledge

Socially acquired knowledge had been transmitted through memorisation from one
generation to another.
The invention of writing meant that knowledge could be stored without tampering
with it.
the most visible and powerful section
Buddha and Mahavira belonged to this group.
Brahmanical texts
Brahmanical texts
Kshatriyas have'been equated with the warrior caste
the second highest caste in the varna order
supposed to be the rulers
Buddhist literature
different picture of the KShatriya
did not have the compactness and strict rules of marriage which characterise a cast
ruling lineages of the Ganasamghas like those of Vaisali and Kapilavastu, referred to
as the Shakyas, Licchavis, Mallas etc
groups who owned land collectively
land was cultivated by slaves and labourers called the Dasa, Karmakaras
do not seem to have performed the Brahmanical rituals
the Buddhist literature generally talks of only two groups in the Ganasamghas
high caste and the low caste
The Brahmans and Shudras are missing
they were so particular about whom to marry and not to marry that the Shakyas are
supposed to have been destroyed because of this
The Shakyas, Licchavis, Mallas and other such clans jealously guarded their rights of
entry in their assemblies and other people were not allowed into these places
assemblies decided most of the socio-political issues bf their society
did not pay land taxes and they did not have a standing army
In times of war the entire lineage would take to arms
In the Kingdoms of Kosala, Kashi etc. the rulers are referred to as Kshatriyas
unlike the Brahmankal sources the Buddhist sources place them at the top
the Brahmanicalr:etion of Kshatriya as the warrior caste was applicable to only some
princely families in the upper and middle Gangetic plains.
They performed a variety of activities like preaching, trading and supervising
Especially in eastern India Kshatriyas did not exist as a caste
Brahman is one who is born a Brahman
may change his profession, still he remains a Brahman
Brahmanical t
privilege of mediation between man and god
exclusiverights of performing sacrifices
group was imbued with a consciousnessof being the highest caste
followed certain rules of avoiding impure food and habitations
Shatapatha Brahmana
mentions four important marks of a Brahmana
Brahmanical parentage

attainment of fame
teaching of men
supposed to enjoy certain privileges
to be respected
given presents
given immunity from death sentence
Buddhist literature
critical of the Brahmanas
critical of the Brahmanas who had deviated from pious ethical life
criticised the excessiveritualism and greediness of the Brahmanas
among the early followers of the Buddha Brahmanas were present in largest number
the Pali literature also indicates that the Brahmanas had taken to various kinds of
Dasabrahmana Jataka
give us an idea of the Buddhist attitude towards the Brahmana
a stor
the variety of activities-performed by the Brahmanas
Vaishyas and the Gahapati
Vaishya was the third caste in the ritual order.
entrusted with
cattle herding
agriculture and trade
agriculture and trade
Buddhist literature
uses the term Gahapati mgre frequently
Gahapati literally means
master of the household.
community of landholders, cultivated its land with the family labour or the labour of
slaves and servant
seem to have emerged out of the rajanya and groups mentioned in the Vedic literatur
the emergence of family and individual ownership of wealth
Apart from the Gahapatisthe Buddhist literature mentions a whole range of
professionals and merchants who would fall under the category of the Vaishyas of the
Brahmanical texts
Gahapatis form a prominent category of landowners.
rarely found in the Ganasamghas where land was owned by Kshatriya lineages
frequently mentioned in the monarchies of the middle Gangetic VaUey
primary exploiters of agriculture and the source of revenue for the Kings
Gdrapatisincluded men of wealth who were also associated'with carpentry, medicine
Pali texts
another term Kutumbika
mean the head of the household (Kutumba
rich landowners, dealing in corn or money transactions
Individual ownership of wealth and weak Brahmanical influence helped the Gahapatis
use their wealth for trade
emerges the class of Setthi.
word Setthi literally means 'a person having the best
Setthi-Gahapati referred to very rich merchants and bankers having close contacts
with the king

Anathapindika who donated the Jetavbna in Sravasti to Buddha was one such rich
small scale traders are also mentioned
shopkeeper, retailer, trader, pedlars, selling pots and pans, carpenters, ivorycarvers,
garland makers and smiths
formed professional unions.
No one else but a family member could take up that profession
local division of differentkinds of works and the hereditary character of various
professions. gave them the character of guilds
The King was supposedto respect the internal rules of the guild and protect it
guild indicates increased trading and manufacturing activity
meant that groups identified specifically on the basis of their economic activity came
into existence
have the characterof caste
have the characterof caste
Each of these groups would marry inside the group only and their rules were
considered inviolable
lowest caste in the Brahmanicalorder
only duty was service to the other three castes
non-brahmanical text
Pali literatur
mentions dasas (slaves)and karmakaras(wage labourers)
The term dalidda
denoting extremely poor people who did not have anything to eat and no covering for
their back
for the first time we have references to the rich living in luxury. and the poor destitute.
Shudras without any resources were reduced to servility and forced to work on the
land of the rich.
more general reference to the Shudras included artisans and craftsmen also
The Dhsrmasutras
ascribe the origins of various groups of the Shudrasby the notion of the Sankirnajati
if there is an inter-caste marriage
progeny would be of a very low caste.
had the most to lose from the erosion of kinship ties, characterising the Vedic society.
Dasasudda is frequently mentioned
slaves who did not have any legal statu
War-prisonersand people who could not pay back their debts
forced to work on the land of the rich
dasas, karmakarasand kassakaswere the sources of labour supply in rural area
emergence of cities the inequality between the rich and poor further increased.
Jataka storie
poor Shudras are'mentioned as living outside the city
logical outcome of this process was the emergence of untouchability
candalasare describedI living in separate village
prerence was believed to be so polluting that the daughter of a Setthi washes her eyes
on seeing a candala
Brahmana is disturbed about the fact that a breeze blowing past a candala would touch

The candalas were supposed to wear the garments of the dead and eat their food out of
broken pots.
Other such despised group
Pukkusas. Nishadasand Venas.
Wandering Ascetics
Paribrajakas a
travelled from place to place and held discussions on the meaning - of life, society and
the Buddha and Maha\ ira.
Condition of Women
property was inherited from father to son
obsession with the need to prevent adultery
The meek slave like wife was considered the ideal wife
this was true of the wives of the rich
the main function of a wife was producing legitimate heirs
there were a larger number of women who spent their lives labouring for their
masters and mistresses
Women were looked down in com~arison ~ ~~ ' - to men
were .................. described as inca~able ..r..... of sitting in -~~a - public assembly
permanently in the charge of men-father, brother or son.
Even if they join the Samgha they were treated as inferior tomen.
Factors in the Growth of Food Producing Economy
The crucial role of iron implements in clearing the thick vegetation cover of the
Ganga Plains from about 600 B.C. onwards
Buddhists insisted on the protection of cattle
Suttanipata clearly states that they should not be slaughtered because they constituted
a source of grain and strength
Suttanipata clearly states that they should not be slaughtered because they constituted
a source of grain and strength
beginning of paddy transplantatio
The rice producing economy was supplemented by domestication and hunting of
Archaeologists have recovered large number of bones of cattle, sheep, goat, horses
and pigs from the number of archaeological sites
Rural Economy
The introduction of coinag
led to greater mobilit
accelerated trade
commerce and facilitated intercourse over a vast area which resulted in the growth of
a comp1:x rural and urban economic system.
Pali texts speak
three types of villages
typical village inhabited by various castes and communitie
suburban villages were in the nature of craft village
served as markets for other villages and linked the town with countryside
border villages consisting of hunters, fowlers etc., who were leading a simple life.

The rural economy developed through the establishmentof new settlementsby shifting
surplus population fromzhe overpopulated areas, and also by rehabilitating the
surplus population fromzhe overpopulated areas, and also by rehabilitating the
decaying village
Retired officials and priests were granted lands in such area
Lands in these areas could not be sold, mortgaged or inherited
The chief occupation in the rural area remained to be agriculture
The village supplied surplus produce to the towns and the towns supplied other
necessities to the villagers
agriculture was the main occupation
cattle rearing and certain small crafts connected with land, forest and animals
catering to local requirements, were the other features of the rural economy
Urban Economy
dominated by traders and craftsmen
two important feature
industry with a larger number of professionals and craftsmen
, trade--both internal and externa
Urban Occupations
broadly categorised into two group
connected with productive activities and those which had nothing to do with
production as such
group which was mainly composed of administrative officials had hardly any direct
impact on the urban econQmy
merchants, however, who belonged to this category were an intermediary group
playing a vital role in the system of distribution
the existence of various important crafts industries which can be classified under the
following head
clay working like pottery, terracotta figurines. modelling and to some extent also
brickmaking etc.
carpentry and wood-working
glass industry
bone and ivory-working
other miscellaneous industries like garland-makers, makers of bows and arrows,
comb, baskets, perfume, liquor oil and musical instruments
Trade and Trade Routes
Merchants made fortunes by dealing in articles like silks, muslin, amour, perfumes,
ivory, ivory works and jewellery et
travelled long distances up and down the great rivers of the country
even undertook coastal voyages to Burma and Sri Lanka from Tamluk in the east and
from Broach in the west.
One of them ran from Sravasti to Pratisthana
another linked Sravasti with Rajagrih
third skirted along the base of the Himalayas from Taxila to Sravasti
fourth connected Kashi with the ports of western coast.
Long distance trade was, however, centred in the towns
the ordinary medium of exchange was a coin called Kahapana (Karsapana)

copper and silver and marks were punched on it by merchants or ruler's guilds,
guaranteeing its standard
Banks were unknown, and surplus money was either converted into ornaments, or
hoarded in jars and buried in the ground, or put in the custody of a friend.
a growing oppositionto the ritualistic orthodox ideas of the Brahmanas
ultimately led to the emergenceof many heterodox religious movements
Buddhism and Jainism developed into well organised popular religions.
some of the basic reasons which contributedto their emergence
Vedic religious practices had become cumbersome
With the breakup of communities,the participation in these practices also became
restricted and as such irrelevantto many sections in the society.
dominationof the Brahmanas in the society
emergenceof new social groups which acquired considerableeconomic power
merchants living in cities or even rich agriculturalhouseholders possessed
considerable wealth
the Kshatriyas, whether in the monarchies or in the gana-samghas,came to wield
much more political power than befor
As Buddhism and Jainism did not give much importance to the notion of birth for
social status, they attracted the Vaisyas to their fold
the Kshatriyas i.e. the ruling class were also unhappy with Brahmanical domination
The Vedic ritualistic practices had ceased to be of much relevance to this new social
Buddha and Mahavira,were by no means, the first to criticise the existing religious
Many religious preachers before them, like Kapila, Makkali Gosala, Ajita
Kesakambalin and Pakuda Kachchayanahad already highlightedthe evils of the Vedic
it was Buddha and Mahavira, who provided an alternativereligious order
founded by Gautama Buddha who had been given the name Siddhartha by his parents
His father was Suddhodana, the chief of the Sakyaclan
mother was Maya, princess of the Koliya cla
born in the Lumbini grove (modem Rumindei) in Nepal Tara
We know this through an inscribed pillar of Asok
he was deeply affected by the sight of an old man, a sick person, a dead body and an
misery of the human life cast a deep spell on Gautama.
misery of the human life cast a deep spell on Gautama.
left home at the age of 29.
spent six years as a wandering ascetic
From a sage named Alara Kalama
learned the technique of meditation and the teachings of the upanishadas
left him with five Brahmana ascetics.
practised rigid austerities and resorted to different kinds of self torture to find the truth
Ultimately abandoning this he went to Uruvela (near, modem Bodh Gaya on the
banks of Niranjiina river) and sat under a pipal tree (Bodhi tree-)
attained the supreme knowledge (Enlightenment) on the 49th day of his continuous
then he was called the Buddha (the enlightened one).

proceeded to the Deer park at Sarnath near Varinasi and gave his first sermon
known as 'Dharmachakra Pravartana
setting in motion the wheel of Dharma
the first five disciples of Buddha
Buddhl hid the foundations of the Buddhist Sangha
preached most of his sermons at Srdvasti
Anathapindika. the rich merchant of Sravasti became his follower and made liberal
donations to the Buddhist order.
started visiting various places to propagate hi\ \emon\
Mathura, Rajgir, Gaya and Padiputra
Kings lik
Ajatasatru (Magadha)
Udayana (Kausarnbi
accepted his doctrines and became his disciples
also visited Kapilavastu and converted his foster mother and his son Rahula to his
At theage of 80 (486 B.C.)
died at KusinagaraQCasiain Deoria district in Uttar Pradesh)
the capital of the Malla
Four Noble Truths
Eight Fold Path
the Four Noble Truths
The world is full of sufferings
All sufferings have a cause: desire, ignorance and attachmentare the causes of
The suffering could be removed by destroying its cause
In order to end sufferings one must know the right path. This path is the Eight Fold
Path (Ashtangika Marga).
Eight Fold Path
right view
understand that the world is filled with sorrow generated by desire. The ending of
desire will lead to the liberation of the soul.
Right aim
seeks to avoid the enjoyment of the senses and luxury
aims to love humanity and increase the happiness of others.
Right speech
seeks to emphasisethe speakingof truth alway
Right actio
unselfish action
Right livelihoo

honest means
Right effort
proper way of controlling one's senses so as to prevent bad thoughts
correct mental exercises that one can destroy desire and attachment.
Right mindfulness
body is impermanent and meditation is the means for the removal of worldly evils.
Right concentratio
great emphasi
law of 'karma'
present is determined by the past action
The condition of a man in this life and the next depends upon his own actions.
Every individual is the maker of his own destiny
born again and again to reap the fruits of our 'karma
the doctrineof k m a is the essential part of the teachings of Buddha.
Buddha preached
ultimate goal in the life of a man
sheddingof all desires, and ending of sufferings,which finally leads to freedom from
annihilation of desire is the real problem
Prayers and sacrifices will not end the desir
laid emphasis on the moral life of an individual.
neither accepted nor rejected the existence of God
more concerned about the individual and his action
did not believe in the existenceof sou
laid stress on certain other aspects
emphasised on the spirit of love
'ahimsa' (non-killing)
not emphasised as much as in Jainism.
the middle path
both severe asceticism as well as luxurious life are to be avoided
a serious challenge to the existing Brahmanical idea
Buddha's liberal and democratic approach quickly attracted the people of all section
attack on the caste system and the supremacy of the Brahmins was welcomed by the
people of the lower orders.
Irrespective of caste and sex people were taken into the . Buddhist order.
Buddhism salvation lay in one's good deals
no need of a priest or middle man to achieve 'nirvana' the ultimate goal of life.
rejected the authority of the Vedas and condernnccl animal sacrifices
protested against the complicated and meaningless ritt1.r I
neither a sacrifice to gods can wash away sin, nor any prayer ol any priest do any
good to a sinner.
Buddhist canons (collection of teachings) are divided into three sections
Sutta Pitaka
consists of five sections (nikayas) of religious discourses and sayings of Buddha.
fifth section contains the Jataka tales (birth stories of Buddha)
The Vinaya Pitaka
the rules of monastic discipline
The Abhidhamma Pitaka
the philosophical ideas of teachingsof Buddha

written in the form of questions and answers

written in the form of questions and answers
factors which contributed to the popularity of Buddhism
Spread of Buddhism
appeal of Buddhism to a large section of population was because of the following
Emphasis on practical morality,
simple philosophy, attracted the masses towards Buddhism
The ideas of social equality
Merchants, like Anathirpindika, and courtesans,like Amrapali, accepted the faith
because they got due respect in this religion
The use of popular language (Pali)
The patronage extended by kings was another important reason for the rapid growth
of Buddhism
Asoka sent his son Mahendra and his daughter Sangamitra to Sri Lanka to preach
establishedmany monastries and contributed liberally to the Sangha
institution of Sanghahad helped to organise the spread of Buddhism effectively
The Institution of the Sangha
well organised and powerful institutionwhich popularised Buddhism
Membership was open to all persons, irrespective of caste, above fifteen years of age
Criminals, lepers and persons affected by infectious diseases were not given
admission into the Sangha
Initially Buddha was not in favour of admitting women in the Surgha.However he
admitted them at the repeated requests of his chief disciple Ananda and his foster
mother Mahapajapati Gotami
On admission
monks had to ceremonially shave their head and wear yellow or saffron robes.
daily round in order to preach Buddhism and seek alms
During the four months of the rainy season they took up a fixed abode and meditated.
This was called the retreat or 'vasa'
Sanghas also promoted education among the people.
Naturally the non-Brahmins who were deprived of education got access to education
in Buddhism and thus education reached wider sectionsof the society
Sangha was governed by democratic principles and was empowered to enforce
discipline amongst its member
a code of conduct for the monks and nuns and they were bound to obey i
Sangha had the power to punish the emng members
Buddhist Cauncils
the first Buddhist Council
483 B.C
Saptapmi cave near Rajagrih
All the teachings of Buddha were divided into two Pitakas
Vinaya Pitaka,
Sutta Pitaka
Vinaya Pitaka was established under the leadership of Upali
Sutta Pitaka was settledunder the leadership of Ananda.
The second Council
at Vaisali in 383 B.C.

The monks of Vaisali and Pataliputra had accepted certain rules which were declared
as contrary to the teaching of Buddha by the monks of Kausarnbi and Avanti.
Councilfailed to bring about a compromisebetween the two opposing groups
council ended in a permanent split
Sthaviravadins and Mahasangikas
upheld the orthodox Vinaya Pitaka
favoured the new rules and their furtherrelaxation
The third Counci
held at Pataliputra during the reign of Asoka
philosophical interpretations of the doctrinesof Buddha were collected into the third
Pitaka called Abhidhamma Pitaka.
philosophical interpretations of the doctrinesof Buddha were collected into the third
Pitaka called Abhidhamma Pitaka.
Heretical monks numbering sixty thousand were expelled from the order.
true canonical literature was defmed and authoritatively settled to eliminateall
disruptive tendencies
The fourth Counci
held during the reign of Kanishka in Kashrni
council was a gathering of Hinayanists of North India.
compiled three commentaries
(Vibhashas) of the three Pitalcas
decided certain controversialquestions of differences that arose between the
Sarvastivada teachers of Kashrnir and Gandhara
Buddhist Schools
The Sthaviravadins followed strict monastic life and rigid disciplinary laws as
originally prescribed.
The group which followed a modified disciplinary rules was called the Mahasangikas.
Mahayanism developed after the fourth Buddhist Council
In opposition to the group (Hinayana sect) who believed in orthodox teaching of
Buddha those who accepted the new ideas were called the Mahayana sect
made an image of Buddha and worshipped it as god.
In the first century A.D.,during the period of Kanishka some doctrinal changes were
twenty fourTirthankaras were responsible for the origin and developmentof Jaina
religion and philosophy.
fust twenty two are of doubtful historicit
ast two
Buddhist works also c o n f i their historicity.
twenty-third Tirthankara
son of King Asvasena of Varanasi and his Queen Vama
abandonedthe throne at the age of t h i i and became an ascetic
received enlightenment after 84 days of penance

died at the age of 100years, nearly 250 years before Mahavira

believed in the eternity of 'matter'
left behind him a good number of followers.
followersof Parsvanatha wore a white garment.
even before Mahavira some kind of Jaina faith existed.
The twenty-fourth Tirthankara was Vardhamana Mahavira
born in Kundagrama (Basukunda),a suburb of Vaisali (Muzzaffarpurdistrict, Bihar) in
540 B.C
His father, Siddharthawas the head of Jnatrikas, a Kshatriya clan
mother was Trishala,a Lichchhavi princess
married to Yashoda.
daughter by her
At the age of thirty
left his home and became an ascetic
At first he wore a single garment which he abandoned after 13 months and began to
wander as a 'naked monk'
In the 13thyear of his asceticism, at the age of 42,
attained the 'supreme knowledge'
later known as 'Mahavir' (the supreme hero),
'Jina' (the conqueror)
alsohailed as 'Nugrantha' (free from fetters)
For the next t h i i years he moved from place to place and preached his doctrinesin
Kosala, Magadha and further eas
wandered for eight months in a year and spent the four months of the rainy season in
some famous town of eastern India
often visited the courts of Bimbisara and Ajatasatru
died at Pawa (near Rajagriha) in Patna district at the age of 72 (468 B.C.)
accepted most of the religious doctrines laid down by Parsvanatha
some alterationsand additionsto them
Parsvanatha advocated the following four principles
Parsvanatha advocated the following four principles
Parsvanatha advocated the following four principles
not to receive anything which was not voluntarily given
To this Mahavira added celibacy (brahmacharya).
Mahavira believed that soul (jiva)and matter (ajiva) are the two basic existing
By(moksha) means of continued of the soul. efforts The liberated soul the soul can be
relieved then becomes of bondag
By(moksha) means of continued of the soul. efforts The liberated soul the soul can be
relieved then becomes of bondag
e final liberation births. By(moksha) means of continued of the
e liberated soul the soul can be relieved then becomes of bondage. 'the pureThis sou
According ta Jainism
man is the creator of his own destiny and he could attain 'moksha' by pursuing a life
of purity, virtue andnnunciation

Moksha (nirvana) can be attained by observing the following three principles

Right belief.
~ i g h t knowledge
Right actio
advocated a life of severe asceticism and extreme penance for the attainment of
'nirvana' or the highest spiritual state.
believed that the world was not created by any supreme creator
The world functions according to an eternal law of decay and development.
thought that all objects, animate and inanimate had a soul
believed that they feel pain or the influence of injury.
rejected the authority of Vedas and objected to Vedic rituals and the supremacy of the
code of conduct was prescribed both for householders and for monks.
a householder had to observe the following five vow
speaking the truth
also prescribed that a householder should feed cooked food to the needy everyday.
lay worshippers should not take to agriculture, since this involved the dehction of
plants and insects.
A monk had to observe certain strict rules
abandon all worldly possessions
had to root out every hair of his head by his own hands
could walk only during the day, taking care that he did not kill or injure any being
had to train himself so as not to be affected by objects of the senses.
Jainism believed that the monastic life was essential to attain salvationand a
householder could not att;tin it.
the original doctrinestaught by Mahavira were contained in 14old texts known as
first Council at Pataliputra
Sthulabhadra divided the Jaina canon into 12 'angas' or sections
accepted by Svetambaras
Digambaras refused to accept this claiming that all the old scriptureswere lost
second Counci
at Vallabh
new additions were made in the f o m of 'Upangas' or minor sections.
Among the 12anga
Acharanga sutta
Bhagavati sutta
the most important
Acharanga sutta
deals with the code of conduct which a Jaina monk is required to follow,
Bhagavati sutta
expoundsthe Jaina doctrines in a comprehensive manner.
expoundsthe Jaina doctrines in a comprehensive manner.
Spread of Jainism

Mahavirahad eleven disciplesknown as Ganadharasor heads of schools

Arya Sudharma was the only Ganadhara who survived Mahavira and became the first
'Thera' (chief preceptor) of the Jaina order
died 20 years after Mahavira's death
The Jain order in the days of the late Nanda King was administeredby two Theras
The sixth Thera was Bhadrabahu
contemporary of the Maurya King Chandragupta Maurya.
According to Jain tradition
Udayin, the successor of Ajatsatru was a devoted Jain
Jain monks were seen on the banks of the river Indus, when Alexander invaded India.
ChiindraguptaMaurya was a followerof Jainism and he migrated with Bhadrabahuto
the South and spread Jainism
During 'the early centdies of the Christian era Mathura and Ujjain became great
Fentres of Jainism.
the popular dialect (Prakrit,Religious literaturewas also written in
Ardhamagadhi)used in place of Sanskritby Mahavira and his followers
simple and
homely morals prescribed to the masses attracted the people
The patronage extended by Kings helped Jainism
Jain Councils
Towards the close of ChandraguptaMaurya's rule a terrible famine broke out in South
lasted for about 12year
Bhadrabahu and his disciples migrated to Sravanabelgola in Karnataka
Other Jains remained in Magadha with Sthulabhadra as their leader
summoned a council at Pataliputra at about 300 B.C
the sacred teachings of Mahavira were divided into twelve angas.
The second Jain Council was held at Vallabhi (Gujarat) in 512A.D
presided over by Devardhi Kshemasarmana
to collect the Sacred texts and write them down systematically
the 12thanga drawn at the first Council was lost.
All the remaining angas were written in Ardhamagadhi
The differences over wearing a garment was apparent even during the times of
The followers of Bhadrabahu, after their return from Sravanabelgolato Magadha
refused to acknowledge the canon holding that all the 14purvas were lost
a wide gulf had developed between those who emigrated and those who stayed in
first split in the Jaina order was between the Digambaras (sky clad or naked) and
Svetambaras (clad in white).
During the later years further splits took place among both the sections
most important of them being one that renounced idol worship altogether and
devoted itself to the worship of the scriptures
called the Terapanthis among the Svetambaras
Samaiyas among the Digambaras
This sect came into existence about the sixth century A.D.)

said to be sudra sanyasins

The sect was said to be established by Nanda Vachcha, who was followed by Kisa
The third religious chief
Makkali Gosala, who popularised this sect
denied the theory of 'karma' and argued that man is subject to the laws of nature.
Ajivikas believed that the thought and deed of an individual were predetermined
(decided before birth)
They did not believe that there was any special cause for either the misery of human
beings or for their deliveranc
did not believe in human effort and held that all creatures were helpless against
Gosala maintained that all creatures had to face misery and it would end after the
completion of fixed cycles.
No human effort would reduce or lengthen the period.
Gosala's followers centred round Sravasti, the capital of Kosala where Gos.ala
preached and died sixteen years before Mahavira.
believed in complete materialism
an individual's body is formed of matter and finally would end in matter
the aim of human life should be to enjoy all the material pleasures of life.
doctrine of Akriya or non-action
Purana Kassapa preached the doctrine of Akriya or non-action
a Brahman teacher
main doctrine was that action did not lead to either merit or demerit
even if a man killed all the creatures on earth he would not incur any sin
would not e m any merit through a good deed or even by standing on the bank of
Similarly self-control, gifts and truthfulness would not e m him any credit.
Ajita Kesakambalin
preached that everything ended with death
no further life after death.
did no1believe in the fruits of good or bad acts or persons possessing higher or
supernatural power
nothing wrong in enjoying the pleasures of the world, and there is no sin in killing.
Pakudha Kachchayn
preached the doctrine of Asasvatavada
seven elements, which are immutable and do not in any way contribute to pleasure or
The body is ultimately dissolved into these seven elements.
The idea of social equality was popularised in this period
The idea of social equality was popularised in this period
trading community was very much encouraged by these new religious ideas
new religions gave importanceto languages like Prakrit, Pali and Ardha Magadhi.
The Magadhan Kingdom began to grow during the sixth century B.C. itself.
accelerated considerably under the Nandas and the Mauryas

Asokan inscriptions indicate

a major part of the Indian sub-continent, excluding the eastern and southern
extremities, had come under Magadhan suzerainty
The Mahajanapadas
of the four most powerful kingdoms
the Vajji
lay in the middle Ganga Valley
Avanti was in Western Malwa
kingdoms that surrounded Magadha
Anga in the east
the Vajji Confederacy to the north
to its immediate wcst the kingdom of Kasi
further west, the kingdom of Kosala
modern districts of Patna, Ciaya, Nalanda and parts of Shahabaci in the present day
State of Bihar
in its vicinity large tracts of alluvial soil
in its vicinity large tracts of alluvial soil
in its vicinity large tracts of alluvial soil
the south
it la
shift to
originally Pataligramma

under Ganga, Gandak, the Mauryas
Magadha had certain natural advantages over other contemperaneous kingdoms
some of which like Avanti to its south-west. Kosala to its I north-west and the Vajji
Confederacy to its north were equally powerful at the turn of the sixth century B.C
accessibility t o the iron mining areas in 1 particular enabled kingdoms like Magadha
and Avanti t o not only produce good weapons of warfare but also in other ways
accessibility t o the iron mining areas in 1 particular enabled kingdoms like Magadha
and Avanti t o not only produce good weapons of warfare but also in other ways
accessibility t o the iron mining areas in 1 particular enabled kingdoms like Magadha
and Avanti t o not only produce good weapons of warfare but also in other ways
expansion of agrarian I economy and thereby. the generation of substantial surplu
extracted by the State in the form of taxe
enabled them t o expand and develop their territorial base
Avanti. it must be noted, became a serious competitor of Magadha for quite some time
and was also located not far from the iron mines in eastern Madhya Pradesh.
pertaining to the early Jain tradition are the Acaranga Sutra and Sutrakritanga
Brahmanical accounts of the various Puranas which attempt to provide histories of
royal dynasties to the period of the Guptas
Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa compiled in Sri Lanka are significant sources for the
events related particularly to Asoka Maurya's reign
Divyavadana (which is preserved outside India in the Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist
sources)'not being contemporary to the period under discussion,
classical writings in Greek and Latin
Megasthenes, who visited the court of Chandragupta Maurya,
known to us only through quotation\ in later = Greek writings of Strabo and Diodorus
of the first century B.C ,111cl Arrian of the second century A.D.
Persian inscriptions and Greek sources l ~ k e Herodotus' account.
Since north-west India from about the sixth century B.C. till about the fourth century
B.C. was under the sphere of foreign rule
the Arthasastra of Kautilya
text was originally written by Kautilya, the minister of Chandragupta, and
commented upon and edited by other writers during a subsequent period.
inscriptions and coins
The coins of this period however do not bear names of kings, and they are called
punch-marked coins because different symbols are punched on them separatel
the inscriptional material for particularly Asoka Maurya's rule is extremely significant
and unique in content
fourteen major edicts
seven minor rock edicts
seven pillar edicts
other inscriptions of Asoka located at prominent places near t'owns and trade routes in
various parts of the Indian sub-continen
markedly stand out as a physical testimony to the length and breadth of the Magadhan
empire at the close of Asoka's reign.

Bimbisara who was a contemporary of the Buddha
Bimbisara who was a contemporary of the Buddha
first important ruler ofmagadha
reaiised the importance of establishing dynastic relations
marriage with the royal house of Kosala
Through this alliance
acquired a part of the district of Kasi as dowry.
cordial relations with the king of Gandhara
These diplomatic relations can be considered as a sign of the strength of Magadha.
Kingdom of Anga whose capital Champa
ruled over 80,000 villages
Bimbisara was imprisoned by his son Ajatasatru who is said to have starved him to
around 492 B.C.
the new Magadhan king followed a decisively more aggressive policy
gained complete control over Kasi and broke the earlier amicable relations by
attacking his maternal uncle Prasenajit, the king of ' Kosala
after a long period of sixteen years he was able to defeat the Vajjis only through deceit
by sowing the seeds of dissension amongst them.
invasion of the kingdom of Avanti, the strongest rival of Magadha at that time did not
materialise though preparations are said to have been made for it.
invasion of the kingdom of Avanti, the strongest rival of Magadha at that time did not
materialise though preparations are said to have been made for it.
during his reign Kasi and Vaisali, the capital of Vajji Mahajanapada, had been added
to Magadha,
Ajatasatru is said to have ruled from 492 B.C. to 460 B.C
Udayin (460-444 B.C.).
Udayin (460-444 B.C.).
extended in the north to the Himalayan ranges and in the south to the Chhota Nagpur
built a fort on the confluence of the Ganga and the son
Udayin and the four kings who succeeded him were unable to effectively rule and the
last of these is said to have been overthrown by the people of Magadha
Shishunaga, a viceroy at Banaras, was placed on the throne in 413 B.C
Shishunaga dynasty too was of short duration
gave way to the rule of the Nanda dynasty headed by the usurper Mahapadma Nanda
during the rule of the Nandas in Magadha and the Ganga Plains as a whole
invasion of Alexander took place in north-west India in 326 B.C.
The Nandas are therefore, often described as the first empire-builders of India.
extended to more distant frontiers.
Greek classical writings describe the might of the Nanda empire
200,000 infantry
2000 chariots
3000 elephants.
some indications that the Nandas had contact with the Deccan and South India.
Hathigumpha inscription of king Kharavela,
control of some parts of Kalinga (modem Orissa)

by the end cf the reign of Mahapadma Nanda the first phase of the expansion and
consolidation of the Kingdom of Magadha had taken place
north-west was still under various small chiefdcms is attested by the Greek writings
describing Alexander'sinvasion of the Punjab around this time.
there was no encounter between the K~ngdomof Magadha and the Greek conqueror
Nanda rule came to an end by 321 B.C
Nine Nanda kings
end of their rule they are said to have become very unpopula
Chand~aguptaMaurya took advantage of this situation to ascend the throne of
e Mauryas
centralized bureaucratic empir
Centralized bureaucratic empires were usually established through
e military and other exploits of individual
generally in periods of turmoil, strife and unrest of various kinds, and thus the
establishment of their rule is considered'to have brought about peace and orde
At the same time it would be natural for such empires to have enemies because in
their rise to power they must have either usurped or challenged various interest group
In new temtories their policy of aggrandizement nurtures gnimosity
The rulers have therefore, to make allies, passive or active, to implement their aims
through either matrimonial or diplomatic alliances
For active political support these empires were usually dependent on urban
economic, cultural and professional group
in a passive sense, from the wider social strata of peasants and urban lower classe
, in the earlyempires, there was a high degree of inequality in society, p,ermittingthe
privileged groups and the prihleged regions to exploit the resources produced by
clear idea is given of wha
lahd which extended north to south from the Himalaya to the seas (of the Indian
Ocean) and measured a thousand yojane
s an ideal never achieved, except perhaps by Asoka
The Artbsastra
list the different limbs (angas)which together made a rashtra (state
Of the seven limbs
the king, is made out to be the most powerful.
ministers (mantri)
taxes (kara)
army (sena)
fort (durga)
land or temtory (desh
Arthasastra significantly adds an eighth element,
the enemy (shatru)
the king
Kautilya the author of Arthasastra also expects him to have exceptional qualities

the success of Magadha marked the triumph of a monarchical form of political

organisation over other, such as ganga-samghaforms, of political organisation.
According to Indian tradition
Chandragupta was assisted by the Brahmin Kautilya, also known as Chanakya or
Vishnugupta. to rise to power
The Buddhist tradition
he was a member of the Moriya clan of Pipphalivana and thus suggests that this
dynasty was in some way linked to the tribe of the Sakyas to which the Buddha
the family name Maurya is said to have been derived from the name of the tribe
The Puranas do not link the Nanda and Maurya dynasties, though they too describe
the latter to be Shudras
Classical sources
Chandragupta, known to them as Sandrakottus, is described to be of low origin
caste affiliation of the Mauryas remains obscure
most important rulers of this dynasty turned to the heterodox sects later in their lives
Both Indian and Classical sources agree that Chandragupta overthrew the last of the
Nanda kings and occupied his capital Pataliputra and this success is linked with his .
accession to the throne in around 321B.C
The years 325 B.C. -323B.C. were crucial in the sense that many of the governors
who were stationed in the north-west aiter Alexander's invasion were assassinated or
had to retreat and this enabled Chandragupta to gain control of this region rather
One of the first major achievements of Chandragupta Maurya on the military front
contact with Seleucus Nikator who ruled over the area west of the Indus around 305
peace was established with this Greek viceroy in around 303 B.C
In return for 500 elephants Seleucus gave him eastern Afghanistan, Baluchistan and
the area west of the Indus
The Satrapies thus called were Arachosia, Paropanisadae, Aria and Gedrosia
A marriage alliance was also concluded
Seleucus sent an ambassador called Megasthenes who lived in the court of
Chandragupta formany years
The only parts left out of his empire were thus present day Kerala, Tamil Nadu and
parts of North-eastern India
onquests in different parts of India are lacking. The Greek writers simply mention
The conquest and subjugation of Surashtra or Kathiawar in the extreme west is
attested in the JunagadhRock Inscription of Rudradaman of the middle of the second
century A.D.
record refers to Chandragupta's viceroy or governor, Pushyagupta by name, who is
said to have constructed the famous Sudarshana Lake
The Tamil writers of the Sanga~texts of the early centuries A.D
make allusion to
the "Moriyar" which is said to referho the Mauryas and their contact with the south
probably refers to the reign of Chandragupta's successo
the Jaina tradition informs us that Chandragupta haviqg become a Jain abdicated the
throne and went South with Bhadrabahu, the Jain saint

At Sravana Belgola, the Jaina religious centre in south Karnataka, he spent the rest of
his life and died in the orthodox Jain way by sbw starvation.
the son of Chandragupta
ascended the throne in 297 B.C.
comparatively little known about him from either Indian or Classical sources
he is known as Amitrochates
contacts with the Seleucid king af Syria
hntiochus I, whom he requested to send-him sweet wine, dried figs and a sophist.
In a very late source of the sixteenth century, in the work of the Buddhist monk
Taranath of Tibet, we are told of Bindusara's warlike activities
destroyed kings and nobles of about sixteen cities and reduced to submission all the
territory between the eastern and western seas
descriptions of early Tamil poets' of the Mauryan chariotsthundering across the land
probably refer to his reign
Asoka is credited to have conquered only Kalinga, the extension of the Mauryan
empire beyond the Tungabhadra must have been the work
of his predecessors
it was probably in Bindusara's reign that the Mauryan control of the Deccan, and the
Mysore plateau in particular, was firmly entrenched.
it was probably in Bindusara's reign that the Mauryan control of the Deccan, and the
Mysore plateau in particular, was firmly entrenched.
His religious leanings are said to have been towards the Ajivikas
Buddhist sources suggest the death of Bindusara a r w d 273-272 B.C.
After his death there was a stqggle for succession among his sons for about four
Ultimately, around 269-268 B.C. Asoka was crowmzd Bindusara's successor. .-:Brahmi inscription
referring to a king
Devanampiya Piyadasi (Beloved of the Gods).
1837 A.D.
James Prinsep
James Prinsep
compared with what was known from the Sri Lankan chronicle Mahavamsa
compared with what was known from the Sri Lankan chronicle Mahavamsa
established that the king of the inscriptionwas indeed Asoka Maurya
turned awayfrom war and tried to establish a system of rule based on the principle of
The Kalinga War
During his father'i reign
Asoka served as a Viceroy at Ujjain and also at Taxila
he was sent to Taxila for a special purpbse, namely, to quell a revol
After being successful at Taxila
he was sent to Ujjain as Viceroy
marriage to a Vidisha merchant's daughter and the birth of their two.children
Mahinda and Sanghamita
a great influencein turning Asoka towards ~u'ddhism
he was in fact not the crownprince (Yuvaraja)
conversion to Buddhism to have taken place after the Kalinga War.

It was of strategic importance as it controlled routes to South India both by land and
It was of strategic importance as it controlled routes to South India both by land and
It was of strategic importance as it controlled routes to South India both by land and
Rock Edict XI11
conquest of Kalinga
taken place eight years after his consecration, around 260 B.C
One hundred thousand were slain, and many times that number died.
Asoka, was victorious, the inscription goes on to describe his remorse which then
ultimately turned him towards Dhamma.
A policy of conquest through war was given up and replaced by a policy of conquest
through Dhamrnavijay
meant to work both at the State and personal levels, and totally transformed the
attitude of the king and his officials towards their subjects.
fourteen Major Rock Edicts
seven Pillar Edicts
some Minor Rock Inscriptions
Major Rock Edicts
Shahbazgarhi and Maneshra near Peshawar
Kalsi near Dehra Dun
Sopara in Thana distric
Girnar near Junagarh in Kathiawar
Girnar near Junagarh in Kathiawar
Dhauli near Bhuvaneshwar
Jaugada in Gangam district of Orissa
Jaugada in Gangam district of Orissa
The placement of the edicts also highlights the care with which they were located on
important trade routes linking river and road traffic.
The Edicts also describe people on the borders of the empire
In the South are mentioned the Cholas, Pandyas, Sataputras and Keralaputras as
people living outside the Mauryan empire
Inside the empire too there were people of diverse origins and diverse cultures.
in the north-west
mentioned the Kambojas and Yavanas.
mentioned along with other peoples like the Bhojas, Pitinikas, Andhras and Pulindas
who can be located in parts of western India and the Deccan
'Conquest territories' (Vijita)
'royal territories' (Rajavishaya)
bordering territories (pratyanta)
The extension of the principle of non~violenceto state policy was a unique experiment
that was never repeated in the annals of the political history of India
The Greek writer Arrian
The Greek writer Arrian

it was not possible to record with accuracy the number of cities because of their
immense numbers
Descriptions by Megasthenes
well organised administration of towns indicate large concentration of population in
these centres
regulations were apparently stringent
failed to produce any substantial evidence of city planning in this period and the
remains of Mauryan architecture are few
building structures
made of burnt bricks
Houses were made also of timber because Megasthenes speaks of wooden structures
at the Mauryan capital, Pataliputra
At Kumrahar (modern Patna) excavations also revealed some structures which have
been indentified as a pillared hall of a Mauryan palace
s one of the most important finds of this period
a large number of ringwells which were probably used to supply water for domestic
became widespread in other parts of the country in the subsequent ages.
hallmark of the structural development
extensive use of ringwells and burnt bricks
Use of burnt bricks, and finds of Northern Black Polished Ware sherds and other
remains help us gauge how widely towns were distributed in several'parts of the
Mauryan empire.
Use of burnt bricks, and finds of Northern Black Polished Ware sherds and other
remains help us gauge how widely towns were distributed in several'parts of the
Mauryan empire.
refuse material left behind indicates that iron smelting may not have been of a very
high quality
Local furnaces which have been discovered may*suggest that ordinary people
probably had access to the use and manufacture of iron
Local furnaces which have been discovered may*suggest that ordinary people
probably had access to the use and manufacture of iron
Local furnaces which have been discovered may*suggest that ordinary people
probably had access to the use and manufacture of iron
techniques of making different kinds of iron were also known, as can be gleaned from
the Arthasastra.
The use of iron did not, however, diffuse from the Ganges Valley to other parts of the
in the Ganges Valley atleast, the soil being heavy and loamy, the necessity of heavy
iron tipped ploughs and plough-shares was most essential to make intensive
agriculture possible
The use of iron for agricultural purposes cannot be over emphasized
the Arthasastra
the King should maintain s monopoly over certain kinds of mining.
because of the crucial need of metals for military progress
Apart from sound technology
most expanding agrarian societies require a regular and cheap supply of labour for
production of food grains and other commodities

How this labour is controlled and maintained

paddy cultivation.
labour-intensive and required more than the peasant family's labour at particular
seasons of transplanting and harvesting
great stress was laid on bringing new land under cultivation.
In these newly settled tracts shortage of labour was expected
suggested that the sudras were to settle these area
formed the bulk of agricultural and other types of manual labour
Settling new groups could be done by transferring them from overpopulated areas or
deporting them from the defeated kingdom
150,000 people who were deported after the Kalinga War
Arthasastra suggests
new villages could be formed also by inducing foreigners to immigrate to them
Other groups like carpenters and merchants were also probably settled in a similar
The sudra settlers were expected to be given some fiscal concessions and also a
supply of cattle and seeds along with implements
Decaying or ruined settlements were similarly to be repopulated because with a
rehabilitated settlement only could agricultural production be augmented
In many cases the newly settled areas formed part of the cwwn lands, known as the .
sita land
On occasions
granted to ex-village officials for cultivation
failure on the part of the farmers to cultivate would lead to their transfer to someone
the King and his officials exercised strict control over them
during the Mauryan period the two major pre-requisites
the use and control of raw materials and manpower made it possible for agrarian
expansion-to take place.
settlements ensured a sound and stable resource base for the State to extract taxes and
the land tax formed the bulk of it
This process of settlement was called janapadanivesa,
Megast henes
seven classe
the philosophers
as the first class
the farmers as the second class
the soldiers
as the third class
not absolutely correc
the farmers drew his attention because they were numerically a large class devoted to
cultivators were without arm
Megasthenes also maintains that the peasants were left untouched during war.
sita or crown lands
superintendent of agriculture

supervised the cultivation works

slaves were deployed wbrking under direct State supervision
slaves were deployed wbrking under direct State supervision
knowledge refer of agricultural to these lands. techniques, described in depth in the
Arthasastra, also
Agriculture in other areas of the Mauryan State, known asjanapada territories
carried on privately
Jataka stories
frequent references to gahapatis and grambhojakas
frequent references to gahapatis and grambhojakas
These groups are said to have employed hired labourers on land indicating their
capacity to do so as a land-owning gentry
The King could own land in his personal capacity in both sita and janapada areas
though direct references to this for this period are lacking.
The most important reason for the success of agriculture in the state owned lands was
the facility of irrigation provided by the State
rules for the regulation of - water supply for the benefit of agriculturists
Megasthenes informs
a number of officers were employed who measured the land and inspected sluices by
which water was distributed into the branch channel
irrigation facilities existed in other areas as well is indicated by the mention of an
irrigation cess amounting to a fifth, a fourth or a third of the produce in the
Since this cess was levied only on irrigated soil it can be deduced that the State
regulated irrigat~on facilities in areas where rainfall was scarc
Pushyagupta, one of the governors of Chandragupta Maurya, is said to have built a
dam for creating a reservoir of water near Girnar in Saurashtra.
known as Sudarshana tadaga (water tank)
This reservoir became so famous that its history can be traced to the middle of the
fifth century A.D. for a period of about eight hundred years.
Land Revenue Organisation
some villages were exempted from taxation.
villages may have provided soldiers to the State
in order to bring virgin soil under cultivation in some villages remission of taxes was
allowed for a period of time.
Mauryan rule oonstitutes a landmark in the history of the improvement of tfie system
of taxation in ancient India
great importance to the assessment of land revenue
the highest officer in charge of this was the samshart
sannidhata was the chief custodian of the State treasury
sannidhata was the chief custodian of the State treasury
Since the revenue was also collected in kind, providing storage facilities was also the
114th of the produce was paid in tax by the peasants
a tribute was paid by them
Land tax (bhaga) was the main item of revenue
levied at the rate of 116th of the produce
The Lumbini Edict of Asoka
when he visited Lumbini. the birthplace of the Buddha,

exempted the village from the payment of bali and reduced the payment of bhaga to
exempted the village from the payment of bali and reduced the payment of bhaga to
Even Asoka's great respect for the Buddha did not prompt the emperor to exempt the
village totally from the payment of taxes.
Sharecropping was another way by which the State collected agricultural resources
sharecroppers were in the first place provided with seeds, oxen, etc., and received
arable land for cultivation.
the peasants probably gave half of the produce to the State.
the peasants probably gave half of the produce to the State.
taxes were further supplemented by a large number of customary dues Economy of
the M.ury.n Empire that the peasants had to pay
The peasants paid a tax called pindakara paid by husbandsmen, which was assessed
on groups of village
villages had to supply provisions to the royal army passing through their respective
territories and this naturally increased their burden
Bali, the traditionally known levy from the Vedic times, continued under the Mauryas
burdened the peasantry considerably
pranayawhich literally meant a gift of affection
tax first mentioned by Panini but elaborated upon for the first time in the Arthasastra
amounted to It3 or '14 of the produce according to the nature of the soil
a voluntary gift but once put into practice, in reality it must have become obligatory.
in times of emergency the cultivators could be forced to raise two crops
As land revenue was the backbone o i the Mauryan economy, the Arthasastra is
careful in designing the revenue system of the State
different types of villages to be taxed as the fertility of soil varied from place to place.
attention paid to special categories of revenue collectors and assessors
The development of the agrarian economy had given a solid economic basis to the
Mauryan empire
Organisation of Trade
The Jataka stories have frequent references to caravan traders carrying large quantities
of goods to different parts of the country.
Major trade routes to West Asia and Central Asia passed through north-west India.
The main trade routes in northern Indian were along the river Ganges and the
Himalayan foothills
Pataliputra, the capital of the Mauryas, had a particularly strategic location and was
connected by river and road in all four directions.
The northern route going to such sites as Sravasti and Kapilavastu was connected
through the city of Vaisali
From Kapilavastu this route linked up Kalsi, Hazara.and eventually led up
Megasthenes also talks of a land route connecting the north-west with Pataliputra.
In the south it was connected to Central India and in the South-eastt o Kalinga.
This eastern route turned southwards to finally reach Andhra and Karnataka.
Internal trade was considerably benefited because river transport had been improved
once the forests around the Valleys had been cleared under State initiative

The State's policy particularly under Bindusara and Asoka to have peaceful and
friendly relations with the Greeks gave fillip to foreign trade as well.
Trade was canied on in different ways
Primarily in north Indi
craft production was organised on guild (sreni)lines
The well-known guildsof the period were those of metallurgists of various
kinds,carpenters, potters
leatherworkers; painters, textile workers, etc
~ a k i n g of the Northern Black Polished Ware is a good example of craft activities
It became a spccialized kind of pottery-making craft and its availability outside the
Ganges Valley is limited.
his indicates that it was a technique developed in this-partof the country and was
perhaps dependent on a particular type of clay available here.
Like the artisans, the merchants were aiso organised along guild lines
, important to note that the State administration under the Mauryas also took up the
organisation of trade.
This did not mean ihat it directly interfered with and changed the guild organisations.
it increased its control on the distribution of their goods and itself became a producer
it gradually converted some crafts into some sort of small-sca!e industries.
by directly employing some of the artisans like. armourers, shipbuilders, builders in
stone, etc
They were exempt from payment of tax because they rendered compulsory labour
service to the Stat
Other artisans like spinners, weavers, miners etc., who worked for the State were
liable to tax.
Other artisans like spinners, weavers, miners etc., who worked for the State were
liable to tax.
Megasthenes mentions a superintendent of commerce whose duty was to fix prices of
goods and also to interfere if there was a glut in any commodit
mentioned in the Arthasastra as panyadhyaksa
the samsthadhyaksa
looked after the markets was infact to check the wrong practices of the traders
superintendent of weights and measures exerted a strict control on maintaining
standard weights and measures
superintendent of weights and measures exerted a strict control on maintaining
standard weights and measures
State boats that facilitated transport were put under the charge of a navadhyaksa
helped in-regulating river transport and collecting ferry charges
All traders had to pay taxes and custom's dues ranging from '15th to '125th of the
value of good
supposed to be collected by a superintendent of tolls called the sulkadhyaksa.
the State produced goods
called rajapanya
Sometimes State goods could also be sold by private traders as their network of
distribution was more well-organised and widespread.
Sometimes State goods could also be sold by private traders as their network of
distribution was more well-organised and widespread.

The guilds continued to serve the very important purpose of cohesivdy organising
petty producers and most importantly, controlling them,
Even the artisans found it advantageous to join them since this eliminated the
expenses of working alone or competing with others of the same profession.
From the State's point of view
the guilds facilitated the collection of taxes
guilds were not found to flourish in all parts of India during this period
in the extreme South, even in the post-Mauryan period it is difficult to find mention
of them
Growth of Urban Economy
Two major sections of population inhabited the towns
artisans and merchants
the officials of the government
In many cases it. were the rich rural
families that developed contacts with towns and provided financial support needed
particularly by merchant groups.
through a process of durganivesa or durgavidhana,
State founded walled towns
These towns were said to be peopled by priests, nobles, soldiers and . also merchants,
artisans and others.
The taxes received from towns paid rich dividends to the State and therefore,
development and administration of towns was given much importance by the ~ a u r ~
town population was easier to regulate and organise.
Megasthenes' detailed description of the Mauryan capital
Pataliputra was administered by thirty officials
divided into six Committees of five members each
Of these six Committee
four were related to economic activity
The other two . committees were concerned with the welfare of foreigners and the
registration of ' births and deaths.
related to economic activity.
industrial arts
trade and commerc
the supervision of the public sale of manufactured goods
collection of tax on articles sold
collection of tax on articles sold
The general administration of law and order in the cities was thus important to ensure
the proper functioning of its economic activities
Population mobility and interaction between social groups was necessary for the
urban economy to remain healthy and prosperous
Another significant aspect of the urban economy
created the situation for the development of transactions in cash and the circulation of
coined money
Its use in trade is self-evident but the importance of cash in the economy can be
gauged from the fact that it was probably used to pay salaries of the officials
range of salaries expected to be paid
varied from 48,000 panas to 60 panas annually.

For such a powerful cash economy to function the minting of coins and the supply of
metajs like silver and copper required to do so were of prime importance
superintendent of mines called akaradhyaks
chief function was to look for new mines and re?pen old ones
suaerintendent of iron
suaerintendent of iron
suaerintendent of iron - lohadhyaksha
suaerintendent of iron
Socio-EconomicChanges in Mauryan India
most distinguishingfeature of the Maur>an Economy was the emphasis on State
control in agriculture. trade and industry
most distinguishingfeature of the Maur>an Economy was the emphasis on State
control in agriculture. trade and industry
most distinguishingfeature of the Maur>an Economy was the emphasis on State
control in agriculture. trade and industry
The requirements of resources for the Mauryan State were very high.
taxes realised from the region of Magadha and adjoining areas were not enough to
ineet this demand.
attempts were made to control resources in other parts of the country as well.
Kalinga, the Karnataka plateau and Western India where Asokan inscriptions are
found, were such areas
To regulate certain types of economic activities in such far off regions, the Mauryas
worked out different strategies.
depended on the nature of resources the particular region offered.
It may be pointed out that most regions outside the Ganges Valley were at different
levels of economic development in this period
Because of this uneven development, radical change and restructuring of all these
regions was very difficult.
The Arthasastra and the inscriptions of Asoka tell us about the tribes (atavikas,
aranyacafas) that inhabited the various parts of the empire
Kautilya's advice to the State was to win them over to a settled agrarian lif
devotes a full chapter to how tribes could be systematically broken up and several
methods, fair or unfair, were deployed to do this
This was necessary in order that groups of five to ten families could settle down
permanently for bringing more land under cultivation.
Asoka's attitude towards the tribes was paternalistic, but he too warns them that in
case they failed to conform or disobeyed orders of the Maharnatras, stern action
would be taken against them
Controlling of the forest tribes was important from two points of view:
necessary for new agrarian settlements to be secure as disturbances from tribes would
interrupt their economic development
trade routes often bordered or passed through tribal regions and these had to be made
It was impossible to totally change the cultural pattern of a vast country like India in
the third century B.C. but at the same time Mauryan rule did initiate some major
changes in the material and socio.-economic setting which bore fruits in the
subsequent centuries.
Some of these changes
In many areas .of the Mauqan . empire

the beginning of early historical cultural pattern dated to only Mauryan or postMauryan periods
This mean
impressive human settlements like towns and cities in which different social groups
lived, use of coins, use of scripts, use of sophisticated objects on a significant scale-all
began in these regions only from the Mauryan and post-Mauryan periods
change in material culture implies that there were not only changes in technology and
material life in general but also in social organisations and in ideas
wide range of activities
justice, army, espionage, revenue collections, handicrafts, etc
the central, provincial and'local units of administration
The King
The Council of Ministers
City Administration
Espionage netwo
Law and justice
Public Welfare
The King
supreme authority of the state
All basic policy matters as well as crucial decisions were taken by the King
the traditional law (Shastra)holds a different point of view from that of the King's law
King's law which prevailed
The Mauryan Empire, in I fact, represents a centralised political system under which
the monarchy had emerged victorious over the gana-samghas
The Arthasastra gives final authority to the King ! in all aspects of administration.
King primacy among the seven
The argument in favour of King's central position in the Arthasastra
it is the King who
appoints or removes the ministers (Amatyas)
defends the treasury and the people,
works for the progress and welfare of the people,
punishes the.ew'l, and
influences the people (Praja) through his morality.
Arthasastra also mentions certain necessary virtues for the King
birth in a high family (uchchakula),
capability to keep under control various small kings and officials
sharp intellect,
upholder of Dharma,
King should master in order to carry out his functions
undergo military training
have knowledge of various departments of economic life (Vartta), writing (Lipi) etc.
Dhauli inscription Asoka states
Asoka kept the welfare of the people as the prime aim of ' administration but in terms
of political analysis he was an absolute monarch
By ,i adoption of the title Devanampiya (beloved of the Gods) Asoka

made "an attempt to emphasize the connection between kingship and divine power,
perhaps even to the degree of excluding the intermediaries, the priests.
he King was now exercising his authority in religious matters -I-,. /en- l T - : . ?I\
Council of Ministers