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Later Vedic Polity and Economy



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Political Organisation: In later Vedic times, the vidatha completely disappeared. The sabha and samiti continued to hold the ground, but their character changed. Women were no longer permitted to sit in the sabha, and it was now dominated by nobles and Brahmanas. The formation of wider kingdoms made the king more powerful. Tribal authority tended to become territorial. The term rashtra, which indicates territory, first appears in this period. The King performed the rajasuya sacrifice, which was supposed to confer supreme power to him. He performed the asvamedha, which meant unquestioned control over an area in which the royal house ran uninterrupted. He also performed the vajapeya or the chariot race, in which the royal chariot was made to win the race against his kinsmen. During this period collection of taxes and tributes, the king officer called sangrihitri.
Even in later Vedic times the king did not possess a standing army. Tribal units were mustered in times of war, and, according to one ritual for success in war, the king had to eat along with his people from the same plate.

Regions and Kings
Eastern King Samrat
Western King Suvrat
Northern King Virat
Southern King Bhoja
King of middle country Raja

Imp Ratnins/Officials in Later Vedic Period
Purohita Chief Priest, in also sometimes referred to as Rashtragopa
Senani Supreme Commander of army
Vrajapati Officer-in-Charge of pasture land
Jivagribha Police Officer
Spasas/Dutas Spies who also sometimes worked as messengers
Gramani Head of the village
Kulapati Head of the family
Madhyamasi Mediator on disputes
Bhagadugha Revenue collector
Sangrahitri Treasurer
Mahishi Chief Queen
Suta Charioteer and court minstrel
Govikartana Keeper of games and forests
Palagala Messenger
Kshatri Chamberlain
Akshavapa Accountant
Sthapati Chief Justice
Takshan Carpenter

Kingdoms in the Later Vedic Age
Kingdom Location
Gandhar Rawalpindi and Peshawar districts of Western Punjab
Kekaya On the bank of River Beas, east of Gandhar kingdom
Uttar Madra Kashmir
Eastern Madra Near Kangra
Southern Madra Near Amritsar
Kushinagar Nothern region of modern Uttar Pradesh
Panchal Bareilly, Badayun and Farrukhabad districts of modern Uttar Pradesh
Kashi Modern Varanasi
Koshal Faizabad region of today's Uttar Pradesh

Occupation: The Aryans now lived a sedentary life, domesticated animal and cultivated on a greater scale than earlier suger-cane. Cattle still constituted the principal form of movable property. Elephants were tamed. However, the idea of private possession of land gradually began to crystallize. Wheat was also cultivated during this period along with barley. Rice is mentioned in sources but was not an important crop at this time. Beans and Sesame and pulses such as Moong, Urad etc. were also known. New arts, artists and craftsmen also emerged i.e. smelters, ironsmiths, carpenters, weavers, leather workers, jewellers, dyers and potters. Trade was also boosted.

Pottery: The later Vedic Aryans used four types of pottery- Black and Red Ware, Black Slipped Ware, Painted Grey Ware(PGW), and Red Ware. The black and red earthen pots were used around 600 BC by the people of Koshala. The Aryans knew copper or bronze and Iron. The introduced the PGW in northern India. It consisted of bowls and dishes, which were used either for rituals or for eating or both. These were mostly found to the upper Gangetic basin.

Currency: A gold piece of specific weight called Satamana is mentioned in Sathapatha-Brahmana. Nishka was the popular currency. Suvarna and Krishnala were two other classes of coins of circulation. Barter system will continued in spite of the presence of metallic coins. Money-lending was a lucrative trade and the interest on loan was moderately charged. The usurer is mentioned as Kusidin.

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