6.11 Administration in the Kingdoms

Summary

  • Kings obtained resources from the producers such as peasants, cattle-keepers, artisans, who were often persuaded or compelled to surrender part of what they produced.
  • Sometimes these were claimed as “rent” due to a lord who asserted that he owned the land.
  • Revenue was also collected from traders.
  • Kings used the income to finance their establishments, as well as for the construction of temples and forts. They were also used to fight wars, which were in turn expected to lead to the acquisition of wealth in the form of plunder, and access to land as well as trade routes.
  • The functionaries for collecting revenue were generally recruited from influential families, and positions were often hereditary.
  • The most frequently mentioned tax during the Chola dynasty was vetti. It was taken not in cash but in the form of forced labour.
  • Another tax was kadamai, land revenue.
  • There were also taxes on thatching one’s house, the use of a ladder to climb palm trees, a cess on succession to family property, etc.
  • Prashastis contained details that may not be literally true. But they tell us how rulers wanted to depict themselves – as valiant, victorious warriors, for example. These were composed by learned Brahmanas, who occasionally helped in the administration.
  • Grants were gifts given to the Brahmanas in land. Grants were recorded on copper plates, and then they were given to those who received the land.
  • Nagabhata was a Pratihara king. His achievement details (prashasti) were written in Sanskrit and found in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Kalhana was a twelfth century Sanskrit historian and poet. He wrote a long Sanskrit poem containing the history of kings who ruled over Kashmir. His accounts are reliable because he used a variety of sources, including inscriptions, documents, eyewitness accounts and earlier histories, to write his account.

Short Answers

  1. Write the meaning of the following titles:
    1. Maharaja-adhiraja.
      Great king, overlord of kings
    2. Tribhuvana-chakravartin.
      Lord of the three worlds.
  2. How did the kings obtain resources?
    Kings obtained resources from the producers such as peasants, cattle-keepers, artisans, who were often persuaded or compelled to surrender part of what they produced. Sometimes these were claimed as “rent” due to a lord who asserted that he owned the land. Revenue was also collected from traders.
  3. What for did the kings use the income that they collected from people?
    Kings used the income to finance their establishments, as well as for the construction of temples and forts. They were also used to fight wars, which were in turn expected to lead to the acquisition of wealth in the form of plunder, and access to land as well as trade routes.
  4. How were taxes collected from people and traders?
    The functionaries for collecting revenue were generally recruited from influential families, and positions were often hereditary.
  5. Mention the kinds of taxes imposed on people during the chola reign in Tamilnadu.
    The most frequently mentioned tax during the Chola dynasty was vetti. It was taken not in cash but in the form of forced labour. Another tax was kadamai, land revenue. There were also taxes on thatching one’s house, the use of a ladder to climb palm trees, a cess on succession to family property, etc.
  6. What were Prashastis?
    Prashastis contained details that may not be literally true. But they tell us how rulers wanted to depict themselves – as valiant, victorious warriors, for example. These were composed by learned Brahmanas, who occasionally helped in the administration.
  7. What were grants?
    Grants were gifts given to the Brahmanas in land. Grants were recorded on copper plates, and then they were given to those who received the land.
  8. What do you know about the achievements of Nagabhata? Why can’t we believe all that is written about him?
    Nagabhata was a Pratihara king. His achievement details (prashasti) were written in Sanskrit and found in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. This describes that the kings of Andhra, Saindhava (Sind), Vidarbha (part of Maharashtra) and Kalinga (part of Orissa) fell before him even as he was a prince. It also describes that he had won a victory over Chakrayudha, the ruler of Kanauj and over the king of Vanga (part of Bengal), Anarta (part of Gujarat), Malava (part of Madhya Pradesh), Kirata (forest peoples), etc. Prashastis cannot be entirely believed because rulers used to depict themselves as brave, victorious warrior so most of them left behind them untrue stories about them.
  9. Who was Kalhana? How is his historical accounts of the kings of Kashmir?
    Kalhana was a twelfth century Sanskrit historian and poet. He wrote a long Sanskrit poem containing the history of kings who ruled over Kashmir. His accounts are reliable because he used a variety of sources, including inscriptions, documents, eyewitness accounts and earlier histories, to write his account. Unlike the writers of prashastis, he was often critical about rulers and their policies.

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