Many new dynasties emerged after the seventh century. Map 1 shows the major ruling dynasties in different parts of the subcontinent between the seventh and twelfth centuries.

Emergence of New Kings

Bit/Bits

  1. In this chapter, you will study about the kings and new kingdoms in Central-South India in the seventh century and later.
  2. The areas covered in this chapter are today’s Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, Orissa, etc.
  3. After the 7th Century, landlords and warrior-chiefs rose in power in the South of India.
  4. The existing kings acknowledged them as samantas (subordinates)
  5. The samantas gained more and more power and overthrew their kings.
  6. Some samantas declared themselves as rulers.
  7. In the mid-eighth century, Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief, overthrew his Chalukya overlord.
  8. Dantidurga, performed a ritual called hiranya garbha and declared himself a Kshatriya and therefore eligible for becoming a king.

Short Questions

  1. What were the duties of the samantas towards their kings?
    The samantas were expected to bring gifts for their kings or overlords, be present at their courts and provide them with military support.
  2. How did samantas become kings?
    As samantas gained power and wealth, they declared themselves to be maha-samanta, mahamandaleshvara (the great lord of a “circle” or region) and so on. Sometimes they asserted their independence from their overlords.
  3. How did the Rashtrakutas in the Deccan gain power?
    The Rashtrakutas in the Deccan were subordinate to the Chalukyas of Karnataka. In the mid-eighth century, Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief, overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed a ritual called hiranya-garbha (literally, the golden womb). When this ritual was performed with the help of Brahmanas, it was thought to lead to the “rebirth” of the sacrificer as a Kshatriya, even if he was not one by birth.
  4. Who was Kadamba Mayurasharman? How did he become king?
    Kadamba Mayurasharman was from a Brahmin enterprising family. He used his military skills to become a king. He gave up his traditional professions and took to arms and successfully established his kingdom in Karnataka.
  5. Name another king who came to power although he was a Brahmin.
    Gurjara Pratihara Harichandra was another ruler from a Brahmana background. He used his military skills to become a king. He gave up his traditional professions and took to arms and successfully established his kingdom in Rajasthan.

Long Questions

  1. Write a short note on the new dynasties that emerged after the seventh century AD.
    By the seventh century there were big landlords or warrior-chiefs in different regions of the subcontinent. Existing kings often acknowledged them as their subordinates or samantas. They were expected to bring gifts for their kings or overlords, be present at their courts and provide them with military support. As samantas gained power and wealth, they declared themselves to be maha-samanta, mahamandaleshvara (the great lord of a “circle” or region) and so on. Sometimes they asserted their independence from their overlords. One such instance was that of the Rashtrakutas in the Deccan. Initially they were subordinate to the Chalukyas of Karnataka. In the mid-eighth century, Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief, overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed a ritual called hiranya-garbha (literally, the golden womb). When this ritual was performed with the help of Brahmanas, it was thought to lead to the “rebirth” of the sacrificer as a Kshatriya, even if he was not one by birth. In other cases, men from enterprising families used their military skills to carve out kingdoms. For instance, the Kadamba Mayurasharman and the Gurjara Pratihara Harichandra were Brahmanas who gave up their traditional professions and took to arms, successfully establishing kingdoms in Karnataka and Rajasthan respectively.

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

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