|Board||CBSE Board, UP board, JAC board, HBSE Board, Bihar Board, PSEB board, RBSE Board, UBSE Board|
|Subject||History | Social Science|
|Chapter Name||New Empires And Kingdoms|
|Topic||New Empires And Kingdoms CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 10 Notes|
|Especially Designed Notes for||CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA, UPSC, SSC, NDA, All Govt. Exam|
New Empires And Kingdoms
Prashastis and What They Tell Us
- Samudragupta was a famous ruler of the Gupta dynasty.
- We know about Samudragupta from a long inscription, actually a poem in Sanskrit, composed by his court poet, Harishena nearly 1700 years ago.
- This poem was inscribed on the Ashokan pillar at Allahabad.
- This inscription is of a special kind known as a Prashasti.
- Prashasti is a Sanskrit word, which means ‘in praise of’. Prashastis were also composed for some of the other rulers, such as Gautamiputra Shri Satakarni.
- Prashastis became far more important from the time of the Guptas.
- The poet praised the king in glowing terms as a warrior, as a king who won victories in battle, who was learned and the best of poets.
- Samudragupta is also described as equal to the Gods. The prashasti was composed in very long sentences.
- In the prashasti, Harishena describes four different kinds of rulers, and tells us about Samudragupta’s policies towards them.
- The rulers of Aryavarta: there were nine rulers who were uprooted, and their kingdoms were made a part of Samudragupta’s empire.
- The rulers of Dakshinapatha: there were twelve rulers. They surrendered to Samudragupta after being defeated and he then allowed them to rule again.
- The inner circle of neighbouring states, including Assam, coastal Bengal, Nepal, and a number of gana sanghas in the North-West. They brought tribute, followed his orders, and attended his court.
- The rulers of the outlying areas of India including Vallabhi, Ujjain, Aihole, Arikamedu, Madurai etc, perhaps the descendants of the Kushanas and Shakas, and the ruler of Sri Lanka, who submitted to him and offered daughters in marriage.
Most prashastis also mention the ancestors of the ruler. We know about Samudragupta’s great grandfather, father and mother from the prashastis.
- Samudragupta’s mother, Kumara Devi, belonged to the Lichchhavi gana, and his father Chandragupta, adopted the grand title of maharaj-adhiraja. This title was also used by Samudragupta.
- His great grandfather and grandfather are mentioned simply as maharajas. It signifies that his family gradually acquired importance.
- Samudragupta in turn figures in the genealogies of later rulers of the dynasty, such as his son Chandragupta II.
- Chandragupta II is known from the inscriptions and coins.
- He led an expedition to Western India, where he overcame the last of the Shakas.
- His court was full of learned people, including Kalidasa the poet, and Aryabhata the astronomer.
Harshavardhana and the Harshacharita
- Harshavardhana, who ruled nearly 1400 years ago, was one of the great rulers.
- His court poet, Banabhatta wrote his biography, the Harshacharita in Sanskrit.
- This biography of Harsha provides us his genealogy and kingdom.
- Xuan Zang also spent a lot of time at Harsha’s court and left a detailed account of what he saw.
- Harshavardhana became king of Thanesar after his father and his elder brother died.
- His brother-in-law was the ruler of Kanauj and he was killed by the ruler of Bengal.
- Harsha took over the kingdom of Kanauj. He led an army against the ruler of Bengal.
- Although he was successful in the East, and conquered both Magadha and Bengal, he was not as successful elsewhere.
- He also tried to cross the Narmada to march into the Deccan, but was stopped by Pulakeshin II of the Chalukya dynasty.
The Pallavas, Chalukyas and Pulakeshin’s Prashasti
- The Pallavas and Chalukyas were the most powerful and important ruling dynasties in South India during this period.
- The kingdom of the Chalukyas was centred around the Raichur Doab, between the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra, while that of the Pallavas spread from the region around their capital, Kanchipuram to the Kaveri delta.
- The capital city of Chalukyas, Aihole, was an important trading centre. It developed as a religious centre with a number of temples.
- The Pallavas and Chalukyas rapidly attacked each other’s lands, especially attacking the capital cities, which were prosperous towns.
- The Chalukya ruler, Pulakeshin II is the best known ruler. We know about him from a prashasti, composed by his court poet Ravikirti. This tells us about the four generations of the Chalukya ruler.
- Pulakeshin II took over the kingdom from his uncle. He led expeditions along the West and East coasts.
- He also checked advance of Harshavardhana.
- Pulakeshin II also attacked the Pallava king, who took shelter behind the walls of Kanchipuram.
- But the Chalukya and the Pallavas reign was short-lived. The kingdoms were over thrown by the Rashtrakuta and Chola dynasties.
How were These Kingdoms Administered?
- The land revenue was important for the earlier kings, and the village remained the basic unit of administration.
- Kings started to adopt some new developments such as they took a step to win the support of men who were powerful, either economically, or socially, or because of their political and military strength.
- Some important administrative posts were now hereditary.
- This means that sons succeeded fathers to these posts.
- For example, the poet Harishena was a maha-danda-nayaka, or chief judicial officer, like his father.
- Sometimes, one person held many offices.
- For instances besides being a maha-danda-nayaka, Harishena was a kumar-amatya, meaning an important minister, and a sandhi-vigrahika, meaning a minister of war and peace.
- Besides, important men probably had a say in local administration.
- These included the nagara-shreshthi or chief banker or merchant of the city, the sarthavaha or leader of the merchant caravans, the prathama-kulika or the chief craftsman, and the head of the kayasthas or scribes.
These policies or new developments were reasonably effective, but some powerful men advanced to set up independent kingdoms.
A New Kind of Army
Some of the kings of this period maintained a well-organised army, with elephants, chariots, cavalry and foot soldiers.
- There were military leaders who provided the king with troops whenever he needed them. They were not paid regular salaries. Instead, some of them received grants of land.
- They collected revenue from the land and used this to maintain soldiers and horses, and also provide equipment for warfare.
- These military leaders are known as samantas. Whenever the ruler was weak, samantas tried to become independent.
Assemblies in the Southern Kingdoms
The inscriptions of the Pallavas mention a number of local assemblies. These were:
- It was an assembly of brahmin land owners.
- This assembly functioned through sub-committees, which looked after irrigation, agricultural operations, making roads, local temples etc.
- It was a village assembly found in areas where the land owners were not brahmins.
- These assemblies were controlled by rich and powerful landowners and merchants.
- The organisation of merchants was called nagaram.
- Many of these local assemblies continued to function for centuries.
Ordinary People in the Kingdoms
From the plays and other accounts, we can know about the lives of the ordinary people.
- Through the plays of Kalidasa, we came to know that the king and most brahmins are shown as speaking Sanskrit, while women and men other than the king and brahmins use Prakrit.
- Abhijnana Shakuntalam is Kalidasa’s most famous play.
- It is the story of the love between a king named Dushyanta and a young woman named Shakuntala.
- The Chinese pilgrim Fa Xian noticed the plight of those who were treated as untouchables by the high and mighty.
- They were expected to live on the outskirts of the city.
- Fa Xian writes: “If such a man enters a town or a market place, he strikes a piece of wood, in order to keep himself separate, people, hearing this sound, know that it means and avoid touching him or brushing against him.”
- Arabia was the hub of communications for centuries, besides, it is a desert.
- Arab merchants and sailors traded between India and Europe from sea route.
- The other inhabitants of Arabia were the Bedouins, pastoral tribes depending mainly on camels, the hardy animal that could survive in the desert.
Islam and Quran
- Around 1400 years ago, Prophet Muhammad introduced a new religion, Islam, in Arabia.
- Islam is a religion that lays stress on the equality and unity of all before Allah, the one supreme God.
- The Quran is the sacred book of Islam. A little verse from the Quran is given below:
“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s remembrance, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.”
- Within a hundred years Islam spread to North Africa, Spain, Iran and India.
- Arab sailors, brought the new religion with them in the coastal areas of the sub-continent.
- Arabs soldiers conquered Sind (in present-day Pakistan) about 1300 years ago.
- Prashasti It is a kind of inscription. In Sanskrit, it means ‘in praise of’.
- Aryavarta The ruler of Northern part of the sub-continent was known as Aryavarta. There were nine rulers who were uprooted and their kingdoms were made a part of Samudragupta’s empire.
- Dakshinapatha The ruler of the Southern India was called Dakshinapatha. There were twelve rulers, all of them surrendered to Samudragupta after being defeated, and Samudragupta then allowed them to rule again.
- Samanta They were military leaders who provided armies to the kings. They were not paid regular salaries. Instead, they received grants of land, they collected revenue from the land and used this to maintain soldiers and horses.
- Assembly A group of persons gathered together for a common reason, as for a legislative, religious, educational or social purpose.
- Nagaram It was an organisation of merchants. It is likely that these assemblies were controlled by rich and powerful landowners and merchants.