Vedic Culture: Political Life: Units of Polity, Tribal Chief and Assemblies

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Political Life

Units of Polity

  • Kula or family – basis of the political organisation. And headed by koalas or grihapatis.
  • Gram or village – headed by the garment.
  • Vis or a group of villages – headed by the dispute.
  • Jana or tribe – consisting of a group of viz and headed by the raja or tribal chief. In the late Vedic period. Many tribes (jeans) were arralgamated to form Janapadas or rattraps (territorial kingdoms) .

Tribal Chief

Rig Vedic Period: Tribal Chief

Known as raja. He exercised limited powers like protecting the tribe s cattle. Fighting its wars and praying to the gods on its behalf. And had to reckon with the tribal assemblies in the Rig Vedic period. in the later Vedic period growth of royal power due to the Amla gammadion of tribes and the increase in the size of kingdoms. Performance of three royal sacrifices. Mentioned in the Satapatha Brahman. By the king to strengthen his position Rajasuya (consecration) – confers- prime power on the king Asvamedha (horse sacrifice) - meant to establish his supremacy over his neighbours Vajpayee (chariot race) meant to establish his supremacy over his own people.

Tribal Assemblies

Existence of different assemblies in the rig Vedic period: VI data-the oldest assembly, performed judicial, religious and redistributive functions Sabha-the council of tribal elders exercised executive Powers; Samiti general assembly of the tribe, exercised legs latif Powers and elected the king grana – its nature and functions are not clear In the later Vedic period the VI data and grana dis- appeared while the Sabha and Samiti lost their importance due to the rise of royal Power


Rig Vedic Period: Officials

In the Rig Vedic period, there were only a few officials on a part time basis like purohita (priest) sedan (commander) Vrajapati (in charge of pasture lands) garment (head of village) etc. There were no revenue officials, because regular collection of taxes was not done Instead voluntary offering ′ s (bail) from the people and also spoils of war (bag) formed the occasional income for the chief In the later Vedic period some more officials came into existence and that too on a full-time ba- sis due to economic changes These included bhagadugha (collector of taxes) Sanghamitra ( (treasurer) aksliavapa ′ (accountant) etc but in both periods the king did not possess a standing army due to financial limitations

Political Transformation

Political Transformation

In the Rig Vedic period, it was mainly a tribal system of government But in the later Vedic period a rudimentary system of administrate-tion emerged due to the increasing importance of agriculture and beginning of settled life While majority of the tribes preferred heredity- tarry monarchy as the form of government some chose republican form (ganarajyas) .

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