Society and Economy Gupta

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Gupta: -Agriculture

  • Varahmihira: mentions about rainfall

  • Mathematics was called: Hindisat (the Indian Art): by the Arab merchants

  • Junagarh Rock Inscription of Skanda Gupta (455-58): state care of agriculture.

  • Amarkosa mentions about plough and sugarcane.

  • Brihat-Samhita: refer to rice

  • Raghuvamasa: Saffron

  • Huien Tsang: Saffron produced at Udayana, Dareel, and Kashmir

  • Kuluta - produced medicinal plants.

  • Pariyatra (Bairat) Variety of rice

  • Jatipattika (woven silk)

  • Kshauma (Linen)

  • Badara (cotton)

  • Dukula (bark silk)

  • Lalatantu (spider's silk)

  • Amsuka (Muslim)

  • Netra (Bark-silk)

  • Pulkabandha (Gaily coloured)

  • Pushpapatta (flowered silk)

  • Chitrapata (figured textile)

  • According to Santideva's Sikhsha- samuchchaya (7th A.D.)- Varanasi- best for silk garments.

  • H.Tsang - Mathura- cotton

  • At Kamrupa - Textile Industry

  • According to H. Tsang:

    1. Copper Image of Buddha - attributed to Purnavarman

    2. Brass temple build by Harsha near Nalanda

    3. Copper statue of Buddha formed at Sultanagar (Bhagalpur).

  • H.Tsang - Charita was famous seaport Kongoda (modern Ganjam District)

  • According to Raghuvamsa and Dasakumaracharita: Tamralipti was an important port.


  • Bhaga: King's customary share - l/6th

  • Bhoga: Periodic supplies of fruits, etc.

  • Kara: Periodic tax levied on the villagers

  • Bah: Voluntary offerings Udianga: Police Tax, or Water Tax Uparika: Extra Tax Hiranya: Tax payable in Gold coins Vata Bhuta: Cess for the rites of winds (vata) and spirits Halivakara: Plough Tax Sulka: Merchant - Royal Tax Klpta and Upkta: Purchase and Sales Tax Udranga-Uparikara: Levied on the maintenance of the Police; on fish and other water products; and on the cultivators not having proprietary rights

  • Mulla-kara or Turshka-danda: Impost levied by the central Government to deal with the menace of the maundering tribes

Measuring Rods:

  • Nivartana

  • Pattikahala

  • Kedara

  • Bhumi

  • Khandukavapa

  • Pataka

  • Gocharma

  • Kharivapa

  • Kulyavapa

  • Mulyavapa

  • Dronavapa

  • Adhavapa

  • Malikavapa

  • Agrahara Land:

  1. Restricted to Brahamana,

  2. A village granted tax-free to Brahmins

  3. King had power to confiscate it; due to the behavior

  4. It underlined the privileged position of the Brahmans

  • Kridasaila - artificial hillock

  • Variyantra - water machine

Guilds :

  • According to Katyayana: Puga meant a group of merchants

  • Naigma meant merchants guilds

  • Srenis meant Guild headed by executive officers (Adhyakshas, or Jyesfhaka, or Mukhyas), usually hereditary in character and not elective - assisted by committee of two or five called Samuhahitavadins: Advisors of the public good and Karachintaka: For Public business.

  • According to Braspati: Guilds had power to punish.

  • Jataka mentions 18 types of Srenis, and 18 commercial classes:

    1. Kumhrar,

    2. Patala,

    3. Svarnakar,

    4. Soopkar,

    5. Gandhanya (Gandhi),

    6. Kasvan,

    7. Malakar,

    8. Katchkar,

    9. Tamoli,

    10. Champaru,

    11. Anntapillak,

    12. Gaddi,

    13. Chhipp,

    14. Kankkar,

    15. Shibig,

    16. Guar,

    17. Milla,

    18. Machhuae

  • Arthashastra's aone chapter Kantakasodhana is devoted to strict control of artisans and traders by the state.

  • Nagar-sresthins or Srestin: acted as bankers and moneylenders.

  • Srestlii-Kulika-Naigama: Federation or central guild of Bankers, craftsman and guilds

  • Akshyanivi:

    1. a permanent endowment with a guild or banker,

    2. the guilds spent the profits or interest on the deposits according to the terms stated by the depositors,

  • Sarathvaha: Guild caravan traders

  • Viravalanjigar: The Company of Gentleman Merchant.

  • Manigrama: Southern India Company

  • Antapallas: frontiers

  • Vallabhas: Officers

  • Guilds of Prayag did not issue coins

  • Taxila - administered by Guild on the eve of the Greek occupation

  • Magadha was not an important centre of Guilds.

  • Only distribution was not fixed by the Guilds.

  • Mandasore Silk Weavers' donation is famous

  • Kautilya - Sthitipatras-deed convention made by Srenis

  • Clay seals have been discovered from Basarh (Ancient Vaisali) and Bhita (Allahabad)

  • Sambhuya Samuthana -business in partnership

  • According to Brishaspati and Katyayna: there were four grades of artisans:

  1. The Apprentice: Shiksha,

  2. The Advanced Student: Abhijna,

  3. The Expert: Kusala,

  4. The Teacher: Acharya

Map of Gupta Empire showing major rivers and regions

Map of Gupta Empire

Map of Gupta Empire showing major rivers and regions

Important Towns:

  • Indo-Greeks

  • Sakas

  • Kushanas

  • 1st AD

  • Kapisa,

  • Kapisa,

  • Kapisa Vidisha,

  • Taxila,

  • Savira,

  • Ujjaini,

  • Pushkalavati,

  • Pushkalavati,

  • Gandhara,

  • Prabhasa,

  • Vidisha,

  • Mathura Pushkalvati,

  • Suparaka,

  • Sakala, Sindhu,

  • Sindhu Dasapura

Trade Routes:

  • Subsidiary routes: Exceept Vidisha

    1. Varanasi to Mathura

    2. Varanasi to Vaishali

    3. Saket to Saraswati

    4. Kapilvastu to Rajagriha

    5. Champa to Tamralipti

    6. Kausambi- branch to Brigukachha (Broach)

  • Royal Road- Patliputra to Tamila connected by Maurya Except - Vidisha

  • Branch take off - Kausambi

  • During Guptas: Overland route to China added

  • The pass of Khyber and the valley of Kabul - main land route between India and West Asia.

Medieval Towns:

Town Founder

  • Muzaffarnagar

  • Muzaffar Khan-i-Khanan Muradabad Rustam Khan Deccani and named after Prince

  • Murad Baksh Farrukhabad Muhammad Khan Bangash in the honour of Farrukhsiyar

  • GhaziabadGhazi al Din 'Imad-al-Mulk' Najibabad Najib-al-Daulah Fyzabad Safdar Jung

  • Rampur Faizullaha Khan Ekdil Saksena Kayastha, originally Sarai Rupa Yakdilabad

  • Yakdil Khan Hyderabad Mohd. Quli Quitb Shah Charminar Ibrahim Quli

Emporium / Ports:

According to Periplus Maris Erythreeal or Periplus of the Erythrean Sea. Erythrean Sea is Red Sea, 60 A.D. Periplus = sailing chart

  • Barabaricum Emporium (town known as Minnagara on the Indus delta)

  • Tamralipti- Eastern Coast Greatest called Voyagers from China, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. Ganga was the same name-according to Periplus.

  • Bharukachha and Barygaza- Oldest, West Asia, western India (modern Broach) greatest during Maurayas and post Maurayas

  • Surparakha - Sopara- town Kalyan

  • Muziris - Malabar Coast

  • Kaveripattnam- Tamil coast, yavana ships- city overflowed with prosperity.

  • Arikamedu - also known Padouke in Periplus- Roman factory for Muslin.

  • Negapattnam: Nikam

  • Nasalia or Masulipatnam - (According to Periplus)

Non-Agricultural Products

  • Ardhakathanaka: written by Banarsi Dasa: mentions 36 Sudras caste of Jaunpur

  • Nagara Sabha: compiled by Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan

  • Cotton yarn: Braoch, Balasore, Karimnagar; EIC exported cotton yarn from

  • Gujarat, Burhanpur and Bengal.

  • Earliest reference available to Jute cloth is in the Alivardi Khan's reign

  • Chambal Oil: Gujarat

  • Tobacco introduced in 17th century by Portuguese during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir

  • Iron -self-sufficient-Dutch exported iron products from Coromandel to Batavia

  • Saltpetre - Patna-Nunia and Malangi-specialised caste

  • Salt: Sambhar Lake

  • Woodwork: Kashmir, Gujarat

  • Boots: Lahore

  • Leatherwork: Multan

  • Perfumes: Patna

  • Paper: Shahzalpur near Allahabad

Aurangs: Specialized Caste

  • Srinagar: Swals and woollen

  • Jaunpur: Woollen Carpets

  • Kalpi: Sugar candy

  • Alwar: Glass

  • Kasimbazar: Dutch Silk Factory

  • Burhanpur: Tobacco

  • Bengal exported Sugar and Raw Silk, wax, lac

  • Gujarat exported raw cotton

  • Malabar sent Pepper

  • Coromandel: Skins

Indian Imports:

  • Tin: Malaya

  • Ivory: Eastern Africa

  • Dyewoods: Persian Gulf

  • Mocha: was called "The treasure Chest of the Mughal"

  • Indigo: Sarkhej (Gujarat) and Bayana (Agra)

  • Abdul Ghafar: Gujarat's greatest merchants and ship owner

  • Rustam Manak: a merchant managed to secure Parsis to be exempted from the payment of Zaziya.

  • Rezariya: Small peasants: Malles in Rajasthan and Kunbis in Maharashtra.

  • Jihat, Sair, Furuat, Abwab: were the rural taxes.

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