Services (Prelims) Examination Special
Quick Revision Notes
The kings of several regions gave
themselves various titles. While the kings of middle country were called raja,
the eastern kings were titled Samrat, the southern Bhoj,
those in the west Svarat, and the rulers of the northern
realms were called Virat.
The taxes collected from people in
the later Vedic age were referred to as bali and sulka.
59. During late Vedic period, Vratyas and the Nishads
were two important bodies of men outside the regular castes. The Vratyas
were Aryans outside the pale of Brahminism. They appear to have had some special
connection with the people of Magadha and the cult of Shiv. The Nishads
were non-Aryan people who lived in their own villages and had their own rulers.
They were probably identical with modern Bhils.
Shortly before the rise of
Buddhism there were sixteen great nations that occupied the territory from Kabul
valley to the banks of Godavari. These were: Anga (East
Bihar), Magadha (South Bihar), Kasi (Benaras), Kosala
(Oudh), Vriji (North Bihar), Malla
(Gorakhpur district), Chedi (between Yamuna and Narmada), Vatsa
(Allahabad region), Kuru (Thanesar, Delhi and Meerut
districts), Panchal (Bareilly, Buduan and Farrukhabad districts), Matsya
(Jaipur), Surasena (Mathura), Asmak (on the
Godavari), Avanti (in Malwa), Gandhara (Peshawar and
Rawalpindi districts) and Kamboj (South-west Kashmir and parts of
The Vriji people
were regarded by the Brahaman law-givers as Vratyas or degraded Kshatriyas.
The Vrijis had no monarch, but a popular assembly of elders who carried
on the business of the State. This type of polity was known as Gana or
republic. The Mallas also had a similar constitution.
The four kingdoms of later Vedic
age who grew most powerful were: Avanti, Vatsa, Kosala and
The kingdom of Avanti had
its capital at Ujjain in modern Malwa. 4. One prominent ruler of Vatsa
territory was Udayana, a scion of the Bharat race. 65.
Kosala had its capital at Ayodhya and was ruled by a dynasty that
claimed descent from illustrious Ishvaku, famed in Vedic and epic
The Kosalas extended
their boundaries in several directions, including Nepalese Tarai, but their
ambitious designs were frustrated by Magadha power.
Gargi and Maitreyi
were two prominent intellectual women of late Vedic period.
Magadha and Anga
were two kingdoms which the Aryans could not Brahmanise thoroughly and came to
possess a mixed population. Kikatas were prominent non-Aryans who
lived in Magadha. They were known for their wealth. There was a dislike for
Magadha in the Rigveda and the same dislike was continued even during the period
of later Vedic civilisation.
In the sixth and fifth century
B.C. the throne of Magadha was occupied by a line of kings styled Saisunagas
in the Purans, an appellation derived from Sisunaga, the
first king of the line in the Puranic list.
The Buddhist writers, however, put
Sisunaga much lower in the list of Magadha kings and split the
line into two distinct groups. To the earlier of the two groups they give the
name Haryanka, whose most remarkable king was Srenika
The Ashtadhyayi of
Panini is a book on Sanskrit grammar.
Khari, Patra, Vista, Satamana,
Adhaka, Achita, Purusha and Dishta were
different kinds of weights and measures used in later Vedic age. 73. Taxila
or Takshashila was a great centre of learning in late Vedic
period. It was famous for the teaching of medicine, law and military science.
India and Persia have very ancient
relations. There are many common gods in the Rig Veda and the Zinda
Avesta. The Iranian gods Mithra, Yima and Veretraghna have
their counterpart in the Indian Mitra, Yama and Indra
inscriptions of about 1400 B.C. refer to certain contracts made between the King
of the Hittites (in Persia) and the King of Mitani. In those inscriptions same
gods are mentioned as the protectors of these contracts.
The continuance of strong
influence of Persia upon India in the Vedic age is indicated by prevalence of
the Kharoshti script, a variety of Aramaic, in the provinces near
the Frontier, by the long continued use of the Persian title Satrap,
by the form of the Ashoka inscriptions and by the architecture.
Sanskrit is a branch of a
linguistic tree known as Indo-European. The trunk of the tree was a common
tongue probably spoken in the region north-west of the Black Sea about 2500 B.C.
The Upanishads probe
into the nature of universe and the human soul, and the relation of each to the
other. They make no absolute statements of right and wrong, of creation, the
gods or man; instead, they speculate, seeking always to find truth, as opposed
to stating it, and offering a wide range of possibilities.
A rudimentary administrative
system was prevalent during the Vedic period. The tribal kingdom (rashtra)
contained tribes (jana), tribal units (vish) and
villages (grama). The nucleus was the family (kula),
with the eldest male member as its head (kulapa).
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