Kingdoms, Kings and an Early Republic – CBSE Notes for Class 6 Social
Facts that Matter:
• Around 3000 years ago, there were some new ways of choosing â€˜rajas’. Some men became â€˜rajas’ by performing big sacrifices. One of such rituals was â€˜ASHVAMEDHA’ (horse sacrifice). The â€˜raja’ was an important figure.
• Kingdoms were usually called the â€˜Janapadas’, which were ruled by the â€˜rajas’. People lived in huts and kept animals. They grew a variety of crops.
• Some â€˜janapadas’ later became more important than others, and they were called â€˜Mahajanapadas’. The capital cities were fortified.
• The new â€˜rajas’ began maintaining armies. Payments were made using punchmarked coins.
• The â€˜rajas’ needed resources to build forts and to maintain armies. Officials were supposed to collect taxes from people. Taxes were in the form of crops, labour, animals and their produce, etc.
• There were changes in agriculture too. The use of Iron Ploughshares increased, thus enhancing grain production. People started transplanting paddy. This also increased production.
• Magadha became the most important â€˜mahajanapada’ in about 200 years. Transport, water supplies, fertility, forests, elephants, mines, etc. made Magadha important.
• The two powerful rulers of Magadha, Bimbisara and Ajatasattu used all possible means to conquer other â€˜janapadas’. Rajagriha was the capital of Magadha. Later it was Pataliputra (now Patna).
• Vajji was another kingdom with its capital at Vaishali (Bihar). It had a different form of government called â€˜gana’/â€˜sangha’, which had not one, but many rulers. These rulers performed rituals together and met in assemblies. Buddhist books depict life in the â€˜sanghas’.
• â€˜Rajas’ of powerful kingdoms tried to conquer the â€˜sanghas’.
Words that Matter:
• â€˜Ashvamedha’: (horse sacrifice) This was ritual in which a horse was let loose to wander freely and it was guarded by the â€˜rajas’ men. If the horse entered other kingdoms, there would be a duel between the two kings.
• â€˜Bhaga’: Taxes on crops (1/6 of the produce) was called â€˜bhaga’.
• â€˜Gana’/â€˜Sangha’: A form of government followed in the kingdom of Vajji.
• â€˜Janapadas’: Kingdoms were referred to as â€˜janapadas’. (â€˜jana’ – land, â€˜pada’ – foot).
• â€˜Mahajanapada’: The most important of the â€˜janapadas’.
• â€˜Varnas’: Each of the four categories of society, based on occupation and decided by birth, was referred to as â€˜Varnas’.
• About 3000 years ago (around 1000 B.C.)â€”new kinds of â€˜rajas’.
• About 2500 years ago (around 500 B.C.)â€”formation of â€˜mahaj’anapadas’.
• About 2300 years ago (around 300 B.C.)â€”invasion of Alexander the Great.