Maharashtra State BoardHSC Arts 11th
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Territoriality and Autonomous Functioning

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Territoriality and Autonomous Functioning:

It may be noted, that the sense of territoriality and the ensuing awareness of autonomy were the main factors responsible for the formation of ancient janapadas in India. However, their administrative system was not much different from that of the Janas in the Rigveda. Two assemblies are known as ‘Sabha’ and ‘Samiti’ were at the apex of all administrative decision-making process, since the very beginning of the Vedic period. The chief of the janapada was known as ‘Rajan’. The Sabha and Samiti had the authority either to elect or to remove the chief. However, the administrative objectives and policies, the norms of social organisation, etc. were flexible enough to accommodate the changing socio-geographic milieu.

When the successive generations got established in a geographic periphery, the newly emerging social organisation was also changing. Now, it was not confined only to the basic kinship structure. People from the outside of the kinship framework also got included in the janapadas. The social organisation of the janapadas, which was based on collective functioning began to change and one’s immediate family became more important. Accordingly, the social organisation came to revolve around the head of the family and family-based rituals. Cooperation at the individual level and among the families became the base of the social organisation. This period also saw the rise of the warrior class. These people were well-trained in warfare. This class of warriors played a major role in the shift of the primary organization of the janapadas to a more complex state organisation. Janapadin is a term mentioned in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, used to indicate the warrior class.

Pointers for easy understanding:

  • It may be noted, that the sense of territoriality and the ensuing awareness of autonomy were the main factors responsible for the formation of ancient janapadas in India.
  • The administration Was similar to Rigveda
  • The Sabha and Samiti were at the apex. They were the two central bodies.
  • The chief or head was called Rajan.
  • Earlier the Chief – Rajan had no absolute power.
  • Sabha and samhiti could dismiss him.
  • As the Janapada increased, the territories were expanded and the Rules and Regulations became more flexible.
  • We have even witnessed the extreme expansion of the Janapadas where foreigners have lived without the same lineage or kin relation.
  • Later on, The administration, policies, and norms of the social organisation became flexible
  • They were not confined to kinship.
  • Collective functioning can be seen even among families.
  • Family’s had heads and they performed rituals.
  • The rise of warrior class – Janapadin
  • This was mentioned in Panini’s Asthadhyayi
  • Due to war, Janapadas grew and became Mahajanapadas
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