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State Any Three Features of Mahajanpadas. How Did Magadha Become the Powerful Mahajanpada ? Explain. - History

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State any three features of Mahajanpadas. How did Magadha become the powerful Mahajanpada ? Explain.

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Solution

The sixth century BCE is often regarded as a major turning point of early Indian History. It is an era associated with early states, cities, the growing use of iron and the development of coinage. Buddhist and Jaina texts mention sixteen states known as mahajanapadas. The most important mahajanapadas were Vajji, Magadha, Koshala, Kuru, Panchala, Gandhara and Avanti. Salient features of mahajanapadas were Most mahajanapadas were ruled by kings. Some known as ganas or sanghas were oligarchies where power was shared by several chiefs called rajas. The rajas probably collectively controlled resources such as land. Each mahajanapada had a capital city which was often fortified. Maintaining these fortified cities and providing for incipient armies and bureaucracies required resources.

Rulers were advised to collect taxes and tributes from cultivators, traders and artisans by the Brahmans who began composing Sanskrit texts known as Dharmasutras. They laid down norms for rulers or the Kshatriyas. Some states acquired standing armies and maintained regular bureaucracies.

Magadha became a powerful mahajanapada because of the following:-

Magadha had fertile lands which led to an increase in agricultural activities. It also had deposits of iron ore which helped in making weapons and agricultural implements. Elephants—important component of the army—were found in the forests in the region. The Ganga and its tributaries provided a means of cheap and convenient communication.

The earliest rulers of Magadha such as Bimbisara and Ajatsatru were ambitious and greatly expended the territories of their kingdoms.

Concept: Issues in Social History, Including Caste, Class, Kinship and Gender
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