History Lecture (IAS) NCERT : Kingdoms, Kings & An Early Republic (Ch-6, Class 6 Part 3/3)

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Kingdoms, Kings And An Early Republic (Ch-6 HISTORY Class 6 Part 3 of 3) A closer look — (a) Magadha. Magadha became the most important mahajanapada in about two hundred years. Many rivers such as the Ganga and Son flowed through Magadha. This was important for (a) transport, (b) water supplies (c) making the land fertile. Parts of Magadha were forested. Elephants, which lived in the forest, could be captured and trained for the army. Forests also provided wood for building houses, carts and chariots. Besides, there were iron ore mines in the region that could be tapped to make strong tools and weapons. Magadha had two very powerful rulers, Bimbisara and Ajatasattu, who used all possible means to conquer other janapadas. Mahapadma Nanda was another important ruler. He extended his control up to the north-west part of the subcontinent. Rajagriha (present-day Rajgir) in Bihar was the capital of Magadha for several years. Later the capital was shifted to Pataliputra (present-day Patna). More than 2300 years ago, a ruler named Alexander, who lived in Macedonia in Europe, wanted to become a world conqueror. Of course, he didn't conquer the world, but did conquer parts of Egypt and West Asia, and came to the Indian subcontinent, reaching up to the banks of the Beas. When he wanted to march further eastwards, his soldiers refused. They were scared, as they had heard that the rulers of India had vast armies of foot soldiers, chariots and elephants. In what ways were these armies different from those described in the Rigveda? A closer look — (b) Vajji While Magadha became a powerful kingdom, Vajji, with its capital at Vaishali (Bihar), was under a different form of government, known as gana or sangha. In a gana or a sangha there were not one, but many rulers. Sometimes, even when thousands of men ruled together, each one was known as a raja. These rajas performed rituals together. They also met in assemblies, and decided what had to be done and how, through discussion and debate. For example, if they were attacked by an enemy, they met to discuss what should be done to meet the threat. However, women, dasas and kammakaras could not participate in these assemblies. Both the Buddha and Mahavira belonged to ganas or sanghas. Some of the most vivid descriptions of life in the sanghas can be found in Buddhist books. KINGDOMS, KINGS AND AN EARLY REPUBLIC Gana Is used for a group that has many members. Sangha Means organisation or association. According to an account of the Vajjis from the Digha Nikaya, a famous Buddhist book, which contains some of the speeches of the Buddha. These were written down about 2300 years ago. Ajatasattu and the Vajjis Ajatasattu wanted to attack the Vajjis. He sent his minister named Vassakara to the Buddha to get his advice on the matter. The Buddha asked whether the Vajjis met frequently, in full assemblies. When he heard that they did, he replied that the Vajjis would continue to prosper as long as: • They held full and frequent public assemblies. • They met and acted together. • They followed established rules. • They respected, supported and listened to elders. • Vajji women were not held by force or captured. • Chaityas (local shrines) were maintained in both towns and villages. • Wise saints who followed different beliefs were respected and allowed to enter and leave the country freely. In many ways Vajji sangha was different from the other mahajanapadas. Rajas of powerful kingdoms tried to conquer the sanghas. Nevertheless, these lasted for a very long time, till about 1500 years ago, when the last of the ganas or sanghas were conquered by the Gupta rulers. KEYWORDS: raja ashvamedha varna janapada mahajanapada fortification army tax transplantation gana or sangha democracy „ In Greece (Athens). Around 2500 years ago, the people of Athens set up a form of government, which was called a democracy, which lasted for about 200 years. All free men over the age of 30 were recognised as full citizens. There was an assembly that met at least 40 times a year to decide on important matters. All citizens could attend these meetings. Appointments for many positions were made through lottery. All those who wanted to be chosen gave in their names, and then some were selected through lottery. Citizens were expected to serve in the army and the navy. However, women were not considered citizens. Also, many foreigners, who lived and worked in Athens as merchants and crafts persons did not have rights as citizens. Besides, there were several thousand slaves in Athens, who worked in mines, fields, households and workshops. They too were not treated as citizens. Do you think this was a true democracy? Official platforms of LIKHAAI: Official platforms of LIKHAAI:

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