Wednesday, November 25, 2009



From the sixth century Be, iron tools and implements began to be widely used. This helped in the production of surplus foodgrains. The surplus could be collected by princes to meet their military and administrative needs. It could also be given to the new towns coming up. All this enabled the people to lead a settled life, to stick to their land, and also to expand at the cost of the neighbouring virgin areas. The rise of large states with towns as their capitals strengthened the territorial idea.

In the sixth century Be, there existed 16 large states or Mahajanapadas in India-Kashi, Kosala, Anga, Magadha, Vajji, MalIa, Chedi, Vatsa, Kuru, Pancha1a, Matsya, Surasena, Assaka, Avanti, Gandhara and Kamboja.

The focus of civilisation gradually shifted eastwards, and four great kingdoms, outside the earlier area of brahmanic culture, had eclipsed the old land of the Kurus in both political and economic importance; these were Kosala, Magadha, Vatsa and Avanti. In the beginning Kashi appears to have been a powerful state, but it was later absorbed by Kosala and Magadha.

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