Wednesday, November 25, 2009



Among and alongside the Mahajanapadas, there existed many republics in India in the sixth century Be. These republics were located either in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar or in the Indus basin. In the republics, real power lay in the hand of tribal oligarchies. The central fea­ture of the republican government was its seemingly corporate culture. The representa­tives of the tribes and the heads of families sat in the public assembly (santhagara). The assem­bly was presided over by one of the represen­tatives called the raja or the senapati. The elder - members of the elite classes (oligarchs) formed the core of the assemblies.

However, the absence of monarchy did not really mean the prevalence of democracy in the true sense of the term. Members of the ruling tribal assembly belonged mostly to the kshatriya caste. In many of the republics, most non­kshatriyas, slaves and wage labourers had no place in the assembly. There were many admin­istrative terms, such as mahamatta (mahamatya) and amachchha (amatya), that were common to republics and monarchies.

The republics differed from the monar­chies in several ways:
(i) In the monarchies, the king claimed to be the sole recipient of revenue from peasants, but in case of republics, every tribal oligarch, known as raja, claimed share in such revenues.
(ii) In a tribal oligarchy, each raja was free to maintain his own little army under his senapati, while in monarchy, the king main­tained his regular standing army and did not permit any group or groups of people to keep arms within his boundaries.
(iii) The brahamanas had great influence
in the monarchial administration, while in the republics they were relegated to the background.
(iv) The main difference between a monarchy and a republic was that the former functioned under the indi­vidual leadership of the king, while the latter under the leadership of oligarchic assemblies.

No comments:

Post a Comment