Bharat Ek Khoj


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Republic & Kingdoms
(Episode 9)

There is a widespread aerial view of ancient India. Nehru observes that in all probability, this India was a collection of small agriculturally based states. There were many tribal republics, some of which covered large areas. There were also petty kingdoms and even city-states with powerful guilds of merchants. Nehru notes that whatever the form of organization, the tradition of city or village autonomy was very strong, and even when an over lordship was acknowledged, there was no interference done the line with a prevalent primitive kind of democracy.

The above is illustrated in the working of the four principal kingdom in central and Northern India Kashi, Koshala, Panchala, and Magadha. The local autonomy is seeing as grately prized in the dramatic narrative, there is altercation when the traders liberty is severely interfered with cross border taxation by neighbouring kingdoms and royal councils take up consequent complaints. Ensuing discussion, local autonomy emphasized class affiliation are mentioned at the elder quote legends of a King army defeated by saga's performing yajnas and sacrifices with primitive weapons. What emerges is the essential dichotomy between the democratic consils of shakyas and the autocratic kingdoms of koshala. Despite the Buddha Tathagata's advice to his clan-people to resist if attacked, a treacherous koshala army which does not honour there commitment of honourable detente routs them. The floodgates open to koshalas control with the superior military force and all round devastation wrought in the shakya community.

Nehru point out that kingship, originally elective, become hereditary according to the rule of primogeniture . women were normally excluded from this ride from the first born child. The king (or leader) was held presponsible if any thing went wrong. There was council of ministers (or adviser) and some kind of state (or autonomous) assembly. Where there was a king, he was frirly autocratic, thru functioning with established conventions. The high priest had and important position in course as an adiser. That the subject's happiness was the king's happiness was best enumerated in the Rama legend from the Ramayana and held as the ideal epitome of king ship.