New Kings and Kingdoms (Class 7 History Chapter 2 Notes)

  1. Several new dynasties emerged after seventh century. Gurjara-Pratiharas, Rashtrakutas, Palas, Cholas and Chahamanas (Chauhans) are most important one. In a desire to build an empire, they always fought with each other.
  2. These kings were not truly powerful. They shared their power with their big landlords and warrior chiefs who were known as Samantas. They were expected to bring gifts for their kings, be at their courts and provide them military support.
  3. As samantas amassed enough power and wealth, they declared themselves to be maha-samanta, maha-mandaleshvara and so on. Rashtrakuta is one such example. During the mid-eighth century, a Rashtrakuta chief called Dantidurga overthrew his Chalukya overlord.
New Kings and Kingdoms

Administration in the Kingdoms
  1. Many new kings adopted high sounding titles such as maharaja-adhiraja  (great  king,  overlord  of kings), tribhuvana-chakravartin  (lord  of  the  threeworlds), Paremeshwara (the Supreme Lord) and so on.
  2. However, the new kings often shared power with their samantas as well as with associations of peasants, traders and Brahmanas.
  3. The main source of income was land revenue. Artisans, cattle-keepers and others also paid taxes in some or another form.
  4. A Chola administration talks about 400 different kind of taxes. Vetti is the tax in form of labour. Kadamai is the land revenue.
  5. The tax collector is usually from a wealthy and influential family and the position is often hereditary.

Parshastis and Land Grants
  1. Prashastis contain details that may not be literally true. But they tell us how rulers wanted to depicted.
  2. These were generally composed by Brahmins. Kings often rewarded these Brahmanas by land grants.
  3. However, there are poets like Kalhana who composed one of the longest Sanskrit poems, Rajtarangini, critically analyzing the rules of different Kings of Kashmir.

Welfare for Wealth
  1. There were several wars fought for the wealth during this age.
  2. There was a constant war among Gurjara-Pratihara, Rashtrakuta and Pala dynasties to control Kannauj as this area falls in the heart of India and major routes connecting different parts of India go through this region. This was known as tripritate struggle.
  3. The rulers often first chose to target temples, whenever they attack enemy nation, as these temples were exteremely rich. This is main reason why Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (ruled from 997 to 1030) raided the subcontinent each year and targeted wealthy temples, which include Somnath Temple of Gujarat.
  4. Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni also had interest in learning about the culture. He commissioned Al-Biruni to collect the information about the subcontinent and compile into the book. Later, Al-Biruni came up with one of the most important books in history, Kitab-al Hind.
  5. Chahamanas, also known as the Chauhans, who ruled over  Delhi-Ajmer region were also constantly engaged in warfare activities.
  6. The best known Chahamana ruler was Prithviraj III (1168-92) who first defeated Sultan Muhammad Ghori in 1191, but lost to him the very next year, in 1192.

The Cholas
  1. The Cholas was one of the ancient dynasties. But with time, they were reduced to be a subordinate of Pallavas. Their glory was revived in 9th century by Vijayalaya when captured Muttaraiyar and declared themselves independent from Pallavas.
  2. Rajaraja I expanded control over most of the southern India. He was considered as the most powerful Chola King.
  3. His son Rajendra I continued expansion policies and raided Ganga Valley, Srilanka and other Southeast Asian countries. He developed a strong navy for these expedetion.

Chola Architecture and Craftsmanship - Temples and Bronze Sculpture
  1. The temples of Thanjavur and Gangaikonda-cholapuram were  built  by  Rajaraja  I and  Rajendra I respectively.
  2. These temples often became nuclei of the settlements. They were also centres of craft production.
  3. Temples were endowed with land who revenue goes into the maintenance and administration of the temples and people who worked for them.
  4. Amongst the craft, Cholas bronze imagework is considered to be the finest. The famous Nataraja sculpture is a Chola bronze image work.

Chola Agriculture and irrigation
  1. Agriculture played a vital role in the growth of the Chola empire. They took advantage of the Kavari delta region and became leader in rice production.
  2. In terms of irrigation work, new wells were dug. The canals were made to regulate water flow. And a special focus on tanks was given to store rainwater.

Chola Administration
  1. The settlements of peasants were known as ur. They became prosperous through spread of irrigation.
  2. A group of ur formed a larger unit known as nadu.
  3. The ur and nadu were the basic units of local administration. They collected taxes and worked as courts.
  4. Rich peasants of Vellala caste ran the affairs of nadu under central administration. Some big landowners were given title like muvendavalan (peasant serving three kings) as a marker of respect.

Chola inscriptions
Chola inscriptions mention several categories of land. These are
  1. vellanvagai - land of non-Brahmana peasant proprietors
  2. brahmadeya    - land gifted to Brahmanas
  3. shalabhoga    -    land for the maintenance of a school
  4. devadana, tirunamattukkani    -    land gifted to temples
  5. pallichchhandam    -    land donated to Jaina institutions

These inscription also mentions the association of traders is known as nagaram and how these association work