Vital Villages, Thriving Towns (Class 6 History Chapter 8 Notes)

Punched Mark Coins
Iron tools and agriculture
  1. The use of iron in India began around 3000 years ago. Some of the largest collection of tools are found in megalithic sites. (See Chapter 5)
  2. The use of iron tools became prevalent around 2500 years ago as they were helpful in clearing forest and making ploughshare. Ploughs increased the agricultural productivity manifolds. (See Chapter 6)

Irrigation
  1. Villages forms the basic unit of the Empire. An empire cannot flourish without flourishing village. Besides, new tools and techniques, irrigation helped in increasing the production.
  2. Irrigation works that were built around this time were canals, wells, tanks, and artificial lakes.

Who lived in the Villages?
  1. There were atleast three kinds of people lived in villages. These are large landowners, common ploughers and landless farmers.
  2. In Tamil region, large landowners were known as vellalar, ordinary ploughmen were known as uzhavar and landless farmers (including slaves) were known as kadaisiyar and adimai.
  3. In Northern India, village head (usually large landowner) is known as grama bhojaka, independent farmers were known as grihapatis, and then there landless farmers who are known as dasa or karmakara.
  4. In most villages, there are also some craftspersons. These are blacksmith, potter, carpenter and weaver.

Finding out about Cities
  1. We can find about life of people in cities through stories, travellers' accounts, sculptures and monuments.
  2. Stories such as Buddhist Jataka tales shed light on commonfolks.
  3. Traveller's account such as of Megasthenes shed light on socio-economic and cultural aspect of the place.
  4. Sculptures and monuments shed light on maturity of the civil society.

Coins
  1. The earliest type of coins which were used till 500 years ago were punched mark coins.
  2. They are known as punched marked coin because a royal mark is punched on the surface of coin.
  3. They are either made of gold, silver or copper.

Cities with many function
  1. Sometimes a single town became important for a variety of reasons. Mathura is one such example.
  2. Mathura remained an important settlement for more than 2500 years as it was located at the cross roads of two important routes - 1. from northwest to east and 2. from north to south.
  3. It was an important religious as well as art centre. It was known for its sculptures and Buddhist, Jain and Krishna shrines.
  4. Around 2000 years, Mathura became second capital of Kushans.
  5. There are several inscriptions found in Mathura recording gifts made by men and women to monastries and shrines. These inscriptions also mention people who worked at Mathura such as goldsmiths, blacksmiths, weavers, basket makers, garlandmakers, perfumers.

Crafts and craftpersons
  1. Around 2500 years ago, Northern Black Polished Ware was famous around the subcontinent. The name comes from the fact that it is mostly found in Northern India and usually black in colour with polished lusturous surface.
  2. Other important centres of craft beside Mathura are Varanasi and Madurai.
  3. Many craftsmen and merchants formed shrenis. The Shrenis provide training, help in procurement of raw material and distributed finished products. They organized trade, worked as bank and do the welfare.

Arikamedu
  1. Arikamedu is the ancient name for Pondicherry. It first flourished between 2200 and 1900 years ago. It was a coastal settlement where ships unloaded goods from distant lands.
  2. The findings such as Amphorae (tall double-handled jar for wine), Arrentine ware, Roman lamps, glassware and gems at Arikamedu pointed the sea trade between India and Ancient Rome.