Q. Consider the following statements:
1. The Vrijjis were one of the best known of the oligarchies.
2. Bali was a tax imposed based on the area of cultivable land.
Which of the above given statements is/are correct?

[A] 1 only

[B] 2 only

[C] Both 1 and 2

[D] Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C
Notes:

Explanation: Gana-Sanghas:

  • The proto-states of the Gangetic region were known as janapadas and comprised chiefdoms, republics and small kingdoms.
  • Sixteen mahajanapadas find mention in the early texts. There were also ganasanghas or oligarchies, which were centred on clans.
  • The Vrijjis were one of the best known of the gana-sanghas, and Vaishali was their capital in the Mithila region. These kingdoms did not come under the single decision-making authority of a king but decisions were taken on a collective basis by the heads of the different clans together.
  • There were also smaller kingdoms such as Kosala and Kasi. It is interesting to note that the names of the clans, such as Ikshvaku and Vrishni, as well as these early kingdoms, are all mentioned in the two epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Monarchies or Kingdoms

  • The mahajanapadas on the Gangetic plains were all monarchies. Vedic orthodoxy was an established practice in these kingdoms.
  • The priestly class enjoyed a preeminent status in the mahajanapadas unlike in the gana-sanghas. The kingdoms were governed by kings and the administration was centralised.
  • The brahman priests provided legitimacy to the king through various rituals. The kingship was hereditary and the succession was in most cases based on the law of primogeniture.
  • The king was assisted by councils called parishad and sabha. The councils were advisory in nature. The king appropriated the agricultural surplus through land revenue apart from a few other taxes.
  • Bali was a tax imposed based on the area of cultivable land. Bhaga was obtained as a share of the produce. Kara and Shulka were some of the other taxes collected during this period.

Source: Tamil Nadu Board Class 11