Feudalism In Ancient India

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A. Feudalism is a term used to describe the type of economic and political arrangement that referred to a hierarchical control over land, and dominated the highest levels of society in Medieval Europe. It influenced the entire political structure and the way wars were fought during that time. In feudalism, a lord gave his most trusted men, known as vassals, land and power over all the people living there, and in return they swore loyalty to him, gave him a share of their taxes, and provided military support required. In short, feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, consisting of the three categories of lords, vassals, and fiefs.

It was during the post Gupta period, around 750 AD- 1200 AD that feudalism became an integral feature of the political system in most of Northern India. R.S. Sharma was the first to use the term feudalism to denote the socio-economic formation during this period. This arrangement usually appears in a chiefly agrarian economy. In the context of ancient India, the system gradually developed from the beginning of the land grants. The practice of making land grants to the Brahmanas was a custom, sanctified by the injunctions laid down in the Dharmashashtras, Epics, and Puranas. The earliest land grants belonging to the first century B.C. were given to the Buddhist priests and Brahmanas and other religious establishments. However, in this period, even administrative officials were granted

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