Buddhism in India | Essay on Buddhism in India in English Language.
Initially, most historians believed that there were only monarchies in ancient India, but later discoveries brought to light the fact that princely states as well as ganas or union states existed in ancient India, first in 1903 by Riz Davids. The Republics were discovered to challenge.
Many places in ancient literature have been described as different from the republic. The Awadan century shows that some traders of Madhya Pradesh went south, where people asked them about the governance of North India. In reply, he said that ‘some countries are under the control of the ganas and some of the kings’ (Kechideshda Ganadhina: Kechidrajadhina :).
Acharangasutra warns the Jain monk that he should not go to the place where the republic rules. The sangha was synonymous with gana. Panini describes the union as distinctly different from the monarchy – ‘Kshatriyadek Rajat Sangh Pratishtharkam.’ In Kautilya’s Arthashastra, there are two types of Union states – Warshastropavji and Rajbhavaropajiv.
Kamboj, Surashtra etc. under the first and Lichchhavi, Vrijji, Malla, Madra, Kukur, Panchal etc. have been calculated under the second. Apparently, the term ‘Rajbharopajivji’ means the republics which used the title of ‘Raja’. Gana states are also mentioned in Mahabharata.
Apart from Indian literature, the existence of republics in ancient India is also proved by the description of Greek-Roman writers. This indicates that at the time of Alexander’s invasion there were several republics in Punjab and Sindh which were different from the monarchies. The existence of republics is also proved by the evidence related to currency.
The coins of several republics like Malav, Yodheya, Arjunayana, etc. do not mention the king, but only mention Gana. Thus it has now been proved that there were republics in ancient India and they differed from the kingdoms in the sense that their rule was not in the hands of any hereditary king but in the hands of Gana or Sadh. But the republics of ancient India were different from the republics of modern times.
In modern times, republic is synonymous with democracy in which the ultimate power of governance is vested in the hands of the people. Republics of ancient India cannot be called republics in this sense. In modern terms, we can call it ‘Kultinantra’ or ‘Aristocracy’, in which governance was conducted not by the whole people, but by people in front of a particular person.
For example, if we take the name of the Lichchavi Republic of Vaishali, then we should never understand that the entire population of Vaishali Jagr participated in the rule there. The lingering pity is that only prominent people of the Lichchhavi clan used to run the government together.
Evidence of the existence of several republics is found in Gangaghati during the Buddha period, which are as follows:
(i) The Shakya of Kapilavastu:
The republic was located in the Terai of Nepal with Kapilvastu as its capital. The Rohini River was situated in the Himalayan mountain festival in the north of Shakya Republic and the Rapti River in the south and west. Kapilavastu is identified with modern Tilirakot located in Nepal.
Some scholars identify it from a place called Piparahwa in Siddharthnagar district from where the remains of the Buddhist Stupa and its metal-studded Manusha have been obtained. It was replaced by Shakya dynasty Sukirti. Apart from Kapilavastu, there were many other cities in this republic – Chatuma, Samgam, Khomduss, Silavati, Nagark, Devdah, Saqqara etc. Buddha’s mother was the daughter of Devdah. There were about 80 thousand families in Shakya Republic.
The Shakya people were very proud of their blood and for this reason they did not establish matrimonial relations outside their caste. Gautama Buddha was born in this republic. The importance of this republic increased greatly due to its association with Buddha. But the Shakya Republic had no significance as a political power and it accepted the subjugation of the Kosala kingdom.
(ii) Bhagans of Sumasumar Mountain:
Sumsumar mountain is equated with the present Chunar located in Mirzapur district. It seems that the Bhaga was related to the ‘bharga’ tame mentioned in Aitareya Brahmana. The jurisdiction of the Republic of Bhagpa included the region between the Yamuna and Son rivers of the Vindhya region. The fugitives accepted subjugation of Vatsas. It is known that on the Sumasumar mountain, the son of Vatsaraja Udayan, Bodhi used to live.
(iii) Bulls of Alkapp:
The republic was located between the Shahavad Ara and Muzaffarpur districts of modern Vihar province. The bullies had a close relationship with Vethadweep (Vetia). This was probably their capital. The Bullis were followers of Buddhism. According to the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, after Buddha’s death, he obtained a portion of his relics and built a stupa on it.
(iv) Kalam of Kesput:
It is difficult to establish the exact equation of the case. This republic was located to the west of Kosala. Probably this state was spread from Kundwar in Sultanpur district to a place called Palia. It is known from the Vedic literature that the Kalams had a relationship with the ‘Keshi’ of the Panchal district. From the Acharya of the same republic named Alarkalaam, who lived near Uruvela, Mahatma Buddha first received the sermon after giving up his home. The Kalam people accepted the subjugation of Kosala.
(v) Ramgam (Ramgram) Kaliya:
It was located to the east of the Shakya Republic. To the south, the Republic extended as far as the Saryu River. The Rohini River flowed between the Shakya and Kolia states. People of both states depended on the water of this river for irrigation. There was often a struggle for the water of the river.
Once, Gautam Buddha had silenced a similar struggle. The people of Koli Gana were famous for their police power. Ramgram, the capital of the Kolis, has been identified from Ramgarh Taal located in the present Gorakhpur district.
(vi) Malla of Kushinara:
Kushinara is identified from the present place called ‘Kasaya’ in Deoria district. In the Valmiki Ramayana, the Mallas have been called the descendants of Chandraketu Malla, the son of Lakshmana.
(vii) Malla of Paava:
Paava was a place called Padrauna in the modern Deoria district. The Mallas were people of military instinct. Jain literature suggests that the Mallas formed an association with the Lichchhavis in fear of Magadha King Ajatshatru. Ajatashatru had also conquered the Mallas after defeating the Lichchhavis.
(viii) Peepalivan’s peacock:
The people of the Moriya Republic were a branch of the Shakas. Mahavanshatika reveals that in order to escape the atrocities of Kosala Naresh Vidudabh, he fled to the Himalayan region where he settled a town named Pippalivan in a resonating place with Mori’s cook. They were called as Fiori due to the peacocks being residents of the state. The word ‘Maurya’ is formed from the word ‘Moriya’. Chandragupta Maurya was born in this family. Pippalivan is equated with a village named ‘Rajdhani’ located near Kusumhi in Gorakhpur district.
(ix) Licchavi of Vaishali:
It was the largest and powerful republic of the Buddha era. Lichchhavi was the most prominent in Vajjisagh. His capital Vaishali was located in a place called Vasadh in Muzakarpur district. Vaishali has been called ‘a rich, prosperous and densely populated city’ in Mahavagga Jataka.
There were many beautiful buildings, chaityas and viharas here. Ekapanaka Jataka shows that Vaishali city was surrounded by three walls from all around. Each wall was one plan away from each other and there were three gates with guard towers.
The Lichchhavis had built the famous Kutchasala at Mahavan for the residence of Mahatma Buddha, where the Buddha preached while staying. The Lichchhavis used to be extremely self-respecting and freedom-loving. Their governance was organized. This kingdom was at the zenith of its prosperity during the Buddha era. The king here was Chetak.
His daughter Chhalna was married to Magadhanresh Bimbisara. Mahavir’s mother Trishala was his sister. Jain literature suggests that Chetak formed a united front against Mallat, Kashi and Koshal against Ajatashatru.
(x) Videha of Mithila:
The Videha Republic was located in the Bhagalpur and Darbhanga districts of the Vihar. Initially it was a monarchy. King Janak of this place was noted for his power and philosophical knowledge. But during Buddha’s time it became a Union State.
The Videha people were also members of the Vajji Sangh. Their capital Mithila is identified from the present Janakpur. During the time of Buddha, Mithila was a famous trading town where the merchants of Shravasti used to bring their goods.
Legislative and governance of republics:
Very little is known about the legislation and governance of republics. It is so clear that the governance of big republics like Lichchhavi must have been different than smaller states like Moriya, Koliya etc. The executive of the executive of Gana was an elected official called a king.
Maintaining internal peace and harmony in the republic was one of its main functions along with the care of general administration. Other office-bearers were Uparaja (vice-president), Senapati, Bhandargikar (treasurer) etc. But the real power of the state was vested in a central committee or institution. The number of members of this committee was very large.
The members of the committee were also called ‘Rajas’. According to Ekapanaka Jataka, there were 7707 kings in the Central Committee of the Republic of Lichchhavi and the same number of Uparajas, Generals and Treasurers. Similarly, the number of members of the Shakti Sansthan at one place is stated to be 500.
He was probably the head of the noble families of the state who had the right to the title of ‘king’. Under each king, there were the Deputy King, Commander, Warehousing etc. From this it appears that the Lichchhavi kingdom was divided into many small administrative units and each unit was headed by a king who ruled the unit with the help of the officials under him.
The chairman of each unit was a member of the Central Committee. The members of the Central Committee on all important subjects related to the republics, such as the Treaty of Delegation, Diplomatic Relations, Revenue Collection etc., used to take a majority decision after substantial debate in the Institute. When there was a dispute between the farmers of Kolis and Shakis regarding the water distribution of the Rohini river, they informed their officials and the officials told their kings.
The kings decided to wage war after substantial debate over the subject. In this way Shakya discussed surrendering or waging war in his institution after the Koshal King Vidudabh invaded the Shakya republic and besieged his capital and asked him to surrender. In the end, it was decided to surrender by majority. A description of the election of the commander in the Lichchavi Republic is also obtained.
Accordingly, after the death of Senapati Khand, Senapati Singh was appointed on the basis of election by the members of the institute. The Mullans of Kushinara discussed the Buddha’s vision and their metals in their institution.
It is clear from these mentions that the rule of the republics was governed by a democratic stand. If it is assumed that the practice of the Buddhist Sangha was based on the working of the republics, then we can draw some more conclusions about the functioning of the republics. In such a situation, it can be said that the proceedings of the Institute were similar to the modern democratic parliament.
Seating of each member was arranged separately. For this work, there used to be an officer named ‘Asapanapanapak’. There were definite rules for quorum fulfillment, proposal keeping, counting etc. The proposal to be placed in the institution was usually repeated three times and accepted when there was a protest.
A majority was taken when there was a protest. It was the practice of secret system. There were also rules to vote for absentee members. The polling officer was called a ‘Shalaka customer’. Spells of many colors were given to each member.
There was a special colored chalak for the particular type of opinion which reached the customer. The use of the word ‘Chand’ is found for the vote. Won sent to controversial subject committees. The institute had many functionaries to conduct its functions.
The president of the executive of the village was probably the head of the institution. Generally, the Central Committee had complete control over the government of the republics. The high officials and territorial rulers of the state were appointed by the committee.
The republics also had a matriparishad consisting of four to twenty members. They were appointed by the Central Committee. The head of the Council of Ministers was the head of the Council. Central committees also used to do justice.
Some information is received from Buddhaghosh’s commentary ‘Sumangalvilasini’ about the justice system of Vajjasingh. From this we come to know that there were eight courts in Vajjisingh. Any person could be punished only if he was convicted by the eight courts one by one. Each court was free to free the criminal.
The principal officers of these courts were as follows: (1) Vinichaya Mahamatta (Vinciya Mahamatra), (2) Vocational (practical) (3) Sutadhar (sutradhara) (4) Atthakulak (Ashtakulak) (5) Bhandarik (6) Senapati (7) ) King and (8) King.
The king’s court was final. Only the king had the right to punish. Other courts could free the culprit if he was innocent but could not punish him if convicted. They sent him to the higher court.
The king used to follow the preceding parables, ie, the first parable. It is clear from this description that the freedom of the person in the republic of Lichchhavi was completely protected. It supports the democratic ideology of freedom of a citizen that is perhaps unique in world history.
There were also gram panchayats in the republic, which functioned in the same manner as the gram panchayats of the political states and took care of the development of agriculture, trade, industry etc. From the little information we get about the legislation and governance of the republics, it is clear that these states must have been very prosperous and well-organized. Mahatma Buddha himself was highly influenced by the orderliness of Vajjasingha. Mahaparinirvanasutra reveals that he had said to his disciple Anand praising the Vajjis.
“As long as they keep meeting in their institution again and again, they will live together with consensus, take decisions, follow ancient traditions, respect their elders and obey their orders, till then their progress will continue.” In fact, Vajjasingh’s power was inherent in his organization. As long as this association remained organized, even powerful kings like Ajatshatru were afraid of him. But when it broke out, then it collapsed.
Reasons for the destruction of republics:
Some republics of the Buddha period were very powerful and well-organized. He had a great resistance to his contemporary monarchies. The feeling of patriotism and independence was filled with coddling in them. But they could not protect their freedom against the monarchies and eventually they fell.
Many reasons have been attributed for this. Kashi Prasad Jaiswal is of the view that Samudragupta’s imperialist policy brought an end to the independence of the republics, which resulted in his extinction. But this idea has been rational.
We know that the Samudragupta-era republics accepted his sovereignty for a nominal amount and had sufficient internal autonomy. The biggest reason for the destruction of republics is the hereditary of the high command under his rule.
Since, in ancient texts, the monarchy was praised everywhere and the position of the king was considered divine, so the Republics also considered it beneficial to adopt the monarchical system rather than good governance and security. The rulers of the republics started taking titles like Maharaj and Maha Senapati on the emulation of the kingdoms.
These posts began to be hereditary. It is clear from the example of Kumaradevi that she was the hereditary heir of the Lichchavi Republic. The power in the republics respectively became concentrated in the hands of the most influential person.
Now he has no distinction from the kingdoms. Thus the democratic form of his rule came to an end. The mutual divisions of the republics and the expansionist policy of contemporary monarchies can also be considered to be more responsible for their downfall.