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New Dynasties

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New Dynasties - Lesson Summary

After the 17 th century, many new dynasties emerged in the Indian sub-continent like the Gurjara-Pratiharas, Rashtrakutas, Palas, Cholas and Chahamanas (Chauhans). The Samantas were big landlords or warrior chiefs and were expected to bring gifts for their kings, be present at the courts and provide them with military support.

As the Samantas gained power they declared independence from their overlords. In the mid-8 th century, Rashtrakuta chief, Dantidurga overthrew his overlord Chalukyas and performed a ritual called Hiranya-garbha, or the golden womb.

This event was significant as it set a precedent that a person need not be born as a Kshatriya to become a ruler. Mayurasharman and Harichandra, two Brahmins gave up their profession and established their dynasties Kadamba in Karnataka and Gurjara-Pratihara in Rajasthan, respectively.

Though the new rulers gave themselves power titles, but were dependent on their Samantas for money and army. They would give land grants, which were recorded on copper plates, and would ask people to collect taxes for the administration and for building temples and fight wars. In the hierarchy of land grants, along with secular officials, even the Brahmins who performed religious ceremonies and imparted education were the grantees.

Taxes were collected from all including the kings and the new landlords. Tax had to be paid for trading, creating artefacts, building homes and wells, and using roads. Tax was also collected in the form of manual labor or an artist’s artwork and kadamai, or land revenue. Kings often rewarded Brahmins with grants of not just land, but many more revenue earning facilities.

Historical information on these new dynasties is obtained from the inscriptions and Prashastis noted down on the order of these kings and their Samantas. 

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