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Political Organization

The grama (village), vis and jana were political units of the early Vedic Aryans. A vish was probably a subdivision of a jana, and a grama was probably a smaller unit than the other two. The leader of a grama was called gramani and that of a vish was called vishpati. Another unit was the gana whose head was a jyeshta (elder).

The rashtra (state) was governed by a rajan (king). The king is often referred to as gopa (protector) and samrat (supreme ruler). He governed the people with their consent and approval. It is possible that he was sometimes elected. There were four councils viz. sabha,samiti,vidhata and gana of which former two were popular ones. Women were allowed to attend sabha and vidhata only.

The main duty of the king was to protect the tribe. He was aided by two functionaries, the purohita (chaplain) and the senani (army chief; sena: army).

The former not only gave advice to the ruler but also practiced spells and charms for success in war. Soldiers on foot (pattis) and on chariots (rathins), armed with bow and arrow were common. The king employed spa?as (spies) and dutas (messengers). He often got a ceremonial gift, bali, from the people.

Few events of political importance are related in the hymns. Perhaps the most impressive is a description of the battle of the 10 chiefs or kings: when Sudas, the king of the preeminent Bharatas of southern Punjab, replaced his priest Visvamitra with Vasistha, Visvamitra organized a confederacy of 10 tribes, including the Puru, Yadu, Turvasas, Anu, and Druhyu, which went to war against Sudas. The Bharatas survived and continued to play an important role in historical traditi

There is little distinction observed between Aryan and non-Aryan, but the hymns refer to a people, called the dasas, who are said to have had an alien language and a dark complexion and to worship strange gods. Some dasas were rich in cattle and lived in fortified places (pur) that were often attacked by the god Indra. In addition to the dasas, there were the wealthy Panis, who were hostile and stole cattle.



Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.