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Rise of Kingdoms – Developments in the Gangetic Plain

Developments in the Gangetic Plain

  • Agriculture improved during this phase of development in the middle Gangetic plains.
  • Wet rice cultivation began to yield more produce of rice than other crops, thus creating the necessary agrarian surplus.
  • Protected irrigation alone was not responsible for the surplus production of rice.
  • Iron technology also played a crucial role.
  • While it is debated whether iron axe aided clearing of the forests or whether iron ploughshare increased agricultural yield, there can be no two opinions that it played a critical role in improving the production of artefacts.
  • The impact of iron technology is better understood if one considers “the technical changes which the introduction of iron implements would have brought about in various craft activities”.
  • Leisure time provided by agricultural surplus and technology led to growth of crafts, which in turn aided vibrant trade.

Second Urbanisation

  • Agricultural surplus, the growth of crafts and trade, and the growing population led to the emergence of towns in the Gangetic plains.
  • This is called the second urbanisation in Indian history after the first urbanisation evident in the Harappan Civilization.
  • Different types of towns came into being:

1. Political and administrative centres such as Rajagriha, Shravasti, Kaushambi and Champa

2. Centres of trade and commerce such as Ujjain and Taxila

3. Holy centres such as Vaishali.

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