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BY:TARUN PRATAP

1.INTERNAL TRADE
TYPES OF MERCHANTS:--------- THERE WERE TWO TYPES OF MERCHANTS

SHRESHTI AND SARTHAVA.


THE SHRESHTI WAS USUAKKY SETTLED AT
A PARTICULAR PLACE AND ENJOYED A
PROMINENT POSITION ,BY VIRTUE OF
WEALTH AND POSITION IN THE COMMERCIL
LIFE AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE PLACE.
THE SARTHAVA WAS A CARAVAN TRADER
WHO CARRIED HIS MERCHANDISE TO
DIFFERENT PLACES FOR PROFITABLE
GAINS.

ITEMS OF TRADE:-------- WHILE THE LOCAL TRADE WAS MOSTLY

CONFINED TO THE ARTICLES OF THE


DAILY USE ,TRADE BETWEEN THE
DIFFERENT PARTS OF INDIA WAS
USUALLY FOR THE VALUABLE ANDD
THE LUXURY COMMODITIES LIKE
PEPPER,SANDALWOOD,CORAL,MUSK,S
AFFRON,YAKS TAIL,ELEPHANT
,HORSES,GOLD ,COPPER ,IRON AND
MICA.

TRADE PRACTISONES:---------- NARADA AND THE BRIHASPATI LAID

DOWN MANY REGULATIONS TO


GOVERN THE TRADE PRACTISES OF
THE TIME, PARTICULARLY CONCERNING
THE RETUEN OF GOODS ONCE
SOLD,QUALITY OF THE
GOODS,DISHONEST DEALINGS IN
SUBSTANDARD AND THE STOLEN
GOODS.

PRICE AND MEASUREMENTS:--------- UNLIKE THE MAURAYANS ,THE GUPTAS

DID NOT TRY TO FIX THE PRICES


,WHICH ,THEREFORE FLUCTUATED
ACCORDING TO THE DEMANDS AND
SUPPLY.
IN THE GUPYA PERIOD NOT ONLY THE
PRICES BUT THE UNITS OF
MEASUREMENT DIFFERED FROM PLACE
TO PLACE.

2. EXTERNAL TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE IN THE GUPTA PERIOD DOES

NOT SEEM TO HAVE BEEN AS EXTENSIVE AS IN


THE PRE-GUPTA PERIOD .
TRADE WITH THE ROME ,WHICH WAS THE MAIN
SOURCE OF EARNING BULLION FOR INDIA,WAS
UNDERMINED BY THE ROMAN REACTION
AGAINST THE DRAIN OF GOLD AND WAS
COMPLETELY STOPPED BECAUSE OF THE
BARBARIAN RAIDS OF THE ROMAN AND THE
GUPTAN EMPIRES.
TRADE WAS HOWEVER REVIVED BETWEEN INDIA
AND THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE ,AS WE LEARN
FROM THE ACCOUNT OF PROCOPIUS AND IT
PROBABLY WORKED IN FAVOUR OF INDIA.

TRADE WITH THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE:---- THERE WAS CONSIDERABLE VOLUME OF

TRADE BETWEEN THE TWO.


ROMAN EMPIRE IMPORTED IRON ,IVORYA
ND COTTON BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT
WERE SPICES AND SILK.
THE PERSION TRADERS USED TO MAKE
PROFIT AS THEY ACTED AS THE
MIDDLEMEN.
BESIDES THIS INDIA ALSO HAS TRADING
LINKS WITH ARABIA,PERSIA AND
PERHAPS AND PERHAPS ARMENIA.

TRADE WITH CEYLON---------- INDIAS IMPORT FROM CEYLON WERE

PERHAPS PEARLS AND SILVER.


INDIA EXPORTED
TEXTILES,SPICES,SANDALWOOD,MUS
K,CASTOR OIL HORSES AND
ELEPHANTS.

TRADE WITH SOUTH-EAST ASIA------------ THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AND EASTERN

INDIA CARRIED ON TRADE WITH SOUTHEAST ASIA BUT THE TRADING LIKS WERE
NOT AS EXTENSIVE AS WTH THE
RYZANTINE EMPIRE.NOR IT DID EFFECT
THE MATERIALISTIC ASPECT OF THE
INLAND PEOPLE.
HOWERVER THE TRADING LINKS
PRODUCED FAR REACHING EFFECTS IN
THE REALM OF CULTURE.

GUILDS

THE GIULDS OF THESE TIMES NOT ONLY CARRIED OUT THE TRADING
FUNCTIONS BUT ALSO PERFORMS THE JUDICIAL AND THE EXECUTIVE
FUNCTIONS.
EPIGRAPHIC EVIDENCE SHOWED THAT THE GUILDS OF THESE TOMES ALSO
MAINTAINED THEIR OWN MILITIA CALLES THE SRENIBALA.
THE EARLIER TEXTS ENJOIN THE KING TO PAY RESPECT TO THE CUSTOMS OF
THE GUILDS,BUT THOSE OF THE GUPTAN TIMES INSTRUCT THE KING TO
ENFORCE THE USAGES PRECALENT IN THE GUILDS.
BRIHASPATI LAYS DOWN THAT WHATEVER IS DONE BY THE HEADS OF THE
GUILD S,IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRESCRIBED REGULATIONS,MUST BE
APPROVED BY THE KING .
THIS SHOWS THAT THE GUILDS WERE FREE TO ACT IN WHATEVER MANNER
THEY LIKED, AND THE KING WAS TO BOUND TO ACCEPT THEIR DECISION.
NARADA LAID DOWN THAT THE KING SHALL PREVENT THE COMBINATION OF
DIFFERENT ,PROBABLY OF THE HOSTILE NATURE.HE ALSO ASKED THE GULDS
TO PREVENT THEMSELVES FROM EMBARKING ON THE ANT-STATE,IMMORAL AND
CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES.
BUT ALL THE ABOVE REGULATIONS CLEARLY STATES THAT IN THE GUPTA
PERIOD THE GUILDS WERE CONSIDERED CAPABLE OF THREATENING THE STATE.

CURRENCY

CANDRAGUPTA-KUMARDEVI TYPE COINS WERE THE EARLIEST


TYPE OF COINS OF THE GUPTA DYNASTY.
SOME SCHOLORS SUGGESTED THAT SAMUDRAGUPTA FIRST
ISSUED GUPTA COINS AND THAT HIS GOLD COINS WERE OF
THE STANDARD TYPE AND LATER ON HE ISSUED THE
CHANDRAGUPTA KUMARDEVI TYPE OF COINS SO AS TO
COMMEMERATE THE MARRIAGE OF THE LICCHAVI PRINCES
TO HIS FATHER.
BUT IT IS CERTAIN THAT THE MINTING OF THE SILVER COINS
WERE FIRST STARTED DURING THE REIGNOF
CHANDRAGUPTA-II .
COPPER COINS WERE ALSO ISSUED ATLEAST IN THE REIGN
OF THE CHANDRAGUPTA-II AND KUMARGUPTA.
THE GOLD COINS ISSUED BY THE GUPTA RULERS COULD BE
USEFUL ONLY FOR THE BIG TRANSACTIONS SUCH AS THE
SALE AND PURCHASE OF LAND AND PROPERTY.SMALLER
TRANSCTIONS WERE EVIDENTLY CONDUCTED THROUGH THE
BARTER SYSTEM OR THE COWERIES.

USURY

TOUGH IT WAS WELL RECOGNISED PROFESSION ,BUT THE


WEALTH ACQUIRED BY IT DID NOT EARN THE REPUTATION OF
THE SOCIETY.
THE NORMAL RATE OF INTEREST ACCORDING TO NARAD AND
BRIHASPATI WAS 15% PER ANNUM.BUT INTERESTINGLY THE
RATE OF INTEREST VARIED FROM CASTE TO CASTE ,THE
LOWEST BEING PAYED BY THE BRAHAMINS.
THE OBLIGATIO TO REPAY LOAN WAS INHERITED BY THE SON OR
ANY ANOTHER LEGAL HEIR.
NARAD AND BRIHASPATI LAID DOWN THE RULES FOR CONDUCT
OF THIS BUSINESS AND POINTED OUT THE LEGAL,MORAL, AND
ECONOMIC JUSTIFICATIONS OF THE INTEREST.
THE GUPTA STATE HAS APPARENTLY LITTLE RESPONSIBILITY
CONCERNING THE CONTRACT BETWEEN THE LENDER AND THE
BORROWER AND PERHAPS INTERVENED ONLY IN EXTREME
CASES OF USURY.ALMOST VIRTUAL ABSENCE OF STATE
CONTROL OF MIGHT WELL HAVE LED TO GREAT DISTRESS TO
THE BORROWER.

AGRARIAN STRUCTURE

THE STATE WAS THE EXCLUSIVE OWNER OF LAND .THE MOST DECISIMENT
ARGUMENT IN FAVOUR OF THE EXCLUSIVE STATE OWNERSHIP OF THE LAND
WAS THE PAHARPUR COPPER PLATE INSCRIPTION OF BUDDHAGUPTA WHERE IT
IS STATED THAT THE EMPEROR ACQUIRED WEALTH AS WELL AS THE SPIRITUAL
MERIT ,WHEN HE MADE THE LAND GRANTS.THIS MAKES IT OBVIOUS THAT HE
WAS THE OWNER OF THE LAND.
FROM THE ECONOMIC VIEW POINT THE LANDS OF THE GOUPTA PERIOD WAS
CLASSIFIED INTO THE THE FOLLOWING:
1.KSHETRA:CULTIVABLE LAND
2.KHILA:WASTE LAND
3.APRAHATA:JUNGLE OR FOREST LAND
4.VASTI:HABITABLE LAND
5.GAPATA SARAH:PASTURE LAND
MOST IMPORTANT KIND OF LAND TENURE PREVELANT IN THE GUPTA PERIOD
WAS THAT OF THE NIVI DHARMA , WHICH MEANS LAND OWNER SHIP IN
PERPETUITY.
IN TH GUPTA PERIOD THE LAND SUEVEY WAS EVIDENT FROM THE POONA PLATE
OF PRABHAVATI GUPTA.AN OFFICER NAMED PUSTAPALA MAINTAINED THE
RECORDS OF ALL LAND TRANSACTIONS I N THE DISTRICT.

DIFFERENT KIND OF TAXES.

BHAGA:CUSTOMORY SHARE OF THE KING(1/6TH OF THE


PRODUCE)
BHOGA:PERIODIC SUPPLY OF THE
FRITS,VEGETABLES,WOOD,FLOWERS ETC WHICH THE
VILLAGERS HAD TO FURNISH TO THE KING.
KARA:A PERIODIC TAX LEVIED TO THE VILLAGERS.
BALI:IT WAS VOLUNTARY OFFERING MADE TO THE KING.
UDAINGA:IT WAS APOLICE TAX OR THE WATER TAX.
UPARIKARA:IT WAS AN EXTRA TAX LEVIED ON THE
VILLAGERS.
HIRANYA:TAX PAYABLE IN THE GOLD COINS
VATA-BHUTA:DIFFERENT KIND OF TAXES FOR THE
MAINTENANCE OF RITES FOR THE WINDS AND THE SPIRITS.
HALIVAKARA:IT WAS A PLOUGH TAX.
SULKA:CUSTOM AND TOLLS.
KLIPTA AND UPKLIPTA:PURCHASE AND THE SALES TAX.

STATE OF AGRICULTURE

THERE ARE PLENTIFUL REFERENCES OF AGRICULTURE AND


ITS EVERY ASPECT IN THE SOURCES OF THE GUPTA PERIOD.
A GENEROUS NATURE AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF
IRRIGATION FACILITIES GREATLY ESTABLISHED THE
EXPANSION OF THE AGRICULTURE.
WE FIND IN KALIDASA THAT EVEN THE HERMITS UTILISED
LANDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF AGRICULTURE AND
PRODUCED DIFFERENT KINDS OF FOOD GRAINS FOR THEIR
OWN MAINTENANCE.
KEEPING THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE IN VIEW,BOTH
NARAD AND BRIHASPATI LAID DOWN THE RULES FOR THE
DRASTIC PUNISHMENT OF THOSE GUILTY OF THOSE GUILTY
OF EITHER DAMAGING CORPS OR STEALING FOOD GRAINS.
THOUGH WE FIND NUMEROUS EXAMPLES OF THE
PROSPEROUS AGRICULTURE DURING THIS PERIOD ,THERE
WERE EQUALLY FREQUENT REFERENCES TO
DROUGHTS,FLOODS,CROP FAILURES AND FAMINES.

INDUSTRY:MINING AND
METALURGY
THIS INDUSTRY CERTAINLY OCCUPIED THE TOP

MOST POSITION IN THE GUPTA PERIOD.


IT IS EVIDENT FROM THE GUPTA PERIOD THAT THE
MINES OF THE KUSHANA PERIOD CONTINUED TO
WORKED DURING THE GUPTA PERIOD.
THE AMARKOSA OF AMARSIMHA GIVES A
COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF THE METALS.
OF ALL THE METALS PROBABLY THE IRON WAS
MOST USEFUL,AND THE BLACKSMITHS WERE ONLY
NEXT TO PEASENTS IN THE IMPORTACE TO THE
RURAL COMMUNITY.
A SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT IN THE METAL
INDUSTRY DURING THIS PERIOD WAS THE
MANUFACTURE SEALS AND THE STATUES
,PARTICULARLY OF THE BUDDHA.

URBAN CENTRES
THE EMERGENCE OF THE SELF-

SUFFICIENT UNITS OF PRODUCTION


IS LASO INDICATED BY THE GRADUAL
DECAY OF THE URBAN CENTRES
DURING THE GUPTA PERIOD.
IN MANY URBAN SITES THE
HABITATION DISAPPEARED AFTER
THE SIXTH CENTURY A.D

CONCLUSION
IT IS THEREFORE ARGUED THAT THE INDIAN

ECONOMY INTHIS PERIOD WAS LARGELY BASED


ON THE SELF SUFFICIENT UNITS OF PRODUCTION
IN VILLAGES AND TOWNS,AND THAT THE MONEY
ECONOMY WAS GRADUALLY BECOMING WEAKER
DURING THIS TIME.
THE BOND OF THE STATE CONTROL WHICH KEPT
THE UNITS TOGETHER IN THE MAURAYAN PERIOD
AND THAT OF THE COPPER CURRENCY WHICH
UNIFIED IT IN THE IN THE PRE-GUPTA PEROID NO
LONGER OPERATED DURING THIS PERIOD.
THIS HOWEVER DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE
PRODUCTION DECLINED ,INSTEAD AGRICULTURE
AND CRAFT PRODUCTION HAS SHOWN A
SUBSTIAL INCREASE.