Social and economic conditions of the people in the Gupta empire
Description King Bimbisara and the Buddha
The Rulers of Chandragupta Mouryans
The first ruler of the Mauryan Dynasty was Chandragupta Mauryan. He built an empire which included Bihar, parts of Orissa (now Odisha), central India Bengal.
He was supported by his minister Chanakya. After defeating Seleucus Nicator (a governor appointed by the Greek King Alexander in North – West), Chandragupta's empire extended up to eastern Afghanistan, Baluchistan and the areas West of Rivers Indus. He succeeded in conquering most of the Indian sub- continent and was considered the first unifier of India. When he was 42 years old, Chandragupta gave up his throne in 297 BC. He became an ascetic under the Jain sant, Acharya Bhadrabahu. He migrated to South India with him and spent his last days in Sallekhana at Shravanabelagola, in present – day Karnataka.
Bindusara (297- 273 BC)
Chandragupta was succeeded by his son Bindusara. He was a man of varied interests. Under him, Mauryan Empire spread across the Indian sub – continent up to Karnataka. Only Kalinga and southern most parts were outside the Mauryan rule.
Ashoka (273 – 232 BC)
Ashoka planted trees on both sides of the road and built roads. For travellers, he constructed rest houses (dharamshalas) along the roadside. He built hospitals for human beings as well as for animals. A large number of well were also dung. Ashoka regularly visited his subjects and tried to solve their problems. Ashoka did his best to ensure the happiness of the people of his empire.
The emperor was the most powerful person. He took all important decisions concerning the empire. Emperor Ashoka also travelled extensively to gain a first hand account of what was happening in his empire. He was also consulted by his ministers. His council of minister acted as the king's advisor.
Gupta Empire Ruins
Gupta Empire Religion
Gupta Empire "The Golden Age"
Hiuen Tsang was a Chinese pilgrim who came
Yuan Chwang or Hiuen Tsang was a Chinese pilgrim who came to India to collect Buddhist literature and to visit places connected with Buddhism.he left China in 629 AD., reached Punjab after passing through Tashkend, Samarkand, Gandhara and Kashmir. Hiuen Tsang, besides visiting almost the whole of India, stayed at Kannauj with Harsha for quite sometime. After completing his sojourn in India he left for China with 150 pieces of the Buddha's relics, many images of the Lord gold, silver and sandalwood and 657 volumes of manuscripts loaded on 22 horses. He reached his country in 645 AD. He wrote a full description of his journey and experiences in a book `SI – Y – NI' or 1 The Record of the Western world' in 661 AD. This book throws great light on political, social, economic and religious life of the people of that age. In the worlds of Dr. VA. Smith, `This book is a treasure house of accurate information, indispensable to every student of Indian antiquity and has done more than any archaeological discovery to render possible the remarkable resuscitation of lost India history.
People, says Hiuen Tsang, led a simple life. They usually wore Dhoti and Chaddar which did not involve any tailoring. The people went about barefooted and shoes were rare. By and large, the people were vegetarians and avoided even onion and garlic. Houses were generally built of mud and bricks with flat thatched roofings. The floors of the houses were generally plastered with the paste of cow dung and strewn with flowers of the season. The people possesses a keen sense of cleanliness. Hiuen Tsang writes, `before every meal they must have wash; the fragments and remains are not served up again. the good utensils are not passed in; the utensils that are of pottery or wood must be thrown away after use; but the metallic ones and those made of gold, silver, copper or iron were used after cleaning.' low caste people like scavengers and butchers lived outside the town and were required to inform about their arrival in a loud voice so that high caste folks might not be polluted by contact with them.
The common people, adds Hiuen Tsang, were honest, truthful, fair and hospitable. The caste system was rigid and out – of – caste marriages were discouraged. The practice of Sati was gradually emerging.
Ancient Gupta Paintings
gupta period architecture
art of painting reached a very high standard during the Gupta age
Ajanta and Bagh – tempera model – materials used were simple – scene from the Jatakas and Avadanas.
The art of painting reached a very high standard during the Gupta age. The most important of the remains of Gupta paintings are found at Ajanta (Caves I, II, XVI and XIX and at Bagh near Dhar (in Madhya Pradesh). The mode of painting at Ajanta is the tempera and the materials used are very simple. The lines composing the figures at Ajanta are sure, curvaceous and rich in form and depth. Most of the painting depict scenes from the Jatakas but there are secular painting as well. The artists possessed a mastery of the complex human, animal and plant forms.
The Gupta paintings at Bagh show an identity of style and technique with those of Ajanta. The subjects of the paintings are stories from the Jatakas and Avadanas. The paintings showing a `procession of elephants and `musical dance' acted by a group of women led by a man are of great merit.
The high standards achieved in the fields of art and literature during the period, the Age of the Guptas is described as the Classical Age.
Caves were excavated to make temples known as chaityas and monasteries, known as viharas, for the residence of monks. The largest and the famous caves in the Western Deccan. The most famous of the cave groups is that of Ajanta. Equally impressive are the later cave temples at Ellora, cave temples of the Chalukya period at Badami.
Sense Of refinement – drapery transparent – standing Buddha from Mathura and seated Buddha from Sarnath, slender and graceful – post – Gupta sculptures show more ornamentation.
Cultural developments continued from pre – Gupta to Gupta and post – Gupta periods.