WhatsApp Image 2021-03-19 at 10.39.21 AM

Medieval India The Imperial Chola(Part II) – Indian History – Free PDF Download

Chola Administration:

  • The Cholas had hereditary monarchy as the form of government.
  • The emperor or King was the head of the administration.
  • He also had a Council of Ministers to aid and assist him.
  • The Chola empire was divided into ‘Mandalam’ and each ‘Mandalam’ into ‘Valanadus’ and ‘Nadus’.
  • In each Nadu there were number of autonomous villages.
  • The Royal Princes or officers were in charge of Mandalams.

  • The ‘valanadu’ was under ‘Periyanattar’ and Nadu under ‘Nattar’.
  • The town was known as Nagaram and it was under the administration of a council called ‘Nagarattar’.
  • There was an elaborate administrative machinery comprising of higher officials called ‘Perundanam’ and lower officials called ‘Sirudanam’.
  • There was a well-organized land revenue Department ‘Puravuvarithinaikkalam’.
  • All lands were carefully surveyed and classified for assessment of revenue.
  • Land revenue, which was generally assessed at 1/3 of the produce, was collected in cash or kind.
  • The residential portion of the village called ‘Ur Nattam’ and other lands such as the lands belonging to the temples were exempted from tax.
  • There were also tolls, customs, professional taxes, etc., besides land revenue.
  • The Cholas maintained a regular standing army consisting of elephants, cavalry, infantry and navy.
  • The royal troops were called ‘Kaikkolaperumpadal’ and a personal troop to defend the king known as Velaikkarar formed a part of it.
  • The Cholas paid special attention to their navy.
  • The naval achievements of the Tamils reached the climax under the Cholas.
  • They controlled the Malabar and Coromandal coasts and the Bay of Bengal became a ‘Chola lake’ for sometime.

Village Assemblies:

  • The Cholas are known for their local self government at the village level.
  • The village was divided into thirty wards (kudumbus) and each was to nominate its members to the village council.
  • There were various conditions of qualification and disqualifications to become a ward member.
  • Amongst the nominated members, one was to be chosen for each ward by ‘kudavolai’ system (pot-ticket)for a year.
  • The names of eligible person were written on palm-leaves and put into a pot.
  • A young boy or girl would take out thirty names each for one ward.
  • They were divided into six ‘variyams’ such as ‘samvatsaravariyam’, ‘erivariyam’, ‘thotta variyam’, ‘pancha variyam’, ‘pon variyam’ and ‘puravuvari variyam’ to take up six different functions of the village administration.
  • The committee members were called variyapperumakkal who usually met in the temple or under a tree and passed resolutions.
  • The number of committees and ward members varied from village to village.

Social and Economy :

  • Caste system was widely present during the Chola period and Brahmins and Kshatriyas enjoyed special privileges.
  • The inscriptions of the later period of the Chola rule mention two major divisions among the castes – Valangai (right handed castes) and Idangai (left handed caste) castes.
  • The position of women did not improve from earlier times.
  • The practice of ‘sati’ was prevalent among the royal families.
  • The devadasi system or dancing girls attached to temples emerged during this period.
  • Both Saivism and Vaishnavism continued to flourish during the Chola period.
  • The temples remained centers of economic activity during this period.
  • Both agriculture and industry flourished.
  • Reclamation of forest lands and construction and maintenance of irrigation tanks led to agricultural prosperity.
  • Cattle rearing was a subsidiary occupation.
  • The weaving industry, particularly the silk weaving at Kanchi flourished.
  • Owing to the great demand of images for temples and utensils, metal work also developed.
  • There was extensive Commerce and trade with trunk roads and merchant Guilds.
  • Gold, silver and copper coins were issued in plenty in various denominations.
  • Commercial context between Chola empire and China, Sumatra, Java and Arabia were extensively prevalent.
  • Arabian horses were imported in large numbers to strengthen the cavalry.

Art and Architecture:

  • The Dravidian style of art and architecture reached its perfection under the Cholas.
  • The chief feature of the Chola temple is Vimana.
  • The Brihadeshwara temple at Tanjore built by Rajaraja I is a masterpiece of South Indian art and architecture.
  • The Shiva temple at Gangaikondacholapuram built by Rajendra I is another contribution of the Cholas.
  • The Airavathesvara temple at Darasuram in Tanjore district and the Kampahareswara temple at Tribhuvanam are examples of later Chola temples.
  • In the art of sculpture, the walls of the Chola temples such as the Tanjore and Gangaikondacholapuram temples contained numerous icons of large size and fine execution.
  • The bronze statues of Nataraja or dancing Shiva are masterpieces.
  • The Chola paintings were found on the walls of Narthamalai and Tanjore temples.

Tamil Literature Under Cholas:

  • ‘Sivakasintamani’ was written by Thiruthakkadevar(Jain) and Kundalkesi(Budhhist) by Nathakutthanar.
  • The ‘Ramayana’ was composed by Kamban and the ‘Periyapuranam’ or ‘Tiruttondarpuranam’ was by Sekkilar.
  • The ‘Nalavenba’ was written by Pugalendi.
  • Jayankondar’s ‘Kalingattupparani’ describes the Kalinga war fought by Kulottunga I.
  • The ‘Moovarula’ written by Ottakutharr, depicts the life of three Chola Kings.
  • Works on Tamil grammar were ‘Kalladam’ by Kalladanar,’Yapperungalam’ by Amirthasagarar, a Jain, Nannul by Pavanandhi(Jain) and Virasoliyam by Buddhamitra.

Indian History | Free PDF