MODERN ASIAN STUDIES REVIEW Vol.5 新たなアジア研究に向けて5号
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forest tracts in both Samatat.a and the western margins of RΣd.ha through the ages.State formation in Bengal proceeded in connection with such patterns of agrarian expansion and development within the region. When Pun.d.ravardhana came under Gupta rule in the fifth century, as one of its provinces, it had already seen the establishment of agrarian society based on landholdings of peasant householders and the growth of urban centres resided by mercantile, artisan and scribal groups. State control was imposed on this sub-region by the state adjusting itself to the power relations among the local population, especially by securing cooperation of the dominant section which wielded authority over the others by organising itself into associations. In the same period, Samatat.a, which was categorised as the territory of a peripheral king beyond the direct control of the Guptas, saw the emergence of local kings who nominally accepted Gupta suzerainty and adopted its administrative apparatus as a model. Their power was characterised by the hierarchy of subordinate rulers who acted as administrative functionaries under them. The state formation in RΣd.ha and Van.ga took clear form in the mid-sixth century with the emergence of sovereign rulers who imitated the Guptas in both royal title and administrative apparatus. They also adjusted their rule to the local power relations, in which landed magnates, in alliance with scribal groups, were ascendant (Chattopadhyaya 1990: 18–69). Under their rule, the state and its administrative functionaries tried to extend their control over rural society in opposition to local landed magnates. In this process, a class of subordinate rulers generally called sΣmantas asserted their presence.The state formations in each sub-region developed further in the seventh century. RΣd.ha saw the emergence of a kingdom strong enough to engage with the other political powers in contemporary North India. The dominance of the state and its agents over rural society was enhanced under its rule. In Samatat.a, several lines of subordinate rulers, who owed their power to the administrative positions conferred by an overlord, asserted their authority by issuing their own copper plate inscriptions with nominal acknowledgement of their dependence. They took the initiative in reclaiming forest tracts by establishing Brahmanical shrines and settling large numbers of brΣhman.as on them. From their ranks, the Khad.gas emerged as sovereign rulers of eastern Van.ga and Samatat.a, to be followed by the Devas and then by the Candras, who would extend their rule over the eastern half of Bengal in the tenth century. The political condition of Pun.d.ravardhana after the end of Gupta rule in the mid-sixth century is unclear, due to the lack of contemporary sources. It could be surmised from the genealogy of the early PΣla kings and their subordinate rulers, recorded in the copper plate inscriptions of the former, that this sub-region also saw the ascendancy of local landed magnates and the growth of sΣmantas. The PΣlas started their political career as the representatives of those landed magnates and established their dominance over the western half of Bengal and eastern Bihar in the eighth century.The variegated adaptations in the sub-regions of Bengal delineated above show common tendencies at different paces, namely the emergence of local kingships with a class of subordinate rulers under them, which would culminate in the formation of regional kingdoms represented by the PΣlas and the Candras. This process of state formation and integration would constitute one factor in the making of Bengal as a region, the political representation of which was the integration of almost all the sub-regions by the Senas, even though just for a short while.BibliographyBhattacharyya, Amitabha, Historical Geography of Ancient and Early Medieval Bengal, Calcutta: Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar, 1977.Chattopadhyaya, B. D., Aspects of Rural Settlements and Rural Society in Early Medieval India, Calcutta: K P Bagchi, 076MODERN ASIAN STUDIES REVIEW Vol.5

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