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    BY:TARUN PRATAP

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    ITEMS OF TRADE:---------

    WHILE THE LOCAL TRADE WAS MOSTLYCONFINED TO THE ARTICLES OF THEDAILY USE ,TRADE BETWEEN THEDIFFERENT PARTS OF INDIA WASUSUALLY FOR THE VALUABLE ANDD

     THE LUXURY COMMODITIES LIKE

    PEPPER,SANDALWOOD,CORAL,MUSK,SAFFRON,YAK’S TAIL,ELEPHANT,HORSES,GOLD ,COPPER ,IRON ANDMICA.

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     TRADE PRACTISONES:-----------

    NARADA AND THE BRIHASPATI LAID

    DOWN MANY REGULATIONS TOGOVERN THE TRADE PRACTISES OF

     THE TIME, PARTICULARLY CONCERNING THE RETUEN OF GOODS ONCE

    SOLD,QUALITY OF THEGOODS,DISHONEST DEALINGS IN

    SUBSTANDARD AND THE STOLEN

    GOODS.

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    PRICE AND MEASUREMENTS:----------

    UNLIKE THE MAURAYANS ,THE GUPTAS

    DID NOT TRY TO FIX THE PRICES

    ,WHICH ,THEREFORE FLUCTUATEDACCORDING TO THE DEMANDS AND

    SUPPLY.

    IN THE GUPYA PERIOD NOT ONLY THEPRICES BUT THE UNITS OF

    MEASUREMENT DIFFERED FROM PLACE

     TO PLACE.

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    2. EXTERNAL TRADE

    FOREIGN TRADE IN THE GUPTA PERIOD DOESNOT 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,WASUNDERMINED BY THE ROMAN REACTIONAGAINST THE DRAIN OF GOLD AND WASCOMPLETELY STOPPED BECAUSE OF THEBARBARIAN RAIDS OF THE ROMAN AND THEGUPTAN EMPIRES.

     TRADE WAS HOWEVER REVIVED BETWEEN INDIAAND THE BYANTINE EMPIRE ,AS WE LEARNFROM THE ACCOUNT OF PROCOPIUS AND ITPROBABLY WORKED IN FAVOUR OF INDIA.

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

     TRADE BETWEEN THE TWO.

    ROMAN EMPIRE IMPORTED IRON ,IVORYAND COTTON BUT THE MOST IMPORTANTWERE SPICES AND SILK.

     THE PERSION TRADERS USED TO MAKEPROFIT AS THEY ACTED AS THEMIDDLEMEN.

    BESIDES THIS INDIA ALSO HAS TRADINGLINKS WITH ARABIA,PERSIA ANDPERHAPS AND PERHAPS ARMENIA.

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     TRADE WITH CEYLON-----------

    INDIA’S IMPORT FROM CEYLON WERE

    PERHAPS PEARLS AND SILVER. INDIA EXPORTED

     TEXTILES,SPICES,SANDALWOOD,MUSK,CASTOR OIL HORSES ANDELEPHANTS.

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     TRADE WITH SOUTH-EAST ASIA-------------

     THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AND EASTERNINDIA CARRIED ON TRADE WITH SOUTH-

    EAST ASIA BUT THE TRADING LIKS WERENOT AS EXTENSIVE AS WTH THERYANTINE 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.

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    GUILDS

     THE GIULDS OF THESE TIMES NOT ONLY CARRIED OUT THE TRADINGFUNCTIONS BUT ALSO PERFORMS THE JUDICIAL AND THE EXECUTIVEFUNCTIONS.

    EPIGRAPHIC EVIDENCE SHOWED THAT THE GUILDS OF THESE TOMES ALSOMAINTAINED 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 TOENFORCE THE USAGES PRECALENT IN THE GUILDS.

    BRIHASPATI LAYS DOWN THAT WHATEVER IS DONE BY THE HEADS OF THEGUILD S,IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRESCRIBED REGULATIONS,MUST BEAPPROVED 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 ANDCRIMINAL ACTIVITIES.

    BUT ALL THE ABOVE REGULATIONS CLEARLY STATES THAT IN THE GUPTAPERIOD THE GUILDS WERE CONSIDERED CAPABLE OF THREATENING THE STATE.

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    CURRENCY

    CANDRAGUPTA-KUMARDEVI TYPE COINS WERE THE EARLIEST TYPE OF COINS OF THE GUPTA DYNASTY.

    SOME SCHOLORS SUGGESTED THAT SAMUDRAGUPTA FIRSTISSUED 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 TOCOMMEMERATE THE MARRIAGE OF THE LICCHAVI PRINCES TO HIS FATHER.

    BUT IT IS CERTAIN THAT THE MINTING OF THE SILVER COINSWERE FIRST STARTED DURING THE REIGNOFCHANDRAGUPTA-II .

    COPPER COINS WERE ALSO ISSUED ATLEAST IN THE REIGNOF THE CHANDRAGUPTA-II AND KUMARGUPTA.

     THE GOLD COINS ISSUED BY THE GUPTA RULERS COULD BEUSEFUL ONLY FOR THE BIG TRANSACTIONS SUCH AS THESALE AND PURCHASE OF LAND AND PROPERTY.SMALLER TRANSCTIONS WERE EVIDENTLY CONDUCTED THROUGH THEBARTER SYSTEM OR THE COWERIES.

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    USURY

     TOUGH IT WAS WELL RECOGNISED PROFESSION ,BUT THEWEALTH ACQUIRED BY IT DID NOT EARN THE REPUTATION OF THE SOCIETY.

     THE NORMAL RATE OF INTEREST ACCORDING TO NARAD ANDBRIHASPATI WAS "#$ PER ANNUM.BUT INTERESTINGLY THE

    RATE OF INTEREST VARIED FROM CASTE TO CASTE ,THELOWEST BEING PAYED BY THE BRAHAMINS.

     THE OBLIGATIO TO REPAY LOAN WAS INHERITED BY THE SON ORANY ANOTHER LEGAL HEIR.

    NARAD AND BRIHASPATI LAID DOWN THE RULES FOR CONDUCTOF THIS BUSINESS AND POINTED OUT THE LEGAL,MORAL, ANDECONOMIC JUSTIFICATIONS OF THE INTEREST.

     THE GUPTA STATE HAS APPARENTLY LITTLE RESPONSIBILITYCONCERNING THE CONTRACT BETWEEN THE LENDER AND THEBORROWER AND PERHAPS INTERVENED ONLY IN EXTREMECASES OF USURY.ALMOST VIRTUAL ABSENCE OF STATECONTROL OF MIGHT WELL HAVE LED TO GREAT DISTRESS TO THE BORROWER.

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    AGRARIAN STRUCTURE

     THE STATE WAS THE EXCLUSIVE OWNER OF LAND .THE MOST DECISIMENTARGUMENT IN FAVOUR OF THE EXCLUSIVE STATE OWNERSHIP OF THE LANDWAS THE PAHARPUR COPPER PLATE INSCRIPTION OF BUDDHAGUPTA WHERE ITIS STATED THAT THE EMPEROR ACQUIRED WEALTH AS WELL AS THE SPIRITUALMERIT ,WHEN HE MADE THE LAND GRANTS.THIS MAKES IT OBVIOUS THAT HEWAS THE OWNER OF THE LAND.

    FROM THE ECONOMIC VIEW POINT THE LANDS OF THE GOUPTA PERIOD WAS

    CLASSIFIED INTO THE THE FOLLOWING: ".KSHETRA:CULTIVABLE LAND

    %.KHILA:WASTE LAND

    &.APRAHATA:JUNGLE OR FOREST LAND

    '.VASTI:HABITABLE LAND

    #.GAPATA SARAH:PASTURE LAND

    MOST IMPORTANT KIND OF LAND TENURE PREVELANT IN THE GUPTA PERIODWAS THAT OF THE NIVI DHARMA , WHICH MEANS LAND OWNER SHIP INPERPETUITY.

    IN TH GUPTA PERIOD THE LAND SUEVEY WAS EVIDENT FROM THE POONA PLATEOF PRABHAVATI GUPTA.AN OFFICER NAMED PUSTAPALA MAINTAINED THERECORDS OF ALL LAND TRANSACTIONS I N THE DISTRICT.

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    DIFFERENT KIND OF TAXES.

    BHAGA:CUSTOMORY SHARE OF THE KING(")* TH OF THEPRODUCE+

    BHOGA:PERIODIC SUPPLY OF THEFRITS,VEGETABLES,WOOD,FLOWERS ETC WHICH THEVILLAGERS 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 THEVILLAGERS.

    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.

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    STATE OF AGRICULTURE

     THERE ARE PLENTIFUL REFERENCES OF AGRICULTURE ANDITS EVERY ASPECT IN THE SOURCES OF THE GUPTA PERIOD.

    A GENEROUS NATURE AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OFIRRIGATION FACILITIES GREATLY ESTABLISHED THEEXPANSION OF THE AGRICULTURE.

    WE FIND IN KALIDASA THAT EVEN THE HERMITS UTILISEDLANDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF AGRICULTURE ANDPRODUCED DIFFERENT KINDS OF FOOD GRAINS FOR THEIROWN MAINTENANCE.

    KEEPING THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE IN VIEW,BOTHNARAD AND BRIHASPATI LAID DOWN THE RULES FOR THE

    DRASTIC PUNISHMENT OF THOSE GUILTY OF THOSE GUILTYOF EITHER DAMAGING CORPS OR STEALING FOOD GRAINS.

     THOUGH WE FIND NUMEROUS EXAMPLES OF THEPROSPEROUS AGRICULTURE DURING THIS PERIOD ,THEREWERE EQUALLY FREQUENT REFERENCES TODROUGHTS,FLOODS,CROP FAILURES AND FAMINES.

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    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 ONLYNEXT TO PEASENTS IN THE IMPORTACE TO THERURAL COMMUNITY.

    A SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT IN THE METALINDUSTRY DURING THIS PERIOD WAS THEMANUFACTURE SEALS AND THE STATUES,PARTICULARLY OF THE BUDDHA.

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    URBAN CENTRES

     THE EMERGENCE OF THE SELF-

    SUFFICIENT UNITS OF PRODUCTIONIS LASO INDICATED BY THE GRADUAL

    DECAY OF THE URBAN CENTRESDURING THE GUPTA PERIOD.

    IN MANY URBAN SITES THE

    HABITATION DISAPPEARED AFTER THE SIXTH CENTURY A.D

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    CONCLUSION

    IT IS THEREFORE ARGUED THAT THE INDIANECONOMY INTHIS PERIOD WAS LARGELY BASEDON THE SELF SUFFICIENT UNITS OF PRODUCTIONIN VILLAGES AND TOWNS,AND THAT THE MONEY

    ECONOMY WAS GRADUALLY BECOMING WEAKERDURING THIS TIME.  THE BOND OF THE STATE CONTROL WHICH KEPT

     THE UNITS TOGETHER IN THE MAURAYAN PERIODAND THAT OF THE COPPER CURRENCY WHICHUNIFIED IT IN THE IN THE PRE-GUPTA PEROID NO

    LONGER OPERATED DURING THIS PERIOD.  THIS HOWEVER DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE

    PRODUCTION DECLINED ,INSTEAD AGRICULTUREAND CRAFT PRODUCTION HAS SHOWN ASUBSTIAL INCREASE.