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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Nagvanshi Governance System - JPSC/JSSC

Nagvanshi Governance System

In the first century (64 AD), the Munda monarchy (kingship) was transferred to the Nagvanshis. The first king of the Nagavanshi Phanimukut Rai did not abolish the Parha system nor made any changes, but tried to expand it. 


Nagvanshi Governance System

Historical Background:

  • Phanimukut  Rai (ruled from 83 AD to 162 AD) was then adopted by Madra Munda, and his successors were called Nagvanshi. 

  • The term Naga, Nagavansh, Pundarika, and Pundra denotes the tribal clan that was centered around the Chotanagpur region which is now a part of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Bengal. 

  • Pundarika Naga was the father of the famed Phanimukut Rai. Pundarika Naga (the serpent) could assume the human form but like the 'churail'= spirit of the woman who died at childbirth, who can not change their heel from back to front, could not change the forked tongue. Pundarika Naga was thus either a symbol or spirit and not a snake or human being. Snake or any other animal, other than a human being can not learn scriptures or magic.

  • Pithoria was the capital of Chotanagpur's Nagvanshi dynasty founder Phanimukut Rai. Before this dynasty, tribal ruler Maharaja Madra Munda had founded his capital here around 500 BC.

  • Khukragarh (Bero block of Ranchi), excavation of coins and pottery proved that 18th Nagavanshi ruler Bhim Karn founded his capital in Khukragarh.

In the era of Nagvanshas, the previous tax system, land system, and government system continued to like all Mundas. There were no changes in this system from the 1st century to the 16th century But the first effective interruption in this tradition began from the Mughal invasion period i.e. 1585 AD.


Mughal Invasion and Tax System:

  • The Mughal army began to keep an eye on the kings here at Chotanagpur and later it gradually assumed a regular form, which came to be known as 'Malgujari'

  • The practice of collective taxes/goods in the Nagvanshi period was not from the common ryots. Therefore, it was difficult for the Nagvanshi kings to give the Mughal rulers the goods of the entire kingdom.

  • Maharaja Durjan Shal of Chota Nagpur Khas was imprisoned in 1616 AD and was kept by Jahangir for 12 years in the Gwalior fort. 


  • The tax of the Nagvanshi kings went increasing. But there was no provision for taxing its subjects. Due to the constantly increasing tax volume, the Nagavanshi kings changed their ancient system and started collecting taxes.

  • The Nagvanshi kings called the principal standards of the Parha as Bhumihar and ordered to recover the goods. Later the kings kept their separate vassals (bondsman) and authorized them to collect the goods. This made the situation of Bhumihars even more pathetic.

  • The vassals used to collect tax, but it was not given regularly. It was given only when a Mughal emperor sought it. This irregular tax system was called 'Nazrana' or 'Offerings'.


British Invasion:

  • The arrival of the British came after the Mughals found Diwani in 1765. As soon as they arrived, these people placed the area under Fort William under the system of Patna Council.

  • When no regular tax was received from this area till 1773 AD, then S.G. Hittley was appointed the first collector from Chota Nagpur Khas. But this too was not successful in tax collection. 

  • The British adopted many other methods of collecting taxes, but they did not achieve complete success.

  • In 1793 AD, the Raja-Maharajas were made zamindars on the pretext of permanent settlement for regular tax collection. 

  • Jagirdari system changed into Zamindari system. This was an important change. with this system, the rule of the Mundas and Nagavansh, which had been in existence since ancient times came to an end, and the British Raj system came into force.

  • The King or the Maharajas remained a medium to collect taxes for the British, after which the law and order of the British began. 

  • New laws & regulations started coming in, in which the King-Maharajas, Munda-Manak, Padha-Panchayat, etc. merged here. Along with the whole country, Chota Nagpur also came under the British and the rule of Nagavanshi kings ended.


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