stratification did not yet require the machinery of a state, the importance of
lineage still being sufficiently important and adequate for asserting authority.
It is perhaps in this context that the vis and the praja are said to be obedient
to the kshatriya. Praja is a new concept and presumably includes the non-kin
groups as well as the non-lineage groups such as the sudras.
Emergence of Janapadas A group of clans constituted a jana and the
territory where they settled was referred to as the janapada. As long as the
settlements were comparatively small, lineage authority was sufficient as a
mechanism of control. This is in part indicated by the fact of the janapadas
being named after the kshatriya lineages which had established their control
in the area. Thus, apart from the Kuru and Panchala, mention is made of
Kekaya, Madra and Matsya, among others. The kshatriya lineages claimed
control over the territory of the janapada but the notion of a well-defined
territory was uncertain at this time. The boundaries between janapadas tend
to be topographical features such as forests, rivers and streams and hills. The
term rashtra is mentioned at this time, but its meaning does not seem to be
that of a well-defined area over which absolute control is claimed. Rashtra
from the root raj (to shine) is used more in the sense of a realm or authority,
both in the Rig Veda and later Vedic texts.
Relationship between Kshatriyas and Grihapatis When the rajanyas
were converted into kshatriyas after acquiring power and becoming the hub
of the redistributive system, they came to depend more on the agricultural
activities of the vis and the prestations which the vis could provide. Since
numerically, the kshatriyas as chiefs would have been considerably smaller
than the members of the vis, such a dependence was not impossible.
Gradually therefore, the house-holding economy came to be associated with
the lineages of the vis, rather than with those of the kshatriyas. The eventual
emergence of the grihapati as a social category was in relationship to the vis.
Vaishya is not used for the cultivator, although the vaishya may have derived
his wealth from agriculture. The vis was by now, characterised by the house-
holding system, with the grihapati as the patriarchal head, commanding both
family labour and that of sudras and dasas.