originated out of the need for a leader in warfare. Other theories emphasised
the divine origin of kingship. These theories were reinforced by attempts to
confer divinity on the raja through his participation in sacrifices such as the
asvamedha. The growing power of the king is attributed to divinity by the
Atharva Veda and the Satapatha Brahmana. In the former, the king Parikshit
is described as a god among men, and the latter describes the king as the
visible symbol of god Prajapati himself. Certain other theories emphasised
contractual elements, suggesting that the raja was chosen by his people who
hoped for specific material gains in return. The existence of these theories
suggests that the nature of political power was changing and simultaneously,
efforts were being made to understand and justify these changes.
    The king could give grants of land, but it implied transfer of privileges
regarding revenue without any ownership of the cultivators. Similarly, the
king granted to his favourites his royal prerogatives over villages in fiscal
matters. That a gift of land in the sense of ‘the conferring of ownership’ was
looked upon as a wrong custom may be inferred from the story in the
Satapatha and Aitareya Brahmanas that when king Visvakarman offered the
earth (probably a piece of land) to his officiating priest, the earth refused to
be given. Such gifts of land probably constituted a violation of customary
law. However, the conception of the absolute royal ownership of all land
does not seem to have arisen during this period.
Gana, the technical word for the republic, is found at forty-six places in the
Rig Veda. References indicate that gana also served as a sort of religious and
cultural (dancing and drinking) assembly.
    The first and nearest attempt at the classification of the types of
government is found in the Aitareya Brahmana, which talks about ten forms
of government. The terms svarajya and vairajya were used in this text in the
sense of the republican constitutions. Two trans-Himalayan tribes,
Uttarakurus and Uttaramadras, have been described as having a vairajya form
of government.
Tribal Assemblies