supervision the craftsmen constructed a cave; this class of overseers included
monks, elders, merchants, etc., and were known variously as navakarmika
and uparakshita, but whether they had to do anything with the state is not
clear. The machinery through which the Satavahana rulers dealt with the
various groups and types of artisans and merchants (negamas), so often
mentioned in inscriptions, is not indicated. They were evidently free to make
and form their guilds, with which even royal benefactors deposited
endowment money. A look at the gifts made to Buddhist monks and
institutions gives us the impression that in Bharhut and Sanchi, most of the
gifts were given by artisans and a class of merchants called gandhikas, from
which the title gandhi is derived. But the Nasik and Junnar cave inscriptions
show that many individual gifts were recorded by merchants called nekama
or negama, although gandhikas, sethis and sathavahas also figure as donors.
Their Contribution to State Income If the artisans and merchants were so
liberal in their patronage of religion, the state would not be too happy if they
were stingy in the cause of politics. Though direct evidence on the royal
income from artisans and merchants is little, the use of the term karu-kara
would show that even artisans living in villages had to pay taxes. Ferry dues,
which were remitted in some cases by Ushavadata (son-in-law and deputy of
Saka ruler Nahapana), may have been mainly paid by merchants. Customs
officers may have been appointed to look after custom-houses in various
seaports of the Satavahana kingdom, but we have no means of finding out the
real position.
Association of Merchants in Administration The Satavahanas probably
gave high official positions to merchants. Merchants seem to have been
closely associated with the management of towns, whose number was
evidently the largest in the Satavahana territory. Inscriptions mention Broach,
Sopara, Kanheri, Kalyana, Paithan, Tagara (Ter), Junnar, Karle, Govardhana,
Nasik and Dhanyakataka. Excavations reveal the existence of many of these
and other urban settlements. These are Maski, Brahmagiri, Chandravalli,
Brahmapuri (Kolhapur), Jorwe, Kondapur, Bahal, Sangankallu, Amaravati,
Nagarjunikonda, etc; we might include Arikamedu also. The Ariake Sadenon
of Ptolemy, identifiable with the Satavahana kingdom, contained five ports
and eighteen inland towns and in all likelihood, many of these are covered by
those mentioned in inscriptions