or unearthed by excavations.
state that they hailed from Kalyana. We also hear of a negama from Sopara, a
blacksmith from Kalyana, and also a carpenter from Dhenukakataka. Some
people merely describe themselves as nigamaputra, inhabitant of town.
Though these instances are not exhaustive, they evidently indicate the pride
that artisans and merchants took in their cities and perhaps in their civic life
to which they contributed their mite. Several examples of this type reveal that
the merchants considered urban or territorial affiliations far more important
than tribal or family identities.
Role and Importance of Guilds At least some of these towns were
managed by the nigamasabha, in which Ushavadata proclaimed and got
registered, his deed of gift according to custom. Sometimes, the inhabitants
of a town made donations as a corporate body, and there are several
references to the gifts made by the town of Dhanyakataka in Amaravati
sculptures. Members of the nigamasabha were apparently merchants,
although some gahapatis also served in this capacity. The popular element in
local administration has been underlined by several scholars. Perhaps at no
other time in ancient history, do epigraphic records and excavations unveil so
many towns in the Deccan, especially in Maharashtra, as in the first two
centuries of the Christian era.
    Evidently, merchants did not participate in civic life on such a scale in
ancient India as they did in the Deccan during this period. The evidence from
the guilds of traders and artisans, commonly mentioned as seni or sreni and
nikaya in inscriptions, gives us the impression of an unprecedented
burgeoning of civic life under the Satavahana rule. In what relation did the
guilds of traders and artisans stand to the nigama-sabha is unknown, and so
is the nature of the relation between the guilds and the state. But evidently,
the guilds constituted a great source of economic stability to the king and
may have helped him in the administration of towns. Curiously enough, such
merchant bodies are not heard of under the successors of the Satavahanas.
State Formation in Far South
Different Phases There is an increasing interest in the characterisation of
the political level within the social formation of early South India. This
interest has been inspired by