perhaps intervened only in extreme cases of usury. Almost virtual absence of
state control might well have led to great distress to the borrower in many
cases.
    Individuals as well as collective bodies like guilds and corporations were
found involved in this business. In contracting loans, they framed their own
rules, although in this respect they seem to have been largely guided by local
customs. Narada and Brihaspati laid down rules regarding the security,
guarantor and validity and utility of loan documents. The normal rate of
interest according to them was 15 per cent per annum. But interestingly the
rates of interest varied from one caste to another, the lowest being paid by the
Brahmins. The obligation to repay a loan was inherited by the son or any
legal heirs of a debtor.
Urban Centres
The emergence of self-sufficient local units of production is also indicated by
the gradual decay of urban centres in the Gupta period. Archaeology shows
that Kushana layers belonging to the first-third centuries AD were very
flourishing. On the other hand, the Gupta layers belonging to the fourth-sixth
centuries AD were in a state of decline, and in many cases Kushana bricks
were used in Gupta structures. In many urban sites habitation disappeared
after the sixth century AD. This is evident from the excavations at a number of
sites in north India such as Sanghol (in Ludhiana), Indraprastha, Hastinapur,
and Chirand. The same position obtains in Maharashtra, Karnataka and
Andhra Pradesh.
CULTURE
Gupta Arts
Architecture
By evolving the Nagara and Dravida styles, the Gupta art ushers in the
history of Indian architecture a formative and creative age with unlimited
scope for future development and elaboration.