and the changing complexion of the king’s
ruling samanta hierarchy and the rural landed aristocracy in this respect.
Some post-Gupta inscriptions reveal that the monarchs and overlords gave
land grants in the territories and estates of their samantas. So, the rights
enjoyed over land by the overlords and the samantas of different grades
depended upon their actual power and prestige.
    As the practice of granting lands gained increased curency, the theoretical
ownership of land, including the grass and pasture-land, reservoirs, groves,
and dry land, also went to the beneficiaries. Such increasing land grants may
be interpreted as a general indication of an increasing claim of the king over
the land. Under such circumstances, sometimes the actual cultivators of the
land were also transferred to the donees.
    However, there is also evidence, both literary and epigraphic, of private
individual ownership of land by the aristocracy in the post-Gupta period.
Some literary sources have stray references suggesting individual ownership,
while several inscriptions record cases of land grants and land sales by
private individuals. In some inscriptions, lands owned by private individuals
are mentioned in connection with the demarcation of the boundaries of the
donated land.
    Thus the state was deemed to be the owner of all lands as a general
proposition, but individuals or groups that cultivated lands in their possession
were regarded practically as owners thereof, subject to the liability to pay
land tax and the right of the state to self land for non-payment of tax.
Types of Land
Land can be variously classified as cultivated, cultivable, fallow, barren, low,
high, hilly, marshy, and the like. The inscriptions from Bengal mention ksetra
which probably suggests cultivated land. That the ksetra was certainly better
than the other types can be inferred from the fact that the sale price of ksetra
was four dinaras per kulyavapa, and the sale price of other types of land
varied between two and three dinaras.
    Besides ksetra other terms which we come across in the inscriptions from
Bengal are khila ksetra, vastubhu, aparahata, talabhumi, hajjika-
khilabhumer. The term khila also finds place in Amarakosa, which explains
khila as land which has not been cultivated. Narada lays down that a field that