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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 1015Book's First Page
rather than being dictated by legal or constitutional rules. Sovereignty comprised honor and reverence expressed in public interactions by people. Inscriptional transactions were mostly gifts, contracts and commitments that individuals entered into the superior-subordinate relationships. Expansive Dynastic Development Early medieval rulers, like their later medieval successors, typically increased their power not by deepening their direct control over local resources, but rather by extending their domains to cover more localities and by propagating more exalted titles for themselves in ceremonies in more distant places. Royal domains also spread with agricultural colonisation. Although each dynasty concentrated attention on its core territory, it could only grow by spreading its canopy. Expansive dynastic development produced new small centers of royal authority in new localities, more than it created big concentrations of population in major urban centers, which is a logical trend in the sparsely populated medieval landscape, which had lots of open land for making new farms and new village settlements. Such expansion also increased the power of local elites, who organised and controlled the expansion of village agriculture. There are no large state-sponsored schemes of agricultural colonisation recorded anywhere in medieval India. Local elites controlled the expansion of farming and thus, had their hands on the resources that medieval dynasties needed most immediately. Kaleidoscopic Nature of Political Geography Political geography is composed of localities where the inscriptions appear. In these localities, multiple, layered sovereignties overlap spatially as local rulers recognise dynasties whose royal canopies spread in various directions. Large tracts with no inscriptions surround places with many. Dynastic domains thus resemble shifting archipelagos of inscriptional sites rather than fixed state territories with stable boundaries. Archipelagos overlap as islands bowing to one king mix with those bowing to others. This spatial pattern of sovereignty continued until the gradual onset of modern political institutions that begins in the sixteenth and matures in the nineteenth century.