agrarian society. The spread of agrarian settlements was closely connected
with the penetration of the jati-varna society into ‘tribal society’. The
transformation of the tribal society into jatis took place along with the
absorption of many tribal deities into the sectarian Brahmanical bhakti cults,
which were patronised by the relatively new ruling groups. In the process,
some cults acquired central importance in certain regions, and the centrality
of those cults actually projected the centrality of their royal patrons. Thus,
temple, building activities by many early medieval dynasties are not viewed
by these historians as instances of wasteful expenditure in an impoverished
economy, nor as an indicator of the political nervousness and uncertainties of
a given ruler(s).
Perception of Early Medieval Polity as Integrative Polity The massive
epigraphic evidence from early medieval South India gives irrefutable proof
of the presence of Chola bureaucratic officers at locality level centres. This
evidence has been used to counter the claims of the consolidation of the
Chola segmentary state. The Chola central authority seems to have intervened
in the affairs of the nadus, attempted administrative restructuring and also
instituted, at least twice, thorough land revenue assessments. The image of
the early medieval polity as a fragmented and/or a segmented one has been
opposed by the perception of ‘integrative polity’.
Nature of Polity
Contemporary Legal Commentaries The noteworthy changes in the
political organisation of the period are revealed in the relevant sections of the
contemporary commentaries of earlier Smriti works. The definition of ‘king’
was one of the topics that was dealt thoroughly and some of the proposed
definitions indicate the wide variety of authorities now included under this
term. With reference to a king’s duties, Vijnanesvara wrote: “This duty
should be understood to apply to one of another caste also who is engaged in
the task of protecting the province, the district and so forth.” Another author
declared that coronation rites and royal consecration were really illustrative
and that the king may be proclaimed simply: by being seated on the throne
according to the particular usages of countries and families. The fact that the
theorists were repeatedly trying        to link kingship with the functions