resistance might be expected. Even where local society did accept the ritual
and social status of brahmins, fierce competitive struggles might flare up over
land grants. In the ninth century, local conflicts of this kind accompanied new
Brahmin settlements on the Tamil coast. Some early medieval texts proclaim
that people who murder Brahmins will be punished harshly, which implies
that such murders did occur.
Rise of Warriors Several violent conflicts took place during the early
medieval times. One typical ninth century royal inscription boasts that
Chandellas forced the “wild tribes of Bhillas, Sabaras and Pulindas” into
submission. Subjugating enemies and tribes preoccupied most dynastic
genealogies. Valorous killing and death pervade literature and folklore. The
nature of organised warfare changed over time. While the Mauryas and the
Guptas had made war a civilising force, early medieval kings fought to define
the ranks of rajas and samantas as they fought to conquer nomads and forest
people who became the “wild tribes” outside the world of dharma. Tribal
societies outside dharma held most of the land around villages and towns.
Subduing tribes, expelling unruly elements, protecting farms against nomads,
and assimilating tribal groups into caste society, all required organised
Subjugation and Absorption of Pastoral and Tribal Groups Medieval
dynasties were keen about the expansion of permanent field cultivation that
required constant fighting on frontiers of farming. Violent conflicts among
sedentary farmers, pastoral nomads, shifting cultivators, hunters, warriors and
forest dwellers suggest that many groups resisted the rule of dharma. But
many pastoral and tribal peoples were also absorbed; their proportion of the
agrarian population was particularly high in the western plains, central
mountains, Punjab, western Gangetic basin and the interior peninsula. In
these regions, tribal groups held on to substantial political power. For
instance, Rajput rulers not only recognised Bhil chiefs as their allies and but
also gave them a central role in some Rajput coronation ceremonies.
Incorporation of Non-farming Groups into Expanding Agrarian
Societies Farming communities extended cultivation in medieval domains
by pushing pastoral nomads and forest cultivators to the fringes; but at the
same time, herders, hunters, nomads and other peoples also entered