By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 6 Second Urbanisation in India students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 6 Second Urbanisation in India

Rise of Mahajanpadas:
By 600 B.C.E. sixteen Mahajanapadas were established in India, from the northwest region to Magadha. Conquering other Janapadas and annexing their territory permanently to one’s own, became a regular practice in the times of Mahajanapadas. Ultimately, this conflict resulted into the creation of the large empire like Magadha. Ancient India once again witnessed the rise of cities. This process is known as the ‘Second Urbanisation’.

Ashmak/Assak Mahajanapada:
Among the sixteen Mahajanapadas or Assak is identified with the region of present-day Maharashtra. Ashmaka/Assaka was the only Mahajanapada that was situated in the region known as ‘Dakshinapatha’. Remaining fifteen Mahajanapadas were in north India. Suttanipata describes the region of Dakshinapatha in great details. It was the region of an important trading route.

Second Urbanisation in India:
The Janapadas with definite geographic borders and administrative system were established roughly around 1000 B.C.E. The ambition to expand geographic boundaries and the political conflict caused by it left some Janapadas more powerful than others.

It resulted into the creation of sixteen Mahajanapada from Afghanistan in the northeast to Bengal in the east, stretching to the banks of the Godavari in the south. The capital cities of the Mahajanapadas and some other cities, which flourished because of prospering trade once again brought the age of urbanisation in India. It is known as the ‘Second Urbanisation’.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 6 Second Urbanisation in India

Mahajanapadas and The Contemporary Cities:
Kasi: This Mahajanapada was a powerful one in the beginning of the Mahajanapada period. Varanasi was its capital. The kings of Kasi were ambitious. According to the jataka stories they aspired for the highest position among all contemporary kings (Sabbarajunam aggaraja).

Kosala: Ancient Kosala encompassed the regions of Uttar Pradesh in India and Lumbini in Nepal. Sharavasti was its capital city. King Prasenjit (Pasenadi) was a disciple of Gautama Buddha. Kosala was destroyed and annexed permanently to Magadha by King Ajatashatru.

Anga: The city of Champa was the capital of Anga. It was a centre of the marine trade. It was permanently annexed to Magadha by King Bimbisara.

Magadha: Magadha had its first capital at the city of Girivraja, also known as Rajagriha. Girivraja was surrounded by five hills making it formidable for the enemies. King Bimbisara was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha. The policy of territorial annexation of other kingdoms was started during the reign of Kind Bimbisara.

Vrujji/Vajji: This was a confederation of eight clans, known as ‘Maha Aththkula’. It included clans like Videha, Lichchhavi, Vajji, Shakya, Dnyatruk, etc. The ‘Ekapanna Jataka’ mentions that Vaishali, the capital of this Mahajanapada. was fortified with three surrounding walls. It had three entrance gates and bastions.

Malla: The city of Kushinara or Kushinagara (Kasia) in the Gorakhpur district was the capital of this Mahajanapada. Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana at this city. A copper plate inscription (5th century C.E.) was found at the ‘Parinirvana Stupa’ in this city. It read, “Parinirvana chaitye TamraPatra iti”. By the 3rd century B.C.E. the Malla Mahajanapada was merged into the Maurya empire.

Chedi: This Mahajanapada had occupied Bundelkhand and the region around it. The city of Shuktimati or Sotthivati was its capital. It is supposed to have been situated near ‘Banda’ in Uttar Pradesh.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 6 Second Urbanisation in India

Vamsha or Vatsa: Kaushambi was the capital (Kosam near Allahabad) of this Mahajanapada. According to the tradition of Purana texts. Hastinapur was destroyed by a flood of Ganga and King Nichakshu, a descendant of the Pandavas had to shift his capital to Kaushambi. The protagonist of the play ‘Swapnavasavadatta’ written by Bhasa is KingUdayan. He was the king of the Vatsa Mahajanapada and the contemporary of Gautama Buddha.

Kuru: The capital of this Mahajanapada was located at Indrapat near Delhi. Its name was Indraprastha or Indrapattana. According to the Jataka literature, the kings of Indraprastha belonged to ‘Yudhitthil’ gotra.

Panchala: The Mahajanapada of Panchala was divided into, Uttara (north) Panchala and Dakshina (south) Panchala. The river Bhagirathi was the natural boundary that divided the Mahajanapada Ahichchhatra, the capital of Uttara Panchala was located near the village of Ramanagar, district Bareilley, Uttar Pradesh. Kampilya, present-day Kampil in the Farukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh, was the capital of Dakshina Panchala.

Matsya: The capital of this Mahajanapada was Viratnagar, which was located at Bairat in the Jaipur district of Rajasthan. Matsya was merged into the empire of Magadha at a later date. Bairat is one of the places where Ashokan edicts have been found.

Shoorasena: This Mahajanapada was located on the bank of the river Yamuna. Its capital was the city of Mathura. Greek historians have mentioned the name of the Mahajanapada as ‘Shursenoi’ and Mathura as ‘Methora’. Later, the Mahajanapada of Shoorsena was merged into the Maurya empire.

Ashmak/Assak: We have seen earlier that Potali was the capital of Ashmak Mahajanapada and probably it was a feudatory state of Kashi maha janapada.

Avanti: This Mahajanapada encompassed the region of Malwa, Nimad and its neighbouring regions in Madhya Pradesh. Avanti Mahajanapada was divided into Uttara Avanti and Dakshina Avanti. Ujjayini (Ujjain) was the capital of Uttar Avanti, while Mahishmati (Mandhata, District Khandwa) was the capital of Dakshina Avanti.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 6 Second Urbanisation in India

Gandhara: This Mahajanapada had spread into Kashmir and Afghanistan. Taxila was its capital. Pukkusati or Pushkasarin was the king of Gandhara, who was a contemporary of King Bimbisara. He had established diplomatic relations with King Bimbisara.

Kamboja: This Mahajanapada is mentioned in the ancient literature along with Gandhara. Rajapura (Rajauri) was its capital. Kamboja was well-known for its excellent horses and its horsemen warriors for their skills of warfare. Kamboja people had resisted Sinkandara’s advent.

Mahajanapadas: Administrative System, Guilds
Administrative System: They were ‘Rajya’, ‘Svaarajya’, ‘Bhaujya’, ‘Vairajya’, ‘Maharajya’, ‘Saamrajya’ and ‘Parmeshthyi’. It is difficult to define these terms. However, ‘Shatapatha Brahmana’ and ‘Katyayana Shrautsutra’ explain the term Rajya and Saamrajya in the context of sacrificial system.

According to it, the king who performs ‘Rajasooya’ sacrifice is designated as ‘Raja’. The kingdom ruled by him is designated as ‘Rajya’. When a ‘Raja’ performs ‘Vajapeya’ sacrifice, he is entitled to the epithet of ‘Saamraj’ and the ‘Rajya’ under his rule is entitled as ‘Saamrajya’.

Guilds (Shrenis): Along with agriculture and animal husbandry, trade and systematic management and organisation of the trade are also essential factors for the prosperity of a state. The guilds of the merchants and the artisans played a great role in the growth of the Mahajanapadas into wealthy states.

These ‘ guilds had their own way of organisation and functioning. Guilds had their own, strict rules. Hence, they had a stringent structure. This stringent structure is perceived as one of the main reasons of the rise of the caste system.

Philosophy and Various Sects: At the end of the Vedic period questions about abstract aspects of human existence began to gain attention. It included questions about matters like the meaning of human life, its significance in the infinite nature of the universe, the mystery of death and the journey of the soul after death. It resulted in the creation of various philosophical texts, known as ‘Upanishadas’.

The latter included ‘Charvaka’ or ‘Lokayat’ school, which openly opposed the social organisation based on the Vedic authority, beliefs and rituals. This school also propagated that the ‘Truth’ comprises only those things, which are subject to sensory experience.

The 6th century B.C.E. is important from this point of view. The rising of a class of wandering mendicants known as ‘parivrajakas’ or ‘shramanas’, was characteristic of this period. They renounced the householder’s life and wandered with their disciples, in search of the ultimate truth. Among the various streams of thoughts, a large number of people were attracted to the teachings of Vardhamana Mahavira and Gautama Buddha.

New Religious Trends:
Jainism: The Jain religion has a tradition going back to very ancient times. According to the tradition of Jain religion, Vardhamana Mahavira was the 24th and the last ‘Tirthankara’ (saviour and the spiritual teacher). Parshvanath was the 23rd Tirthankara. He gave four vows of nonviolence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), non-stealing (Asteya) and non-possession (Aprigrah) to his followers. Vardhamana Mahavira added the fifth vow of celibacy (Brahmacharya) to it.

These five vows are known as ‘Panchmahavratas’. Mahavira founded the Jain Sangha. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya was a contemporary of Bhadrabahu, the sixth principal Acharya of the Jain Sangha. According to the Jain tradition, Chandragupta Maurya had embraced Jain religion. Siddhartha, the father of Vardhamana Mahavira, was the chief of the ‘Dnyatruka’ clan.

His mother, Trishaladevi was from the Lichchhavi clan. Vardhamana Mahavira was born in 599 B.C.E., in Kundgram near Vaishali. His wife’s name was Yashoda. Vardhamana Mahavira addressed people in Ardhamagadhi, the language of common people. He preached about good behaviour and life of devotion (devotion to the five vows).

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 6 Second Urbanisation in India

Buddhism: Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira were contemporaries. Gautama Buddha was horn in 563 B.C.E., in Lumbini Rummindei) in Nepal. His father’s name was Shuddhodana. Ile was a member of the Shakya clan. Gautama Buddha’s mother’s name was Mayadevi. She was from the Koliya clan. Gautama Buddha’s wife was Yashodhara. Gautama Buddha tried to attain the ultimate knowledge through various means, such as seeking guidance from various gurus and extreme austerities.

After realising that nothing of it was useful, he sat down meditating at Gaya, under a peepal (ficus religiosa) tree, on the bank of the river Niranjana (Lilajana). Here he attained enlightenment at the age of 35. After that he was known as ‘Buddha’, ‘Tathagata’ and also as ‘Shakyarnuni’.

Gautama Buddha preached four ‘Aryasatyas’ (four great truths).

  1. There is Sorrow (Dukkha) everywhere in the world.
  2. The root cause of sorrow is Greed (Trishna).
  3. To conquer this greed is the way to cut the sorrow at its very root (Dukkhanirodha).
  4. The way to stop sorrow from emerging is the eightfold path (Ashtangika Marga).


→ Protagonist – The main character in a play, film or book.

→ Satrapy – A province governed by a satrap.

→ Guilds – A medieval association of craftsmen or merchants often having considerable powder.

→ Pluralism – A condition or system in which two or more principles or states coexist.

→ Trisaran – Refers to the ‘Triratnas’ of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.