GK Chronicle GK Chronicle

Ancient History / Pre-Mauryan Era

Socio-economic Conditions of Pre Mauryan Age


    The class or caste distinction that existed in Vedic religion destroyed the unity and cooperation among people. Various Sramana movements tried to end the disunity and brought some social unity among the people in the society. Iron was extensively used for making plough shears, weapons of war and other utility tools.

    • The lands in Magadha kingdom were very fertile as they were located between the rivers Ganges and the Son. People used to cultivate multiple crops throughout the year.
    • First metal coins were introduced during this period around 600 BC. These coins were punch marked coins. These coins do not have anything except one or two punches on both sides (punch of tree, sun, lion, etc.). Sources are not available as to who issued these coins. There are no inscriptions on the coins. Two metals were used for these coins namely silver (maximum) and few copper.
    • There was the beginning of guilds (merchant associations) named Sreni or Puga or Nigama during this period. Different guilds like Kolika Sreni (Weavers' guild), Telika Sreni (Oil makers' guild), Kulala Sreni (Potters' guild), Gandhika Sreni (Perfumers' guild), etc. were being formed during this period.
    • Guilds were performing the functions of a commercial bank. Deposits were received and interests were paid. These deposits were given to members as loan (capital needs were being served). Every guild had president, vice-president, treasurer, etc. Loans were given at higher rate of interest. Guilds were involved in welfare activities (roads, temples, etc. were built) with the gained profits.