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During Mahajanapadas period, we find two types of ruling .. One is Kingdom where King is supreme and the other representative government like in Vajji Confederacy and Mallas.




Gana SanghasKingdoms
The Chief head is elected among the people and is called as Ganapathi or Ganaraja. The power was vested in the aristocratic council consisting heads of Kshatriya Raja Clan and authority structure of Ganas had more of tribal organisationThe Kingdoms registered a central government lead by the king as Sovereign and all power was vested in him and the ruling family which became dynasty and hereditary succession used to happen.
Most of the Ganas were located in or near the foothills of Himalayas showing that they are predated to the transition to kingdoms as their establishment was easy at low lying wooden hills rather than marshy jungles.Kingdoms were settled in fertile alluvial Ganga Plains mostly.
They had representative government and any decision would be taken in the assembly hall known as Santhgara. If unanimous decision hasn't been reached, the decision would be put to vote. Ganapuraka was responsible to maintain the quorum in the assembly. Votes would be put by raising wooden pieces called Salakas and the one who takes the count was called Salaka- Gahapaka.Political power was vested in the king and King was advised by the ministries and advisory councils called Parishads and Sabha. Due to emergence of the king as divine and Priestly rituals, the importance of Sabha has been reduced gradually.
The Ganasanghas had only two Strata - Kshatriya Rajakula and dasa karmakaraThe kingdoms focus was more on caste loyalties and loyalty towards the king
The Ganasanghas were ready to tolerate unorthodox views and more open to individualistic and independent opinions than the kingdom. Buddhism in Shakya Clan and Jainism in Vajji Confederacy are master examples of tolerated unorthodox views which were rivaling Brahmanical views of those times.The Brahmanical political, social and religious traditions were deeply entrenched in the societies of the kindoms.
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