Who lived in the villages

Different kinds of people lived in the southern and northern part of the subcontinent. In the Tamil part , large landowners known as Vellavar, plough men known as uzhavar, landless labourers, including slaves known as kadaisiyar and adimai lived.

In the northern part, the village headman known as Grama bhojaka lived. Men from the same family held the position for generations. The Grama Bhojaka were the largest landowners. He hired people and slaves to cultivate the lands. He has all the powers. The king also took his help to collect taxes from the villages. He also plays the role of judge and policeman when required.

Other than Gramabhojaka, there were other independent farmers as well, grihapatis, who were smaller landowners. There were other men and women known as Dasa karmakara, who didn’t own lands, and had to earn their living by working on the fields owned by others.

In most villages there were other craftpersons, weavers,blacksmith, potters.


The earliest Tamil composition known as Sangam Literature, were composed around 2300 years ago. They were called Sangam because they were composed and compiled in the assemblies of poets held in the city of Madurai.

Have you ever heard of Jataka stories. These are the stories told or composed by ordinary people, and then written down and preserved by the Buddhist monks.

The sculptors carved scenes depicting the lives of ordinary people in cities and towns. These sculptors usually designed the railings, pillars or the gateways in the towns that were visited by the people.

Archaeologists have found some rows of pots in some cities and also ceramic rings arranged at the top of one another, these were called ring wells. These were used as toilets in some cases , or as drains or garbage dumps.

There were other ways also for finding out about lives of people. For an instance, the sailors and travellers who visited cities revealed a great deal about their requirements, needs and their lifestyles.


Several kinds and shaped coins were used during the period around 2300 years ago. Punch marked coins were either rectangular, square or round in shape. These were generally carved out of metal s

heets or metal globules.

These coins were not inscribed but we’re stamped with symbols using dies or punches. Thus, they were called punch marked coins. These coins were used in most of the subcontinent and existed till the end of early centuries ( CE).