There was wide range of Agricultural Technology used during 600 BC to 600 AD. At that time, the demand for taxes by the kings started increasing. In order to meet the increasing demand of taxes, the farmers started looking for ways to increase the farm yield. As a result, changes started in the methods of agriculture.

There are several agricultural technology developed and used during the year 600 BC to 600 AD such as Introduction of Plough, Use of Spade, Artificial Irrigation, etc. Let’s understand each of them in brief –

Introduction of Plough

One way of increasing the yield was the introduction of the plough. The plow was used in the fertile alluvial region of the Ganga and Kaveri valleys from the 6th century AD. In areas of heavy rainfall, plowing of fertile land with iron plows started. Apart from this, the cultivation of paddy in the Ganga valley also led to a huge increase in the yield. Even though the farmers had to work hard for this.

Use of Spade

Although the use of plow with iron spade increased the yield of crops, the use of such plows was limited to only a few parts of the subcontinent. In the semi-arid regions of Punjab and Rajasthan, the use of iron spade plow started in the 20th century. The farmers who lived in the northeastern and central mountainous regions of the subcontinent used the hoe for cultivation. The hoe was far more useful for such terrain.

Artificial Irrigation

Another method of increasing the yield was the use of artificial irrigation. Water from wells, ponds and at some places canals started being used for irrigation. These were developed by people individually as well as by farming communities together. The people who personally used the means of irrigation like ponds, wells and canals were often kings or influential people.

Impact of changed methods of agriculture

These new methods of farming increased the farm yield. But, due to this new agricultural technology differences started increasing among the people associated with farming activities. Landless agricultural laborers, Small farmers and big landlords are mentioned in the Buddhist stories, which shows the different social status of the farmers in society.

In Pali, the word ‘Grihapati’ was used for small farmers and landlords. Big landlords and village heads were considered powerful. They mostly controlled the farmers. The post of village head was often hereditary.

The early Tamil Sangam literature also mentions different classes of people living in villages; Such as the Vellalar or big landlord, the Plowman or Ulvar and the slave Animai. It is also possible that the basis of these differences was the ownership of land, labor and the use of new technology. In such a situation the ownership of land became important.

Categorized in: