Struggles for Rights during Later Chola Period
ALTHOUGH stone inscriptions were not intended to serve as historical literature, the events they describe and the information they convey make them valuable as sources of historical study. Inscriptions provide abundant material for the historical interpretation of relations of production during the later Chola period (871 AD to 1279).1
Time and again during the later Chola period, struggles arose against Brahmin and Velala landlords who were vested with hegemony and authority in the feudal system which constituted the basis of social life. Several revolts burst out in opposition to tax burdens and in pursuit of the rights of sections of the people.
Agriculture supported the overwhelming masses of the people during this period. Land belonged to temples as Devadanam land; to Brahmins as Brahmadeya and to Velalas as Velan Vagai. Officials, dancing girls and soldiers also held land as Jeevitha, that is, for a living. Devadanam and Brahmadeya were Irayili^ or tax-free land.2 In some places, Jeevitha land and land belonging to certain individuals were exempt from taxes.8 As the tax-free land was considerable and tended to expand over the period, small cultivators and other sections of the people had to bear an increasingly punishing tax burden.4
The fight against tax burdens took several forms. Inscriptions