samiti समिति

Definition: Denotes an ‘assembly’ of the Vedic tribe. It is alreadv mentioned in the Rigveda, and often later, sometimes in connexion with Sabhā. Ludwig considers that the Samiti included all the people, primarily the viśafy, 'subjects,' but also the Mag’havans and Brahmins if they desired, though the Sabhā was their special assembly. This view is not probable, nor is that of Zimmer, that the Sabhā was the village assembly. Hillebrandt appears to be right in holding that Samiti and Sabhā are much the same, the one being the assembly, the other primarily the place of assembly. The king went to the assembly just as he went to the Sabhā. That he was elected there, as Zimmer thinks, is as uncertain as whether he was elected at all (see Rājan). But there are clear signs that concord between king and assembly were essential for his prosperity. It is reasonable to assume that the business of the assembly was general deliberation on policy of all kinds, legislation so far as the Vedic Indian cared to legislate, and judicial work (cf. Sabhāsad). But of all these occupations there is, perhaps as a result of the nature of the texts, little or no evidence directly available.The gods had a Samiti, hence called daivī, ‘divine,’ just as they had a Sabhā. The assembly disappears as an effective part of government in the Buddhist texts, the Epic, and the law-books.


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