Gaṇa sangha
Gana-Sangha or Gana-Rajya (equal government), refers to a type of republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 or oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 in ancient India
Mahājanapadas , literally "great realms", were ancient Indian kingdoms or countries...



During the Iron Age in India, the fertile Ganges plain
Indo-Gangetic plain
The northern Plains also known as the Indo - Gangetic Plain and The North Indian River Plain is a large and fertile plain encompassing most of northern and eastern India, the most populous parts of Pakistan, parts of southern Nepal and virtually all of Bangladesh...

 slowly urbanised, with cities forming and trade developing. Like ancient Greece, India during this Vedic period
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

, power lay in many city states rather than one empire. Some of these were kingdoms, and some were oligarchies or republics. Sophisticated urban life encouraged a flowering of philosophy and introspection. The Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 was born in one such state, Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu is the name of a region of ancient Shakya kingdom that is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists. The search for the Buddha's birthplace following the accounts left by Xuanzang and Faxian involved various searches in the late 19th century...

, home to the Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....


In modern times, the Republic of India is referred to as a gana-rajya; Bharat Ganarajya (भारत गणराज्य).
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