Activities of Merchant Guilds in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri Districts
The corporate life in India had a very long history. The Vedic literature mentions the name ‘Srinis’ or ‘Nigama’ to denote mercantile guild. In Tamil Vanigar, Nagaram were used to denote it. The principal idea of establishing the guild was for benefit trading societies or small business associations further its formation was aimed to shield mutual concerns and preserve standards of morality or conduct. However, in due course the merchant guilds occupied in many activities such as military service, judicial service, religious function, Socio-religious function and secular functions. The Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts formed north-western bordering part of Tamil Nadu. This region though geographically defined as dry and socially and economically backward
area most suited for pastoral life and economy; which gave less opportunity for mercantile activities. However the inscriptions of this region establish the mercantile guilds activities from 6th century CE. In this study a small attempt is made to reveal the functions of merchants of this region.
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