Open In App

What were shrenis and their functions?

Last Updated : 07 Feb, 2023
Like Article

Portrayed in numerous traditional Sanskrit and Pali texts, shrenis were work-related gatherings or societies. The fourth-century b.c. grammarian Pānini, alluded to shrenis, however without a reasonable depiction. Later Hindu shastras, Buddhist Jataka stories, and other Buddhist writing portrayed shrenis as town or town word-related bunches that united individual workers as well as the relationship of workers in corporate bodies to seek after their normal financial interests. Various texts recognized shrenis of ministers, specialists, champions, ranchers, woodworkers, creators of water system gadgets, ironworkers, potters, oil pressers, fabric dyers, weavers, grounds-keepers, festoon producers, transport pilots, anglers, betel dealers, ivory stone carvers, artists, concubines, and even hobos and cheats. Accounts exist of people changing their callings a few times and thusly their shreni affiliations.  Accounts likewise exist of individuals from one family having a place with various shrenis.

Networks of shrenis in some cases became whole towns or metropolitan areas. To be near their work, shrenis of foresters lived close to backwoods. Shrenis of smithies, craftsmen, potters, and weavers would live external a city’s walls in word-related towns or inside a city’s walls in exchange areas, found so clients could track down them and get their administrations. Such courses of action have some of the time been deciphered as antecedents of India’s later jajmani framework. Where shrenis resided in recognizable areas, a head shrenis could end up working as a town headman, with a large number of the going with liabilities.

As geological, political, and monetary conditions changed, shrenis and their chiefs now and again decided to move. A fifth-century a.d. engraving portrayed a shreni of well-off Gujarati silk weavers moving to Mandasor, where they gave an adequate number of assets to fix a sanctuary to the Sun God they had invested over thirty years sooner. Subsequent to showing up in Mandasor, the shreni individuals entered a wide range of occupations, while as yet keeping up with some cognizance of their prior organization affiliations as silk weavers.

Accounts showed that shrenis participated in an expansive scope of aggregate exercises. A few Buddhist orders expected a wedded lady to get the endorsement of her significant other and his shreni prior to turning into a religious woman. Some shrenis took care of debates among married couples. Others gave government assistance advantages to their individuals, supporting them during their ailments and really focusing on their widows and kids after their demises.


Ancient texts portrayed shrenis as headed by a shreshthin the best, the senior, the most significant. The shreshthin laid out his situation by heredity or through determination by a shreni gathering. As per texts, shreni heads were regularly supported by a couple of senior individuals from the shreni and by secretaries. Once in a while, rich and strong shreni heads took part in their ruler’s territorial boards and in some cases even turned into their ruler’s guides. Shreni heads were likewise depicted as taking part in intricate illustrious pony penances.

As per a few records, neighborhood rulers for the most part upheld a shreni’s rights to direct its individuals’ wages and costs, to make contracts with other shrenis and even with private people, and to rebuff and even oust individuals who disregarded shreni guidelines. Regional rulers likewise perceived their own liabilities to maintain and uphold whatever shreni contracts had been settled upon.

Shrenis might have their own seals made of earthenware, stone, bronze, copper, or ivory, like the marks of rulers and clergymen. Some shrenis gathered normal participation expenses, to which they added fines gathered from delinquent shreni individuals and gifts from donors. Through the fruitful administration of their assets, some shrenis turned out to be very well off. They worked as banks, loaning cash at rewarding financing costs to nearby traders and other shrenis. They additionally loaned cash to nearby rulers, in this manner acquiring political benefits for them as well as their individuals. Records portrayed shrenis sorting out state armies to safeguard their trains and stockrooms and afterward loaning their volunteer armies apparently under beneficial terms) to nearby rulers who needed extra battling men. Different records depicted vendor shrenis arranging parades themselves and charging freight ships for abroad exchange.

Shrenis didn’t utilize their abundance solely to create more riches. An engraving at the well-known Buddhist stupa at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, proclaimed that in the main century a.d. an ivory laborers’ shreni was given assets to develop one of the stupa’s four fundamental entryways. Many comparative engravings with contributors’ names and affiliations gave proof of shrenis’ commitments during that time to building and remodeling cloisters, stupas, sanctuaries, and strict networks.

The social and financial life depicted in the Jataka stories was reflected in such later artistic fills in as the Panchatantra (Five compositions) and the Brihatkatha. In these and comparable compositions, Brahman clerics and Buddhist priests and nuns showed up however assumed a minor part. The main characters were rulers and traders looking for power, benefit, and happiness in a world far off from the numerous limitations of Brahmanical texts. One can’t be aware how much the Jataka stories with their word-related gatherings and shrenis or the Brahmanical texts with their varṇas and Brahman ministers) precisely reflected society as it really existed whenever and place in India’s set of experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What number of sorts of shrenis are there?


Various texts recognized shrenis of clerics, specialists, champions, ranchers, woodworkers, creators of water system gadgets, ironworkers, potters, oil pressers, fabric dyers, weavers, grounds-keepers, festoon producers, transport pilots, anglers, betel vendors, ivory stone workers, artists, concubines, and even vs and hoodlums.

Question 2: What was the fundamental capability of the shrenis?


Shrenis is a relationship between skilled workers and money managers. The shouts of skilled workers carry out different roles. They gave preparation, bought unrefined substances, and conveyed completed items.

Like Article
Suggest improvement
Share your thoughts in the comments

Similar Reads