The History of Vrijis ( or Vajji or Vrijji or Vriji Clan)
Origin and Rise of the Vrijis
In the 6th century B.C. the republican clan of the Vrijis was very famous for their power. To begin with the Vrijis formed a confederacy consisting of 8 republican clans. Each clan had equal status in the confederacy. Among these clans the Videhans, the Lichchhavis, the Jnatrikas and the Vriji proper were most prominent. The history of the Vrijis is the history of these important clans taken together. The Videhans had their capital at Mithila; Vaisali was the capital of the Lichchhavis; the Jnatrika capital was Kundapura.
Evolution of Videha-from Monarchy to Republics
Of the four prominent clans of the Vrijis, perhaps the Videhans originally seem to have a monarchical constitution. But in subsequent age the Videhan royal house declined. The people of Videha adopted a republican constitution. Later on the republic of Videha was included in the Vrijian confederacy.
Dr. H.C. Raychowdhury has aptly remarked, “Political evolution in India thus resembles closely the political evolution in ancient cities of Greece where also the monarchies of the Heroic Age were succeeded by aristocratic republic.” The transition of Videha from monarchy to republic may be a typical example of the process by which a few other monarchies embraced republican constitution.
Vedic Origin of the Republics
A different interpretation has, however, been given by Prof. Romila Thaper. According to her, the republics were older than the monarchies of the 6th century B.C. They had directly emerged from the Vedic tribes and retained their tribal tradition. The monarchies of the larger type were later growth. There are legends that some republics were founded by persons of royal lineage as in the case of the republic of Videha. In any case, such republics as Videha were transformed from a monarchy, which was the Rig Vedic tribal monarchy.
Struggle of Vriji with Magadha and fall
The Vrijian confederacy was faced with a challenge from the incipient Magadhan imperialism. Ajatasatru, the Magadhan king launched a long war against Vriji and destroyed it.