The Maurya Administration System was Efficient and Monarchical. The King of The Maurya Government was the head of the Mauryan Empire Administration.
The Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 B.C. His expansion took advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great’s armies.
The Adminsitration of Mauryan Empire was decentralized and the administrative powers were divided into convent administrative units. Though the Units were administered on common system, they were under a rigid central control.
The Mauryan Empire had an efficient and centralised administrative system. The Chief source of information regarding administration under the Mauryan Empire is Chanakya’s work, Arthashastra. Magasthenes also gives some information in his book, Indika.
- The king was the supreme power and source of all authority.
- He was assisted by a Council of Ministers. It was called ‘Mantriparishad’. The ministers were called ‘Mantris.’
- The council was headed by ‘Mantriparishad-Adhyakshya’ akin to the Prime Minister of today.
- Tirthas: the Highest category of officials in the administration. There were 18 Tirthas.
- Adhyakshya: Ranked next only to Tirthas. There were 20 Adhyakshyas. They had economic and military functions.
- Mahamattas: Higher ranking officials.
- Amatyas: High ranking officials almost like present-day secretaries. They had administrative and judicial roles.
- The Adhyakshyas were formed into a secretariat, which was divided into many departments.
- Arthashastra mentions many Adhyakshyas for commerce, storehouses, gold, ships, agriculture, cows, horses, city, chariots, mint, infantry, etc.
- Yuktas: Subordinate officers responsible for the king’s revenue.
- Rajjukas: Officers in charge of land measurement and boundary-fixing.
- Sansthadhyasksha: Superintendent of mint
- Samasthadhyasksha: Superintendent of markets
- Sulkaadhyaksha: Superintendent of tolls
- Sitaadhyaksha: Superintendent of agriculture
- Navadhyaksha: Superintendent of ships
- Lohadhyaksha: Superintendent of iron
- Pauthavadhyakhsa: Superintendent of weights and measures
- Akaradhyaksha: Superintendent of mines
- Vyavharika Mahamatta: Judiciary officers
- Pulisanj: Public relations officers
- Registration of births and deaths, foreigners, industries, trade, manufacture and sale of goods, sales tax collection were under the administration’s control.
- The smallest unit of administration was the village.
- Head of a village: Gramika Villages had a lot of autonomy.
- Pradeshika was the provincial governors or district magistrates.
- Sthanika: Tax collectors working under Pradeshikas.
- Durgapala: Governors of forts.
- Antapala: Governors of frontiers.
- Akshapatala: Accountant General
- Lipikaras: Scribes.
- The commander-in-chief of the entire military was called Senapati and his position was next to the king’s. He was appointed by the king.
- The military was divided into five sectors namely, infantry, cavalry, chariots, elephant forces, navy and transport & provisions.
- The army’s salary was paid in cash.
- The espionage system of the Mauryas was well-developed.
- There were spies who informed the king about the bureaucracy and markets.
- There were two types of spies: Sansthana (stationary) and Sanchari (wanderer).
- Gudhapurushas were the detectives or secret agents.
- They were controlled by the Mahamatyapasarpa. These agents were picked from different segments of society.
- There were also agents called Vishakanyas (poisonous girls).
- The revenue department chief was called Samharta.
- Another important official was Sannidhata (treasurer).
- Revenue was collected on land, irrigation, shops, customs, forests, ferry, mines and pastures. License fees were collected from artisans and fines were charged in the law courts.
- Most of the land revenue was one-sixth of the produce.
Judicial and Police Charge of Maurya Administration
- The King was the head of justice – the fountain head of law and all matters of grave consequences were decided by him.
- Kautilya refers to the existence of two kinds of courts – dharmasthiyas (dealing with civil matters) and kantakasodhanas (dealing criminal cases).
- There were special courts in the cities and villages presided over by the pradesika, mahamatras and rajukas.
- Kautilya mentions about the four sources of law. They are dharma (sacred law), vyavahara (Usage), charitam (customs and precedents) and rajasasana (royal proclamations).
- The Pradesika were the principal police officers, whose duty was to investigate the crimes committed in the region within their jurisdiction. Police headquarters were found in all principal centres.
- There was sthniya in the midst of 800 villages, a dronamukha in 400 villages, a kharvatika in 200 villages and a sangrahana in 10 villages.
- Jail was called Bandhangara and lock-up was known as Charaka.
- The Arthasastra mentions the nagaraka or city superintendent who was responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the city.
- He was assisted by two subordinate officials, the gopa and the sthanika.
- Asokan inscriptions mention the nagalaviyohalaka mahamattas and refer to them largely in their judicial capacity.
- In describing city administration, Megasthenes outlines a more elaborate system.
- According to him, the officials were divided into six committees each with a membership of five.
- The first committee was concerned with matters relating to industrial arts.
- The transport department fixed the width of the chariots, cattle tracks and pedestrians.
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