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Ancient History / Mauryan Era

Mauryan Administration

The Mauryan administration system was a highly centralized and highly bureaucratized one. The Mauryan empire was divided into 4 provinces, which were further divided into Aharas, which are very much similar to the present day districts. Aharas were further divided into Gramas. There were separate departments, each of which was headed by an officer.

Central Administration of Mauryan Empire

Samaharta in Mauryan administration is the Chief Revenue collector and Sannidhata is the Chief Treasury officer. In addition to Samaharta and Sannidhata in Mauryan administration, there were a number of departments were present and each department was being headed by an Adhyaksha. Some important Adhyakshas are mentioned below

  • Akara Adhyaksha - Head of Mining

  • Akahapala Adhyaksha - Head of Accounts

  • Sita Adhyaksha - Head of Agriculture

  • Kupya Adhyaksha - Head of Forest Products

  • Kosthagara Adhyaksha - Head of Stores

  • Lakshana Adhyaksha - Head of Minting

  • Tulamanapautava Adhyaksha - Head of Weights & Measurements

  • Panya Adhyaksha - Head of Trade & Commerce

  • Sura Adhyaksha - Head of Excise

  • Pattana Adhyaksha – In-charge of Seaports

Provincial Administration of Mauryan Empire

  • The Mauryan empire was divided into 4 provinces with the central headquarters lying at Pataliputra. These provinces of Mauryan empire along with their headquarters are

    • Uttara pada (Northern province) – Taxila

    • Avanti pada (Western province) - Ujjain

    • Dakshina pada (Southern province) - Suvarnagiri

    • Prachya pada (Eastern province) - Toshali (Modern Dhauli)

  • Governor of the province was called "Kumara" if any son of the king was appointed and was called "Aryaputra" if any other officer was appointed.

  • Provinces are further divided into Aharas similar to districts. There were two officers appointed for each Ahara. They are

    (i) Pradesika (Police officer) comparable to present day Superintendent of Police (SP)

    (ii) Rajuka (Revenue officer) comparable to District Collector

  • Last unit of provincial administration of the Mauryan empire was Grama and it was headed by Gramani.

City Administration of Mauryan Empire

Municipal or City administration of Mauryan empire was very well organized and very efficient in nature. According to Indica, written by Megasthenes, there was municipal council of 30 members which was divided into 6 boards each having 5 members looking after 6 important activities in the city administration.

Military Administration of Mauryan Empire

Chaturangabala was present in Mauryan administration consisting of Infantry, Cavalry, Chariotry and Elephantry. According to Indica, effective intelligence department (espionage system) was also present.

Judicial Administration of Mauryan Empire

In Arthashastra, it is mentioned that civil and criminal courts were present. Civil court during Mauryan period was known as Dharmasthiya and Criminal court was called Kantakashodana. Megasthenes mentioned about rarity of crimes and thefts were unknown. People never lock their doors while going out. This is because of severe penal code. Death penalty was given even for petty crimes. Trial by ordeal was prevalent in the administration of Mauryan empire.