Optionals IAS Mains History: Questions 1 of 309


Describe in Detail


Examine the nature of Mauryan state. Bring out the features of their administrative system.


Nature of Mauryan State

  • Mauryan Empire was a huge empire. In the absence of fast means of communication, it was very difficult for the monarch to give instructions to the officials and governors in the remote parts of his empire.
  • In such a situation, certain freedom was just given to the local governors. A great thinker says that one cannot depend on the evidence given in Economics as we are not sure that it overall it was a Mauryan document. This is the evidence to suggest that some autonomy was given to lower officials, basically in the provinces.
Mauryan Empire
  • Romila Thapar suggested that different parts of the empire like the core, the metropolis, and the peripheries were administered in different ways. Thus, there did not exist a uniform method of administration in the whole of Mauryan Empire.
  • While the core and the metropolis were directly administered by the state, the periphery region was given more autonomy as more importance was given to the collection of taxes and tributes from these regions.
  • If we talk about the administrative system of this empire, so we can see by such following points:-

Central Administration of Mauryan

  • The administration of Mauryan dynasty was controlled by the King.
  • The king was the supreme and sovereign authority of the Mauryan Empire Administration. He had the supreme executive, legislative, and judicial power and functions in the government.

Provincial Administration System of Mauryan

  • The whole empire was divided into two parts like:-
  1. The empire whose was ruled directly under king.
  2. The villein states.
  • The Mauryan territory that was directly ruled by the king was divided into a number of provinces of Jana Padas. Ashoka has at least five provinces whose capitals were Taxila, Ujjain, Tosali, Suvarnagiri and Pataliputra. Each province was subdivided into number of districts and each districts was again subdivided into number units. This provincial administration shows a lot of basic things of their power as well.

Revenue Administration System of Mauryan

System of Mauryan
  • As we know that Kautilya was the greatest political thinker of ancient India and still their ideas of their idea of administration followed in today՚s time it laid greater stress on the treasury as the smooth and successful functioning of the government depends on finance.
  • The main sources of Mauryan revenue were taxation and rent. The land revenue was the main source of revenue collection. Though theoretically the rate of land revenue was of the total produce, yet in reality much higher proportion was charged varying with the economic and local conditions.
  • From the writings of the Greek writers, we came to know that the whole of India was the property of the king and no private person had any private land nor were they permitted to keep any land of their own.

Judicial System of Mauryan

  • In judicial system, the king was the head of the judiciary and he was the judge itself.
  • He was the highest court of appeal and personally listened to appeals from the people.
  • However, since the Mauryan Empire was huge, it was not possible for the king to solve each and every case. So, he was appointed many judges subordinate to him to hear the cases. By all these small officials, we run the administration.

Military Administration System of Mauryan

  • It is also learnt that the war office of Mauryas were managed by a board of 30 members. They were also divided into six committees, each of the committees having five members to look after:
  1. Navy
  2. Transport and supply
  3. Infantry
  4. The war chariots
  5. War elephants etc.