Describe the Main Features of Mauryan Administration.

Some of the Main Features of Mauryan Administration.

The brahmanical law-books again and again stressed that the kind should be guided by the laws laid down in the Dharamshastra and by the customs prevalent in the country. Ashoka promulgated dharma and appointed officials to inculcate and enforce its essentials throughout the country.

Assertion of royal absOlutism was a natural culmination of the policy of military conquest adopted by the princes of Magadha. Anga, Vaishali, Kashi, Kashala, Avanti, Kalinga, etc. were annexed to the Magadhan empire on by one. The military control over these areas eventually turned into coercive control of all aspects of life of the people.

In order to control all spheres of life the state had to maintain a vast bureaucracy. In no other period of ancient history we hear of so many officers as in Maurya times. Important functionaries were called tirthas. It seems that most functionaries were paid in cash: The highest functionaries were minister (mantrin), high priest (purohita), commander-in-chief (senapati) and crown-prince (yuvaraja), who were paid generously. If we rely on the Arthashastra of Kautilya it would appear that the state appointed 27 superintendents (adhayakshas) mostly to regulate the economic activities of the state.

They controlled and regulated agriculture, trade and commerce, wrights and measures, crafts such as weaving and spinning, mining and so on. The state also provided irrigation facilities a regulate water supply for the benefit of agriculturists. Megasthenes informs us that in the Maurya Empire the officials measured the land as in Egypt and inspected the channels through which water was distributed into smaller channels.

The location of Ashokan inscriptions on important highways suggests that Maurya control over the settled parts of the country may have matched that of the Mughals and perhaps of the East India Company. The Maurya period constitutes a landmark in the system of taxation in ancient India. Kautily a names many taxes to be collected from peasants, artisans and traders. This required strong and efficient machinery for assessment, collection and storage.

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