Mauryan Government

Mauryan Government

Principles and working of civil administration of Mauryan Government

The civil administration of the Mauryan government was highly efficient and well-organized.

According to Megasthenes, there were two classes of superior civil officials the Agoranomi and the Astyomi. In the words of the ambassador historian, the Agoranomi superintend the rivers, measure the land as is done in Egypt, and inspect the sluices, by which water is let out from the main channels into their branches so that everyone may have an equal supply of it.

They had also charge of the huntsmen and were entrusted with “the power of rewarding or punishing them according to their desires.”

They were further required to “collect the taxes and superintend the occupations connected with land, as those of the wood­cutters, the carpenters, the blacksmiths, and the miners”.

They were also authorized to construct roads, and pillar to show the by-roads and distances. They were in charge of the rural area.

Municipal government

The officials of Mauryan government in charge of the capital city of Pataliputra were divided into six boards, each consisting of five members. The first board looked after industrial arts. The second was entrusted with the duty of looking after and dealing with the foreign residents. The third board was empowered to deal with the registration of births and deaths. The members of the fourth board were authorized to deal with retail trade, weights, and measures, while the fifth board used to supervise the sale of manufactured articles. The members of the sixth and last board were entrusted with the duty of collecting “one-tenth of the prices of the articles sold.

It appears from a comparative study of the information recorded by Megasthenes and Kautilya that the agoranomi of the former are identical with the Samahatri referred to in the Arthasastra. It is possible that the Astynomi corresponded to the Nagaradhyaksha mentioned by Kautilya.

Judicial administration of Mauryan government

The judicial system of Mauryan Government was efficient and enlightened. At the head of the judiciary stood the king himself. Petty cases in villages were decided by the village headmen and the village elders. There were special tribunals of justice, both in cities and the rural areas.

Provinces under Mauryan government

The Mauryan Empire was divided into a number of provinces. The provinces were sub-divided into districts. There was an elaborated staff of officials to ensure good governance of Mauryan empire.. Megasthenes gives detailed information about the military organization of the Mauryas. A council of 30 members divided into 6 boards of 5 members each, was in charge of six different departments. These were ‘Admiralty, Infantry, Cavalry, Chariots, Elephants, and Transport and Commissariat. The army numbered 700,000. Their salary and equipments were supplied at State expenses.

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