Mauryan Empire: Revolutionary Administration in India


Origin of Mauryan empire

Mauryan empire has established with a great effort of two personalities like Chandragupta Maurya and Chanakya(Kautilya). During the Pre-Mauryan period. Patliputra present Patna was under the governance of the Nanda dynasty. Whose king Mahapadmananda was quite wise and very well known for his administration. Therefore, after his death, his son Dhana Nanda has hierarchically got the throne.

  In addition, Dhana Nanda was a very unsuccessful king during his period. All people and businessmen had not satisfied with his administration system and during that time Greek invaders were on the path to invade India. Great philosopher Chanakya was one of the court members of the Dhana Nanda kingdom. Who had not satisfied with this overall administration of Dhana Nanda. Chanakya has a goal of establishing Akhand Bharat vision. Which he came to know will be not going to complete with the help of Dhana Nanda. 

   So he decided to dethroned Dhana Nanda. But for this Chanakya want a personality who can administrate the whole of India. With great courage. So Chanakya dethroned Dhana Nanda with proper tactics, However, Chanakya also has a mindset regarding this whole concept. Now Chandragupta Maurya has declared king of Patliputra. All powers were under the control of Chandragupta. 


Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta after becoming the king of Magadha. He made many consequent changes. However, he established a good relationship with the Greek empire while marrying the daughter of Seleucus Nicator. This marriage is a sign of a healthy relationship with the Greeks. Chandragupta Maurya was not only a great conqueror and an empire builder. but also, he was one of the efficient and greatest administrators of India. He had organized a very elaborate system of administration.

Seleucus Nicator

Mauryan Administration had divided into three main branches 

Central Administration:

This hierarchy form consists of the king, the council ministers, advisors and other high officials.

The King in Mauryan administration:

The Mauryan king was an absolute ruler. The main principle of administration was the welfare of the people. He was the head of the executive, the lawgiver, and the supreme judge.

Council of the minister and other higher officials

In the work of administration, King has assisted by Mantriparishad or the council of Ministers. Besides, there was a smaller body of advisers and councilors known as Mantri.

It consists of Mantri(Prime Minister), the Purohit(Royal Preist), the Senapati(Commander-in-charge), and Yuvraj(Crown Prince).

There were several more departments there were about 26 departments managed by the ministers. Different departments were Kosh(Treasury), Akara(Mines), Loha(Metal), Ayunhadhagara, Gau(cattle), Devata(Religious institute), Ashva(Horse) and so on.

The Mauryan administration has a highly centralized Bureaucracy. The government of Chandragupta paid much attention to the welfare of works.

Administration and Justice 

Mauryan empire was quite rigid and firm about its laws and amendments. Greek philosopher has mentioned this in his book Indika. According to his punishment was very severe and crimes were extremely rare. Fines forced labor, whipping, mutilation, execution were methods of punishment. Different courts have ad different names one is civil and another criminal. The civil court has known as the “Dharmasthaniya” courts. The civil courts had presided over by three Amatyas assisted by learned Brahmans and called Dharmasthanas.

 The court dealt with cases of disputes on marriage, divorce, dowry, inheritance of property etc.

The criminal court was known termed as the Kanatakasodhana courts which have presided over by three Amatyas assisted by several spies and agents. The court tried murderers, traitors to the country political offenders, thieves, violators of the law, and criminals.

Arms and Ammunitions 

There were 30 members has divided into 6 boards of members each. The first board was in charge of the navy. The second board was in charge of infantry. The fourth board dealt with cavalry fifth board was related to war chariots and the sixth board was in charge of the elephant

The entire army worked under the control of Senapati or Commander in chief.

Revenue and taxation 

Chandragupta Maurya, the father of the dynasty, established a single currency across India. Though the disciplined central authority of the Mauryan Empire farmers was freed of taxation and crop collection burdens from regional kings. However, they paid for nationality administrated a system of taxation that was strict but fair. This whole system operated under the principles of the Arthashastra, an ancient Indian treatise one economic policy, statecraft, and military strategy.

 Under the continued Mauryan rule, political unity and military security encouraged a common system, increased agricultural productivity, and enhanced widespread trade and commerce for the first time In West and South Asia.

  As regards the revenue of the state, taxes have collected both in cash and in-kind. The local officers collected the revenue. Land revenue was the chief source of income of the state. It has collected at the rate of one-fourth of the produce of the land. Revenues had also connected from trade custom, excise tolls, forest, and mines. The house tax, water tax, coinage, birth, death tax constituted the sources of revenue.

 Chanakya laid emphasis on finance. The officer in charge of the revenue department has called Samharta. The revenue thus collected has spent on the maintenance of the King’s palace, court, the army, the offices, and also public works like roads, buildings, and irrigation. 

Provincial and Local Administration

For convenience in the administration process, the Mauryan empire has divided into five provinces like Magadha, Taxila, Swarnagiri, Tosandi, and Kausambi. Magadha was ruled by the emperor, the remaining territories were under the control of the governors who were directly responsible to the emperor. A well-regulated spy system has introduced by Chandragupta Maurya for the smooth conduct of the administration.

 For administration convenience, the province had divided into some Janapadas or districts, Each district was divided into some Gana or Sthana and now each Sthana in some villages. The Sthanikas and Gopas carried out the administration of the district. Similarly, Sthanika has in charge of one greater district or Janapada, the Gopa was in charge of five to ten village.

Municipal administration

The first board was to look after everything relating to industrial art. The second board to take care of the foreigners and also controls the inns and taking care of the resident in the city; the third board to record the births and deaths; the fourth board to superintend the trade and commerce; the fifth board to supervise the manufactured articles; the sixth board to collect the tax of ten percent charged on the sales.

 In addition, from all these functions, the commission, in its collective responsibility, looked after matters of general interest, such as the supervision of markets, harbors, temples, and the keeping of public buildings in proper repair.


During Ashoka’s reign, He had made so many remarkable changes in several administration systems. Ashoka, a Chakravartin Samrat, paid more attention as Chandragupta Maurya had put to their Janata. Similarly, Ashoka followed the same norms but in a different manner. Chandragupta Maurya was quite peaceful and acquired things with proper tactics. On the contrary, Ashoka was quite aggressive, bold, and rigid with its actions.

Ashoka had a progressive mindset which gave Magadha a different glory during his period.

He has given several tags like Janata Nayak(folk hero) Chanda Ashoka( aggressive Ashok ) and so on.

 Ashoka gives more attention to the improvement of the education system, he builds several well-known Universities, schools, etc. He had started to make foreign relationships he established Indo-Greek relationships and also enhanced them very well. 

Following are the Administration in which Ashoka had made a remarkable change 

King Ashoka used various strategies to sustain the Mauryan Empire. Although Ashoka built his empire on the principles of non-violence, he followed the instructions outlined in the Arthashastra for the characters of the perfect king. He introduced legal reforms like; Danda Samahara and Vyavahara Samahara, clearly pointing out to his subjects the way of life that is to be led by them. King Ashoka’s regime had a group of knowledgeable assistants.

  Moreover, the administration of Emperor Ashoka after his spiritual transformation has focused solely on the well-being of his subjects. But also, he has closely assisted in his administrative duties by his younger brother. Vithashoka and a group of the trusted minister, whom Ashoka consulted before adopting any new administrative policy.

Community Level and Provincial administration 

King Ashoka’s Mauryan Empire had its regal capital at Paliputtra which is situated today in Bihar. The Empire had divided into four main provinces. Which are enlisted in the Edicts of Ashoka, a collection of inscriptions was made during Ashoka’s reign from 268-232 BCE, Uttarpratha(capital at Taxila),  Avantiratha (Ujjain as the capital), Prachyapatha(center at Tosali),Dakshinapatha(capital as Suvarnagiri). 

These four provinces were under the royal family member Kumara and Aryaputtra. The major officials of the province were the Thepradesika (in charge of the collection of revenue), the Rajuka (surveyed and assessed lands), and the Yukta(accounts and secretary). 

 The administration had many small levels in between; a unit has made of five to ten villages. The accountant of the unit was called Gopa, whose duty was to look after the village’s livestock, professions, age, tax-paying capacity, etc. The Sthanika collected taxes. Majorly these officials were important for the administration of the unit. 

Grama or villages enjoyed independence to have their own officials, the head (Gramika) was chosen by the elders of the village, his responsibility was to look after the taxes, discipline, defense, etc. The elderly of the village elected the Gramika.

Revenue Administration :

The revenue department was quite an important one, as like today’s Government. The Empire had many offices each under a particular officer, the head was Sannidhata (the treasurer), responsible for the storage of royal treasure and the income of the state.

The Akshapataladhyaksha(Accountant General) kept accounts of the kingdom and royal household assisted by Karmikas(clerks). Samaharta was in charge of the collection of revenue and supervised the accountant.
The sources of revenue were cities, forests, roads, manufactured products, merchandise, tolls, fines licenses, land, mines. Some other kinds of income (Kautilya) such as Senabhaktam(tax imposed on the army) and Pindakara(fixed income from the villages).

The land tax was the most important source which contributed one-sixth of the produce. It has collected by Agronomoi who measured the land and levied tax.

The second source has toll-tax imposed on articles that were app. 10%, exceptions were grain, cattle, and other essentials. The lower cast people and laborers who could not pay the tax have told to work for free one day a month. According to the Arthasastra, the Brahmins, women, children, armorers, sons and the king’s men had exempted from paying tax.


        India has witnessed a healthy and skillful administration under the reign of the Mauryan Empire. Starting from Chandragupta Maurya to Ashoka. The whole Mauryan empire has glorified India in all aspects. These people have set examples of how the king will get successful by managing all the aspects in a proper way.

 Mauryan empire set has set an example of proper and successful administration. Indian Government has greatly influenced by this whole empire.

 Mauryan administration always ready to serve for people’s sake and under this emperor, all folks had to stay in a happy and satisfied manner. 

 Mauryan empire is an Ideal for the execution of administration.

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