Administration in the South

Exact Match
  Indus Valley
  Mauryan Era
  Post Mauryan
  Kushana Era
  Golden Age
  Post Gupta

  Arab Invasion
  South India
  Prithviraj Era
  Delhi Sultunate
  Mughal Period
  Maratha Era
  British Period

  Subhash & INA

Arab invasion of Sindh | Changes in the South | Shankaracharya | Administration in South

There was a usual hierarchy of officials in charge of provincial administration in Tamil-nad. The governor of a province was advised and assisted by officers in charge of districts who worked in close collaboration with local autonomous institutions, largely in an advisory capacity. They were built on local relationship of caste, profession and religious adherence. Frequent meetings or assemblies were essential to their functioning. Assemblies were of many varieties and at many levels including that of merchant guilds, craftsmen and artisans (such as weavers, oil mongers, etc), students, ascetics and priests. There were assemblies of villagers and also of representatives of districts. General meetings of the members of an assembly were held annually and more frequent meetings of smaller assemblies were responsible for implementing policy. The smaller groups were chosen by lot from amongst the eligible persons and worked in a manner similar to the modern committees, each group having a separate function.

In the village the basic assembly was the sabha, which was concerned with all matters relating to the village including endowments, irrigation, cultivated land, punishments of crime, the keeping of a census and other necessary records. Village courts dealt with similar criminal cases. At a higher level, in towns and districts, courts were presided over by governmental officers with the king as the supreme arbiter of justice. The sabha was a formal institution and worked closely with the urar, an informal gathering of the entire village. Above this was a district council which with the district administration called the nadu. Villages which were populated entirely or highly by Brahmans have a good collection of records about the functioning of such assemblies.

Further north in the Deccan there was less autonomy in administrative institutions. In the Chalukya domains, government officers were more involved in routine administration, even at the village level. Village assemblies did function but under the paternalistic eye of the officials. The role of the headmen as the leader of the village was also of a more formal nature. From the eighth century onwards some of the Deccan rulers adopted the decimal system of administrative division, where group of ten villages or multiples of ten formed a district.

Land ownership rested with the king, who could make revenue grants to his officers and land grants to Brahmans or else continue to have the land cultivated by small-scale cultivators and landlords.

The Status of a village

The status of the village varied according to the tenures prevailing and could be one of the three: the most frequent was the village with an inter caste population paying taxes to the king in the form of land revenue; less frequent were the brahmadeya villages were the entire village were donated to a single Brahman or a group of Brahmans. Associated with the brahmadeya grants were the agrahara grant, an entire village settlements of Brahmans, the land being given as a grant. These were also exempted from the tax but the Brahmans had to provide free education to the local people. Finally, there was the devadana (donated to the God) villages, which functioned more or less in the same manner as the first category of villages except that the revenue from these villages were donated to the temple authorities.

The end of this section

Copyright ©2000 All rights reserved.
By using this service, you accept that you won't copy or use the data given in this website for any commercial purpose.
The material on is for informational & educational purpose only.
This site is best viewed at 800 X 600 picture resolution.