Discuss the main features of Mauryan administration. Which of these elements are evident in the Asokan inscriptions that you have studied?

The growth of Magadha culminated in the emergence of the Mauryan Empire. Chandragupta Maurya founded the Mauryan Empire in 321 BCE. He was a powerful and prosperous ruler. He extended his control to northwest as Afghanistan and Baluchistan, and his Grandson, Ashoka the great arguably the most famous ruler of early India conquered Kalinga. Such vast and huge empire needed a strong administration. Asoka inscription mentions all the main feature of the administration of Mauryan Empire.

i) There are five major political centres they were Patilaputra, Ujjayini, Tasali, Swarnagiri and Taxila.

ii) Administrative control varied throughout the vast extent of the empire, but it was strongest near the capital and provincial centres which were located around trade routes. Strong networks of roads and communications were established to consolidate the vast empire.

iii) Army Administration was vital for protecting trade as well as vast empire according to Megasthenes there was one committee with six subcommittees for coordinating military activities ; one looked after the navy ; second managed transport and provision ; third was responsible for foot soldiers; fourth subcommittee had the responsibility for horses; fifth for chariot and sixth had the responsibility for elephants.

iv) The state also appointed officers to superintend the rivers, measure the land and inspect the sieves by which the water let out from its main canal to its branches, so that everyone can have an equal supply of it. The same officers also collected the taxes, and superintend the occupations connected to the land that is of wood cutters, carpenters etc.

v) Special officers called “Dhamma Mahamatta” were appointed to spread the message of dhamma throughout the empire. This was the most significant feature of Mauryan Empire and its administration.