History Optional Paper- 1 Solution – 2014: Q.4 (b)
Q.4 (b) Discuss the provincial and district administrative units of the Gupta Empire with the designations and functions of the officers.
The King was the embodiment of all powers
(a) The Gupta kings assumed imperial titles such as maharajadhiraja, parama-bhattaraka and parameshvara.
(b)They also claimed divine status as the Allahabad prashasti describes Samudragupta as a god dwelling on the earth.
(c)The King was assisted by a council of ministers. The ministers were known by various designations like mantrin, amtya, sachiva and were most probably hereditary.
Some of the high ranking functionaries
(1) Sandhivigrahika (minister for peace and war): In-charge of the conduct of relations with the other states, including initiating war and concluding alliances and treaties.
(2) Kumaramatya: Pre-eminent among the amatyas and equivalent in status to princes of royal blood. Kumaramatyas were variously attached to the king, crown prince, revenue department or a province.
(3) Dandanayakas: They were high-ranking judicial or miliatry officers.
(4) Baladhikrita: Commander-in-chief of the army.
(5) Mahashvapati: Commander of cavalry.
(6) Mahapratihara: Chief of the palace guards.
(7) Khadyatapakita: Supreintendent of the royal kitchen.
The Gupta empire was divided into provinces known as deshas or bhuktis.
They were the governors appointed by the king . They assumed the epithets like maharaja, bhattaraka, and rajaputra.
(a)They carried on the administartion of the bhuktis.
(b)They also had military functions.
(c)They appointed head of the district administartion and the district town board.
Skandagupta’s Junagarh inscription talks about Parnadatta as Goptri of Saurashtra. Perhaps it was another term for the governor.
The provincial government also played important role in the repair of waterworks. For ex- repair of sudarshana lake after it burst its embankments.
The provinces of the Gupta empire were divided into districts known as vishyas.
Vishyapati: They were head of the vishyas and were appointed by the provincial governor.They were assisted in their administrative duties by prominent members of the town like:
(a)Nagara-sreshthin- Chief merchant/banker
(b)sarthavaha- Chief caravan trader
(c)Prathama-kulika – Chief artisan
(d)Prathama- Kyastha- Chief scribe or an officer in-charge of revenue collection.
Below District administration
(a) They were the clusters of settlements. (b)They were administered by ayuktakas and vithi-mahattaras.
(a) Gramika and gramadhyaksha played important functions.
(b) Mahattaras- Village elder, village headmen or head of a family or community.
(c) Ashtakula-adhikarana (a board of eight members) headed by the mahattaras.
(d) Pancha-mandali- may have a corporate village body.