Chauhan Administration

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About the Chauhan Administration we have no books like the Kautiliya Arthasastra, Sukranitisara, or the Ain-i-Akbari dealing specifically or in general with the administration and administrative problems of the Chauhan kingdoms and their neighbours. Consequently we have to glean the necessary details from Chauhan inscriptions and literary sources like the Kharataragachchhapattavali, the Lalita-vigraharaja-nataka, the Kanhadadeprabandha, and the Lekhapaddhati, all of them good enough in their own way no doubt, but none of them sufficient to give us the complete picture that we should like to have. [1]

Chauhan Administration tries to explain administration in Chauhan dominions from C. 800 to 1316 A.D. This section is mainly taken for research purpose from Early Chauhān dynasties: a study of Chauhān political history, Chauhān political institutions, and life in the Chauhān dominions from C. 800 to 1316 A.D., by Dasharatha Sharma, Books treasure, Jodhpur. ISBN 0-8426-0618-1.

Professor Dasharatha Sharma (1903–1976) was an Indologist and a noted expert in the history of the Rajasthan. He received a Doctor of Literature (D. Litt.) for his thesis Early Chauhan Dynasties. His noted monograph Early Chauhan Dynasties was first published in 1959.

The Chauhan rulers

In the Chauhan dominions, as elsewhere in the Indian kingdoms of the period, the ruler formed the keystone of the administrative arch. Legally he was an absolute monarch, the head of the civil as well as military administration, with his powers circumscribed, indeed by the will of the overlord, if he had any. Poets and scholars described him as divine, sometimes even identifying him either with Vishnu himself or one of his famous avataras. The Siwalik Pillar Inscription (V. 1220) hints at Vigraharaja IV's identity with Vishu ; the Prithvirajavijaya calls him an amsa of Madhudvisha. To the writer of the Hansi Inscription V. 1226 Prithviraja II is, undoubtedly, Rama; the Prithvirajavijaya gives the same honor to his cousin, Prithviraja III. Both Nainsi’s khyat and Kanhadadeprabandha, regard Kanhadadeva of Jalor as an avatara of Krishna or Gokulanatha.[2]

In the heyday of their glory, the Chauhans ruled over almost the whole of Rajasthan, the modern centrally administered area of Delhi, and the Ambala Division of the Punjab. Large parts of this vast tract were, as now, covered by the inhospitable Thar Desert; others either irrigated by the rivers Yamuna, Chambal and Banas or receiving better rainfall must naturally have been more populous. There may have been also more water in the Sarasvati basin than at present.

The Chauhan Towns

According to Dasharatha Sharma[3], In the Chauhan dominions, as elsewhere in India, towns grew up round forts, courts, sacred sites, and points of strategic and commercial importance. Ajayameru, Nadol, Ranthambhor, Jalor and Sambhar were not only capitals of important kingdoms and chiefships but also excellent places for offensive and defensive military action. Satyapura, Kanyanayana, Bhinmal, Phalavardhika, and Abu were sacred sites, tough the last one of these had also considerable strategic importance. Tabarhindah, Asika (Hansi), Sunam, Sarasvati (Sirsa), and Kohram owed their importance to being places of defence and refuge on the route from north-western India to Ajayameru. Delhi was the gateway to Madhyadesha and Nagapura (Nagor) commanded the route to the riches of Sapadalaksha and Marwar.

Of other towns and villages whose location can reasonably be determined, we have listed more 125 in the appendix to this chapter. Many more perhaps lie buried under the shifting sands of the Thar Desert, many have indistinguishably changed their names, and not a few have been deserted on account of inexplicable changes in climatic conditions. The Jaisalmer area had better rainfall and more population according to all the historical and semi-historical accounts at our disposal. Various explanations have been given for a change in the climate of Sindh. They can apply equally to western Rajasthan the neighbour of Sindh.

We do not know the exact plan on which these towns were built, though a general idea can be formed on the basis of the poetic descriptions in the Prithvirajavijaya, the Prabhavakacharita, the Upamitibhavaprapanchakatha and other literary works of Rajasthan and adjoining areas. The Prabhavakacharita tells us that the fort of Ajmer was surrounded by a belt of thorn trees and bushes. From the Prthvirajavijaya we learn that it was full of temples multi-storeyed houses, step-wells, tanks and prapas.

Chauhan Ministry

Note - This section is mainly based on content from Early Chauhan Dynasties (800 to 1316) by Dasharatha Sharma, pp.223-227

In the transaction of the business of the state the rulers natuarally had to seek the assistance of a number of ministers. On the basis of available evidences we have following list of Chauhan Ministers:

  • Pradhanamantri (प्रधानमंत्रीं)/ Mahamantrin (महामंत्रीं)/ Mahamatya (महामात्य): The Mahamantrin was in charge of the royal seals, exercised general supervision over all departments, specially revenue, and generally was the most trusted and influential member of the ministry.The chief Departments were Shrikarano, Vyayakarano, Mandapikakarano and Koshthika. Of Vigraharaja's Mahamantrins we know two, Shridhara and rajaputra Sallakshanapala. Prthviraja III's chief adviser, Kadambavasa (Dahiya clan), held the title Mandaleshvara, which fact indicates perhaps the assignment of some territories to him either by way of salary or to support his dignity. Of the Mahamatyas of Nadol, Laksmidhara held the ost in V. 1218 in the reign of Alhana. Balhana was a Mahamatya in V. 1249, in Kelhana's reign. Yasovira and Jaita Devada are names famous in the history of Jalor; and the career of the notorious Dharmasimha shows that the Chief Minister, though a creature of his master's will, could by his policy and cunning encompass the ruin of a State.
  • Sandhivigrahika (सांधिविग्रहिक): He was, as the word signifies, a Minister for Peace and War. But in addition to this, his chief function, he was required to draft royal charters and despatches. Sandhivigrahika Kheladitya is mcntioned in the Kiradu Incription of Alhana and Ojha Grant 2.
  • . Minister in charge of Poets and Pandits. The Prithvirajavijaya mentions one Padmanabha as a minister whose duty consisted in calling conferences of learned people and who was also in-charge of their reception. This new post, a unique one in Indian history, might have been created in the reign of the Kavibandhava Vigraharaja IV, though later it fell in some abeyance.
  • . Pauranika (पौराणिक): Under Hammira of Ranthambhor we find also an amtatya called, Pauranika, who like the Purohtta of an earlier period may mainly have been in charge of religious affairs. We do not know the designation given to this officer in Our other Chauhan kingdoms. Maybe it kept up the old designation. The ministry's function was largely advisory; the last word always lay with the King. Vigraharaja IV, for instance, rejected the advice of Sridhara, and Arnoraja that of his old and experienced ministers. But during emergencies, the ministers could and did exercise a good deal of authority. When Prithviraja II died without leaving any son, the ministers brought over Someshvara from Gujarat and put him on the throne of Ajmer. On his death, they made the Widowed queen, Karpuradevi, the regent for her minor son, Prithviraja III, and helped her to administer successfully the affairs of the kingdom in spite of hostile neighbours on almost every Side.
  • Mukhya Amatya (मुख्‍य अमात्‍य = मुख्‍यमंत्री)
  • Vigrahikamatya (विग्रहिकामात्‍य = विदेश मंत्री)
  • Mahadhyakshapatalika (महाध्‍यक्ष पटलिक = वित्‍त एवं राजस्‍व मंत्री)
  • Dhanyadhyaksha (धान्‍याध्‍यक्ष = खाद्यमंत्री)

Military System

Note - This section is mainly based on content from Early Chauhan Dynasties (800 to 1316) by Dasharatha Sharma, pp.241-243

That our rulers largely depended on irregular forces must have become obvious from our account of jagirs, the holders of which were almost invariably required' to serve the ruler at the capital with a number of footmen and horses and could be punished with the deprival of the jagir in case they did not render the stipulated service. Traditions give Prthviraja III a hundred samantas or feudal lords; Firishta mentions one hundred and fifty rulers who fought under his banner.

At the time of Vigraharaja IV's advance against the Hammira, the Chauhan army is said to have consisted of 1,000 elephants, 100,000 horsemen and 1,000,000 infantry. Firishta's most "authentic estimate" of Prthviraja III's army puts its strength at 300,000 horses and 3,000 elephants. Elephants formed the most valued section of the army. Generals directed the battle from their backs and used them as in the Mauryan and Mughal periods, to batter down the gates of forts. Like Kautilya, the Chauhan rulers and their advisers probably, again, believed that the victory of Kings and destruction of an enemy's army depended on elephants.

Cavalry, the next important arm of the army, appears to have received adequate attention from the Chauhans. Prthviraja III was a good cavalry leader. In a Chauhan inscription the Saptatatabhumi, i.e., the kingdom of Nadol, is extolled as a mine of horses. Kanhadadeva's raids on the Khalji army were, without any exception, carried out by his horsemen. In the second battle of Tarain, the use of cavalry gave some respite to the sore pressed Chauhan force. Numerically, infantry perhaps exceeded all the other arms. But from the slight mention it receives in most of our records, it appears to have sunk to an insignificant position. Chariots are there, but more as an ornamental feature than an essential part of the army. Even nobles of Kanhadadeva Chauhan perhaps used them.

The sandy nature of the country favoured camels as animals of transport. The Prithvirtijavijaya describes them also as carrying Chauhan colours in the march against Gudapura. The Pratiharas of Kanauj, from whom perhaps the Chauhans inherited the usage, are known to have had a camel corps in their army. But as regards the system of fighting from their backs, it was an innovation due to the Persians and Durranis in the 18th century.

Forts: On ,the northern frontier of the Empire of Sapadalaksha as well as inside it and their other kingdoms, the Chauhans had a number of strong forts like Hansi, Tabarhindah, Samana, Nagor, Mandor, Siwana, Jalor, Ajmer, Delhi, Nadol, Kohram, and Sirsa. Of these some fell easily into the hands of the Muslims, thanks to the demoralization following the defeat of Prthviraja III in the second battle of Tarain. But the others were defended with the greatest skill and determination against the invaders' onslaughts. The besieged led out frequent sorties, threw hot oil on the besiegers, and tried to set fire to the enemy's towers by means of burning arrows. They used also machines to bombard the enemy with stones. The thought of surrender was anathema to these brave Chauhan defenders; if fate went against them they would rather open the gates with their own hands, perform the dreadful rite of jauhar, and rush out to kill and be killed. It is, however, doubtful whether the Chauhans were equally good in their offensive action against forts. Muhammad Ghori captured Tabarhindah within a few days. Prithviraja III spent thirteen months before it. The higher ranks of the army led a comfortable life. Umbrellas overspread the heads of officers; attendants waved chamaras, as their masters proceeded on their leisurely march against the enemy. Of barbarity, too, there was enough. Jayanaka describes in glowing term how Prithviraja III had the heads of his enemies strung into a garland to be hung across the gate of his capital, Ajmer; and of these enemies not a few were perhaps his own relatives. The Biolia Inscription, thouh the composition of Jaina yati, praises not merely Vigraharaja IV's victones but also his burning and devastation of hostile capitals.

In the Maurya period the Indian army was noted for its discipline. In Harshavardhana's reign we find the conditions very much different. The people knew that an army's march through their territory meant destruction of their crops and property; and the conditions thereafter do not seem to have improved in any appreciable degree. Even the most well-laid plans of the Chauhans sometimes miscarried due to incapability of sustained and concerted action of the feudal system.

The officials of Chauhan Military include the following:

  • Senadhyaksha (सेनाध्‍यक्ष) Mahasenapat (महासेनापति) Senapati (सेनापति) Mahadandanayaka (महादण्‍डनायक) Dandanayaka (दण्डनायक): Next in importance to thc Chief Minister was the Senapatati or Dandanayaka. We have already mentioned Vigraharaja IV's Commander-in-chief, Simhabala. During Prithviraja III's minority, the post was probably held by Bhuwanaikamalla Chedi. Later on perhaps the Senapati was Skanda. Directly under Senapati were Sadhanikas and Dussadhyas or Dussadhasadhanikas or cavalry commanders and baladhipas or officers in charge of the military stationed in outposts and towns; and the whole administration was controlled by a department, the baladhiikarana, stationed at the capital and supervised not only perhaps by the Senapati alone but also the ruler.
  • Mahavyuhapati (महाव्‍यूहपति = फील्‍डमार्शल)
  • Patyadhyaksha (पत्‍याध्‍यक्ष = पैदलसेनाध्‍यक्ष)
  • Mahashvapati (महाअश्‍वपति = अश्‍वपति)
  • Golmika (गोल्मिक = थानेदार)
  • Dusadhya (दुसाध्‍य = गुप्‍तचर विभागाध्‍यक्ष)
  • Chauradvaranika (चौराद्वरणिक = जेल अधीक्षक पुलिस अफसर)
  • Bhatta (भट्ट = सैनकि)
  • Bhataputra (भट्पुत्र = सैनकि)
  • Sarapatika (सरपतिक = राजकीय कर्मचारी)
  • Banajara (बनजारा)
  • Darika (दारिका)
  • Kotapala (कोटपाल = किलेदार)

Other Central Officials

The other central officials mentioned in the Chauhan inscriptions are :-

  • Akshapatalika (अक्षपटलिक=मुख्‍य सचिव) / Mahadhyakshapatalika (महाध्‍यक्ष पटलिक): Though the name Akshapatalika (a head-keeper of accounts) is absent from the Chauhan records available to us, his presence in Chauhan dominions may be inferred from the records of the neighbouring kingdoms of Mewar and Gujarat. Bahikadhikrta might have, like the Kautilyan Gananikyas, worked under the Akshapatalika. And then the Court may not have been also without its usual Raja-vallabhas, or favourites. Tradition ascribe Chand Bardai a very high place in the counsels of Prthviraja III. The Prthvirajavijaya assigns a similar role to a bard name Prithvibhata.
  • Dutaka (दूतक): He conveyed the ruler's sanction of a charter to local officials who then had the charter drawn up and delivered.
  • Purohita and Vyasa: Either a Purohita or a Vyasa generally was a ruler's adviser in religious matters. Hammira's Purohita was one Vishvarupa. At Jalor Somachandra Vyasa Oceupfed almost the position of a minister.
  • Pratihara (प्रतिहार): The Pratihara (literally a door-keeper)regulated the people's entrance to the King's presence.
  • Bhandagarika (भाण्डागारिक) : A Bhandagarika had, during our period come to occupy almost the position of the Kautilyan Sannidhata. Hammira's Bhandagarika, Jahada, was in charge of provisions as well as Hammira's treasure.
  • Khadagagraha (खडगगृह): A Khadagagraha was erha s a body-guard or an Antarvamshika, the officer in charge of the Royal Household. Hammira's natural brother, Bhoja, was a Khadagagraha.
  • chata-bhatas(चाट=छोटा कर्मचारी) : Chauhan inscriptions mention also the usual chata-bhatas -(regular and irregular soldiers) and the ratha-hastyadi-niyogins (servants employed for elephants and chariots etc.).
  • Bahikadhikrta: Accounts were maintained by an officer called Bahikadhikrta.
  • Mahamatya (महामात्‍या = महासचिव)
  • Prantapalaka (प्रान्‍तपालक = राज्‍यपाल)
  • Koshadhyaksha (कोषाध्‍यक्ष = खजांची)
  • Shrikarana (श्रीकरण = केन्‍द्रीय सचिवालय)
  • Rajachintaka (राजचिन्‍तक = जिलाधीश)
  • Purapala (पुरपाल = जिलाशासक)
  • Mahasahani (महासाहणी = अस्‍तबलाध्‍यक्ष)
  • Bhishaka (भिषक = राजकीय वैद्य)
  • Nauimittika (नैमित्तिक = राज्‍य जोतिषी)
  • Vshayapati (विषयपति = Subject specialist)
  • Dandapashika (दण्‍डपाशिक)
  • Shailkika (शैल्किक = करअधिकारी)
  • Tarika (तारिक = वनपाल):There used to be revenue from Forests and Mountains. The Forest officer looking after affairs of these was known as Tarika. Some forests were allowed for the people to exploit timber.
  • Atavika (आटविक = बडाकर्मचारी): The person looking after the affairs of animal husbandry including gaushalas was known as Atavika.
  • Baladhikrata (बालाधिकृत)/ Mahabaladhikrata (महाबालाधिकृत)
  • Parigrahika (परिग्रहिक = जूनियर अफसर)
  • Mahasthana (महास्‍थान = मुख्‍यालय)
  • Rajasthaniya (राजस्‍थानीय = अधिकारी)

Territorial administration

The Vishayas

In Vigraharaja II's reign, the kingdom of Sakambhari was divided into a number of vishayas of which the Harsha Inscription mentions the following :-

  • 1. Pattabadaka (पट्टबड़क): Pattabadaka was a vishaya of Chauhans near Harsha. Here Patta (पट्ट) = A royal seat or A royal grant engraved on a copper plate. Badak is used for Burdak people who were Jagirdars of Sarnau near Harsha. Harshadeva was their family deity. Dasharatha Sharma has identified this with modern Patauda village in Sikar district.
  • 5. Jayapura (जयपुर): Different from present Jaipur =?

These vishayas were further subdivided into smaller groups, each one named after its chief village. One such group, for instance, was Tunakupaka-dvadashaka, i.e., a unit of which the chief village was Tunu or Tunakupaka out of twelve villages under a grant. Bigger divisions like those of 84 villages also existed in Sapadalaksha. Burdaks ruled over 84 villages with their capital at Sarnau near Harsha.

The Mandalas

With the expansion of the Sapadalaksha kingdom, there were some changes in the territorial set up. Besides the old territorial divisions, it now included subordinate States like Delhi and Marukotta, mandalas or units ruled over by Mandalesvaras, who perhaps were descendants of the rulers subjugated by the Chauhans, and important frontier forts like Hansi, Samana, Kohram, Sarasvati and Tabarhindah. The forts had to be carefully manned and now and then further strengthened on account of the ever-present menace of Muslim invasiom from the north-west. Not unoften we find them put under the ruler's most trusted relations; Hansi, for instance, was under Prthviraja II's uncle, Kelhana, in V. 1224, and a few years later under Hariraja, the younger brother of Prthviiraja III. Village Unions continued, but we hear now also of pratijagarakas, which like the parganas of the Mughal period must have been important administrative units, standing somewhere between the Vishaya and the Village Union.

Epigraphs give us some insight also into the divisional administration of Nadol. We cannot say what it was in the earlier period of its history. But in the reign of Kelhana, we find the outposts of his kingdom governed by his sons and near relatives. Paladi was entrusted to his eldest son, Jayatsiha, Bamnera to Kumarasiha, Mandavyapura to Simhavikrama (V.1241) and then to Sodhaladeva (V.1250) , and Sanderaka to queen, Jalhanadevi who might have governed through a deputy. Perhaps only the central portion of the state was directly adminlstered by Kelhana himmself. Such dccentralisation, even a small State like Nadol, could be held justified on account of the unsettled conditions of the period. It made every samanta and governor interested in the defence of the State; as a long-range policy it was certainly wrong, for it rendered the central government weak and encouraged fissiparous tendencies. It was, it might be noted, during the reign of Kelhana that his younger brother, Kirtipala, established the new kingdom of Jalor, instead of looking after the interests of the parent kingdom of Nadol and increasing its power.

Feudal Proprietors

Feudal Proprietors. No small portion of the State, specially in Nadol and Jalor, was held by jagirdars, known variously by as Thakuras, Ranakas, and Bhoktas, on the condition that they supplied either a certain quota of soldiers, mounted and unmounted, whenever required, or paid annually the sum fixed by the State. Non-fulfillment of the conditions entailed the confiscation of the estate which could take either the form of its inclusion there after in the State territory or general orders to the tenants not to respect the Ranakas authority. The jagirdars or bhoktas had definite rights and duties. They were entitled to the taxes, usually paid to the State, they were in a restricted sense also the masters of the land. They could not however interfere with properties donated to Brahmanas and temples; nor could they, without the previous sanction of the States, grant any new lands to them. In some of these jagirs there were perhaps also peasants who had direct relations with the State. Doing military service was the jagirdar's main duty. But they were required besides to put down minor disturbances, to safeguard the highways passing through their territory, and to recover and return any articles that might be lost in the villages under their jurisdiction. During the period of frequent warfare that followed the Muslim occupation of a great part of Northern India by Muslims, central control must have lessened and the powers of the jagirdars increased a good deal; even so much in some cases that chiefs like Sataladeva of Siwana may practically be regarded as an independent princes.

Local Self-government

Local Self-government: In villages, village unions,and towns, whether they were directly under a ruler or a feudal chief, considerable power lay in the hands of the people.

  • Mahajana (महाजन) (General Assembly): They had a General Assembly called the Mahajana, which sanctioned new imposts, policed its charge: evidenced grants and held general discussions regarding local affairs and sometimes even state policies. Thakura Rajadeva of Naduladagika, for instance, was permitted by the local Mahajana assembly to collect certain cesse's for the temple of the Jaina Tirthankara, Mahavira. It bore witness also to Rajadeva's grant of 1 vimsopaka and two palikas to the temple of Adinatha in the same year (V. 1200). The Banajaras of the village, who as members of a floating population could not naturally participate in the proceedings Mahajana, met separately to give a donation. In V. 1352,the adhikarins of Samantasimha at Bahadamer acted in the same way as Thakura Rajadeva. They requested the sanction of the Mahajana assembly, before levying for the gods, Vighnamardana-Kshetrapala and Chamundaraja, either a paila or 10 Bhimapriya vinsopakas from every incoming or outgoing caravan exceeding 10 camels and 20 bullocks. Nearly 19 years later,in V. 1371, when the Jalor garrison faced starvation on account of the shortage of provisions in the royal stores and grains, the Mahajanas proposed to supply the daily necessaries and advised Kanhadadeva to continue the struggle against Alauddin Khalji. Kings respected the representative character of the Mahajanas; influential people felt that it was an honour to be its leaders.
  • Panchakulas (पंचकुल): It consists of Committee of five. As an assembly consisting of all the adult members or even heads of families might have been too unwieldy for deliberative and specially executive work, the Mahajanas probably delegated their functions either to the representatives or to Panchakulas or Committees of five, an institution which has come down to us from Mauryan or perhaps even pre-Mauryan times. An example of the first type is to be found in the Nadol Inscription of Maharajadhiraja Rayapala's reign (V. 1200), according to which the 8 wards of Dhalop village, sent two representatives each and appointed one of them as Madhyaka, i.e., their chief. The signatures of these 16, who undertook to police; the territory within their jurisdiction, were to be regarded as the signatures of sarvaloka (all the residents of Dhalop. But the summoning of such a representative body was perhaps necessary only when one needed the community's sanction either to some new decree or some new impost, the usual village and town work being carried on by the other body we have referred to, i.e. the Panchakula or Committee of Five. Its members were no mere village leaders recognized as such by the village alone. They had a definite standing and it is not unlikely that the State might have had some share in the final constitution of the Committee.
Chauhan inscriptions show the Panchakula taking cognizance only of grants to temples. That their activities actually might have been of a character, much more varied and extensive, can however be seen from contemporary records of the neighbouring kingdoms as well the Lekhapaddhati which describes them as arbitrating between disputing parties, granting certificates of sale and concessions to traders; farming out villages, collecting the State's share of the revenue, and taking cognizance not merely of religious but also of secular grants, if made by private individuals. With such important duties assigned to the Panchakulas in Gujarat, it would perhaps be wrong to assume that the jurisdiction and powers of their friends in the Chauhan dominions were far more limited. Those days it was custom that reigned supreme; and customs did not change from village to village or merely because of one village being in Sapadalaksha and the other, a neighbouring one, being in the empire or kingdom of Gujarat.

Village officials

Official element in the countryside and towns was represented by Pattakllas, Baladhipas, Talaras, Selahathas, Rakshakaras, Vahikadhikrtas and Parigrahins, besides perhaps some of her minor officers, whose names have not come down to us.

  • Pattalika (पट्टलिक = ग्राम मुखिया): His duties might have been similar to those of the modern Patel, a village official entrusted with the realization of the village revenue.
  • Baladhipa (बलाधिप): Baladhipa, probably was a military officer put in charge of the Customs House or Mandapika and entitled to a certain share in its revenue known as the Baladhipabhavya.The Mandapika were one of the best sources of revenue.
  • Mahanta (महन्‍त = ग्राम मुखिया)
  • Mahantaka (महन्‍तक = ग्राम मुखिया)
  • Goshthi (गोष्‍ठी = ग्राम मुखिया)
  • Karanika (करणिक = लिपिक): The Secretary of village assembly was known as Karnika. He used to keep account of Panchakulas.

Police System

Police System: The Police System was in a large measure a part of the feudal and village administration. Both Jagirdars and village councils were require to detect crimes committed within their jurisdiction.

  • Talaras (तलार)/ Talaraksha (तलारक्ष) :The towns had their Talaras or Talaraksha for protection.
  • Rakshakaras (रक्षकार) : For villages the State sometimes appointed Rakshakaras; but not unoften the duty of policing them was left to the villagers themselves, provided they agreed solemnly, like the villages of Dhalop (EI. XI, p.40), to provide their own watchmen and to find out, in accordance with established customs and the Chaukadika system, the things that might be lost by door-keepers, ascetics, Vanajarakas, and soldiers passing through their territory.
  • Chaukadika (चौकडिया) :If the articles were lost in the village itself, there could be no question of resorting to the Chaukadika system; they had to be found by the villagers themselves. The state expected them to do this duty; none was to be freed from it, even if he offered satyagraha. In return, no doubt the State allowed them one important concession; it did not ask them to supply weapons or money for policing the highways. This type of policing, the basic principle of which was local responsibility, was nothing new to India. It appears to have succeeded well in the Kautilyan State which required the lost goods to be restored by the Gramasvamin, the Vivitadhyaksha, the Chorararajjuka or the Simaswamin (Arthashstra, IV. 13); and is known to have succeeded equally well under Sher Shah and the Great Mughals. It succeeded, we might presume, no less in the Chauhan dominions.
  • Chaukadikapravaha : The Chaukadikapravaha, interpreted by Dr. D.R. Bhandarkar, as the Panchayat System, may actually have been the relay of the Dak Chowki runners, the first institution of which is wrongly ascribed to Alituddin Khalji. With the help of such a relay alone the police could hope to capture a criminal who passed beyond the limits of a village or jagir after committing a crime.

Revenue System

Note - This section is mainly based on content from Early Chauhan Dynasties (800 to 1316) by Dasharatha Sharma, pp.235-240

Chauhan inscriptions mention the following terms connected with the revenue system of the period :-

  • l. Talarabhavya (तलाराभाव्य): This was the Talara's (तलार) share of the revenue from the Customs House or Mandapika (मण्डपिका) . It perhaps either came directly to him or was collected by the State as an additional impost only a part of which was paid over to him. As the ultimate guardian of the lives and property of townsmen, the State could, if it so desired, claim Talarabhavya for itself and pay a part of it as salary to the actual Talara. The Sanderao stone inscription of Kelhana reign suggests the first course (EI, XI, .p. 56) . The Mangrol inscription of V. 1102 from the neighbouring kingdom of Gujarat shows that the second was the normal system in a State with a strong centre.
  • 2. Selahathabhavya (सेलहथाभाव्य). Like the Talara, the Selahatha ((सेलहथ) or Shalyahasta (शाल्यहस्त) had his share of revenue from the Customs House. This was known as Selahathabhavya and might have been collected and paid like Talarabhavya.
  • 3. Baladhipabhavya (बलाधिपाभाव्य) : The Baladhipabhavya was the share of the Customs revenue payable to the Baladhipa (बलाधिप).
  • 4. Dana (दान) or Customs Tax: Dana, a shortened form perhaps of adana, is almost the equivalent of the Kautalyan Shulka, and forms one of the most important sources of the Chauhan States' revenue. The abhavyas or additional taxes for various services rendered by the State to the community were all collected through the Danamandapika (दानमण्डपिका); and then the Mandapika was also through which the ruler or the community itself provided for Religious benefactions, benefactions sometimes comprehensive enough to include every economic good and to provide for even the costliest ceremonies.
  • 5. Adana (आदान): This looks like a variant of dana. But while dana had come to mean customs-tax, adana still had its old meaning, due. The Bhokta, Rajadeva of Naddulai, for instance, had a certain sum due (adana) on all the baskets coming on oxen to that town, and could transfer a share of it to others.
  • 6. Laga (लाग) : The word might be translated as impost. It is still in common use in Rajasthan and is contrasted with Bhaga (भाग), i.e., regular land-tax.
  • 7. Atmapaila (आत्मपाईला): The word occurs in the Nadlai Stone Inscription of Rayapala's reign (EI, XI, p. 37). It means the paila (पाईला) due to the Bhokta or jagirdar. The articles on which the paila was due have not been specified.
  • 8. Talapada (तलपद) : The word is found in Alhanadeva's Nadol Inscription of V. 1218 and Chachigadeva's Bhinmal Inscription of V.1332. Regarding it as synonymous with Svatala (स्वतल) of the Valabhi inscriptions, Kielhorn renders the term as "grounds." Dr. U.N. Ghoshal's meaning for it is "land fully assessed for revenue. " As this latter meaning agrees with that given later on to it in Gujarat, it may be accepted.
  • 9. Halasadi (हलसदी) : This probably was a tax calculated per plough and paid over like various abhavyas to the Vahikadhikrita (वहिकाधिकृत) and the Chetaka (चेटक) stationed in a talapada-mandapika. A tax per plough was known in Mughal India as an abwab (आबवाब) and evidently comes down from the pre-Muslim period of our history.
  • 10. Dashabandha (दशबन्ध) : Dashabandha, a tax of one-tenth (tithe), was universal throughout Asia from the Jewish tithe to dahiek (one in ten) of Persia, Central Asia and Muslim India. The Dashabandha, (mentioned in a Nadol Inscription of V.1200), from which Bhutala (भूतल), a Karnata ranaka, is said to have freed the dancing girls of Usapapattana served as an income-tax.
  • 11. Devadaya (देवदाय) : I t is money or property donated for religious purposes.
  • 12. Dohalika (दोहलिका) : Dohalika [4] is a rent-free benefaction of land. Dohali is a land granted to a Brahman by the king.
  • 13. Nidhana (निधान) : Dr. U.N. Ghoshal translates the term as "a kind of cess imposed on agricultural land." But the Bamnera Grant of Kelhanadeva (V. 1223) [EI, XIII,p.210] suggests articles like treasure trove. Numerous epigraphs and also drafts in the Lekhapaddhati mention नवनिधान meaning thereby perhaps nine types of treasure to be found underground.
  • 14. Abhyantarasiddhi (आभ्यंतरसिद्धि) : Abhyantarasiddhi [5] is the right to the mineral wealth in the interior of the earth. It was sual to pass it on to the donee along with the donated land.
  • 15. Rajakiya-bhoga (राजकीय-भोग) : Rajakiya-bhoga [6] Dr. D.R. Bhandarkar translates the term as "the king's personal property." According to Dr. U.N. Ghoshal, Bhoga means "periodical supplies of fruits, firewood, flowers and the like which the villagers had to furnish to the king." As the Chauhan inscription, however, in which the term occurs, mentions one hael of yugandhari, i.e., as much jwar as could be produced in land tilled by one plough, as a part of the Rajakiya-bhoga due from Sanderav, we might, while rejecting Dr. D.R. Bhandarkar's interpretation, amend also Dr. Ghoshal's by saying that whatever the original nature of this impost might have been, the Chauhans included also cereals under it. Nor was bhaga, used merely to give perquisites to local officers, as Dr. A.S. Altekar suggests, for the illustration before us shows a part of it being passed on to the temple of Mahavira. From a draft of the Lekhapaddhati which mentions 40 kalasis and 4 mutakas of peas as bhoga, but provides sureties only for the payment of other i.e., non-bhoga dues from the village, the total of which came to 4,241 drammas, it may further be inferred that bhoga was paid in kind and used locally. Its proceeds did not find a way to the royal treasury, even though its appropriation could be according to royal orders.
  • 16. Udranga (उद्रंग) : . The word occurs rarely in Chauhan inscriptions ; its only use that I have been able to trace is in the Hansot Plates of Bhartrivaddha II. Dr. Fleet and Dr. U.N. Ghoshal give it the meaning of "revenue imposed upon permanent tenants". But its actual meaning, as suggested by Dr. A.S. Altekar, may be land-tax and it may be synonymous with bhaga or land-tax with which it is never used in inscriptions.
  • 17. Uparikara (उपरिकर) : This word generally goes with Udranga. Dr. Fleet and Dr. U.N. Ghoshal regard it as an impost levied ,on temporary tenants. Dr. A.S. Altekar equates it with Bhoga. But both Uparikara and Bhoga are used together, in Karnadeva's Nausari Plates of S. 996,[7] a fact which goes against their identity. We would rather equate sodrangah soparikarah with bhaga-laga. so well known to us even now. Uparikara was an additional impost, if the word be interpreted literally, and thus included Bhogo also. Its sphere was much more omprehensive than that of Bhoga.
  • 18. Danda (दण्ड): Of Danda or fines there could be many varieties. But in Chauhan inscriptions we find the mention of only a fine for the slaughter of animals on certain days of the month.[8] When farming out a village, it was usual for the overlord to reserve to himself the income from fines, even though the actual realization of the money was left to the farmer. Obviously, we cannot have a systematic or satisfactory knowledge of the actual system of revenue and taxation in the Chauhan dominions on the basis of this imperfect and fragmentary information.
  • 20. Minning: Mines and quarries also, of which there are many in Rajasthan, must have yielded some revenue to the State, if not already made over along with the land to some donee or jagirdiir.
  • 21. Digvijayas': The revenue derived from the digvijayas of rulers like Vigrahaaraja II, Vigraharaja IV and Prthviraja III was considerable. It was perhaps the money derived from them that went to the beautification of Ajmer and the construction of grand Chauhan public works. A far more satisfactory account of the contemporary sources of revenue can be had on the basis of Chaulukya inscriptions and the Lekhapaddhati, the system described in which was probably current, at least in part, in the Chauhan principalities of Marwar. These bordered' Gujarat and were for a long period subordinate to it.

Chauhan Judiciary

Note - This section is mainly based on content from Early Chauhan Dynasties (800 to 1316) by Dasharatha Sharma, pp.240-241

As regards the Chauhan judiciary, again, the details from our sources are meager in the extreme. In the first instance the cases probably went to the Village Councils, which are probably the popular courts mentioned by the Arab traveller, Sulaiman. The highest tribunal of justice, however, was the ruler who heard plaints of every type, original as well as appellate. This evidence at our disposal prevents us from agreeing with Dr. Altekar's conclusion that the "King's Courts did not entertain any cases at first instance," for the only instances of royal justice that we have from the Kharataragachchhapattauali of Jinapala and the Lekhapaddhati are of the people going direct to the Rajakula and requesting justice. The ruler gave no arbitrary judgment. He generally referred the matter to the Panditas, in the Dharmadhikarana, who then called for documentary evidence and witnesses and, in the absence or these two, perhaps resorted also to ordeals. From these, however, they exempted women, children, and weak, old and sickly persons. A Brahhmana accused was required to submit a gardabhapatra, i.e., a declaration to the effect that if he committed suicide on account of his dislike of the judge's verdict, he died the death of a donkey or a chandala. No blame was laid on the judges (Panditas of the Dharmadhikarana) or the ruler. Of the Chauhan records Rayapala's Nadol Inscription of V.1198 provides the best instance of such a gardabhapatra.

Court officials

Note - This section is mainly based on content from Early Chauhan Dynasties (800 to 1316) by Dasharatha Sharma, pp.245-246

The Kanhadadeprabandha mentions the following court officials :-

  • (1) Amatyas (अमात्य).
  • (2) Pradhana (प्रधान) , i.e., the Chief Minister.
  • (3) Samanta (सामंत) i.e., nobles in attendance at the Court.
  • (4) Mandalikas (माण्डलिक) , rulers of Mandalas or feudatory principalities
  • (5) Sri-garanas (श्री-गरणा) i.e., members of the Department of Income.
  • (6) Vaya-garanas (वय-गरणा) (Vyaya-karanikas) (व्यय-करणिक) , i.e., members of the Department in charge of Expenditure.
  • (7) Mukuta-vardhanas (मुकुट-वर्धन) .
  • (8) Angalehas (अंगलेह) , perhaps attendants who massaged and put scents etc. on the ruler's body.
  • (9) Masahani (मसाहणी) . Perhaps he is identical with Sadhanika (साधनिक) or Sahani (साहणी).
  • (10) Tavari (तावरी) . The meaning is not clear .
  • (11 ) Bhandaris (भण्डारी). i.e., Bhandagarikas. These are said to provide the means for the Raula's (राउल) expenses.
  • (12) Kotharis (कोठारी), These are said to provide the means for the Raula's expenses.
  • (13) Sanahitas (साणहित). The meaning of the word is not clear.
  • (14) Mehtas (मेहता) .
  • (15) Talaras (तलार), i.e., Kotwals.
  • (16) Selahutas (सेलहुत) (Shalyahastas) (शाल्यहस्त .
  • (17) Purohita (पुरोहित).
  • (18) Dehrasaris (देहरासरि) , priests in charge of the royal temples.
  • (19) Avadhanias (अवधानिया) i.e., attendants in general.

Though the Kanhadadeprabandha was written more than a hundred years after the death of Kanhadadeva, the list of officials may be regarded as trustworthy, because his descendant, Akhayaraja, at whose court Padmanabha flourished, may have tried to keep up the old Chauhan state and style. A much longer list than this is to be found in the Prithvichandracharita or Vagvilasa (p. 97). Some of the additional members of a court that it mentions are

  • (1) Gananayaka (गणनायक),
  • (2) Dandanayaka (दण्डनायक),
  • (3) Vahivahaka (वहीवाहक) ,
  • (4) Vrittinayaka (वृत्तिनायक) ,
  • (5) Mandavika (माण्डविक),
  • (6) Indrajali (इन्द्रजालि),
  • (7) Angarakshaka (अंगरक्षक),
  • (8) Tantrapala (तंत्रपाल),
  • (9) Talavarga (तलवर्ग),
  • (10) Chaurasiya (चौरासिया),
  • (11) Dharmadhigarna (धर्माधिगर्णा) ,
  • (12) Senadhipati (सेनाधिपति),
  • (13) Khadgadhara (खड्गधर), kuntadhara (कुन्तधर), dhanurdhara (धनुर्धर),
  • (14) Vara-vadhu (वार-वधू),
  • (15) Panditas (पण्डित), poets and writers,
  • (16) Sejapala (सेजपाल),
  • (17) Shreshthins (श्रेष्ठिन),
  • (18) Sarthavahas (सर्थवाह)

The Charita is a Gujarati composition of V. 1478 (A.D. 1421) and reflects in a general way the conditions obtaining in Gurjaratra. Therefore it is quite likely that of the officers bearing these titles many were to be found in the Chauhan , courts also. Its author, Manikyachandra Suri, though professing to write an old Jaina story, has largely utilised the material as it was before him i.e., in his own times and in the territory he generally resided in.


  1. Early Chauhan Dynasties (800 to 1316) by Dasharatha Sharma, pp.219
  2. Early Chauhan Dynasties (800 to 1316) by Dasharatha Sharma, pp.219
  3. Early Chauhan Dynasties (800 to 1316) by Dasharatha Sharma, pp.231
  4. Bamnera plate of Kelhana's reign. EI.XIII. p.208
  5. Hansot plates of Bhatrivaddha II
  6. Sanderao Stone Inscription of Kelhanadeva’s reign, EI, XI. P. 47
  7. सहिरण्य-भा(गभो)ग: सवृक्षमालाकुल: सदंडदशापराध: सोपरिकर: सर्वदायसमेत: Historical Inscriptions of Gujarat, Chalukya Inscriptions. p.23
  8. See Kiradu Inscription V.1209 of Ahhanadeva and the Ratanpur Inscription of Punpakshadeva

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