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The Maurya Empire Unites India as One Political Entity
-By Shri Sudheer Birodkar
The nearest authoritative source which can give us an idea of the Mauryan State apparatus is the Arthashastra - a Sanskrit classic on the principles of politico-economic organisation authored by Chanakya who was the principal adviser to the first Mauryan Emperor, Chandragupta. Guided by the Arthashastra, the Mauryan state became the central land clearing agency with the objective of extending settled agriculture and breaking up the disintegrating remenants of the frontier hill tribes whose members could serve as a useful source of providing labourer-cultivators on these newly cleared forest lands.
Mauryan agriculture had two type of landholdings, one were the Rashtra type of holdings which were the direct descendants of the holdings of the former tribal oligarchies who had been subjugated in pre-Mauryan times. The Rashtra landholdings were to a large extent independent of the state machinery in their internal functioning and administration.
Their only obligation was the regular payment of the Rashtra taxes to the state.
An elaborately carved torana (panel) from the Sanchi Stupa. This represents a typical Mauryan Village scene.
The second major type of landholdings were of the type. These Sita landholdings were formed by clearing forest lands with the help of the tribesmen whose tribal way of 1ife had been systematically and annihilated by the Mauryan statecraft. It would be interesting to recollect here the episode about the birth and passing away of Rama' s wife Sita whose name these landholdings bear or perhaps vice versa.
Author : Shri Sudheer Birodkar