Economy, Social Life, Art and Architecture in Mauryan Age
There were 27 superintendents (Adhyakshas) appointed by the Muaryan Empire to regulate economic activities of the state. This included trade and commerce, agriculture, weights and measures, mining, weaving and spinning.
Irrigation facilities were provided by the state for the advantage of agriculturists. The land suitable for agriculture was measured and channels were inspected through which water was distributed.
The taxes were collected from artisans, traders and peasants. The emphasis was given on assessment of tax rather than its storage. The highest officer who was in charge of assessment of tax was known as Samaharta while the chief custodian of the state treasury and store house was called Sannidhata. The taxes were collected in kind as well as cash.
The punch marked silver coins carrying symbols of the hill, crescent and the peacock was the imperial currency of Mauryan Empire.
The royal road ran from Patliputra to Nepal through Vaishali and Champaran. Another road at the foothills of the Himalayas passed from Vaishali thorough Champaran to Kasi, Kapilvastu and reaching up-to Peshawar. There were other roads which connected strategic locations within the empire. This facilitated transport. The rivers were also used as routes of communication.
Megasthenes mentioned in his book Indica that there existed seven castes in India which included Philosophers, Soldiers, Brahmanas, Craftsmen, Herdsmen, Farmers, Magistrates.
Megasthenese based his inference upon occupation rather than birth. The polygamy was prevalent in Royal classes. The women were entitled to Stridhana which included bridal gift.
Slavery was not enforced. The people used to work as “Dasa”, out of their own compulsions.
Art and Architecture
Stupas were built across the Mauryan Empire to preserve the relics of Buddha. The most famous Stupas are at Bharhuta and Sanchi. The royal palace of Chandragupta Maurya (discovered in Kumharar, Patna), Ashokan pillars, four lion capital at Sarnath (later adopted as national emblem) and Sanchi are fine specimens of Mauryan art and architecture.
The artisans of Mauryan period carved caves from rock as a residing place for monks.