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Maratha Administration

18-SEP-2015 17:43

    Maratha State appointed Hindus on high post and made Marathi as an official language instead of Persian. They prepare their own state craft dictionary i.e. ‘Raja Vyakaran Kosh’ for official use. The Maratha administration can be studied under three heads- Central Administration; Revenue Administration; and Military Administration.


    Central Administration

    • It was founded by Shivaji for the sound system of administration which was greatly inspired from the Deccan style of administration. Most of the administrative reforms were inspired from Malik Amber reforms in Ahmednagar.
    • The King was the supreme head of state who was assisted by a group of eight ministers known as the ‘Ashtapradhan’.

    The Asthapradhan

    • Peshwa or the Chief Minister- He looked after general administration.
    • Amatya or Majumdar- Accountant general, he later became revenue and finance mnister.
    • Sachiv or Surunavis- Also called Chitnis; he looked after the Royal correspondence.
    • Sumant or Dabir- Foreign affairs and the master of Royal ceremonies.
    • Senapati or Sari-i-Naubat- Military commander. He looked after the recruitment, training and discipline of army.
    • Mantri or Waqia Navis- Personal safety of the king, he looked after the intelligence, post and household affairs.
    • Nyayadhish- Administration of Justice
    • Punditrao- Looking after charitable and religious affairs of the state. He worked for the moral upliftment of the people.
    • Apart from the departmental duties, three of the ministers- Peshwas, Schiva and the Mantri were also given incharge of extensive provinces.
    • All ministers, except the Panditrao and the Nyayadish, had to serve in a war whenever necessary.

           Minister was assisted by a staff of eight clerks

    • Diwan – secretary
    • Mujumdar – auditor and accountant
    • Fadnis – deputy auditor
    • Sabnis or Daftardar – office incharge
    • Karkhanis – commissary
    • Chitins – correspondence clerk
    • Jamdar – treasurer
    • Potnis – cashier
    • Shivaji divided entire territory into three provinces, each under a viceroy. He further divided the provinces into Prants then Pargana and Tarafs. The lowest unit was the village which was headed by its headman or Patel.

    Revenue Administration

    • Shivaji abolished the Jagirdari System and replaced with Ryotwari System, and changes in the position of hereditary revenue officials which was popularly known as Deshmukhs, Deshpande, Patils and Kulkarnis.
    • Shivaji strictly supervised the Mirasdars who had hereditary rights in land.
    • The revenue system was patterned on the Kathi system of Malik Amber. According to this system, every piece of land was measured by Rod or Kathi.
    • Chauth and Sardeshmukhi were other sources of income: Chauth was amounted to 1/4th of the standard which was paid to Marathas as a safeguard against Shivaji’s forces plundering or raiding Non-Maratha territories. Sardeshmukhi was an additional levy of 10 percent demanded from areas outside from the kingdom.

    Military Administration

    Shivaji organised a disciplined and efficient army. The ordinary soldiers were paid in cash, but big chief and military commander were paid through jagir grants (Saranjam or Mokasa).

    The army consists of Infantry i.e. Mavali foot soldiers; Cavalry i.e. Horse riders and equipment holders; Navy.

    Military Personnel

    Sar-i-Naubat (Senapati)- Incharge of army

    Qiladars- Officers of Forts

    Nayak- Head of the member unit of infantry

    Havaldar- Head of five Nayaks

    Jumladar- Head of five Nayaks

    Ghuraw- Boats laden with guns

    Gallivat- Rowing boats 40-50 rowers

    Paik- Foot Soldiers

    • The army was effective instrument of policies of Marathas State where rapidity of movement was the most important factors. Only in the rainy season, the army get rested otherwise rest of the year was engaged in expeditions.
    • Pindaries were allowed to accompany the army who were allowed to collect “Pal-Patti” which was 25% of war booty.


    Maratha’s system of administration was largely borrowed from the administrative practices of the Deccan states. Hence, the Marathas had important positions among administrative and military system in the contemporary kingdoms especially Ahmednagar and Bijapur.

    GK Questions and Answers on History of India

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