Administrative System Established by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj




Administrative system established by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj:

The formation of the Ashtapradhan Mandal (council of eight ministers) and its growth took place alongwith the expansion of the kingdom. After coronation, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj created special posts of Ashtapradhans. It included ‘Peshwa’, ‘Amatya’, ‘Sachiv’, ‘Mantri’, ‘Senapati, ‘Sumant’, ‘Nyayadhish’ and ‘Panditrao. The Ashta Pradhan was designed to encompass all the primary administrative functions of the state, with each minister being given charge of one role in the administration. Ministerial designations were drawn from the Sanskrit language; the eight ministerial roles were as follows:

  • Peshwa - Prime Minister, general administration of the Empire.
  • Amatya - Finance Minister, managing accounts of the Empire.
  • Sacheev - Secretary, preparing royal edicts
  • Mantri - Interior Minister, managing internal affairs especially intelligence and espionage.
  • Senapati - Commander in Chief, managing the forces and defence of the Empire.
  • Sumant - Foreign Minister, to manage relationships with other sovereigns.
  • Nyayadhish - Chief Justice, dispensing justice on civil and criminal matters.
  • Panditrao - High Priest, managing internal religious matters. The duties of the Panditrao were to promote learning and in the Ashta Pradhan

There was a special officer called ‘Darakdar’ appointed to look After every department of the ministry. Other officers were ‘Diwan’ (secretary), ‘Majumdar’ (auditor and accountant), ‘Phadnis’ (Deputy Auditor), ‘Sabnis’ (office in-charge), ‘Karkhanis’ (Commissary), ‘Chitnis’ (Correspondence clerk), ‘Jamdar’ (Treasurer), ‘Potdar’ (assay master) etc.

The Kingdom was divided into two parts for the sake of administration. The first province was divided into three sections. The northern section was assigned to the Peshwa which included the regions from Salher to Pune and North Konkan. The central part consisted of south Konkan, Sawantwadi and Karwar. This was assigned to the Sachiv. In the third part the regions of high plateau i.e. Satara-Wai to Belgaum and Koppal was assigned to the ‘Mantri’. A separate ‘Subha’ of Karnataka was created and Hambirrao Mohite and Raghunath Narayan Amatya were appointed on it. ‘Sarsubhedars’ were appointed on all these regions in association with the ‘Pradhans’ (Ministers). This was known as ‘Rajmandal’. The appointment of ‘Killedar’ (keeper of the fort) and ‘Karkun’ (clerks) was made by the King himself. The Pradhans had to submit annual accounts to Shivaji Maharaj.

There was a difference between the administration under the Islamic rulers and the administrative system set by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Sarsubhas in the Swarajya were meant to be the zonal divisions for overall administration, while under Islamic rulers a division merely served the purpose of revenue collection.


Determining the grade (prat) of the land formed the basics of the Revenue System. The land revenue system introduced by Malik Amber of Nizamshahi was in practice. But Shivaji Maharaj introduced a new system. He fixed the measuring unit of ‘Kathi’ (measuring stick) for the measurement of the land. The length of this kathi was 5 cubits (length of a forearm) and 5 closed fists. Based on this following units were decided: the area of 20 kathis was 1 ‘Bigha’ and 120 Bighas made one ‘Chavar’. Annaji Datto (Sachiv) travelled from village to village and determined various criteria calculating revenue such as ‘Dhara’, ‘Chavarana’, ‘Pratbandi’ etc., based on the annual yield. Chavarana means deciding the boundaries of land by measurng it. Assessment of land in the hilly regions was not done areawise but yieldwise. While collecting the revenue, the quality of the yield was also taken into consideration along with the grade of the land. Revenue was fixed only after the calculation of the average yield of previous 3 years. Land such as Barren land, jungle, grazing land etc. we’re not counted for land revenue.  The Subhedars were assisted by ‘Deshmukhs’ and ‘Deshpandes’. The main task of a Deshmukh was to collect the land revenue, to develop waste land into cultivable land and settle new villages.

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