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Shivaji’s Administration

Shivaji’s Administration

Central Administration:

Shivaji was helped by the ashtapradhan (eight ministers) which was unlike a council of ministers, for there was no collective responsibility, each minister was directly responsible to Shivaji. The ashtapradhan included:

  • Peshwa: concerned with finance and general administration. Later he became Prime Minister and assumed great importance.
  • Sar-i-Naubat (Senapati): He was a military commander. This was only an honorary post with no real military powers.    Shivaji’s Administration
  • Majumdar (Amatya): He was Accountant general during the rule of the Peshwas, he later became revenue and finance minister.
  • Waqenavis: Concerned with intelligence, posts and household affairs.
  • Shurunavis (Sachiv): Also called Chitnis, looked into correspondence.
  • Dabir (Samanta): Master of ceremonies. Also foreign minister.
  • Nyayadhish: concerned with justice.
  • Pandit Rao: concerned with Charities and religious affairs.

Most of the administrative reforms of Shivaji were based on Malik Ambar’s reforms. Rajaram introduced the post of Pratimdhi, the 9th Minister.      Shivaji’s Administration

Revenue Administration:

  • Assessment of land revenue was based on measurement. The Kathi of Ambar was adopted as the measuring rod. Land revenue was increased from 33% to 40% in later years.
  • The swarajya was divided into a number of revenue divisions, called prants consisting of two or more districts. Shivaji brought about changes in the position of the hereditary revenue officials, variously called Deshmukhs, Deshpandes, Patils and Kulkarnis.
  • Though he did not completely do away with these officials, he considerably reduced their powers by close supervision and strict collection of revenue from them.
  • Appointment of his own revenue officials called Subandars or Karkuns in charge of revenue administration of prants helped in establishing a solid revenue regime.
  • Chauth and Sardeshmukhi were collected not on his swarajya but on an undefined belt of land which was legally part of the Mughal empire or the Deccan states.  Shivaji’s Administration
  • Chauth was one-fourth of the land revenue paid to the Marathas so as not be subjected to Maratha raids.
  • Sardeshmukhi was an additional levy of 10% on those lands of Maharashtra over which the Marathas claimed hereditary rights, but which formed part of the Mughal empire.

Military Administration:

  • Ordinary soldiers were paid in cash, but the big chiefs and military commanders were paid through the grant of revenues or Saranjam or mokasa (jagirs).
  • All ministers except the Nyayadhish and the Pandit had to participate in war. The hierarchy of army officials was like this — Sari-i-naubat (Senapati), Panch hazari, jumladar, havaldar and naik.
  • The army consisted of the infantry in which the Mavali foot soldiers played the most important role, the cavalry consisting of barges and silandars and the navy consisting of two squadrons, each under a Muslim and a Hindu.
  • Forts occupied an important position. Each fort was put under the charge of three officers of equal rank (qilandars) as a precaution against treachery and they were frequently transferred. By the end of his reign, Shivaji had 240 forts under him.    Shivaji’s Administration



Medieval History

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