In the annals of history of India, there were so many empires with large administration such as Mauryans, Guptas, etc. Unlike them Cholas had a well-organized administration with an element of self-government at local level which can be seen reminiscent of current local self-administration.
The most important feature of the Chola administration was the local administration at districts, towns and villages level. Uttaramerur inscriptions speak much about the Chola administration. Village autonomy was the most unique feature of Chola administrative system. The basic premise in the concept of village autonomy of the Cholas was that the villagers should administer their villages themselves. For this purpose, village assemblies vested with the power of administration were constituted. The entire responsibility of the village administration was in the hands of the village assembly called Grama Sabha. The lowest unit of the Chola administration was the village unit.
- The village assemblies looked after the maintenance of peace, tanks, roads, public ponds revenue collection, judiciary, education and temples.
- The village assemblies were in charge of the payment of taxes due from the villages to the treasury.
- They regulated public markets and helped people at times of famine and floods.
- Assemblies provided provisions for education.
- The village assemblies possessed absolute authority over the affairs of villages. They maintained law and order in every village.
- Brahmin settlement was called Chathurvedi mangalam.
- Variyams: Village Assemblies carried on village administration effectively with the help of variyams. The male members of the society were the members of these variyams. The composition of these variyams, qualification and durations of membership differed from village to village. Conclusion The Chola government during the Imperial Period (850 – 1200 CE) was marked for its uniqueness and innovativeness in the form of local self-government.
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