Main Features of Harsha’s Administration

Main Features of Harsha’s Administration

Harsha is remembered as a skilled administrator and Prajapalak king. It is mentioned in Nagananda that the only ideal of Harsha was to see the subjects happy and happy. In Kadambari and Harshacharit, he is also called a protector. The divine doctrine of the king was prevalent at this time, but this does not mean that the king was autocratic. In fact, the king had many duties and responsibilities which had to be fulfilled. His personal wishes were secondary to his duties. The king was considered to be the keeper of punishment and religion.

The image of Harsha emerges from the description of Hieun Tsang as a Prajapalak king. He used to work so much in the works of the Rajhit that he forgot sleep and food too. Like the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, he too was engaged in governance throughout the day. In order to know the condition of the empire, the status of the subjects, their standard of living, the ancient kings used to travel in the night by changing their appearance. Harsha also used to visit his empire. Was aware of the happiness and sorrow of the people. Used to punish the wicked person and reward the gentleman. He used to listen to the hardships of the subjects even in the war camps. Camps are mentioned in Harshacharit. This description reflects the erstwhile royalty. Baan mentions the tradition of coronation. Harsha mentions the coronation of Prabhakarvardhana. Rajprasad was rich and well-equipped. Along with men, the number of women in the king’s personal servants was also considerable. Among them, Mahapratihari, Pratiharijan, Chamaragrahini, Tambool, Karankwahini etc. are notable. There was strict management of the security of the people. The description of Hieun Tsang gives mention of Harsha’s philanthropic works. He made extensive arrangements for the safety of the roads and made proper arrangements for the stay of the passengers. He also used to spend a lot in charity work.

A Council of Ministers was there to help the king in his official work. The words Prime Minister and Amatya were used for ministers. Several types of administrative posts are mentioned in Ratnavali and Nagananda. Many of the ministers were of the Gupta period, such as treatises, Akshayapatadhikhal, generals etc. The advice of ministers was very important. It is clear from the description of Hieun Tsang that after the slaughter of Rajyavardhana the Kannauj rulers requested Harsha to take over the throne of Kannauj with the advice of the Council of Ministers. It is clear that in ancient times ministers had the freedom to express their views freely. The king used to be the axis of administrative system. He was also the last judge and chief commander. The king looked after all the departments. Central government was divided into several departments for convenience. The Prime Minister, Sandhivagrihaka (overseer of the Department of Nations), Akshayapatalik (examiner of government papers), Senapati (the highest officer of the army), Mahapratihar (protector of the Rajprasad), Mimansak (judge), writer, physic etc. were the chief. Apart from these, there were officials like the Mahabhalikadh, Chief of the Chief of the Army, Chief of the Army, Envoy, Uparik Maharaj, Commissioner and Longwag (fast-paced communicator).

The state was divided into village, subject, employment and nation etc. for administrative convenience. Bhukti meant province and the subject was from districts. The smallest unit of governance was the village. The villages were independent in their area. Village was the head of the village. Apart from this, there is also a series of employees such as Mahasamant, Samat Daussadh, Kumaramatya etc.

The punishment was harsh during the time of Harsha. Hiuen Tsang writes that people live with love when the governance work is done truthfully. Therefore, the number of criminals is small. Conspiracy against the state was punished with life imprisonment. Apart from this, financial penalty was also given for mutilation, exile. According to Hieun Tsang, four types of difficult systems were used to find out the truth of crime — by water, by fire, by Libra, by poison. Literary and archival evidence also sheds light on justice management. The criminals were judged by the judge who was known as Mimansak. There was a prison or prison house for the criminals. Sometimes they were also worn in shackles. At the time of special celebrations or ceremonies, the crime of criminals was forgiven. Even when Harsha went to Digvijay, his crime was forgiven.

Harsh had followed a solid and firm economic policy. Hiuen Tsang’s account shows that the king used to spend income liberally. There were four parts of the treasury – one part was spent on religious works and government functions, the second part was spent on big public officials, third part was given prizes and assistance to scholars, fourth part was spent in charity and charity.

There was no heavy taxation pressure on the people in Harshaal. Rajkar was the 4th of the produce. Apart from landlord, mineral materials were also taxed. Octroi was also the major source of income of the state. The state’s income was also from the financial penalty imposed on the citizens. The major taxes of Harsha period were parts, Hiranya and Bali. There is also mention of udrang and overhead.

Military rule – Harsh formed an organized army to protect his empire. He was the highest officer of the army. The army consisted of pedestrians, cavalry, charioteers, and astrologers. It is clear from Hieun Tsang’s description that Harsha’s army consisted of numerous foot soldiers, and 20,000 horsemen and 60,000 elephants. The description of Harshacharit shows the existence of camels in the army. Nine army must also have been in Harsha’s army. There is mention of many military officers, such as Mahabhaladhikar Senapati, Chief of the Army, etc. By this time the use of the chariot in the army was over. Harsha also developed the intelligence organization. Police department was also formed. The officers of the police department were chowdhornik, penitentiary etc.

Religious faith – Hwen Tsang’s description also shows Harsha to be Mahayana Buddhist. Harsha built many Buddhist stupas. He assisted the Chinese traveler to spread Buddhism. In the Banskheda and Madhuvan inscriptions, he has been called Paramasugat. He also donated a lot to Brahmins. But his inclination towards Buddhism did not mean that he was a staunch Buddhist. In the seals received from Banskheda Tamrapatra, Nalanda and Sonipat, he has been called Parammaheshwar. This also shows his devotion to Shiva. Harsha was a prolific ruler under whose rule all religions flourished.

Kannauj Dharma Parishad – An important event of the reign of Emperor Harsha is the Council of Kannauj. The main objective of organizing the Dharma Parishad of Kannauj was to remove all the misconceptions that were causing problems in front of various religious leaders at that time. Before organizing the Dharma Parishad of Kannauj, expressing his views in this regard, he told the Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang – I wish to have a huge gathering in Kanyakubj and to show the characteristics of Mahayana and to prevent the confusion of the paintings. , I command the Brahmins and the Buddhist and non-believers of Panchgowd to come and join them. So that their absence is removed and they can understand the great quality of God. The council met in Kannauj in February of 643 AD. Three thousand Shramans (Mahayana and Hinsan), kings of 18 countries, three thousand Brahmins and Nigrantha i.e. Jain and one thousand priests of Nalanda Math participated in it. Hieun Tsang was made the chairman of the debate.

Mahamoksha Parishad – Harsha used to organize a charity distribution ceremony in Prayag for the fifth year. It was called the Mahamoksha Parishad. In this, the emperor used to worship various deities. The people involved in it used to donate with free hand. Hieun Tsang was involved in this type of ceremony. He has given a detailed account of this, about 5 lakh human beings joined the Sixth Mahamoksha Parishad.

Travel-details of Hiuen Tsang- The famous Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang came to India at the time of Harsha. He came to India from China in 629 AD and returned in 645 AD. He came to study at Nalanda University and took Buddhist texts from India. He went back after attending Harsha’s Prayag Sabha. He took with him many Buddhist texts and relics of Lord Buddha. He reached China and wrote his travel details. This description is very important historically. It gives a tableau of the then life with details related to Harsha. On the basis of his description, a living picture of ancient India appears before us. Hiuen Tsang has painted Harshavardhana’s administrative stage. Harsha was personally interested in the affairs of the state. The punishment was liberal, but in some offenses the punishment was strict. A rebellion against the state could be punished with life imprisonment. Divine practice was prevalent. From the political point of view, the importance of Vaishali and Pataliputra was decreasing. The importance of Prayag and Kannauj was increasing in its place.

Hiuen Tsang has divided the society then into four parts – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras. He has called the Shudras agricultural. It is clear that the condition of the Shudras must have improved. The Chinese traveler has also mentioned untouchables like scavengers, hangmen. They lived away from the city and ate onions, garlic. In general, people used all kinds of grain-butter etc. Hieun Tsang was very impressed with the character of the people there. He has described them as true and honest. Simplicity, tact and guest love are considered to be the main qualities of Indians.

The description of Hiuen Tsang gives an impression that Hinduism was more influential in India at that time. Brahmins performed sacrifices and respected cows. Various types of deities were worshiped. There were many temples of Vishnu, Shiva and Surya. Jainism and Buddhism were also practiced. People in general were tolerant of religion. There was unity among various sects. There was also an atmosphere of debate or debate which sometimes took a fiery form.

Hieun Tsang was greatly affected by its economic prosperity. People’s standard of living was high. Gold and silver coins were in circulation, but clams were used for general exchange. The land of India was very fertile. Yields were good. Land was also given as grant. The business of making silk, cotton, woolen cloth was advanced. Economic categories are also mentioned. He was developed during the Harsha period. The cities of Tamralipti, Bharaunch, Kapisha, Pataliputra etc. were the main centers of business activities. India’s trade relations were with Western countries, China, Central Asia etc. Trade from the South-Eastern Islands such as Java, Sumatra, Malaya etc. was done by water route.

Hiuen Tsang mentions the boundaries of Kannauj and Prayag organized by Harsha. Hiuen Tsang has also mentioned Nalanda University, which was the center of educational activities of the time. The educational level of the then society was very high. He has also mentioned Harsha’s religious outlook, charity and generosity.


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