Broad Principles of Shivaji's Administration

The broad principles of Shivaji's administration are indicative of his vision, statesmanship and foresight of the highest order and that he was far more modern in his approach towards the role and functions of the government than any of his contemporaries. Had these principles been followed, many of the ills, which sapped the strength of the Maratha Empire later, would not have arisen.

1. The defence of the country (swarajya) should be given highest priority through a net-work of well garrisoned land and marine forts, a strong army and a navy. In view of peculiar geographical features of Maharashtra, specially the Konkan region, this was the best means of protecting the land from the hostile powers.

2. All those in the Government service were to be paid in cash and not through land grants or jagirs. In no case, fresh grants of lands were to be made.

3. No post or office, even the highest, were to be hereditary, and those on civil and military posts were to be transferred from one place or position to another as a matter of principle.

4. All posts were to be filled on the basis of merit and not heredity, caste, or religion.

5. Revenue collection was to be direct, i.e. by the State, through its own agencies and departments, and not through middlemen of any type.

6 The system of farming lands, like the ijara system of the Mughal government, so widespread after Aurangzeb's death, was abolished.

7. People of all castes, including tribals, were to be involved, according to their suitability, in the defence and upkeep of the forts and land, and in the administration of the country, with no caste enjoying exclusive position or privileges.

8. All people, irrespective of their caste and religion, were to have same rights, and enjoy freedom to follow their religion, and no section of the people should be discriminated against on the basis of their faith.

9. During war, and in course of raids in the enemy territory, the women, children and religious places were not to suffer any harm or damage.

10. The finances of the state were to be so managed and budgeted as to leave surplus every year to fall back upon in times of national need.

There were detailed rules, all based on equally sound principles, for the army, the administration of the forts, and civil administration.