The Gangas established a well-organized administrative system in order to stabilise and consolidate their vast empire. Chodaganga, as a stranger in this strange land, may very well understand his obligation to the Odisha people. The Gangas devoted themselves to their subjects’ material prosperity through a variety of humanitarian and welfare projects. As a result, they gained popularity among his Odishan subjects.
The Gangas ruled a vast kingdom that stretched from the Ganges to the Godavari. The Gangas’ unbroken rule of four hundred years provided an excellent opportunity for them to administer the Ganga dynasty’s subjects well.
The kingship concept
They possessed a superior understanding of kingship. They desired to carry out Kautilya’s concept of providing Yogakshema to their subjects. They sought to establish the principle that the king must be wise, ideal, efficient, and capable of enforcing justice and promoting the common good. As evidenced by the Ganga rule’s records, kings such as Vajrahasta-I, Anantavarman Chodagangadeva, Ananqabhirnadeva-ll, Narasimhadeva-I, and Bhanudeva-I were wise, benevolent, and accomplished rulers. They were all well-versed in religious and statecraft canons. The Ganga kings adopted lofty titles such as Maharajadhiraja, Parama Mahesvara, Paramabhattaraka, Trikalingadhipati, Paramavaisnava, Chakravarti, and Gajapati, among others. They ruled the country in accordance with the Niti and Smriti texts’ principles. They looked after their subjects’ material prosperity and spiritual well-being. Without a doubt, the kings’ objective was to satisfy their subjects’ desires.
The King’s Authority
The king was the government’s fulcrum. Among the king’s important powers were the appointment of ministers, imposition of taxes, exemption of subjects from taxes, temple construction, declaration of war and conclusion of peace, grant of lands to Brahmins, and conduction of tours to various parts of the empire to familiarise himself with the subjects’ problems.
Though the king was the supreme head of state, he exercised his authority in consultation with the council of ministers during the Ganga period. Numerous officials assisted the Ganga kings, including Mantri, Purohita, Yuvaraja, Sandhivigrahika, Senapati, and Dauvarika. Ministers were generally referred to as Patra-Samantas. ‘Mahapatra’ was given to the revenue minister. Sandhivigrahika was the minister in charge of war, peace, and foreign affairs.
The empire’s division
The Gangas divided the empire into a number of Mahamandalas for administrative purposes (greater provinces). Mahamandalika was the title given to the administrator of a Mahamandala (governor in chief). A Mahamandala was subdivided into Mandalas (provinces). Each Mandala was overseen by a Mandalika (governor). Additionally, a Mandala was composed of Vishayas or Bhogas (districts). A Vishayapati or Bhaugika was in charge of a Vishaya or Bhoga. A Vishaya or Bhoga was composed of a specified number of gramas (villages). Each village was administered by a gramika.
With the assistance of a powerful army, the Ganga emperors maintained their rule over a vast territory. The Ganga kings were themselves formidable warriors. The Ganga inscription mentions the following designations for their army commanders: Sakata batapati (Supreme Commander of Armed Forces), Senadhyaksa (Commander-in-Chief), Senapati, Dalapati, and Vahinipati. Army recruits may come from any of the four varnas – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra. Three wings comprised the army: elephantry, cavalry, and infantry. Elephants were particularly effective at striking fear into the hearts of adversaries. Soldiers used a variety of weapons during the wars, including swords, daggers, shields, spears, maces, and bows.
Taxes, land settlement, and revenue from land
The revenue system was sound during the Ganga period. According to the Ganga inscriptions, a variety of taxes were collected, including bheta, Voda, Paika, Ohour, and Paridarsana. Land revenue was the Ganga government’s primary source of revenue. One-sixth of the land’s production was collected as land revenue. According to the land settlement, Anangabhimadeva-1I1 of the Ganga dynasty ruled over 9,49,60,000 acres of arable land in Odisha during his reign. Of this total cultivable land, 4,63,00,000 acres were donated tax-free to temples, Brahmanas, royal servants, and others. The Ganga rulers made land donations, retaining all proprietary rights. The Ganga monarchs collected taxes on 4,86,00,000 acres of unclaimed land. Apart from land revenue, the state received revenue from duties on exports, imports, and forest products, as well as fines, court fees, and salt tax.
Thus, the preceding fact demonstrates that the Ganga kings were benign despots who were always concerned about the welfare of the populace. Additionally, they were generous patrons of art, architecture, and literature. Indeed, through their uninterrupted rule for nearly 400 years, they established a well-organized political system that guided future rulers of the Suryavamsi Ganapati dynasty and beyond. Without a doubt, the Ganga administration brought peace, tranquillity, and stability to the people of Odisha for four centuries, an unprecedented period in the Ganga dynasty’s administrative history.