which was probably the Judicial Department managed by a pañchakula.1The description hows that the merchant community had a preponderating representation on it. Other departments also must have had similar pañchakulas elected for their administration. The Anjaneri plates state that when the king Bhōgaśakti assigned certain taxes etc. for the maintenance of the temple of Bhōgēśvara in the town of Jayapura, he laid down that the festival of the god should be celebrated by five or event ten merchants in accordance with the custom of the town2The wording of the passage shows that five was the usual number
of the members of such committees, on account of which they were usually known as
pañchakulas. In special circumstances however a larger number up to ten was elected.
The pañchakulas decided also civil and criminal cases and imposed fines. Some rules
for their guidance were laid down by the central government.3 In other cases, the Anjanēri
plates state, whatever eight or sixteen Mahallaksa would declare after due deliberation
would be the right standard of punishment.4 This shows that sometimes the committees
consisted of as many as sixteen members. Generally appeals were allowed on the decisions of the pañchakulas, except in the case of agrahāra villages which were donated with
full powers of adjudication5
The members of the Pańchakulas were called Mahattaras (Prakrit, Mahallakas).
There were evidently elected, but we have no information about the mode of election or
the manner of voting. Their head or President was probably called mahattama. The
Smritis lay down special qualifications for the post of the Mahattama. A Mahattama should
be honest, conversant with religion, vigilant, self-controlled and high-born. Mahattamas
were also called Pāñachakulikas, heads of pañchakulas The chief of them, called Mahāpāń
chakulika is mentioned in the Kahla plates6 He evidently resided in the capital, but
what department he exactly represented we do not know.
Another officer who was common to both the town and the village was Gamāgamika.7 He is mentioned in the grants of Subandhu and the Sēndrakas. His function evidently was to keep a watch on persons coming into or going out of the town or the village. It is interesting to note that the Śukranitisāra also mentions a similar officer. He was specially in charge of the pañthaśālā or sarai of the village. He made inquiries about the caste, family, name and residence of the traveller the places he came from and was going to, and after, taking away his arms if he had any, made arrangements for guarding the sarai at night. In the morning the traveller’s arms were returned to him and he was escorted to the
limit of the village.8
We shall next proceed to consider the state of religion in the periods represented by our records. In the beginning of the earlier, period, Buddhism was in the ascendant in Gujarat, Konkan and Maharashtra, and claimed many votaries-especially among the lower classes as also among the foreigners who were attracted by its catholic spirit. It is significant that the first record of the period included here, which belongs to the reign of the Abhira king Iśvarasena. registers certain endowments made by a woman of the Śaka race
1No. 72, 1.9.
2No. 31, 1. 44.
3No. 32,11. 34 ff.
4No. 32. 1.37.
5No. 31, 1.41.
6No. 74, 1. 34.
7No. 7, 1. 3; No. 25, 1. 19; No, 26, 1. 16.
8SNS adhyaya I, vv. 270-7.