Another beginning of feudalisation of the state machinery was the practice of making land grants to officers in lieu of their administrative and military services. In the Gupta age, there is no direct epigraphic evidences of such grants. But during the post-Gupta age, a definite change had taken place in the mode of payment of officials.
At least during Harshavardhana reign, high officers were not paid in cash as the one-fourth of the royal revenues was earmarked for the salaries of public servants. Huein-Tsang states that the higher rank officials e.g. the governors, ministers, magistrates and officials of high ranks; had a portion of land assigned to them for their personal support.
The high officers according to Harshavardhana’s inscription would included ‘dausadha-sadhanika’, ‘pramatara’, ‘rajasthaniya’, uparika’ and ‘Visayapati’.
In this way the revenue during Harshavardhana, were not granted only to “Brahmanas” and scholars but also to the state officers. This practice is supported by the scarcity of coins.
Some inscriptions of the post-Gupta period show that lands were granted to secular parties for different secular services e.g. the two copper plate grants of Bengal (i.e. Ashrafpur from East Bengal) mention a few secular assignees.
They mention that these areas of plots donated to the head of a Buddhist monastery were taken from several persons who enjoying them till then. The examples of such grants are like the land had been given to queen for maintenance, to a woman for some service rendered to king, a “Samanta” for services rendered to overland.
Evidently, the lands were held by the other persons which were taken back either at the lapse of the term or some other grounds otherwise these could not have been so easily transferred. It means in East Bengal during post-Gupta period services were remunerated in kind by means of land for a limited period.
This issue of payment to officers in grants of revenue can be further examined such as – in “Harshacharita,”, Banabhatta stated that villagers made a false complaint against the “Bhogapatis” to the Harshavardhana.
Another feudal functionary was “mahabhogi” indicated in some epigraphs from Orissa during Harshavardhana. In the “Kadambari” Banabhatta’s description of the “antahpura” in the palace of king. Tarapida indicates the presence of hundreds “mahabhogis”.
These “mahabhogis” were those who were granted land revenues in villages and occasionally flocked to royal palace to pay homage to their overlord.
The early “Kalachuri” inscription reveals a new official “bhogikapalaka” who may be acted as superintendent over the “bhogikas”. All such terms like “bhogika”, bhogapatika” and “bhogikapalaka” clearly revealed the feudal relations.
During the Gupta and post-Gupta periods certain terms were used for the administrative units also mention the land grants of officers.
The terms “ahara” literally means “food for its holders but this was actually an administrative unit equivalent to a modem district, or subdivision continued from Ashoka’s time to the post-Gupta period. At the same time other terms indicate the territorial sub-divisions such as- “bhukti”, “bhoga” and “Visays”.
The feudalisation of state aristocracy is also evident from the feudal titles of administrative titles such as “amatya”, “Kumaramatya” etc. “Harshacharita” speaks twice about those “amatyas” who were appointed as feudatories.
The office of “Kumaramatya” earlier meant a person who was attached to the prince, but later on it became an independent position. During the Gupta age or Post Gupta age, it denote feudal rank conferred on high functionaries.
It is not clear that whether this title carried any fiscal right or not. But towards the end of Gupta age, we find the “Kumaramatya maharaja” Nandana granted a land-grant without the permission of the overlord. It appears that by the middle of sixth century A.D. “Kumaramatyas” had emerged as “defacto” lords of rural areas.