Shivaji divided his kingdom into prants or provinces. There were four provinces at the time of his death. Each of these provinces was placed under viceroys who were also members of the ashtapradhana. He was assisted by a staff of eight officers. The prants were sub­divided into parganas and these into tarafs.

The tarafs were divided into village units. The head of the prant was a viceroy or desadhikari and that of a taraf, a havaldar. These terms were used loosely during the time of the Peshwas. The mamlatdar corresponded roughly to the desadhikari of Shivaji and was directly responsible to the Peshwa.

It seems that the mamlatdars were required to pay a large sum for their appointment to that office. In later times this office came to be auctioned and the highest bidder among the Peshwa’s attendants was appointed. Naturally these mamlatdars levied extra taxes on the people under their charge to retrieve this amount.

However, there was a check on the mamlatdars whose accounts were not passed till corroborated by deshmukhs. Besides darakhadars or office holders, dewan, mazumdar (auditor), phadnavis (registrar), diftardar (secretary), potnis (treasurer), potdar, etc. all of whom were appointed by the Peshwa served as check on the mamlatdar.


In villages, the patel collected the revenue and the kulkarni kept the accounts. The village panchayat continued as before to look after the administrative, judicial and other welfare functions.

Shivaji abolished the jagir system and paid the salaries of officers in cash. The revenues were collected directly from the cultivators by the government officials and deposited in the royal treasury.

The state’s share was fixed after a proper survey and measurement of the land under cultivation and expected produce of each bigha of land. Besides Shivaji levied chauth and sardeshmukhi on the neighbouring tracts to augment his resources.

Chauth or one-fourth of the standard revenue was a sort of military contribution which was realized by the Marathas from neighbouring territories. It secured these states from further Marathas depredations. Sardeshmukhi was an additional levy of 10 per cent realized from these states.