THE GUPTA SYSTEM OF ADMINISTRATION
hear of there having been a special pushkariṇī or tank in Vesāli, the water of which was used
to sprinkle their heads while being crowned. The tank was considered very sacred, and was,
therefore, covered with an iron net so that not even a bird could get through, and a strong
guard was set to prevent any one taking water from it.”1 The importance of this kuṇḍa or
pushkariṇī can scarcely be exaggerated. And as the Guptas were indebted for their sovereignty
to the Lichchhavis, every attempt must have been made by them to keep the water of this
tank pure and unpolluted by man, beast or bird. For holding charge of this spring, no other
officer could be fitter than Kumārāmātya, who, in court etiquette, was equal to the prince in
rank and dignity.
We have at least three instances of a Kumārāmātya being attached to the king. The first
is that of Harishēṇa who composed the praśasti contained in the celebrated Allahābād pillar
inscription of Samudragupta. The other two are furnished by the Karamḍāṁḍā stone inscription (No. 21 below) of Kumāragupta, which speaks of two persons, father and son, Śikhara-svāmin and Pṛithivīshēṇa, who were Kumārāmātyas to the two kings, father and son, Gupta
sovereigns, Chandragupta II and Kumāragupta I, respectively. But it is worthy of note that
whereas Harishēṇa has been designated Sāndhivigrahika-Kumārāmātya, the other two have
been styled Mantri-Kumārāmātya. The first designation is indicative of the executive function,
and the second of the consultative character, with which the Kumārāmātya could be entrusted.
This inference is confirmed by the fact that Pṛithivīshēṇa who was a contemporary of Kumāragupta was at first, we are told, Mantri-Kumārāmātya and afterwards Mahābalādhikṛita . This
shows that the office of Kumārāmātya was neither a hereditary appointment nor a permanently
personal distinction. The question arises: what kind of an office was held by Kumārāmātya as
Kumārāmātya ? That question we have now to consider briefly. we have seen that an officer
of the grade of Kumārāmātya could be attached to a yuvarāja, and, above all, to the king himself
as Mantrin or Sāndhivigrahika. He could also be in charge of a division, as is clear from the
seal legend reading Tīra-Kumārāmāty-ādhikaraṇasya, “Of the Office of Kumārāmātya in charge
of the Tīra (–Division=Bhukti).” He could not have been the governor of the province,
because at Basāḍh itself has been found a seal bearing the legend Tīrabhukty-Uparik-ādhikaraṇasya.2 Uparika, as will be shown later on, means ‘the governor of a province.’ Kumārāmātya of Tīrabhukti or Tīra province cannot therefore denote its governor. What duty then could
he have performed ? In this connection we have to note that he could be in charge of the
Adhishṭhān-ādhikaraṇa, as is evident from two of the Dāmōdarpur plates (Nos. 22 and 24
below) which both speak of Kumārāmātya Vētravarman as presiding over the Town Administrative Board (adhishṭhān-ādhikaraṇa) of Kōṭivarsha and as being nominated to discharge that
function by the Uparika or Divisional Commissioner of Puṇḍravardhana. There he was in
charge of the Land Records and Settlement Office of the District Town. Probably he had to
discharge this function when he was not in charge of any special duty and had to work simply
as Kumārāmātya. There is, again, a plate of Lōkanātha found at Tipperah, Bengal, which
records his grant to a temple of Ananta-Nārāyaṇa. It is worthy of note in this connection
that instructions in regard to this grant were communicated to the different officials of the
district (vishaya) by Kumārāmātya and his adhikaraṇa as is clear3 from line 1 of the record and
also from the seal attached to it. This seems to be the case also about the Baigrām copper-plate
inscription4 where too the Kumārāmātya and adhikaraṇa convey similar orders in respect of the
grant to the officers of the district concerned. There is mention in this inscription also of the
1 D.R. Bhandarkar’s Carmichael Lectures, 1918, p. 150.
2 A.R ASI., 1903-04, p. 109, No. 20.
3 Ep. Ind., Vol. XV, p. 306 and p. 302.
4 Ibid., Vol. XXI, pp. 81 ff.