also, in the district office, sarvodhyakshas or
important part in the district administration. The advisory district council
consisted principally of four members, namely the guild president
(nagarasreshthi), the chief merchant (sarthavaha), the chief artisan
(prathamakulika), and the chief scribe (prathamakayastha).
     The villages were under gramikas along with whom were associated
mahattaras or the senior persons of different classes. The town
administration was carried on by the mayor of the city called purapafa who
corresponded to nagaravyavaharakas of the Mauryan age.
Agrarian Structure—Nature of Land Ownership
It is argued by many scholars that the state was the exclusive owner of land.
The most decisive argument in favour of the exclusive state ownership of
land is in the Paharpur copper plate inscription of Buddhagupta where it is
stated that the emperor (representing the state) acquired wealth as well as
spiritual merit, when he made land grants. This makes it obvious that he was
the owner of the land. Indirect evidence is furnished to some extent by the
elaborate official procedure that had to be undergone while obtaining land
grants. Further, land grants undoubtedly indicate that the king had the
supreme ownership of land, otherwise he could not transfer comprehensive
rights to the recipient. Even after the donation of land, the king reserved
certain prerogatives over it. Thus, it appears that though the land was, to all
intents and purposes, that of the peasants, the king claimed its theoretical
Classification of Land
From the economic standpoint, land of the Gupta period can be classified into
the following groups:
      Kshetra                      : Cultivatable land
      Khila                        : Waste land
      Aprahata                     : Jungle or forest land