feudal functionary in the time of Harsha was the mahabhogi, mentioned in
some epigraphs from Orissa. In the Kadambari, Bana’s description of the
antahpyra in the palace of king Tarapida refers to the presence at the
doorway of hundreds of mahabhogis. These mahabhogis were probably those
people who were granted land revenues in rural areas and who occasionally
flocked to the royal palace to pay homage to their overlord. The early
Kalachuri inscriptions introduce a new official bhogikapalaka, who may have
acted as superintendent over the bhogikas. All such terms—bhogika,
bhogapatika and bhogikapalaka—clearly smack of feudal relations.
     Certain terms used for administrative units in the Gupta and post-Gupta
periods also indicate land grants to officers. The typical feudal idea that land
or territory was meant for the enjoyment of those who held it or governed it
first comes into full view in the Gupta and post-Gupta periods, though it is
mentioned for the first time in Asokan edicts. The terms ahara literally meant
‘food for its holders’, but was actually an administrative unit (equivalent to a
modem district or subdivision) from the time of Asoka, and continued to be
so in Gujarat and Maharashtra even during Gupta and post-Gupta times as is
evident from the early Kalachuri inscriptions. At the same time, several other
terms signifying enjoyment came to be used commonly for territorial
divisions. They include such terms as bhukti, bhoga, and vishaya.
     The feudalisation of state apparatus is also evident from the feudal
connotation of administrative titles like amatya, kumaramatya and others. As
far as the amatyas are concerned this was certainly the position in the time of
Harsha, for at least at two places the Harshacharita speaks of those amatyas
who were anointed as feudatories. The office of kumaramatya originally
meant a person who was attached to the prince, but later it became an
independent position without having anything to do with the prince. By the
late Gupta and post-Gupta times it came to denote a feudal rank of honour
conferred on high functionaries, including even a maharaja. Whether the title
carried some fiscal or other privileges is not clear. But towards the end of the
reign of the imperial Guptas we find the kumaramatyamaharaja Nandana
making a land grant without the permission of the overlord, which suggests
that by the middle of the sixth century AD the kumaramatyas had emerged as
de facto lords of villages which they could give away.