occupying positions in the revenue department and army. The muvendavelan
and brahmaraya were titles bestowed on officers of some rank, having close
connections with the king. The former provided the main political links
between the king and the locality as a royal official. However, such
titleholders or potentially dominant elements may well have emerged from
within the agrarian base.
Strength to the Notion of a Bureaucracy Although no clear evidence of
an implied bureaucratic system is available, ‘titled’ officers may still be
considered as arms for royal penetration into local affairs, performing crucial
roles for the extension of royal influence outside the framework of a
centralised bureaucracy. Nonetheless, the land revenue department shows
centralised features with hierarchical roles assigned to its officers and scope
for vertical mobility, which are the marks of a bureaucratic state organ.
Ranking of officers under the categories of higher (perundaram) and lower
(sirutaram) grades, for both the ‘civil’ and ‘military’ officers and distinctions
made between those at the royal court (udan kuttam) and those touring the
country (vidaiyil) also strengthen the notion of a bureaucracy, however light
it may have been. The presence of the king’s government in the localities
may be seen as follows: the mandala mudali (mandalam level), nadu vagai
(nadu level), mudaligal and madhystha at the village level, the last one being
the most important executive link between the village and the government.
Arguments for and against Existence of Organised Military The
evidence on military organisation is unfortunately meagre and, hence, subject
to diverse opinions. The main contention of the segmentary state concept on
the absence of such an organisation with central armed forces is derived from
this shortcoming. Chola military forces are therefore, held to be an
assemblage of diverse warrior groups or composed of discrete ‘segments’,
peasant militia or caste and guild armies, due to the frequently used
nomenclature, namely, Right Hand and Left Hand (valangai and idangai) for
various groups. According to this view, royal appellations to military groups
would point to their political allegiance rather than their status as permanent
units in a standing army. Hence, it is argued that their description as
‘regiments’ in the manner of divisions within a unified military structure
cannot be accepted. Similarly, notwithstanding the naval enterprises recorded
in inscriptions, the segmentary