Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

Fiscal Administration in Tamil Heritage Texts

Ahananooru Verse 149 mentions about Yavanas coming to India with goods and returning with pepper.  Madurai Kanchi mentions about the sea-based trade that enriched Tamil Nadu.  Purananooru Verses 30 & 343 describe the harbour – Management and Customs duty under the Ceras and Colas respectively, which tallies with the account given by Periplus24.

Tax levy and Administration was an enlightened one in ancient Tamil Nadu.  In Purananoooru: 184, Pisirandiar advises Pandya King Arivudai Nambi., to have an optimal tax structure. “Even if the land holding is small, if one reaps the harvest of that land, cooks it and feeds the food to an elephant, that would quell the hunger of the elephant for days to come.  On the other hand even if the holding is very large, if one simply allows the elephant to wade into the field and eat by itself, even a hundred acres will not be adequate. The amount of paddy crushed under its feet will be much more that what it consumes. Similarly, then an enlightened king should levy optimal level of tax that could be borne by people, both he and the country will prosper. On the other hand, in association with his stupid counselors, if he levies unduly heavy tax neither he will be benefited; nor will be the country under his rule. Both will embrace catastrophe”.   While the verse presents a very logical view of the taxation policy, it also highlights the relationship between the cost of collection of tax and the amount of tax collected – thus presenting a positive leverage effect in economics.

Foreign trade was an important source of revenue; customs occupied a high place on the receipt-side of the budget. Pattinappalai gives a vivid account of the activity of customs officials in Puhar. Internal transit duties on merchandise were another important source 25. Trade, both in land and foreign, was well organized. The author of the ‘Periplus’ (Circa AD 75) gives the most valuable information about the trade between South India and the Roman Empire. The large quantity of gold and silver coins struck by all Roman Emperor down to Nero    found in interior Tamil land testifies to the extent of the trade.

Kudapulaviyanar in Verse 18 of Purananooru on Pandyan Nedunchezhiyan talks about the plans of the King to expand command area for agriculture and enhancement of water-resources for the development of the country.

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Abstract | Introduction | Important Heritage Texts | Organizational concepts in Indian Heritage | Conceptual Model of Management | Governance and Administration | Governance and Administration in Tamil Sangam Heritage | Duties of a ruler as in Tamil Heritage Text | Fiscal Administration in Tamil Heritage Texts | SWOT Analysis | Knowledge Management | The learning of attitudes | Leader’s role in learning culture | Learning Models | The need for holistic knowledge | Conclusion | References


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