Ummid Assistant

Jamia Millia launches courses on China, Afghanistan

IGNOU launches value education programme for teachers

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home History

In ancient India, there was zero tolerance for corruption

Thursday November 10, 2011 11:46:29 AM, Brij Khandelwal, IANS

Aligarh: Team Anna's campaign against corruption may have caught the imagination of the nation, but what is perhaps little known is that though ancient India had a well-evolved democratic system that went down to the grassroots, its elected leaders had to adhere to well-defined laws that prescribed stiff penalties for those who swindled public money or indulged in improprieties.

Aligarh Muslim University historian S. Chandni Bi, who has specialised in epigraphy, the study of inscriptions, says around 1,000 years ago there was zero tolerance towards financial bungling. According to him, inscriptions in the southern state of Tamil Nadu clearly indicate how intolerant civil society was against corrupt practices and the violators of ethical framework.

Chandni told IANS in an interview: "A well evolved democratic system was functional, starting at the Saba level, between the eighth and the 16th century in South India, irrespective of the ruling dynasties: the Cheras, Cholas, Pallavas, Pandyas and Vijaynagar.

"The members of a Saba were elected by the whole community of the village by a system peculiarly known as 'Kuda Olai'system (Kudam-Pot and Olai-Palm leaf). The village was divided into wards called 'Kudumbus', and every ward had to write the eligible person's names on the palm leaves. The bundle of palm leaves was emptied in a pot. The member was chosen by draw of lots."

The most important point to note here was the issuance of strict guidelines by the rulers, inscriptions give fair indication of the clarity of thought and zero tolerance towards financial bungling.

"Among the inscriptions three are very important which belong to the 10th century A.D. Two inscriptions are found in Vaykundanatha Perumal temple at Uttramerur, Kanchipuram district and another one is from Pallipakkam village of Tanjore in Tamil Nadu state belonging to the rule of Parantaka Chola Ist," Chandni explains.

"The crimes committed by the members of the Saba are divided into three categories. The swindling of funds or public property and those who failed to submit their accounts have been considered as crime number two. Such members were not eligible to contest the Saba election for life long. Not only they but their relatives too could not contest elections, like children, in-laws, brothers and their children, grand -parents, grand- children, relations through wife etc., nearly for three generations. They were called as 'Grama Dhurogis'.

"While murder of even Brahmins was considered pardonable, crimes like cheating or swindling public funds were unpardonable even by gods. Political crime was not pardonable but other crimes could be punished with penalties or performance of penance and charitable deeds, to become eligible for elections again."

There were established codes of conduct laid down for the Saba members as found in an inscription from Mannur village of Tirunelveli district. Among them, the most interesting one relates to obstructing the political processes or functioning of the Saba deliberately. In such cases a penalty of five Kasu (Rupees) was imposed for every such act of mis-conduct, on such members. Yet they were permitted to stay and participate in the proceedings of the Saba. Generally, the Kings' orders were executed by passing in the Saba.

To prevent political power getting concentrated in one family leading to dynastic tendencies, rules were framed. "According to this rule, the present members of the Saba cannot contest the election for next 2 to 10 years. In the same way none of their relatives should have contested for the past five years if one wanted to contest for membership of Saba. There is also a sub rule to provide equal opportunity for everybody stipulating induction of two new members without any previous experience as members of the Saba."

The Sabas had to be dissolved before the election of the new one and the elections were generally conducted by the village accountant and a judge called 'Madyasthan'. In the public services there were no holidays and therefore no one in authority could neglect public duty. "It was categorically mentioned that the elected members should provide their service for 360 days. The elected members' term of office was only one year and automatically should resign after completion of the term."

They also actively practised the right to recall. "In those days if an elected member of the Saba committed a crime or violated law, he was immediately sacked. Such has been our rich and exemplary past. Let us bring it back instead of looking to the west for solutions," said Chandni who is teaching South Indian History in AMU.



(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at brij.k@ians.in)
 







 
 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page

Comments

Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com

Comments powered by DISQUS

i

i

i

More Headlines

Kasab should be sent to gallows: Pak Interior Minister

India's military purchases: Only the best should do

Take Vitamin B to lower work stress

Iran spied upon from centres in neighbouring countries: MP

Many trapped under debris as 18 buildings collapse in Turkey quake

UAE pledges over $7 mn for UN programmes in 2012

Army officer refused bail in Malegaon blast case

Sonia hits out at Team Anna, commits Lokpal

Panels to speed up recommendations on AFSPA

Frame right to education rules, Delhi government told

Apex court to hear Sanjiv Bhatt's plea Nov 18

Life terms for 31 in Gujarat's 2002 Sardarpura massacre

Thousands of students protest in London against 'education crackdown'

Mumbai to host first WikiConference in India

Freedom fighter, wife end fast after pension assurance

i

 

 

 

Top Stories

Manmohan, Gilani to meet amid shrinking trust deficit

Amid a shrinking trust deficit with Pakistan, India Wednesday hoped to build on positive progress in bilateral ties and pressed for speedy 

Amid forward movement, Manmohan, Gilani to discuss 'all issues'

MFN sets stage for Indian, Pakistani leaders meeting in Maldives

 

  Most Read

Thousands of students protest in London against 'education crackdown'

Britain's student protesters started marching from Malet Street in central London, in fresh demonstrations against the government's crackdown on education. Tens of  

Iran working on atomic bomb: IAEA

United Nations weapons inspectors have suggested that Iran "carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device" and that the project may still be under way, the New York Times 

Report US atomic weapons: Ahmadinejad to IAEA

Iran accuses US of pressuring IAEA

 

  News Pick

Sonia hits out at Team Anna, commits Lokpal

Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday hit out at Team Anna and said the party and the UPA government were committed to a strong anti-corruption ombudsman (Lokpal). Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal 

Life terms for 31 in Gujarat's 2002 Sardarpura massacre

A special trial court in Mehsana Wednesday convicted and sentenced to life 31 of the 73 people accused in the Sardarpura riot case in Gujarat in which 33 people were burnt alive on March 1, 2002, during the 

Now get confirmed admission for Oz student visa

Getting an Australian student's visa will now require a confirmed admission in a course there, the Australian high commission here said Wednesday. Changes in students' visa laws in Australia now compel those 

 

Picture of the Day

More than 2.5mn people from all across the world have gathered in Makkah for Haj which starts November 05, 2011 this year. Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam is a religious journey to the House of Allah in Makkah. This is in response to the call of Prophet Abraham when Allah commanded him to call mankind to perform Haj. Haj is the largest gathering of Muslims as about three million Muslims from all over the world meet to worship their Lord. All barriers including language, color, class and race are broken.

(Photo: Arab News/Ahmad Hashad)

 

 
 
 
 
 

RSS  |  Contact us

 

| Quick links

News

 

Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant

 

National

Religion

RSS

Scholarships

About us

International

Culture

Twitter

Government Schemes

Feedback

Regional

History

Facebook

Education

Register

Politics

Opinion

Newsletter

Contact us

Business

Career

     

Education

     

 

 

Ummid.com: Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange

Ummid.com is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.