Salary of Hindu Queen 2400 years ago;Panini Titbits -4 (Post No.9545)


Post No. 9545

Date uploaded in London – –28 APRIL  2021     

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Yesterday I posted how far Bharata travelled in seven days? That is Panini Titbits-3; here is titbits part 4.

Kautilya in his Arthasastra gives interesting information about Hindu Queen’s salary during his time. Here in Britain we pay taxes and a big amount is given to the British quees every year from our tax payment. Hindus in ancient India one sixth of their income to the king. Queen was also given a share from this. According to available inscriptions, we know that the queens  did Dhana and Dharma (Charity)  and special endowments were created in her name.

The queen was called Mahishi in Sanskrit. She had an official position in Hindu polity. She was crowned jointly with the king. Panini mentioned the chief queen as Mahishi, Sutra 4-4-48 and the special term ‘Maahisa’ must have referred to her allowances in the civil list, which was fixed by convention.

In the same ‘gana’ after Mahishii comes Prajaavatii, mother of princess, and her salary was called ‘praajaavata’.

Kautilya also mentions both the Chief Queen and the mother of princes

Raaja Mahishii

Kumaara maatri in the Civil List.

Queen received 48,000 silver panas and the

Mother of princes 12,000 silver panas

—Arthasastra 5-3

The Chief Queen,’ajja Mahish’i is frequently mentioned in the Jataka stories and distinguished from ‘pajaapatii’, corrupted from Sanskrit Prajaavatii, a title applied to all other queens except the chief queen.


Royal Harem

Panini mentions the phrase

‘Asuuryam pasyaa’ applied to women who lived in the seclusion of the palace where they could not see even the sun. The commentators interpret the term as ‘Raaja daaraah’ or the royal harem. Asoka called it Orodhana which corresponds to Sanskrit Avarodhana..

This shows how advanced we were in civilization 2700 years ago.


Tags – Hindu queen, salary, harem, Panini and Kautilya, Mahishi