Administration of the Vijaya Nagar Empire
Vijaya Nagar empire was ruled by the emperors belonging to four dynasties namely Sangama, Saluva. Thuluva and Araveedu dynasties. King was the supreme authority in civil, military and judicial matters. There was an imperial council of ministers to advice the king on important matters. In Continuation of Vijaya Nagar rule in the Tamil country. Krishna Devaraya created Nayakship in Madurai and Tanjore. A feudal type of Nayankara administrative system was introduced to replace local self Government institutions in Tamilnadu. They appointed nayaks in their provinces in Tamil country. The administrative reforms of Vijaya Nagar rulers continued till they were defeated by the sultans in the battle of Tali Kotta in 1565.
The economy of the Tamil society under Vijaya Nagar rule was prosperous. The flourishment of inland and foreign trade had good impact in the Tamil society and economy. People with various cultures and languages lived together happily. Caste system was there. Royal family members and nobles led a luxurious life. Common people led poor life.
Women were respected more. Some women
participated in Public life. Some of them were appointed in both civil
and military departments. Some women were talented in music, dance and
poetry writing. Marriages had sacred and social importance. Dowry system
was there. Horse riding, hunting, chess, boating, kolattam, kummy were
the favorite games in the society. Krishna devaraya’s daughter was
a very good chess player. The Telugu, Kannada speaking people migrated
in to Tamilnadu. Sourashtras of Gujarat who came and settled in Tamilnadu
had supplied clothes to the royal house and nobles.
The Reddies and other agriculturists migrated to Tamilnadu during the Vijaya Nagar rule. Music and dance were encouraged.
Vijaya Nagar society was divided into many divisions. Brahmins and Vellalas were dominant groups, The Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, the English and the Arab Muslims settled here. These foreigners had their own churches and mosques. They had mixed response from the native population. Indian Muslims, Christians formed another section, Goldsmiths, blacksmiths, carpenters, and weavers formed sizable group in the society. Fishermen who lived in the east coast were converted into Christianity. Valangai and Idangai groups had frequent conflicts among themselves. Some times they joined together on certain issues.
During the Vijaya Nagar rule education was confined only to certain sections of the Society. Gurukula education was there. Classes were conducted both in teacher’s houses and temple premises. These educational institutions had royal support. Vedas, astrology, subjects like medicine were taught.
Food and Dress
Rice and millet were their main food. The habit of chewing the betel leaf was also there. Free meals were provided in the choultries. Generally people wore cotton wool and line dresses. The nobles wore embroider dresses with golden threads, Rich people wore shoes and poor people remained bare footed. Women had the practice of wearing costly gold ornaments with precious stones and pearls.