POLITICAL SCENARIO IN BUDDHA'S TIME
Pali text Anguttar Nikaya gives an interesting description of political scenario of India in the age of Lord Buddha. There were sixteen mighty states (mahajanpada) namely Kashi, Koshal, Ang, Magadh, Vajji, Malla, Chedi, Vats, Kuru, Panchal, Matsya, Sursena, Ashmaka, Avanti, Gandhar and Kamboja. The country to the east of the Ganga was under the influence of Kashi and Kosala mahajanpadas and Shakyas were under the influence of Kosala. Pertinently, references of various republics (ganas) are also found in Buddhist literature namely Sakyas of Kapilavastu, Koliyas of Ramagrama, Moriyas of Pippalivana, Mallas of Kushinara and Pava, Bulis of Alakappa, Bhaggas of Sumsumargiri, Vajji (Lichchvis of Vaisali and Videhas of Mithila), Brahmanas of Vetthadeepa and Kalamas of Kesputta.
The administrative system of these republics was very scientific and based on election. References of the constitution of the Sakyas of Kapilavastu and Lichchavis of Vaisali are found in Buddhist literature and identical system supposed to be followed in other ganas.
Republics had their chief (Ganapramukh) which was probably elected for ten years and all executive powers of the republics vested upon him. Santhagar (Council) - an elected institution, was comparable to modern Assembly in its functioning. Executive powers and day to day administrative functioning was made by Ganapramukh through the members of Santhagar. The important issues like forging alliances, embarking on war, and concluding piece were decided in the assembly after due discussion.