The Ashta Pradhan was a council of eight ministers that administered the Maratha empire. The council was formed in 1674 by Chatrapati Shivaji.
The term Ashta Pradhan literally translates to “the Prime Eight”, from the Sanskrit ashta (“eight”) and pradhan (“prime”). The body discharged the functions of a modern council of ministers; this is regarded as one of the first successful instances of ministerial delegation in IndiA. The council is credited with having implemented good governance practices in the Maratha heartland, as well as for the success of the military campaigns against the Mughal Empire.
Composition: 1. Pantpradhan or Peshwa – Prime Minister, general administration of the Empire. 2. Amatya or Mazumdar – Finance Minister, managing accounts of the Empire. 3. Shurunavis/Sacheev – Secretary, preparing royal edicts. 4. Waqia-Navis – Interior Minister, managing internal affairs especially intelligence and espionage. 5. Sar-i-Naubat or Senapati – Commander-in-Chief, managing the forces and defense of the Empire. 6. Sumant/Dabir – Foreign Minister, to manage relationships with other sovereigns. 7. Nyayadhish – Chief Justice, dispensing justice on civil and criminal matters. 8. Panditrao – High Priest, managing internal religious matters.