Since times immemorial India has been committed to democratic decentralization. Self-governing village communities characterised by agricultural economics had existed in India since the Vedic times, Gram Namitis are mentioned in the Rig Veda. These Village bodies were the lines of contact with higher authorities on matters affecting village welfare. In the course of time these village bodies took the form of Punchayats that looked after the affairs of villages. These village Panchayats were endosed with judicial and police powers as well. They enjoyed sacred position of authority. Even during the Medieval and Mughal times Panchayats enjoyed privileged position in village affairs. Though under the Mughals the judicial powers of Panchayats were drastically reduced and cut down, local affairs still remained under their jurisdiction. A change came with the arrival of the British. They did not believe in decentralization of power, they centralised all judicial and police powers in their own hands. As a result in the pre-independence period Panchayats lost much of their clout.
Title: Decentralised Governing Authorities: Panchayat.
Precis: To all the types of governance India has seen rather during Aryas, Mughals or Britishers, Panchayats have played a key role. Time and again the authority of the decentralised governance has changed but it has stood the test of time.