India, as the author reminds us, enjoyed from the earliest dawn of its history a singularly complete system of local government. This fact offers the main explanation of the easily existence of great Indian empires comparable to the West. Thus the book aims as a systematic presentation of an important aspect of Indian culture-history, the origin and development of various local institutions through which the communal life of the country expressed itself. The remarkable range, volume and variety of the evidence bearing on the subject call for a methodical and scientific treatment which will bring into prominence the exuberant vitality and manifold growth of self-governing institutions among the people characterised by a genius for social experiments and constructions.
The truth is that India is fundamentally one, physically and culturally. However, the present work does not treat of all classes of local bodies in ancient India, the educational and purely religions bodies like the Parisads and sanghas for instance, which require separate monographs by themselves, have been excluded from its purview.