Ancient India had a well-developed political philosophy and the government was well-organised. In ancient India, political thought was an extension of Hindu belief and philosophy. An important feature of government was the panchayat system, which is the oldest system of local self government in the world. Manu is regarded as one of the greatest legal and social philosophers of the world and had profound influence on Indian thought and social philosophy. The origin of Manu is lost in mystery and antiquity. The evils of caste system and the low status of women were widely recognised as responsible for the decline and debasement of the Indian society resulting in underdevelopment and backwardness of the country. Caste discrimination or subjugation of women had never received the sanction of fundamental Hindu thought. Tribute to the ancient Indian civilisation and the achievements in religion, literature and art, historian A. L. Basham says that its most striking feature was its humanity.