May 6, 2014

Kautilya's Arthshastra

Concerned with the acquisition and protection of means of livelihood.
Also a means to ensure the well-being of men in general
Two fold aims
Palana: administration and protection of the state
Labha: conquest and acquisition of territory
Hence it is a science dealing with internal as well as external spheres.

Concentrated on the practical aspects of administration 

Origin of the state

Might is right

Matsyanyaya: Law of the fish
Hence they chose Manu as the king
Gave him taxes in return for protection
No explicit theory of social contract in the book


Attaches an element of divinity to the king
Monarchy seems to have been the accepted norm
Other forms:  
Dvairajya: joint rule of the kingdom by the males of the same family
Vairajya: rule by a foreign ruler

Disapproves of Vairajya

Qualities of the ruler

Should be a native of the territory
Follow the teachings of the shastra
Strong and of noble birth etc
Trained in philosophy, economics and political science (dandaniti)
Difference between Kautilya’s king and Plato’s philosopher king

Kautilya doesn’t mean that the king should lead the life of a saint or an ascetic. 

Duties of the king

Rakshana/Palana: Protection of the subjects and their property

Ensure their yogaksema: a broad idea implying welfare, well-being, prosperity and happiness.
Take active part in war and the administraiton of justiceDharmaniyama: lay down broad lines of policy and codes of regulation<take care of the subjects like a father: paternalistic rule>
Protection of social order founded on varnas/ preservation of the vedic orderSo protection has three components: from natural calamities, anti-social elements and of varna system

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