An extraordinary detailed manual on statecraft and the science of living by one of classical India’s greatest minds; Kautilya; also known as Chanakya and Vishnugupta; wrote the Arthashastra not later than 150 AD though the date has not been conclusively established. Legend has it that he was either a Brahmin from Kerala or from north India; however; it is certain that Kautilya was the man who destroyed the Nanda dynasty and installed Chandragupta Maurya as the King of Magadha. A master strategist who was well-versed in the Vedas and adept at creating intrigues and devising political stratagems; Kautilya’s genius is reflected in his Arthashastra which is the most comprehensive treatise of statecraft of classical times. The text contains fifteen books which cover numerous topics viz.; the King; a complete code of law; foreign policy; secret and occult practices and so on. The Arthashastra is written mainly in prose but also incorporates 380 shlokas. Artha; literally wealth; is one of four supreme aims prescribed by Hindu tradition. However; it has a much wider significance and the material well-being of individuals is just a part of it. In accordance with this; Kautilya’s Arthashastra maintains that the state or government of a country has a vital role to play in maintaining the material status of both the nation and its people. Therefore; a significant part of the Arthashastra has to do with the science of economics. When it deals with the science of politics; the Arthashastra describes in detail the art of government in its widest sense—the maintenance of law and order as also of an efficient administrative machinery.
This book is a definitive introduction to the classic text, the Arthashastra, the world’s first manual on political economy. The 2000-year-old treatise is ascribed to Kautilya, the prime minister of King Chandragupta Maurya, and is as important to Indian thought as Machiavelli’s The Prince is to Europe. Arthashastra, or ‘the science of wealth’, is a study of economic enterprise, and advises the king-entrepreneur on how to create prosperity. Thomas Trautmann’s exploration of this seminal work illuminates its underlying economic philosophy and provides invaluable lessons for the modern age.
The Arthashastra is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy which identifies. Kautilya, also known as Chanakya is India’s most illustrious political economist.He regarded economic activity as the driving force behind the functioning of political dispensation and went to the extent of saying that revenue should take priority over the army because sustaining the army was possible out of a well-managed revenue system. Kautilya advocated limiting the taxation power of the State, having low rates of taxation, maintaining a gradual increase in taxation and devising a tax structure that ensured compliance.He strongly encouraged foreign trade
Kautilya, also known as Chanakya, is India s most illustrious political economist of all time. He regarded economic activity as the driving force behind the functioning of any political dispensation. In fact, he went to the extent of saying that revenue should take priority over the army because sustaining the army was possible out of a well-managed revenue system.Kautilya advocated limiting the taxation power of the State, having low rates of taxation, maintaining a gradual increase in taxation and most importantly devising a tax structure that ensured compliance. He strongly encouraged foreign trade, basing it on the premise that for a successful trade contract to be established, it had to be beneficial to all. He emphasised State control and investment in land, water and mining. Kautilya was a true statesman who bridged the gap between experience and vision. For Kautilya, good governance was paramount. He suggested built-in checks and balances in systems and procedures for the containment of malpractices. Many postulates of Kautilya s philosophy of political economy are applicable to contemporary times.
The only extant treatise on statecraft from classical India, the Arthsastra is an invaluable resource for understanding ancient South Asian political thought; it also provides a comprehensive and unparalleled panoramic view of Indian society during the period between the Maurya (320-185 BCE) and Gupta (320-497 CE) empires.
This volume offers modern English translations of key selections, organized thematically, from the Arthasastra. A general Introduction briefly traces the arc of ancient South Asian history, explains the classical Indian tradition of statecraft, and discusses the origins and importance of the Arthasastra. Thorough explanatory essays and notes set each excerpt in its intellectual, political, and cultural contexts.
King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India presents an English translation of Kautilya’s Arthashastra (AS.) along with detailed endnotes. When it was discovered in 1923, the Arthashastra was described as perhaps the most precious work in the whole range of Sanskrit literature, an assessment that still rings true. This new translation of this significant text, the first in close to half a century takes into account a number of important advances in our knowledge of the texts, inscriptions, and archeological and art historical remains from the period in Indian history to which the AS. belongs (2nd-3rd century CE, although parts of it may be much older). The text is what we would today call a scientific treatise. It codifies a body of knowledge handed down in expert traditions. It is specifically interested in two things: first, how a king can expand his territory, keep enemies at bay, enhance his external power, and amass riches; second, how a king can best organize his state bureaucracy to consolidate his internal power, to suppress internal enemies, to expand the economy, to enhance his treasury through taxes, duties, and entrepreneurial activities, to keep law and order, and to settle disputes among his subjects. The book is accordingly divided into two sections: the first encompassing Books 1-5 deals with internal matters, and the second spanning Books 6-14 deals with external relations and warfare. The AS. stands alone: there is nothing like it before it and there is nothing after it-if there were other textual productions within that genre they are now irretrievably lost. Even though we know of many authors who preceded Kautilya, none of their works have survived the success of the AS. Being “textually” unique makes it difficult to understand and interpret difficult passages and terms; we cannot look to parallels for help. The AS. is also unique in that, first, it covers such a vast variety of topics and, second, it presents in textual form expert traditions in numerous areas of human and social endeavors that were handed down orally. Expert knowledge in diverse fields communicated orally from teacher to pupil, from father to son, is here for the first time codified in text. These fields include: building practices of houses, forts, and cities; gems and gemology; metals and metallurgy; mining, forestry and forest management; agriculture; manufacture of liquor; animal husbandry, shipping, and the management of horses and elephants- and so on. Finally, it is also unique in presenting a viewpoint distinctly different from the Brahmanical “party line” we see in most ancient Indian documents.
Chanakya was a great teacher of Takshashila University, who taught Chandragupta and made him the first Emperor of India. He is also known as Kautilya. He authored Chanakya Neeti, and Arthashastra [a political treatise]. Table of Contents Book I, “Concerning Discipline” Book II,”The Duties of Government Superintendents” Book III, “Concerning Law” Book IV, “The Removal of Thorns” Book V, “The Conduct of Courtiers” Book VI, “The Source of Sovereign States” Book VII, “The End of the Six-Fold Policy” Book VIII, “Concerning Vices and Calamities” Book IX, “The Work of an Invader” Book X, “Relating to War” Book XI, “The Conduct of Corporations” Book XII, “Concerning a Powerful Enemy” Book XIII, “Strategic Means to Capture a Fortress” Book XIV, “Secret Means” Book XV, “The Plan of a Treatise”
The First Great Political Realist is a succinct and penetrating analysis of one of the ancient world’s foremost political realists, Kautilya. Kautilya’s treatise Arthashastra stands as one of the great political books of the ancient world, its ideas on the science of politics strikingly similar to those of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Clausewitz, and even Sun Tsu. Roger Boesche’s excellent commentary on Kautilya’s voluminous text draws out the essential realist arguments for modern political analysis and demonstrates the continued relevance of Kautilya’s work to modern Indian strategic thinking and our understanding of the relationship between politics and economics. Striking a balance between textual analysis and secondary scholarship, Boesche’s work will be an enduring contribution to the study of ancient Indian history, Eastern political thought, and international relations.