Kautilya's Arthasastra and Social Welfare is an outcome of a National seminar organized by the Sahitya Akademi In collaboration with the Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, University of Poona, Pune.
The Entire Philosophy of Kautilya aims at doing welfare to human beings living in a particular society. The king was expected to create such an environment in which a man could achieve his goal. The happiness of any king was identified in the happiness of his subjects. Kautilya was such a practical social thinker who gave a deep thinking as to how the activities of each and every member of the society should contribute to the welfare of the society and ultimately to the welfare of the human being.
The study of Kautilya is relevant even today. The book contains 46 articles reflecting various social, political, administrative and philosophical aspects of the Indian society during the time of Kautilya including Royal Residence, moral value, selection of officer, selection of spies, role of priests, wage system, documentation, role of woman, marriage, prostitutes, etc.
V. N. Jha, the Editor is a renowned Sanskrit scholar and critic and has several publications to his credit including The Logic of Intermediate Causal Link, Studies in Language and has translated Nyayamanjari of Jayantabhatta.
It is a matter of great pleasure to place this volume in the hands of scholars and general readers which will serve as a specimen of India's intellectual tradition of the 5th Century B. C.
The Volume is an outcome of a National Seminar on "Kautilya's Arthasastra and Social Welfare" organized by the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi in collaboration with the Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, University of Pune from 29th to 31st January, 1996. It contains 46 articles reflecting various Society as reflected in the Arthasastra of Kautilya. Mere glance at these articles will speak of their relevance even today. Kautilya's Arthasastra was a product of a very mature Social and Political thinker and that is the reason that his thoughts defy time-boundaries. Kautilya had given thought on right from the education of a King, down to the perspective of each and every section of the people of his Kingdom. The goal of a man was decided and the King was expected to create such an environment in which a man could achieve his goal. The happiness of any King was identified in the happiness of his subjects. Kautilya was such a practical social thinker that he gave a deep thinking as to how the activities of each and every member of the society should contribute to the welfare of the society and ultimately to the welfare of the human being. Some of the topics discussed in this Volume are as follows: (1) Roayal Residence (2) Education (3) Moral value (4) Administrative hierarchy. (5) Zonal Administration (6) Selection of Officer (7) Selection of Spies (8) Selection of Superintendent (9) Treasury (10) State Budget Control (11) Audit of Accounts (12) Role of Priest (13) Drinking of liquors (14) Principles of Tade (15) Quality Control of Commodities (16) Professions (17) Wage System (18) Responsibility of Ministers (19) Crime and Punishment (20) Documentation (21) Cooperation of Subjects in Administration (22) Common Public Facilities (23) Role of Women (24) The Weaker Sections of the Society (25) Policy of Territorial Boundaries (26) Foreign Policy (27) The Institution of Marriage (28) Utilization of Land (29) Institution of Prostitution (30) Environment (31) Religious practices (32) Religion and Superstition (33) Co-operative Enterprizes
I think the list is sufficient to demonstrate, how relevant the study of Kautilya is, even today. What is required and expected is to derive insights in the Socio-Political Philosophy of Kautilya to serve humanity even today. Kautilya's King was not completely free to do whatever he liked. As a matter of fact Kautilya had fixed a particular amount in the State Budget, beyond which the King could not spend. Kautilya's King was a Trustee in the real sense of the term. Dharma or Morality was enjoying the top priority, but he thought that if Danda or strict Administration is carried out properly the Dharma will follow automatically. This is the reason why he has given so much importance to Danda. I earnestly feel that this Volume should enter into our educational curricula and the Social, Political and Administrative Philosophers of our country should see that these ideas are inculcated in each and every citizen who is concerned with the welfare of our Nation. As far as I have understood Kautilya, the entire Philosophy of Kautilya aims at doing welfare to human beings living in a particular Society.
I am thankful to the Sahitya Akademi for agreeing to organize this National Seminar on such a important topic and assigning the work of editing this Volume to me. I am also thankful to the contributors to this Volume for their kind co-operation. The staff members of the Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit deserve special thanks for helping me immensely in going through the proofs of this volume. I am thankful to all of them. The Veda Vidya Mudranalaya also deserves our expression of appreciation for their careful printing. I also thank the artist of the Cover page of this Volume, Mr. L. M. Kadu.
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