Monday, November 14, 2011

Kautilyas (An)arthashastra

Most of us know that Chanakya (370–283 BCE) was a shrewd and brilliant teacher. Indeed he is regarded as great, especially his ideas on spying  theories, law and order etc.. to mention few, but modern social reformers have questioned the foundation of his theories, this is one such view. Ardent Hindu Nationalists declare him super patriotic highlighting his role in formation of Mauryan Empire & citing his work "arthashastra" a political treatise.
Alas it immediately occurs to a person who reads Arthashastra that Chanakya was not a visionary but
·  A blind believer and not advanced of his time. [ citation Arthashastra-5  ]
·  Kautilya snaps freedom of expression from women, shudra and other equivalent class of his time, essentially Kautilyas arthashastra is built upon pillars of Discrimination denial of freedom to so called lower castes. [ Citation  Arthashastra- ]
·  Kautilya framed many property inheritance laws which left Sudra and like classes  economically weak. Kautilya was shrewd enough to know 2000 years ago that  economically weak section cannot raise its voice.  One shall find many laws that impose different fines/punishments based on caste for the same crime committed. Most of the cases Brahmin of his time is exempted or fined a meager penalty for the same crime committed, but a shudra and like class of his time is levied a highest penalty in most of the cases cruel death awards.
Kautilya could have been given a clean chit considering his social ignorance and policy of Equality unknown to India in a true sense until the 20 Century AD; if at all a person named Buddha was not born about 300 years before him. Buddha questioned the false practices in the predominant Hindu religion of his time. Vivekananda in one of the instance declares Buddha as the greatest sage to be born in India.
Kautilya shrewdly ignored the message of Buddha to humanity, also was well aware of Chaturvarna system and its detrimental effect on suppressed people. He consciously framed laws keeping misquoted chaturvarna and ensured suppressed class remains uneducated, economically weak slaves.
Kautilya remains questionable and weak as[himself being an expert in all kinds of educational disciplines of his time chiefly Vedas, astrology, politics and economics] he was unable to emphasize Equality among people at least when he framed laws, forget in reality. Discrimination against women also is a key factor gives an insight that he wanted to build a nation on the basis of Manushastra which was designed to leave the majority  uneducated and slaves.
Did not the Upanishads declare All men are Equal, Did not Buddha reiterate it in his own way. Was not chanakya aware of these... yes, but Chanakya was also shrewd, he had an agenda in his mind that supported caste domination and hence he formulated such cruel laws.
So much of Chanakya is being advertised and popularized by Hindu political parties and their ardent wings in recent past; it shows the sentiments and their deep hidden thoughts about society and their plans.  Do they want to build a nation considering religion as its basis, a theory which is ridiculed by likes of Bhagath Sing, Vivekananda?  Thus he blew the trumpet whose noise suppressed the uneducated section of society. The same noise became music to people who wanted to revive Hinduism by culling Buddhism during post Mauryan period.
One shall find flaws in Kautilya's arthashastra which are detrimental to any  human society that can exist in all times.
Arthasastra citations-discriminating

Caste Based Discrimination |
Legacy Chaturvarna |
Economic Discrimination |
Women Discriminated |
Blind Belief 

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