Venue: Seminar Room I, IDSA
1430 - 1440
Welcome Remarks by Co-Chairs Shri Jayant Prasad, DG, IDSA, and Professor Subrata K. Mitra, Director, Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore (NUS)
1440 - 1445
Release of the two books by the Guest of Honour, Shri A.N.D. Haksar
1445 - 1500
About the book: Kautilya’s Arthashastra : An Intellectual Portrait - Classical Roots of Modern Politics in India
Professor Subrata K. Mitra, ISAS, Singapore
Dr Michael Liebig, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University
1500 - 1520
About the edited book: The Kautilya's Arthashastra: An Intellectual Portrait -Classical Roots of Modern Politics in India
Dr Michael Liebig, SAI
Dr Saurabh Mishra, IDSA
1520 - 1535 Address by Shri Shyam Saran
1535 - 1600 General Discussion
1600 - 1610 Closing remarks by Guest of Honour, Shri A.N.D. Haksar
1610 - 1615 Vote of thanks by Col. P.K.Gautam (Retd.)
1615 - 1645 Tea and Dispersal
Kautilya’s Arthashastra: an Intellectual portrait – Classical Roots of Modern Politics in India showcases the endogenous politico-strategic thought that underpins and drives India’s rise in the 21st century. The political institutions and processes in contemporary India have remained deeply grounded in its pre-modern political heritage, succinctly codified in Kautilya’s Arthashastra. These themes are explored through such bridge concepts as the ‘modernity of tradition’ and the ‘re-use of the past’ in tackling contemporary political problems. These concepts are key factors that explain the resilience and stability of India’s hybrid political institutions and democratic system as well as its foreign policy conduct. Even though Kautilya’s Arthashastra is a foundational text of Political Science and International Relations theory, it has, so far, been largely marginalized in Political Science. Mitra’s and Liebig’s book is meant to change that. As well, the book provides a major contribution to South Asian area studies, comparative politics and comparative political theory.
This book is the product of a collaborative effort by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi; South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University; and Institute of South Asian Studies, National University Singapore. The volume contains papers exploring Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra in a Transcultural Perspective, comparing it with the thoughts of Sun-Zi, Nizam al-Mulk, Barani and Machiavelli. It is agreed that the field of modern International Relations (IR) and Political Theory is predominantly Eurocentric, and based on European sources of philosophy and history. But, nowadays, scholars have been exploring the possibility of a world intellectual history, as ideas are dynamic throughout temporal and geographical spaces. They transform, hybridise and travel long distances over a period of time in such a manner that they appear belonging to the place where we find them at a particular point of time. It is also intriguing to observe that India, with a long civilisational and philosophical history, is credited with no contribution to the evolution of the modern IR and Political Theory. Therefore, this volume explores the philosophical systems, thought-figures and ancient cultural spaces, on the path from India to Europe, looking for any possibility of Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra, the most comprehensive and systematic text available on art of governance from ancient India, having interacted and influenced the evolution of IR and Political Theory that are considered as originally European intellectual contributions. We note that the chapters in this book give ample and convincing reasons for initially believing in the Arthaśāstra’s value for the evolution of IR and Political Theory and making further research on Indian contribution to the intellectual history of IR and Political Theory a desideratum.
The chapters with authors are: ‘Introduction’ by Michael Liebig and Saurabh Mishra, ‘Kautilya Redux? Re-use, Hybridity, Trans-cultural Flow and Resilience of the State in India’ by Subrata K. Mitra (ISAS), ‘Understanding Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra: Origination, Migration and Diffusion’ by Pradeep Kumar Gautam (IDSA),‘Kautilya and Machiavelli in a comparative perspective’ by Michael Liebig (SAI), ‘Arthaśāstra - Reflections on Thought and Theory’ by Medha Bisht’ (South Asian University),‘Rājadharma, legitimacy and sovereignty in the Arthaśāstra’ by Saurabh Mishra (IDSA),‘Kautilya and Sun-Zi on War and Strategy: Exploratory Comparative Analysis ’ by M.S. Prathibha (IDSA) , and ‘Fatāwā-ye jahāndāri: Hybrid Political Theory in the Delhi Sultanate (Perso-Islamic and Endogenous Traditions of Statecraft in India)’ by Seyed Hossein Zarhani (SAI).