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The Nitisara by Kamandaka: Continuity and Change from Kautilya’s Arthashastra

P. K. Gautam was a Consultant at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
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  • Monograph No. 63

    This study compares Indian traditions of statecraft in Kamandaka’s Nitisara, or the Elements of Polity, with the earlier foundational root text of Kautilya’s Arthashastra. There are commonalities, dissimilarities and uniqueness in the texts. However, key values and concepts across time do not seem to have changed and remain relevant even today. This continuity can be attributed to the powerful and universal vocabulary of Indian traditions of statecraft to show that the shastra tradition is a lived and thriving dynamic tradition. Reading the texts of Kamandaka and Kautilya not only demonstrates the continuity of the foundations of Indian traditions of statecraft but also highlights and helps us understand the expanded geo-cultural space of India.

    About the Author

    Colonel Pradeep Kumar Gautam (Retd) was a research fellow at IDSA from 2005 to April 2018. Since 2012–13, he was responsible for steering an IDSA project, ‘Indigenous Historical Knowledge’. He is now a consultant to the project. He has authored a number of articles, three monographs and five chapters on or related to Kautilya’s Arthashastra in four edited volumes. He is also the co-editor of the trilogy, Indigenous Historical Knowledge: Kautilya and His Vocabulary, Vols I, II and III (2015–16). His present research interest is the Kural.

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