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Understanding Dharma and Artha in Statecraft through 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. 53

    This is the third monograph in a series on Kautilya's Arthashastra. The first monograph titled One Hundred Years of Kautilya's Arthasastra (2013) made the case for a deeper study of the text. In the second monograph, Kautilya's Arthashastra: Contemporary Issues and Comparison (2015), the text was critically examined in order to explain, compare and understand it vis-à-vis contemporary issues. Both monographs were pivoted on the concept of artha, and made only a passing reference to dharma, the foundation of political virtue or ethical and moral issues in statecraft. Dharma is significant as it regulates artha in the Indian tradition. This monograph engages with and explores the concepts of dharma and artha in Kautilya's Arthashastra and also the Mahabharata, and provides a few contemporary examples. It is hoped that both the policy and scholarship of international law and politics will be enriched by this work, and the trilogy as a whole, from the Indian heritage of indigenous historical knowledge.

    About the Author

    Pradeep Kumar Gautam joined IDSA in 2005 as a research fellow. His interest areas include non-traditional security issues such as environmental security, the military and the environment, climate change, and water; military issues, both current and historical; and Tibet. Gautam was the convener of national and international seminars on Kautilya, sponsored by the ICSSR and held at IDSA in 2013 and 2014. He is the co-editor of a subsequent three-volume publication: Indigenous Historical Knowledge: Kautilya and His Vocabulary, Volumes I to III (2015/2016). Since 2014, he has been a lead member-contributor of an IDSA project with the South Asia Institute (SAI) at Heidelberg University, Germany, and the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on 'Kautilya's Arthashastra in a Transcultural Perspective: Comparing Kautilya with Machiavelli, Nizam al-Mulk, Barani and Sun-Zi', the edited proceedings of which are forthcoming.

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