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Political Thought in Ancient India : Emergence of the State, Evolution of Kingship and Inter-State Relations Based on the Saptanga Theory of State

G.P. Singh, D K Printworld, 2005, Reprint, 152 p, ISBN : 8124600015, $15.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Political Thought in Ancient India : Emergence of the State, Evolution of Kingship and Inter-State Relations Based on the Saptanga Theory of State/G.P. Singh

Contents: Preface. 1. The state (Rajya). 2. The King (Svamin). 3. The ministers (Amatyas). 4. The territory and the people (Janapada/rastra). 5. The forts/capital (Durgas/Pura). 6. The treasury (Kosha). 7. The army (Danda/Bala). 8. The allies and the inter-state relations (Mitra tatha Niti). Glossary. Index.

"Ancient Indians were a highly organized polity, with a well-established worldview of the Rajya (the state). In their togetherness, these components of the state led political ideologues to advance the Theory of Saptanga : the 'seven limbs' -- each of which admitted varying emphases with ancient scholars, according to the changing political situations or their own predilections.

Besides traditional/semi-historical writings, the saptanga theory of the state finds recurring allusions in Kautilya's Arthasastra which, written sometime about the fourth century BC, remains the oldest surviving treatise of its kind on statecraft. Surprisingly, the Arthasastra itself, claims its author, is a compendium of the writings of as many as eighteen ancient teachers, like Manu, Brhaspati, Usana, Bharadvaja, Visalaksa, Prachetas, and Pisuna.

With bit-by-bit analysis of an astonishing mass of original, indigenous sources: Vedic, Puranic, Epical, Buddhist, Jaina, and even non-Indian, Professor G.P. Singh tries to crystallize the political thought processes accompanying the evolution of state through the bygone centuries. Bringing fresh insights into the Saptanga theory, his study dwells, at length, on all its seven time-honoured components and their variegated roles in lending support to the state. Also underscored here is the relevance of ancient Indian view to modern theories of politics and diplomacy.

A thoroughly documented work of equal utility to scholars and students, the monograph is supplemented by a comprehensive index and a glossary of non-English words/phrases used in the text." (jacket)

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