Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Hindu Political Thought
The science of politics (arthasastra) has very early roots in classical India. With its theories, analyses, and classifications, it tried to show the most effective way for a king to arrange his administration, to make his state flourish, and to expand it if possible. Its aims were thus practical; unlike in Western antiquity, philosophical utopias were not included in the political theory of classical India. This entry first examines the origins of statehood in India and then describes the development of political science in this period, as described in the Kautiliyärthasästra (KAS). In ancient India, the science of politics was known under several Sanskrit names derived from its different aspects: artha “profit, goal, usefulness” (arthasastra “the science of artha”); nïti “leading, administration” (nitisästra); danda , originally a “stick,” then the “stick for guiding an elephant (ankus),” also “punishment, administration of punishment, administration” (dandaniti); and raja(n) “king” (râjanïti “the conduct räjadharma ...