Traditionally known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta, Chanakya was a Hindu Statesman and a pioneer of Political Science in ancient India. He was a teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist and also a royal advisor.
He was associated with the Maurya Empire and is also believed to have played a role in the downfall of the Nanda Dynasty at Pataliputra and the beginning of the Maurya Dynasty.
Chanakya worked closely with Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan Empire, and was his close counsel and advisor.
Life of Chanakya
Chanakya was born in a Brahman family and received his education in Taxila. He was an erudite person and had vast knowledge of medicine, astrology, Greek and Persian ideas, and politics. He was also familiar with Zoroastrianism, and some belief him to be heavily influenced by that religion.
Chanakya wrote the book Arthshastra or Neetishastra, which became Chandragupta’s guide. The book contains 15 sections dealing with everything from governance to politics to philosophy and economics.
His influence is what made the Mauryan Empire, first under Chandragupta and then under Ashoka, a model of efficient governance.
Chanakya was considered a great manipulator, and other than his positive attributes of knowledge and advisory, he also endorsed views like manipulation, spying and other ruthless policies.
What is Chanakya Neeti?
Chanakya Neeti can be described as a set of ethical principles described by Chanakya. Chanakya Neeti is the famous Indian statesman- Chanakya’s philosophy on life.
Chanakya wished to create a society where people are not materialistic and instead follow ethical values. He laid a lot of emphasis on spirituality and believing in the divine.
To achieve his utopian society, he laid down a set of principles known as Chanakya Neeti.
Principles of Chanakya Neeti
- Equality for all
- Security of citizens is the responsibility of the ruler
- Agriculture should be practised widely
- The land is the utmost vital resource
- Protect women and do not exploit them
- Need to have a balance between state and citizens
- Trade to be allowed to flourish and thus low taxes
- A leader in the face of a nation and his goal should be the welfare of the people
- A leader should propagate adharma
- A leader should not make wasteful expenditure
- He believed that justice delayed is justice denied
- Flawless jobs are rare
- Women are fickle-minded and also speak falsehood
- Fire, water, women, fool, snake and royals can prove fatal so beware
- Women have hunger two-fold, shyness four-fold, mettle six-fold and lust eightfold
- According to him, good women are pious and skilled in household chores; they are faithful to their husbands and never lie to him
Chanakya Neeti is a set of principles that Chanakya-an Indian statesman, advisor and philosopher, laid down to achieve his idea of a utopian society that wasn’t materialistic.
His ideas are some what outdated, and some of his principles carry a misogynistic attitude where women equal property.
His ideals of state governance also need reassessment considering the changes over centuries like the IT Boom, Creation of the UN, importance and dependence on Trade, World Wars etc.
Chanakya Neeti only holds importance in understanding historical backgrounds and has little relevance in the contemporary world.
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