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Kautilya : Evolution of Indian Administration

Kautilya : Evolution of Indian Administration


  • Chanakya (BC 371- BC 283) was an Indian teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist and royal advisor. He is traditionally identified as Kauṭilya or Vishnugupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise, the Arthashastra and also wrote Nitishashtra.
  • Chanakya assisted the first Mauryan emperor Chandragupta in his rise to power.
  • He is widely credited for having played an important role in the establishment of the Maurya Empire.
  • Chanakya was a shrewd administrator and a master statesman.
  • His theories on good governance are very important for doing away with corruption in the society.
  • He was not only a political scientist, but also an economist, a diplomat and a successful war strategist.

Chanakya Philosophy

  • Chanakya wanted to create a society where people are not too much engrossed in the material aspects of life. He laid equal emphasis on spirituality too.
  • Equality for all was his motto.
  • Security of the citizens was of prior most importance to him.
  • He supported agriculture to the fullest as he considered it to be a state subject.
  • He believed in the protection of women and hence ended all forms of exploitation against them.
  • He laid utmost important to land as a resource and hence proposed for its maximum utilization.
  • In order to harness the maximum optimization of the resources of the annexed kingdoms and empires, he looked after them very well.              Kautilya : Evolution of Indian Administration
  • He was a strategist and flared a balance between both the states and the citizens. He wanted the trade to flourish and hence bare minimum taxes were levied which benefitted the case of both the states and the citizens.
  • He wanted to build cities for trade both within and outside the state and. He also encouraged building forts to counter against external aggression.

Ethical qualities in a leader

  • The leader is the face of the nation. He is responsible for everything that is happening in the community and hence is the society’s reflection.
  • The leader should work for the attainment of its goal which is the welfare of its people.
  • The leader will lose the loyalty of its subjects if its disheartens them by his unjust actions.
  • A leader shouldn’t propagate adharma, he should not favour the wicked, should punish the culprit and should not punish the innocent.
  • There should be no wasteful expenditure..
  • An ethical leader should not antagonize the wise and the elders.
  • He should hear all the urgent matters of his subjects and should not postpone them as justice delayed is justice denied.                          Kautilya : Evolution of Indian Administration

Rajrishi concept

  • The concept of Rajrishi is very similar to that of the Philosopher King by Plato.
  • An ideal leader is a combination of Raja and Rishi. Like a Raja, he is dynamic, active, has decision-making capacity. At the same time, he should be able to connect with the spiritual and higher level of the world by being wise, should focus on philosophy.
  • A king should be promulgator of Dharma.
  • He should be a model for the masses.
  • There should be royal idealism in him
  • He should possess the quality of inviting nature, self-restraint and spirit, intellect and intuition, enthusiasm.
  • He should control his lust, greed and attachment, vanity and pride.
  • Dharma should be considered as a social duty, moral law based on truth, civil law and performance of rituals by the king.                Kautilya : Evolution of Indian Administration
  • Satya, Ahimsa, celibacy and non-stealing should be prescribed for him
  • The king can promulgate new laws, but the basic principles should stick to the idea of Shastras.
  • He should be a affirm believer in the moral order of the universe

Kautilya’s Solution for corruption

  • Kautilya believed in keeping spies to look after if the officials carried forward their work properly.
  • He also mentioned about the whistleblowers. They were given awards and incentives to blow off the corruption.
  • Public honour boosts their confidence and gives them a sense of pride of being more honest in future.
  • However, if wrong information is passed off, they were punished too. The death penalty was given for them.
  • Kautilya believed that government servants should be frequently transferred from one place to other so that corruption cannot start at a place.
  • Certain posts should be made temporary because permanency makes government servants haughty and they can take leverage.                    Kautilya : Evolution of Indian Administration
  • Superintendents cannot take new mechanism without informing the king. Hence the concept of accountability was proposed by Kautilya.
  • Chanakya wrote that dispensing with the service of too many government servants is conducive to financial prosperity. This would help in faster and effective decision making. This reduces the scope of bribery and corruption in general.

Chanakya Neeti

  • It is the idea where one is bounded by the information one has and sticks to it by limiting oneself. One should explore, cognitive minds should be stretched and one should find answers in the unlimited time to come to decision.
  • Kautilya realized the importance of good bureaucracy.
  • A king can walk only with the help of his subjects as one wheel cannot move a chariot.
  • The responsibilities of the ministers are to be stated by the king.
  • A king should supervise and monitor all works of all its subsidiaries.
  • A king should appoint counsellors and advisers and pay heed to them.


  • Chanakya’s death is clouded with mystery and is not revealed exactly so far despite several efforts by scholars. However, there are two standpoints to it.
  • It is said that Bindusara tried to convince Chanakya many times, but despite his efforts, Chanakya refused to come back to the court and remained silent and starved to death in 283 BC in Pataliputra.
  • But some people also believe that utilizing this situation, Bindusara’s minister Subandhu had burnt Chanakya alive. Later Bindusara is said to have avenged the death of his guru Chanakya by killing Subandhu for his evil intent.                            Kautilya : Evolution of Indian Administration

Public Administration by G.Rajput

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