The aim of this work is to establish Kautilya as a great Indian jurist, who has so for remained hidden from the legal world. It is a matter of great satisfaction that the work has found a permanent place in the field of legal philosophy of law. Kautilya is also known as Vishnugupta or Chanakya. He gave Arthasastra first translation to the world, which was a naturally crude. He made valuable contributions in the field of maintaining law and order and prevention of crimes etc. This book consists of the following heads of legal action: (i) Laws of contract, (ii) Laws of marriage and Conjugal relation, (iii) Laws relating to property of women, (iv) family laws relating to partition and inheritance of male property, (v) Laws relating to landed property, (vi) laws of debts and deposits, (vii) Laws of service and partnership (viii) Laws of gifts, purchase and sale, (ix) Laws of civil injuries and (x) Gambling and miscellaneous subjects. Now in the 21st century, Publication of this work may herald a new era. The Kautilya system of law has many and various kinds of legal procedures which needs study and research. This book is a goldmine for researchers and thinkers in numerous fields. It will be a useful work of reference for jurists, judges, advocates of higher courts, diplomats, students of legal research and comparative law, historians, sanskrit scholars, writers and the general public. It is hoped that the book will bring an awareness, recognition and rediffusion of the Indian learning at home, and in other parts of the world.
About the Author
Born on 21st September 1916 at Gurukul Kangri near Haridwar in Uttaranchal, he took his M.A. degree in Sanskrit from St. Stephen College, Delhi University. He won the prestigious Central State Scholarship for Oxford and completed his D. Phil course at Oxford and returned to India in 1945. He joined the Archeological Survey of India and retired from the service in 1974 having reached the status of Deputy Director-General. After retirement, the joined Punjab University as a visiting professor. During this professional career, he visited Afghanistan, the then Soviet Union and Mongolia on different assignments. Among Dr. Sharma's other significant writings are (i) a book entitled Delhi and its Neighborhood in English and Hindi, (ii) Archaeological Remains, Monuments and Museums both published by Archaeological Survey of India. He has contributed a number of papers and articles in different books and research journals in India and abroad.
He passed away on November 21, 2002 and is survived by his wife and a daughter.
Kautilya, often mentioned as "Chanakya" belonged to the Gupta Age and has been famous as the author of "Arthasastra". He had no access to teaching-private or public - and his advices on issues of law, order and administrative discipline have been subject of public thinking and education in centuries that have followed.
In Gupta Age, Kautilya, the blessed Brahmin, had attained great heights as a non-failing advisor on issues of law and governance. The Gupta Age continues to be relevant nay important in the onward march on account of the Arthasastra, which came as advice on issues and problems in The Gupta Age. Kautilya was famous for his analytical studies and authoritative advices, which opened clues and provided radical answers both of civil administration and also of governance.
Kautilya's elucidations of issues- both deep and intricate- have continued to be read with care and respect. The Arthasastra, the name under which his great teachings and solutions have been consolidated and made available to succeeding generations is a treasure of learning. Even today, the intricate discussions appearing in the book are considered useful. The fact that in changed society Kautilya's teachings hold good and continue to offer guidance show the depth and relevance of the teachings of the great scholar. Chanakya had no exposure to public education, nor to any systematic private institutional learning, yet what he delivered under the title of Arthasastra continues to be of interest as eternal utility and for centuries to come would continue to have reverence and prove the worth of Kautilya's insight. Chanakya will also continue to be an authority for guidance of scholars, researchers and guides for centuries to come.
Kautilya has often been compared with Machiavelli, a great middle age scholar and philosopher. Even today, in political thinking Arthasastra has a valued position. It is indeed a great surprise that Kautilya rose to such heights on his own efforts and the doctrines he collated for public administration and civil laws continue to lead scholars and administrators to keep the society running. I am sure, the book will interest every reader and more so one with political exposition.
Knowing historical philosophy of law is as important as the study of modern legal principles. It brings out our glorious past and tells about the endless principles which still form the basis of law. It is a good means for introducing new opinions into our legal system. Since the discovery of Arthasastra long ago, no serious and exhaustive research was made on it by any legal scholar. The aim of this work is to establish Kautilya as a great Indian jurist, who has so far remained hidden from the legal world. It is a matter of great satisfaction that the work has found a permanent place in the field of legal philosophy of law. It is not widely known that more than half Kautilya's Arthasastra deals with law as it synthesized 2500 years ago. Study is relevant for framing of new laws, modifying existing laws, bringing up laws and strengthening their basis in conformity with international trends and understanding. The hook is a goldmine for researchers and thinkers in numerous fields. Kautilya is also known as Vishnugupta or Chanakya. Kautilya's Arthasastra was written between 300 and 321 B.C. He gave Arthasastra first translation to the world, which was naturally crude. It was followed by Kangle, who corrected it to a great extent. Kautilya is a realist and deals with duties, violation of which are regarded as crime and punished by the State. Prior to Kautilay, Law and religion were intermixed. Kautilya separated the two. He divided Arthasastra into few books sub-divided into further chapters in which many topic running into large number of sections (Slokas) are discussed containing inter alia institution of rulership, administration, law, suppression of criminals, trade, industry, commerce, spying, war, peace and foreign policy. Kautilya was inspired with a high social conscience. According to him, a ruler should do nothing to displease his people. Although he is supreme and sovereign, but he is not a dictator. Rulership exists to serve the society and people. Arthasastra has firmer basis in morality and only under emergent or exceptional circumstances unethical modes and methods may be adopted. He made valuable contributions in the fields of maintaining law and order, prevention of crimes, detection of criminal youths, arrests on suspicion, punishments for receiver of stolen property, attempt of commit an offence, eliciting confession from suspects by questioning, interrogation or by physical torture, post mortem on sudden deaths etc. Civil laws in Kautilya's system consist of the following heads of legal action: (1) laws of contract; (2) laws of marriage and conjugal relation; (3) Laws relating to property of women; (4) Family laws relating to partition and inheritance of male property; (5) Laws relating to landed property; (6) Laws of debts and deposits; (7) Laws of service and partnership; (8) Laws of gift, purchase and sale; (9) Laws of civil injuries; and (10) Gambling and miscellaneous subjects. Now in the twenty first century, publication of this work may herald a new era. A diploma course in Indian Jurisprudence or a subject in Post Graduation may be introduced in Indian Universities. The very liberal views expressed in Arthasastra on many matters could well be of interest to the modern legislators. Kautilya's system of law has many and various kinds of legal procedures, which needs study and research. We hope that it will be a useful work of reference for jurists, judges, advocates of higher courts, diplomats, students of legal research and comparative law, historians, Sanskrit scholars, writers and the general public. It is hoped that the book will bring an awareness, recognition and rediffusion of the Indian learning at home, and in other parts of the world.
This work could not be published in time because of Dr. Y.D. Sharma's busy schedule, prolonged illness and sudden death, therefore due to above circumstances we had to share the responsibility of this editorial work.
This editorial work is a synergetic product of many minds and here we would like to render a vote of thanks to all those who have helped us directly or indirectly in completion of this book. We owe to Mr. K. K. Bhardwaj, D.E.O., N.D.M.C. for his invaluable guidance, tireless efforts and constant encouragement throughout the course of completion of this work. We also cannot forget the members of our family particularly Abhishek Bhardwaj and Abhineet Bhardwaj for sharing moments of joy during the editorial work of this precious book. We owe to Mr. K. K. Bhardwaj, D.E.O, N.D.M.C. for his invaluable guidance, tireless efforts and constant encouragement throughout the course of completion of this work. We also cannot forget the members of our family particularly Abhishek Bhardwaj and Abhineet Bhardwaj for sharing moments of joy during the editorial work of this precious book. We are grateful to the friends for helping us one way or the other for offering admirable suggestion at different stages of this work. We would also like to acknowledge our debts to Brigadier, J. K. Kaushik, Mr. R.C. Sharma, Mrs. Sudha Kumar, Mr. Krishna Kumar, Dr. Prem Lata, Member/Judge Consumer forum, New Delhi. Dr. Rahul a great scholar of Indian Culture who always provided homely atmosphere with their friendly gesture for completion of this work. We are deeply indebted to Shri Ram Chander Bhardwaj for his blessing and inspiration from time to time to complete the work. The contribution of Late Smt. Shiv Devi Bhardwaj also cannot be forgotten who inspired us to come up with some specific aim in the life.
Last, but not the least, we would like to thank to Shri Subhash Vats and Shri K. K. Sharma SDM for their valuable contribution and guidance from time and time to accomplish this work.
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