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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

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Short Descriptions

Professor G.P. Singh tries to crystallize the political thought-processes accompanying the evolution of state in the bygone centuries. He dwells on the time-honoured components of the Saptanga theory and their role in supporting the state.

More Information

ISBN 13 9788124600016
Book Language English
Binding Hardcover
Total Pages 152
Edition 3rd
Release Year 2005
Publisher D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Author G.P. Singh
Category Cultural Studies   History & Archaeology   Political Studies   Ever Green Shelf Life  
Weight 350.00 g
Dimension 14.00 x 22.00 x 1.80


Ancient Indians were a highly organized polity, with a well-established worldview of the Rajya (the State). And also of its seven distinct organs: svamin (the king), amatyas (the ministers), janapada/rashtra (the territory and the people), durgas/pura (the forts/capital), kosha (the treasury), danda/bala (the army), and mitra tatha niti (the allies and inter-state relations). 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 State finds recurring allusions in Kautilya’s Arthashastra which, written sometime about the fourth century BC, remains the oldest surviving treatise of its kind on statecraft. Surprisingly, the Arthashastra itself, claims its author, is a compendium of the writings of as many as eighteen ancient teachers, like Manu, Brihaspati, Ushana, Bharadvaja, Vishalaksha, Prachetas, and Pishuna. 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.