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PSIR 1A-9.1 Dharmashastra – Previous Year Questions & Answers

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Explain the sources of ancient Indian political thought. [2020/15m/200w/3c]

Like the ancient Indian literature, the sources of Indian political thought are also scattered. Several books, epics, religious texts, inscriptions, etc., throw light on different political concepts, which are also intertwined with the ideas of society, religion, economy, etc.

There are mainly two streams in Indian political thought—the Hindu tradition and the Buddhist tradition. While the Hindu tradition revolves primarily around two concepts: dharma and Danda, in the Buddhist tradition, political ideas need to be extracted from religious texts.

The Vedas are the oldest texts that mention kings, rashtra, etc. It also mentions democratic institutions like the Sabha and the Samiti. Manusmriti, another ancient literature, discusses the origin of states, the ideals of kingship, and dharma. And the Shanti Parva in the Mahabharata dwells on political philosophy, administration, diplomacy, etc. It also describes the contemporary political system.

Kautilya’s Arthshastra is another masterpiece that belongs to the tradition of the Dandashastra. It describes the elements of the state and dwells on the art of statecraft, both during war and peace.

To understand the Buddhist idea of kingship and statecraft, there are three major sources for understanding. i.e. 1) Ashvaghosha’s Buddhacharit 2) Asokvadana and 3) Jataks.

Apart from these, there are other texts like Sukra Niti, Kamandakeya Nitishastra, stone and copper inscriptions, and accounts by foreign travellers like Megesthanes, etc., that shed light on the political system and philosophy present in their period.

There is abundant literature on ancient political thought. [240 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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