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PSIR 1A-9.2 Arthashastra – Previous Year Questions & Answers

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Discuss Kautilya’s views on the elements of the State. [2019/15m/200w/3b]

The state occupies the central position in Kautilya’s Saptang theory, where he elaborates on the idea of the seven organs of the state.

As theory suggests, the state consists of (1) swami (king), (2) amatya (ministers and other high officials); (3) janpada/rashtra (territory and the population inhabiting these), (4) durga (fortified town and cities), (5) kosa (treasury), (6) danda (forces), and (7) mitra (allies).

These seven organs are supposed to be organically interdependent and interlinked according to Kautilya. While argues that each element is equally important and indispensable, he also admits the reminiscent of ancient Greek teleologists and modern functionalists, ‘that partial calamity of one element is more likely to be functionally substituted by healthier elements than a simultaneously debilitating calamity affecting more than one part of the state.’

The organic conception of the state in ancient India Kautilya was intended to stress the importance of the different elements in relation to the need of the state, and it seems that the emphasis on the importance of the other elements was due to the growing independence of the hereditary amatyas and dandanayakas.

The Saptanga theory of state as expounded by Kautilya bears partial resemblance to the modern definition of state. In fact, the elements of state of Bala, Kosha and Mitra described by Kautilya do not find a place in the modern duly accepted definition of the state. And Kautilya’s conception of the state appears more comprehensive than contemporary understanding. [240 words]

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