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    Political Thought in...


Political Thought in Ancient India

Emergence of the State, Evolution of Kingship and Inter-State Relations based on the Saptanga Theory of State by: G.P. Singh

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.



ISBN: 9788124600016
Year Of Publication: 2005
Edition: 3rd
Pages : 152
Bibliographic Details : Glossary; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 23 cm.
Weight: 350


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.


1. The State (Rajya)
2. The King (Svamin)
3. The Ministers (Amatyas)
4. The Territory and the People (Janapada/Rashtra)
5. The Forts/Capital (Durgas/Pura)
6. The Treasury (Kosha)
7. The Army (Danda/Bala)
8. The Allies and the Inter-State Relations (Mitra Tatha Niti)

Meet the Author
G.P. Singh, Prof. of History at the University of Manipur, Imphal, has researched different aspects of ancient Indian history and culture over the past three decades. He has contributed numerous papers to national and international journals. His works that include The Kiratas in Ancient India: A Historical Study of their Life, Culture and Civilisation; Political Thought in Ancient India; Early Indian Historical Tradition and Archaeology; Republics, Kingdoms, Towns and Cities in Ancient India; and Ancient Indian Historiography, have won the acclaim of scholars in the field. In 1989, Dr. Singh was elected the Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London. He has been recently nominated a member of Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi.