The Greatest Diplomat – Chanakya
For centuries to come and the centuries that went by, which recorded in history talking of the great men and legendary characters who shaped time through their vision and exemplary actions. Chanakya perhaps is the only personality who has been accepted and revered as a genius both by Indian and Western scholars. He is a historical milestone in the making of India amidst tremendous upheavals and myriad’s of reversals. Celebrated as a shrewd statesman and a ruthless administrator, he comes across as the greatest of diplomats of the world. He had the guts to speak his heart out even in front of the rulers, which shows his strong inclination to democratic values and the audacity to put his views through.
Although, he lived around the third century BC, his ideas and principles show concurrence and validity in the present day world. Politics was his forte. Diplomacy in a politically charged environment shows his self-confidence and the ability to stay calm in trying situations. His foresight and wide knowledge coupled with politics of expediency founded the mighty Mauryan Empire in India. He was a great laureate of economics with a glittering intellect to perceive the intricate dynamics of the various economic activities and principles.
Chanakya, apart from being a man of wisdom and unfailing strategies, propounded Nitishastra, the ideal way of living for every individual of the society. He looked at the country like a person surrounded by problems. He worked at the total annihilation of problems by the roots. The re-appearance of troubles only shows its growth. His contribution to foreign policy in the present day world is immense. Universities teach his principles to aspiring foreign policy experts showing the infallibility of his principles. Chanakya’s art of diplomacy is well known across India and practiced in the areas of defense, strategy formation and foreign relations.
Chanakya envisioned India as a nation which would place itself as the forerunner – politically, economically and socially. His magnum opus, “Arthashatra”, depicts in many ways the India of His dreams. When he wrote this volume of epic proportion, the country was ridden in feudalism and closed and self-sufficient economy. The economy based on indigenous ways of production; was in a transitional phase, moving towards the advanced aspects of distribution and production. Culture and regional politics directed the way in which trade was done. The main activities of the economy were agriculture, cattle rearing and commerce. Among the three, Chanakya considered agriculture to be the most important constituent of the economy. It’s a fact today that the Indian economy of today is an agro based one. Covering various topics on administration, politics and economy, it is a book of law and a treatise on running a country which is relevant even today.
Chanakya dreamt of a country reaching the following levels of development in terms of ideologies and social and economic development:
1. A self sufficient economy which is not dependent on foreign trade.
2. An egalitarian society where there are equal opportunities for all.
3. The state should take care of agriculture at all times. Government machinery should be directed towards the implementation of projects aimed at supporting and nurturing the various processes; beginning from sowing of seeds to harvest.
4. Internal trade was more important to Chanakya than external trade. At each point of the entry of goods, a minimal amount of tax should be collected. The state should collect taxes at a bare minimum level, so that there is no chance of tax evasion.
5. Laws of the state should be the same for all, irrespective of the person who is involved in the case.
6. Destitute women should be protected by the society because they are the result of social exploitation and the uncouth behavior of men.
Chanakya envisioned a society where the people are not running behind material pleasures. Control over the sense organs is essentialfor success in any endeavor. Spiritual development is essential for the internal strength and character of the individual. Material pleasures and achievements are always secondary to the spiritual development of the society and country at large.
For years to come the Indian rulers referred to his teachings as a treatise for governance and policy making. Such was the profound effect of his teaching on our country that it was termed as “Sone ki chidiya”. To once again lead the country towards such prosperity we need these strong ideals taught by Chanakya and leaders who can follow this path. We urge the young population of the country to take serious interest in the culture of India and revive it to its original glory.
Author: Rajeev Singhal
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