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Day 25 – Q 2.Examine the contribution of Chanakya in the area of administrative philosophy.

2. Examine the contribution of Chanakya in the area of administrative philosophy.   

प्रशासनिक दर्शन के क्षेत्र में चाणक्य के योगदान की जांच करें।


Kautilya was the prime minister of the first Mauryan emperor Chandragupta and the author of the oldest text on public administration in the world. Arthshastra, the ancient Indian classic offers deep insights into politics, state craft and issues of governance.


Importance of his contribution to administrative philosophy is gauged from the following facts

  • He was the first thinker to emphasize on the need for a strong political centre in India making its administration a major concern.
  • First political realist in ancient Indian political thought.
  • First Indian political thinker to separate religion from politics giving the outline of a secular polity.
  • He focused on a professional bureaucracy based on merit, rather than caste considerations.
  • Departmental system and a detailed job classification scheme were the other innovations of Kautilya.
  • Recognized the needs of a strong military administration
  • Saptanga theory is an original contribution to political science and practice.

Detailed explanation:

  1. Kautilya advocates absolute monarchy though the King’s powers are hedged in with restrictions.
  • He gives extensive list of duties which king must perform for the welfare of his people.
  • The King’s foremost duty is rakshana (protection) and palana (nurture) of his subjects asserting “In the happiness of the subjects lies the happiness of the King and in what is beneficial to the subjects, lies his own benefit”.
  1. In Saptanga theory Kautilya enumerates seven essential organs of the state. They are Swamin, Amatya, Janapad, Durga, Kosha, Danda and Mitra.
  2. Principles of administration
  • The principle of authority is the essence of administration. Authority is obeyed by the people on account of sanctions backed by a series of punishments.
  • Principles of motivation: Arthshastra identifies four different methods of motivation, viz, sama, dama, danda and bheda. Sama is the persuasion method, dama is the incentive method, bheda is the internal competition method and danda is the punishment method of motivation. The bureaucracy can be enthused by any one method or a mix of various combinations of these methods.
  • Other Principles: division of labour, coordination of administration, hierarchy – governs the machinery of administration. All are needed for the smooth running of government.
  1. Another distinctive feature of the administrative system is the marked preference for a decentralized polity for administrative convenience and efficiency.
  2. Kautilya lays down a series of qualities, differing in number and order of officers holding different positions in the administrative hierarchy. A strict code of conduct for civil servants was specified in Arthshastra.
  3. The principles of legal and financial administration are spelt out with a detailed scheme of decentralization.
  4. Governance was to be organized through codes of law which were completely secularized. Religion was not meant to interfere in matters of state and administration.
  5. Arthshastra maintains that danda (the use of coercive power) is the symbol of sovereignty and is absolutely mandatory to prevent anarchy in a state. However, he also advises the King to exercise danda with utmost restraint. Its improper use turns the ruled against the ruler, a situation of revolt may also develop. This is in line with today’s need for responsible, accountable government based on rule of law.


Known as Machiavelli of India, Chanakya’s administrative philosophy finds relevance even in today’s administrative system.  

Best answer: Sreelakshmy Vijayan Uma

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