An extraordinary manual on statecraft by one of classical India's greatest minds, Kautilya also known as Chanakya and Vishnugupta (BC 350-283) wrote the Arthashastra. He was the man who destroyed the Nanda dynasty and installed Chandragupta Maurya as the King of Magadha. A master strategist, he was well-versed in the Vedas and adept at devising political stratagems. The original book is the most comprehensive treatise of statecraft of all times. The text covers numerous topics, duties and responsibilities of the King; a complete code of law; foreign policy; secret and occult practices and so on. Artha, literally meaning wealth is one of four supreme aims prescribed by Hindu tradition. However, it has a much wider significance and the material well-being of individuals is just a part of it. In accordance with this he stressed that the state or government of a country has a vital role to play in maintaining the material status of both the nation and its people. Therefore, a significant part of the Arthashastra has to do with the science of economics. When it deals with the science of politics, the Arthashastra describes in detail the art of government in its widest sense—the maintenance of law and order as also of an efficient administrative machinery. All of this has been written about in this small book for the benefit of all readers.
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