A Comparison of Kamandaka's Nitisara and Kautilya's Arthashastra: Statecraft, Diplomacy and Warfare

P. K. Gautam was a Consultant at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
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  • July-September 2021

    Kamandaka’s Nitisara was composed after the classic and the only surviving root text of Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Both the texts are important milestones in Indic heritage and tradition of political science. They share many fundamental and enduring similarities in concepts and vocabulary. There are also dissimilarities and some unique features such as Kamandaka’s strategy of Upeksha (neglect, diplomatic indifference) reused and revived during the Indian freedom struggle. This article attempts a comparison of the two texts to include core aspects of statecraft, diplomacy and warfare. Kamandaka which follows the arthashastra tradition demonstrates the continuity of Indian traditions of strategic culture rooted in Kautilya. The article also highlights an understudied, but an important historical understanding in Kamandaka’s Nitisara of the expanded geo-cultural space of India of contemporary relevance.

    Since Thucydides in Greece and Kautilya in India, use of force and the possibility of controlling it have been the preoccupation of international political science.
    —Robert J. Art and Kenneth Waltz1

    (T)he Arthasastra served as a model of strategic culture for the later authorities of ancient and early medieval India like Kamandaka and Somadeva Suri.
    —Krishnendu Ray2


    Kautilya’s Arthashastra endures to this day as a foundational text in political science. It is rich with principles of statecraft, diplomacy and war. Kautilya’s Arthashastra was followed by subsequent texts, such as The Nitisara (or the Elements of Polity) by Kamandaki (translated and edited by Rajendralala Mitra). In this article, only Nitisara will be examined and, where necessary, compared with its ‘mother text’, Kautilya’s Arthashastra.3 The overlap of war, diplomacy and statecraft in Indian traditions is an important feature to be understood. Jagadish Narayan Sarkar explains that in ancient and medieval times, ‘warcraft was…regarded as…statecraft and so the various works on statecraft deal also with the art of war.’4  

    In this article, a comparison has been made of some aspects of statecraft, diplomacy and warfare in the text of Nitisara with that of Kautilya’s Arthashastra.After a brief overview of the Nitisara, the following issues will be discussed: (i) the historical period during which Kamandaka compiled the Nitisara, including questions about the identity of Kamandaka; (ii) some important milestones in the likely period when the text was written/composed; and (iii) the continuities and changes in the vocabulary and concepts from the time of Kautilya’s Arthashastra to that of Nitisara, and its unique features.  

    The most challenging aspects are points (i) and (ii) since, in the Indian tradition, there is no practice of recording political history chronologically.5 For example, according to most accounts, Kamandaka belongs to the Gupta age (fourth and fifth century AD). However, there is very little concrete information about the Gupta age or state, the command structure of the army or the material dimensions of power. One source is David N. Lorenzen, who has used epigraphic sources for analysing the ideology of the Gupta kingship.6 Yet, by examining the text with known history by the labour of historians, it is possible to discern broad trends and relate text with a context where possible.

    An Overview: The Nitisara (Or The Elements Of Polity) By Kamandaki, Translated And Edited By Rajendralala Mitra

    The Nitisara by Kamandaka is a substantial work of 1,192 verses (slokas), grouped in 20 chapters or cantos (or sargas), of 34 sections (prakaranas). It has the traditional branches of learning: the state, its constituents and preservation; the mandala theory on inter-state relations; various types of policies; war and peace; diplomacy and intelligence; military organisation; and the defects to avoid. The Appendix lists out the contents of Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Kamandaka’s Nitisara for comparison.

    Kamandaka’s Nitisara asserts that the wise Vishnugupta, who had destroyed the Nandas by his magic lore and given the earth to Chandragupta, extracted the nectar of nitisara from the ocean of arthashastra.Dating the Nitisara remains debated, though it is post-Kautilya as the author salutes the wise Vishnugupta in the introduction. Rajendralala Mitra did the English translation in 1861 and it was updated by Sisir Kumar Mitra in 1982, who places the text as post-Mauryan.7

    Date, Author and Identity

    D.R. Bhandarkar mentions that Kamandaka lived in AD 300.8 For Charles Drekmeier, ‘The Kamandakiya belongs to the fourth or fifth century AD, and it is reasonable to ascribe it to the late fourth century when the empire of the Guptas had been consolidated.’9 Drekmeier alludes to two speculations on identity: he may have been Sikhara, the minister of Chandragupta II; or ‘an academic theoretician removed from active participation in politics’.10 Upinder Singh places it between 500–700 CE.11 According to Krishnendu Ray, the Nitisara was composed between 700–750 CE.12‘(I)t is obviously earlier than those of 7th century Dandin and the 10th century Narayan,’ asserts A.N.D. Haksar.13

    Vandana Gupta finds that Dandin and Bhavbhuti considered the author to be a female, while the Arabic author Abu Salima calls him as Sifara.14 In the ‘Preface’ to the first edition, Rajendralala Mitra considered Kamandaka to be a Buddhist, for which he provides the following justification: ‘It is dedicated to Chandragupta, and the author, a Buddhist, apparently with a view not to offend the feeling of his Hindu patron with the name of a Buddhist deity, has thought fit to forego the usual invocation at the commencement of his work.’15  

    The Influence of Kamandaka’s Nitisara on Hitopadesa16

    The Nitisara’s relevance and importance can be seen through the surviving tradition of simplified and popular beast fables that could be understood by a lay person. This tradition of simplification is an important continuity in Indian tradition. Simply put, we can say that Kautilya’s Arthashastra is to Panchatantra as Nitisara and Panchatantra are to Hitopadesa (‘The Wholesome Advice’). In his ‘Introduction’ to the translation of Narayana’s Hitopadesa, Haksar notes:

    Apart from the Pancatantra, Narayana’s single main source is the verse composition of Nitisara of Kamandaki. Nearly ninety verses in the Hitopadesa are quotations from this work. Devoted chiefly to the aspects of niti that deal with political theory, most of these verses are contained in the third and fourth books. They discuss the subjects of diplomacy, war and peace. Good examples are verses 4.111 to 4.132 describing sixteen types of peace treaties, which are taken from Nitisara, 9.1 to 9.22…The Nitisara is based on a celebrated earlier dissertation on politics, the Arthasastra, ascribed to Kautilya, also known as Canakya. Narayana mentions this legendary statesman (3.60) though interestingly, he has no quotation from the Arthasastra.17


    Verse 3.60 of Hitopadesa reads:

    Canakya did Nanda destroy
    By using a skilled envoy
    The king should meet an emissary
    In brave but sober company.18

    For the purpose of a comparison between Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Kamandaka’s Nitisara,some idea of important historical events is needed. It can be assumed that the text was influenced by events taking place between Maurya and Gupta periods. This is a rough estimation and an exercise in dead reckoning due to the Indian tradition or theory of history called itihas,which never maintained a chronological account of political history in that era.

    Some Important Milestones in the Likely Period When the Text Was Written

    In 187 BC, the Mauryan Empire came to an end. The last Mauryan king, Brihadratha, was assassinated by Pushyamitra, the Brahmin commander-in-chief of the Shunga family.19 Pushyamitra was an enthusiastic supporter of the orthodox Brahmanical faith and a persecutor of Buddhism.20 Ten Shunga kings ruled for 112 years, and then came the rule of the Brahmin Kanva dynasty.21 The Kanvas fell by 28 BC.

    The Indo-Greeks, the Scythians and the Parthians

    The post-Kanva period was followed by the rise of independent and fragmented political entities. There were incursions from the north-west by the Bactrian Greeks, called Yavanas (of Ionian Greek and Greek origin), which included the one by Seleukos Nikator.22 Though they occupied a much larger area than conquered by Alexander, ‘They failed to establish a united rule in India.’23 Two Greek dynasties ruled on parallel lines from 65 BC to 45 BC, of which Menander or Milinda is the most famous.24 Menander’s kingdom broke up after his brief rule, leaving a lasting legacy of Gandhara art and of minted coins (a first).

    This opened a path for foreign invaders, including the intrusion of nomadic tribes like the Scythians (known as Shakas in Patnajali’s Mahabhasya), who migrated out of Central Asia towards India destroying Greek power. The Shakas (later termed Shahis) became a dynasty. They were ousted by Vikramaditya. D.N. Jha argues about the identity of Vikramaditya:

    Tradition has it that a king of Ujjain drove them out for a while, called himself Vikramaditya, and established the Vikram era to commemorate his victory over them in 57 BC. How far this is reliable is difficult to say, for we have no less than fourteen Vikramadityas in Indian history up to the twelfth century.25

    Another twist is that ‘[a]fter 135 years, another Shaka king vanquished the dynasty of Vikramditya, and started a new era.’26 Based on these stories, in the Indian calendar, we have ‘the Vikram era, which started in 58 BC and the more important Shaka era beginning in AD 78 (adopted officially by the government of independent India); however, historians are still debating this issue’.27  Then came the Parthians, called Shaka-Pahlavas in ancient Sanskrit, who moved from Iran to India: ‘(T)hey occupied only a small portion of north-western India in the first century AD.’28

    The Kushans

    In the first century AD, the Kushan Empire was established in north-west India by the Yueh-chi tribe of nomads in Central Asia who were ‘neither Tibetans nor Chinese’.29 They came under Hindu and Buddhist influence, and it was King Kanishka who consolidated the Kushan Empire, which included ‘the Central Asian province of Kashghar, Yarkand and Khotan, and extended to the borders of Parthia and Persia’.30 It is because of its spread that ‘the Kushan empire in India is sometimes called Central Asian empire’.31

    This spread of Indian influence to Central Asia across the Himalayas in the Kushan period is an important indicator of the extended chakravartikshetra in post-Kautilya’s Arthashastra due further north. Besides the areas to the north, it has been shown by Dilip K. Chakrabarti that the Kushans had a centralised structure:

    From their base at Peshawar in the north-west, they could control their possession of the entire Oxus-Indus orbit, including Panjab and Sindh. At Mathura, they were conveniently placed to exert control in the eastern direction of Ganga plain and also towards Rajasthan and Malwa. Gujarat was accessible both from Sindh and Malwa.32

    The explanation by Chakrabarti for the Kushan paramountcy is that it ‘did not believe in interfering with the local forces as long as they did not interfere with the central structure of Kushan supremacy’.33 This indicates some sort of federalism. The Kushan dynasty came to an end in the middle of the third century AD.34

    It will be relevant here to examine the relationship of Kanishka as analysed by R. Shamasastry, and then match it with an important and rare account of official history first published in 1959.  

    Kanishka in the Text as Understood by R. Shamasastry

    In the preface to the first English translation of Kautilya’s Arthashastra in 1915, R. Shamasastry mentions that Kamandaka gives a salutation to Vishnugupta. However, his most important observation is: ‘Kamandaka speaks of the long reign of a benevolent Yavana king. It is possible that this refers to Kanishka.’35 In any examination of the text, this evidence is clear. Sarga I, Prakarana 1, ‘Control of the sense organs’, sloka 16, states: ‘It is only by adhering to the righteous path king Vaijavana (of the Sagara dynasty) ruled over the earth for a long period, but the unrighteous king Nahusa (of the lunar race) was condemned to hell (rasatala).’ Clearly, Vaijavana is derived from Yavana.

    Regarding the term Yavanas, the Bactrian Greeks were known in early India literature as the Yavanas, ‘derived from old Persian Yauna, signifying originally Ionian Greeks but later all people of Greek origin’.36 We know that the Kushan Empire was at its peak under Kanishka in 78 CE, with Bactria at its centre, extending into the Ganga Valley and south-west into Malwa.37 We also know that Kanishka was not a Bactrian Greek but was from the Yueh-chi tribe of nomads in Central Asia. It is possible that in Shamasastry’s understanding, Kanishka, although not being a Bactrian Greek, may have been also understood as a Yavana, assuming Yavana being a blanket term for those who were migrating to India.

    Another explanation may be that ‘Vaijavana’ refers to the Indo-Greek Menander (ruled from 155 BC to 130 BC), who ‘attained fame as Milinda in the Buddhist text, Milindapanho (Milindaprashna, literally The Questions of King Milinda), which records discussions with the philosopher Nagasena that resulted in his conversion to Buddhism.’38 Milinda or Menander had conquered a large part of north India, Ganga–Jamuna–Doab and ‘even reached Patliputra’.39 This mention of Vaijavana of Sagara dynasty has not been found in commentaries by other authors. However, according to Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, Milinda was the ‘only Indo-Greek ruler commemorated in Indian literature’.40 More archival research may have to be done to resolve these new ‘questions of the righteous Vaijavana of Sagara dynasty, and unrighteous king Nahusa (of the lunar race)’.41

    Historical Background of the Himalayan Frontier of India’ inWhite Paper II of Government of India

    With the tension across the Himalayas over the Sino-Indian boundary dispute and Tibet beginning in the 1950s, the Government of India published a white paper which made references to India’s geostrategic sphere and the historical background of the Himalayan frontier of India.42 It emphasised that neither the Kushans and the king Kanishka nor the Yueh-chi tribes were of Tibetan or Chinese origin.  Rather, they were influenced by both Hinduism and Buddhism. What is important to note is that the Indianised Kanishka consolidated and ruled a vast Kushan empire which included ‘the Central Asian province of Kashghar, Yarkand, and Khotan, and extended to the borders of Parthia and Persia.’43

    It seems probable that the mention of Yavana (implying King Kanishka) by Kamandaka is based on this historical period. Clearly, this indicates that Kamandaka’s text was written after Kanishka and was obviously influenced by the experience of the statecraft of that era. It is significant that Kamandaka has nothing derogatory to say about the Yavanas or the Mlecchas. In the words of the official Indian history of 1959, the Kushans were rightly called ‘naturalized’ Indians and:

    the Guptas, who ruled the greater part of India from about 320 to 647 A.D., were of Indian stock…The literature of the period shows that [the] Himalayas were a part of India…Kalidas in the Raghuvamsa says that Raghu conquered areas to the north of the Himalayas, from Hemakunta (Kailas) to Kamarupa, thereby suggesting that this Indian kingdom (which is now Assam) stretched even beyond the Himalayas…Another drama, written perhaps by a younger contemporary of Kalidas, the Mudrarakshasa, states that the empire of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya extended from the Himalayas to the southern ocean.44 

    On Kalidas, Rajendra Tandon writes:

    Some historians have advanced the argument that in Raguvansham, Kalidas writes about the victory of the king Raghu over the Huns. The Gupta king, Skandagupta, had been victorious over the Huns. However, S.V.S. Prasad contradicts this belief on the grounds that king Raghu has been shown victorious over the Greeks as well as Persians. According to him, Kalidas clubbed all the known enemy kingdoms of his times to impress upon readers, the magnitude of Raghu’s victory.45

    This clearly indicates that there is need to follow up with more research on the many manuscripts that may not have yet been read and analysed on politics, statecraft and history.46 Probably some gems of Indian strategic culture are yet to be unearthed by research on our literary heritage on matters of strategy, strategic culture and strategic land frontiers. In canto 4 on King Raghu, under the section ‘March to Victory’, Kalidas has verses on the conquest to the east, south, west and north, which has mention of Kerala, the Kaveri River, Yavana, Kambojas, Utakal, Kalinga, Lohit River, Kamrupa and so on. In his conquest of the north, King Raghu crosses the Indus River, encounters the Huns, and in verse 71:

    Thereafter, riding on his horse,
    He went up the Himalayan mountain,
    Embellishing its peak with dust
    Raised from its wealth of minerals.47

    This geo-cultural terrain of India has also been written about by Diana L. Eck. One statement by Eck captures the link between ancient history and geography well: ‘Ancient India’s sense of geography is indeed remarkable. For historians, who have long complained that Hindus had no sense of “history”, it is remarkable to discover that they have a detailed sense of geography.’48      

    Interestingly, the text has something to offer on foreign relations beyond the chakravartikshetra of Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Sarga VIII, Prakarana 13, ‘Purification of the mandala by necessary expedients’, sloka 54, reads: ‘The vijigisu in order to achieve predominance in the mandala (inter-statal circle) should cultivate cordiality with (independent) governors (mandalikas) of distant regions (frontier beyond his own dominion) and other captains or governors of forts (may be of forest forts).’ This may mean foreign relations beyond the Kautilyan circle of chakravartikshetra.

    In summary, the post-Mauryan period saw the Sungas (185–74 BC), the Yavanas (2nd century BC to first century), the Shakas (first century BC) and the Kushans (first–second century).49 The period of these invasions, and the resulting fragmentation in the five centuries after the end of the Mauryas and until the emergence of the Guptas, has been called ‘a dark period’. At the same time, it was a period of intensive economic and cultural contacts, which earned it the description of ‘The splendour of the “dark period”.’50 All these historical events would have made an impact on the discourse of statecraft and its text.

    The Huns

    In the fifth century came the invasion of the Huns. After a period of invasion and fragmentation, the Gupta period began. This period could be another influencing factor for the work by Kamandaka, and thus cannot be ignored.

    Gupta Period

    The Gupta period was characterised by a number of wars and annexations, that is, intense warfare, which ‘made a permanent impact on Indian history’.51 Between 319–415 CE, the rulers were Chandragupta I (319–335), Samudragupta (335–376) and Chandragupta II (376–415).52

    [The] Gupta king Chandra Gupta I (early CE fourth century) adopted the epithet Maharajadhiraja and thereby he might have shown his superior status to his contemporary powers…Samudra Gupta (CE fourth century)…established conquest (vijay) over a large territory covering Punjab, western India, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal…The Allahabad Prasasti shows that Samudra Gupta conquered all south Indian kings.53

    In his book, Warfare in World History, Michael S. Neiberg calls Samudragupta the Napoleon of India.54 However, in the absence of written accounts of this particular military history, it is very difficult to study the details of the wars and campaigns of Samudragupta. In his epigraphic analysis, Lorenzen has argued:

    that the ideology of kingship espoused in the Gupta inscriptions is primarily one of legitimation of the king’s prowess on the battlefield as opposed to legitimation either through his moral virtues or through his status as chief sacrificer and earthly representative of political power (kshatra).55


    The Gupta emperors also expanded their empires to the coastal region to the east. Chandragupta II Vikramaditya annexed western Malwa and the Gujarat–Kathiawar territories. ‘Thus the reflections of the Kautilyan open war (prakasayuddha) and diplomatic war (kutayuddha) may be noticeable in the conquests of the Gupta emperors for economic gains for the sake of their power and authority.’56

    I would like to conclude by saying that Kamandaka’s work may be reflective of the political experiences and lessons drawn from the post-Kautilyan period to the Kushans, and then to Guptas. The Gupta period could be the main experience for composing the text. The following section discusses the vocabulary and concepts in Kamandaka’s work to discern what may be enduring and what may have mutated and changed, or been completely extinguished.

    Continuities And Changes In The Vocabulary And Concepts Found In Kautilya’s Arthashastra And Kamandaka’s Nitisara

    Some Common Characteristics of Kautilya and Kamandaka

    •  General commonalities: In general, some enduring traditions, vocabulary and concepts in the Arthashastra are also found in Kamandaka’s Nitisara. These include: mastering of control over the senses, including non-violence; the state of matsyanyaya; anvikshiki; the balance of dharma, artha and kama; intelligence studies; the seven prakrits, 12 vijigisus in a circle of kings or the mandala theory; six measures of foreign policy, the upayas, issues of disasters (vysanas) and how to overcome them; duties of diplomats; and the different aspects of war.
    • Power/shaktis: Both the texts emphasise repeatedly the use of power by sticking to famous priorities, such as mantra-shakti (counsel or diplomacy), prabhav-shakti (economic and military power) and utsah-shakti (leadership).

    Different Characteristics of Kautilya and Kamandaka

    To begin with, Kautilya salutes Sukra and Brhaspati, the former being teacher of demons and the latter being the originator of the Lokayata tradition and also the preceptor or guru of the devas. Kamandaka salutes Sri Ganesa and makes no mention of Sukra or Brhaspati. Another important difference is that there is no normative setting in Nitisara as in Kautilya’s Arthashastra about the political unification of the Indian subcontinent, which hinges on Kautilya specifying the geographic region, or the chakravartikshetra,as in Book IX, namely, 9.1.17–18: ‘17 Place means the earth; 18 means that the region of the sovereign ruler extends northwards between the Himavat and the seas, one thousand yojanas in extent across.’ This leads to another major difference. Though both Kautilya and Kamandaka work on the theory of rajmandalaof 12 kings, Kautilya very clearly shows how, in the final consolidation of an empire, both the middle king (madhyama) and neutral king (udasina) are to be integrated or conquered. This can be seen in Book XIII of Kautilya’s Arthashastra titled, ‘Means of Taking a Fort’, reflected in sutras 13.4.54–61. In this respect, no relevant slokas  can be found in Kamandaka’s Nitisara.   

    Again, Kamandaka’s work does not have any equivalent to Arthashastra’s list of contents as in Book I (Concerning the Topic of Training); duties of heads of department as in Book II; and civil and criminal law as in Books III and IV. Further, the methodology of enquiry, as found in Book XV of Kautilya’s Arthashastra,finds no mention in Kamandaka’s Nitisara. Also, there is no book on oligarchies as in Book XI of Kautilya’s Arthashastra. There are more differences that are delineated next.

    Complexity versus Simplicity of Text

    At many places in Kautilya’s Arthashastra, very complex arguments on treaties and war-making have to be laboriously unpacked.57 In comparison, Kamandaka’s work does not have so many complexities. It presents many sets of slokas, aphorisms and dictums which do sound simple or self-evident, though there is a lot of repetition. In Sarga IX, Prakarana 14, Sandihivikalpa (Types of sandhi or alliances), Kamandaka lists out and explains 16 well-known types of alliances and various contingencies in 78 slokas. A comparison of this with Kautilya’s work is a massive exercise which needs to be undertaken.  

    Drift Away from Heterodox to Orthodox

    Kautilya is more of a political thinker than a Hindu thinker and is, thus, totally secular. This is somewhat diluted in Kamandaka Nitisara. In the latter, the reliance on fate (12.12.20) shows the drift away from the secular work of Kautilya towards the more orthodox. This may have been in keeping with the context of the Gupta period where ‘Brahmana supremacy [had] increased’.58 Sloka 12.12.20 says: ‘In spite of the predominance of Fate in order to gain success, one should put reliance on one’s own exertions aided by clear intelligence, (failing which) recourse should be taken to measures for [the] propitiation of Fate with help of experts in sacrifice, etc.’

    Sarga XIX, Prakarana 28, Sainyabalabala (Points of strengths and weakness of the army), at 19.28.2, also betrays Brahmanical influences in some verses, which is rarely seen in Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Kamandaka writes: ‘He should (at first) worship the family (or state) deities, honour the Brahmanas (for their blessing), watch the auspicious planets and constellation of stars, and march with his six-fold army arrayed in formation (vyuha) toward his enemy.’ Compare this with what Kautilya writes in Book IX (The Activity of the King about to March), 9.4.26: ‘The object slips away from the foolish person, who continuously consults the stars; for an object is the (auspicious) constellation for (achieving) an object; what will the star do?’

    Kamandaka lists anvikshiki in the branches of learning exactly as in Kautilya’s Arthashastra. However, unlike Kautilya who gives the breakdown of the three pillars that make up anvikshiki (that is, Samkhya, Yoga and Lokayata), no such pillars are given by Kamandaka. Instead, for Tryai (the three Vedas), sloka 2.3.13 mentions the Vedangasfor each of the four Vedas (including Atharvaveda) with Mimansa, Nyaya and the Puranas.

    Further, because of the reassertion of orthodox traditions, unlike ‘free will’ as found in Kautilya’s Arthashastra,there is no free will in Kamandaka’s work; indeed, it even implies determinism. There is also greater emphasis on the soul and mind (1.1.28). The reflection of this orthodoxy can be seen in Sarga XI, Prakarana 16, ‘Varieties of marching, encamping, dual movement and political alliance or seeking [the] protection of the stronger power’. In fact, sloka 32B is inserted as the last resort under diplomacy, to be undertaken when overwhelmed by an enemy:

    (It is also said that if such a contingency arises) a particular person (however near and dear) should be forsaken in the interest of the village, and the village should be forsaken in the interest of the country (janapada). But for the larger interest of self-preservation he may even abandon his own life after careful deliberation.


    In Sarga XVII, Prakarana 26, Nimittajnana (Knowledge of signs and portents), inauspicious portents followed by auspicious signs are listed in slokas 23–41. Unlike in Kautilya, there is clear evidence of superstition and lack of what we call today the scientific ‘temper’ in listing inauspicious portents.

    • Inauspicious signs and portents: Inauspicious signs and portents include epidemic diseases, worries and apprehensions without any reason, snow or hailstones, stormy winds, overcast sky, dust storms, breakdown of royal flagstaff, mutual dissention among inmates in camps, fright and alarm, camp infested with crows, vultures and unlucky birds, sudden heat waves, negative astrological conjunctions in horoscopes, when rutting elephants stop emitting ichor and other evil omens.
    •   Auspicious signs and portents: Auspicious signs are people happy and content, music, dance, songs, Vedic hymns, good and clear weather, chirping of auspicious birds and so on. Few slokas advise precautions without spelling them out. Sloka 17.26.34 sums this up:

    The encampment, where these (auspicious) signs prevail, is indeed commendable. With these in one’s own camp, he may hope to break the bone of the enemy (i.e., defeat him), but without these the reverse will be the result (i.e., vijigisu may have to court defeat).

    This shows how inauspicious signs, including astrology bordering on the superstitions, figure in the text. None of this is found in Kautilya’s Arthashastra.It is evident that this tendency of being superstitious seems to have stubbornly continued in some form even in the twenty-first century. Thus, the scholarship of strategic culture needs to be aware of these attitudes, and also needs to base strategic studies and strategic theory on a scientific basis as in anvikshiki and not superstition.    

    Kamandaka More Accepting of Previous Schools and Teachers

    Unlike the fiery Kautilya who often rejects and challenges the old schools or teachers of the arthashastra by saying ‘No’ and then proceeds to give his ‘own voice’, no such practice is noticed in Kamandaka’s work.  

    Yuddha and Vijai

    In Sarga XIX, Prakarana 31, Kutayuddha vikalpa (Deceitful tactics in warfare), sloka 54 says:

    When a vijigisu finds himself endowed with requisite powers and with favourable situation as regards time and place, and the prakrti or elements of the enemy is disaffected and lacking in coordination (bhinna), he may indulge in open war (prakasayuddha), otherwise i.e., the reverse being the condition, kutayuddha or deceitful war (i.e., by dubious methods) should be adopted.

    In the later parts, kutayuddha is morally justified in the last sloka, 19.31.71:

    Thus the vijigisu should always adopt guileful tactics (kuta-yuddha) in annihilating his enemy, and by killing the enemy by deception, he will not be transgressing dharma (righteousness, for there is nothing unfair in war). The son of Drona (Asvatthama) killed with his sharp weapons the sons of the Pandavs completely unaware, while they were asleep.


    In Sarga XIX, kutayuddhais often suggested. Tusnim-yuddhadoes not feature in this sarga as in Kautilya’s work; nor do the famous three Kautilyan concepts of dharmavijai, lobhavijay and asuravijai. The absence of the concepts of victors/victories is crucial evidence of the dilution of the high ideas that were generated in the times of the flowering of artha literature. This was in the period between sixth/seventh century BC till the second century BC (or the Indian axial age), when rich competing philosophies (orthodox, heterodox) and other Indian traditions debated each other. Thus, the age of the Arthashastra can be called the classical age; but this is not the age of Kamandaka’s Nitisara, though it did retain in an abridged form, the digest of Kautilya’s Arthashastra and, on its own merit, contributed to some unique features to which we now turn.     

    Some Unique Features of Kamandaka’s Nitisara

    •    Examples from the epics: There are more examples from the epics in the Nitisara than in Kautilya’s Arthashastra.
    •    Influence of Sanskrit poets and playwrights on Nitisara: The Gupta period saw the flourishing of poets, such as Kalidas and Bhasha, and playwrights, such as Vishakadatta. Their literary influence can be noticed in the versified text of Nitisara in its English translation, as it seems to be much more ornate than the down-to-earth sutras of Kautilya’s Arthashastra. In Sarga VIII, Prakarana 12, on the topic of mandalayoni orcircle of kings, slokas 16–19 give the 12 vijigisus as would-be conquerors as in Kautilya’s Arthashastra. At the end of this prakarana, a poetic way is employed to describe the mandala (8.12.42):

    Comparing the Mandala to a tree it is said to be possessed with eight branches (a friend or an ally of each of the four cardinal rulers), four roots (Vijigisu, Ari, Madhyama and Udasina), and sixty leaves (five prakritis of each of twelve rules of the mandala) standing on two trunks (i.e., all actions are either divinely ordained or engineered by human efforts, daiva and purusakara) and producing six flowers (positive political expedients Sadgunya viz., sandhi, vigraha, yana, asana, samsrayyavrtti and dvaiddhibhava) and three fruits (loss, preservation, and enlargement of territory). He who realises the full import of the simile of the tree in respect of the mandala is indeed a true politician (nitivid).


    3.  Seven upayas, rather than four: Sarga XVIII, Prakarana 27, Upayavikalpa(Varieties of expedients), is a bit different from Kautilya’s Arthashastra. This single sarga with its only prakarana is an elaborate treatment of the varieties of upayas or expedients. As against four in Kautilya’s Arthashastra, that is, sam, dana, bheda and danda, Kamandaka adds three more to make it seven. ‘20.27.3…display of deceitful tactics (maya), neglect (upeksa or diplomatic indifference) and conjuring tricks (indrajala)’. Kamandaka’s maya and indrajalaare related to occult practices and magic, and not much is known about them today.However, upeksha (diplomatic neglect) is a powerful philosophical idea, not just an upaya, which seems to have survived.

    As upeksha has contemporary relevance, I will describe it in greater detail here.  

    The Strategy of Upeksha

    Upeksha, with variations, is also found in Sarga XI, at 11.16.2, as a variety of yana. Upeksayana,at 11.16.10, is called the expedient of indifference; and later, at 11.16.22, ‘the show of indifference to more powerful rival is called the Upeksasana’. Also, in the six measures of foreign policy, a tactical or strategic pause, or ‘doing nothing’ or being defensive is called asana; and Kamandaka, at 11.16.22, calls it Upeksasana.

    Thus, as a concept, upeksha is very flexible and resides at many places. In India’s latent and subconscious mind, these concepts reside and show up in case of need, duly reinterpreted and reused. This is surely a continuation of India’s unique heritage of strategic thought and practice. For example, M.V. Krishna Rao has compared Gandhi’s strategy during the Indian freedom struggle with upeksha to argue:

    The use of the expedient ‘Upeksha’ in Kautilyan diplomacy is remarkably modern, and is reminiscent of the great gospel of Upeksha that the Father of the Indian Nation adopted during the second decade of [twentieth] century. It was discovered during the time of Kautilya that an inferior power which could not confront a stronger power in open warfare, had to resort to Upeksha or an attitude of complete indifference toward its separate and superior powers in the neighbourhood…Upeksha is mentioned in the Arthashastra as an expedient of Udasina attitude…the supreme virtue of patience and endurance against the worst provocation…The doctrine of Upekshawas emphasized later on, as one of the cardinal tenets of neutrality by Kamandaka in his Nitisara.59

    In continuation of this tradition, in Sarga XI, Kamandaka emphasises the doctrine of upeksha as a cardinal principle of neutrality. Further, unlike Kautilya, Kamandakalays out the most powerful strategy of upeksha. Upeksha is a tool for freeing a nation from foreign domination, or slavery, and for realising self-determination. This strategy of long-term patience and struggle resides in Indian traditions.

    Upeksha as a strategy by an inferior power as a part of udasina—attributed to Kautilya and continued by Kamandaka—is the most important and enduring idea from India’s vocabulary of strategic culture. It should be noted that, in Buddhism also, upeksha or upekha in Pali is defined as an attitude of not clinging to or rejecting our feelings in the attitude of ‘letting go’.60 This can be further analysed from the concepts and vocabulary of Kamandaka in Nitisara to see how the sinews of India’s strategic culture survive and mutate in various forms. Of course, it is not only the use of just military or kinetic force but, as M.K. Gandhi said, it is ‘soul-force’ or satyagraha. Some analysts make jest of and dismiss Gandhi’s advice to follow non-violence or ahinsa, or his advice to place the other cheek to counter Hitler’s (German) invasion and conquest in the early phases of World War II. They, however, do not understand the long-term strategic power of this upaya.

    Interestingly, the case of Gandhi and his strategy of non-violence, codified as upeksha, has been noticed by two Western scholars of strategic studies without them having any knowledge of Indian traditions being discussed in this article. This lack of knowledge may be even true for most Indians. In a way, it is the universal appeal of Gandhi that attracts the attention of the scholars of strategy to the theory that an irregular warfare party does not have to resort to violence. Colin Gray argues:

    Mahatma Gandhi’s challenge to the legitimacy of British rule in India was clearly in its non-violence. Gandhi demonstrated Machiavellian cunning based upon deep cultural understanding of both the British and his own people, tempted the former to offend against their own values and principles. He achieved a moral ascendancy for his highly irregular campaign of non-violent resistance. That ascendency was politically priceless. Indeed, the ability to seize and hold the moral high ground is one of the most valuable sources of strategic effectiveness in irregular warfare in all cultural and geopolitical contexts.61


    Joseph S. Nye, Jr is famous for soft power research.62 He treats ‘soft power as a descriptive rather than a normative concept. Like any form of power, it can be wielded for good or bad purposes.’63 To Nye, ethics is judged in three dimensions of motives, means and consequences.

    While soft power can be used with bad intentions and wreak horrible consequences, it does differ in terms of means. Power defined in behavioural terms is a relationship, and soft power depends more upon the subject’s role in the relationship than does hard power. Attraction depends upon what is happening in the mind of the subject…It is in the dimension of means, that one might construct a normative preference for greater use of soft power, even if international dialogues are not based solely on reasoned persuasion. And this could be coupled by research on the consequences of Gandhi or Martin Luther King’s choosing to emphasise soft power with Yasser Arafat’s choice of the gun. Gandhi and King were able to attract moderate majorities over time, and the consequences were impressive both in effectiveness and in ethical terms.64

    The Universality of Upeksha

    We may conclude that this strategy of patience, combined with the moral high ground, by the just weak against the unjust strong is truly represented by the parsimonious term upeksha.What Gray and Nye are explaining is best compressed in the term upeksha. It is also important to state that this is not only an Indian native concept, but an ancient Indian invention which can also explain struggles in other parts of the world.

    Being unaware of Indian traditions such as upeksha, Kenneth E. Boulding has also mentioned, in a similar way, the concept of an ‘integrative power’ of long-term endurance. Boulding gives the example of the Jews and Judaism, and how both survived captivity in Babylon; the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, followed by dispersal of the Jews; and persecution under Hitler. Boulding argues ‘it is the worship in the synagogue, reinforced by ceremonies in the home, the establishment of a sense of identity with community, going back more than 3,000 years. Persecution, if anything, has strengthened this sense of community….’65 Another example of integrative power of nationalism is of Poland. To quote Boulding:

    Poland, which survived its total destruction as a state, the division of its people between Russia, Austro-Hungary, and Germany, and yet retained its national identity, re-created itself after World War I, and survived World War II and a Communist government, is a good example. Its Catholic identity has played an important role in its survival.66

    The struggle with China for autonomy for Tibet by the Tibetan government-in-exile/Central Tibetan Administration, and the Tibetans at large, can also be theorised with this concept of upeksha.  


    This exercise of reading the text of Nitisara has been with the aim of shedding light on the expanded geo-cultural space of India that spread beyond the Himalayas to other regions of Central Asia. Awakened with this new knowledge, in this article, I have compared and contrasted the trajectory of continuation of India’s strategic culture in Kamandaka’s Nitisara from its foundational text of Kautilya’s Arthashastra.I have demonstrated the common features, the dissimilarities and the uniqueness of the text. This exercise points to that fact that the shastra tradition is a living and thriving dynamic tradition, which moves in parallel with political history. This process can never end.

    It seems clear that the Indian theory of statecraft, diplomacy and war craft at the strategic level is enduring, keeping in mind the unchanged nature of these aspects in contemporary world politics. Thus, it can be confidently argued that the roots of India’s strategic culture run really deep as the tree continues to grow steadily, along with its trunk, branches, leaves and fruit.  

    Set Appendix as a section after the notes


    Kautilya’s Arthashastra

    Standard Text

    R.P. Kangle, The Kautiliya Arthasastra, Part 2: An English Translation with Critical and Explanatory Notes,2nd edition, 7th reprint, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2010.

    Table of Contents

    1. Book I—Concerning the Topic of Training: Has one chapter with 21 sections dealing with the enumeration of the sciences, control over the senses, the appointment of ministers, envoys and intelligence services.

    2. Book II—Activity of the Heads of Departments: This deals with the activity of various state departments and the internal administration of a state.

    3. Book III—Concerning Judges: This deals with the administration of justice and lays down the duties of judges and law.

    4. Book IV—The Suppression of Criminals: This deals with maintenance of law and order with criminal offences of various kinds.

    5. Book V—Secret Conduct: The secret conduct described in this book is that of the king and servants.

    6. Book VI—The Circle (of Kings) as the Basis: This deals with the circle of kings (mandala) of 12 kings and its seven constituents/prakrits(the king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally) of state. The description of the mandala in this book serves as the introduction to the Book VII which deals with sadgunya.

    7. Book VII—The Six Measures of Foreign Policy: This deals with the use of the six measures or sadgunya that can be adopted by a state in its relations with foreign states (peace/treaty, war/injury, staying quiet/remaining indifferent, marching/augmenting power, seeking shelter/submitting to another and dual policy/resorting to peace [with one] and war [with another]). This is the longest book on foreign policy and is, probably, the most understudied by political scientists due to its complexity.

    8. Book VIII—Concerning the Topic of Calamities of the Constituent Elements: This book deals with the calamities that affect the various constituents (prakrits) of the state as given in Book VI. ‘It is necessary to take precautions against these before one can start on an expedition of conquest described in following Books.’

    9. Book IX—The Activity of the King About to March: This book deals with the preparations to be made before starting an expedition and the precautions that have to be taken at the time. The vijigisu in the text is expected to ‘conquer the world’, which implies the conquest of the whole of the Indian subcontinent, designated as chakravartikshetra (9.1.17–18): ‘northwards between the Himāvat and the sea, one thousand yojanas in extent across.’ The book also covers the campaigning season and terrain analysis. It also gives details of the types of troops and composition of an army, like maulabala (hereditary/standing army), bhrtabala (recruited for a particular occasion), srenibala (troops of guilds and mercenaries), mitrabala (the ally’s troops), amitrabala (troops from enemy) and atavibala (troops of forest tribes).

    10. Book X— Concerning War: This book deals with aspects of camps, marching, protection of troops, types/mode of fighting, morale, functions of the four arms (infantry, the cavalry, the chariot and elephants), battle arrays and related matters. The last sutra, 51, is probably the most popular idea which clearly shows the importance of mind over matter: ‘An arrow, discharged by an archer, may kill one person or may not kill (even one); but intellect operated by a wise man would kill even children in the womb.’

    11. Book XI—Policy towards Oligarchies: Samgha (oligarchy) is a form of rule evolved from clan rule. Fairly big states were formed with a council of elders to rule over them. This is the only chapter in the book which clearly shows that a samgha had more than one chief or mukhiya. In some samghas, the chiefs styled themselves as rajan or king. It seems to be assumed that the vijigisu (would be conqueror) has, or proposes to have, suzerainty over the samgha. The chapter shows how he should maintain strict control over them.

    12. Book XII— Concerning the Weaker King: This book expands ideas already found elsewhere, particularly in Book VII, chapters 14–17.

    13. Book XIII—The Means of Taking a Fort: The capture of enemy forts is recommended mostly through stratagems. Chapter 5 is devoted to the pacification of the conquered territory.

    14. Book XIV—Concerning Secret Practices: This book describes various secret remedies and occult practices intended for the destruction of the enemy. A great deal of magical and other lore is incorporated here.

    15. Book XV—The Method of Science: This single chapter explains and illustrates the various stylistic devices to elucidate a scientific subject. It refers to 32 devices of textual interpretation called tantra-yukti or devices of science.

    Kamandaka’s Nitisara<Title>

    Standard Text

    Rajendralala Mitra (ed.), The Nitisara or the Element of Polity by Kamandaki, revised with English translation by Sisir Kumar Mitra, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, 1982.


    In the preface to the first edition written by Rajendralala Mitra in 1849 (that is, in the year of first publication), the editor-cum-translator says: ‘The maxims of Kamandaki are arranged under nineteen different heads, and embrace almost all the subjects that may be fairly included under the term polity, besides some which have only the voucher of Hindu writers to appear in this work’ (p. iii).

    The preface to the 1982 edition, written by Sisir Kumar Mitra, says: ‘The Kamandakiya Nitisara in its twenty sargas and thirty-six prakarans discusses various aspects of the science of polity.’  

    Table of Contents

    1. Sarga I

    Prakarana 1: Control of the sense organs

    Prakarana 2: Association with the learned

    2. Sarga II

    Prakarana 3: Branches of learning

    Prakarana 4: The social order of varnas and asramas

    Prakarana 5: The merits of danda

    3. Sarga III

    Prakarana 6: Rules of conduct

    4. Sarga IV

    Prakarana 7: The importance of the state elements

    5. Sarga V

    Prakarana 8: Relations between the lord and his dependent

    6. Sarga VI

    Prakarana 9: The removal of thorns

    7. Sarga VII

    Prakarana 10: The protection of princes

    (Note: There seems to be no Prakarana 11.)

    8. Sarga VIII

    Prakarana 12: The nave of the inter-statal circle

    Prakarana 13. Purification of the mandala by necessary expedients

    9. Sarga IX

    Prakarana 14: Types of sandhi or alliances

    10. Sarga X

    Prakarana 15: Vigrahavikalpa—Varieties of war

    11. Sarga XI

    Prakarana 16: Yana-sanadvaidhibhavasamsrayavikalpah—Varieties of marching, encampment, dual movement and political alliances or seeking protection of stronger power  

    12. Sarga XII (Continuation of Sarga XI)

    Prakarana 17: Mantravikalpa—Varieties of policy decisions

    13. Sarga XIII

    Prakarana 18: Dutapracara—Ambassadors and envoys

    Prakarana 19: Caravikalpa—Varieties of spies

    14. Sarga XIV

    Prakarana 20: Utsahaprasamsa—In praise of energy and initiative

    Prakarana 21: Prakrtikarma—Functions of the constituent elements of the state

    Prakarana 22: Prakrtivyasana—Vices or corruption of statal elements

    15. Sarga XV

    Prakarana 23: Saptavyasanavarga—A comparative estimate of lapses of the seven

    component elements  

    16. Sarga XVI

    Prakarana 24: Yatrabhiyoktrpradarsana—Circumstance suitable for expeditions

    17. Sarga XVII

    Prakarana 25: Skandhavaranivesana—Establishment of encampments  

    Prakarana 26: Nimittajnana—Knowledge of signs and portents  

    18. Sarga XVIII

    Prakarana 27: Upayavikalpa—Varieties of expedients

    19. Sarga XIX

    Prakarana 28: Sainyabalabala—Points of strengths and weakness of the army

    Prakarana 29: Senapati pracara—The qualifications of a commander-in-


    Prakarana 30: Prayanavyasana- raksana—Remedies for lapses in marches  

         Prakarana 31: Kutayuddha vikalpa—Deceitful tactics in warfare

    20. Sarga XX

    Prakarana 32: Gajasvarathapatti- karma—Position and function of the elephant

    force, cavalry, charioteers and the infantry during a march

    Prakarana 33: Pattyasvarathagaja-bhumi—Tracks convenient for movement of

    infantry, cavalry, contingents of chariots and elephants

    Prakarana 34: Danakalpana—Scales of rewards for fighting forces

    Prakarana 35: Viyuhavikalpa—Varieties of array of the army

         Prakarana 36: Prakash -Yuddha—The conduct of open war

    Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or of the Government of India.

    • 1. Robert J. Art and Kenneth Waltz, ‘Technology, Strategy, and the Use of Force’, in Robert J. Art and Kenneth Waltz (eds), The Use of Force, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1971, p. 4. The quoted passage is very popular and features in Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics, Berkeley: Addison-Wesley, 1979, p. 186, and K.M. Fierke, Critical Approaches to International Security, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2015, p. 18. 
    • 2. Krishnendu Ray, ‘Yuddha and Vijay: Concepts of War and Conquest in Ancient and Early Medieval India (up to CE 1300)’, in Kaushik Roy and Peter Large (eds), Chinese and Indian Warfare: From the Classical Age to 1870, London and New York: Routledge, 2015, p. 47.
    • 3. R.P. Kangle, The Kautiliya Arthashastra, Part 2: An English Translation with Critical and Explanatory Notes, 2nd edition, 7th reprint, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2010; and Rajendralala Mitra (ed.), The Nitisara or the Elements of Polity by Kamandaki, Bibliotheca Indica: Collection of Oriental Works, published under the Superintendent of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, No. 179, printed by Calcutta Baptist Mission Press in 1861, revised with English translation by Sisir Kumar Mitra, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, 1982(1849). Another nitishastra work is also available, authored by Sukra, but it is not being compared in this article. See also Benoy Kumar Sarkar, The Sukraniti,2nd edition, New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation/Munshiram Manoharlal, 1975(1914).
    • 4. Jagadish Narayan Sarkar, The Art of War in Medieval India, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1984, pp. 1, 4. 
    • 5. I have drawn attention to this in an earlier work. See Pradeep Kumar Gautam, ‘Understanding Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra: Origination, Migration and Diffusion’, in Michael Liebig and Saurabh Mishra (eds), Kautilya's Arthashastra in a Transcultural Perspective: Comparing Kautilya with Sun-Si, Nizam ul Mulk, Barani, and Machiavelli,New Delhi: IDSA/Pentagon Press, 2017, pp. 68–112.
    • 6. David N. Lorenzen, ‘The Ideology of Gupta Kingship’, in Who Invented Hinduism: Essays on Religions in History, New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2006, pp. 172–186.
    • 7. Sisir Kumar Mitra, ‘Preface’, in Mitra (ed.), The Nitisara or the Elements of Polity by Kamandaki, n. 4.
    • 8. D.R. Bhandarkar, ‘Administrative History of India, Part I: Literature on Hindu Polity’, in Lectures on the Ancient History of India: On the Period from 650 to 325 BC, New Delhi: Rupa, 2013, p. 56, note 7.
    • 9. Charles Drekmeier, Kingship and Community in Early India, Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1962, p. 183.
    • 10. Ibid.
    • 11. Upinder Singh, ‘Politics, Violence, and War in Kamandaka’s Nitisara’, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 47, No. 1, 2010, p. 32.
    • 12. Ray, ‘Yuddha and Vijay’, n. 3, p. 42.
    • 13. A.N.D Haksar, ‘A Post-Kautilyan View of Diplomacy: The Nitisara of Kamandaki’, in Pradeep Kumar Gautam, Saurabh Mishra and Arvind Gupta (eds), Indigenous Historical Knowledge: Kautilya and His Vocabulary, Vol. I, New Delhi: IDSA/Pentagon Press, 2015, p. 6. 
    • 14. Vandana Gupta, ‘Historicity of Kamandaka’, Shrinkhala, Vol. 1, No. 12, August 2014, pp. 64–66.
    • 15. Rajendralala Mitra, ‘Preface’ [First Edition], in Mitra (ed.), The Nitisara or the Elements of Polity by Kamandaki, n. 4, p. ii.
    • 16. Naryana: The Hitopadesa, translated from Sanskrit with an introduction by A.N.D. Haksar, New Delhi: Penguin Books, 1998.
    • 17. A.N.D. Haksar, ‘Introduction’, in Ibid., p. xiv.
    • 18. Naryana: The Hitopadesa, n. 17, pp. 159–160.
    • 19. Upinder Singh, A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Delhi: Pearson/Longman, 2008, pp. 317–372.
    • 20. D.N. Jha, Early India: A Concise History, New Delhi: Manohar, 2004, p. 118.
    • 21. Singh, A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India, n. 20,pp. 317–372. 
    • 22. Jha, Early India, n. 21, p. 120.
    • 23. R.S. Sharma, India’s Ancient Past, 24th impression, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016, p. 191.
    • 24. Ibid.
    • 25. Jha, Early India, n. 21, p. 120. Both R.S. Sharma and A.L. Basham give the following dates for the two calendars and eras: Vikram era, 58 BC, by King Vikramaditya; and Shaka era, AD 78, by Kanishka.
    • 26. Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, A History of India, 3rd edition, London and New York: Routledge, 1998, p. 73.
    • 27. Ibid.
    • 28. Sharma, India’s Ancient Past, n. 24, p. 192.
    • 29. See ‘Appendix I: Historical Background of the Himalayan Frontier of India’, in White Paper No. II: Notes, Memoranda and Letters Exchanged between the Government of India and China, Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, September–November 1959, p. 126; hereafter referred as White Paper II
    • 30. Ibid., pp. 126–127. 
    • 31. Sharma, India’s Ancient Past, n. 24, p. 193.
    • 32. Dilip K. Chakrabarti, The Geopolitical Orbits of Ancient India: The Geographical Frames of the Ancient India Dynasties, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010, pp. 155–156.
    • 33. Ibid., p. 156.
    • 34. Jha, Early India, n. 21, p. 123.
    • 35. Kautilya’s Arthasastra, translated by R. Shamasastry, with an introduction by J.F. Fleet, Delhi: Low Price Publications, 2012(1915), p. viii.
    • 36. D.N. Jha, Ancient India: An Introductory Outline, New Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 1977, p. 73.
    • 37. Singh, A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India, n. 20, pp. 376–377.
    • 38. Jha, Early India, n. 21, p. 120.
    • 39. Kulke and Rothermund, A History of India, n. 27, p. 70. Also, Sharma, India’s Ancient Past, n. 24, p. 191, records Menander’s rule from 165 BC to 145 BC.
    • 40. Kulke and Rothermund, A History of India, n. 27, p. 71.
    • 41. The genealogies of Raghuvamsa and Ramayana are different. Sagara, the illustrious ancestor of Rama in the Ramayana, is ‘scarcely’ mentioned in Raghuvamsa. It may be correct to assume that he was the righteous king as mentioned by Kamandaka. The unrighteous king Nahusa (of the lunar race) mentioned by Kamandaka may be a king called Nahusa who features in the genealogy of Ramayana. For genealogy, see Upinder Singh, ‘The Power of a Poet: Kingship, Empire, and War’, in The Idea of Ancient India: Essays on Religion, Politics, and Archaeology, New Delhi: Sage, 2016, p. 345, note 13, p. 366.
    • 42. White Paper II, n. 30, p. 126.
    • 43. Ibid., pp. 126–127. 
    • 44. Ibid., p. 127.
    • 45. Kalidas, Kumarasambhavan: The Origin of Kumara, an Erotic Tale of Divine Love and Devotion, translated into modern English by Rajendra Tandon, New Delhi: Rupa, 2008, p. 4.
    • 46. For some recent work, see Kalidasa Raghuvamsam, translated by A.N.D. Haksar, New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2016; and Singh, ‘The Power of a Poet: Kingship, Empire, and War’, n. 42, pp. 342–368. Raghuvamsam, a work of the fourth or fifth century, has the theme of the royal lineage of eight kings: Dilipa, Raghu, Aja, Dasaratha, Rama, Kusa, Atithi and Agnivarna. It is different from the epic Ramayana, which has only Rama as the main character.
    • 47. Kalidasa Raghuvamsam, n. 47, pp. 63–73.
    • 48. Diana L. Eck, India: A Sacred Geography, New York: Harmony Book, 2016, p. 69. This book came to notice courtesy Shashi Tharoor, An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, New Delhi: Aleph, 2016.
    • 49. Peter Robb, A History of India, New York: Palgrave, 2002, p. 40, Box 3.
    • 50. Kulke and Rothermund, A History of India, n. 27, p. 73.
    • 51. Ibid.
    • 52. Robb, A History of India, n. 50, p. 40, Box 3.
    • 53. Ray, ‘Yuddha and Vijay’, n. 3, pp. 41–42.
    • 54. Michael S. Neiberg, Warfare in World History, London and New York: Routledge, 2001, p. 13.
    • 55. Lorenzen, ‘The Ideology of Gupta Kingship’, n. 7, p. 173. 
    • 56. Ray, ‘Yuddha and Vijay’, n. 3, p. 42.
    • 57. Mark McClish, ‘Non-Aggression Pacts and Strategic Partnership in Kautilyan Foreign Policy’, in Pradeep Kumar Gautam, Saurabh Mishra and Arvind Gupta (eds), Indigenous Historical Knowledge: Kautilya and His Vocabulary,Vol. III, New Delhi: IDSA/Pentagon Press, 2016, pp. 16–32.
    • 58. Sharma, India’s Ancient Past, n. 24, p. 243.
    • 59. M.V. Krishna Rao, Studies in Kautilya, Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1958, pp. 101–102.
    • 60. Thich Nhat Hanh, ‘Glossary’, in Transformation of Healing: Sutra on the Four Establishment of Mindfulness, New Delhi: Full Circle, 1997, p. 78.
    • 61. Colin Gray, War, Peace and International Relations: An Introduction to Strategic History, London and New York: Routledge, 2007, pp. 255–256.
    • 62. Joseph S. Nye, Jr, ‘Notes for a Soft-power Research Agenda’, in Felix Berenskoetter and M.J. Williams (eds), Power in World Politics, London and New York: Routledge, 2007, pp. 162–172.
    • 63. Ibid., p. 169.
    • 64. Ibid., pp. 169–170.
    • 65. Kenneth E. Boulding, Three Faces of Power, California, London and New Delhi: Sage, 1989, pp. 228–229.
    • 66. Ibid., p. 230.
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