Civils Daily HISTORY Kautilya’s concept of the Saptang Rajya

Kautilya’s concept of the Saptang Rajya

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In ancient Indian political science, there has been a tradition of taking the state as a simile, a creature or body that has parts or nature. Therefore, the ancient Indian state government has called the state Sapta-Rajya Prakriti or Saptang Rajya. Kautilya has also unanimously accepted the seven organs or nature as the foremost of the state.

What are the seven organs in the state of Saptang?

The seven organs of the state are as follows:

  • Owner or King
  • Amatya,
  • Janpada
  • Fort or Durg,
  • Thesaurus,
  • Punishment or Dand
  • Friend or Mitra

1. Owner or The King

In Ancient time, The king is called the lord. In terms of order among the seven organs of the state, the position of the lord is the first. He can punish and in terms of importance, he has a central place in the entire polity. Kautilya’s opinion that the other natures or parts of the state imitate the qualities or demerits of the owner itself. Thus the owner is primarily responsible for the rise and fall of the state.

Four qualities of the lord in the state of saptanga

According to Kautilya, the owner should possess four qualities namely accessibility, intelligence, enthusiasm and self-respect. In view of these qualities, the system of proper education and training of the owner has also been mentioned in the Arthashastra.

2. Amatya

Another important part of the state is the Amatya, which can be considered a minister in the general sense. But Kautilya has used Amatya in the Arthashastra in the sense of both a high administrative officer and minister. So Amatya is primarily a high official.

Describing the importance of Amatya, Kautilya has called him the second wheel of the vehicle of the state and has told that just as a vehicle cannot run without the mutual cooperation of both the wheels, in the same way the cooperation between the king and the Amatya is necessary in the operation of the state. . Therefore the king should appoint a highly qualified Amatya and rule in consultation with him.

But Kautilya has not given any definite number of Amatyos. Rather, the king has been advised that keeping in mind the amount of royal work, he should appoint a sufficient number of Amatyos.

3. Janpadas or District

Kautilya has used the word Janapada for the nation. This is the third essential part or nature of the Saptang state.

Both the land area and population are found together in the janpada. Thus, the simple meaning of Janapada is the people’s land. According to Kautilya, “a land without man is not a district and a state without a district cannot be”.

Saptang Rajya
16 Mahajanpads

The farmers, traders, workers, soldiers and revenue for the state comes from the district itself. Therefore, the district has a special importance in the construction and operation of the state. Kautilya has expressed his views about the establishment of a new district. He is of the opinion that by calling the population of other states or by increasing the population of his state, a new district should be established.

He has told the role of various elements like agriculture, mines, animals, climate etc. in the formation of the district. It is noteworthy that Kautilya has also mentioned Janapada as a regional or geographical unit of the state. In this specific sense, the district can be considered as an administrative unit like a modern district.

4. Durg or Fort

The fourth major organ or nature of the state is the fort. Kautilya has discussed in detail the construction of fortifications and the construction of the Raj Bhavan to be built within the limits of the fort and the main places of the city. The fort has special importance in the defense of the state from enemy invaders, but in fact, the fort is also a place where the king is able to store his attacking military power well before attacking the enemy.

In this way, the fort has both direct protective and indirect attacking importance. According to Kautilya, the king should build fortifications along with his capital city in different directions of the district and at major places in the middle of the district. These forts should be self-sufficient in terms of army, food, salt water, weapons etc.

Four types of fortresses in Arthashastra

Four types of forts have been mentioned in the Arthashastra: Audak Durg, Parvat Durg, Dhanvan Durg, Van Durg. According to Kautilya, Audak and Dhanvan fort are helpful in protecting both the king and the subjects at the time of the first attack of the enemy. Whereas Dhanvan fort and forest fort are suitable places for the defeated king to hide from the enemy and help in his protection.

5.Fund or Kosha

Kautilya is the chief teacher of the political and economics sect of ancient India. He has acknowledged the special role of the Fund in the operation of the state. According to Kautilya, the basis of all the affairs of the state is the fund, so the king should first think about the fund.

While revealing the quantity, extent, capacity etc. of the qualities of the kosha, he has said that the treasury should be such that the income made by the ancestor king and himself religiously (by the rules) is accumulated. He should be so endowed with gold, silver, various types of precious gems that the king and his subjects can be protected from long lasting calamities like famine or invasion.

But the accumulation in the fund should be done righteously, that is, the subjects should not be victimized in this regard. Only qualified and trusted people should be appointed on treasury. The person appointed to the post of treasurer should be such that, when the king asks for the information related to the treasury, immediately informs the king about the status of the treasury.

6. Dand or Punishment

The sixth essential part of the Saptang state is punishment. Which generally means military force. Army is a very important part of the state from the point of view of defense and expansion of the state. Describing the importance of the army, Kautilya has said that the friends of the king who has a powerful army remain friends and the enemies also become friends.

Kautilya has emphasized on the creation of the best type of military force. Courageous men of all varnas should be recruited into the army. But Kautilya hesitates to include the Brahmin varna in the army.

7. Friends or Mitra

Kautilya has recognized Mitra i.e. friend king or friend kingdom as the seventh essential part of the state. In fact, a friend is the king of a state with which the state has friendly relations. For the progress of our state in peace time and for the defense of the state in times of objection, friendly force has special importance.

With the help of friendly force, the king also succeeds in expanding his kingdom. Kautilya advised the king to always strive for the collection of friends. He has revealed the quality of a friend that a friend should be such that he should be permanent, he should be under his control, from whom there is no possibility of opposition, he is ready to help immediately when the time of objection comes, friends should have the above qualities. Friends are said to be prosperous.

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