Chanakya was not only about using Kutil-neeti or diplomacy to solve problems. He was also about taking strict measures to make our Bharatvarsha a strong and truly great nation. For him, Bharat came before everything else.
Very often have I heard many of our politicians being referred to as Chanakya or Kautilya. In the recent decades many politicians from various political parties have been compared with Chanakya, and such comparison increases during and post elections.In this write-up, I shall strongly refute such claims of any of our current or past politicians being equal to even a hair of Chanakya’s shikha. In fact, I would like to state that they never understood the soul of Chanakya’s struggle at all.
Kautilya or Chanakya lived through 350-275 BCE and is credited with being the brains behind the founding of the Mauryan Dynasty starting with Chandragupta Maurya. But that was not the reason why he was known as an Avataar of Mahavishnu. He was such a visionary that he envisioned the ill-effects of the infighting between the kings of smaller regions, especially on the western borders of what was then Bharatvarsh. He could clearly see how an invader (Greeks under Alexander) with a different culture than ours could cause a dent into our culture and traditions, which in turn could ultimately cause the destruction of Sanatan Dharma forever. NOT FOR HIM WAS THE NAMBY-PAMBY PHRASE “SARVA DHARMA SAMABHAVA”.
He saw how an indifferent king of a large empire could hasten such a ruin and he pleaded with the strongest Samrat of those times, Dhana Nanda of Magadh, to open his eyes to such a ruin before it was too late. He was very straightforward in his views and words and extremely clear in his mission to unify Bharat and safeguard her Sanskriti. He was fearless and more importantly, he did not care for self-aggrandisement or fame. He never wanted to rule, he only wanted to have a strong ruler rule Bharatvarsha, protect her borders and territories and Sanskriti. He was an intellectual who left behind a treatise (Arthashastra) of how a just ruler should rule the nation.
Comparing any self-serving modern politician to Chanakya is an insult to his memory.
Let us now see how our current crop of politicians and rulers fail woefully in coming anywhere close to Acharya Vishnugupt:
1. Protecting Sanskriti and Dharma: Chanakya repeatedly warned about how once the invaders started ruling, they would not respect our indigenous customs and traditions and would impose their own customs and traditions. He was able to understand how foreign cultures would vitiate our thinking process and judicial system.
Unfortunately, today we have allowed all our institutions to protect the culture and religions of foreign invaders more than our indigenous Sanatana Dharma and its branches. Whether it is our educational institutions, our judiciary, ASI or even our constitution, the so-called minority religions, their books and places of worship are protected more than our Indic religions. Is that what Chanakya would approve of?
2. Encouraging equipping knowledge through the study of the Vedas (Religious Scriptures), Varta (Commerce and Agriculture), Danda-Niti (Law & Order) and Anvikshiki (the spirit of inquiry including Samkhya, Yoga and Lokaayata).
We have let the stream of knowledge run dry by adhering to an education system which systematically kills all of the above. The spirit of inquiry or Anvikshiki is routinely thrashed in our schools and colleges which only celebrates gathering of marks and mediocrity. A very valid example of mediocrity is the way Yoga has been reduced to just asanas or physical exercise. There is no attempt to make the learner explore further at all. The lesser said about our education of the legal system (Danda Niti) which only talks about the letter of law and nothing about justice, the better. Commerce and agriculture which were once the backbone of our country are today secondary, nay even later, to the service sectors which are nothing but body shops which look for corporate slaves.
Extent of Mauryan empire under Chandragupta Maurya in 305 BCE
3. Protecting our Borders: Chanakya’s greatest sorrow was that our Bharatvarsha’s border states were not joining hands to fight the invaders, as one. He deplored the fact that everyone only thought about their own territory and not Bharatvarsha as a whole. With the help of Chandragupta Maurya, he was able to free all the border states from the Greek rule and influence.
We still have so many of our border areas which are under our enemy rule, be it areas of Ladakh, our Shaksgam valley, our Pak occupied Jammu and Kashmir territories. We also have the Chinese perpetually troubling us on our borders and surreptitiously scrapping off our land into their own areas. As if all this was not enough, we have illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and the Rohingyas from Myanmar. While the use of diplomacy cannot be undermined, use of might to drive away all invaders and illegal occupiers of land cannot be undermined either.
Another very important point is how our democratic system has made us slaves to votes gathered in each state. Our politicians too think state-wise, not about the country as a whole.
Chanakya was famous for knowing with precision who the enemy was and pre-empting the enemy from carrying out their plans. He believed in long-term and short-term strategies to win over kingdoms and wars.
4. Law and Order: This was one of the most important aspects of Chandragupta’s rule under the guidance of Chanakya. Immediate and fair judgement intertwined with strict enforcement of punishments and delivery of justice was the hallmark of the rule.
Today we have court cases which go on for years, corruption especially in lower courts, dependence on loopholes to wriggle out of justice, corruption in the police, use of court judgements to twist things to favour some sections of society (e.g. sale of carabeef), non-implementation of judgements (e.g. ban on loudspeakers in mosques), the list is endless. How can anyone call any politician a Chanakya if he/she cannot even set right the judicial system and law and order?
5. Establishing world-class Universities: Chanakya was a product of Takshashila University. He wanted to establish a world-class university in Magadh and make Patliputra a centre for education. Please remember that students those days were known by their universities and the multitude of research works done in all areas of mathematics, science, trigonometry, geology, language and grammar, art, metallurgy, and more were stupendous. People came to these universities from all over the world and learnt from these places. Teachers were Gurus who taught administration and discipline and NOT Anarchism.
Unfortunately, today our educational institutions don’t stand anywhere in the world ranking for best institutes. Not just that, our government has been unable to weed out the poisonous twin plants of anarchism and Marxism from our universities. How then are we to celebrate education once again? Unless we start investing in our universities and make them into world-class institutions will which ignite the passion for research in our students in all areas of education, we will remain slaves to the foreigners who only have value for our mindless work and not innovations.
6. Strategies: Chanakya was famous for knowing with precision who the enemy was and pre-empting the enemy from carrying out their plans. He believed in long-term and short-term strategies to win over kingdoms and wars. Deception and diplomacy were a part of these strategies.
Chanakya was not only about using Kutil-neeti or diplomacy to solve problems. He was also about taking strict measures to make our Bharatvarsha a strong and truly great nation.
In recent times, the Modi government has been fire-fighting more than making long-term strategies to make our country strong. Yes, they have a lot of baggage of the past to clear, but that is there with every government in every country. Think tanks should not be allowed to become Yes-tanks alone. It is very obvious that the Modi government has been unable to dislodge the corrupt and all-powerful bureaucracy and the so-called ecosystem in six years of its rule. Appeasement of Muslim and Christian minorities to the extent of even allowing for rampant conversions is a sore wound which needs cleaning. Inability to even straighten our history books or curbing of vicious narratives of origins (Aryan Invasion) and caste, etc. shows how wiping out deracination does not even feature in any strategy of the government. How then can this government deal with radicalisation?
Chanakya was not only about using Kutil-neeti or diplomacy to solve problems. He was also about taking strict measures to make our Bharatvarsha a strong and truly great nation. For him, Bharat came before everything else. Comparing any self-serving modern politician to him is an insult to his memory. We can become a Vishwa-Guru only if:
First, we openly take pride in our ancient scriptures and traditions and our learning systems and propagate and protect them.
Second, we encourage learning Aanvikshiki
Third, we remember that Dharma & Vedas precede commerce and Varta.
Lastly, we think as one nation above all else.
(The author is a commentator and a regular contributor to various portals on civilisational issues, history, culture and politics)