A History of Indian Political Ideas: The Ancient Period and the Period of Transition to the Middle Ages

A History of Indian Political Ideas: The Ancient Period and the Period of Transition to the Middle Ages

A History of Indian Political Ideas: The Ancient Period and the Period of Transition to the Middle Ages

A History of Indian Political Ideas: The Ancient Period and the Period of Transition to the Middle Ages

Excerpt

In 1923 the author published a short work called A History of Hindu Political Theories which went into an expanded edition in 1927. This last work became completely out of print some years back, but the author's preoccupation with other important literary engagements prevented him from revising it. In the present much enlarged edition bearing a new title, the author has aimed at the utmost extensive as well as intensive exploitation of the material belonging not only to the works of Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jaina sacred literature, and the treatises on the technical science of polity, but also to the works of classical Sanskrit and Tamil literature as well as the relevant epigraphic material. This has been accompanied by a fresh assessment of the author's judgments on the older topics and a fuller treatment of such concepts as the law of the social order, State law and justice, the principles and policies of Government and inter-State relations. Simultaneously, the work has been broadly divided into a succession of historical periods with summaries of the leading tendencies and characteristics of each period. All this has involved a considerable addition to the size of the older work by enlarging single chapters into multiple ones, by adding new chapters and so forth. The opportunity has also been taken for a thorough revision of Chapter I dealing with the Introduction and the concluding chapter giving a general summary and conclusion on the whole subject, while the material of the Appendices has been incorporated in the text. On the other hand the chronological limits of the present work have been restricted to the ancient period (ending roughly in the 13th century A.D.) for convenience of treatment. It is hoped that this work, attempting as far as possible a complete historical survey as well as critical analysis of the political ideas of the Indian people during their ancient times, will appeal to a wider public beyond the narrow horizon of students of Indology. It is a welcome sign of the times that, not to speak of the keen interest of the Indian as of other Eastern peoples in the ancient history of their lands after their liberation from colonial rule, there has been a growing appreciation of the abiding value of the secular aspects of non-European civilizations in Western lands.

In making his acknowledgments the author cannot but mention first and foremost his debt to the masterly work of A. J. and R. W. Carlyle entitled A History of Mediaeval Political Theory in the West (6 volumes, 1903-36), which has served him chiefly as a model of methodology, and secondarily as a reservoir of valuable data for purpose of comparison and contrast with the parallel concepts of the Ancient Indians. The author's use of translations as well as interpretations of extracts by other scholars has been, it is believed, suitably acknowledged in the body of the work. In the arduous work of preparation of this volume the author has received ungrudging help from . . .

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