Wielding the rod of punishment – war and violence in the political science of Kautilya

Journal of Military Ethics 3 (1):40-52 (2004)
Abstract
This article presents Kautilya, the most important thinker in the tradition of statecraft in India. Kautilya has influenced ideas of war and violence in much of South- and Southeast Asia and he is of great importance for a comparative understanding of the ethics of war. The violence inflicted by the king on internal and external enemies is pivotal for the maintenance of an ordered society, according to Kautilya. Prudence and treason are hallmarks of Kautilya's world. The article shows that this realist and cynical view of politics is very different from other traditions in India, especially the religious tradition of the epic literature, where war is a game and chivalry is paramount. I conclude that Kautilya's tradition has something in common with the Clausewitzean philosophy of war
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