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By Swami Harshananda

Daṇḍaniti literally means ‘that which helps to lead people by the power of punishment’.

Any civilized society needs a government and someone to head it and run it properly. In the ancient and medieval days, the king (called ‘rājā’) was the pivot of the governmental system.

The science and art of governance was given several appellations. Out of all these appellations, the words ‘rājadharma’ and ‘daṇḍaniti’ were most common.

The Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya (300 B. C.) deals with the two subjects as one unit. These subjects are:

  1. Vārtā - Economics
  2. Daṇḍaniti - Statecraft


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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