Justice (Retd.) Markandey Katju, Chairman of the Press Council of India, has given the young chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav strange advice “to study Chanakya’s principles”. It is as if to advise him to run the affairs of his government in the light of these principles. But in fact he has extended this advice to all. After a meeting with the chief minister the Justice addressed a press conference in Lucknow on Mar 27. He threw light on the administrative situation prevailing in the country, pointed out corruption and inefficiency of officials in government departments, and meanwhile said he had advised Akhilesh to study Chanakya and Machiavelli. The Justice was carrying two copies of the book Chanakya’s Neeti – one in Hindi and the other in English. There was a photograph of Chanakya from different angles on both (The Hindu, Mar 28). This Chanakya, whose real name was Vishnu Gupta and who was also known as Kautilya, was born in the State of Magadh in 300 B.C. He laid the foundation of the government by Maurya dynasty by crowning Chandragupta Maurya as the King of Magadh. He is the most famous and popular philosopher of India. Arthashastra is his masterpiece.
Why the advice is strange
This advice of Justice Katju is strange and surprising because Chanakya did not believe in moral ethics in the attainment of objectives. He exploited all the means which ensured meeting of objectives. Most of his principles were immoral and heinous. Such were the principles he had taught Chandragupta. To defeat his enemy he used to stoop down to the lowest ebb of moral degeneration. He was revengeful by nature and conspiratorial by temperament. These details of Chanakya’s principles are very much there in Arthashastra itself. Pandit Nehru also has dwelt in detail upon it in his Discovery of India. Films and serials also have been made on it. A serial named Chandragupta Maurya is going on these days on Imagine Channel. It is a matter of chance that in the episode of Mar 24 (i.e. just three days before the advice of Justice Katju) Chanakya had announced this policy of his. He tells his disciples that he has failed in convincing the princes of princely states to form Akhand Bharat and make Chandragupta its king; so now he would try to attain his objective through deceit, treachery, trickery, deception, betrayal and killing.
Chandragupta Maurya: But, Acharya! Won’t it be immoral?
Chanakya: If the objective is sublime, every means to attain it is lawful.
What sort of Chanakya neeti is this?
Therefore, this advice of Justice Katju is strange. He wants to see the governance free from all sorts of corruption, is against casteism and caste system, and talks of high moral values in the country’s society while Chanakya Neeti teaches quite contrary to these concepts. And it is a matter of fact that the Central government is acting upon this principle right from the very beginning. Then, which Chanakya principle Justice is talking about? The book Justice had held in the hand in the Press conference might of some new edition of Arthashastra and Chanakya’s political principles might have been presented in it in a new manner. It is an old tradition here to present the teachings of ancient books and ancient personalities by twisting them to suit the present circumstances and this is also a Chanakya principle. – However, whatever the opinion of Justice on the principles of Chanakya may be, he is a scholar and his study seems to be very comprehensive. So it is possible that he might have come to know the philosophy of life which makes it mandatory to follow high moral values for attainment of objectives and that philosophy of life is Islam.
07/04/12 khabar-O-Nazar by Parwaaz Rahmani, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Abu Yusuf