Monday, May 3, 2010

Show me the money

Last week, on a whim, I decided to carry off Kautilya's (or Chanakya if you prefer to call him that) "Arthashastra" from my friendly neighbourhood library to the great amusement of the benevolent Doshi uncle.

Well, he waved it in front of my face and frankly, I was tempted. And while everybody who knows me knows that Economics isnt really my 'sweet subject' (far far from it actually), I must admit I am fascinated by this book.

Written in attractive large font on equally attractive glossy white paper, I had absolutely no trouble reading it. And I realised that while its not dazzling me into loving Economics or anything (I stopped after many attempts by my Eco teacher failed pathetically, altho I have read The Creation of Wealth and The Wealth of Nations and stuff by Thomas Friedman, I continue to maintain a polite disinterest in the subject), it has successfully dazzled me with Kautilya's (lovely name, that) sensibility, matter-of-fact phrasing and his impeccable observational skills, all contributing to a sort of lucidly expressed brilliance.

While this version is edited lovingly by Srichand P. Hinduja, the President of the Hinduja Group, the translation by S. Dharmashastry is easy to get (he's even highlighted the important points), overall a very simplified condensed version of the masterful treatise.

But finally what I loved was Kautilya's adorable matter-of-factness, thats where his genius lies.

Sample these nuggests,

"He who punishes severely is hated by the people, he who punishes mildly is despised." (On Punishment)


"One should not speak ill of one's enemies. They are one's own creation." (On Policy towards Enemies)

"Power invariably alters the mind." (On Military Might)

and my personal favourite,

"When guilt is removed, there will be no guilty men. When guilty men are removed, the guilt will continue to contaminate others." (On Law and Justice)

I cannot help but wonder how good old Niccolo Machiavelli compares. :D

8 comments:

T. said...

Wow. You really are an indiscriminate reader arent u? That, or an accidentally erudite person, if there is such a thing?

I think Isha was right abt u when she said "if he aint erudite, karishma's out of sight." LOL!

Sherry Wasandi said...

Firstly, I am ecstatic to have found this blog and re-found you!

Oh how you have been missed!

Secondly, I figure how going underground might have served significant purposes to you, and you might not want to be found. In that case, this might amount to trespassing, which I am conditionally sorry for beforehand.

Thirdly, I was thinking of Machiavelli the entire time I was reading this post. This is interesting.

Fourth, I hope you've been well.

Srishti said...

TUIB, WHERE WERE YOUALL THESE DAYS??

I'm glad you're back! I am I am I am! :)

You could've told me 'bout the new blog, y'know. :]

Can I start stalking your blog again? :)

Tangled up in blue... said...

@ T. :P Dont tell me you're going to start believing stuff that Isha says..and that was sort of situation specific to the 'he' she was talking about..but its very flattering to be called erudite nonetheless, thank you! And puhlease, I am soooo not indiscriminate in my reading..you know how much I abhor Twilight! :D

Tangled up in blue... said...

@ Sherry, Thank you. I really really missed blogging myself. I deleted the other blog becoz it no longer held my interest really. This is actually my fourth blog so its what I do to jettison them when they become irrelevant to me. Maybe I'm weird that way but I cant explain it. And seriously, if I didnt want people to see this, I wudnt put it up.

I've been very well barring my final year blues. I hope you've been well, too. :)

Tangled up in blue... said...

@ Srishti, I've been around. Seriously haunting other people's blogs to find why it is that I had lost all interest in mine. But I started again. And I wud have told you eventually. I'm just waiting to get a hang of this all over again. Aww..now I feel bad. Come back, wont you? :)

soin said...

he said something like even a garden snake should pretend to be poisonous or something like that.sums up present stuff so well.free

Tangled up in blue... said...

Yeah! He said something similar to, "Even a benign garden snake will find itself profited by appearing as a venomous snake." Its incredible how what he wrote more than two thousand years ago rings equally true today..goes to show how great thinking and writing is universal..and how little we have really evolved over time..