Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Dandniti

Quite often, politics involves conflicts of some kind. Some of them are among the King's own royal family/ PM's own party and some of them are between other enemies, sometimes of another party or sometimes of another country. Effective politics for a political power involves resolving these conflicts in its favor. Successful resolution of conflicts such that the issue never crops up again can ensure a long and unbroken stint of power for a politican / king.

One such doctrine of settling conflicts among political powers has captured the Indian mind since a long time. It is the four pronged approach of 'sama', 'dana' , 'bheda' and 'danda' (meaning conciliation, bribing, division and destruction) towards the enemy.

With today's India being pinned down on all its borders by indifferent or inimical interests, and Hindu Dharma being pinned down inside India by its sworn enemies, understanding the Dandniti becomes a prerequisite of Indians and Hindus and more so for those attempting to or desiring to join politics or do some social service. The four methods can be used singly, or in combination. Thus, there are fifteen combinations of tactics for dealing with conflicts by either choosing one, two, three or all four of these methods for dealing with conflicts. {9.7.77-78} The order of employing these methods could be an easier one first or a harder one first. Besides, it is easier to employ the earlier method in the order. For instance, 'dana' is two times more difficult than 'sama', 'bheda' is three times harder than 'sama' and 'danda' is four times more difficult than 'sama'.

The following is the Dandniti as explained by Chanakya in the Arthashastra and as translated by LN Rangarajan in edition from Penguin Classics (with some changes).

"Sama" - Conciliation:
'Sama' can be deployed in four ways
  1. Praising the merits: This can be done by flattering a person on the basis of his pedigree, personal qualities, occupation, good nature, learning or wealth.
  2. Linkage: Emphasizing relationship with the inimical entity such as a blood relation, relation by marriage, being students of the same teacher and other such commonalities.
  3. Mutual benefits: Explaining how solving the conflict can benefit the two parties. {2.10.48-53}
  4. Awards and honours: To award an internal enemy and give him honours to tame his warring tendency. {9.5.10}
"Dana" - Placating with gifts:
'Dana' can be employed by rewarding the enemy with money, granting favors, exempting from taxes and giving employment. {2.10.54, 9.5.11} In essence, bribing him to join the flock again. The gifts can be of five kinds: giving up demand on what is owed, return something received, donate something, allowing to keep something from the enemy. {9.6.24}

"Bheda" - Sowing dissension:
This is done by creating mutual suspicion between members of the enemy camp or by threatening one of them. {2.10.55} Techniques for this involve the use of secret agents to sow rumors of some kind.

"Danda" - Use of Force:
Basically, involves the destruction of the enemy, his property or liberty (plunder, harassment and death) {2.10.56}

Chanakya also provides some examples of usage of these tactics:
In case the target is a relative, the appropriate method is conciliation and placating with gifts. For citizens of a city, village or army, either placating with gifts or sowing dissension should be the option. In case of the tribal people or enemies, the method is dissension or use of force. This order is anuloma [natural and recommended]. If the order of methods are reversed, e.g. : 'danda' before 'bheda' ; 'dana' before 'sama', it is called pratiloma. {9.7.68,69}

In case of allies and enemies, a combination of methods ensures success because the different methods mutually reinforce each other {}

Some methods are ideal in some cases and does not require the usage of others. Enemy ministers whose loyalty is uncertain can be grouped by conciliation, traitorous ministers can be pacified by gifts, a confederacy of an enemy can be disrupted by dissension and against a powerful enemy it can be outright war. {9.7.72}

With the idea of India gaining enemies immediately after its birth, Hindu Dharma's enemies being around for a long time, and the case getting progressively worse over the years, every Indian ought to master all the above four methods. That can increase the possibility of getting people in the political sphere who can deploy these tactics against India's and Hindu Dharma's enemies. Besides this, for us this post will also act as an appendix for future works