Oriental No man in India had the right to

Oriental despotism is deeply
rooted in Greek thought. The words “despot” and “despotism”
clearly come from a classical Greek context, where this concept became an
effective tool of automatic recognition of Greek identity and superiority over
other “barbarous” nations. Though
it is connected to Aristotelian political philosophy it was French Philosopher Montesquieu
who popularized the notion of oriental despotism in the west in the seventeenth
and early Eighteenth centuries. According to Aristotelian political philosophy the
despot (the king) in the oriental despotism need not necessarily rule his people
by power/ force, but by consent of the people. Hence, it is not the
dictatorship which gives the power to the king but his fairness of rule is what
makes the King powerful. This theory doesn’t hold true for ancient India even
though we are ruled by Mughal emperors because the political history of India
commences from the sixth century B.C.E., and at this time republicanism was as
prominent a form of government as monarchy. It is true that the Magadha empire
rose at the expense of such republics, but when Alexander invaded India in the
fourth century B.C.E., he had to fight against as many republics as kingdoms on
his way to the Punjab. Brahmana, kshatriya, Vaishya and shudra8 republics are
attested to by Panini, the famous grammarian assigned to the fourth century
B.C. if not earlier, and Alexander had to defeat both a brahmana and a Shudra
republic in the course of his conquest. The concept of misconception came during
the ruling of Mughal emperors that is one of the dominant representations of
European was the arbitrariness and fickle-mindedness of the Mughal Emperor and
whimsical nature of his government. According to them, he ruled by a particular
style of government, where he was the master and all his subjects were his
absolute slaves. He owned all the property and wealth of his nobles. No man in
India had the right to own anything. His rule was totally arbitrary and based
on his own sweet will. De Laet emphasized that point when he wrote. But, 4.   Under Arthashastra, the duties of the King
have been written elaborately as to what he is expected to perform daily for
the welfare of his subjects (Chapter XIX). He is expected to collect taxes and
gold (hiranya), verify the accounts of his superintendents appointed for
overseeing tax and trade functions, personally attend and hear all petitions
(patrasampreshanena), call for prayers and engage in the scientists and doctors
of his Empire. Similarly, the land is not completely owned by King , the king
can excise only partial power over this as the ownership of land stayed within
the hands of farmers and king acted only as a regulator.


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