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CONCEPT OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT IN ANCIENT INDIA

CONCEPT OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT IN ANCIENT INDIA

India is a federal state with a parliamentary form of government. It is governed under the 1949 constitution (effective since Jan., 1950). The president of India, who is head of state, is elected for a five-year term by the elected members of the federal and state parliaments; there are no term limits.


The kingdom of Magadha, ruled by Bimbisara, is the most powerful state in India. The Indian epic the Ramayana is composed by the sage Valmiki. The life of Siddhartha Gautama according to modern scholar consensus. Life of Indian Emperor Chandragupta, first ruler of the Mauryan Empire.




The three theories of origin of state in ancient India are as follows:

1. Social Contract Theory

2. Divine Origin Theory

3. Organic Theory.


The core issues in the study of political science are the state and the government. The institution of state is studied in relation to its origin, nature, aims and functions of the state in ancient India. The dawn of civilization was stated to have marked the beginning of the origin of state. The state in ancient India was considered necessary, for it ensures peace, order and happiness. It was a social organization with political power. However, ancient scholars were not unanimous in their opinion with regard to the origin of the state. According to some, state was the outcome of a contract mainly political in nature between the rulers and the ruled. They opine that prior to the origin of state there was something called a golden age, wherein the people enjoyed a life of peace, order, self-discipline and happiness. Similarly, several theories like force theory, patriarchal theory, matriarchal theory, divine origin theory and finally the evolutionary theory advanced the origin of the state.


Social Contract Theory:

The social contract theory, one of the common theories of the origin of state, believes that state is a result of a contract between the king and his subjects or representatives. The king, thus appointed, was expected to save the state and the subjects from external aggression and establish order and security within the state. However, the earliest Vedic works never stated that state was the result of a contract. But, they clarified that king was elected to wage a successful war against the demons.


Divine Theory:

The Divine theory of origin of kingship as well as the state was not widely acclaimed in the ancient Indian polity. The emperor, according to this theory, was a subordinate to law, which was made by the community and not him. The society as a whole was given greater importance than the king. The king was not allowed to act indiscriminately and was expected to act as a father to his subjects, and treat them with affection and kind­ness[35].


The Divine theory holds the vision that state is like an organism and that each department has a specific function to perform. The theory believes that the healthy functioning of the whole organism depends upon the healthy conditions of each part of the body or organism and its efficient performance.


The seven parts of the body, that is, state are the king or the sovereign, the minister, the territory and population, the fortified city or the capital, the treasury, the army, the friends and the allies. Among all the seven elements or parts, it is the king who is most important.


It was also stated in Manusamhita that ‘when the world was not without a king and dispersed in fear in all directions, the lord created a king for the protection of all. And because, he’s formed of fragments of all those gods, the king surpasses all other beings in splendor’.


Organic Theory:

Organic theory deals the view that state is like an organism and that each department has a definite role to execute. The theory deals that the healthy functioning of the whole organism depends upon the healthy conditions of each part of the body or organism and its efficient functioning. The seven parts of the body, likes state are the king or the sovereign, the minister, the territory and population, the fortified city or the capital, the treasury, the army, the friends and the allies. Among all the seven elements or parts, it is the king who is most significant.




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