'Hindu Polity,' in two volumes (Parts) the first on Vedic Assemblies and Republics, the second on Monarchy and Imperial Systems-is a sketch of the constitutional life of the Hindus.
Subject and Difficulty: The subject is great but its treatment has to be modest. The works of purva-suris had long been hidden; the path opened by them had long been lost. It had to be researched. In 1911-13 a probable line was laid to dig and discover the Ancients' highway in the field of Polity. In these pages that line has been deepened and widened. And the way of the Fathers is in sight.
Pioneer Work: The author made a special study to find out what constitutional progress, if any, Ancient Indians had achieved. In 1911 and 1912 some results of the study were published in the legal journal the Calcutta Weekly Notes and the Calcutta monthly the Modern Review. A connected paper was read to the Hindi Literary Conference in 1912 and its translation published in the Modern Review, 1913, under the title, An Introduction to Hindu Polity'.
Before the publication of the Introduction there had been no work in any modern language on the subject. The Introduction fulfilled its purpose. Today the subject finds place in University teaching. And the author has had the satisfaction of seeing his results quoted and reiterated, with or without acknowledgment, almost every year; the subject has become popular; the truth has been recognized, accepted and adopted: it has rightly ceased to be his.
Preparation of the Present Work: Vincent Smith suggested to the author to treat the subject of Hindu republics in detail, and several friends insisted on having the Introduction in book-form. About the same time, Sir Ashutosh Mukherji, President of the Council of Post-Graduate Teaching, Calcutta University, asked him to prepare a curriculum of Ancient Indian History. Need at that time was badly felt for a somewhat comprehensive book on ancient Hindu Polity. The author towards the close of 1917, undertook to revise the Introduction with a view both to carry out the suggestion of Dr. Smith and to supply the want. The present work was the outcome. In April. 1918, the revision was complete and the manuscript ready. The book was made over to Sir Ashutosh Mukherji who kindly took upon himself the publication of the work, placing it on the University syllabus.
Why delay in Publication: When a few chapters had been in type, the author was informed that scientific plagiarism was at work. Then the manuscript was stolen from Sir Ashutosh, no other belonging out the group from which the box of manuscript was missing, was touched by the critical though secret admirer. Sir Ashutosh informed the police, with the result that a professor who claimed to have recovered the manuscript made it over to Sir Ashutosh. After three day's confinement the book obtained liberation. Having no other copy of the book, the Calcutta University Press being too slow, and the desire to publish "original researches" in certain quarters in Calcutta being great, the author brought back the manuscript to Patna. Engagement was then concluded to print the book at Allahabad. In the meantime the book was cited by Sir Sankaran Nair from the manuscript in his Note to the Government of India's First Despatch on Constitutional Reforms (dated 5th March, 1919), and chapters were printed in the Modern Review (Feb., 1920). When the whole of Part I was in type the English Section of the Press at Allahabad was sold away and the book once more came back home. Until this autumn, owing to the difficulties of getting a suitable press from a 'mofussil' town, and owing to professional duties, no fresh arrangement could be made for the publication of the work.
The Present Work: The lines laid down in the Introduction (1913) have been closely followed in the present work. Except the chapter on Paura-Janapada there has been no addition to those broad lines. The whole work otherwise is only a commentary on the Introduction.
The books is presented in the form and substance just as it was completed in April, 1918, but for the amalgamation of the matter published by the author in the Modern Review in April, 1920, on Paura Janapada, and the addition of one passage (27) on a datum from the Abhidhana Rajendra (1919), of the last line of the footnote at p. 31, and of Appendices C and D. The date of the Kautiliya (Artha-Sastra) has been retained as originally given, although Dr. Jolly has recently revived the controversy through his edition of the Artha-Sastra. On account of the importance of the subject the present writer has re-considered is here. He is unable to agree with Dr. Jolly's conclusion.
The author's thanks are due to his kind friends Dr. A. Banerji-Sastri and Dr. Suniti K. Chatterji for reading the proofs and valuable suggestions, to Mr. H. Chakladar and Mr. Bata K. Ghosh for verifying references, and Dr. Kalidas Nag and Prof. Arun Sen for doing the index. His friends the late Mr. H. Panday had helped him in the preparation for the Ms.
Brahma Sutras (79)
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend