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Article

Kautilya and non-western IR theory

International Affairs. 2020. Vol. 96. No. 4. P. 1091-1092.
Rajhans S. K., Amarasinghe P.

International Relations (IR) and political theory scholarship today is mainly constructed by the narratives of western civilization. From the Greeks to the biopolitics of Foucault, the theories we reverently study are confined to the discourse coming from one civilizational root, which curtails the ability of scholars to appreciate the founding principles of statecraft and diplomacy practised in non-western civilizations. It is in this context that Deepshikha Shahi's Kautilya and non-western IR theory is a welcome addition to the literature. This selective academic amnesia becomes rather poignant when considering that, while the Peloponnesian war and its chronicler, Thucydides, are placed at the birth of realist IR literature, Kautilya's Arthashastra is bracketed somewhere along with the medieval genius Machiavelli, though they are set apart from each other by a millennium and a half. Shahi's book unfolds, with great elan, the deep legacy of political–legal philosophy which existed in Mauryan India more than two thousand years ago.