Banaras Hindu University (BHU) as a part of recent examinations, included two questions (15 marks) about the nature of GST in Kautilya’s Arthashastra along with a view about Manu on globalisation. These questions were included in the Political Science paper for MA (Master of Arts) students on Monday. These questions came as a shocker to the students as these topics were not a part of their syllabus ‘Social and Political Thought in Ancient and Medieval India’. However, the professor who had set the paper called it a part of his job to introduce newer ways to teach. Kaushal Kishore Mishra, Professor at BHU, while talking about the surprise questions said that he had “interpreted the two thinkers and taught their philosophies through new and current examples like GST and globalisation.” While talking about making these topics a part of the syllabus, he said, “It was my idea to introduce these examples to students. So what if these are not in the textbook? Isn’t it our job to find newer ways to teach.”
The two questions are as follows-
-Write an essay on the nature of GST in Kautilya’s Arthashastra.
-Manu is the first Indian thinker of globalisation. Discuss.
Kaushal Kishore Mishra, who is a professor of Indian political system and Indian political thought at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University admitted that he is a member of the RSS and added that his personal beliefs have nothing to do with his teachings. While talking about Kautilya’s Arthashastra and its relation to the new tax regime, GST, Mishra, as quoted by Indian Express, said, “Kautilya’s Arthashastra is the first Indian book which hints at the current concept of GST. The concept of GST primarily says that consumer gains the most. The meaning of GST suggests that the country’s finances and economy be unified and uniform. Kautilya is one such thinker who propounded national economic integration — ekikaran… In fact, Kautilya had specified in his time that taxes on house construction be 20 per cent, gold and other metals 20 per cent, border tax 20 per cent, gardens 5 per cent, singers, dancers and artistes 50 per cent.”
He further went on to elaborate on why he chose Manu to be a part of the paper and said, “Manu was the first thinker to have introduced the tradition of globalisation in the world… Nietzsche has said this in as many words when he lauds Manu’s economic, political and religious principles. Manu’s thoughts spread the world over, and were adopted by countries. Evidence of Manu’s teachings on religion, language and politics are found in China, Philippines, New Zealand. In New Zealand, the word for ‘manav’ or man has been borrowed from Manu.”
Mishra then added that his questions have nothing to do with promoting the policies of any political party and said that they are just newer examples of applications to Indian thinkers’ thoughts and philosophies. He added that when the epics and Arthashastra are being taught in universities across the world, how can we Indians forget them.