Thoughts on economics and liberty

Would Anna Hazare dare beat Chanakya with an army belt for promoting alcohol?

On many matters, the approach of Anna Hazare is at loggerheads with Chankya's (Kautilya).

Chankya is India's MOST RESPECTED ancient thinker and philosopher who not only wrote India's most famous book, but also built the world's largest kingdom of the ancient world (the Mauryan empire was FAR GREATER than the Roman empire). Hazare has not written a single book (to the best of my knowledge). 

Chankya was not a man preached non-violence but he would NEVER have beaten anyone with an army belt. Chankya was too intelligent for such low level thuggery. And he would have ensured that  anyone with Anna Hazare's violent tendencies would have been brought to book.

Here's a nice PDF summary of Kautliya's society. Very short. Do read it.

I'm going to provide a few extract from Rangarajan's famous translation of Arthashastra. First I'll discuss alcohol. Then prostitution.

Finally, when time permits, I'll discuss the HUGE difference between Chanakya and Anna Hazare. I would challenge Anna Hazare to try to beat Chankya with an army belt and see the consequences.

Extracts from Arthashastra


The manufacture of alcoholic liquor was predominantly a state monopoly. Specific exemptions were, however provided for: physicians making different kinds of arishtas, i.e. alcohol-based medicines, types of liquor like fermented fruit juices not made by the state, home-made alcohol-based medicines, ‘white’ liquor for own consumption and a special exemption, during fairs and festivals, to make liquor for a maximum of four days.
Liquor was manufactured by the state in a number of places near the points of consumption. It is clearly stated that liquor shall be made in the city, the countryside and the camps, in one place or as many places as required [2.25.1].

The following kinds of alcoholic drinks were made—medaka from rice, prasanna from barley flour, asava from sugarcane juice, maireya from jaggery, madhu from grape juice and arishtas for medicinal purposes [2.25.16,21]. Many varieties of liquor were made. The basic types were: sara and kinva. From kinva, another liquor made from fermented bean pulp, two kinds of sura could be made. These were then flavoured with different spices or fruit juices. A type of liquor was made without using kinva by fermenting wood apple or bark, mixed with jaggery or honey. Grape wine was also consumed. The complete list of all types, along with recipes for making, clarifying and flavouring them is given in Appendix 10.

The manufacture and sale of alcoholic drinks was a state monopoly, private manufacturing being very limited and strictly controlled [2.25.36]. Alcoholic drinks were widely sold in many places in the city, the countryside and the camps [2.25.1]. These were drunk mainly in drinking halls built for this purpose. The Arthashastra prescribes:
‘These shall have many rooms, with beds and seats in separate places. The drinking rooms shall be made pleasant in all seasons by providing them with perfumes, flowers and water’ [2.25.11].
Only persons of good character could buy and take away small quantities of liquor; others had to drink it on the premises. Moving about while drunk was prohibited [2.25.5). The liquor seller employed beautiful female servants, who were used to find out information about customers who might have been imposters [2.25.15].
The duties and responsibilies of the Chief Controller of Alcoholic Beverages may be seen in Details of the types of liquor made are given in Appendix 10.
The prevalence for drinking gave rise to opportunities for poisoning with narcotics or stupefiants during a fight between the chiefs of oligarchies instigated by the king [11.1.24] or for disabling the enemy’s troops during a siege [12.4.4).
State Manufacture:
(i) The Chief Controller shall make arrangements for the manufacture of alcoholic beverages in the city, the countryside and the camps, with the help of experts in brewing and fermenting. 12.25.11
Women and children shall be employed in searching for special ingredients (such as herbs and spices) used in the industry and in preparing them [by roasting, grinding, etc.]. [2.25.38] 
Private Manufacture:
(ii) Physicians can make arishtas [medicines based on alcohol] for different illnesses. [2.25.21]
Types of liquor, including fermented fruit juices, not made in the state units, can be made by [private] manufacturers, on condition that they pay 5% of the quantity as royalty. [2.25.39]
Householders shall be permitted to make white liquor for special occasions, arishtas for medicinal purposes and other liquor [for similar needs].
Permission to make and sell liquor shall be given on special occasions such as festivals, fairs and pilgrimages, for a period of four days [only]. Those who make liquor without permission shall pay a daily fine, till the end of the festive period. [2.25.35-37]
(iii)  The Chief Controller shall organize, through appropriate persons, the sale of liquor (in the city, the countryside and the camps) in as many places as are necessary. [2.25.1]
(iv) Drinking places: The Chief Controller shall be responsible for the construction of drinking places. These shall have many rooms, with beds and seats in separate places. The drinking rooms shall be made pleasant in all seasons by providing them with perfumes, flowers and water. [2.25.11]
(v) Liquor sellers: Vintners shall sell liquor only for cash at the price fixed’ and shall not sell for credit.
Spoilt liquor may be sold at a different price [i.e. less than the fixed price,] but only at a different place [and not at the drinking house itself]. Alternatively, spoilt liquor may be given to slaves and labourers, or used to feed draught animals and pigs. [2.25.7-10]
(vi) At the end of each day the Chief Controller shall ascertain the quantity sold, the transaction tax collected, the out-go on manasrava (sticking allowance), the cash received and the countervailing tax collected; he shall strike the balance accordingly [i.e. the net profit for remitting to the Treasury]. [2.25.40]
[Since the trade measure for liquids was 6.25% smaller than the revenue measure (in which liquor manufactured or bought in from private manufacturers was measured), for every litre of liquor sold 62.5 millilitres of liquor should have been in stock. On the other hand, the customer was entitled to 1/50th or 2% for all liquids sold by measure as sticking allowance; hence, the surplus stock would actually been only 42.5 millilitres.
Thus, the stock verification of each kind of liquor was to be calculated according to this formula:
Closing stock = Opening stock – quantity sold + transaction tax -sticking allowance.
The money to be accounted for by the vintner was the sale price multiplied by the quantity sold at the trade measure for each kind of liquor.
The net profit was:
Net profit = Sale realisation – cost of production of liquor manufactured by the Crown – 95 % of the sale realisation on private liquor paid to private manufacturers – wages and other expenses.
Since the retail outlets had to maintain daily accounts, the Chief Controller was obliged to submit the accounts for a given month before the end of the following month; if he failed to do so, he was fined 200 panas for each month’s delay [2.7.26,27] in V.iii.]
Control over movements and stock:
(vii) Liquor shall only be drunk in the drinking house, and no one shall move about while drunk.
Liquor shall not be stored [in large quantities] nor taken out of a village. The dangers in allowing large stocks or unrestricted movement are that workers may spoil the work allotted to them, the Arya may behave immodestly and assassins may be encouraged to behave rashly.
However, persons known to be of good character may be allowed to take away small quantities in certified containers of 1/2 kuduba, 1 kuduba, 1/2 prastha and 1 prastha. [2 .2 5.3-5].
Law and order:
(viii) Some people may try to buy liquor by misappropriating articles entrusted to them [for manufacture or repair] or by selling a pledged or stolen article. If anyone is found in a drinking place with an article or money that is not his, he shall be arrested elsewhere [i.e. not in the drinking house itself].
A watch shall be kept over those who spend lavishly and those who spend without having a known source of income.
Secret agents shall be posted in drinking houses to note whether the spending by customers is normal or abnormal and they shall gather information about visitors [to the village or city].
Secret agents shall also make a note of the ornaments, clothes or cash of customers who are drunk or asleep. Any loss suffered by these customers shall be the responsibility of the liquor seller who shall repay the loss and pay a fine.
Liquor sellers shall be responsible for finding out correct information about strangers and natives who may pretend to be Aryas. Beautiful female servants shall find out the information when the client is drunk or asleep in a secluded place. [2.25.6,12-15]
Making, selling or buying liquor other than in the authorized places: 600 panas [2.25.2]
Loss suffered by customers: Vintner to pay compensation to client and fine equal to loss [2.25.14]
Appendix 10
1 part rice to 3 parts beans with added spices; for example:
1 drona of pulp of raw or cooked masha beans.
1/3 drona of rice.
l karsha of each of the six mixed spices.
2 parts rice to 3 parts ferment and 16 parts water; for example: Rice-wine – 3 prasthas of kinva
1/2 adhaka of rice
1 drona of water
Prasanna Flour wine (white)
2 parts rice to 3 parts ferment and 16 parts water; for example: 5 prasthas kinva
12 adhakas flour
24 dronas of water
Back and fruit of kramuka (?)
Addition to Medaba and Prasanna
5 karshas each of the following: patha, lodha, tejuvati, cardamom, valuka, liquorice, grape juice, priyangu, daruharidra (turmeric?), black pepper and long pepper.
Clarifying agent for Medaka and Prasanna
A decoction of liquorice and jaggery.
Varieties of Prasanna
Mahasura – White liquor and mango juice, replacing in part the spice mixture given above. This is to be clarified with a handful of mixed spice, burnt jaggery and pulp of herbs, like partha, etc. The liquor can he made sweeter by adding 5 palas of jaggery. [2.25.17,18,26-28,31-34]
(for 8 tulas of water)
1 tula wood apple
5 tulas treacle
1 prastha honey
This is for average quality; for superior quality add one quarter more of each of the three ingredients and for lower quality less.
Spices to be added-1 karsha each of cinnamon, chitraka, vilanga, quarter of the quantity of each of these is to be kept in the liquor (tied up in a piece of cloth). [2.25.19,20,29,30]
A decoction of the bark of the meshashringi with jaggery; spices to be added: long pepper and black pepper or tripala (nutmeg, arecanut and cloves). [2.25.22,23]
Grape wineKapishayana imported from Afghanistan.
Harahuraka—imported from Arachosia. [2.25.24,25]
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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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3 thoughts on “Would Anna Hazare dare beat Chanakya with an army belt for promoting alcohol?
  1. peterparker

    if we study the history, it was tea and beer which has made the world an angliscised society today which spurred industrial revolution actually..i am surprised that chankya had always this knowledge about industralisation and i wonder what went wrong that we missed the bus

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