Thoughts on economics and liberty

Reports of total integrity and honesty of the people in ancient India #6: The integrity of government Ministers

Extracts from Pramathanath Banerjea’s Public administration in ancient India


This great influence possessed by Ministers of old was doubtless, in a large measure, due to the selfless spirit in which many of them served  the  State. Though such Ministers controlled  the  destinies  of large kingdoms and sometimes extensive empires, they, as a rule, led very simple lives,1  and  were renowned for their honesty, integrity, and nobility of character. Numerous examples of devotedness to duty  on  the part of Ministers, sometimes under very difficult and trying circumstances, are recorded in Indian  history and  literature.2 [Footnote: In Bhasa’s Pratima-Nataka and Svapna-Vasavadatta, the Prime Minister is described as a man ready to undertake any risks for the sake of the King. The devotion with which Rakshasa sought to serve a fallen master’s family extorted the highest praise even from his bitter enemy Chii.nakya (Mudra-Rakshasa, Act II.)]


From  the  records  preserved   in  Indian  literature as well as from the accounts left by foreign travellers, it seems quite clear that the administration of justice was very efficient in Ancient India. This must have been the result of three factors, namely, the upright­ ness of the judges, the efficiency of the police, and the general honesty and probity of the people.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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