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Kanika in Mahabharata

Kanika was a cunning minister of Dhritarashtra, the blind king in the Mahabharata. He was learned, shrewd, cunning and crafty. He earned the name ‘Kanika Kuta Niti’ because of his political philosophy.

As per the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata, when war with the Pandavas was in the offing and various ideas were being aired, King Dhritarashtra took the advice of Kanika. He advocated the annihilation of the Pandavas.

Here are some of the political philosophies of Kanika.

Threaten the timid. Bow before the strong, Bribe the greedy. Kill the enemy even if he were your son, friend, brother, father or preceptor. This is the royal path to success.

Never disregard an enemy even if he be weak. Note that even a spark of fire will burn down a forest with external help like the wind.

Carry the enemy on your shoulder when times are adverse. Once times become favorable, break him, even as a mud pot on a stone slab.

Political assertions of Kanika can be found in Adi Parva chapter 139 of the Mahabharata.

Shanti Parva Chapter 140 of Mahabharata also mentions about a politician of the name Kanika, who was born in Bharadwaja family and exhorted Shatrunjaya, the king of Sauvira. Kautilya also quotes him as Kaninkka Bharadvaja on the nature of a displeased king in this Arthashastra.