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Ancient Indian Polity In Literary Works Of Kalidasa

Kalidasa in his Raghuvansham has developed the principles and policies of government in ancient India. Here a brief look at ancient Indian polity in literary works of Kalidasa.

Kalidasa’s general description of functioning of kings in the opening lines of Raghuvamsham (1.5.8) is sufficiently impressive. Among individual kings the character of Dilipa and the nature of his government are described by the poet at great length (1-13-30).

In Raghuvamsham, Kalidasa has described the polity of Raghu (IV.7-13), Aja (VII.8-13), Dasharatha (IX.1-23) and Rama (XIV.23).

Abhijnana Shakuntalam presents some ideas of government. In the opening lines of Act V a sympathetic chamberlain compliments his master on his self-imposed toil for the benefit of others. Three objects of the state have been referred to:

  • Happiness of subjects
  • Protection
  • The king’s complete merger of his own interests in those of his subjects

In Malavikagnimitra, Kalidasa has narrated inter-state relations (Act I) following Smriti Arthashastra tradition.