A Reflection on the Ethos of the Era: Kautilya’s Aphorisms (Management in Arthashastra)
If rulers are righteous, people are righteous; if they are sinners, people are also sinners—like ruler, like people. A ruler should appoint as counsellor one who respects him, one who is learned and one who is free from fraud. Factors which create discontent amongst the people: dishonouring respectable ones, estrangement of elders, nepotism, falsehood, etc. He who punishes mildly is despised. A ruler should be approached like fire. A weak ruler, even if learned, is not respected by people. A good ruler is devoted to truth and righteousness, defeating enemy forces and protecting his territory righteously. Protector of the orphaned, refuge of the refugees, guide to the afflicted and frightened, support of the unsteady, the friend, the relative, the master, the benefactor, the teacher, the father, the mother and the brother to all. Punishment of the wicked, rewarding the righteous, development of state revenue by just means, impartiality in granting favours and protection of the state. He gives up wealth in favour of the needy, loves virtue, enjoys pleasure in the company of friends and relatives, is anxious to learn the sciences and is a fighter in war. Learned one should control his senses, knowing the aptness of time and place, and accomplish all tasks. He believes in getting up in time for fighting, division of responsibility amongst allies and enjoyment after attacking oneself.