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  • Man is a social animal. Due to this human tendency and need, institutions like family and society developed.

  • Therefore, the development of human society took place in the form of a state-nation.

  • Nation based on the feelings and thoughts of man and the emergence of an institution like the state as a political basis.

  • A nation is said to be a group of people who live permanently in a certain area and have similar social identity, common history, language, culture and political consciousness


  • State is a political concept which is made up of

  1. Fixed territory

  2. Population

  3. Government

  4. Sovereignty

  • Western scholars consider nation and state to be a modern concept.

  • Western believes nation and state as modern concepts however Indian thinkers differs from this notion.


  • The evolution of Rashtra in India from Rigveda to Atharvaveda, the word Rashtra is mentioned in various Mantra and Samhitas.

  • The word Rashtra has been used many times in Brahmin texts and Smritis.

  • In Vishnu Purana, the name of the year, land, borders, people, rivers, mountains etc. have been depicted with pride.

  • Kalidasa in his epic ‘Raghuvansham’ has written about Indianness and Swarashtra.

  • In Buddhist texts also, the words raja (state) and ratha (nation) have been used at many times.

  • Based on various stories and facts, it can be said that at that time there is a possibility of having many nations under one state.

  • In this way, the concept of nation-state is not only mentioned in Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Buddhist texts in India.

  • From the Huns, Shakas, Turks, Mughals to the British, tried to break the Indian culture and governance system.

  • In the modern period, the development of the concept of nation took place as a protest against the colonial rule, mainly after the revolution of 1857.

  • Many social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Ram Krishna Mission, Annivasant and Swami Vivekananda laid the foundation of nationalism on the basis of which India’s freedom struggle was fought.

  • The concept of nation like Bande Mataram by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Ganpati festival of Tilak, Hindu philosophy of Arvind Ghosh, Hindu Rashtra by Savarkar took forward the concept of nation.

  • Today India is established as a nation and state.


  • The controversy exists away the scholars as to the use and meaning of the term ‘rajya’.

  • In most parts of the ancient and medieval India, as also during the 16th-17th centuries in the West, the word “state came to be commonly understood somewhat identical with the terms “sovereign’ or ‘king’ or ‘raja'.

  • With the rise of the nation-state and subsequently, the democratization of the structure of the governmental bodies the state came to be known as what it is known now.

  • The state is now the whole community, the whole legal association; the whole of the juridical organization.

The State in Ancient India

  • The State in ancient India was not, as it was with the 17th-18th centuries.

  • The state was considered a political instrument to promote the cause of the Dharma.

  • In ancient India, the absolute authority was rarely or never used; it was though not a state chosen by the people, but it was certainly a state which existed or cared the welfare of all dharma as a base of the state.

  • The king, referred to as dhritavarla, was regarded as the upholder of the sacred law. That was why he is called dharmapati in Satapatha Brahmana.

  • The state, we may therefore say, in India, provided for both material and moral development of the individual, leading ultimately to the fullest development of the society.

  • The ancient Indian society, wedded to Dharma, was one where the state.

  • The State in medieval times) India personified itself with the king; the king was, thus, the personification of the state.

  • Origin of kingship mentioned in Manu’s theory of the divine origin or Kautilya’s theory of social contract.

  • With regard to the origin of kingship Varma believes that it arose in the vedic period as a part of the process of integration of families, tribes, clans, and villages into rashtra or a state.

  • Law (Aspects of Ancient Indian Polity), on the other hand, regards kingship as the handiwork of the magicians who gradually turned themselves into kings.

  • But once kings came, kingship, and state became one; the office of the king was the institution of the state.

  • The Ramayana refers to the origin as well as the institution of the state.

  • The importance of the state has also been noted in the Mahabharata, for the Arajaka states are regarded not worth dwelling.

  • The end of the state, in the Mahabharata, is referred to as the attainment of the four objects of life- Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksh.

  • The Puranic state makes Dharma as its basis; by Dharma is meant truth. Dharma, thus it is more or less a law upholding state.

  • The divine origin theory of the state, the Manu Smriti makes the state a Saptanga having limbs such as the Lord, Minister, Capital, Rashtra, Treasure, Army, Ally, mentioning swarashtra and Mandal rashtra.

  • The state, in the Sukraniti, consists of seven limbs, i.e., the state being a kingdom, the organization of seven limbs:

  1. The sovereign is the head

  2. The minister is the eye

  3. Friend is the year

  4. The treasure is the mouth

  5. The army is the mind

  6. The fort is the arms and

  7. The state is the legs

  • Similarly Kautilya also explained about state however he mainly emphasized on seven elements of State which are:

  1. Swami

  2. Amatya

  3. Janapada

  4. Durga

  5. Kosa

  6. Danda

  7. Mitra

  • With regard to the origin of the state, Kautilya seems to have adverted social contract theory.

  • The Kautilyan state is monarchical, for he desired to establish a strong and powerful monarch with a view to protect the life and property of the state.

  • In Kautilya’s views, the promotion of the welfare of the people is an essential task of the king personified in the institution of the state.

  • To conclude, according to Kautilya, were confined not merely to the maintenance of law and order or the protection of the people, but extended to enable the individual attain the highest development.

The State in Asoka’s Dhamma

  • Dhamma is the Prakrit form of the Sanskrit word Dharma, meaning the universal law or righteousness.

  • Asoka’s inscriptions consist of two types

  1. The small group, the edicts, describe his adherence to Buddhism,

  2. Two larger group, as inscribed on rock surfaces, include Major and Minor Rock edicts, and the Pillar edicts, propagating his ideas, in the manner of exhortations to his subjects.

  • A brief summary of the Major Rock Edicts and the Pillar Edicts gives Asoka’s theory of state, the Minor Rock Edicts dealing purely with his Buddhist activities.

  • Dhamma of Asoka assumes a state of non violence, incorporating a number of ideals and practices.

  • Abstinence from killing was an important one.

  • Also was important in Asoka’s Dhamma’s social and political theory, a programme of social welfare such as providing medical facilities, good communications and prohibiting useless expenditure on superstitions.

  • Dhamma, the righteousness, remains the very basis of Asoka’s theory of State.

Medieval Era

  • The Ain-i-Akbari describes the state as it existed in the medieval India.

  • Ain-i-Akbari is a 16th century document.

  • The state, as the Ain-i-Akbari states, is a divine institution, the royalty being a light emanating from God, and a ray from the sun, the illuminator of the universe.

  • Akbar used to worship the sun as the visible representative of God, and the immediate source of life.

  • Through God, the king obtains qualities such as

  1. Paternal love towards the subjects;

  2. A large heart : nothing disagreeable unsettles him, nothing discriminatory elements obstruct him, nothing indecisiveness rebutes;

  3. A daily increasing trust in God : God makes do him the act, whatever he does, he does on the dictates of God,

  4. Prayer and devotion

  • The king is more than a ruler in the Ain-i-Akbari.

  • The Ain-i-Akbari, therefore, refers to fourfold division of officer. These are

1. The Nobles

  • The nobles resemble fire, being ardent in devotion and conquering in dealing with foes like Vakil.

  • The Mir-mail; i.e. the keeper of the real, the Mir-yakhshi, the Bar-begi, the Qurbegi, the Mir-tozak the Mir-yahri, the Mirmanzil, the Khawan rātār, the Munshi, the Qush-begi, the Akhtabegi—all these, the ministerial staff assigned to perform their respective duties.

2. The Assistants

  • This include Vizier also called Diwan together with the Mustawfi, the Sahib-i-tawzi, the Awarja Nawiz, the Mir-saman, the Nazir-i-Buyutat, the Diwan-i-Buyuttat, the Mushrif, the Waqil’a Nawis, the Amil all these collectors of revenue, who in the administration.

3. The companions

  • The companions of the king, known as the ornaments of the court by the light of their wisdom, resemble water in the affairs of the body-politic.

  • At the head of this class stands the philosopher and include in it the Sadr, the Mir-Adl, the Qazi, the physician, the astronomer, the poet, the soothsayer

4. The servants

  • They occupy in the system of the state the position of the earth.

  • The table servant, the armor bearer, the servants in charge of the sharbat and the water, the servant in charge of the mattresses and the wardrobe belong to this class.

  • The Ain-i-Akbari mentions four persons as the chief supports of the state. These are :

  1. An upright collector : he protects the husbandman, watches over the subjects, develops the country and improves the revenues;

  2. A conscientious commander of the army; he is active and strict;

  3. A Chief justice: he is free from avarice and selfishness, who sits on the eminence of circumspection and insight, and obtains his ends by putting various questions, without exclusively relying on witnesses and oaths;

  4. An intelligencer: he transmits the events of the time without addition or diminution; he always keeps to the thread of truth and penetration.

  • The theory of state in the ancient and medieval India, by way of conclusion, may thus be described as the theory of benevolent monarchy.

  • As against the western state type the Indian state of ancient and medieval times has been non-exploitative, promotive, accommodative, its all comprehensiveness notwithstanding.

Modern Era

  • The entire western world including India considers the nation-state to be a modern idea.

  • In colonial countries like India, the growth of nationalism erupted as an opposition to imperialism.

  • From 1857 revolt to independence day, India has came long way.

  • India has been established as a strong nation since independence and is growing ahead.


  • Indian civilization and culture is very ancient, full of different types of diversity.

  • Based on the theory of the modern state, though the formation of India as a state-nation is considered since 1947.

  • Based on the available literary evidence, it can be said that India as a nation existed from the Vedic period.

  • Scholars like Shankar, Chaitanya, Vivekananda, Tagore, Savarkar and Gandhi represent the global vision of the Indian state – nation, from ancient times to Till date, India’s identity has been "Vishwadhaiva Kutumbakam".

  • India as a state-nation is a supporter of justice and humanity, so today it is marching towards becoming a Vishwa guru through cultural nationalism.

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Dec 31, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very helpful 💯


Dec 30, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

very good content . an very helpful.

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