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Title Shukranitisara: An early medieval treatise on economic policy
Authors Deodhar, Satish Y.
Type Working Paper
Publication Date 04-Aug-2020
Year 2020
Abstract Shukracharya’s treatise on political economy has been referred to in many ancient Indian texts such as the Arthashastra, Buddhacharitam and Mahabharata. However, that treatise has been lost. Fortunately, an abridged version titled Shukranitisara belonging to the early medieval period was discovered in the nineteenth century. While a few have written about Shukranitisara from the perspective of political science, nothing has been written from the perspective of economic policies. Among the four purusharthas or the life objectives, while Arthashastra had given primacy to artha or material wealth, Shukranitisara considers dharmic or ethical conduct as foremost for the economic decisions of the state and the householder. The treatise addresses issues of governance, breadth of vocations and sciences, public finance, prices, markets, contracts, labour relations, and advice to a householder. Quite a few economic policies mentioned in Shukranitisara are detailed and different as compared to Arthashastra, and remain relevant for policymaking even today.

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