Kautilya’s (Chanakya’s) Saptang Siddhant for the state

According to Kautilya's Saptang Siddhant, there are 7 parts of the state - Swami, Amatya, Janapada, Durg, Kosh, Danda and Mitra.

Kautilya (Chanakya) had given ‘Saptang Siddhant’ to describe the form of the state. He has described this in the first chapter of the sixth book of Arthashastra. According to Kautilya’s Siddhant, there are 7 parts of the state – Swami, Amatya, Janapada, Durg, Kosh, Danda and Mitra.

7 parts of the state according to Saptang Siddhant

On the basis of this principle, political thinkers in ancient times described the nature of the state. The first definition of state is also given in the Arthashastra written by Chanakya as an institution consisting of seven organs. The Saptang Siddhant of the state established by Chanakya has been accepted by almost all the ancient Indian political thinkers as the authentic qualities of the state.


In Saptang Siddhant the word Swami has been mentioned for the head of the state. Which means overlord. In this theory described by Kautilya, Swami has been given a very high position. According to him, the owner of the state should have qualities like being aristocratic, intelligent, educated, enthusiastic and clever in the art of war. The ruler should always stay away from vices like lust, anger, greed and attachment. He depicts the king’s commitment to work for the welfare of the people in the form of Raksha-Palan and Yoga-Kshem.

The owner has two main duties:

  • The master should pay full attention to the happiness and welfare of his subjects.
  • He should keep a sharp eye on the activities of other states so that he can sense the danger coming to his state.


Amatya as the second organ of the state has been described in all the ancient texts except Saptang Siddhant. According to Arthashastra, Amatya is part of a temporary service cadre. This class includes the high priest, ministers, treasurers, collectors, officers looking after civil and criminal cases, management officers and messengers of various departments. Kautilya says that the number of Amatyas should depend on the capacity of their employer. One can be appointed as Amatya as per the requirement at time, work and place in the state. For its appointment, Swami should also take opinion from some of his ministers in this regard.


The third part of the state literally means ‘tribal settlement’. This Janapada has been mentioned as a nation in Manusmriti and ‘Vishnu Smriti’. In the language of economics, a Janapada includes both land area and population. According to this, the land area should have good climate, pastures, forests, fertile land, developed water and land routes etc. Such land should be inhabited by hardworking farmers who can bear the taxes and fines along with their hard work.

Generally the size of the land area or population has not been determined. In lieu of this, Chanakya says that the district is divided into village, collection, Kharvtik, Dronmukh, local and corporation. According to him, villages should be established at a distance of one/two kos in the fertile parts of the land. The village should be formed with minimum 100 and maximum 500 families. A big village called ‘Sanghran’ should be established by merging 10 villages and a special town called ‘Kharvtik’ should be established among 200 villages. Then a special township called ‘Dronmukh’ should be established among 400 villages and a town called ‘Stali’ should be established among 800 villages.


Chanakya has described the Durg as the fourth part of the state. According to him, a strong Durg is necessary for the security of the state. Kautilya has mentioned the following types of Durg – Audak Durg (surrounded by water or deep ditch), Parvat Durg (surrounded by mountain ranges), Dhanyavan Durg (built in desert region) and Van Durg (surrounded by rugged forests).

Kautilya has given the description of the construction and structure of the main fort in the capital in such a way that the fort should be surrounded by three moats filled with crocodiles and lotuses. There should be secret doors in the fort for the supply and movement of essential goods. Its boundary wall should be made of strong stones.


In Saptanga Siddhanta, Kosh is cited as the fifth organ. Money is essential for every work done for the state. Kautilya has described agriculture, animal husbandry, trade as the main means of livelihood of the people of the state and land as the main source of revenue. According to him, the collection of funds should be done in a religious and just manner. It is necessary for a state to have abundant gold, silver, precious stones and currencies in its treasury. Due to lack of funds, it is not possible for any state to bear the expenses of the army.


The sixth part of the state ‘Danda’ means the power to use accessible force. According to Chanakya, this includes ancestral or hired forest and corporation soldiers. These soldiers have been divided into foot soldiers, charioteers, elephant soldiers and horse riders. The army of the state consists of – elephants, horse chariots, foot soldiers, forced laborers, sailors, state soldiers and paid soldiers, which is called Ashtangabal. Kautilya has considered Kshatriyas to be most suitable as soldiers. However, he has insisted on including Vaishyas and Shudras also in the army from the consideration of numerical strength.


The seventh part mentioned by Kautilya in the context of Saptang Siddhant of the state is Mitra. According to him, friends should be best, free from dilemma, noble and hereditary. Someone with whom there is never a possibility of disagreement and who is ready to help when disaster strikes. An aspiring king must have a Mitra for his military campaign for victory, who is ready for his welfare and with whom there is no possibility of conflict.

Which great economist has given the Saptang Siddhant in the formulation of the state?

Kautilya (Chanakya).

Click here to read this article in Hindi.

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