A Brief Comparison on ‘Espionage’ and the Importance of ‘Spies’ between Kautilya’s The Arthashastra & Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

K.S. Vishnu Prabhu, Laxmi Dhar Dwivedi


The Arthashastra and The Art of War are by far one of the finest political and war discourses ever written in prose form. Both dating back to 4th and 6th century B.C. respectively have tremendous far-sighted psychoanalytical elements embedded in them. Kautilya, is often referred to as the modern-day economist and Sun Tzu a war strategist in their times. Having belonged to one of the oldest Indian and Chinese civilizations respectively, they have spelt out clear principles for espionage and stressed the importance of spies. Often compared to Machiavelli’s The Prince, Aristotle’s Politics they contain in them a detailed account of first-hand human experiences. The paper focuses on the espionage discourse, which is filled with courage, dedication and commitment. And is also equally watered down with anxiety, depression and unparalleled justice toward a greater cause. Kautilya is seen a realist in his approach and the discourse contains animal analogies. On the contrary, Sun Tzu is seen a naturalist and attaches nature to his discourse.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n6s4p544

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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