Prelude to the Treatise
28 March 2023
It tells the following story: In the distant land of Gandhara, there once was a janapada called Chakrapuri. Its elders were a worried lot. Their children were uninterested in the upkeep of the janapada. Most of them were consumed by self-interest, many by avarice and others in seeking advantage over their fellows. Realising that the young people must learn the arts and crafts of citizenship, the Sabha of Chakrapuri decided to employ Nitina of Takshashila, whose wisdom was said to be unparalleled, to teach their children. So it came to pass that the unconventional scholar was entrusted with the charge of these young men and women for the next ninety days. Thus begins the Nitopadesha. A labyrinth of stories in the style of the Panchatantra and the Jataka tales, this is a book about good citizenship and citizen-craft that will speak to the modern reader. Covering aspects such as what citizenship means, the ethical dilemmas one faces as a citizen and how one can deal with social issues, Nitin Pai’s absorbing translation is an essential read for conscientious citizens of all ages.