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Environment and History

The Attitude of Kautilya to Aranya

Rita Ghosh Ray

Environment and History 2(1996): 221-9

The Kautiliya Arthasastra is a famous treatise on state-craft which within its state policies includes ecological concerns, implicitly but effectively. The Kautiliya Arthasastra gives a vivid and lively description of different categories of forests. The essence of the text lies in the fact that it makes a clear departure from the Vedic texts and Puranas, where forest is depicted as an abode of demons and a place of exile for unfortunate kings and evil-doers. It is Kautiliya Arthasastra which for the first time stresses the economic importance of forests in the formulation of principles and policies of the state.

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