A Double-Blind Peer Reviewed Online Journal Published by the Rashtram School of Public Leadership
A Double-Blind Peer Reviewed Online Journal Published by the Rashtram School of Public Leadership

Volume I, Issue 1

Published on 29 November, 2020
Public leadership is a popular theme of discussion in the world of politics and public sphere at large. It encompasses a set of activities and interactions that people in positions of power engage in. The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once opined that a government should be based on laws and not men, yet men can never be factored out of the equation of governance. As is evident from many democracies in the world today, politics is extremely ‘personalized’ in nature, i.e. the people or the leaders who run the state are the key players in the political system. This is, however, not a modern phenomenon. In ancient times, the entire system of governance used to revolve around the aura of the King. Public leadership in ancient times, therefore, was centred on the leadership traits of the King. Scholars in the past have been engaged in a lively debate on what it means to be a leader. From politics to management, the realm of leadership forms an extensive study of academic research. This paper will attempt to make a comparative analysis on public leadership lessons espoused in two ancient texts spanning two civilizations—Kautilya’s The Arthshastra and Sun Tsu’s The Art of War. While the former is considered to be a treatise on politics and economics, the latter is essentially a work military treatise focussing on leadership in war. In this paper, the component of leadership in both the texts shall be evaluated in order to analyse the differences and similarities in perspective.
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The article examines the historical and broad theoretical issues of governance central to the organisation and functioning of society, surveying the earliest experiences and ideas that date back to the ancient Greeks as well as more contemporary reflections. It also evaluates the politics of India’s governance historically as well as in the period following Indian independence in 1947. It points to the shortcomings in governance with particular focus on India in the latter period and the underlying political and institutional reasons for them. The final section suggests that the accident of modern technological revolutions, associated with computing and the falling costs of information storage, significant possibilities of overcoming the shortcomings in governance have become possible. Major changes in the interface between political authority and the bureaucracy and the ordinary citizen are now feasible. It concludes by identifying the multiple dimensions of such changes in the relationship between the state and its citizens owing to digitisation while also recognising the dangers posed by the accumulation of so much information in the hands of political authority on its citizens.
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One of the foremost as well as earliest leaders of the Indian nationalist freedom movement, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, dedicated his entire life morally, spiritually, and politically, to serve the country during the freedom struggle. His life’s work has inspired countless Indians to join the independence movement and fight for the nation. Tilak was a public leader, who established several institutions, newspapers, and organisations, to educate and awaken the masses. In this article, the qualities of an ideal leader are discussed, and Tilak’s journey resonates well with the concept. Emphasis is given on the importance of Danah Zohar’s theory of Spiritual Quotient (SQ) as a paradigm to determine the sustainability of leadership. Further, a subjective analysis of Tilak’s leadership is done on the basis of the principles of Spiritual Intelligence. His qualities are classified according to the principles of SQ and described with special references to events from his life.
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Kautilya (alternatively known as Chanakya or Vishnugupta) is a name familiar to us as a statesman, advisor and author of Arthashastra. A lot has been written about him and his work, and through this paper I analyse the instances in which Kautilya and his Arthashastra has been invoked by the Indian judiciary and law/constitution-making bodies. I trace the trajectory of the reliance placed on Kautilya and his Arthashastra by judges over the years to understand the impact of ancient texts and history in evolving legal jurisprudence in India. Other than the case-laws written over the years, I also explore invocations of Kautilya during the debates in our Constituent Assembly Debates. Through my research, we can see that the Arthashastra is often invoked in certain types of cases and to understand the practices and/or customs of ancient India. Over time, we also see that increasing reference is made to Kautilya and his Arthashastra and in ways that reflect a deeper understanding of the essence of the ancient text. This exploration is intriguing because it looks at the overlap of two distinct fields of study and how one has helped the other evolve.
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Bhārata, has been blessed with several historical leaders, whose lives and personalities have been sources of tremendous and timeless, deep learning. Their exploits and victories have been references and stories of motivation for generations across millennia. These leaders have demonstrated a set of similar traits, along with those unique to the individual. While they have embodied superb leadership, a sine qua non is the four dharma-s that we have defined in this paper, in addition to valour, strength and fearlessness. This paper attempts to consider important fundamentals of consummate leadership and delves into the dharma-s of diplomacy, trust, judgement and jurisdiction as part of the analysis. Hanumān, a central character of Rāmāyaṇa, embodies these dharma-s. The events of Rāmāyaṇa that tested leaders and leadership by fire, sufficiently validate the characteristics and the dharma-s of leadership.
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Universally, higher education is observing mounting escalation in both learner participation and categories of educational contributors. A major aspect of this expansion is an enhancement of student diversity: governments are expanding access to higher education for students from conventionally underrepresented groups. On the other hand, this raises questions about whether this quick augmentation may compromise scholastic excellence and whether this will not be able to bridge the gap between the global and local knowledge bases. Voldemar Tomusk’s The Open World and Closed Societies: Essays on Higher Education Policies “in Transition” (2004) looks into the transitional reforms in the field of higher education in the post-socialist nations of Eastern Europe after the great fall of the Soviet Union, seen from the perspective of someone who had spent the better part of his life analysing these transformations as well as conferring with and administering reform projects in countries from Serbia and Montenegro to Mongolia. Evaluating these reforms in inclusive political, economic, social and historical contexts and linking these to universal higher education advancements, the book concentrates on the intricacies of the processes and conflicts in the demands on higher education structures, which in many occasions show positive or downbeat changes.
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