Just and Unjust War in Hindu Philosophy

Journal article

Roy, Kaushik (2007) Just and Unjust War in Hindu Philosophy, Journal of Military Ethics 6 (3): 232–245.

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This article attempts to show the genesis of military ethics in South Asia and its effect on latter-day statecraft. In Hindu philosophy, there exists a continuous tension between dharmayuddha and kutayuddha. These two terms might roughly be translated as just and unjust war, respectively. The Vedic and Epic literature emphasized just war. Kautilya, on the other hand, was a proponent of unjust war. The just war tradition held sway during early medieval India, and even during the stewardship of Jawaharlal Nehru. Towards the end of the last and into the current millennium, however, we are seeing the slow percolation of Kautilyan thinking within India's strategic discourse.

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