Authored by Dr Chandni Sengupta
Historian, Writer, Researcher
Volume 1, Issue 1 | November 29, 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.
Key words: Leadership, Public, War, General, King, People, Society
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