Archive for June, 2013

durga vidhAnam – Establishment of Forts

June 30, 2013

Having dealt with the administrative division of land in past two posts (1) & (2), now we will have a brief look at making durga i.e., fort(s). durga means a place that is difficult to reach (by the enemies!)

In all the four directions of the territory, a naturally “difficult to reach” place need to be suitably converted to establish a fort. It is either surrounded by water (auduka durgam),or on a hill (parvata durgam) , or surrounded by arid region (dhAnvana-durgam), or surrounded by a thick forest (vana durgam) then it is a fort constructed by God.

Primary use of forts is to stock militery equipment and house various types of forces.

Form smaller groups of four types of forces (elephants, chariots, horses and soldiers) each lead by individual leaders. An army with multiple leaders with proper heirarchy is the strength of a King.

A detailed account of constructing and developing forts is covered in the 3rd and 4th chapters of book 2 of artha SAstra.

In the central location of the sthanIyam , an administrative head office (also called sthAnIyam) should be built. This is a man made fort used as a multi-purpose official building which should be well connected by land and water ways.

The capital city should have three highways north-south and three east-west directions. Each entry should have two gates each making up a total of 12 gates protecting the capital. These high ways should connect to the roads leading to the sthanIyas. There should be different set of roads connecting the ports where a lot of trade happens. There should also be a good plan of temporary transport paths in the event of war or natural calamities.

In the capital city, a ‘rAja prAsAda’ i.e, ‘palace of the King’ should be constructed. North-east of the palace should be given to the purOhita and AcAryas. The yajna-Sala (hall where the religious sacrifice is conducted) and source of water should also be in the north-east. In south-east the kitchen, godown and the space for elephants should be kept.

Outside, to the east of the palace, the kshatriyas houses should be there. There should be temples of aparAjita (Goddess durga), apratihata (Lord Vishnu), jayanta (kumara-swami) and indra (king of gods). The northern gate of capital is protected by lord Brahma, east one is protected by Indra, south is governed by lord Yama (the lord of death) and the west is protected by kumara-swami.

cANakya gives a specific arrangement of different things in and outside of the palace as per the vAstu sAstra in these two chapters called durga vidhAna and durga nivESa. This post summarises few points from those two chapters.

bhUmi chhidra vidhAnam – Dealing with uncultivable land

June 23, 2013

Having dealt with establishing janapadas in first chapter, cANakya now takes up the subject of using the land that is not suitable for cultivation.

  • 1. The land should be kept for domestic animals’ for grazing grass.

  • 2. Forest areas where it is safe for vAnaprasthas and tApasis (there is an important stage of life called vAnaprasthas – retiring to a vana i.e, forest. Generally, the spiritual teachers will go far away from the villages living on the natural non cultivated produce of forests. After a person attains retirement age, he/she goes in search of a spiritual teacher into the forest. This third stage of life is comes after the second stage gRhastha i.e., householder life and before sannyasa, complete renunciation of activities which is fourth) should be established. Such abhaya araNyas should be protected by the King.

  • 3. A mRga vanam (something like a modern zoological park) where different animals (tamed) lives should be established, which can be used for Kings vihAra i.e, pleasant walk.

  • 4. Near the boarder or depending on suitable land, a forest should be developed for guest animals to come and live. All the animals need to be duly protected in the forests.

  • 5. Environment should be created for good growth of elephants as they can be used for different purposes after domestication.

Overall, exploitation of the land should be avoided. Not too much of construction of janapadas, not exploiting the other animals and trees of forests. All of these bio-spheres have their own importance in the ecosystem. Suitable forest produce processing plants should be established near the forest.

A leader is not only a leader for best performers and productive followers. He should also consider protecting other non tax paying beings who are needed for Eco-balance.

Today’s “green”…. initiatives have been documented in teacher cANakya’s artha SAstra. This post brings us to the end of 20th topic and 23rd chapter from the beginning. (This is the 25th post on to this blog!)

On Centrality and Power in social networks

June 21, 2013
After the last weeks post on ‘Trust’ – – let us quickly review another important measure of (social) network structure.

Centrality is a structural measure of a network that gives an indication of relative importance of a node in the graph / network.
Simplest way of measuring centrality is by counting the number of connections a node has. This is called ‘degree centrality’.

Another way of measuring centrality is to see how far a node from all other nodes of the graph is is. This measure is called as ‘closeness centrality’ as it measures the path length between pairs of nodes.

‘Betweenness Centrality’ is the measure of number of times the node acting as a bridge on the shortest path of any other two nodes. That gives how important each n ode in connecting the whole network.

To complicate the centrality further, we have a measure called ‘eigenvector centrality’. Eigenvector considers the influence for the node in the network. This methods considers the power of the nodes the current node is connected. To explain it simply, if I am connected to 500 other people on LinkedIn is different from Barak Obama connecting to 500 of his friends on the LinkedIn. His 500 connections are more influential (probably) than my 500 connections. Google’s page rank is a variant of Eigenvector Centrality.

When an external factor is considered for each node and implement eigenvector centrality to consider an external α it is called ‘alpha centrality’

When we move the alpha centrality measure from one node to cover multiple radii to include first degree, second degree and so on.. With a factors of β(i) and measure the centrality as a function of influence of varying degrees, it is called beta centrality.

The key problem with centrality computation is the amount of computing power needed to arrive at the beta centrality measure of the social network with millions of nodes. I recently came across this paper – which proposes an alternative approximation algorithm which is computationally efficient to estimate fairly accurate centrality measure. This alter-based non recursive method works well on non-bipartite networks and suits well for social networks.

Title of this blog states “power” and whole content did not mention anything about it. Generally centrality is considered as the indicator of power or influence. But in some situations power is not directly proportional to centrality. Think about it.

సద్గుణాలు – అసమర్థత

June 18, 2013

అవలేపః సముద్రస్య! న దర్శతి యః స్వయం
ప్రశమశ్చ క్షమాచైవ ఆర్జవం ప్రియవాదితా
అసామర్థ్య ఫలా హ్యేతే నిర్గుణేషు సతాం గుణాః

ఆత్మప్రశంసినం దుష్టం ధృష్టం విపరిధాకవం
సర్వత్రోత్సృష్ట దణ్డం చ లోకః సత్కరుతే నరం

— శ్రీ రామాయణం యుద్ధకాండ లో రాముడు సముద్రుడిని గూర్చి లక్ష్మణుని తో 
— “దశ పాప హర దశమి” జ్యెష్ట శుద్ధ దశమి  “సేతు బంధనం” సందర్భంగా

sadguNAlu – asamarthata

avalEpaH samudrasya! na darSati yaH svayam
praSamaSca kshamAcaiva ArjavaM priyavAditA
asAmarthya phalA hyEtE nirguNEshu satAM guNAH

AtmapraSamsinaM dushTaM dhRshTaM viparidhAkavam
sarvatrOtsRshTa daNDaM ca lOkaH satkarutE naram

— From SrI rAmAyaNam yuddha kAnDa. rAma on the indifference shown by samudra to lakshmaNa.
— On the occasion of daSa pApa hara daSami, sEtu bandhanam sandarbhamgA

The good qualities like peacefulness, forgiveness, straightforwardness, talking in pleasant manner are considered as incapability by those who do not have these qualities.

In this world, people generally respect those who are praising themselves, wicked, forcible, running hurriedly here and there, always uses power to “control by stick”.

So, as needed, one should show his power to get things done in this world. Otherwise people think a good person to be incapable.

janapadas – on forming self contained units of people

June 16, 2013

We have seen artha means livelihood of the people in the very beginning of this blog. So, with the introduction given in last post – let us get into how to build manageable chunks of administrative units within the territory.

A minimum of 100 households and a maximum of 500 households is the limit for a janapada. A janapada will largely consist of common-men who can cultivate the land and live on individual professions (vRttis) . Each such settlement (village) should have a natural boundary like a stream etc., The entry/exit points should be properly guarded and ideally there should at least be a distance of 3/4 mile.

A group of ten janapadas is controlled as samgrahaNam. Establish a kArvATika in 200 janapadas. Establish a drONamukham with 400 janapadas and the largest administrative unit is 800 janapadas called as sthAnIyam.

Some amount of land should be reserved for brahmaNas (learned, wise men) in each administrative unit so that the overall well-being of the unit is overseen by them.

Some amount of land should be reserved to the state officials but only be given without the the ability to sell that land. It can only be used / cultivated by the official while carrying out the state duties through his lifetime. Their heir’s can’t inherit the government’s land.

When government gives some land to someone which is already suitable for cultivation it should be given only for a period of officer’s life time. Whereas the land is made cultivatable by someone, government should give the complete rights to those who put the effort in initially preparing the land.

Government should also collect the taxes. When needed some concessions given to the regular tax payers depending on situation. Similarly, as needed, penalty need to be levied on tax collection.

Collected taxes should be used for developing land and water transportation for trade and commerce to flourish. There should be different footpaths, pathways for civil transport and commercial transport vehicles.

Basic Laws:
It is a householder’s duty to take care of his household i.e, women, children and elderly people. If anyone neglecting his householder’s duty and not performing his profession, he need to be subjected to suitable punishment.

A group of elderly people in each janapada should take care of the properties of widows, minors. Government should provide support to people who are suffering from ailments and diseases.

No one should be allowed to take up sannyasa (giving up of householder’s duties) before he establishes a proper livelihood his dependents. Only after attaining retirement age, one is allowed to take up vAnaprastha or sannyasa.

No groups are allowed to be formed for carrying out common activities without the notice of government. All the welfare activities should be done in the supervision of the government only.

Last, but not least, the entertainment (like dancers, singers, actors) should not disturb the professions and setup of the janapada both by content of the art and duration of their shows!

My Notes:

The essence of such a janapada which is an integrated unit with governance, economy and legislation built into it inherently gives equal importance to all the professions along with the equal opportunity to each individual to attain perfection and excellence while performing one’s own duty.

This post tries hard to summarize a very difficult topic called “janapada nivESa” of second book of artha SAstra.

Trust modeling in social media

June 14, 2013


After last week’s “tie strength” post, this week let me give some fundamentals on importance of modeling TRUST in social media.

What is Trust?
It is difficult to define. But when I ask “Will you loan a moderate amount to the other person?” or “Will you seek a reference or recommendation regarding a key decision?” help understand the term TRUST.

There are two components to TRUST. Some people are more trusting than others. Some quickly establish trust where as others take a long time in establishing the trust. This component is not easy to be modeled. The second component is the credibility of the trusted person.

Measuring Trust:
In social media, the second component can be measured by analyzing the sentiment based on the blogs referenced by others. This is called “network based trust inference”.

This paper describes a model for measuring trust using link polarity.

Have a good weekend reading!

adhyaksha pracAraH – centralising, federating, decentralizing governance

June 12, 2013

The second adhikaraNa of artha SAstra is called “adhyaksha prcAraH

adhyaksha means one who supervises, who looks after governance of a specific field.

The purpose of artha SAstra is to establish a holistic system of governance in which everyone  fearlessly be able to live and achieve their life goals (dharma, artha & kAma i.e, the tri-varga ) protected from internal and external disturbances in an environment that is suitable to perform one’s own duties based on unique natural skills inherently present in each individual.

Such a holistic system is possible with a cooperative leadership model lead by a rajarshi who is conscious of his duty.

The functions of government, that are performed in both centralized & decentralized or federated modes are described in the second book of artha SAstra. The second adhikaraNa consists of 36 adhyayAs i.e., chapters.

Establishing internal governance units within the kingdom with natural boundaries consisting a balanced and self sufficient population is the first topic. Various administrative activities like collecting taxes etc., all the way up to the functions of a nAgarika i.e, a mayor of a city are described in this book.

A good governance structure needs verticals of functions and horizontals cutting across the boundaries to get the best out of available resources.

A wonderful matrix structure of governance can be derived and deployed from the cANakya’s teaching. We will see some more details in the coming posts.

Closing notes from "VinayAdhikaraNam"

June 10, 2013

In the last post, we have seen matters related to successors. The next two topics in 18th chapter deals with the other side of successors. If a genuine successor is being neglected by the King, how the successor should conduct himself is the subject matter of 18th Chapter.

19th Chapter deals with the duties of king / Leader. I have covered this subject some time back. (Ref: )

20th Chapter deals with the construction of a fort that is suitable for King to live in. This chapter covers how to build a naturally fire proof palace which has several secret escape routes in case they need to be used. This chapter also deals with how King should protect himself from unforeseen attacks from his own wives.

21st Chapter deals with the details of self-protection. All security needs for a King are described in here. Possible dangers from various seemingly innocent things discussed and necessary precautions and antidotes explained in detail.

Hence, the 21 chapters of vinayAdhikaraNa covers 18 prakaraNas i.e., topics / sections related to vinaya i.e., training needed for a King.

This note brings us to the end of first book of artha SAstra. 

rAjaputra rakshaNam – Taking care of successor

June 9, 2013

In the 17th chapter cANakya deals with the 13th topic of artha SAstra which is called rAjaputra rakshaNam. Protecting the heirs or successors.

Past teachers have given multiple formulae to keep the heirs / successors / sons of the King in control. It is important that the successor who is not yet ready to take over can forcefully topple the government in a coup.

“बुद्धिमान् आहार्यबुद्धिः दुर्बुद्धिः इति पुत्रविशेषाः” says cANakya. There are three types of sons. They are:

1. buddhimAn :- One who learns and follows / practices dharma and artha is the wise son.
2. AhAryabuddhi :- One who learns and fails to follow the instruction is cleaver son.
3. durbuddhi :- One who causes danger and thinks and acts against dharma and artha is the foolish son.

When the King has only one son who is “avinIta” and durbuddhi (category 3 above), King should NOT leave the administration with him. Instead, he should look for a successor elsewhere (e.g,. a daughter’s son, or a son of a sAmanta etc.,)

To avoid a such a situation of not having a proper Heir, King’s son should be bought up with all needed discipline and kept away from bad habits like gambling, wine and women. While growing up, as he gets attracted to any bad habits, he should be naturally diverted away from them.

बहूनामेकसंरोधः पिता पुत्रहितो भवेत् ।
अन्यत्रापद ऐश्वर्यं ज्येष्ठभागि तु पूज्यते ॥

When there are multiple successors and one of them is bad, he need to be kept away from the leadership. Father should make sons virtuous. As long as there is no major defect with the eldest son, the leadership should be handed over to the eldest son.

So, once the territory is established, a Leader / King should consider having a succession plan in place. And the eldest and most suited successor from the next generation should be carefully prepared to continue the administration of the state.

"tie strength" in social media

June 7, 2013

What is “tie strength”?

When analyzing the social web, we see various edges (ties or relationships) connecting the nodes (individuals or organizations). Theoretically the strength of the edge or relationship is categorized as strong or weak. In 1973 paper titled “The strength of weak ties” –  Mark Granovetter lays foundations of importance of strength of ties in micro and macro levels of sociology.

Predictive model
Recently I came across a predictive model developed using Facebook which considers seven dimensions of “tie strength” They are: Intensity, Intimacy, Duration, Reciprocal Services, Structural, Emotional Support and Social Distance.

32 Predictive variables from Facebook interactions have been used along with a survey deriving 5 dependent variables that fits into the predictive model.
The model uses statistical linier method to predict the strength of a relationship in continuous 0 – 1 Scale.

More on –

I like the methodology used and practical approach towards predictive modelling. More stronger the tie, better influence….