Protecting people from skilled cheaters

Protecting people from skilled cheaters

First two chapters of kaNTaka SOdhanam are dedicated to protecting the people of territory from being cheated by skilled workers and traders.

Chapter 1 is called kAru rakshaNam – deals with the various skilled workers who work independently and work in groups by forming associations and private industries. These groups of people who take the raw material like cotton, metals etc., and convert them into the final product on behalf of the consumer.

There are various possibilities to cheat the ignorant public as they do not know the process involved in making the final product from the raw material. They can charge more fee to do the work. They can take away (steal) some part of the raw material and so on….

In this adhyaya, cANakya mentions even the doctors (medical profession) could claim that some untreatable disease could be treated and collect the fees for that. Such things are taken very seriously by the government. Experts in each skill should proactively look into any such rackets happening in the territory.

One interesting thing cANakya mentions is all the “washer men” should only wear uniform. They should not wear any other cloths as they can misuse the collected expensive cloths from the customers. So, any form of misuse of power/ability is considered as a kaNTaka.

Chapter 2 is called vaidEhaka rakshaNam – protecting people from the traders. It starts with regularly checking the pautavam (weights and measures) used by traders.  Creating artificial demand thereby increasing the price of goods, mixing high quality goods with low quality of the same thing and selling for the price of high quality goods etc., are the typical ways of cheating.

Interestingly cANakya says the traders who have come from other countries also need to be protected. In case they have faced some losses by doing the trading within the territory due to either natural calamities or lack of demand, the paNyAdhyaksha should pay some compensation to them. It is important to have a good equilibrium between the seller and buyer that none of the parties exploit the other. That is the essential message of cANakya. 

This 52nd post covers essential points of 78 and 79 adhyayas of artha SAstra.


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