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Prehistoric Indian Literature And International Law: A Brief Analysis

India is one of the countries in the world which has a very long history and the existence of the country can be traced back to around 30,000 years ago. The region of South Asia, which now includes around eight countries has always been called the Indian subcontinent owing to the vastness of the Indian geography, the rivers, mountains and the presence of natural resources, varied culture and the existence of Indian civilizations, namely the Indus Valley civilisation, which has put India on the global map since the ancient times. The historicity of India has contributed to the world in terms of culture, religion, literature, arts and science. India is the birthplace of the religion Hinduism.[1]

Hinduism is the religion of the majority of the people in India and Nepal. It also exists between significant populations outside of the subcontinent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings.1 The literature, teachings,[2] mythology that are agreed to be Hindu texts today can roughly be traced back to the Vedic age around 1500 BCE.

Indian literature, epics and mythology have contributed immensely to various factors that form an important part of the society in the current world. This study tries to trace the contributions of Indian epics to International Law. Indian works like Kautilya's Arthashastra,[3] Laws of Manu, The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are great contributors to concepts of warfare, statehood, geography, also humanitarian principles.

This study will focus on two texts- the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and their contribution to International Law under broad topics such as war, diplomacy, foreign relations, statehood and governance. The concept of war is definitely not a new term or something that came up only during the 20th century.[4]

War has been a component which has existed since the ancient times and the mentions of war, the aftermath and the rules and forms of warfare form a major part of ancient Indian literature and has extensively been covered in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Hinduism, like most religions, believes that war is undesirable because it involves the killing of fellow human beings and hence should be avoided as a means of settling disputes.[5]

However, it does acknowledge that there might be situations when it is better to wage war than to tolerate evil.[6] Hinduism and Indian literature have categorised war to be Dharma Yuddha (righteous war), and Adharma Yuddha (unrighteous war) which are major contributors to the terminologies ethical and unethical warfare.The usage of weapons of mass destruction has been debated and there have been instances when Lakshmana, Arjuna have refrained from using unconventional weapons as they felt it was Adharma.[7]

Humanitarian principles, the treatment of prisoners of war, wounded soldiers are seen in these texts especially in the Ramayana, it is said that medicines and immediate care were given to the soldiers of the opposition as well and all were given the same respect at the time of death. Also there are versions of the Ramayana whereby Sita (when Hanuman meets Sita in Ashokavanam) tells about innocent men and women who were kept as prisoners by Ravana and that she wants Rama to free them.[8]

Diplomacy, the importance of diplomacy and the treatment to be given to diplomats, mediators and foreign relations have been seen in ancient Indian literature. Hanuman, Krishna, Vibhishana have been great examples of Diplomats and mediators. The treatment given to such diplomats and people who respect another kingdom or land, are the earliest contributors to the respectful treatment that foreign ambassadors and representatives who represent another country get from the receiving State.[9]

In the Ramayana, the conflict escalates to war when Ravana the demon king disrespected Hanuman who comes to talk about peace. These texts term war as an 'undesirable' element and how maximum efforts are taken to avoid war as it causes destruction and is a major threat to humanity. Krishna from the epic Mahabharata plays a role of a mediator as he tries to explain the concept of Dharma and how the Pandavas deserve their share of the Kingdom of Kuru.

When these mediations fail this lead to the famous Kurukshetra war. Also, Krishna offers to become the charioteer for Arjuna. Krishna promises that he won't take up to arms in the battlefield and when Arjuna sees that the opposition in the war were his own relatives and he refused to fight them, Krishna explains how war becomes an inevitable element because of the nature of man, the meaning of war, life, responsibilities of man and this conversation between Krishna and Arjuna is the 'Bhagavad Gita' which is a contribution not only to literature or religion but to the concepts of philosophy, human life, ethics and warfare.[10]

Statehood and governance are other topics that can be discussed from these texts. In the Valmiki's Ramayana, Valmiki talks about Araajake Dhanam 3which is basically the description of an anarchic state due to the death of Dasaratha and the problems a government and the people face if there is no one to take responsibility as a ruler to the state. These are problems that occur even in the present day International system and when there is a problem that occurs in a governance the immediate reaction turns out to be violence, which leads to terrorism as well.[11]

Research Methodology
Statement of Problem:
The primary focus of this project is to analyses the various aspects like warfare, diplomacy and statehood which were present in the ancient era but have great relevance in the present world. The two texts which will be focused in this study are the Ramayana and Mahabharata, along with these, there are slight references to the other ancient texts such as Manusmriti, Arthshastra and Skanda Purana.

  1. To analyze the contribution of ancient Indian texts is development of Public International Law.
  2. To understand the concepts of warfare, diplomacy and statehood through Indian literature.
  3. To study the prehistoric Indian literature namely, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Manusmriti, Arthshastra and Skanda Purana.
  4. To look into the relevance of the ancient Indian literature in the present times.


  1. The several tenets of present day International law, humanitarian principles, rules of warfare etc have already formed an inherent part of literature and texts in ancient.
  2. The ancient Indian literature particularly the twin epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata have contributed substantially to the corpus and essence of International Humanitarian law, Diplomacy and principles of warfare.

Research Questions:
  • What is the point of view of the religion of Hinduism on war, statehood and diplomacy?
  • What is the contribution of the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Manusmriti, Arthshastra and Skanda Purana to Public International Law?
Research Methodology:
The present research work is a Descriptive and Analytical Research; and
  • It is Doctrinal in nature and
  • It is a Mono-disciplinary Legal Research
  • The research design is Exploratory and Descriptive.
  • The sources of information are both Secondary (Articles, Books, Journals, Websites etc.) and Primary (Statutes, International Instruments, and Government Statistics and reports etc.)

Review of Literature:
Here are some literature reviews that will illustrate that what is the approach in this research and what are the materials which have been searched for carrying on this project work.
  • Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy Hardcover - 15 November 2016 by Shivshankar Menon
    Shivshankar Menon gives an insider's account of the negotiations, discussions and assessments that went into the making of five pivotal choices in India's recent history. Drawing on his long and distinguished career as a diplomat holding critical positions in India's external affairs ministry and in the prime minister's office, Menon considers each situation against the backdrop of India's evolving definition of her place in the changing global landscape. He brings out the history, politics and principles involved, while examining and dissecting the reasons for the outcome.
  • Tools of War: History of Weapons in Ancient Times Paperback - 30 May 2016
    by Syed Ramsey
    This book has been written keeping in view the requirements of undergraduate and postgraduate students and research scholars in the area of Military History & weapons and warfare.
    Taxation and Revenue Collection in Ancient India: Reflections on Mahabharata, Manusmriti, Arthasastra and Shukranitisar Hardcover - Unabridged, 9 May 2016
    by Sanjeev Kumar
    This is the first book to study taxation and revenue collection through a detailed analysis of public finance and financial administration in four major Indian texts, namely Mahabharata, Manusmriti, Shukranitisar and Arthashastra, as philosophers trained in the Indian classic tradition and scholars working on ancient Indian wisdom mostly prefer a more abstract approach.
Analysis of Old literature
This study tries to focus on the contribution of ancient Indian literature to International law and concepts like warfare, diplomacy, statehood and governance. Ancient Indian works would include the four major Vedas- Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva;[12] The laws of Manu, Kautilya's Arthashastra, Upanishads, the works of Sangam literature and works of Indian mythology- Ramayana and Mahabharata. This study will specifically focus on Ramayana and Mahabharata and their contribution to International law. Ancient Indian literature are associated highly with the history and the presence of India and its civilization since the early ages. Major works are-[13]

Kautilya's Arthashastra

It is one such work which is basically an ancient Indian treatise on statehood, economics, governance, warfare etc. It is dated to be between the 2nd century BCE and 3rd century BCE. It consists of 15 books. Written by Kautilya also known as Chanakya was an economist, jurist, teacher, philosopher and the Chief advisor and Prime minister to King Chandragupta Maurya the first ruler of the Maurya dynasty in India.[14]

He was the main reason for the fall of the Magadha dynasty and the coming up of the Maurya dynasty. He was nicknamed the Machiavelli of India. His political treatise focuses on various factors including controversial topics like political assassinations, secret agreements and this treatise is of great relevance and importance even in the 21st century. The book even talks about the daily routine of a ruler and how a ruler should structure his activities.

Kautilya also talk about the state of anarchy which is generally referred as Matsya Nyaya and how people instal a king to bring orderliness in a state and at the same time talks about another situation where the king is installed by a divine power.[15] The Arthashastra talks about seven components of the state: The king, the ministers, the country (population, geography and natural resources), fortification, treasury, army, and allies.[16]

It talks about the different type of foreign policies involved like peace, war, neutrality, diplomacy and other such related factors. In the book 'Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy' by Shivshankar Menon, who served as the National Security Adviser to India spoke about the relevance of Arthashastra in the 21st century and how it served as a guide for the formulating various foreign policies of India.[17] Arthashastra also talks about how political governance is needed if a State has to achieve economic governance how these factors are complimentary.[18]

The Manusmirti

Manusmruti commonly referred as the Laws of Manu is an ancient Indian text written about the Dharma or laws of the Hindu religion. It was one of the first few texts to be translated from Sanskrit to English. It serves a huge contribution to the formulation of laws in India and it basically contains the oration of Manu about Dharma, laws, duties, rights to Bhrigu a sage
who is considered to be one of the Saptarishi or the great seven sages in India.

The texts are written in Sanskrit and is dated to be around the 2nd century BCE. It talks about the caste system the justification to it, the duties of a king and also talks about rights and duties of an individual like marriage, diet and food the means of purification etc. The book has around 12 chapters and 2694 stanzas.[19]

This book has religious significance and at the same time can be taken as the major and initial source of law as Manu is considered to be the son if Lord Brahma who in Hindu mythology is the god of life or the creator of human life. The Manusmriti deals with concept of Karma which is basically the concept of a boomerang (if one throws it it will come back to them) that is good deeds will bring back goodness and bad deeds will bring sorrow and trouble.

The British when they ruled India were said to have used the Manusmriti as the basic law to sort of certain domestic issues like disputes in family, marriage etc. The major criticism to this work that it somehow justified the caste system.[20]

Tamil literature[21]

It is said to be one of the oldest in India. The Sangam period is highly attributed to the contribution of the Sangam Tamil literature. Tamil is said to be one of the oldest languages in India and in the world. The Sangam period is said to be around 300BCE and it brought in a lot works related to concepts of love, war, values and religion. The major work of the Sangam period is the 'Tholkappiyam' which is about grammar and the different dialects of Tamil language.

The third wave of the Sangam age saw a major work called the Thirukkural by Thiruvallur which is a set of 1330 couplets dealing with a lot of values and virtues for individuals and the society.[22] Today Thirukkural has been translated into different languages and is read world wide. The religious wave swept Tamil literature and religious literary works by the Alvars (followers of Lord Vishnu) and Nayanmars( followers of Lord Shiva).Later came the narrative epics like Silapathikaram, Manimekalai etc and these works spoke about the life and kingdoms during the ancient times.[23]

Skanda Purana

It is a sanskritic work which contains around 81000 verses and said to be one of major literature of the Shaivite or the followers of Lord Shiva. It is based on Skanda, the son of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvathi. It talks about theology, the way to deal with evil, values and virtues.[24]

There are many other such works which have been there since ancient times and are still widely read and translated. As mentioned earlier the major focus of this study is on the Ramayana and Mahabharata.[25]


Ramayana is one of the two major Indian epics the other being Mahabharata. Ramayana is the story of valiant prince Rama and his various phases of life. It is basically the story between good and evil. Rama is banished to the forest for 14 years and there his beautiful wife Sita is kidnapped by the Demon king Ravana. Rama defeats Ravana and brings back Sita and goes to become the King of Ayodhya. The original or initial version of the Ramayana is attributed to sage Valmiki, and is famously referred to as the 'Valmiki's Ramayana'.The Valmiki Ramayana consists around 24000 verses divided into 7 Kandas or books and is the second largest sanskritic verse.[26]

Later other versions and different interpretations came up namely Kamban's 'Kamba Ramyanam' or 'Ramavatharam' which was the Tamil version, Buddhist and Jain version, Telugu version known as Ranganatha Ramayanam, Tulsidas's Ramacharitranamas etc. Not only are there Indian versions but Ramayana is still widely told in countries like Indonesia called Kakawin Ramayan, Thailand known as the Ramakien and it is also famous in place like Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines and the Malaysian version, the Hikayat Seri Rama speaks of both Hindu and Islamic mythology elements present like Dasaratha is seen as the great-grandson of the Prophet Adam and the demon king Ravana received boons from Allah instead of Brahma.[27]

Rama belonged to the Ishvaku dynasty. Rama and his clan were also known as the descendants of the Solar dynasty which is known as Suryavamsa. Dasaratha was the king of Ayodhya the capital of the Kosala Kingdom. He was a valiant king and had a huge empire under his reign.

He was the father of Rama. Rama and his endeavours in destroying evil forces as guided by Sage Vishwamitra,leads him to the Swayamvar in the kingdom of Mithila( today Bihar and parts of Nepal) where he breaks the famous Bow of lord Shiva and wins the hand of Princess Sita and her sisters are married to brothers of Rama respectively.

Rama is sent on exile to the forest for a period of fourteen years as per the wishes of queen Kaikeyi.[28] After a few years in the forest ,Rama moves southward and certain events lead to the kidnap of Sita by Demon King Ravana of Lanka (today Sri Lanka) which basically is the main reason for the war. Rama's search for Sita leads him to the Vanara or Monkey king Sugriva and his chief Hanuman. With the help of Rama and Lakshmana , Sugriva gets his kingdom back from his brother Vaali who is killed by Rama.

In return Sugriva sends out troops to all the four directions to search for Sita. The troop that leads to the southern direction led by Vaali's son Angad and Hanuman, meet Sampati a vulture who was the elder brother of Jatayu who was a friend of Rama in the forest and had also given up his life trying to save Sita from the clutches of Ravana. Sampati tells them that Sita was taken to Lanka and across the ocean.

Hanuman takes a leap and crosses the ocean and reaches Lanka to find Sita.[29] Hanuman finds Sita in Ashokavanam and approaches Sita and shows her the ring Rama had given as a proof or a sign of good faith representing the fact that he was a messenger of Rama. Hanuman offers to carry Sita back, but she refused to go with him and that it was the rightful duty of Rama to fight Ravana to take her back and it was not Dharma to leave with him as then there would be no difference between Ravana and Rama.

Hanuman allows himself to be arrested to meet Ravana and represents himself as a messenger or a diplomat talking peace. When Ravana refuses and ill treats Hanuman, he warns him of war and leaves. The Yuddha Kanda deals with the Ramayan War. Rama is supported by his allies Sugriva and his Monkey army against Ravana. A bridge is built of stones to cross the southern coast of Bharat (India) to reach Lanka.

This chapter sees the shift of Ravana's brother Vibhishana to Rama's side as he felt what Ravana did was against Dharma or unrighteous. Rama wins the war, kills Ravana and Vibhishana is made the king of Lanka.[30] He asks Sita to undergo Agni pariksha or a test of chastity as she had lived in another man's place. The fire lifts her up and places her next to Rama proving everyone that she was pure. Rama and Sita along with Lakshmana and others return to Ayodhya in the famous 'Pushpaka Vimana'. This forms the basic summary of the story.[31]

It can be observed that Ramayana has various elements involved from governance, diplomacy, foreign relations and most importantly war.[32]

Ramayana has seen various editions and has been the favourite story for stage plays and street theatre. The recent adaptations of Ramayana are in the form of movies and tele serials. Ramayana is now being explored in various interpretations like Ram Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi a novel called Asura:
Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan, Devdutt Pattanaik, has released three different retellings of Ramayana titled Sita, The Book Of Ram and Hanuman's Ramayan. The major elements that can be discussed from this text are warfare, role played by a king, humanitarian law, role of women, forming of pact, diplomatic and foreign relations.


Mahabharata is a major Indian epic and is one of the Adikavya or ancient epic after Ramayana. It focuses on the Kurukshetra war between cousins, the Pandavas and Kauravas who belong to the Kuru clan. It was written by Sage Vyasa who narrated the events to Lord Ganesha who wrote it down. The Mahabharata consists around 1,00,000 verses and it is the longest written poem. The war is fought for the throne of Hastinapur.[33]

The war goes on for a period of eighteen days. The major highlight of this epic is the role played by Lord Krishna played the role of a mediator between the Pandavas and Kauravas and when he eventually decides to be on the side of the Pandavas. His sister Subhadra was married to Arjuna who was one of the five Pandavas. The Mahabharata basically started of with the king Shantanu who was married to the Goddess Ganga and they had a son Bhishma who took the vow of celibacy. He fought on the side of the Kauravas during the war.[34]

Mahabharata has different versions as well. Generally in the southern part of India it is narrated mostly in terms of Drama, especially in Tamil Nadu the story can be largely played as the 'Therukoothu' or street theatre performances. Also there are a lot of folktales attached to the Mahabharata. A great example for this can be the adaptation of a famous folktale in Andhra Pradesh called the Sasirekha Parinayam into a movie called the 'Maya Bazaar' and it is important to note that this tale does not form a part of the Mahabharata.[35]

There are Jain versions as well. In Indonesia, there is a version of the text called the Kakawin Bhāratayuddha, though there are certain changes like Draupadi is married only to Yudhishthira. Mahabharata has been translated into different languages like there is a Persian translation called the Razmnameh which came up during King Akbar's reign in India, English translations and even in India condensed and abridged versions of the Mahabharata have been written by authors such as RK Narayan, CR Rajagopalachari etc.[36]

In the recent times especially during the 1990's and 2000's different people have come up with different interpretations and case studies of particular characters from the Mahabharata like the 'The Palace of Illusions' by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni which basically narrates the story of Mahabharata from the eyes of Draupadi and recently writers like Devdutt Pattnaik are concentrating more on this Indian epic. Also Mahabharata has been adapted in to Tele serials as well.[37]

As the story goes on, Yudhishthira son of Pandu and Kunti is crowned prince of Hastinapur and this did not satisfy Dhritarashtra and his sons. The Lakshagraha or the House of lac is built by the Kauravas as a gift to the Pandavas to kill them by setting it on fire, but the Pandavas escape. Later when the Pandavas get to know about the Swayamvar happening at the kingdom of Panchala and they go there. Arjuna wins the hand of the princess of Panchala and daughter of king Drupad, Draupadi.

They move back to Hastinapur and shift to a palace specially built for them called the Indraprastha and they invite their Kaurava cousins to Indraprastha. Duryodhana walks round the palace, and mistakes a glossy floor for water and does not step on it.After being told of his error, he sees a pond, and thinking it is not water, he falls into it. Draupadi and the Pandava brothers laugh at him. Enraged by the insult, and jealous at seeing the wealth of the Pandavas, Duryodhana decides to host a dice-game at Shakuni's suggestion.[38]

The Pandavas lose everything in the game of dice, Draupadi is insulted and disrobed in front of everybody in the court and her dignity is saved by Krishna and his spiritual powers and they are exiled from the kingdom for thirteen years. After the exile, still the conflict for the throne remains leading to the battles of Kurukshetra. Krishna was the cousin of both parties, but he was a friend and advisor to the Pandavas, became the brother-in-law of Arjuna, and served as Arjuna's mentor and charioteer in the Great War.

Krishna also plays the role of a diplomat and tries to bring peace between the cousins and negotiates terms with Duryodhana who fails to listen. The Bhagavad Gita is the oration by Krishna to Arjuna in the battle field when Arjuna refuses to fight against his own cousin brothers.

Krishna suggests that war has to be fought in certain situations and that it was the innate characteristic to be selfish.

This Bhagavad Gita is of huge importance as it is a verse on its own and talks about the reality of life.Krishna promises not to take up any weapons during the course of the war, but he tries to attack Bhishma when he saw that Arjuna could not defeat him but is stopped by Arjuna. The war goes on for a period of eighteen days and it was a brutal war which brought out the true nature of mankind.

It is said that the war marks the transition of the earth to Kaliyuga which will be the last stage of the world and all the evil and bitter qualities of human beings will be exposed. At the end of the battle, only the Pandavas, Satyaki, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Kritavarma, Yuyutsu and Krishna survive the gruesome battle and the Pandavas win the war and Yudhishthira is crowned prince of Hastinapur.[39]

The end of the great book tells that after years of ruling, they leave to heaven leaving Arjuna's grandson Parikshit as the king.[40] The contribution made by this epic is immense and it can be seen in fields like science, medicine, warfare, diplomacy, foreign policies, governance etc.
This study will focus on three major contributions which are attributed to International law- Warfare, Diplomacy &Foreign relations and Statehood &Governance .[41]


When it comes to warfare, a major part of Ramayana especially the Yuddha Kanda focuses on war. It talks about ethical and unethical practices used in war as well. For instance Indrajit son of Ravana was an excellent warrior and he was the holder of the mighty weapon ' Brahmastra' for which a counter weapon cannot be used. Indrajit used this weapon against Hanuman but he survived because of a boon. Also this Brahmastra has been referred to as a Weapon of mass destruction and something similar to an atom bomb.

Robert Oppenheimer known as the father of Atom bomb during the Trinity test in the 1940's spoke about his influence of the Bhagavad Gita and made references to the Krishna's speech to Arjuna about the light produced by thousand suns which he referred to as the time of explosion of the atom bomb and how one cannot see through it.[42] Also the after math of the usage of such weapons which are referred to be as nuclear explosions today is also discussed both in the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

"It was a weapon so powerful that it could destroy the earth in an instant A great soaring sound in smoke and flames And on its sits death�"- The Ramayana as translated by N.Dutt in 1891.[43]

Both the epics talk about flying chariots and aerial warfare and these flying chariots were referred to as Vimanas.[44] Rama was a follower of ethical warfare and he made sure that good treatment was given to the prisoners of war. Rama suggests that combatants from both the party should be given medical assistance and should be given the same respect at death as well.[45]

Also, Rama makes all efforts to avoid war by sending representatives to Ravana as he felt war could be avoided if Ravana had treated the diplomats with dignity and had freed his wife and the other prisoners who were held up in Lanka. Mahabharata tries to focus on the theme 'Just war' or Dharma Yuddha, though the Kurukshetra war deviates several times from the conventional warfare.

For example, Ashwatthama the son of Drona the Guru or the teacher of Pandavas disturbed by the death of his father and not having a victorious day at the battle day kills a lot of warriors and the sons of Pandavas at night in the Pandava camp which was against their law as no attacks were supposed to be made after the sunsets.[46]

Diplomacy And Foreign Relations[47]

Diplomacy has been the central theme of these two epics. Hanuman, Vibhishana are great examples of diplomats and peace makers when it comes to the Ramayana and Krishna plays a central role when it comes to diplomacy in the Mahabharata. The roots of how a diplomat should be treated are definitely from these texts.

Hanuman is referred as one of the first diplomats who was sent to talk about peace from India to Sri Lanka. Hanuman is not treated properly by Ravana and the respect that the diplomat should get was not given even though Vibhishana warns him to give. Hanuman very clearly talks about the needs of Lord Rama and how it was unrighteous of Ravana to capture Sita in the absence of Rama and that he had to return her so as to prevent war.

He also mentions that war and loss of lives can be avoided if Ravana returned Sita and apologised for his unlawful deeds. Similarly the other diplomatic treatment can be seen when Vibhishana the brother of Ravana is unable to convince his brother about returning Sita back and avoiding war, he leaves Lanka to join the camp of Rama.

There, Sugriva and Lakshmana are furious and they want to attack Vibhishana but they are stopped by Rama who says that a mediator or diplomat should be treated with respect and that their voice should be heard. Krishna plays the role of a mediator and diplomat when it comes to the epic Mahabharata and he tries to play the role of a peace maker between the cousins. He talks about the need for Pandavas to get the rightful share of the kingdom.[48]

Geography is another important factor and it can be observed that kingdoms of the Kosala empire was spread across today's North India and Nepal. Also, Kaikeyi one of the wives of Dasaratha who was the major reason for Rama's exile in the forest, was from the Kingdom of Kekeya which was a part of the Mesopotamian civilisation and near the Caspian sea, and spread across today's Pakistan, Afghanistan as well.[49]

Their description of Geography is also immense and in Ramayana the troops of Sugriva are sent to all the four directions and the troop that went Northwards return back to Sugriva and say that they went till the place where the Sun does not touch the ground which basically refers to the Arctic.[50]

Statehood And Governance
Governance was more or less done by the King and his council of ministers. Alliances were formed with other big kingdoms or smaller kingdoms. The role played by the king was very important and the concept of anarchy was spoken about in ancient times and it was felt in the absence of a king or in the absence of a strong governance. Ram Rajya[51] is referred to a state of governance where the needs of people are met and there is a righteous and a democratic rule led by the Lord Ram. This has been referred by leaders like Gandhi and how a government should be led by principles and an ideal state of government where equality and justice prevailed.[52]

The situation of a state in the absence of a king has been described in detail in the Ramayana and the state of Araajake dhanam has been described in the Valmiki Ramayana which is basically an anarchic state in the kingdom as it occurs by the death of king Dasaratha and due to the absence of leader.[53]

Women played an important role, and princesses had a say in their marriage and a Swayamwar was performed for the princesses to choose their husband.The Bill or Act passed in parliaments that has to be done in the stipulated time today was a concept derived from the Ramayana with the concept of Sugrivajne which is known as the pledge of Sugriva for helping Rama to find Sita.[54]

When he delays the process, Lakshmana was preparing to launch and attack on Sugriva when Hanuman and Tara interrupt and advice Sugriva to arrange the process of search immediately. This incident also brings out the role played by women and the kind of freedom they had at that time. From the Ramayana and important and brilliant woman was Tara the wife of Vali ( Sugriva's brother) who is later on the death of Vali become the empress of Sugriva's court.

She's the one who warns Vali to not fight Sugriva and allow him back into the kingdom as he had the support of Rama. Also she serves as the chief advisor to Sugriva and insists that he stops spending his time carousing and help Rama by fulfilling his promise of helping Rama to find Sita. Also widow remarriage was not a taboo then and women like Tara, Mandodari who was the wife of Ravana after the death of their husbands were married to their brothers in some versions of the texts and some theories suggest that marriage to the reigning queen after the kings's death was compulsory and mutual.[55]

Transgenders and the concept of homosexuality was not a taboo then and a great example would be Shikandi- born as a woman, raised as a man and was eventually married to a woman as well. Shikandi was a warrior and fought on behalf of the Pandavas and the sole enemy to Shikandi was Bhishma.[56]

Vidura is the brother of King Dhritarashtra and he served as the chief advisor and prime minister of Hastinapur. He alway spoke about the Dharma. The formal dialogue between Vidura and Dhritarashtra is known as 'Vidura-neethi'[57] which is basically Vidura's Statecraft and is considered to be the predecessor of the famous Indian book of Arthashastra and this appears in the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata.

He had spoken about the role of a king to his kingdom people, the rights of women and the need to protect them and that is the reason for his anger towards the Kauravas as they had humiliated and disrobed Draupadi in the court. The text which consists around 500 shlokas basically talks about the phenomena of 'right conduct'.[58]

The contribution of ancient Indian literature to International law is substantial. This has been proved by various instances stated in this dissertation. Ancient Indian Literature includes various works like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Arthashastra, Laws of Manu, Skanda purana etc. It is important to note that India has existed from prehistoric times and is one of the ancient civilisations such as the Harappa and Mohenjo Daro and Indus Valley.

History is researched for patterns one can identify, yet mythology is ignored with a questionable scepticism. Mythology has generally been absorbed as a source for value education or telefilms. Very Few times, mythology has been looked from a practical perspective and as a source which contributes to the legal and administrative framework. Mythology had kingdoms, Post Colonial India has Governments.

The word still have disputes ranging from borders to resources. This was the same cause for wars and conflicts in ancient times as well. This study focused on two texts majorly - [59]the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and their contribution to International Law under broad topics such as war, diplomacy, foreign relations, statehood and governance.

In the ancient period, a major part of International law consisted of rules of warfare. Mutual relations of States were governed by certain rules based on the law of nature. Indians, Greeks, Romans had practiced definite rules regarding war and peace. According to Indian history, India was divided into a large number of states known as Rajyas or kingdoms.
 These kingdoms observed certain rules of Dharma which was basically the product of a common religion, culture and civilisation which they possessed as their common heritage. Ancient Indian literature, in particular, the Arthashastra, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, laid down various rules which are very similar to modern International law, as followed by the modern states in practice.

War was the core or central theme of both the Ramayana and Mahabharata and it can be observed:
That both these texts focus on the theme of Just war or ethical warfare. Rama was a follower of ethical warfare and he made sure that good treatment was given to the prisoners of war. This can be compared with the Geneva conventions which came up only in the 19th century but such issues have been dealt much before that. So the contributions made by these epics are immense[60] to the Geneva conventions as well.

For instance the Geneva Convention (III) Relative to the treatment of Prisoners of War elaborates on the rights and privileges of every combatant who has been captured as a prisoner of war and most of these principles have been mentioned in the Ramayana.[61]

Hinduism believes that war is undesirable and must be avoided because it involves the killing of fellow human beings but at the same time war is justified and there are certain reasons or preconditions that have existed for war to be justifiable. It is therefore evident through the study that ancient Indian literature particularly the twin epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata have contributed substantially to the corpus and essence of International Humanitarian law, Diplomacy and principles of warfare.

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