Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Good governance and 16 percent tax

After the recent government change in India, with the promises and expectations of development and good governance, let us look at some signs of good governance from Sanskrit sources. We can learn some Sanskrit while discussing relevant modern topics as well.

"The guilt/crime/sin that a king gets, whose people are unprotected even after taking one-sixth (of the income as tax), may the he get upon whose counsel Rama went to exile in the forest."

The background of this shloka from Ramayana is when Rama’s brother Bharata comes back from Kekaya to find Rama has gone at the behest of his own mother Kaikeyi. When Rama’s mother Kaushalya scolds him, a sad and repentant Bharata says he had nothing to do with this. And then as if to prove his point, he hurls the curses on the one who instigated this whole thing. When today’s curses are of lowest level possible, the curses that Bharata gives show the elegance of the writer Valmiki and the high standards of the society and its elites.

From the above curse of Bharata two things are very clear.

One, it was a serious matter that a person doesn't do his duty. Dharma is one’s chosen duty. A king’s duty is to protect and prosper the citizens. That is the reason the tax is collected. Not for the enjoyment of the king. The king simply gets his salary (a higher but limited salary). If a king does not do that even after taking the tax, he is guilty, sinner, criminal; whichever way you want to look at. And this was so grave a matter, that Bharata curses the instigator with this grave curse.

Two, the tax at that time was one-sixth. That is 16%. And Ayodhya was one of the richest city of its time. And it was called the Golden Goose (Sone ki Chidiya in Hindi). And the world clamored to come here, in peace and in violence and in deceit, but came they all!

Why is it not possible today to have 16% tax and all the benefits, riches. Because the greedy corporations siphon off the resources of the society. The corrupt politicians swindle the money.

Even if we simply stop the corruption of present day (lakhs of crores of Rupees), we can lower the tax rate and still make progress. If we are able to get the Swiss bank black money of Indians then we will know what development can be.

There is enough to fulfill everyone’s needs
but not enough for even one person’s greeds.

And now the language aspects -

bali = sacrifice (tax)
ShaD = sixth
bhAgam = part (sixth part of the income)

uddhRitya = having taken, after taking (ut- = up, out; + hRit = to take away; + -ya = prefix to denote ‘after having done’)

nRipasya = of the protector (-pa) of people (nRi)

arakShitaH = unprotected (a- = not; rakSh = to protect; rakShitaH = protected)
prajAH = subjects of the king, citizens, people of a land (literally those that are born, generations, descendants)

adharmo = adharmaH = not right/just/fair (the guilt/sin of not being right) [ dharma = dhArayati iti dharmaH, right thing/action at the right time ]
yo’sya = yaH asya = that which is of such a king (whose people are unprotected even after 1/6 tax) [yaH = that which’ asya = of this]
so’syAstu = saH + asya + astu = that be of him [astu = may it be]
yasyAryo’numate = yasya + AryaH + anumate = upon whose counsel Rama [AryaH = noble, sir, contextually rAma; mati = thought, opinion; anumata = counsel, advice; anumate = in/by the advice of ]
gataH = went (to exile) [gaM = to go; gataH = that which is gone]

Pronunciation help with other Sanskrit words used in text:
rAmAyaNa रामायण ; bharata भरत ; kaikeyI कैकेयी ; kaushalyA कौशल्या ; vAlmIki वाल्मीकि ; dharma धर्म

(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
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1 comment:

  1. Looks like some thought in similar lines is happening -


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