(Last Updated on : 22/11/2010)
Mission of the Envoys describes the role of the envoys in carrying out the deliberations of the kingdom. Arthashastra
in its Book I describes the role of the envoys and their qualifications. According to Arthashastra whoever has succeeded as a councillor is an envoy; whoever possesses a ministerial qualification is a charge- d -affairs; whoever possesses the same qualification less by one -quarter is an agent entrusted with a definite mission; whoever possesses the same qualification less by one half is conveyer of royal writs. These are the qualifications of the envoy who is required to function at the grass root level administration. While the man instruction s comes from the king and the ministerial level, the envoys are instrumental in executing them at the grass root level.
Mission of the Envoys then suggests the activities of the envoys who shall begin their job after they had made suitable arrangements regarding the carriages, conveyance and other means of subsistence. The envoy is then supposed to make friendship with the enemy's officers particularly those who are in charge of security of the boundaries, wild tracts, cities and country parts. He shall also make a comparison of enemy's military stations, means of warfare and war tactics and particularly the areas of strong hold of the enemy on those of his own master. He shall further make an assessment of the area and size of the enemy's fort and the kingdom as well as strong hold of those precious resources and assailable well as unassailable points. After having the permission of the king, the envoy can enter the capital of the enemy area and state the object of the mission as exactly entrusted to him even at the cost of his life. Any change in the deliberation of the message will lead to change of the mission which will be disastrous.
After receiving the Mission of the Envoy the behaviour of the enemy with either good grace or displeasure can be assessed by the brightness in the tone, face, and eyes of the enemy; respectful reception of the mission; enquiry about the health of friends; taking part in the narration of virtues; giving a seat close to the throne; respectful treatment of the envoy; remembrance of friends; closing the mission with satisfaction.
Mission of the Envoy also states certain limitations as well. The king shall after delivering his message will not be obliged to stay thin the enemy area for long. He can simply choose to leave. He is at the same time prohibited from liquor and women. The envoy while his stay is supposed to check the loyalty of enemy's people towards their king which is to be conducted mainly through observations. Whatever information he collects is supposed to be rechecked through intrigues and spy system. If the mission is not successful then the envoy shall infer it as a danger to his master. The envoy on intimating any unfavourable information to the enemy king will be prone to punishment.
Mission of the envoy, as such, jots down some of the duties of the messenger which includes transmission of missions, maintenance of treaties, issue of ultimatum (pratapa), gaining of friends, intrigue, sowing dissensions among friends, fetching secret force; carrying away by stealth relatives and gems, gathering information about the movements of spies, bravery, breaking of treaties of peace, winning over the favour of the envoy and government officers of the enemy. The king shall further employ his own envoys to carry on works of the above description, and guard himself against (the mischief of) foreign envoys by employing counter envoys, spies and visible and invisible watchman.
Thus, Mission of the Envoy as noted in Arthashastra defines the role of the messenger who plays an equally important role in executing the mind of a king as well as his ministry. He works as a bridge between the warring states and any message delivered by him will evoke either long lasting friendship or long lasting enmity.