(Last Updated on : 09/12/2010)
Removal of thorns is the Book IV of Arthashastra which describes the nature of torture and then the punishment entrusted on it. In case of running a proper administration it becomes necessary to look after the security of the subjects which usually creates hindrances in running a smooth administration. Kautilya in his book Arthashastra repeatedly identifies these obstructions. He is the first ancient scholar who specifically mentions this and administers this problem while compiling Arthashstra. Within his Shastra he serves to the unanswered questions of failure of an administration which leads to the downfall of an empire.
Removal of Thorns includes discussions on the protection of artisans; protection of merchants; remedies against national calamities; suppression of the wicked living by foul means; detection of youths of criminal tendency by ascetic spies; seizure of criminals on suspicion or in the very act; examination of sudden death; trial and torture to elicit confession; protection of all kinds of government departments; fines in lieu of mutilation of limbs; death with or without torture; sexual intercourse with immature girls and atonement for violating justice.
Removal of Thorns lay down a number of agreements regarding the safety of the artisans and the merchants. The aim is to save them from any particular exploitation. The rules specify the contribution made by the artisans, weavers, washer man, goldsmith, scavengers, medicine practitioners, musicians.
The consecutive chapters put restrictions on the merchants and makes sure that they continue their correspondence well within the said rules and could be checked through the rules. Further it makes provisions for protection of subjects at the time of flood, famines, fire, pestilences with rats, snakes, tigers and so on which can lead to destruction of crops and loss of village life. In order to provide security the rules grant this power to the collector general who in due course engaged spies disguised as persons endowed with supernatural power, persons engaged in penance, ascetics, world trotters (chakra-chara), bards, buffoons, mystics (prachchhandaka), astrologers, prophets, physicians, lunatics, the dumb, the deaf, idiots, the blind, traders, painters, carpenters, musicians, dancers, vintners and manufacturers of cakes, flesh and cooked rice and sent them abroad into the country for espionage.
The consecutive chapters include detection of youth of criminal tendency, seizure of criminals on suspicion or in the very act. This chapter also makes provisions to examine the causes of sudden deaths, with a number of types of deaths out of which suspicion will grow. It further makes provisions for applying new methods to recover truth through methods of tortures within which the methods and level of atrocities is also mentioned. It then specifies the nature of crimes and announces the methods to induce punishment on them who commit such crimes. Overall it lays down in detail the methods of securing one's subjects against crime. At the end it sets in detail the punishments for violating justice which begins from out casting as well as cutting of limbs.
Thus, Removal of Thorns means searching out the guilty who dares to go against the law. As such he himself is responsible in encountering series of punishments.