The present work by a well-known authority on Ancient India deals in a comprehensive manner with the ancient Hindu political ideas, theories and ideals and describes the different features and aspects of the ancient Indian administration in its numerous branches. It is based not merely on a study of the different Smrti books and Arthasastra works in Sanskrit, which give us the theoretical picture, but it also utilizes fully all the data bearing on the subject available in Vedic and classical literature. Buddhist and Jain works, ancient books on history and accounts of foreign travelers and historians. Rich material supplied by inscriptions has been fully tapped and the discerning critic will not be unwilling to concede that no previous work on the subject attempts to give such a comprehensive synthesis of the divergent data supplied by theoretical and literary works on the one hand and by inscriptions and purely historical records on the other. The material has been arranged chronologically and also province-wise, whenever it was possible to do so. In each chapter, an attempt has been made to trace the development of political theories and institutions from age to age, though the material in some cases was not quite sufficient to do so. This book is mainly a research work, which documents all important statements it makes and throws fresh light on several important and obscure points. The subject matter has been presented in a manner calculated to be attractive and intelligible to the general reader as well.
Anant Sadashiv Altekar was a historian, archaeologist, and numismatist from Maharashtra, India. He was the Mahindra Chandra nandi Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, and later the director of the Kashi Prasad Jayaswal Research Institute and University Professor of Ancient Indian History.