In ancient India, everyone frowned on violence: Upinder Singh

Here to deliver a lecture on the topic 'Ancient Indian Perspectives on the Problem of War', historian Upinder Singh who is the daughter of the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, addressed students at Panjab University on Friday.

The lecture was organized by the Department of History in memory of founder head Professor Hari Ram Gupta, and Vice Chancellor Arun Grover presided over the function.

Professor Upinder Singh talked of the intellectual engagement in ancient India with the problem of war. The broad concern that she highlighted in the lecture was of the manner in which thinkers in ancient India engaged themselves with the problem of war.

She presented the focal argument that there was one commonality among the thinkers in ancient India, which was that unmitigated and illegitimate violence was frowned upon by everyone. Instead it was believed that a good king was one who was able to enforce his will and expand his empire without the use of violence. Singh emphasised that the use of diplomacy, discussion and persuasion by the king were the preferred and approved ways for him to overpowering his enemies.

Singh pointed out that the king was always condemned whenever he used violence in order to further his various interests.

She also said that it was difficult to use the subject of history as if it were 'teaching lessons' for handling our contemporary problems since there was so much that was different now from our historical period.

She released a book, edited by Professor Devi Sirohi, entitled History Perspectives II which showcases the recent researches by researchers associated with the Department of History.

Singh was presented books by the VC and she also visited the Department of Economics where her father had once studied.

An expert in ancient history, Upinder is presently a professor of History at the University of Delhi.

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