despotism is a state in which all the power and domination has been manifested
by a single person and everybody else are the secondary to it. That single
person is mostly the King. This concept of orient despotism has been promoted
from the ancient Greeks by Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist.
In the Middle East and
Asia, the orient despotism existed as tribute-collection which was based on the
system of production-property relation.
During the Aryans ruling
period (rig-vedic period), pastorals and cattle was considered as wealth. As
the agricultural practices got advanced due discoveries of mineral cores like
iron, the worth of land got increased. After the rig-vedic era, the concept of
orient despotism got widely spread and accepted.
During Dharmashastra period,
despotism can be seen as the King could not donate or trade the land of his
kingdom as the land were belonged to the all the residents of the kingdom.
And also during Maurya period, Kautilya was in complete favor of
full authorization of the ownership to the king.
During the Muslim sultans’ period (in 1200s), even
though there were no ownership of the land but some taxes were imposed on
accordance of the size of the land on the land holders during Sher Shah Suri
During British rule when Governor General was lord Corwallis, ownership
of land was transferred to Zamindars, which passes from generation to
generation to the male heir.
Therefore, the Orient
despotism can not apply to ancient India.
In Arthshastra, King had to
perform dual role, one as a participant in trade and secondly, as a regulator
of trade or more specifically of prices.
As a price regulator, king has to prevent the
formation of price making markets in land. The reason for this regulation was to
maintain a fixed profit rate (approx. 5%) to traders above permitted purchase
price of local goods and 10% for foreign goods. The objective was to measure 3 entities-
1) Profit to King.
2) Profit to Merchant.
3) Meeting demand of public at fair price.