The Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), New Delhi, is mak-ing a remarkable tribution to Kautilya studies. The IDSA Library runs a ‘Kautilya Desk’, storing a growing body of new material, in a spirit of dedication. A contributor to this volume, Col. Pradeep Gautam (Retd.), supported by the current and former IDSA Directors and others, supervises this project. IDSA also collaborates with Germany’s South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University and Singapore National University’s Institute of South Asian Studies. This book is a result of two conferences held by these entities in 2015 and 2016.
Michael Liebig stumbled upon Kautilya some years back, searching for a doctoral dissertation theme; this former journalist, then in his 50s, had sought a career shift. That story is delightful in its serendipity, and evokes memory of another German enamoured with India studies, Max Muller—in his case in the 19th century, heyday of colonialism, when the likes of John Stuart Mill, rejected the very notion of a cultured India. Anyone interested in that paradox would profit from Uday Mehta’s brilliant study, Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought (1999).