Ancient Book Could Reveal Secret to Improved Warfare

April 8, 2002

Scientists in India are turning to an ancient book to find what they believe could be the key to more effective stealth warfare.

The project is being undertaken by the Defence Research and Development Organisation in association with the University of Pune.

Experts believe they can find a way of giving Indian troops an edge against the enemy by studying the book written by Kautilya, a prime minister from the fourth century BC.

It offers tips on how to become invisible, methods to induce madness in the enemy and contains a special prescription that purports to endow soldiers with night vision.

According to a report in Pragati newspaper, it says soldiers fed with a single meal of herbs and clarified butter can stay hungry for an entire month without feeling tired.

Book XIV of the Arthashastra also touches on aspects of chemical and biological warfare.

Kautilya was a prime minister under Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. He said a ruler could use any means to attain his goal and his actions required no moral sanction.

Dr V S Ghole, who is leading the government-funded project, said: "Our focus at present is on how humans can control hunger for longer durations and walk for longer periods without experiencing fatigue. Once we have made some headway we will move to other areas."

Professor S V Bhavasar, who has spent many years researching the Arthashastra, said: "All of us are excited about the possibilities and do not for a moment think that the idea is crazy. Decoding ancient texts is not an easy task but we are very hopeful of success."

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