Kautilya Arthashastra

by R. Shamasastry | 1956 | 174,809 words | ISBN-13: 9788171106417

The English translation of Arthashastra, which ascribes itself to the famous Brahman Kautilya (also named Vishnugupta and Chanakya) and dates from the period 321-296 B.C. The topics of the text include internal and foreign affairs, civil, military, commercial, fiscal, judicial, tables of weights, measures of length and divisions of time. Original ...

Chapter 22 - Regulation of Toll-Dues

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Merchandise, external (bāhya, i.e. arriving from country parts), internal (ābhyantara, i.e. manufactured inside forts), or foreign (ātithya, i.e. imported from foreign countries) shall all be liable to the payment of toll alike when exported (niṣkrāmya) and imported (praveśya).

Imported commodities shall pay ⅕th of their value as toll.

Of flowers, fruits, vegetables (śāka), roots (mūla), bulbous roots (kanda), pallikya (?), seeds, dried fish, and dried meat, the superintendent shall receive ⅙th as toll.

As regards conch shells, diamonds, precious stones, pearls, corals, and necklaces, experts acquainted with the time, cost, and finish of the production of such articles shall fix the amount of toll.

Of fibrous garments (kṣauma), cotton cloths (dukūla), silk (krimitāna), mail armour (kaṅkaṭa), sulphuret of arsenic (haritala), red arsenic (manaśśila), vermilion (hiṅguluka), metals (loha), and colouring ingredients (varṇadhātu); of sandal, brown sandal (agaru), pungents (kaṭuka), ferments (kiṇva), dress (āvaraṇa), and the like; of wine, ivory, skins, raw materials used in making fibrous or cotton garments, carpets, curtains (prāvaraṇa), and products yielded by worms (krimijāta); and of wool and other products yielded by goats and sheep, he shall receive 1/1[?]th or 1/15th as toll.

Of cloths (vastra), quadrupeds, bipeds, threads, cotton, scents, medicines, wood, bamboo, fibres (valkala), skins and clay pots; of grains, oils, sugar (kṣāra), salt, liquor (madya), cooked rice and the like, he shall receive 1/20th or?/25th as toll.

Gate dues (dvārādeya) shall be ⅕th of toll-dues; this tax may be remitted if circumstances necessitate such favour. Commodities shall never be sold where they are grown or manufactured.

When minerals and other commodities are purchased from mines, a fine of 600 paṇas shall be imposed.

When flowers or fruits are purchased from flower or fruit gardens, a fine of 54 paṇas shall be imposed.

When vegetables, roots, bulbous roots are purchased from vegetable gardens, a fine of 51¾ paṇas shall be imposed.

When any kind of grass or grain is purchased from field, a fine of 53 paṇas shall be imposed.

(Permanent) fines of 1 paṇa and 1½ paṇas shall be levied on agricultural produce (sītātyaya).[1]

Hence in accordance with the customs of countries or of communities, the rate of toll shall be fixed on commodities, either old or new; and fines shall be fixed in proportion to the gravity of offences.[2]

[Thus ends Chapter XXII, “Regulation of Toll-Dues,” in Book II, “The Duties of Government Superintendents” of the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya. End of the forty-third chapter from the beginning.]

Footnotes and references:


As contrasted with the above fines which are occasional, the following fines are permanently levied on the sale of agricultural produce, irrespective of any offence committed thereof. One paṇa is to be imposed on the purchaser and one and a half paṇas on the seller.—Com.


In śloka-metre.

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