The Nitopadesha Front Cover

Buy this book at Amazon

…the first book is on citizen craft, praja dharma, to ensure yoga and kshema. In the epilogue to the first book, Rajnidatta’s summary of the rule of law is one of the best expositions that exists…had the drafters of India’s Constitution been familiar with the fox’s maxims, the fundamental duties section might have been crafted differently.” BIBEK DEBROY (in the Foreword)

This is a delightfully inventive collection of genre-bending fables, accessible, wise and humane. The insights into the nature of both morality and power are a treat.” PRATAP BHANU MEHTA

The fortuitous circumstance that led to the possession and discovery of the manuscript  of Nitopadesha  by Nitin Pai, in ancient Tocharian language now extinct, and his curiosity, devotion and diligence that led to its translation, is an incredible and fascinating story in itself and will hopefully lead to further research by historians and linguists and informed debate. The fables told in Nitopadesha through animals is akin to the narrative style and theme of the great Indian fables Panchatantra and Hitopadesha, originally in Sanskrit, on the wise conduct of life’. This is a hidden treasure and future generations will be beholden to the author for this bequest, for its worldly wisdom on how to balance self interest with the common weal.”” CAPT G R GOPINATH

These stories demonstrate how a common understanding of roles and therefore power in a society is the foundation of successful self-governance. Another confirmation of the timeless significance and influence of the fables.” VIVEK SHANBHAG

Nitina of Takshashila, a rogue Gandharan scholar imprisoned for questioning authority, is offered a chance to win his freedom by instructing the youth in the art of citizenship. He teaches the underlying mechanisms that allow a society to exist and prosper in the form of fables and parables that comprise the Nitopadesha. In this fluid translation by Nitin Pai, who has a magical story to tell about how he came upon the manuscript, the interwoven structures of power, morality, and duty are explained simply and profoundly in the best way our society has codified and communicated knowledge: through stories.” MUSHARRAF ALI FAROOQI

It is wonderful…I am sure it will be widely read. My eight year old grand-daughter is going to hear some of the stories which I intend to read to her — she loves the animal world, like all kids do.” LT GEN PRAKASH MENON

Nitin Pai, the man behind the Takshashila Institution’s thoughtful public-policy work, has turned his hand to a collection of fables on citizenship . As with all good fables, the stories of the Nitopadesha are specific in scope, yet timeless in nature, and remind us of lessons that too many sadly seem to have forgotten. The  Nitopadesha is a timely guide for citizens of democracies who wish to preserve and strengthen their constitutional values and institutions even as they strive to change the world for the better.” SHASHI THAROOR

India’s foundational constitutional values shine through this labyrinth of tales on responsible citizenship. India’s rich tradition of storytelling is used to bring out essential insights from political science, economics and philosophy.” ROHINI NILEKANI

What an exciting and much needed book on the dharma of citizenship! It teaches us proper civic conduct through clever stories of ethical dilemmas, brute state power and economic freedom. Every Indian should read it.” GURCHARAN DAS

Playful yet profound and told in the comforting cadence of Indian storytelling, the Nitopadesha should be required reading for every student and change agent. What a delightful book!” SHOBA NARAYAN

Buy the book from

Back to The Nitopadesha book page

If you would like to share or comment on this, please discuss it on my GitHub

© Copyright 2003-2024. Nitin Pai. All Rights Reserved.