by Lal Deosa Rai
Lal Deosa Rai is a well Known Nepalese historian today. The book is the first authentic attempt to trace the origin of human rights in Hindu- Buddhist society. The author opens the book with an account of the origin of the notion and meaning of human rights in context of western liberal democracy as distinguished from the Hindu-Buddhist society and moves ahead to explore the meaning of dharma or dhamma as key concept in understanding the notion of human rights of a Hindu-Buddhist origin. Employing the contemporary state of knowledge and research available in the area of ancient history of Nepal, the author provides a politico-legal background to human rights in the Hindu-Buddhist society. He believes that the dharma had a catalytic effect in moldings the nature of development of human rights in the ancient and medieval Nepal. The Lichchavians had developed an idea of freedom based on dharmic principles and the protection and development of panchali, gosthi and sangha was conceived an act of collective freedom from the tyranny of the despotic rule. It was not a theocratic state and dharma and not the religion was the guiding principle of the Lichchavian State.
The book is a must to human-rights experts, ideologists, historians, political thinkers, as well as scholars interested in knowing the state of Buddhism in Nepal.