Geopolitical Scientists of Ancient India

In the modern world the term Geopolitics was first coined by Rudolf Kjellén, a Swedish political scientist, at the beginning of the 20th century. The doctrine of Geopolitics gained attention largely through the work of Sir Halford Mackinder in England and his formulation of the Heartland Theory (World Island, Rimland and Periphery) in 1904. According to his theory the world was divided into three regions – Heartland (the secure part of the world consisting of large parts of Russia, Northern parts of China, Eastern parts of Europe, Mangolia) which was seemingly secure and had potential to prosper due to cushion provided by the rimland (the second part of the world consisting mainly of regions of India, Southern and Eastern parts of China, Sahara Desert, large parts of Western Europe) which were more prone to attackers from the sea-side and the peripheral world, which consisted mainly of large parts of Africa, Australia, US continent and numerous island countries of far east which were likely to be in most turmoil to be able to prosper. Today although the situation is very different and world geopolitical view is very different.

Ancient India had its own great geopolitical scientists. One most astonishing example seems to be that of Chanakya, (3rd century BC), the great teacher, a great politician and a person who really had a great regional view if not the world view of that time. His geopolitical understanding of the time was very deep which helped him to get to the job of uniting a number of independent states on the Indian continent and around. Without an understanding of risks involved with fighting the foreign invaders with a united power, he could not have achieved was he could achieve in his life time. His geopolitical understanding of the time was remarkable given the lack of communication, education, infrastructure of his time.

Originally a teacher at the ancient Takshashila University, Chanakya managed the first Maurya emperor Chandragupta’s rise to power at a young age. He is widely credited for having played an important role in the establishment of the Maurya Empire, which was the first empire in the archaeologically recorded history to rule most of the Indian subcontinent. Chanakya served as the chief advisor to both Chandragupta and his son Bindusara.

Chanakya is traditionally identified as Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise called Arthaśāstra. As such, he is considered as the pioneer of the field of economics and political science in India, and his work is thought of as an important precursor to Classical Economics.Chanakya’s works predate Machiavelli’s by about 1,800 years. His works were lost near the end of the Gupta dynasty and not rediscovered until 1915.

Two books are attributed to Chanakya: Arthashastra and Neetishastra (also known as Chanakya Niti).

The Arthashastra discusses monetary and fiscal policies, welfare, international relations, and war strategies in detail. The text also outlines the duties of a ruler.Some scholars believe that Arthashastra is actually a compilation of a number of earlier texts written by various authors, and Chanakya might have been one of these authors.

Neetishastra is a treatise on the ideal way of life, and shows Chanakya’s deep study of the Indian way of life. Chanakya also developed Neeti-Sutras (aphorisms – pithy sentences) that tell people how they should behave. Of these well-known 455 sutras, about 216 refer to raja-neeti (the dos and don’ts of running a kingdom). Apparently, Chanakya used these sutras to groom Chandragupta and other selected disciples in the art of ruling a kingdom.

Other works of ancient India geopolitical scientists are attributed to the development of Vedas and Puranas, mostly geopolitical accounts of ancient India political situations of as far as 2500 BC India. Although most of the Geopolitical accounts of ancient India have debatable accounts and sources of information is limited, they give a glimpse of prowess of great Indian geopolitical scientists and thinkers.

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Significance of Understanding of International Trade Procedures and Documentation

While operating in international markets, a businessperson can not transact without the interventions of mainly four groups of intermediaries or regulators – 1) Governments of host and home country, 2) Banks in both the countries, 3) Transporting group – Different payers involved with the overall logistics of carrying the goods from home country to host country, 4) Misc Group – Different service providers which facilitate the transaction of the goods internationally. Due to the simple fact that the transacting parties are located in different countries with different set of laws and regulations as also differing business practices, it becomes too complicated for them to carry out their transactions without the active participation of different players belonging to these groups or categories of entities. While governments of exporting and importing countries have their own objectives and compulsions to intervene, other groups are motivated to intervene seeing opportunities of profit in international transactions. Banking groups thrive on providing their services for profits of their own, transporters carry out their role on daily basis to make profit from the movement of the goods. Miscellaneous group consists of service providers which thrive on peculiar situations arising from international transactions.

In all, the involvement of so many parties in international transactions create a set of challenges and opportunities. The understanding of International Trade Procedures and Documentation is vital to meet these challenges and exploit these opportunities to its maximum.

Reliability Vs Validity of a Questionnaire in any Research Design

Questionnaires are most widely used tools in specially social science research. Most questionnaire’s objective in research is to obtain relevant information in most reliable and valid manner. Therefore the validation of questionnaire forms an important aspect of research methodology and the validity of the outcomes. Often a researcher is confused with the objective of validating a questionnaire and tends to find a link between the reliability of a questionnaire with the validity of it.

The reality is that reliability and validity are two different aspects of an acceptable research questionnaire. It is important for a researcher to understand the differences between these two aspects. In its simple explanation, reliability of a questionnaire seems to emerge from the quality of the questionnaire. On the other hand validity seems to emerge from the internal and external consistency and relevance of the questionnaire. In other words reliability of a questionnaire refers to the quality of tool (read questionnaire) while validity refers to the process used to employ the tool in use, i.e. the process used to conduct the questionnaire. There are several dimensions to the process of employment of a questionnaire in use. Some of the important dimensions are discussed in the following paragraphs.

General Validity

A major aspect of validation of a questionnaire refers to common validity of the questionnaire. The most common elements widely used in questionnaire validation are –

Known Group Validity – refers to the extent to which an instrument can demonstrate variability of scores which vary on a certain known variables.

Construct Validity – refers to the extent to which an instrument can demonstrate the measure of the intended construct.

Content Validity – refer to the extent to which an instrument covers all aspect of social problem under study

Criterion Validity – refers to consistency with the gold standard questionnaire

Correlation

Variables may have correlation but this correlation should be optimal. Most commonly correlation tests are aimed at finding interclass correlation, between group correlations. Correlation mainly provides measure of internal consistency for validating the questionnaires. Some of the common correlation test for validating questionnaire relate to following

Inter class correlation coefficient – It refers to the ratio between interclass variance to total variance.

Cronbach Alpha – Is the measure of the correlation between items of the test. It is the homogeneity of the test. Experts agree that items in a test are moderately correlated. This way these are expected to measure all aspects of a single trait being tested. If the correlation is too low it may indicate that items refers to not one trait but two or more different trait. On the other hand a very high correlation refers to one of the items being redundant for the test

Discriminant correlation – refers to the extent to which a measure of a research attribute is related to measure of a different attribute which is not intended to be measured.

 

Bias

Bias is more problematic than random error and can be intentional or unintentional. The bias is related to characteristics of investigator, observer or instrument. Unintentional bias is of bigger concern. It is to be avoided by uncovering its source and re looking at design instrument or using a method to avoid it.

A validated questionnaire is one that has undergone validation procedure to show that it accurately measures what its objective is, regardless of the respondent’s status, timing of response, different investigators. The instrument is compared with the Gold Standard, if available. It is also compared with other sources of data. The reliability is also tested. Even if the questionnaire is not fully valid (which is rare), reliability of the questionnaire has its own value. If the reliability is there it offers an opportunity to compare results with other studies.

Importance of Pilot Study in any Research

Pilot studies or trials – which are comparative randomized trials designed to provide preliminary evidence on the efficacy of an intervention or theoretical model / concept – are routinely performed in many social and other research areas. Also commonly known as “feasibility” or “vanguard” studies, they are designed to assess the potential of an intervention; to assess potential of a concept; to assess the feasibility of international collaboration in a research work or coordination for multi countries studies; to increase experience with the study or intervention. These are the best ways to assess feasibility of a large, expensive full-scale study, and in fact are an almost essential pre-requisite. Conducting a pilot prior to the main study can enhance the likelihood of success of the main study and potentially help to avoid doomed main studies. The key aspects of pilot studies includes: 1) the general reasons for conducting a pilot study; 2) the relationships between pilot studies, proof-of-concept studies, and adaptive theoretical designs; 3) the challenges of and misconceptions about pilot studies; 4) the criteria for evaluating the success of a pilot study; 5) frequently asked questions about pilot studies; 7) some ethical aspects related to pilot studies; and 8) some suggestions on how to report the results of pilot investigations using any special format. One another area of using a pilot study is also to identify which statistical tools may be useful for effective results in the main full scale study.