Principles of Laws of War in Ancient India and the Concept of Mitigating Armed Conflicts through Controlled Fights

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
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While modern international humanitarian law is most directly linked to 19th and 20th century Europe and The Hague and Geneva Conventions, cultures throughout history have developed rules of warfare for the protection of non-combatants and civilian populations. This paper provides an overview of the Dharma-based Hindu and Buddhist norms for conflict in Ancient India, and then proceeds to a detailed examination of the practices of Ankam and Mamamkam on the medieval Malabar Coast from the Sangam period through the rule of the Zamorins of Calicut. Ankams were ad hoc proxy duels between professional fighters conducted to resolve inter-state disputes, while Mamamkam was a periodic contest designed to allow relatively bloodless transfer of power. Both demonstrate an understanding of modern concepts of proportionality, distinction and victims’ protection. The paper concludes by enumerating the humanitarian values carried by Ankams and Mamamkam.

Principles of Laws of War in Ancient India and the Concept of Mitigating Armed Conflicts through Controlled Fights

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies

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References

23

Weeramantrysupra note 3 at 4.

26

Mahabharata Parmarsupra note 20.

28

Nirmalsupra note 16 at 29.

29

Parmarsupra note 20.

31

Quoted by Viswanathasupra note 5. Also see S. Beal Life of Hiuen Tsiang (1914).

34

Chackosupra note 2 at 59. Also see Fragments cited in N. Singh Juristic Concepts of Ancient Indian Polity (1980) at 162–163.

36

Chackosupra note 2 at 59.

40

Chackosupra note 2 at 61.

41

Weeramantrisupra note 3 at 10.

46

Weeramantrysupra note 3 at 7.

50

Chackosupra note 2 at 61.

55

Nirmalsupra note 16 at 32.

62

As mentioned in Nirmalsupra note 16 at 33.

67

Chackosupra note 2 referring to C.C. Hyde International Law Chiefly as Interpreted and Applied by the United States (1947) at 1844.

77

Nairsupra note 72 at 65.

91

Duncansupra not 86 at 4–5.

92

Nairsupra note 72.

93

Kumarsupra note 67.

94

Logansupra note 50 at 82–83. Also see Francis Day Land of the Perumals of Cochin: Its Past and its Present (1863) at 319 and J.S. Buckingham (ed.) xxiiThe Oriental Herald and Journal of General Literature (1829).

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