The book S?m?jika N?ti-K?vya Guccha? contains five ?atakams (sets of hundred verses) on social ethics, inspired by the ancient Sanskrit poet, Bhart?hari?s Niti-?atakam. They are on environmental ethics, Gandhi?s ethical philosophy, Hinduism from the ethical perspective of Gandhi, humanitarianism, and ethical philosophy of democracy including human rights. There are also two da?akams (sets of ten verses), being prayers to goddess Sharada and goddess Mahalakshmi, one at the beginning and the other at the end of the ?atakams, respectively; seeking wisdom and end to poverty and inequality in the world. Though the original compositions are in Sanskrit, the book provides their lucid translation into English with word-to-word meaning and annotation.
The book is a short but comprehensive introduction to social, political, economic, and environmental ethics, and can be an aid in learning Sanskrit through modern problems showing the language as relevant for contemporary concerns as well.
These Satkarnas are Prof Nadkarni?s passionate plea for an authentic democratic order which guarantees the rights of every citizen while each citizen participates in it being fully aware of his / her duties. The complementarity of rights and duties is shown to be the essence of genuine democracy.