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Scheming Lovers and their Secrets: Strategy-making in the Kamasutra
Homo Oeconomicus (2011)
  • Vikas Kumar

This paper explores the Kamasutra (circa 3rd century CE), an ancient South Asian treatise on erotic love, written by Vatsyayana, also known as “the Indian Machiavelli of Love”, from the perspectives of secrets and strategy-making. It introduces five jointly necessary conditions that should be satisfied for a piece of information to count as a secret and then argues that Vatsyayana’s world abounds in secrets. It further argues that Vatsyayana’s actors are strategically oriented in the game-theoretic sense. It then analyzes two simultaneous move games constructed from the text of the Kamasutra dealing with mutual agreements among women of royal harems for secretly smuggling in men-about-town and quarrels between intimate lovers when infidelity of one of them is revealed. We argue that in both cases Vatsyayana’s insights correspond to the pure strategy equilibria of these games.

Publication Date
December 31, 2011
Citation Information
Vikas Kumar. "Scheming Lovers and their Secrets: Strategy-making in the Kamasutra" Homo Oeconomicus Vol. 28 Iss. 4 (2011)
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