In his column What exactly is the Manusmriti?, Devdutt Pattanaik says the Manu mentions China. Which verse(s) is he referring to?

Manusmriti was composed roughly around 200 CE (Common Era). We know this because it refers to Saka (North West tribes) and Cheen (China) who established contact with India around this time.

  • maybe you can ask him that ? there is a place to leave comments on that blog.
    – ram
    Nov 8, 2018 at 3:53
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    I usually upvote all questions that I'm answering but this time I have not because I don't agree with the assertions of the author.
    – Rickross
    Nov 8, 2018 at 12:42
  • @Rickross Which assertion? About 200 CE? Take a look at this intro by Patrick Olivelle in his translation of Manusmṛti. Nov 9, 2018 at 18:09
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    Ok. What is the earliest date of Manu according to you? Whose translation are you using in the answer below. @Rickross Nov 11, 2018 at 15:31
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    Unless it's your own translation, you are required to credit the author/translator in your answers. At least leave a link to it. If you are using the tr. from sacred-texts.com/hin/manu.htm then it must be George Bühler @Rickross Nov 16, 2018 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


The word "China", referring to a particular tribe, is found in Manu Smriti 10.44:

10.43. But in consequence of the omission of the sacred rites, and of their not consulting Brahmanas, the following tribes of Kshatriyas have gradually sunk in this world to the condition of Sudras

10.44. (Viz.) the Paundrakas, the Chodas, the Dravidas, the Kambogas, the Yavanas, the Sakas, the Paradas, the Pahlavas, the Chinas, the Kiratas, and the Daradas.

10.45. All those tribes in this world, which are excluded from (the community of) those born from the mouth, the arms, the thighs, and the feet (of Brahman), are called Dasyus, whether they speak the language of the Mlecchas (barbarians) or that of the Aryans

The relevant verse in Sanskrit is:

PoundrakAsha chauda drAvidAh kambojA yavanAh shakAh |
PAradA pahlavAsh chinAh kirAtA daradA khashA ||

So, according to Manu Smriti, all those tribes, including the China tribe, were originally Kshatriyas, but due to non-performance purificatory and sacred rites, they became VrAtyas and degraded themselves to the status of the Sudras.

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    So 'the China tribe' = China/Chinese or some other tribe close to India? Nov 8, 2018 at 19:21
  • Chinese IMO, the verse also refers to Yavanas (Greeks), Sakas (Hunas) etc. @sv.
    – Rickross
    Nov 9, 2018 at 6:18
  • china tribe could also refer to "tibet" OR "tibet+east asia"
    – ekAntika
    Jul 5, 2022 at 18:00
  • Yes possible because modern day Tibet is referred to as Maha china in Tantras @ArvindC
    – Rickross
    Jul 6, 2022 at 5:54
  • "China tribe, were originally Kshatriyas..." - true because chinese religion Taoism has similarities with indian religion like 'yin and yang' (puruSha-prakrutI of samkhya), vegetarianism (no onion, garlic, etc) etc.
    – ekAntika
    Jul 6, 2022 at 18:24

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