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What is Vienna Convention on Diplomatic

Relations ?

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty, accepted by 189 states till date, that defines a guideline for diplomatic relations between numerous independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable the diplomats to perform their diplomatic functions without the fear of any legal trouble or harassment from the host country. This forms the legal basis for the diplomatic immunity. The articles of the Vienna Convention are considered as a cornerstone for modern international relations.

According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 (VCDR), diplomatic immunity is granted to only certain individuals depending on their rank and the amount of immunity they require to carry out their official duties without legal harassment from the host nation. Diplomatic immunity allows foreign representatives to work in host countries without fully understanding the customs of that country. However, diplomats are expected to respect and follow the laws and regulations of their host countries.

of the Convention exempts diplomatic agents from the civil and

criminal jurisdictions of host states, except for cases in which a diplomatic agent

(1) is involved in a dispute over personal real property, . (2) has an action involving private estate matters or (3) is in a dispute arising from commercial or professional business outside the scope of official functions.

Article 31

What is Vienna Convention on Consular

Relations ?

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 (VCCR) is an international treaty that defines the guidelines for consular relations between the independent countries. A consul normally operates out of an embassy in a different country, and performs two functions:

(1) protecting the interests of the country and the countrymen of the consul, and (2) furthering the commercial and economic relations between the two countries.

While a consul is not a diplomat, they work out of the same premises,

and under this treaty they are afforded most of the same privileges, including a variation of diplomatic immunity called consular immunity.

This treaty has been accepted by 176 countries.


Consular immunity offers protections similar to the diplomatic immunity, but these protections are not as extensive, given the functional differences between consular and diplomatic officers. For example, consular officers are not given absolute immunity from a host country’s criminal jurisdiction (they may be tried for certain local crimes upon action by a local court) and are immune from local jurisdiction only in cases directly relating to their consular functions.

*********************************************************** ***************************** Some terms related to Diplomacy



Some terms related to Diplomacy !!!

Asylum Used in diplomacy to mean the giving of refuge in two senses: first, within the extraterritorial grounds of an embassy (not generally done in American embassies); and second, when one states allows someone to live within its borders, out of reach of the authority of a second state from which the person seeks protection.

Ambassador-Designate An official who has been named to be an ambassador, but who has not yet taken his oath of office.

Ambassadress A term often used to denote the wife of an ambassador, and misused to denote a woman chief of mission. The latter is an ambassador, not an ambassadress.

Accords International agreements originally thought to be for lesser subjects than covered by treaties , but now really treaties by a different name.

Bout de Papier

A very informal means of conveying written information; more informal

than an aide mémoire or a memorandum.

Consulate An office established by one state in an important city of another state for the purpose of supporting and protecting its citizens traveling or residing there. In addition, these offices are charges with performing other important administrative duties such as issuing visas (where this is required) to host country nationals wishing to travel to the country the consulate represents. All consulates, whether located in the capital city or

in other communities, are administratively under the ambassador and the

embassy. In addition to carrying out their consular duties, they often serve as branch offices for the embassy, supporting, for example, the latter’s political and economic responsibilities. Consulates are expected to play a particularly significant role in connection with the promotion of their own country’s exports and other commercial activities. Officers performing consular duties are known as consuls or, if more junior, vice consuls. The chief of the consulate is known as the consul.

Consular Agent An official doing consular work for a nation in a locality where it does not maintain a regular consulate. This official is usually a national of his host state, and his work is usually part-time.

Concordat A treaty to which the Pope is a party.

Diplomatic Illness The practice of feigning illness to avoid participation in a diplomatic event of one kind or another and at the same time to avoid giving formal offense. "Diplomatic deafness" is a somewhat related concept whereby older diplomats allegedly turn this infirmity to advantage by not hearing what they prefer not to hear.

Embassy The residence of an ambassador. In recent years, also inaccurately used to denote the building which contains the offices of the ambassador and other key members of his staff. The proper term for the latter, as noted above, is the "chancery". As also noted above, confusion is nowadays avoided through the practice of using the two terms "embassy residence" and "embassy office".


Nowadays used to refer to any senior diplomat. Earlier it had a specific hierarchical connotation, being used to designate diplomatic agents of less than the highest rank.

Ex Gracia Something which is done as a gesture of good will and not on the basis of an accepted legal obligation.

Good Offices An effort by a third state, or by an individual or an international body, designed to stimulate the processes of settlement in a dispute between two other states.

High Commission A diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth country in another. For example, Canada has a High Commission in Canberra, Australia.

High Commissioner The chief of a high commission. Similar to what an ambassador is to an embassy.

Letters of Recall Also presented by a new ambassador, along with his letter of credence, to the chief of state of his host country during his credentials-presentation ceremony. It is the official document which formally recalls his predecessor.

Mission A generic term for embassy. Mission also describes the entirety of official representation in a given foreign country which functions under the supervision of the Ambassador, including civilian and military personnel.

Rapprochment The establishment of improved relations.

Vice Consul

A junior ranking consular officer.

Visa Written authority to enter a country for either temporary or permanent residence, depending on its wording.

Defining "Civil Society"

The term civil society has a range of meanings in contemporary usage. It

is sometimes considered to include the family and the private sphere, and

referred to as the

"third sector" of society, distinct from government and


The term civil society was used by writers such as Locke and Rousseau to describe civil government as differentiated from natural society or the state of nature.

In Hegel civil or bourgeoise

society as the realm of individuals who have left the unity of the family to enter into economic competition is contrasted with the state or political society. Marx uses the concept of civil society in his critique of Hegel. It is used as a yardstick of the change from feudal to bourgeoisie society. Civil society arose, Marx insists from the destruction of medieval society. Previously individuals were part of many different societies such as guilds or estates each of which had a political role so that there was no separate civil realm. As these partial societies broke down, civil society arose in which the individual became all important. The old bonds of privilege were replaced by the selfish needs of atomistic individuals separated from each other and from the community.

The Marxist concept derives from Hegel.

Contemplorary Civil societies: A pluralistic

Civil society is not a colourless or odourless gas. Civil society is not an

anymore. Civil societies have colours and

gender and grounds, and politics and


Civil society is plural. The theory and practice of civil society is plural in concept, genealogy, history, form, locations, content and politics. Its validity is partly due to this plurality at its conceptual core and the sheer diversity in its praxis. There is no single theory of civil society. And no single politics of civil society. This fluidity and fuzziness of the term is, paradoxically, what makes it significant.

cultures, contexts and contours,

abstract academic concept

Civil society signifies diverse arenas and spaces of contested power relations. So the contradictions and contestations of power, culture and economy are reflected in the civil society discourse of a particular country or political context. Civil society has now become an arena of praxis wherein theory is continually negotiated and re-negotiated based on the evolving practice in multiple social, economic and cultural contexts.

The idea of civil society is used for political subversion, political reform as well as political transformation. Proponents of various ideological streams from conservatism to neo-liberalism and from liberal reformists to radical socialists have been using the idea and practice of civil society to legitimise their respective political projects and programmes.

This dynamism, pluralism and diversity to a large extent shape the emerging civil society discourse

This dynamism, pluralism and diversity to a large extent shape the emerging civil society discourse across the world. In South Asia, civil society may reflect the feudal and post-colonial tendencies within its own power spaces. In many countries of Africa, community differentiations based on tribal identities may influence and shape civil society discourse

as well.

of Africa, community differentiations based on tribal identities may influence and shape civil society discourse as

How civil society has changed the world

discourse as a pluralist network of citizens and

for social and political action, then one can begin to

appreciate the contribution of such discourse in shaping and influencing

the politics

There are five specific areas where civil society discourse and initiatives have made very important political and social contributions.

If we consider civil society

associational spaces

and policy processes in many countries and the world.

These are:

a) women’s rights


b) ecological justice and environment protection


c) human rights of ethnic,religious, race, and sexual minorities


d) movements for citizens’

participation and accountable governance


and e) resistance and protest against unjust economic globalisation and

unilateral militarisation.


In fact, even in these specific areas there is a multiplicity of civil discourse.

However, over the last 30 years, if women’s rights and green politics are at the centre of all political and policy discourse, it is indeed due to the consistent mobilisation and advocacy by thousands of organisations and millions of people across the world. On February 15, 2003, more than 11 million people across the world marched against the war in Iraq and unilateral militarisation. In fact, the unprecedented, coordinated global mobilisation happened on the same day largely due to digital mobilisation and partly due to the rather spontaneous coordination among social movements and civil society actors who met during the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in January 2003.


In India too, in the last 25 years, most of the innovative policy framework and legislation happened due to consistent campaigning and advocacy by civil society organisations. It is the people-centred advocacy, campaigning and mobilisation by hundreds of civil society organisations in India that prompted the Indian government to enact the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Right to

Education, the new Act to stop domestic violence,

protecting the land rights of tribal communities.

women’s rights organisations and civil society initiatives that women’s political participation and 33% reservation for women in Parliament are at the centre of political discourse in India.

and the one aimed at

It is due to the efforts of

In many countries of Asia and Africa, civil society activism has become a countervailing political force against authoritarian governments. It has also sought to challenge unjust economic globalisation. This was evident in the citizens’ and civil society struggle against monarchy in Nepal and authoritarian regimes in many parts of the world. In many countries of Latin America, civil society became the common ground for diverse interest groups and political formations to act together to challenge authoritarian regimes. In fact, civil society played a key role in shaping the political process in Brazil, where social movements, progressive NGOs, progressive factions of the church, trade unions and public intellectuals

came together for

trade unions and public intellectuals came together for political and policy transformation. The World Social Forum

political and policy transformation. The World Social

Forum process

originated in Brazil partly due to these historical and

and it helped the transformation of state power in

political conditions, Brazil.

of state power in political conditions, Brazil. With the advent of the Internet, digital mobilisation and

With the advent of the Internet, digital mobilisation and relatively cheap air travel there is an increasing interconnectedness between civil society initiatives and movements across the world. The unprecedented

mobilisation and campaigns against the unjust WTO regime and for trade justice and fair trade demonstrated the power of citizens’ action and mobilisation beyond the state and market. The diverse range of mobilisation against the World Trade Organisation in Seattle, Cancun, and Hong Kong influenced the political and policy choices of many countries and the G20 process. The Jubilee campaign for cancelling the unjust debt of poor countries attracted the support of millions of people both in rich and poor countries and in remote villages and megacities. The successful campaign against landmines proved to be another example of civil society mobilisation and action across the world. The World Social Forum emerged as an open space and platform for the exchange of ideas, coordination of action, and collective envisioning beyond narrow ideological and political divides. The emergence of a global justice solidarity movement influenced the political process in many countries in many ways.

A time for change:

Civil society and

international relations

In the last 15 years, there has been a resurgence of political consciousness in civil society. A whole range of new associations, citizens’ formations, new social movements, knowledge-action networks and policy advocacy groups have emerged at the national and international level.

This was partly due to the shift in international politics in the aftermath of the Cold War and a consequent shift in the aid-architecture, with a stress on local ownership in the development process. The new stress on human rights in the aftermath of the Vienna Human Rights Summit, in 1993, gave new spaces and international legitimacy to new human rights movements, integrating civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. A series of United Nations conferences, starting with the Rio Summit in 1992, created an enabling global space for civil society

processes and organisations. The Beijing Summit in 1995 on women’s rights, the Copenhagen Summit on social development in 1996, and the Durban Summit on racism provided a global platform for civil society movements to advance a new discourse on politics and public policy. The exchange of knowledge, linkages and resources began to create a new synergy between countries and communities in the South as well as in the North. In fact, the United Nations became a key mediating ground between civil society and various governments.

Such a mediating role between civil society and state provided a new legitimacy and role for the United Nations. The new stress on human development, human rights and global poverty created a legitimate space for global action and campaigns for civil society. New technological and financial resources helped international networking and a new trend of globalisation from below. As the new hegemony of power politics driven by unilateral militarism, conservative politics and a neoliberal policy paradigm began to dominate the world, the new social movements and consequent civil society process became the arena for a new politics of protest and resistance against unjust globalisation. Such a new civil society process was driven by communities, communications and creativity. New modes of communication, networking, campaigning and mobilisation made civil society discourse one of the most influential political and policy discourses in the 21st century.

There is a significant difference between the civil society discourse of the

1980s, 1990s and that of the last 10 years.

Unless we understand and

appreciate the multiple political shifts at the national and international levels, it might be difficult to understand the consequent shifts in the practice and theory of civil society. In the 1980s, civil society was more of a conceptual tool tolegitimise and organise the protest movement against authoritarian governments in Latin America and Central Europe. In the 1990s, the term ‘civil society’ became an instrument of policy and politics at the international level, supported by both aid and trade. And in the last 10 years, the idea of civil society has been increasingly contextualised to become a plural arena of political praxis for transformative politics in multiple contexts. The old civil society

discourse was submerged in new movements for radical democratisation, feminist politics, and ecological, social and economic justice. It is the new emerging discourse on civil society that seeks to address the issue of democratic deficit, and crisis of governance.

So it is important to reclaim civil societies -->> as plural and diverse spaces for collective human action -- as an arena for transformative politics. The reclaiming of civil societies would mean a reassertion of the dignity, sovereignty and human rights of all peoples.

The ethics and politics of the idea

of civil society need to be

reclaimed to humanise the state, market

and the political process.

There is the need to reclaim a new political

consciousness driven

by freedom -- freedom from fear and freedom from

of association and freedom of beliefs.

want; freedom

The idea of civil

society needs to be reinforced by new civil values

and virtues: the values of equality and justice; values that would help

us fight all kinds of injustice and discrimination -- based on gender, race, caste or creed.

Civil society can be transformative when it combines the politics of protest and the politics of proposal. Civil society will become an arena that can help combine the politics of people and the politics of knowledge.

Civil society becomes a transformative space when it can create the politics of dissent, politics of association and

help to


action against monopoly of power and spaces for counter-discourse

and counter-hegemony.

State of Civil Society in India

Civil society in India seems defined by exclusion. It is crowded with human rights lawyers and activists, NGO leaders, academics and

intellectuals, high-profile journalists, celebrities and think tank-hirelings. Mass media debates never see landless labourers, displaced people, nurses, trade union workers, bus conductors being asked to speak for ‘civil society.' Though, indeed they should. After three rounds of talks in less than two months, Iran and six world powers have reached a preliminary agreement in Geneva on curbing Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for some sanctions relief. The breakthrough came amid a history of failed negotiations, and could be the

first step towards

a detente between Western powers and Iran after 35

years of hostility.

Noticeably, the agreement came less than three months

after Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani committed to changing Iran’s relationship with the world.

committed to changing Iran’s relationship with the world. The deal will have and once a long

The deal will have

and once a long term deal is reached, possibly within a few months,

immediate regional and international ramifications


rapprochement between Washington and Tehran is likely to pave the way towards major realignment in the greater Middle East region.

It’s also expected to open the way towards the

recognition of Iran’s

regional role starting with Syria, Iraq, the Gulf region, and eventually in



As the US downsizes its overall military presence, it expects the Iranian leadership to be less of a nuisance and more cooperative towards crisis management in the greater Middle East.

And it seems, many in Tehran, and among its supporters, are pleased to see Iran replace Saudi Arabia or Israel as a reliable intermediary for the United States in the region.

Some argue that this is all wishful thinking and will prove short-lived considering the decades’ long antagonism and ideological differences. Others argue that in the long term, Iran (and Turkey) could prove more useful as US clients/partners than Israel and Saudi Arabia, considering their regional weight and historic importance.

The new deal will have serious ramifications on at least seven regional fronts:

Iran The Islamic Republic is at the heart of any future regional shifts of power.


The Islamic Republic is at the heart of any future regional shifts of power. US failures in Afghanistan, and more importantly in Iraq and Syria, have already strengthened Iran’s hand. And the newly gained confidence in Tehran will be further enhanced by the removal of economic sanctions, and buttressed by a bigger role in a weakened region.

Question: How will Iran’s rehabilitation and opening to the West affect the balance of power within the country and the future of the mullahs’ rule?


Iran’s expected participation in the Geneva-2 negotiation over Syria’s future is its first reward for “good behaviour”. A staunch supporter of Bashar al-Assad, with its special forces fighting alongside his regime, Tehran is likely to ensure Assad’s survival, and along with Russia, assist in his rehabilitation as an acceptable regional leader. Tehran and Moscow are eager to end the war and shift the emphasis from ousting Assad to “fighting terrorism” in Syria.

Question: What does a greater Iranian role in Syria mean to the struggle of Syrians for freedom from dictatorship, and the outcome of the horrific civil war there?


The country is in a quagmire 10 years after the military invasion. It’s terribly polarised between Sunni and Shia forces and hundreds even thousands of people are killed every month by suicide bombings. Tehran exercises major influence in the country, over Nouri al-Maliki’s government, and among the Shia majority. And as of late, the authoritarian Maliki has emerged as an indispensable link between Tehran and Washington as he spearheads the fight against “extremist Sunni groups”.

Question: Considering its new vigour, will Iran’s support for Maliki lead him to an even greater monopoly of power and deeper divisions in the country?

Saudi Arabia

The wars in Iraq, Syria and the conflict in Lebanon in addition to the upheaval of the predominantly Shia majority in Bahrain have deepened the rift between Riyadh and Tehran. Judging from criticism made recently by Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan, who is Washington’s ally in the Kingdom, the Saudi leadership is the most alarmed with the potential

US-Iran detente and the rise of an unrestrained Iran on the Middle East stage. Further, Saudi-Iranian antagonism will lead to major sectarian escalation with incalculable price for the region.

Question: Will the hardening theological triangle - Saudi, Iran and Israel take the region to new historic lows as the danger of sectarian conflict looms large in the region?


As the US withdraws/redeploys outside the country in 2014 after a 13 year war leaving behind only residual forces through 2024, Washington can use all the help it can get to maintain control. With a certain influence over Afghanistan’s northern regions, Tehran could be of assistance if it chooses to help stabilise Afghanistan and deter the return of the Taliban.

Question: Having briefly helped US forces fight against the Taliban after 2001, will Tehran cooperate once again with the US?


Palestine is a domestic redline for both Washington and Tehran and, therefore, expect little or no change to the occupation of Palestine where they’ve agreed to disagree. Tehran has already lost much influence among the Islamist Palestinian factions due to its support of the Assad regime; its only influence remains with Hezbollah.

Question: Will Iran’s Lebanese ally emerge stronger or weaker from the Syrian civil war, and will it become a Lebanese, and not an Israeli menace?


For the foreseeable future, Israel will continue to be the only nuclear power in the region. But Israel is no less annoyed by a resurgent Iran than

it is by its nuclear development, especially the fact that Tehran has already acquired the nuclear know-how. Some suggest that this could lead to new

unspoken Israeli alliance with the so-called moderate Sunni regimes, ie, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, against their common nemesis, Iran.

Question: Since Israel is particularly eager for such an arrangement, will such alliances finally see the light of day and what repercussion will that have on the region?

India’s stand

India has welcomed the deal that Iran and six world powers clinched on Sundaycurbing the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for initial sanctions relief.

“As the agreement between Iran and the P5 plus 1 has been agreed to just

a while ago we are in the process of obtaining details from our

interlocutors, however, based on initial information available at this stage I

can say that India welcomes the prospect of resolving questions related to Iran’s nuclear program,through dialogue and diplomacy,” India’s ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told

Susruta Samhita

The portion in Susruta Samhita, which explains the preparation and use of alkalies, occupies a prominent place in Indian medical chemistry. It is said that alkalies were used to clean surgical instruments, which were used to cut the diseased parts of human body. (the term СksaraТitself means Сthat which removes away the affected parts of the bodyТ).Plates of iron, silver and gold were dipped in alkaline liquids before mixing with medicines.

Susruta classifies alkalies into mrdu, tiksna and madhyama.
Susruta classifies alkalies into mrdu, tiksna and madhyama.

He gives

the preparation of each category. Some of them are used for external application and some for internal administration. They are used externally for skin diseases like kusta, tumors, piles etc. and internally for abdominal tumors, indigestion, urinary deposits, intestinal worms etc. devices to store them are also advised. According to him, the sharp, saline taste of alkali when mixed with acid becomes very mild and gives up its sharpness. That is why acid neutralises alkaly.

Different metals like bronze, iron, gold, silver, lead, copper, tin and different salts like rock salt, sea salt etc are enumerated in the Samhita. Roasting of iron and other metals so as to render them fit for internal administration has been described. The thin leaves of metals were plastered with a paste of the salts and afterwards subjected to roasting and were converted into their respective oxides, chlorides or oxichlorides. This can be considered a crude process for the preparation of the metallic salts.

Brhatsamhita (6 th Century AD)

Brhatsamhita (6 t h Century AD) Varahamihira, in his Brhatsamhita, refers to mordants like alum and
Brhatsamhita (6 t h Century AD) Varahamihira, in his Brhatsamhita, refers to mordants like alum and

Varahamihira, in his Brhatsamhita, refers to mordants like alum and sulphate or iron for the fixing of dyes on textile fabrics. It also alludes to cosmetics, scented hair dyes, perfumes etc. It also contains information on various cement preparations, which may be classified under two heads:

rock cement (vajralepa) and metal cement (vajra samghata). These varieties of cement were applied to the walls and roofs of temples and other buildings.

Alchemy in Tantric Period (800 AD to 1600 AD)

The flourishing of chemistry in India, especially alchemy, has an interesting phase during the period of tantra. The tantric cult in India was an admixture of alchemical processes on the one hand and grotesque rites

on the other, centred on the worship of Siva and Parvati. We also have a class of tantras, which is an admixture of Buddhist and Saiva cults.Rasaratnakara ascribed to Nagarjuna belongs ato this category. According to tantric cult, a man should preserve his body by means of mercury and medicaments. According to tantrics, mercury was produced by the creative conjunction of Siva and Parvati and mica was produced from Parvati. The combination of mercury and mica was believed to be destructive of death and poverty.

mica was believed to be destructive of death and poverty. Sarvadarsana Samgraha of Madhavacarya which elaborates

Sarvadarsana Samgraha of Madhavacarya which elaborates the sixteen

philosophical systems current in 14 th Cent AD, includes raseswara darsana or mercurial system as one among them. According to this darsana, different preparations of mercury can enable a man to be free from old age and death, ie to obtain jivan mukti. Rasa is called parada because, it enables one to overcome the worldly affairs.

Rasarnava (asked in UPSC GS MAINS 2012)

of unknown authorship,

Rasaratnakara of Nagarjuna and Rasaratna samuchaya of Vagbhata are some of the important works of Indian alchemy written during the tantric period.Rasaratnakara and Rasarnava are tantras pure in which alchemy is incidentally dealt with. Rasaratnasamuchaya is a systematic treatise on pharmacy and medicine. Rasaratnakara of Nagarjuna contains descriptions of alchemical processes and preparations of mercurial compounds. Extraction of zinc, mercury and copper are described by him. He also elaborates on the preparation of crystalline red sulphide of mercury (swarnasindura or makaradhwaja) which is used as medicine for many ailments.

There are also works written in regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Oriya and Gujarati on alchemy. Here, Tamil works on siddha vaidya, about two hundred in number, deserves mention. Works of Agastya, Nandiswara, Romarshi and Kailasamuni are important among them. A comparative study of the

alchemical ideas of these Tamil and Sanskrit works has not yet been initiated.

According to tantric cult, siddhis are of two types - dehasiddhi (development of the body)
According to tantric cult, siddhis are of two types - dehasiddhi

According to tantric cult, siddhis are of two types - dehasiddhi

to tantric cult, siddhis are of two types - dehasiddhi (development of the body) and loha
(development of the body) and loha siddhi (development of metals).

(development of the body) and loha siddhi (development of metals).

The first pertains to making mercury capable of changing the molecules of lower metals into molecules of higher metals. Mercury, which is capable of this, can certainly transform human molecules also. This is dehasiddhi.

Lohasiddhi is called alchemy or dhatuvada. Dehasiddhi is obtained through lohasiddhi. Gradually, devices to refine metals led to the making of their powders, which were used as medicines.

As part of these alchemical processes, there are certain methods to purify mercury. Indian alchemists had adopted 18 methods for this purpose. They also make classification of chemical substances into maharasa, uparasa, datu, ratna and visa. Certain refining processes of metals and mine products, mixtures of mercury also deserve special mention. An important feature of Indian alchemy is the description of certain plants used in alchemical processes. About two hundred plants are referred to in this connection. We get an elaborate description of the laboratories and the instruments from these alchemical works.