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Chandragupta Maurya

Introduction

1. Chandragupta Maurya (340 BC – 298 BC) was the founder of the Mauryan Empire and the first emperor to unify India into one state.

2. He ruled from 322 BC until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favour of his son Bindusara in 298 BC.

3. Prior to his consolidation of power, most of South Asia was ruled by small states, while the Nanda Dynasty dominated the Gangetic Plains. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering and subjugating almost all of the Indian subcontinent by the end of his reign. His empire extended from Bengal and Assam in the east, to Afghanistan and Balochistan, eastern and south-east Iran in the west, to Kashmir in the north, and to the Deccan Plateau in the south. It was the largest empire yet seen in Indian history.

4. Mauryan India was characterised by an efficient and highly organised bureaucratic structure with a large civil service. Due its unified structure, the empire developed a strong economy, with internal and external trade thriving and agriculture flourishing. In both art and architecture, the Mauryan empire constituted a landmark. There was a growth in culture which derived its inspiration from the Achaemenids and the Hellenistic world.

5. Chandragupta's reign was a time of great social and religious reform in India. Buddhism and Jainism became increasingly prominent.

6. In foreign Greek and Latin accounts, Chandragupta is known as Sandrokottos and Androcottus. He became well known in the Hellenistic world for conquering Alexander the Great's easternmost satrapies, and for defeating the most powerful of Alexander's successors, Seleucus I Nicator, in battle.

7. Chandragupta subsequently married Seleucus's daughter to formalize an alliance and established a policy of friendship with the Hellenistic kingdoms, which stimulated India's trade and contact with the western world. The Greek diplomat Megasthenes is an important source of Mauryan history.

8. Chandragupta was influenced to accept Jainism by the sage Bhadrabahu; he abdicated his throne to spend his last days at the Shravana Belgola, a famous religious site in southwest India, where he fasted to death. Along with his grandson, Ashoka, Chandragupta Maurya is one of the most celebrated rulers in the history of India.

9. The Sanskrit drama Mudrarakshasa calls him a "Nandanvaya" i.e. the descendant of Nanda. Chandragupta was the son of the Nanda king Sarvarthasiddhi by a wife named Mura, daughter of a Vrishala.

Conquest of Macedonian territories in India

1. After Alexander's death in 323 BCE, Chandragupta, turned his attention to Northwestern India (modern Pakistan), where he defeated the satrapies left in place by Alexander, and assassinated two of his governors, Nicanor and Philip.

2. The satrapies he fought included Eudemus, ruler in western Punjab until his departure in 317 BCE; and Peithon, son of Agenor, ruler of the Greek colonies along the Indus until his departure for Babylon in 316 BCE.

Dhana Nanda vs Chandragupta Maurya
Dhana Nanda Chandragupta Maurya Chanakya

1. After Alexander’s departure, With the help of growing rebels Chanakya compels king of Taxila to help him and he forms a small army under the leadership of Chandragupta.

2. Chanakya’s strategies led to the assassination of the satrap of Alexander and after the death of Alexander in Greece, Chandragupta leads a force and frees all the kingdoms previously won by Alexander.

3. With the help of the his long time friend and minister in Kekaya, Chanakya makes king Porus an ally of Chandragupta and under the alliance, many kingdoms of Northern mountain countries come under the leadership of Chandragupta and with the advice of Chanakya, Chandragupta marches with that army towards Magadha to overthrow the Nanda king.

4. But Magadha was not an easy target. With exceptional military strategies, spy networks, dedicated loyal army chieftans, an honest prime minister and the ever watchful Amatya Kartikeya, popularly known as Amatya Rakshasa, it was not possible to uproot Magadha.

5. Chandragupta does fight series of wars in guerilla techniques with the Nanda army and Chanakya’s initial attempt to defeat Nanda failed and then he changed his strategies by weakening enemy at around its edges.

6. Chanakya returns to Pataliputra with a plan. He exploits the deep rooted corruption in the system led by the aging and retiring king Dhana Nanda, corrupt Commander-in-chief and jealous princes.

7. He creates a situation of civil war and the sons of the king and the commander is killed and king has to leave the city.

8. Amatya Rakshasa goes in hiding seeking plot to revenge the downfall of Nanda dynasty.

9. When Chandragupta enters Pataliputra, he faces no opposition.

10. Chanakya is appointed as new amatya and he appoints to the council all those loyal to Magadha.

11. Meanwhile, the supporter kings of Chandragupta want a share of either kingdom or wealth of Magadha. Chief among them is Laghu Paurav, the nephew of king Porus.

12. Paurav is looking for a way to remove Chandragupta to become sole ruler of Magadha. For this, he takes help of amatya Rakshasa who is living in hiding.

13. But Chanakya plays above all of them. He, with his guile and techniques, kills all the enemies of Chandragupta and compels amatya Rakshasa to surrender before him. When he does so, Chankaya humbly appoints him the amatya of Chandragupta and thus King Chandragupta is crowned as ruler of Magadha.

Southern conquest

1. After annexing Seleucus' eastern Persian provinces, Chandragupta had a vast empire extending across the northern parts of Indian Sub-continent, from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea.

2. Chandragupta then began expanding his empire further south beyond the barrier of the Vindhya Range and into the Deccan Plateau except the Tamil regions (Pandya, Chera, Chola and Satyaputra) and Kalinga (modern day Odisha).

3. By the time his conquests were complete, Chandragupta had succeeded in unifying most of Southern Asia.

4. Megasthenes later recorded the size of Chandragupta's army as 400,000 soldiers

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