Yes, Chandra Gupta Maurya was the founder and first ruler of the Mauryan Dynasty. The Mauryan Dynasty was a powerful kingdom which reigned from c. 321–c. 297 BCE. But Chandra Gupta Maurya was much more than the founding member of a powerful regime, he was a ruler who saved India from foreign invasions and unified most of the Indian subcontinent under one administration. In this blog, we have elaborated on the Early life of Chandra Gupta Maurya and how he set up the Mauryan Empire.
Early Life of Chandra Gupta Maurya
As most of the evidence about this regime was lost, a lot of information about Chandra Gupta Maurya is in myths and legends. The great ruler was believed to be born in 340 BCE in Patliputra which is present-day Bihar.
As for his lineage, that too is shrouded in mystery. Some texts suggest that Chandra Gupta was born in a noble or warrior family while others debate for a lowly caste background. Some texts even suggest that his mother was a Shudra while his father was a Kshatriya.
Achievements: Setting Up the Mauryan Empire
Despite the lack of evidence, the historical artefacts clearly depict that Chandra Gupta was an ambitious young man. He took advantage of the wars between Nanda rulers and defeated the last heir to the throne Dhanananda with the help of Kautilya. The northwest province was unified in the Indian mainland by Chandra Gupta by defeating Seleucus Nikater and marrying his daughter to establish familial relations.
Some legends believe that Chandra Gupta Maurya met Alexander the Great and was given a chance to lead the Macedonian armies. He did so to learn the art of Macedonian warfare to defeat those fighting with old Indian warfare techniques. He was loyally assisted by Chanakya, also known as Kautilya whose advice he used to conquer, rule and prosper.
Also Read: Samudragupta Maurya– The Indian Napolean
The Rule of Chandra Gupta Maurya: Administration & Military
Chanakya had planned for a great kingdom capable of defending itself, whose centre had to be Magadh. The Nandas were, however, incompetent rulers so he helped replace them with Chandra Gupta Maurya. Together this Brains and Courage set up a beautiful Mauryan empire equipped in Administration as well as Military.
The most important aspect of the Mauryan empire is the centralised administration. There was a council with different heads for areas like military, judiciary, revenue and the spy system. Though the final word was restricted to the king. Princes were the viceroys of various provinces to help them gain good administrative experience under the complex administrative structure of ministers. Everything was dealt with formally and under proper supervision.
The massive army of the Mauryan Empire was recruited, trained and equipped for warfare. The state also honoured many cultures and tribal practices of warfare during this time. Mercenaries and Corporate guilds of soldiers were hired as per need. The army was known to have 4 arms; infantry, cavalry, chariots, and elephants. Moreover, animals were also trained properly for the art of warfare. Chandra Gupta Maurya even had a navy which served as a Coast Guard. These men were trained in different weapons and tactics of warfare.
Chandra Gupta Maurya and the Mystery of His Death
The stories around Chandra Gupta Maurya’s death are many. The most popular among these is the one where he abdicated the throne and became a Jain saint known as Bhadrabahu and died an unknown death.