Topic: History of India - Ancient India.
Timeline: 322 BCE - 265 BCE
In this episode of Namaskar India, we will meet the rulers of the Mauryan Empire, who worked really hard to take it to its heights.
After becoming the ruler, Chandragupta embarked upon an aggressive expansion policy. Seleucos I Nicator, who was Alexander's satrap for the eastern Macedonian conquests, was defeated and had to cede the entire territory under him to Chandragupta, along with a daughter. Under Chandragupta, the Mauryan empire stretched from eastern Iran to the western borders of the Burmese hills, and from the Himalayan tribal kingdom to the southern plateaus of peninsular India.
Chandragupta developed an elaborate system of imperial administration. Most of the power was concentrated in his hands, and he was assisted in his duties by a council of ministers. The empire was divided into provinces and had princes as viceroys. This provided the royals with the requisite administrative experience, especially the one who went on to become emperor. The Mauryans’ vast military was supported by the vast size of the empire and the resources that came under its control. The state virtually controlled all economic activities and hence was able to command a large revenue and an abundance of financial resources.
Chandragupta thus left behind a legacy that has survived in the pages of the Arthashastra. Not only did he build up an empire by his own efforts, overcoming all obstacles, but he also set up sound principles for its governance and himself worked tirelessly for its growth. After ruling for about 25 years, Chandragupta abdicated in favour of his son, Bindusara, and became a Jain monk.
Bindusara maintained his father's large dominions efficiently and extended the southern borders to cover the peninsular plateau of India. When he died, his son Ashoka seized the throne after a fratricidal succession dispute.