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Politics

Why did Maurya empire collapsed like House of cards?

Remember the classic computer game, Age of empires??!!! The millennials might not have been so invested in the slow, strategic game like Age of empires, for them it’s an era of Clash of clans.

Just like that, the gaming mood, strategy of building an empire among 90’s kids and millennials saw such a huge difference, then imagine what would have the citizens of great kingdoms have went through when these games were played for real.

How did we progress in the game-Age of empires? Started of by gathering citizens, built houses for them, learnt to do farming, started mining stones and gold, when there was enough food and gold we started to build military, fortified walls around the city, built watch towers and constantly protected the main piece of land from invaders and in turn started to expand kingdom.

When the conquest of last rival area was achieved we would win the game.

As on game brought in lot of update where at one time by building a wonders of the world sort of building would win the game for you. Yes!! Victorious till, a stronger army came and destroyed that particular monument. Thus destroying all our history.

How speaking about game is relevant to the history of downfall of Maurya?

Till the day ‘kshatra’ was the pride of India, India thrived, culture, civilization, art, architecture, literature everything thrived, as soon as Indian kings rest their weapons began teaching cowardice in the name of non violence, and started to build monuments rather than securing perimeter of the kingdoms, India experienced brutal attacks from the invaders and lost evidence of our vast and rich history.

When Chanakya a brahmana with Kshatra Tejas, brought Chandragupta to rule Magadha, his rule, expansion of kingdom, policies implemented, his conquest all became golden history. But as soon as Chandragupta lost touch with Chanakya and embraced Jaina dharma and disavowed his kshatriya duties, the foundation of the greatest empire began to tremble.

His son Bindusara, acquired what was already a great kingdom. So his contribution towards his people or towards making any political or social policies is almost nil. We do not get any proper reference to his birth and what exactly was his name too.

Even Jainism scriptures concentrate on Chandragupta embracing Jainism and sing his praise, all Buddhist scriptures sing greatness of Ashoka, as he embraced Buddhism and he was responsible for spread of Buddhism till Srilanka. In between these two, only Vaidika scriptures speak of Bindusara.

This was the first sign, and even Bindusara might have been aware of this, because he showed no interest in good governance what’s so ever.

As Shatavadhani Dr.R.Ganesh in his book ‘Bharathiya Kshatra Parampare’, while giving idea of Ashoka policy of nonviolence, he writes,

During era of Ashoka, it was a practice in Buddhism that anyone could become sanyasi and can revert to the life of a householder. Chinese travellers like It-sing mentions Ashoka is a ‘Bhikku’ and he has come across statues of him in Bhikku form. We do not know to what extent It-sing’s word can be believed. If his statement was believed to be true then, we must conclude that Ashoka inscribed all of his ‘Dharma-Shasana’ setting aside his royal authority, perhaps this motivated him to speak all those words of renunciation, peace, nonviolence.

We must greatly value Ahimsa, we always pay attention only to the first part of the verse from Mahabharatha – “Ahimsa paramodharmah” it continues as “dharma himsa thataiva cha”

  • Ahimsa is the greatest principle so is the himsa done to save the what is right.

While nonviolence is essential, great value is placed upon violence which protects dharma. Besides great rishi, yati, who are pure kaya-vacha-manasa can only practice nonviolence, non hatred, universal love, forgiveness, not the common people. It is impossible for kshatriya and it is not advised also.

When peace and security have been firmly rooted in a country over several generations, to an extent, it is not wrong to preach the principle of non-violence. But without an ever-vigilant standing army and a ruler who is competent to take all decisions, a cultured and prosperous country will find it tough to survive.

A criminal facing death sentence was given three days to engage in meditation and reflection to cleanse his mind. However, Ashoka did not cancel capital punishment. After all, the human capacity for cruelty is horrifying and beyond imagination. The wicked must be punished. He is worse than a carnivorous animal. Ordinary citizens will not remain silent if they realize that all this compassion does not carry with it the fear of punishment. When we notice that a major insurrection arose in the wake of Ashoka’s death, we realize where he had slipped and stumbled.

The sculptural artistry during Ashoka’s time was exceptional. Even today we can see this in the numerous stambhas (pillars) as well as in the murthi (image, icon, idol) carved on the stambha-shira (head of the pillar). In the Sanchi Museum we find the head of the famous Ashoka Pillar which has four lions, each facing a direction. It has been carved in sandstone and smoothened exquisitely. When the British first saw this sculpture from afar, they thought it was made of metal looking at the light reflecting from it. Fahien and others already praised it profusely. Ashoka had innumerable stupas built (estimated to be 84,000 although the number is disputed). Their remnants are found even today in many places. All the sculptures found in Bharhut and Sanchi were built during the reign of Pushyamitra Shunga. The Sanchi stupa complex is also related to Pushyamitra Shunga. Its doors were built by the Shatavahanas. But the backdrop for this was provided by Ashoka. Thus Ashoka’s brilliance was multifaceted and his accomplishments were numerous. Despite this, he was not able to nurture good successors.

And we are unable to name even a single, able ruler after Ashoka, by the time his grandson Chandragupta raised to throne, the kingdom had already fallen apart, and Greek Invasion had eaten up kingdom the Vidarbha. Once the greatest kingdom laid as ruins by the yavanas.

We witness this even in our own age of Gandhi-Nehru: if a person like Nehru could become Gandhi’s successor, it only shows the worth of Gandhian principles.  When we observe how Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and C Rajagopalachari were pressurized and sidelined, it becomes evident which favourite indulgence Gandhi pandered to.

For instance, Vallabhbhai Patel integrated more than five hundred and fifty Princely States into the Indian Union. But the illustrious Nehru who took up the responsibility of just one state, Kashmir, due to his callous negligence, ensured that it has remained a perennial headache. China on one side and Pakistan on the other have illegally occupied parts of Kashmir. As a consequence, strategic points of our country have been lost to foreign hands and have become a perpetual pain.

All of this is an unfortunate result of misplaced arrogance, blind aspiration for peace, and misplaced magnanimity.

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