Bharat Ek Khoj


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Chanakya and Chandragupta Part-1
(Episode 11)

After the gradual spread of Buddhism in India, Nehru notes that there were process to bring about racial fusion and amalgamation of the petty states and republics to build up a united, centralized state into a powerful and highly developed empire. Alexander's invasion of the northwest gave the final push to this development and two remarkable men arose who could take advantage of the changing conditions and mould them according to their will. They were chandragupta maurya, a little known ambitious youth and chanakya, his friend minister-counsellor, the Brahmin. Nehru cites Vishakhadatta's classic Mudra Rakshasa, a play of the early Christian millennium.

Chandragupta accosts chanakya the building author of Artha shastra, on the Ganga-banks and gently persuades him to become his friend, philosopher and guide. Chanakya is misunderstood and insulted by the power full emperor Nanda supported by the prime minister Rakshasa of the Magadha kingdom. Exiled and enraged, both leave for Taxlia to meet the Greek Garrisons and eventually Alexander himself. Chandragupta is fired by ambition to emulate Alexander whose conquest's and glory are well known, and waits for an opportunity. The news of Alexander's injury and eventual deth in Babylon (323 BC) is that god sent opportunity when Chandragupta, and Chanakya rouse the masses and capture taxila immediately. Seleucus, Alexander's general, makes an abortive attempt to reestablished the Greek authority by crossing the Indus, but is roundly defeated by Chandragupta and his allies, brought over by an apple to nationalism. Under chanakya's counsel, peace with the greeks is bought by Chandragupta marrying seleucus's daughter, ignoring his earlier betrothed suvasini, the Magda counselor's daughter.

At nandas court, the lyrical chhau dance of Suvasini mesmerises the emperor who claims the daseuse to become his consort, against protestations of her counsellor father, Shakatara who is imprisoned. Suvasini makes a reluctant bride, but concedes only when she is infoned that the scheming Chanakya has freed hir father and taken him to join Chandragupta encourage. Shakatara is strengthened with Sariputra, ganadhipati (chief of republic), of autonomy of operations under the central kingdom. The scene ends with much bonhomie among the allies.