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Current Affairs

Alexander and Chandragupta Maurya

Date: 19 November 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has praised Chandragupta Maurya and questioned historians for calling Alexander of Macedon ‘great’.

 

Background

The chief minister claimed that Chandragupta Maurya had defeated Alexander in battles but still historians have called Alexander ‘great’.

 

Details

  • Alexander was called as ‘great’ for his superb military conquests in early history. He established the largest empire in the world before he turned 30.

  • Alexander’s empire stretched from Greece to India’s northwestern frontier. Later conquerors such as Ghenghis Khan, Atilla, Ashoka and Akbar built larger empires.

 

Indian campaign of Alexander

  • Alexander was born in ancient Greece. He succeeded to the throne at the age of 20 years. He started his campaign across large parts of West Asia and North Africa.

  • He defeated Persian King Darius III in the decisive battle of Gaugamela and entered Kabul valley by crossing the Hindu Kush Mountains.

  • Alexander crossed the Indus, the frontier of India and started his campaign that lasted for two years.

  • The Kingdom of Taxila surrendered but Alexander faced his first big challenge when he faced King Porous at the banks of Jhelum.

  • Alexander defeated porous at the battle of Hydaspes but returned him his kingdom after getting impressed with his bravery. He was also given charge of Punjab after the Greeks retreated.

 

End of campaign

  • Alexander had to abandon his India campaign after his generals refused to cross Beas river and enter the Ganges plains.

  • The army was tired of fighting wars and soldiers were homesick. They were also vary of facing two of the biggest armies- -the Nandas of Magadha and Gangaridai Empire of Bengal.

  • Alexander started back his journey along the Makran coast and reached Babylon, where he died in 323 BC without losing any battle.

 

Rise of Chandragupta Maurya

  • Chandragupta Maurya captured power by defeating last Nanda King, Dhana Nanda. He was guided by Philosopher Chanakya.

  • Chandragupta belonged to the Moriya clan, who were associated with kshatriya Shakya clan. However, some texts mention Moriyas as Shudras.

  • Chandragupta quickly captured vast areas of Ganges valley guided by Chanakya. He moved towards North-west where he was stopped by Selucus Nicator, the regent of Alexander.

  • Chandragupta managed to defeat Selucus and got several regions after a treaty was signed. There were also matrimonial relations between Greeks and Mauryas.

 

Use of great

  • Historians have called several conquerors great including Roman emperor Constantine; the Persians Cyrus and Darius; Herod, king of Judea; and many others.

  • The word ‘great’ has been used for Indian emperors such as Ashoka, Rajaraja and Rajendra Chola, and Akbar, among others.