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Rise & Growth of the Magadhan Empire: Religious Movements - Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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Rise and Growth of Magadhan Empire
 Bimbisar

  • Its first important ruler was Bimbisara or Srenika of Haryanka Dynasty.
  • He ascended the throne in second half of 6th century B.C. and ruled for 52 years.
  • He was contemporary of Buddha and patronised Buddhism.
  • Bimbisar founded the city of Rajgriha, north of Girivarj.
  • Both Mahavira and Buddha preached their doctrines during his reign.
  • He followed the policy of marriage alliance. He took three wives. First wife was Prashenjit’s sister (king of Kosala). Second wife, Chellana, daughter of Lichchavi prince Chetaka (from Vaishali). Third wife was daugther of chief of Madra clan of Punjab.
  • Magadha’s most serious rival was Avanti. Its king Chanda Pradyote Mahasen fought Bimbisara, but ultimately became friendly to Ujjain. Once Bimbisara sent the royal physician Jivaka to Ujjain.

Ajatshatru (492-460 B.C.): 

  • Killed his father and seized the throne.
  • Both Mahavira and Buddha died in his reign.
  • Conflict between Kosala and Magadha started in the time of Ajatshatru.
  • Throughout his reign he pursued aggressive policy of expansion.
  • It took full 16 years to destroy and annex Vaishali. He also annexed Kasi.
      
  • To repel the Vrijjis, he fortified the village of Pataligram which stood near the confluence of Ganga and Sone. Thus founded the famous city of Pataliputra.

Udayan (460-444 B.C.): 

  • Succeeded Ajatshatru.
  • He shifted his capital to Pataliputra.

Shishunagas

  • Udayan was succeeded by Shishunaga who temporarily shifted his capital at Vaishali.
  • Shishunaga was a viceroy of Banaras and was invited by the people to takeover the throne.
  • The greatest achievement of Shishunagas was a destruction of Avanti. From now onwards Avanti became a part of Magadhan empire.

Nandas

  • Shishunagas were succeeded by the Nandas.
  • Its greatest king was Mahapadmananda. He conquered Kalinga and brought an image of Jina as a victory trophy. He claimed to be Ekarath (the sole sovereign).
  • The first imperial and centralised structure was established by the Nandas. That’s why, sometimes they are called “the first empire builder of India”.
  • Nandas were the first of a number of non-Kshatriya ruling dynasties. Mahapadma Nanda himself is described in the later Puranic texts as the “destroyer of all Kshatriyas”.
  • The first phase of expansion and consolidation of the Magadh empire was over by the reign of Mahapadma Nanda.
  • Bhadrasala was the last Nanda king who was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya.

Invasion of Alexander

  • Alexander crossed Hindu-kush and occupied the district of Kabul, then crossed Sulaiman range through Khyber pass. He crossed the Indus in 326 B.C.
  • Ambhi the king of Taxila surrendered and offered no resistance.
  • Beyond the Jhelum lay the territory of the most war like king Porus of Punjab, who was defeated by Alexander in the Battle of Hydaspes. Impressed by the courage of Porus, Alexander restored his kingdom and made him his ally.
  • After this victory Alexander continued advance, but at the Beas he was forced to turn back, for his generals feared mutiny if his troops were made to advance further into the unknown country.
  • Alexander died in 323 B.C. at Babylon.
  • He remained in India for 19 months (326-25 B.C.).
  • Most important outcome of this invasion was the establishment of direct contact between India and Greece in different fields. His campaign opened up four distinct routes by land and sea. Alexander sent from India 200,000 oxen to Macedonia for use in Greece.
  • Alexander’s historian gave important accounts to build Indian history. Also by destroying the power of petty states in north-west India he paved the way for the expansion of the Mauryan Empire.
  • Alexander saw the ocean for the first time at the mouth of the Indus.
  • One of the earliest recorded incidents of Jauhar took place as long ago as the invasion of Alexander the Great, when the 20,000 inhabitants of one town in Northern India so despaired upon hearing about the approaching Macedonians, that they set their entire town alight and threw themselves into the flames along with their families rather than risk enslavement.
  • Alexander received a dangerous wound while storming one of the powerful tribe of the Malawas.
The document Rise & Growth of the Magadhan Empire: Religious Movements - Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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