The Mauryan Empire UPSC Notes | EduRev

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  • The Asokan inscriptions and their Brahmi script were first deciphered by James Princep.
  • The edicts discovered in 1915, which gave the name of its author as King Asoka, Priyadarsi, is Maski Edict.
  • Inscriptions of Asoka discovered on the outskirts of New Delhi in 1966 is Bhapur Inscription.
  • The script, used in the two northern major rock edicts of Asoka at Mansehra and Shahbazgarhi, is Kharosthi.
  • The Kandahar inscriptions were written in Greek, and Aramic script.
  • Buddhist literary sources which provide information about the Throne and followed the Jain saint Bhadrabahu to the south, was Chandragupta Maurya.
  • Justin has stated that Chandragupta Maurya as a young man had met Alexander face to face in the Punjab.
  • Unfortunately, the original document of Megasthenes, Indika has not survived and what remain are only quotations from it in various classical texts of Strabo, Diodorus and Arrian.
  • One of the non-Indian Buddhist texts built around the personality of Asoka is Divyavadan.
  • Asoka’s pillar inscriptions, which were shifted from the original sites to Delhi, were Meerut and Topara pillars.
  • The chronology of the Mauryas hinges round the dates of death of the Buddha.
  • The Greek sources mention chandragupta Maurya as Sandrocottus and Androcottus.
  • Chandragupta Maurya launched his victorious career by first overthrowing the Greeks from the north-west f

Points To Be Remembered

  • The French got the site of Pondicherry from the Adilshahi Sultan of Bijapur.
  • Job Charnock founded Calcutta at the site of Sutanauti, Kalikata and Govindpur.
  • The Dutch fort named Geldria, which was the headquarters of the Dutch director-general of Coromandel, was located at Pulicat.
  • The founder of Madras was Francis Day.
  • The English governor in India who was expelled by Aurangzeb was Sir John Child.
  • The French company for the trade of the East India was founded in India by Colbert.
  • The port of Bengal which was called by the Portuguese the Porto grande or grand port was Chittagong.
  • In 1689 the seat of the Dutch government in India was shifted from Pulicat to Nagapatam.
  • The first English factory to be fortified was Madras.
  • The English first obtained the lease of Madras in 1639 from the ruler of Chandragiri.
  • The English opened their first factory in South in 1611 at Masulipatam.
  • The first Portuguese fort on the Indian soil was built at Cochin.
  • The state which granted the Golden Farman to the Dutch to trade freely on payment of a mere 500 pagodas a year as duty was Golcunda.
  • The English East India company’s first Presidency in India was Surat.
  • The Dutch purchase cotton textiles in India and sell in the East Indies in exchange for spices.
  • Travenier, who visited India during the Mughal period, was a jeweller and has left us an expert’s description of the Peacock Throne.
  • Monserrate and Aquaviva were sent to Akbar’s court by the Portuguese. They were sent on his request for learned missionaries to help understand Christian doctrines.
  • Niccolao Manucci visited India during Aurangzeb’s time and described the latter’s regulation issued to promote genereal morality.
  • A foreigner who left an account of the deplorable state of public security in Mughal India during the reign of Shah Jahan was Peter Mundy.
  • A foreign traveller who has given a classic description of the later years of Aurangzeb was Dr. Gemelli-Carreri.
  • During Mughal period the Amalguzar was in charge of Sarkar.
  • The first Mughal emperor to organise some sort of distress relief during the famine was Akbar.
  • Tobacco was introduced in India during the Mughal period.
  • The Hindi doctrines which greatly impressed Akbar were the doctrines of karma and transmigration of soul.
  • A Mughal queen whose name was written to all the Mughal farmans and inscribed on the coins of that period was Nur Jahan.
  • The most important arm of the Mughal army was cavalry.
  • The range of the mansabs as organised by Akbar was 10 to 10,000.
  • Persons holding ranks from 500 to less than 2500 were known as amir.
  • The Marathas came to be admitted to the nobility during the reign of Jehangir.
Pre-Congress Organisations
Organisations Founder(s) Year Place
Landholders Society Dwarkanath Tagore 1830 Calcutta
British India Society William Adam 1839 London
Bengal British  Not available 1843 Calcutta
India Society      
British India Association Devendranath Tagore 1851 Calcutta
Madras Native Association Not available 1852 Madras
Bombay Association Jagannath Shanker Seth 1852 Bombay
East India Association Dadabhai Nauroji 1866 London
National Indian Mary Carpenter 1867 London
Association (biographer of Ram Mohan Roy)    
Poona Sarvajanik Sabha S.H. Chiplunkar, 1870 Poona
  G.V. Joshi, M.G. Ranade, etc.    
Indian Society Ananda Mohan Bose 1872 London
Indian Association Ananda Mohan Bose 1876 Calcutta
  & S.N. Banerjee    
Madras Mahajan Sabha G.S. Aiyer, 1884 Madras
  M. Viraraghavachari,    
  Ananda Charlu, etc.    
Bombay Presidency Pherozshah 1885 Bombay
Association Mehta, Badruddin Tyabji, etc.  
 

 

  • For the early life of Chandragupta Maurya, we have to depend on the Buddhist sources.
  • The Buddhist Sources regard Chandragupta Maurya to be a Kshatriya of the Moriya clan.
  • Chandragupta Maurya’s war with the Nanda king is described in the /(I) Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadatta; (II) The Buddhist work Mahavamsa.
  • Chandragupta Maurya’s conquest of Western India (Saurashtra) is proved by Junagarh Rock Edict of Rudradaman.
  • Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadatta furnishes the details of the revolution by which Chandragupta Maurya, with the help of Kautilya, overthrew the Nandas.
  • Dionysius was the envoy of the Eqyptian king Ptolemy Philadelphos in the Mauryan court.
  • The Mauryan king Bindusara requested the son and successor of Seleucus Nikator named King Antiochus I of Syria to send him some figs, raisin wine and a Greek philosopher.
  • The Jain text, which describes that Chandragupta embraced Jainism towards the end of this life, is the Parishisthaparvan.
  • In Taxila Bindusara have to face two revolts, one of which was quelled by Asoka.
  • Deimachos replaced Megasthenes as the ambassador of Syrian King (Antiochus I Soter, son of Seleucus Nikator) in the court of Bindusara.
  • Ujjain was the place where Asoka stationed as Viceroy at the time of Bindusara’s death.
  • In Bhabru Edict As oka us e the term “Priyadarsi king of Magadha” (Priyadasi Raja Magadhe).
  • Two essential constituents of Asoka’s dhamma were doing less sins and more good.
  • Asoka him sel f co nsi dere d h is policy of dhamma as a way of life which was both practical and convenient as well as highly moral.
  • In social matters Asoka’s most revolutionary concept was his opposition to wasteful social rituals and ceremonies at marriages, births, journeys etc.
  • The key-note of Asoka’s po licy of dhamma was moderation.
  • Asoka’s dha mma was basicallya social and ethical concept.
  • To pr omote communal harmony Asoka asked the people—(I) To attend to the essential elements of their religions rather than the non-essential ones; (II) Not to glorify their own sect and belittle another’s sect; (III) to maintain concord (samvaya) with all creeds. The dha mma m aha ma ttas ( Dhar ma mahamatras) appointed by Asoka were entrusted with job of—(I) Checking the abuses in the administration of justice (II) The moral uplift of the people through propagation of dhamma (III) management of the welfare activities of the state.
  • In Eighth year of Asoka’s coronation did the Kalinga War take place.
  • The major contribution of the Third Buddhist Council convened by Asoka was—(I) It purged the Buddhist Sangha of its dissenters (II) At this conference Kathavathu was compiled by its president Moggaliputta Tissa (III) It decided to despatch  Buddhist missions to various parts of India and foreign countries.
  • Bhabra Edict, Schism edict and Nigalisagar Inscriptions belong to the category directed to the Sangha.
  • The edicts of Asoka which reveals his inner sorrow on account of war and violence are Dhauli and Jaugada.
  • In Bhabru edict Asoka express his faith in the Buddhist creed.
  • Separate Rock Edict I contains the pronouncement: “All men are my children”.
  • The Mauryan king who issued the nagarjuni Hill Cave Inscriptions and assumed the royal title of Devanampriya was Dasharatha.
  • According to Divyavadana Asoka in his old age abdicated the throne in favour of his grandson Samprati.
  • Conquest of Kalinga was of strategic and economic importance to the Mauryan empire because (I) It stood in the way to the southern routes from the Ganges valley (II) It was also a powerful maritime state and, therefore a convenient source of income (III) It provided contiguity to the Mauryan territories of Andhra and Bengal.
  • According to Kalhana’s Rajastarangini Asoka have built the city of Srinagar.
  • According to Tibetan tradition asoka is said to have visited Khotan in Central Asia in 236 B.C.
  • Tamralipti, the principal port of the area, was one of the most important maritime centres during the Mauryan period.
  • Brahmi script was the contribution of the Muryas to the Tamil culture.
  • The king of Sri Lanka, Tissa, adopted the title of Devanampiya and appears to have modelled himself on Asoka.
  • Tissa, the Sinhalese king, accepted Buddhism and appears to have made it the state religion.
  • There is similarity between the edicts of Asoka and those of Darius.
  • The most striking example of the architectural closeness between Achaemenid Iran and Mauryan India was the royal palace at Pataliputra.
  • On the death of Asoka, the empire was probably divided into the western and eastern halves. Kunala succeeded Asoka in the western half.
  • According to Kalhana’s Rajatarangiri Asoka’s successor was Jalauka.
  • Dasharatha dedicated the caves in Nagarjuni Hills to the Ajivikas.
  • Brihadratha was the last of the Mauryas, assassinated by his Commander-in-chief, Pushyamitra, the founder of the Shunga dynasty.
  • According to the Puranas the entire Mauryan dynasty lasted for 137 years.
  • Pushyamitra Sunga, who killed the last Mauryan ruler Brihadratha and founded the Sunga dynasty, was a General of the Mauryas.
  • The Mauryan government was a benevolent despotism.
  • Paternal despotism would be the most accurate description of the Mauryan monarchy under Asoka.
  • The largest number of officers of the central administration were associated with the duties of revenue administration.
  • The officer of the central government, who was in charge of the Royal income or control of revenue, was Sannidhata.
  • The Mauryan fiscal year use to begin in Asadha (July).
  • Saurashtra-Junagarh had a foreign (Yavana-Greek) Governor.
  • The Mauryas had a well-organised civil service. The Mauryan Civil Servants were called by the general name of Amatyas.
  • The descending order of the Mauryan officers, at the district level, was Pradeshika, rajuka, yukta.
  • The functions of the rajukas in the Mauryan administration were—(I) They were the backbone of rural adminstration (II) They worked in judicial as well as administrative capacity (III) They were responsible for the survey of land and assessment of land revenue.
  • Sthanika was responsible for collection of taxes at the intermediate level of administration, between the district and the village.
  • The officers, who were special reporters and had direct access to the king, were Pativedakas.
  • The most important duty of the city superintendent or nagaraka was Law and order.
  • In describing city administration, Megasthenes mentions six committees. Indian sources do not directly mention the existence of these committees, but their functions are relatable to the duties of Adhayakshas.
  • Judicial reforms introduced by Asoka—(I) Grant of three days’ reprieve to the condemned prisoners (II) Introduction of uniformity in judicial procedure and punishment (III) Ensuring judicial impartiality and fairness.
  • According to the junagarh Rock Inscription of Rudradaman, during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya, a dam was built on the Sudarshan lake to facilitate water supply to the neighbouring countryside in Saurashtra.
  • Megasthenes states that Indian society was divided into seven classes, namely, Philosophers, farmers, herdsmen, artisans, soldiers, overseers and councilors. It was based on economic consideration.
  • According to the indigenous sources, including Asokan epigraphs, slavery existed in India during the Mauryan period, but Megasthenes said “all Indians are free and not one of them is a slave”.
  • The most common occupation of slaves during the Mauryan period was to work as domestic servants.
  • The lowest order in the social scale of Mauryan society was not a slave but the outcaste.
  • Statements about the outcastes—
    • (I) Their caste names referred directly to their profession of work 
    • (II) They accepted the position of social ostracism 
    • (III) They lived together with their families outside the towns.
  • Visthi stands for forced labour.
  • During the Mauryan times royal houses were mostly built of wood.
  • In the Mauryan period tax evasion was punished with death.
  • In the Mauryan empire 10 per cent ad valorem excise duties were levied on 
    • (I) Liquor         (II) Imported goods 
    • (III) Manufactured goods.
  • Modern methods of administration prevalent during the Mauryan period: 
    • (I) Registration of foreigners 
    • (II) Issue of licences to merchants 
    • (III) Regulating weights and measures.
  • Rummindei Inscription of Ashoka makes a specific reference to taxation.
  • The most famous centre of learning during the Mauryan period was Taxila.
  • Guilds were an intermediate step between a tribe and a caste.
  • From the north-west (in the region of Taxila) to Pataliputra was considered the most important internal trade route during the Mauryan period.
  • From India to Ecbatana via Kandahar and harat beginning from the Mauryan empire to countries outside the border was the most important.
  • The masterpieces of Mauryan art were the Stupas.
  • The metals, mainly used for minting coins during the Mauryan period, were silver and copper.
  • One of the caves built by Asoka and dedicated to the Ajivika sect is Sudama Cave at Barabara Hills.
  • The Asokan Pillar found at Laurya-Nandangarh is considered to be the most graceful of all Asokan Pillars.
  • Animals carved on the Sarnath Pillars—
    • (I) Humped Bull     (II) Elephant 
    • (III) Horse
  • Polish is the most striking feature of the Asokan Pillars.
  • The red sandstones for Asokan Pillars were mainly quarried from Chunar and Aravali hills.
  • It has been suggested that Pillar Capitals were all sculpted by craftsmen from the same region (probably Taxila).
  • The historian, who strongly argued the Mauryan empire declined as a result of Brahmanical revolt against anti-brahmanical and pro-Buddhist policies of Asoka, was H.P. Sastri.
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