Powerful Kings in the Indian History?
INDAN history is very complex and it’s very tough but intresting to know and understand it. So , we’re here to talk about the most greatest king in Indian History.
So, according to me , I would like to take the name of Chandragupt Maurya(340–298BCE) Mauryan Emperor.
He was the founder of Maurya Empire. It was originally centred in Magadh Region but late it was expanded as Ancient India. Chandragupta Maurya was a pivotal figure in the History of India. Prior to his consolidation of power, Alexander the great had invaded the northwest Indian subcontinent, but would abandon further campaigning into India in 326 BCE due to a mutiny in his army. Chandragupta Maurya is influential for his founding of the Mauryan Empire, and consequent unification of India into a single state. The major force in the region at the time
was the Nanda empire, ruled by Dhana Nanda and located in the kingdom of Magadha in north-east India. Aiming to extend its borders, the empire had built an army comprising some 200,000 infantry and 80,000 cavalry, backed up by thousands of chariots and elephants. Under the tutelage of his advisor, Chanakya, Chandragupta assembled a band of men to rebel against the incumbent ruler.
Chndragupt Maurya was the most important figure to integrate whole India (Ancient India) which was back then divided into 16 mahajanapadas.Chanakya had trained and guided Chandragupta and together they planned the destruction of Dhana Nanda. The Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadatta as well as the Jain work Parishishtaparvan talk of Chandragupta’s alliance with the Himalayan king Parvatka, sometimes identified with Porus.
He defeated the then Nanda Empire and founded Maurya empire while he was 20 years old Only.
He defeated Seleucus I Nicator, a Macedonian general of Alexander, who after Alexander’s death, in 312 BCE, established the Seleucid Kingdom with capital Babylon, reconquered most of Alexander’s former empire in Asia.
Chandragupta’s India was characterized by an efficient and highly organised bureaucratic structure with a large civil service. Due to its unified structure, the empire developed a strong economy, with internal and external trade thriving and agriculture flourishing.
Indian history is certainly incomplete without all the great kings it has witnessed. So, the answer definitely should focus on, Who was one of the greatest Indian kings?
- Shivaji Bhosale, better known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was an Indian warrior king and a member of the Maratha clan. He established a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of disciplined military and well-structured administrative organisations.
- He also introduced new military tactics, pioneering guerrilla warfare methods, which used geography, speed, and surprise and focused pinpoint attacks to defeat enemies.
- Born on 19th February 1630 in the hill-fort of Shivneri, near the city of Junnar in Pune district, named Shivaji in honor of goddess Shivai to whom mother prayed for a healthy child.
- Father Shahaji Bhosale was a Maratha general who served the Deccan Sultanates and mother Jijabai was the daughter of a ruler.
- Shivaji was extremely devoted to his mother Jijabai, who was deeply religious. This religious environment had a great impact on Shivaji, and he carefully studied the two great Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata; these were to influence his lifelong defense of Hindu values. Throughout his life he was deeply interested in religious teachings, and regularly sought the company of Hindu and Sufi saints.
- In 1646, Shivaji & his friends from Maval took oath of independence in the temple of Rohideshwar. At a young age of 16 he conquered the forts of Torna. Torna fort is the first fort that Shivaji captured.
- In 1648, at the age of 18, captured two forts, Kondhana and Purandar.
1. The Killing of Afzal Khan:
The battle is known for the manner in which Afzal Khan was killed by Chhatrapati Shivaji. Shivaji had sent an emissary saying that he did not want war. Even though a meeting was arranged, both of them were deeply suspicious of each other’s intentions. It was agreed that the two would meet unarmed but both were prepared for treachery. Afzal Khan had hidden a small dagger (katyar) and Shivaji wore armour underneath his clothes with a tiger nails (wagh nakha) in one hand.
As the two men entered the tent, the 7′ tall Khan embraced Shivaji. Then treacherous Khan swiftly drew his hidden dagger and stabbed Shivaji in the back. The dagger was deflected by Shivaji’s armour. Shivaji responded by disemboweling the Khan with a single stroke of his wagh nakhi. Thereupon Afzal Khan’s bodyguard SayyedBanda attacked Shivaji with swords but Jiva Mahala, Shivaji’s personal bodyguard fatally struck him down, cutting off one of Sayyed Banda’s hands with a Dandpatta. Khan was later chased and beheaded by one of Shivaji’s lieutenants. The severed head was later sent to Rajgad to be shown to Shivaji’s mother.
2. Arrest in Agra and Wise Escape:
In 1666, Aurangzeb invited Shivaji to Agra, along with his nine-year-old son Sambhaji. Aurangzeb’s plan was to send Shivaji to Kandahar (now in Afghanistan).Shivaji was led to the back of the hall. By now, it was clear that it was a trap and Shivaji and his son were captives. They were imprisoned for many months but, Shivaji did not despair. Shivaji’s was allocated spacious quarters in one of the big houses and his personal servants stayed in the interior of the haveli. He befriended the postmaster and a few subordinates of the emperor and collected information about the happenings around the kingdom.
Shivaji feigned illness and requested that his men be released so they go back home. Aurangzeb granted this wish. His men went to several towns and settled there, after which Shivaji was ready to execute his plan. Thereafter, on his request, he was allowed to send daily shipments of sweets and gifts to saints, fakirs, and temples in Agra as offerings for his health.
After several days and weeks of sending out boxes containing sweets, Shivaji, realizing his moment had arrived, escaped with his son Sambaji in the sweet baskets.
3. Military: Established Hindavi Swarajya
Shivaji was responsible for many significant changes in military organisation:
- A standing army belonging to the state, called paga.
- Highly mobile and light infantry and cavalry excelling in commando tactics.
- The introduction of a centralized intelligence department; Bahirjee Naik was the foremost spy who provided Shivaji with enemy information in all of Shivaji’s campaigns.
- A potent and effective navy.
- Introduction of field craft like commando actions, and swift flanking attacks.
- Innovation of weapons and firepower, innovative use of traditional weapons like the tiger claw (vaghnakh) and vita.
4. Forts: Control of 360 forts
Shivaji captured strategically important forts at Rajgad, Torna, Kondhana () and Purandar and laid the foundation of swaraj or self-rule. Toward the end of his career, he had a control of 360 forts to secure his growing kingdom. Shivaji himself constructed about 15–20 totally new forts (including key sea forts like Sindhudurg), but he also rebuilt or repaired many strategically placed forts to create a chain of 300 or more, stretched over a thousand kilometres across the rugged crest of the Western Ghats. Each were placed under three officers of equal status lest a single traitor be bribed or tempted to deliver it to the enemy. The officers (sabnis, havaldar, sarnobat) acted jointly and provided mutual checks and balance.
5. A Secular King:
Though his war was against Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and Adil Shah, he never biased any one on the basis of their religion.
Daryadarang as the Chief of the Navy.
·Ibrahim Khan as the Chief of the Artillery.
·Daulat Khan prominent in the navy. Armour Chief.
·Siddhi Hilal was another brave Muslim chieftain in Shivaji’s army.
·Kazi Hyder was an emissary of King Shivaji, who later became a Secretary.
· Siddi Ibrahim was a Bodyguard of King Shivaji.
· Madari Mehtar was Shivaji Maharaja’s Royal Servant.
The great warrior Shivaji always respected Muslim saints. Yakut Baba, a Sufi Muslim saint was one of the king’s spiritual guides.
The king had ordered his Hindu soldiers, that Muslim women and children should not be maltreated, Mosques should be given a protection and if they find a copy of Kuran while the mission, they should handover it to their Muslim colleagues respectfully.
Nineteenth century Hindu revivalist Swami Vivekananda considered Shivaji a hero and paid glowing tributes to his wisdom.
When Indian Nationalist leader, Lokmanya Tilak organised a festival to mark the birthday celebrations of Shivaji, Vivekananda agreed to preside over the festival in Bengal in 1901.
He wrote about Shivaji:
“Shivaji is one of the greatest national saviours who emancipated our society and ourwhen they were faced with the threat of total destruction. He was a peerless hero, a pious and God-fearing king and verily a manifestation of all the virtues of a born leader of men described in our ancient scriptures. He also embodied the deathless spirit of our land and stood as the light of hope for our future.”
Poem by Rabindranath Tagore:
In what far-off country, upon what obscure day
I know not now,
Seated in the gloom of some Mahratta mountain-wood
O King Shivaji,
Lighting thy brow, like a lightning flash,
This thought descended,
“Into one virtuous rule, this divided broken distracted India,
I shall bind
Proudh Pratap Purandar, Kshatriy Kulavantas, Sivhasanadhishwar, Maharajadhiraj, Yogiraj, Shirmant Shri, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jay…
(A tribute of titles of nobility to the great Indian king Shivaji Maharaj)
story of Harischandra is of perennial interest. The story will last
for as long a time as the value of truth lasts. It illumines our life.
It was this story which helped Yudhishtira to get over his adversities.
Again, it was this story which showed the path of truth to Gandhiji.
This story occurs in the Vedas and also in the Puranas, in poetry and
in drama. It took its origin in the Vedas, flowed through the Puranas,
ran into cascades of poetry, and has continued to enrich the life of
people all around the world.
was the mighty monarch of Sri Rama’s lineage (Ikshwaku dynasty) he did
not have any children for a long time. In desperation Harischandra’s
wife said to herself: ‘It is enough if I can give birth to a child,
however short-lived its existence might be. At least that will save me
from the odium of being ‘a barren woman’. King Harischandra felt the
same agony. He too longed for a child. The husband and wife observed
many a ritual and went on extensive pilgrimages. At last they were able
to propitiate God Varuna and secure his benediction. Varuna blessed
them with a son whom he wanted to be offered as a sacrifice to him. The
husband and wife were helpless and they had to agree to the condition
laid down by the God.
son was born to Harischandra. Thus they were relieved of their chief
worry. But they were confronted by another anxiety. The God Varuna, who
had graced them with a son, appeared before them. “Give me back the
child,” demanded. “O! the child is young. Please wait till he develops
his teeth,” pleaded Harischandra. The child’s teeth appeared. The God
came back. The father said: “Please wait till the boy’s initial tonsure
ceremony. The God granted another term reprieve. Even as the father
was thus putting off his promise, the boy developed sufficient
awareness. He came to know that his father had consecrated his life to
the God. He suddenly absconded from the country. God Varuna was angry.
Consequent Harischandra contacted a deadly form of dropsy. But the God
himself took pity and said relenting: “I do not want the sacrifice. Let
Harischandra be cured of the disease.”
realized his folly. It was clear to him that he had been punished for
not having fulfilled his promise to the God, out of his own infatuation
for his son. He could have, instead of praying for a reprieve, begged
the God to relent and to release him from the obligation. He wondered
what his fate would have been if instead of repeatedly asking for a
reprieve he had gone back on his word. What would have been the
reputation of his family? How terrible would have been the future life
of his wife and son! Therefore, he made up his mind thereafter never to
go back on his word under any circumstance. ‘A man should be as good
as his word. He should preserve its sanctity. One ought to realize the
value of truth. Hereafter I shall rigorously practice truth in my daily
conduct’. Accordingly he lived a life of truthfulness and became
famous as ‘Satyavrata’ – an observer of truth.
day the celestial court of Devendra had assembled. In the midst of
several activities there, some earthly matters also came up for
discussion. Devendra wondered if there were any truthful human beings
on earth. The sage Vasishta stood up and said: “Yes, there are truthful
men on earth.” “Who could it be?” mused Devendra. Vasishta mentioned
the name of Harischandra, the son of Satyavrata. Vasishta’s words
infuriated the sage Vishwamitra: “He who could not keep up his word to
the God Varuna- how can anybody call him a truthful man? Don’t you know
that he was a victim of dropsy owing to the curse of God Varuna? “
that happened in his past life and it does not interest me, said sage
Vasishta. I aver that he has now become a truthful man. He does not so
much as utter a single lie.”
“Suppose some one catches him uttering a lie…? asked sage Vishwamitra.
sage Vasishta, who had complete trust in Harischandra, spoke with
confidence: “if he were to tell a lie and if he were to be found
dishonest at any time, I shall take this oath: I shall let my plait of
hair fly unkempt, and bare-bodied I shall walk away southwardly,
drinking toddy from a cast-away human skull.”
sage Narada, who was close by, said to Vishwamitra: “Now, supposing
Harischandra adhered to truth unswervingly, what would be your oath?
Vishwamitra said, “I shall give away to Harischandra half the quantum
of the divine fruits, and grace I have earned in my life and I will
make him world renowned,” said Vishwamitra swearing an oath in the
court of Indra.
The selfishness and egotism of these two sages caused untold hardship to Harischandra. His ordeal began.
who had a loving wife, an affectionate son, a clever minister and
devoted to subjects was unaware of the oaths and counter-oaths taken by
the sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra in Indra’s celestial court. On
returning to earth Vishwamitra carefully considered for some time
Harischandra’s polity, his ways and means. He seriously pondered how
best he could tempt him into the path of false-hood. Why not mulct all
his wealth, ruin him and force him into a situation in which he would
be compelled to tell lies?
day the king was busy in the midst of fun and frolic. Some followers
of the sage Vishwamitra, approached him and described to him the
details of a religious sacrifice called Bahu Suvarna Yaga. They
persuaded him that he was the most qualified person to observe the
sacrifice. The king agreed. He promised to conduct the sacrifice with
the co-operation of the sages. A special feature of the observance was
that a king should be limitless in his bounty in giving away gifts
after the sacrifice. A king should never deny and gift to anybody
however cruelly exacting the demands might be.
was aware of this stipulation. He completed the yaga with great eclat.
The poor and the needy were fully satisfied. But Vishwamitra resented
the success of Harischandra. He continued his schemes and intrigues.
came to the king. The king welcomed and honored him with his customary
courtesy and hospitality. He asked the sage what he could do for him.
The sage said without any qualms of conscience, I have come to collect
my gifts on the occasion of the sacrifice.” Harischandra readily
agreed. The sage spelt out his demands. A man should stand up on the
back of an elephant and toss a coin reaching a certain height, the king,
should pile up money and jewels so as to measure up to the said limit
and gift it away to him. The king granted the demand unhesitatingly and
begged the sage to accept it. Vishwamitra was bewildered. He had
failed in attempt to demoralize the king and bamboozle him into
promise. He left all the gifts with the king and went away saying that I
would send for them whenever he needed them. He went back to the
hermitage, crestfallen. Harischandra had, emerged triumphant in the
was awfully worried. He wondered how he would fulfill the oath he had
taken in Devendra court. What a shame it would be he failed! What was
worse, this Harischandra’s fame was spreading and wide. What was he to
do next? He thought of another plan. Some men have money-power. Some
have soul- power. Some others draw sustenance from their position and
prestige. Vishwamitra decided to wean away the king to his hermitage
and try the power and spell of his status on him. I shall see how he
can afford to stick to truth,’ he said to himself. He used his magical
powers and created a number of wild animals. He let them loose in the
kingdom and they plagued the people.
tyranny manifested itself in another terrible form. Thanks to the wild
beasts, the people’s sufferings were endless. Pests and insects
attacked the seeds sown by the farmers in their lands. Deer ate away
the sprouting crops. Peacock and other birds ruined corn stalks. There
was severe shortage of food for the people. They were terror-stricken.
They supplicated to the king for instant redress ‘O mighty monarch! So
far we were not plagued by such tyranny, we feared no enemy-, we
suffered no indebtedness; we hardly ever knew what was thirst and
starvation. But the present condition is terrific. The seeds have dried
up. The crops have failed and the streams have petered out. The menace
bird and beast is unbearable” – they cried in agony. The king assured
them of immediate relief and set out to hunt the wild animals. He
pursues the quarry all day long and slew them. When he was pressing,
forward in the jungles, he suddenly came upon a sanctuary in which the
wild animals were living together in peaceful abandon. The king went on
and on and approached the precincts of a hermitage. Much to his
surprise, he learnt that it was the hermitage of his family teacher,
the sage Vasishta. The calmness of the place gave immense relief to the
king, exhausted by the hunting exercise. He met his teacher and took
his blessings. He told him of his errand and proceeded into the forest.
the afternoon he entered the surroundings of another hermitage which
presented a contrast. His fatigue and agitation increased. Then he came
to know that it was the abode of the sage Vishwamitra. But he was
unable to account for the change in the atmosphere. He decided to meet
the sage after resting for a while. He placed his head in the lap of
his wife and went to sleep.
came to know that Harischandra had arrived at his hermitage. His
scheme had succeeded. He was bent upon using his power to force the
king to tell a lie. His wrath against Vasishta flared up. ‘Also he
remembered’ his earlier unsuccessful attempt at tempting the king. The
memory of the challenge he had thrown in the court of Indra and the
shame that would result if he failed aroused his vengeful feelings. In
this state of mind the, sage created two beautiful girls. The sage was
often motivated by intense anger, implacable enmity and motiveless
malignity. These passions accounted for what was morbid in his
personality. And hence these two girls created by him were of filth and
dirt. They set out to tempt Harischandra as prompted by their master,
who was sleeping in the lap of his wife, dreamt a horrible dream. He
thought it was the fore warning of some thing inauspicious. He
explained his dream to his wife. She spoke assuringly; “Pray, do not be
worried. However, never stray away from truth.” The prince and the
minister also consoled him. Just then the two girls of Vishwamitra
came. They entertained the king with their song and dance.
was delighted. He gifted away to them his pearl necklace. But what
they wanted was not just a gift. They were there to tease him, to annoy
him, as instigated by sage. They tried to trap him with their clever
talk. At last they wanted him to marry them. The king, who had been
amused so far, flared up. How could those lowborn women ever have the
cheek to ask a monarch of the Dynasty of the Sun God to marry them?
Probably the times were bad, or it must be due to the pernicious
influence of the locality. They deserve only physical admonition. So
saying, the king beat them with a sledge hammer and drove them out.
They came back to Vishwamitra and appealed for mercy.
was just what the sage wanted. Burning with indignation, he came to
the king. His arrival was so unexpected that it was hard for the king
to recognize him. Was it a plait of hair or fire that he was wearing?
Was it the holy ash that he was wearing on his forehead or it thunder?
Was he putting on was the doer-skin or the wildlife? It was not clear
to the king if the burning ‘third eye’ of Ishwara had taken the form of a
sage! Vishwamitra presented a contrast in every respect to the
peaceful, gentle, graceful, scholarly Vasishta. For a minute the king
stood perplexed. But he had the strength of truth to support him and he
welcomed the wrathful sage courteously, apologized to him for any
remiss of duty. He told him that he was at his service and would do his
bidding. But the sage had failed in his sagacity. His anger mounted
unabated. “Look, Harischandra! What have you done? You have slain my
animals, ruined my hermitage and you have mercilessly manhandled my
king was amazed. “O, my lord! I am blameless. Was it wrong to have
come to greet you?” he asked. Vishwamitra spoke with cunning
deliberately on: “The girls entertained you with song and dance and you
roughed them up. I shall pardon you if you marry them.” The king
refused. Vishwamitra grew more resentful. At last the king emphatically
said, ” I would rather part with my kingdom than marry those women.”
“Very well, then surrender to me your entire kingdom, ” the sage asked.
made over his whole kingdom without batting an eyelid. But the sage
was still obstinate: “You had better go back to your capital and summon
all your people. I want you to hand over to me the kingdom in their
presence,’ he argued.