According to some facts about Chanakya, he forged an alliance between Chandragupta and Pravartaka who ruled the mountainous kingdom of Himavatkuta, to defeat the Nandas. Pravartaka was offered half of the acquired kingdom, if won. The Nanda king was eventually defeated. Pravartaka fell in love with one of the Vishkanyas and decided to marry her. Chanakya approved the nuptial. But Pravartaka died during the marriage when he touched the girl. Chandragupta wanted to call the physician, but Chanakya denied. Chandragupta emerged as the sole emperor of the Mauryan kingdom.
Facts about Chanakya, due to lack of written records, are rare. Legend has it that Greek explorer Megasthenes, who was then visiting Chandragupta’s court, became close friends with Chanakya. One evening, he went to visit the statesman, who was then studying some official documents. He asked Megasthenes to wait a while. When Chanakya finished his work, he turned off the lamp and lit another one. A surprised Megasthenes asked, why did he do that? Chanakya replied, he was doing official work and thus used the oil provided by the state to burn the lamp. But spending time with his friend was a personal matter and he can’t use public money for that.
A Jain legend says that Subhandhu, a rival of Chanakya, told Bindusara the cause of his mother’s death. Bindusara, who was then the Mauryan Emperor, was enraged to hear that. He set out to kill Chanakya who was already very old at that time. Hearing that Bindusara was coming to kill him, Chanakya donated all his wealth to the poor and orphans, and decided to end his life starving. Bindusara later learnt that his mother’s death was an accident. But he failed to coax Chanakya to break his fast.
Written, expanded and redacted sometime between the 2nd century BC and 3rd century CE, the economic and public administration treatise was influential until 12th century AD, after which it disappeared. It was rediscovered by R Shamasastry, the librarian of Oriental Research Institute, Mysore, in 1904. He published the book in 1909. The English translation of Arthashastra was first published in 1915.
Chanakya is highly revered in India for his statesmanship. Parts of Arthashastra are included in the curriculum of various universities. Chankaya is considered as an astute politician and diplomat. In fact, New Delhi’s diplomatic enclave is named Chanakyapuri, in remembrance of the Mauryan prime minister. Besides, several institutes in India are named after him. These include the Chanakya National Law University at Patna, and the Chanakya Institute of Public Leadership at Mumbai. The latter is a political finishing school and perhaps the only one of its kind in the world that teaches facts about Chanakya and his life to build a strong foundation in leadership.
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