The capital of the Mauryan Dynasty was Pataliputra. An ambassador to the court of the Maurayans and a historian from Greece, named Megasthenes, during the 3rd Century B.C. reported that Pataliputra was one city with some of the most magnificent temples, parks, palaces, gardens besides a library and a university. The Mauryan government was highly hierarchical and centralized. The governmental staff was huge and efficiently managed collection of tax, commerce, trade, industrial arts, important statistics, mining activities, maintaining markets, public places, temples and industrial arts. An espionage system was well developed besides a large standing army. Villages and districts were the different provinces the Mauryan Empire was divided into. A number of local officials were appointed centrally by the government. The central administration’s functions were well replicated.
The Mauryan Empire’s Landmark Accomplishments
Some of the most exemplary standards were set during the Mauryan rule, especially as far as administration was concerned. The four provinces the Empire was divided into include Taxila in the north, Suvarnanagiri in the south, Tosali in the east and Ujjain in the west. Pataliputra was the imperial capital.
As per the theory of the historians, the Mauryan Empire’s organization was in line with the bureaucratic system as described in the Arthashastra by Kautilya. The civil service was highly sophisticated and governed a number of things including trade at the global level and municipal hygiene. Defense system and expansion of the Mauryan Empire was one of the best during its time. As per the Greek historian Megasthenes, the Mauryan Empire wielded around 9000 war elephants, 30,000 cavalry and 600,000 infantry. For both external as well as internal security, intelligence was collected by an espionage system that was very vast. Ashoka, the Mauryan king renounced expansionism and offensive warfare both but continued to maintain a big army for the sole purpose of protecting the Mauryan Empire and ensuring peace and stability across South and West Asia.
During the Mauryan rule, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism were followed. In the court of the emperor, Hindu ministers and priests were particularly important. Ashoka embraced Buddhism, but continued to retain the membership of Hindu ministers and Brahmana priests in his court. The ahimsa philosophy was embraced by the Mauryan society. Internal conflicts and crime reduced due to improved enforcement of law and increased prosperity. Orthodox discrimination and caste system was discouraged as ideas of Buddhist and Jain teachings were largely absorbed by the Mauryans besides traditional vedic teachings in Hinduism.
During this period, Jain and Buddhist canons were completed and early versions and religious commentaries of the two famous epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata were written.
In South Asia, a common economic system was experienced for the very first time due to military security and political unity. This helped in enhancing commerce and trade besides increasing agricultural production. The farmers became free from tax payments. Regional kings no longer collected taxes from them. Instead they started paying to a system that was fair and strict and was administered at national level as advised in the Arthshastra principles. All across India, a single currency system was established by Chandragupta Maurya. Justice was provided to traders, farmers and merchants by the vast network of regional administrators and governors.
Many of the powerful chieftains who tried imposing supremacy in the smaller regions, private armies within the regional gangs of dacoits and bandits were wiped out by the Mauryan army. In terms of collecting revenue the system was regimented, however Mauryans sponsored a number of waterways and public works for the productivity enhancement. Due to the profound unity at political level and peace within the internal areas, there was huge expansion in internal Indian trade.
Exotic food items, spices, textiles and products in silk were exported from India during the Mauryan Dynastry. Exchange of technology and scientific knowledge with West Asia and Europe helped in enriching the Mauryan Empire further. Many of the public works, rest houses, hospitals, roads, canals and waterway construction was sponsored by King Ashoka. All across the Empire, the economic activity and productivity increased, including crop and taxation collection due to the easing out of a number of administrative practices that were very rigorous in nature.
Situation in the economy in the Roman Empire which came in centuries later and the Mauryan Empire was similar in a number of ways. Trade connections were extensive and the organization during both the dynasties was similar to corporations. Many private commercial entities existed during the Mauryan rule while the organizational entities during the Roman rule were used largely for projects that were driven by the state.
People lived a prosperous life under the Mauryan rule. Even if a large number of people lived on farms, due to increasing trade and commerce, the number of cities also grew not only within the empire but beyond its boundaries, like Rome in the West. Culture flourished during the Mauryan period.
The Role Of Chandragupta Maurya
In 326 BCE, the Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya. His conquest was continued by Bindusara his own son and Ashoka his grandson. The entire subcontinent got unified under their rule, excluding some part of Afghanistan and the continent’s southern tip. Indians in the present times still feel inspired by the cultural and political achievements of the Mauryan Empire.
Larger kingdoms were formed in the Mauryan rule which included Magadha in the Ganges Valley. External conquest by the Persian King Darius I who conquered India’s northern region helped in stimulated formation of larger states. Then Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire and defeated many local rulers and King Porus. Chandragupta Maury felt inspired by Alexander and defeated the successor, of Alexander, Seleucus Nicator in Asia in 305 BCE. A peace treaty was agreed upon by both rulers, and the Afghanistan boundary was settled, ambassadors and gifts were exchanged and a matrimonial alliance was also formed.
Kautilya, a minister of Chandragupta Maurya wrote Arthashastra, a book dealing with governmental practice, theory, administration and laws. The Mauryan Empire has been described as a bureaucratic and centralized state as per the Arthshashtra.