Saśigupta


Saśigupta

Saśigupta (Arrian Sisikottos; Curtius Sisocostus) was an historical personage of considerable eminence hailing from the Paropamisadean region i.e region lying between Hindukush and Indus. His name appears "twice" in Arrian’s "Anabasis" and "once" in "Historiae Alexendri Magni" by Curtius. The name Saśigupta literally means “moon-protected”---the “Saśi” part of the name being equivalent to "Chandra or the moon". Though many scholars write that Saśigupta was a ruler of some frontier hill state south of Hindukush [ Cambridge History of Ancient India, ed . E.J. Rapson, p.314.] , it is however, more appropriate to call him a military adventurer or a corporation leader coming from the warlike background of the fierce Ksatriya clan of the Asvakas from Massaga or Aornos or some other adjacent territory of the Asvakas. No ancient evidence is available which attests Sasigupta's royal back ground prior to his appointment by Alexander as ruler of the Asvakas of the Aornos country. Scholars are also at variance on the identity of Saśigupta. While some identify him with Chandragupta Maurya, the others say that Saśigupta and Chandragupta are two distinct historical personages —-- one from the north-west and the other from eastern India. There is also a third school of scholars who tend to connect Saśigupta as well as Chandragupta to north-west frontiers and relate them both to two separate branches of the Asvakas. Scholars like Dr J. C. Vidyalankara identify Saśigupta as a chieftain from the Kamboja land.

Ealy life of Saśigupta

Nothing is known about early life of Saśigupta. He was presumably a military adventurer, a leader of corporation of professional soldiers ("band of mercenary soldiers") whose main goals were economic and military pursuits. An important statement in Kautiliya’s Arthashastra [:Sanskrit::Kamboja.Suraastra.Ksatriya.shreny.aadayovartasastra.upajiivinah
:Licchivika.Vrjika.Mallaka.Madraka.Kukura.Kuru.Panchala.adayo raaja.shabda.upajiivinah|
::(Kautiliya Arathashastra, 11.1.03).

:Trans: "The corporations of warriors (Kshatriya shrenis) of the Kamboja and Surashtra and some other nations live by agtriculture, trade and by wielding weapons. The corporations of Lichchhivika,Vrijika, Mallaka, Mudraka, Kukura, Kuru, Pánchála and others live by the title of a Rája" (Kautiliya's Arathashastra, 1956, p 407, Dr R. Shamashastri).] abundantly proves the fact that the corporations of warriors ("Ksatriya Srenis") of the Kambojas etc existed in this period which offered military assistance to the outsiders on purely economic grounds. In all probability, Saśigupta was a professional soldier and led a corporation of mercenary soldier to help Persians especially Bessus, the Iranian Satrap of Bactria but once his case was lost, Saśigupta, along with band of warriors, threw his lot with the invaders ("obviously as mercenary soldiers"l) and thereafter, rendered a great help to Alexander during his compaigns of Sogdiana and later also of the Kunar and Swat valleys.

aśigupta, the Satrap of eastern Asvakas

In May 327 BCE, when Alexander invaded the republican territories of the Alishang/Kunar, Massaga and Aornos on the west of Indus, Saśigupta had rendered great service to the Macedonian invader in reducing several Ksatriya chiefs of the Asvakas of the Alishang/Kunar and Swat valleys. He appears to have done this in an understanding with Alexander that after the reduction of this territory, he would be made the lord of the country. And Arrian definitively confirms that after the reduction of the fort of Aornos in Swat where the Asvakas had put up a terrible resistance, Alexander entrusted the command of this extremely strategic fort of Aornos to Saśigupta and made him the Satrap of the surrounding country of eastern Asvakas [ Arrian’s Anabasis, 1893, Book 4b, Ch xxx, and Book 5b, ch xx, E. J. Chinnock; The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great, 1896, p 112, Dr John Watson M'Crindle; The History and Culture of the Indian People, 1969, p 49, Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bhāratīya Itihāsa Samiti; Historiae Alexandri Magni, Book 8, Ch XI, Curtius.] .

aśigupta vs Meroes, the friend of Poros

Towards the end of battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum), Arrian mentions a certain "Meroes" and attests him to be an Indian and an old friend of Poros. Arrian further attests that he was finally chosen by Alexander to bring the fleeing Poros back for concluding peace treaty with Macedonian invader [Arrian Anabasis, 1893, Book 5b, Ch xviii, , E. J. Chinnock; The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great, 1896, pp 108, 109, Dr John Watson M'Crindle; Political and Social Movements in Ancient Panjab, 1964, p 172, Dr Buddha Prakash.] . It is notable that at the time of Poros’s war with Alexander, Saśigupta, the satrap of the eastern Asvakas had very cordial relations with Poros. In fact, he was on good terms both with Poros as well as Alexander and was finally chosen by Alexander to effect peace negotiations between him (Alexander) and Poros when Taxiles i.e. the ruler of Taxila had failed in this endeavor. It is more than likely, as several scholars have speculated, that Saśigupta may have alternatively been known also as Meroes ( = Sanskrit Maurya) after his native-land Meros ("Mor or Mer in prakrit, perhaps Mt Meru of Sanskrit texts) [ Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1936, p 164, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute - Indo-Aryan philology, Dr H. C. Seth; The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 673, India; Punjab History Conference, Second Session, October 28-30, 1966, Punjabi University Patiala, pp 32-35, Dr H. R. Gupta; The Indian Review , 1937, p 814, edited by G.A. Natesan - India. ] [IMPORTANT NOTE: Sasigupta is called an Indian by Arrian. Arrian also calls the Asvakas as an Indian. Arrian further calls Meroes also as an Indian and an old friend of Poros. In this context, it is worth remembering that while the Kamboja sections in Trans-Hindukush region were purely Iranians, those lying in the cis-Hindukush region are known to have been partly Iranian and partly under Indian culture. Thus, whereas the Kunar (Choaspes = river of good horses) section of the Asvaka branch is known in classical writings as "Aspasioi" (from Iranian Aspa = horse), those living in the Swat (Suastos) valley were known as Assakenoi i.e. Asvakas (from Sanskrit Asva = horse). The dividing line between Iran and India was approximately Panjkora (or Guraeus) river (See: The Pathans, 1958, p 55/56, Olaf Caroe). According to Paul Goukowsky, Iranian language was spoken on the north of Kunar where as Pracrit on its south (Essai sur les origines du mythe d'Alexandre: 336-270 av. J. C., 1978, p 152, n 12, Paul Goukowsky). Thus, there should be no objection if Arrian calls the Assakenoi people as well as Sisicottos & Meroes, all as Indians (See: Arrain Anabasis, Book 4b, Ch xxx; Book 5b, Ch xviii, Book 5b, Ch xx).] . Another possibility is that name Meroes (Maurya?) may have been derived from "Mer" (hill or mountain) or "Mera" (hillman) on account of the fact that Sisicottos or Saśigupta was obviously a hilllman or mountaineer.

aśigupta after the Assassination of Nicanor

A few months later when Alexander was still in Punjab and engaged in war with the Glausais of Ravi/Chenab, the Asvakas had assassinated Nicanor, the Greek governor of lower Kabul valley and also issued a threat to kill Saśigupta if he continued to cooperate with the invaders. While Phillipos was appointed to Nicanor’s place, no further reference to Saśigupta exists in classical sources. It appears likely that as a shrewd politician & statesman cum military general, Saśigupta had sensed the pulse of time and therefore after deserting Alexander’ camp, he had thrown his lot with the emerging group of insurgents. Thence afterwards, Sasigupta seems to appear under an alternative name----Moeres or Moeris of the classical chroniclers. It is notable that "Moeres, Moeris, Meris and Meroes" are all equivalent terms [Age of Nandas, and Mauryas, 1967, p 427, K. A. Nilakanta Sastri; Maurajya Samarajya Samsakrik Itihasa, 1972, B. P. Panthar; Alexander's Campaigns in Sind and Baluchistan and the Siege of the Brahminabad, 1975, p 26, Pierre Herman Leonard Eggermont; Indological Studies, 1977, p 100, University of Sindh, Institute of Sindhology.] . Arrian writes Meroes [ Arrian’s Anabasis, Book 5b, Ch xx.] while Curtius spells it as Moeres or Moeris [ Historiae Alexandri Magni, ix,8,29.] . Chieftain Moeris of lower Indus delta (Patala) referenced by Curtius seems precisely to be the same person as Meroes of north-west, attested to be old friend of Poros by Arrian [ Arrian’s Anabasis, Book 5b, Ch xx.] . Alexander was apparently annoyed at this development and pursued Saśigupta who appears to have fled with his followers to lower Indus. He probably appears there as Moeres of Curtius, a chief of Patala [Historiae Alexandri Magni, ix,8,29.] . It is but natural that after joining the band of insurgents, Saśigupta alias Meroes or Moeres became a leader of the group of rebels and started his struggle for realizing his bigger goals for bigger regal power. Dr. Ranajit Pal maintains [See Ranajit Pal, Non-Jonesian Indology and Alexander,New Delhi, 2002. ] that Sashigupta was the same as Moeris or Maurya (Chandragupta). According to him Moeris was the same as Orontobates who fought against Alexander the Great.

aśigupta vs Chandragupta

Dr Seth observes: "If we take into account the practice Alexander followed of putting in-charge of the area which he conquered the vanquished ruler himself or some equally influential from among the people, we find no difficulty in assuming that Saśigupta either belonged to the ruling Asvaka dynasty of the area of which Massaga and Aornos were the centers, or to some other influential ruling Asvaka family of west of Indus. Obviously this was the only way in which Alexander could get support of the entirely alien people.......Macedonian conqueror did it in case of Ambhi, the ruler of Taxila and as also Porus, the ruler of territories falling between Jhelum and Vipasa (Bias)".

It is very conspicuous that Saśigupta ("Sisikottos") and Chandragupta ("Sandrokotos") both names literally mean "“moon-protected”". “Saśi” part of "Saśigupta" has exactly the same meaning in Sanskrit as the “Chandra” part of "Chandragupta"-- both mean "“the moon”". Thus, the two names are exact synonyms [ Chandragupta Maurya, 1969, p 8, Lallanji Gopal; The Indian Historical Quarterly, v.13, 1937, p 361; The Indian Review, 1937, p 814, edited by G.A. Natesan.] . Scholars say that it is not an uncommon practice in India to substitute one’s given name with a synonym [Did Candragupta Maurya belong to North-Western India?, Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1936, p 163, Dr S. C. Seth; Was Chandragupta Maurya a Punjabi?, Punjab History Conference, Second Session, Oct 28-30, 1966, Punjabi University Patiala, p 32, Dr H. R. Gupta] . Thus, it appears very likely, as many scholars believe, that Chandragupta may have been an alternative name for Saśigupta and both names essentially refer to same individual. This view is further reinforced if we compare the early lives of Saśigupta and Chandragupta. Both men are equally remarkable, both are military adventurers "par excellence", both are rebellious and opportunists, both are equally ambitious, both are far-sighted and shrewed statesmen, and lastly but more importantly, both emerge in history precisely at the same time and at the same place in north-west India. Plutarch’s classic statement that Andrakottos had met Alexander in his youth days [Plutarch’s Life of Alexander, Chapter LXII; The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great, 1896, p 311, John Watson M'Crindle.] probably alludes to the years when Saśikottos had gone to help Iranians against Alexander at Bactria in 329 BCE. J. W. McCrindle concludes from Plutarch's statement that Chandragupta was native of Punjab rather than Magadha [The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great, 1896, p 405, John Watson M'Crindle .] . Appian’s statement: "And having crossed Indus, Seleucus warred with Androkottos, the king of the Indians, who dwelt about that river (the Indus)" [Appian's Roman History, XI.55 .] clearly shows that Chandragupta was initially a ruler of Indus country [Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona,1936, Vol xviii, part 2, pp 161, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Dr H. C. Seth.] . Scholars like Dr H. C. Seth and Dr H. R. Gupta term this evidence from Appian as worthy of greatest consideration which other scholars appear to have taken lightly [Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona,1936, Vol xviii, part 2, pp 161, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Dr H. C. Seth.] [Dr Seth writes: "The scholars have not treated the evidence from Appian with the attention it deserved. Appian (Syriakê, c. 55) was Syrian historian, whose references to Chandragupta (Androkottos) are worthy of greatest consideration because of the very intimate relations between Seleucus Nicator, the founder of Syrian empire and Chandragupta Maurya the founder of Indian empire. Speaking of Seleucus, Appian says: 'And having crossed Indus, he warred with Androkottos, the king of the Indians, who dwelt about that river (the Indus), until he entered into an alliance and marriage affinity with him'. This statement from Appian clearly shows that Chandragupta was initially a ruler of Indus country" (Op cit. 1937, p 161, Dr H. C. Seth). .] . It was only after Chandragupta's war with Seleucus which took place in in 305 BCE [ The Cambridge History of India, 1962, p 424, Edward James Rapson, Wolseley Haig, Richard Burn, Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler, Henry Dodwell; The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature, 1910, p 839, Edited by Hugh Chisholm; A History of Asia, 1964, p 149, Woodbridge Bingham - Asia History; Chronology of World History, 1975, p 69, G. S. P. Freeman-Grenville. ] and the defeat of the latter that Chandragupta appears to have shifted his capital and residence from north-west to Pataliputra -- which was also the political headquarters of the regime he had succeeded to.

Dr Seth concludes: "If Chandragupta is identical to Saśigupta, then we find no difficulty in assuming that he indeed belonged to the Ksatriya clan of the Asvakas whose influence extended from the Hindukush to eastern Punjab at the time of Alexander's invasion. With Mauryan conquest of other parts of India, these Asvakas settled in other parts of India as well. From Buddhist literature, we also read of southern Asvakas (or Assakas or Asmakas) on the bank of river Godavary in Trans-Vindhya country. The Asvakas are said to have belonged the great Lunar dynasty..... In the region lying between Hindukush and Indus, Alexander received terrible resistance from the Ksatriya tribe called Asvakas"" [Did Candragupta Maurya belong to North-Western India?", Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1936, Vol xviii, part 2, pp 158-164, Dr S. C. Seth.] .

Some scholars believe that the insurgency against the Greek rule in north-west had first started probably in lower Indus [Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 236, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury.] . If this is true, then Moeris of Patala may indeed have been the pioneer in this revolution and he may be assumed to be the same person as Meroes of north-west i.e Chandragupta Maurya [ Studies in Indian History and Civilization, 1962, p 133, D Buddha Prakash; Studies in Alexander's Campaigns, 1973, p 40, Binod Chandra Sinha.] , alternatively known also as Saśigupta [Poisoning of Alexander ( part 2 ), Newsfinder, History section, Dr Ratanjit Pal.] originally a native of the Swat/Kunar valleys west of Indus. Other scholars like Dr B. M. Barua, Dr H. C. Seth etc also identify Saśigupta with Chandragupta. As noted above, Dr J. W. McCrindle calls Chandragupta a native of Panjab [ The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great, 1896, p 405, John Watson M'Crindle] . American archaeologist David B. Spooner thinks that Chandragupta was an Iranian who had established a dynasty in Magadha [Journal of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1915, Part I, p 406, Part II, pp 416-17.] . Based on the classical evidence, Dr H. R. Gupta thinks that Chandragupta as well as Saśigupta both belonged to northwest frontiers and both, in all probability, belonged to two separate branches of the Asvaka Ksatriyas [Was Chandragupta Maurya a Punjabi?", Punjab History Conference, Second Session, Oct 28-30, 1966, Punjabi University Patiala, p 32-35, Dr H. R. Gupta.] . Dr Chandra Chakravarti also relates Sasigupta and Chandragupta to northwest frontiers and states that Saśigupta belonged to Malkand whereas Chandragupta Maurya was a ruler of Ujjanaka or Uddyana (Swat) territory of the Asvakas [ The Racial History of Ancient India, 1944, p 814, Chandra Chakraberty.] .

Was Chandragupta a Kamboja emperor?

If it is true that name Saśigupta and Chandragupta refer to same historical personage, then it must also follow that Chandragupta was native of Uttarapatha (north-west division) and belonged to some influential family of the Asvakas, west of Indus [Op cit. 1937, p 163, Dr H. C. Seth; The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 361, India; Indian Review, 1937, p 814, edited by G.A. Natesan; Note on Saśigupta and Candragupta, The Indian Historical Quarterly/edited by Narendra Nath Law, Vol. XIII. Articles:, Miscellany,. Reprint. Delhi, Caxton, 1998, 39 Volumes;Indian Culture, vol. X, p. 34.] . He initially started his career as war-leader or military adventurist and led a corporation of warriors to the aid of Persians. It is well known from classical sources that mercenary soldiers from north-west frontiers were frequently requisitioned by Persian rulers of Achaemenid line. It is also clear from a reliable contemporary witnesses such as Kautiliya who powerfully attests that the Kambojas and other north-west frontier people, at this period, "lived by varta as well as by the use of weapons "(Varta-shastropajivi). Panini, in his Ashtadhyayi, includes the Ashvayana and Ashvakayana [Ashtadshyayi: Sutra IV-1, 110; Nadadi gana IV-1, 99.] sections of the Kambojas into republican people and styles them as "Parvata Ayuddhajivi" Samghas ("mountaineer or highlander fighters's republics") [Parvata Ayuddhajivin defined in Ashtadhyayi Sutra IV.3.91.] [ See also: Indian as known to Panini, 1953, pp 438/39, pp 36-457, Dr V. S. Agarwala; Prācīna Kamboja, jana aura janapada =: Ancient Kamboja, people and country, 1981, p 162, Dr Jiyālāla Kāmboja, Dr Satyavrat Śāstrī.] [NOTE: The Ashvayanas (Aspasioi) and Ashvakayanas/Asvakas (Assakenoi) were free or republican people at the time of Alexander's invasion of India (See ref: The History and Culture of Indian People, 1969, p 45, Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bhāratīya Itihāsa Samiti; Alexander the Great, 2003, p 324, Dr W. W. Tarn; Development of Hindu Polity and Political Theories, 1938, p 5, Narayanchandra Banerjee - Constitutional history.] . The Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas of Panini are the Aspasioi and Assakenoi of the classical writings and the Asvakas of the Mahabharata as well as of the Puranas. The Asvakas formed a section of the greater Kamboja tribes who had spread on both sides of Hindukush mountains. They were exclusively engaged in horse-culture, were known as distinguished breeders of notable horses and famous as expert cavalry (horsemen) [ Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133 fn 6, pp 216-20, (Also Commentary p 576 fn 22), Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; History of Indian Buddhism: From the Origins to the Saka Era, 1988, p 100 - History; Panjab Past and Present, pp 9-10, Dr Buddha Parkash; Historie du bouddhisme Indien, p110, Dr E. Lammotte; Hindu Polity, A constitutional History of India in Hindu Times, 1978, p 140, Dr K. P. Jayswal; The History of Punjab, Vol I, 1997, p 225, Editors Dr L. M. Joshi, Dr Fauja Singh; Raja Poros, 1990, Publication Bureau, Punjabi University Patiala; History of Poros, 1967, p 89, Dr Buddha Prakash; Dr J. W. McCrindle says that the modern Afghanistan -- the Kaofu (Kambu) of Hiun Tsang was ancient Kamboja and the name Afghan evidently derives from the Ashavakan, the Assakenoi of Arrian (Alexandra's Invasion of India, p 38; Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180, J. McCrindle); East and West, 1950, pp 28, 157-58, Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, Editor, Prof Giuseppe Tucci, Co-editors Prof Mario Bussagli, Prof Lionello Lanciotti; Historie du Bouddhisme Indien, p 110, E. Lamotte; Essai sur les origines du mythe d'Alexandre: 336-270 av. J. C., 1978, p 152, n 12, Paul Goukowsky; Ancient Kamboja, People and Country, 1981, pp 271-72, 278, Dr J. L. Kamboj; These Kamboj People, 1979, pp 119, 192, K. S. Dardi; Kambojas, Through the Ages, 2005, pp 129, 218-19, S Kirpal Singh; Sir Thomas H. Holdich, in his classic book, (The Gates of India, p 102-03), writes that the Aspasians (Aspasioi) represent the modern Kafirs. But the modern Kafirs, especially the Siah-Posh Kafirs (Kamoz/Camoje, Kamtoz) etc are considered to be modern representatives of the ancient Kambojas.] . See Ashvakas. One Buddhist tradition states that Chandragupta's father was killed in a border-clash and his pregnant wife sought refuge in Pushapapura where she gave birth to Chandragupta [See: History and Culture of Indian People, The Age of Imerial Unity, p 56 (Ed) Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar, forward by Dr K. D. Munshi etc; Mahavamsatika, Ceylonese Edition, p 119-120.] . Pushapapura is an ancient name for Peshawar in north-west frontier land powerfully attested in the ancient inscriptions belonging to the Saka age i.e Christian times [See: Acta Orientalia, xvi, para iii, 1937, pp 234ff. Note: On Pushapapura = Peshawar, see few more Refs: Advanced History of India, 1971, p 162, G. Srinivasachari, K.A.N. Sastri; History of India, 1952, p 113, K. A. N. Sastri; India- A short Cultural History, 1952, p 4, H. G. Rawlinson; Traditional History of India, 1964, p 13, Oscar Luis Chavarria Aguilar; Le Pakistan, 1987, p 145, Bruno Morandi, Didier Priou; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 392, Dr H. C Raychaudhury; Studies in Indian Anthropology, 1966, p 61, Sarat Chandra Roy, Nirmal Kumar Bose - Ethnology; Proceedings of the All-India Oriental Conference, 1968, p 32, H Humpback; Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik, 1975, p 18, Georg Buddruss - Indo-Iranian philology; Acta Orientalia, 1987, p 237, Norsk orientalsk selskap, Sten Konow, Orientalsk samfund (Denmark), Oosters Genootschap in Nederland - Oriental philology; Foreign Impact on Indian Life and Culture (c. 326 B.C. to C. 300 A.D.), 1996, p 105, Satyendra Nath Naskar - History; A History of Indian Logic: Ancient, Mediaeval, and Modern Schools, 1971, p 26, Satis Chandra Vidyabhusana - Philosophy; Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay, 1841, p 7-8, Asiatic Society of Bombay - Orient; Kālidāsa-kośa: A Classified Register of the Flora, Fauna, Geographical Names, 1968, p 30, Sures Chandra Banerji etc etc .] . But the belated Ceylonese Buddhist text Mahavamsatika (10th c AD creation) seems to have confused this Pushapapura of northwest with the eastern Indian Pushapapura ("Pataliputra, also called Kusumpura") and has erroneously linked Chandragupta's birth to Pataliputra [ Pataliputra is said to have been known as Palibothra, Kusumpura, Pushapapura and later as Azeemabad etc. Kanyakubja (modern Kanauj) is also said to have been known as Pushapura in ancient times (A History of the Guptas, Political & Cultural, 1985, p 15, R. K. Dwivkdi, Devi Charan Lal Vaish - History).] which does not seem to bear closer scrutiny. Further, the chattel slavery was a custom prevalent only in north-west frontier countries. Majjhima Nikaya (5th c BCE) attests that in the lands of the Yavanas, Kambojas and some other frontier nations, there were only two classes of people...Aryas and Dasas...the masters and slaves. The Arya could become Dasa and vice versa [Majjhima Nikaya 43.1.3.] . There is, however, no evidence that slavery was practiced in Indian mainland/Madhyadesa and/or in Eastern India. Rather, Megasthenes, the Greek Ambassador to the court of Chandragupta, while writing on "Pataliputra and Manners of the Indians", specifically writes that: "The Indians do not even use aliens as slaves, and much less a countryman of their own" [See: Fragment XXVI, ARR Ind. 10, Megasthenes: Indiaka, Trans by J. W. McCrindle.] . At another place Megasthenes further observes: "Of several remarkable customs existing among the Indians, there is one prescribed by their ancient philosophers which one may regard as truly admirable: for the law ordains that no one among them shall, under any circumstances, be a slave, but that, enjoying freedom, they shall respect the equal right to it which all possess: for those, they thought, who have learned neither to domineer over nor to cringe to others will attain the life best adapted for all vicissitudes of lot: for it is but fair and reasonable to institute laws which bind all equally, but allow property to be unevenly distributed" [See: Fragment I, Or An Epitome of Megasthenes, Diodo. II, 35-42.] . "Even Diodorus Seleucus notes with approval the (idealized) slaveless Indian society" [See: Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1946, p 246, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute - Indo-Aryan philology.] [According to Indian Historian D. D. Kosambi, "in India, never an Aryan be sold into slavery--not even a Sudra living as free as an Aryan" (See: An Introduction to the Study of Indian History: Introduction to the Study of ..., 1996, p 231, D D Kosambi). Also Cf: 'Chattel slavery for basic production in India is also ruled out in the Arthashastra regulation' (Arthashastra, 3.13; See also: An Introduction to the Study of Indian History: Introduction to the Study of ..., 1996, p 231, D D Kosambi).] . Interestingly the Buddhist texts also refer to Chandragupta as belonging to Kshatriya lineage ["Mauryanam Khattyanam vamsha jata" (See: Mahavamsa, Geiger Trans p 27).] which means that Chandragupta was regarded as noble or Arya... and at the same time Buddhist text claims that Chandragupta's Arya uncle/relative living in Pataliputra (in Magadha, the heart of India), had sold this Arya Chandragupta (a child) for few takkas as a slave to a cowherd. And the cowherd sold him to a hunter, who in turn had sold him to Kautilya--a native of Taxila. Thus, this Buddhist claim strongly militates against all the above evidence of the Greeks as well as the Buddhists themselves. On the other hand as noted above, the people of Bahlika, Madra, Kamboja, Gandhara lands had developed a type of chattel slavery ("which was not prevalent in main India/Magadha") [Indo-Iranian Journal, 1962, p 198, SpringerLink (Online service). - Indo-Iranian philology.] . Thus, since the Chattel slavery is specifically documented to have been practiced in the north-west alone including the Yonas/Kambojas/Gandharas etc, this very surely means that sales/purchases of child Chandragupta by a cowherd, a hunter and later by Chanakya (Kautilya) must have taken place in the Gandhara/Kamboja land (probably near/around Peshawar=Pushpapura)) and not in the main Indian land like Magadha/Eastern India as erroneously claimed by a belated Buddhist text Mahavamsatika. This indicates that Chandragupta was indeed native of Kamboja/Gandhara and not of Magadha or east India. "Srimad Devi Bhagavatam" of Markandeya Purana brackets the "Kamboja and the Maurya clans together as allied warrior clans" and calls them both as Asuras (Ahuras?) [Markandeya Purana v 5.28.1-12.] [Dr H. C. Raychoudhury also refers to this verse of Srimad Devi Bhagavatam/Markendeya Purana with regard to the Mauryas and Ashoka Maurya (See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 5, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee).] . There are also epic references to Maurya king Ashoka which style him as "Maha-Asura---i.e. great Demon" [See: Mahabharata XII.5.7.] . Similarly, king Chandravarma Kamboja who finds mention in the Adiparva of the epic Mahābhārata is also styled as "powerful Asura or a Demonic ruler", the incarnation of Chandra, foremost among the sons of Diti [Mahabharata 1.67.31-32, Gorakhpore edition.] [Epic Mythology, 1915, p 62, Edward Washburn Hopkins - Hindu Mythology.] . Same Adiparva of Mahabharata also styles king Ashoka Maurya as an incarnation of "Asva (or Asvaka)" and a son of Diti [Mahabharata I.67.13-14.] which seems to connect him or his lineage to the Asvakas (Kamboja section) of north-west. "Manusmriti" [Manusmriti X.43-44.] as well as "Mahabharata" [ Mahabharata verse 13.33.21.] both style the Kambojas etc as "Vrishalah" [ Note: "The term Vrishala was applied to the high class Kshatriyas who did not entertain the Brahmanas and observe sacred codes recommended in the Brahmanical texts" (Ref: Chandragupta Maurya, National Book Trust, India, p 31-32, Gopal Lallanji).] . On the other hand, Sanskrit play "Mudrarakshasa" of Visakhadatta styles Chandragupta as "Vrishala". Marcus Junianius attests that Chandragupta had a humble origin. It is notable that no ancient source attests Saśigupta to be ruler of any kingdom in the north-west prior to his appointment by Alexander as a governor of Aornos country of the eastern Asvakas. It is all merely scholars' speculation that he was perhaps a ruler of some hill state west of upper Indus and came of a royal background. As noted afore, he was in all probability, a remarkable military adventurer of non-royal background, hence Justin's statement that he rose from a commoner is perfectly compatible. Buddhist literature like Mahavamsa relates Mauryas to Ksatriya lineage [Mauryanam Khattyanam vamse jatam (Mahavamsa, Geiger Trans p 27).] . On the other hand, Panini's Ashtadhyayi [Ashtadhyayi Sutra 4.1.168-175.] , Manusmriti [Manusmriti X.43.44.] , Mahabharata [Mahabharata 13.33.20-21.] , Harivamsa [Harivamsa, 14.19-20.] and numerous Puranas etc also list the Kambojas as Ksatriyas.

From the foregoing discussion, it appears very likely that Chandragupta "alias" Saśigupta belonged to some Asvaka branch, west of upper Indus, and hence more probably, he may have been from a Kamboja background. During/or immediately prior to this time in history, the Kambojas are known to have been very powerful people in the north-west as is indisputably attested by contemporary sources like Rock Edicts of king Ashoka as well as the Arthashastra of Kautiliya & the Ashtadhyayi of Panini. Only about a century and a half earlier, Kamboja had evolved into one of the two prominent Mahajanapadas of the north-west. It is also notable that after the adoption of Buddhism by king Asoka Maurya, entire resources of his vast empire were directed to the drive of propaganda especially in the north-west which also alludes to his concerns with and affinities towards the north-westerners [See: Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 159, B. M. Barua. Great Buddhist scholar, B. M. Barua observes that King Asoka's early education, military training and military alliance had all occurred in the north-west of India. Some of very important Edicts of king Asoka are also located in the north-west. The vast resources of king Asoka, after his adoption of Buddhism, were especially harnessed to the drive of propaganda specifically in the north-west. For these reasons and others, Dr B. M. Barua argues that the Mauryas belonged to the Uttarapatha or north-west (See also: Indain Culture, Vol X, p 34, Dr B. M. Barua; Asoka and His Inscriptions, 1968, p 51 sqq, Dr B. M. Barua, I. N. Topa).] . Last but not the least, it was only with the warlike Kambojas (=Ashvakas) [History of Poros, 1967, p 89, Dr Buddha Prakash.] and other north-western tribes like the Sakas, Bahlikas, Pahlavas and Kiratas that Chandragupta was able to lay the foundations of his great Maurya empire as is powerfully attested by Sanskrit play "Mudra-rakashas" by "Vishakhadatta" [The Sanskrit drama "Mudra-rakashas" by "Vishakhadatta" and the Jaina work "Parisishtaparvan" refer to Chandragupta's alliance with Himalayan king "Parvataka". The Himalayan alliance gave Chandragupta a formidable composite army made up of the Shakas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Kiratas, Parasikas and Bahlikas as attested by Mudra-Rakashas (Mudra-Rakshasa 2):Sanskrit::"asti tava Shaka-Yavana-Kirata-Kamboja-Parasika-Bahlika parbhutibhih" :"Chankyamatipragrahittaishcha Chandergupta Parvateshvara" :"balairudidhibhiriva parchalitsalilaih samantaad uprudham Kusumpurama" : (Mudra-Rakshasa 2).] . None of these tribes included in his army belonged to Central or Eastern India. This fact itself holds a very powerful clue that Chandragupta may have himself belonged to Northwest region and, in all probabilty, to the warlike Ashvaka sub-tribe of the Kamboja people [Dr. Spooner draws attention to the striking resemblance between the palaces of Chandragupta and those of Persian empire which made him arrive at a far-fetched conclusion that Chandragupta was a Persian. It seems, as in modelling a big Indian empire, likewise in modelling his palaces too, Chandragupta was greatly influenced by Persian ideals. The Maurya hall at Pataliputra was built on the model of the pillared hall at Persipolis. The Ahura Mazda of the Iranians is the same as Asura Maya of the Mahabharata. Just as Darius attributes his exploits to Ahura Mazda, Mahabharata likewise attributes such buildings to Asura Maya. Dr Spooner interprets "Asura" with "Ahura" and "Maya" with "Mazda". In Mahabharata, there is a reference to an Indian structure (e.g. Pandava palace at Indraprastha) built by a Asura Maya. In this reference Dr Spooner sees ancient connections of the Iranian artists and architects with the Indian mainland since remote antiquity. Further, the script which the Mauryas introduced into their empire was also of Achaemenian origin. Dr Spooner also remarks that name Maurya is not connected with Mura, a Sudra women, but with Mt Meru, the Merv, the Avestan town Mouru, which is known as Margu in the Achaemenian inscriptions and is located in Persepolis. Dr. Spooner is of the opinion that King Chandragupta was an Iranian and Zoroastrian who had founded a kingdom in India with capital at Pataliputra. He termed his dynasty as Maurya from the name of his motherland Merv, just as in modern Persian, an inhabitant of Merv is called Maurya. According to Dr Spooner, Chandragupta belonged to Merv (Mourv) the Avestan town Mouru, which is known as Margu in the Achaemenian inscriptions and is located in Persepolis. He further supposes that the Maurya rulers of Pataliputra were the descendants of the Achaemenean rulers of Persepolis.....He also brings out another very important point that the Army of Chandragupta was predominantly made of Iranians which comprised warlike tribes like Sakas, Kambojas, Paradas, Parasikas, Bahlikas etc which were all Iraninas. This testimony of Mudrarakshasa, according to Dr Spooner, is explicit on this point and we have no reason to doubt its accuracy in a matter of this kind (Ref: Zoroastrian period of Indian History, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1915, Part I, p 406, Part II, pp 416-17).] .

Notes

ome References

*Indian Historical Quarterly, vol.8 (1932), B. M. Barua
*Indian Culture, vol. X, p. 34, B. M. Barua
*The Zoroastrian period of Indian history, (Journnal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1915, 1915, (Pt.II), pp 406, 416-17, D.B. Spooner
*Invasion India by Alexander the Great, 1896, p 112, 405/408 J. W. McCrindle
*"Did Candragupta Maurya belong to North-Western India?", Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1936, Vol xviii, part 2, p 158-165, Dr S. C. Seth
*"Was Chandragupta Maurya a Punjabi?", Punjab History Conference, Second Session, Oct 28-30, 1966, Punjabi University Patiala, p 32-35, Dr H. R. Gupta
*"Was Chandragupta a Kamboj?", The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 149-154, Kirpal Singh
*They Taught Lessons to Kings, Gur Rattan Pal Singh; Article in Sunday Tribune, January 10, 1999
*The Indian Review, 1937, p 814, edited by G.A. Natesan
*The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 361, India
*Indian Culture, 1934, p 305, Indian Research Institute- India
*Note on Saśigupta and Candragupta, The Indian Historical Quarterly/edited by Narendra Nath Law, Vol. XIII. Articles:, Miscellany,. Reprint. Delhi, Caxton, 1998, 39 Volumes
*Asoka and His Inscriptions, 1968, p 51, Beni Madhab Barua, Ishwar Nath Topa
*Paradise of Gods, 1966, p 312, Qamarud Din Ahmed - West Pakistan (Pakistan)
*Poisoning of Alexander ( Part 2 ), Newsfinder, 2008, History Section, Dr Ratanjit Pal
*Age of Nandas, and Mauryas, 1967, p 427, K. A. Nilakanta Sastri
*Maurajya Samarajya Samsakrik Itihasa, 1972, B. P. Panthar
*Alexander's Campaigns in Sind and Baluchistan and the Siege of the Brahminabad, 1975, p 26, Pierre Herman Leonard Eggermont
*Indological Studies, 1977, p 100, University of Sindh, Institute of Sindology
*THE POISONING OF ALEXANDER BY THE GENERALS AND SASIGUPTA, Dr Ranajit Pal") See Link [http://www.ranajitpal.com/alexposn.htm]

ee also

*Chandragupta Maurya


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