The Tradition of Kshaatra in India – The Strengths and Weaknesses of Ashoka

All the historians of the world have unanimously hailed Aśoka. That Aśoka was an ideal king has been widely circulated. In ancient times, no other king, in no other part of the world undertook the establishment of so many dharma-śāsanas (rock edicts pertaining to law and dharma) like Aśoka. About two thousand three hundred years back, no other king had an empire of such expanse, to this extent, or this sort of reign. Nobody has recorded their acts with such extreme introspection or self-proclamation.

The Tradition of Kshaatra in India – Chanakya's Genius

The personalities of Chanakya and Chandragupta were of similar eminence, similar spirit; the supreme testimony to this fact is that such a large empire was managed efficiently for several years and the onslaught of the ambitious, war-hungry Alexander was quelled without leaving even a trace of its memory. From this we learn how sharp their developmental strategy must have been. We see how bright that patriotism must have been, which found inspiration from their strong sense of identity.

Tipu's Savagery in Coorg

Known as Kodagu in Kannada, Coorg is a picturesque hill-country forming the Southern tip of Karnataka. It forms the border between Karnataka and Kerala, and is in many ways, the gateway to the Malabar region in Kerala. Today it is primarily known for its scenic beauty and spectacular views of thickly-forested mountain ranges, valleys, waterfalls, and sprawling coffee estates.

The Tradition of Kshaatra in India – Awareness of Kshaatra in the Arthashastra

Kautilya absorbed the best from the system of republics; he also brought back the ashvamedha conception of an empire. Both these conceptions have their roots in the Vedas. One must observe how broad and overarching the concept of yajna has been in the Hindu worldview. And one who is opposed to this broadminded concept of yajna is bound to face trouble. Philosophically, the inner yajna is superior to the external, ritualistic yajna but the former cannot exist without the latter. We need both.

Tipu Sultan: A Temple Destroyer Par Excellence

One of the most characteristic features of almost all medieval Muslim invaders and rulers of India is their religion-fueled zeal for destroying Hindu temples. From Muhammad Ghaznavid to Babur to Malik Kafur to Muhammad Bin Tughlaq to Aurangzeb to Nadir Shah, every single Muslim invader and/or ruler made temple destruction his mandatory religious duty. In this, Tipu Sultan stands shoulder-to-shoulder with these temple destroyers extraordinaire.

The Tradition of Kshaatra in India – Harmony between Region and State

The big problem with the system of republics is the constant infighting. Since their vision is so narrow, when there is an attack from an external enemy, these republics don't unite and offer resistance. It is for this reason an empire is necessary. But the problem with a kingdom or an empire is that the local and regional identities don't survive. An ideal kingdom should lay stress on the local as well as the pan national aspects. But how can this be achieved? This is indeed a big problem even in modern times.

The Tradition of Kshaatra in India – Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya

There was a certain amount of misrule and evil during the reign of the Nandas. A powerful force awoke that would destroy all that evil from the past. That was Chandragupta Maurya. What we know from our written history – and commonly agreed upon – is that Chandragupta was a great example for the brilliance of kshaatra. There are many accounts of this in Jaina, Bauddha, and Hindu – Sanatana Dharmic – literature.

Sri Aurobindo, Mahomedans, and Hindu-Muslim Unity – Part 2

The Indian Councils Act of 1909 (popularly known as the Morley-Minto reforms) gave the Muslims of India a separate electorate. This was a strategy of the British to create a further rift between the Hindus and Muslims, which had already begun in 1905 when Bengal was partitioned on religious lines. Sharply criticizing this development, Aurobindo wrote (emphasis mine):