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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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):
As a remarkable patriot, thinker, and visionary, Sri Aurobindo’s contributions to India are priceless. Unlike other patriots and leaders of his generation, it was in spite of his upbringing that Sri Aurobindo turned out to be such a devoted son to Mother India.
Enamored by the British, Aurobindo’s father Dr. Krishna Dhun Ghose did everything within his power to make his children grow up to be Englishmen. His dream was for his children to enter the Indian Civil Service and so the entire family moved to England in 1879, when Aurobindo was just 7.
The Influence of Alexander
When a great emperor decentralizes a vast kingdom, if he doesn’t use his absolute sovereignty to establish friendly relationships and maintain constant communication with all the regions, if he doesn’t keep his eyes and ears open all the time, his empire will collapse. We get examples for this in Ashoka’s time itself. Why, even in the case of the ambitious Alexander who set out to conquer the world and establish an enormous empire, his sovereignty had an untimely end.