What were the achievements of Chandragupta-I?

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Chandragupta-1 was third ruler of the Gupta dynasty. He succeeded his father Ghatotkacha in 320 A.D. Chandragupta-I assumed the title ‘Maharajadhiraja’ or the ‘king of kings’.

This indicates that Chandragupta was more virtuous and powerful than the two early kings. Sri Gupta and Ghatotkacha used the title of ‘Maharaj’ only. It is said that the Gupta Era of the Indian history started from the time of Chandragupta- I. It began with the accession of Chandragupta to the throne in the year 319-320 A.D.

But his title and his priclamation of a new Era prove that this Gupta monarch was in command of a much higher position among the contemporary kings of India Chandragupta-I started this Gupta Era to commemorate the year of his accession.

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The Lichchhavi Marriage.

Chandragupta’s marriage with the Lichchavi Princess Kumardevi was one of the significant events in the Gupta rule. From the coins and inscriptions of the Gupta period it is evident that special significance was attached to the marriage of Chandragupta-I with Kumardevi.

The Gupta Lichchhavi relation was even publicized through a particular type of gold coins “which have the names and figures of Chandragupta-I and his Lichchhavi wife Kumardevi on the obverse and the figure of a Goddes seated on a Lion along with the legend Lichchhavi- vayah on the reverse”.

The importance of this marriage can be known further from Samudragupta’s Allahabad indcription in which he has described himself as “Lichchhavis-dauhitra or daughter’s son of the Lichchavis. Dr. Ray Chandhury has remarked “like the great Biinbisara he strengthened his position by matrimonial alliance with the powerful family of Lichchhavis, then controlling portion of Bihar and perhaps even Nepal.

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The Lichchhavi Princess Kumardevi must have brought to her husband’s family an enormous power and prestige”. V. A. Smith writes that “Kumardevi brought to her husband as her dowry which secured to him a paramount position in Magadha and the neighbouring countries.

Illustrating the political importance of this marriage S. Krishna Swami Aiyanagar also writes. “Chandragupta married a Lichchhavi princess of Vaisali, which gave him such influence and, what is more such powerful j aid that he was able easily to make himself the ruler of what was ancient, Magadha.

He not only beat back -the advancing tide of Kshetrapa aggression in central India, but also uprooted the power of these Saka rulers” On the otherhand J. Allan does not consider that any material gain was received from this marriage, lie writes “The pride of the Guptas in their Lichchhavi, w as probably due rather to the ancient Lineage of the Lichhavis than to any material advantages gained by, this aliance.” But Allian’s theory has been rejected by Dr. R.C. Majumdar who says that the Lichchhavis at that time did not enjoy a high status in the society.

So the marriage alliance of Chandragupta-I was valuable from a political rather than social point of view. The Lichchhavis were ruling somewhere in the region between Vaisali and Nepal. R.C. Majumdar has thus concluded, “It appears more probable] therefore, that the marriage alliance of Chandragupta-I was highly important from a political rather than social point of view.

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Extent of empire:

There is a controversy among the scholars with regard to the extent of the empire of Chandragupta-I. The following verse in the Puranas gives a vague idea regarding the extent of Chandragupta’s empire:

“Anu Ganga Prayagam Cha Saketam

Magadhans tatha

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Etan Janapadan servan bhokshyantas

Gupta-Vansajah.”

Pargiter has translated this verse into the following word: “King born of Gupta race will enjoy all these territories namely, along the Ganges, Prayag, Saketa and the Magadhas”. While Allan considers this verse as indicative Dr. R. C. Majumdar considers it as unreliable.

It is said that Chandragupta-I had conquered Bengal. S. Chattopadhyaya mentions that he defeated the Magha kings of Kosala and Kausambi and annexed their territories to his kingdoms. So Chandragupta-I’s empire included modern Bihar. Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bengal.

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Chandragupta-I died in 335 A.D. and was succeeded by Samudragupta.

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