Born in 350 B.C, Chanakya has been credited as the pioneer of economics and political science and his theories in economics are relevant even today. Besides being an economist, he was a philosopher, teacher and the chief adviser of the kings Chandragupta and his son Bindusara. His shrewd and manipulative nature was imperative in the rise of the Mauryan dynasty, which is believed to be one of the largest ever recorded Indian empires in history. Chanakya used his cunning tact to overthrow the Nanda Empire and brought Chandragupta to power at a young age of 19, which defined Indian History and the Mauryan dynasty. Despite being so influential and the key figure behind the largest rule India has ever seen, his actions and perceptions towards women especially have raised a few eyebrows. Despite being one of the most iconic figures in the Indian history, there are several aspects of his life people are not familiar with. These are a few shocking facts of Chanakya every Indian should know!!
1. Insulted by the Nanda King in court, Chanakya vowed never to tie his lock until the Nanda Empire was overthrown. He selected Chandragupta at the age of 19, trained him and saw him rise to power which marked the beginning of the Mauryan Empire.
2. He was one of the greatest administrators India has ever witnessed. Till today his works are relevant in the field of economics and philosophy.
3. Back in the day there was no such thing as justice; to kill a king meant you deserved to be the next king. All kings faced threats to their lives every day. Chanakya knew the same would be in the case of Chandragupta and made attempts to safe guard his king. He used to give Chandragupta small doses of poison so that he gets immune to it if served by his enemies. Every day he spiked the king’s food with poison and one such day Chandragupta, by mistake, fed his food to his wife who was a week away from giving birth. His wife collapsed and died within seconds and Chanakya took a drastic step to save the heir of the Mauryan throne. He slit the belly of the king’s deceased wife and extracted the fetus from her womb. He then then called the child Bindusara, Bindu meaning ‘drop’ referring to the drop of blood that was infected by poison.
4. Chanakya knew how to win battles and he was devious in his ways. He was credited for the Fall of Alexander the Great when he invaded India. Chanakya gathered the kingdoms of India together in this fight and succeeded. It wasn’t the fight in battle that was crucial in his victory but the duplicitous means he undertook to stab the enemy in the heart. Being a man himself, he knew how easily men would get weak in the knees for women. He trained girls at a very young age, and just as he did with Chandragupta, he gave them too small doses of poison. The girls eventually grew immune to the poison and were simultaneously taught the art of seduction. Alexander’s army invaded and Chanakya sent out his most powerful venomous weapon, one that was the mask of destruction, because any physical contact with these girls resulted in King Alexander’s soldiers breathing their last.
5. Though being one of the greatest administrators and economist the country has ever seen, his views on women are abhorrent and would be widely condemned in today’s society. According to him, women, by nature are vile, corrupt and shouldn’t be trusted.
6. Well sadly, this isn’t the only view he had towards women. He even drafted the perfect cleansing ritual for women. Apparently, a woman does not become as holy by offering charity, by observing hundreds of fasts or by sipping sacred water but her path to righteousness is by drinking the water she uses to wash her husband’s feet.
7. He probably was the pioneer of the inequality between men and women that is faced even today in India, because his vision of the perfect wife is one that is one who serves her husband in the morning like a mother does, loves him in the day like a sister does and pleases him like a prostitute in the night. Now that is one gut-churning perspective.
8. Clearly all his views were spurred by his inability to trust a woman; probably he was on the receiving end of a rejection, who knows. In addition to his repulsive views towards the fairer sex, he also stated that the heart of a woman is not united; it is divided. While she is talking to one man, she looks lustfully at another and thinks fondly of a third in her heart.
9. He clearly was a pro-masculine figure, for him a woman was born to serve and a man to be served. You want to know what his vision of heaven on earth is? Well, I would have thought differently, or at least vouched for something bigger but his heaven on earth experience is when a husband gets his wife’s actions in accordance to his wishes. If not I guess the wife would get a good experience of hell on earth!!
10. So what type of girls should guys marry? Well apparently any type, in fact, even if the girl is deformed you can take her hand in marriage, the only restriction is that she should be a virgin.
11. According to the Jain tradition, Chanakya starved himself to death in the jungle. Another tale describes that Subhandhu, a foe of Chanakya, spilled the beans on the reason behind Bindusara’s mother died. Bindusara, the son of Chandragupta, who was then the king was angered and set out to end the live of Chanakya who was already old. The king eventually realized that his mother’s death was an accident and asked Subhandhu to coax Chanakya to stop starving himself to death. Subhandhu was adamant on having the man killed and carried on with the last rite ceremony. He placed Chanakya on the pyre and burned him alive.
12. Apart from his views against women, he was a man of immense intelligence. He was the reason the Mauryan dynasty spread across the Indian sub-continent. His discernment is almost every situation was precise and complemented the rule of Chandragupta. After all, Chandragupta was only 19 when Chanakya trained him to become one of the most powerful rulers the country has ever seen.