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How ancient Bihar's great rulers can give Lalu and his ilk some life goals

Aishwarya Yerra | Updated on: 30 September 2015, 20:21 IST

The Bihar that most people know doesn't inspire a sense of pride; rather it invites ridicule and shame many a times. Poverty, wide-spread corruption, kidnappings and a dismal level of development have sadly come to explain the modern Bihar. But if we were to peep into history books, we'd get to know of the glorious accounts of ancient Bihar or 'Magadha'.

The rulers of modern day Bihar are to be blamed for the sorry state of affairs. Surely, Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan can learn how to rule a state effectively.

Here's a lowdown on the great men who had ruled over Magadha

Emergence of ancient Bihar as a formidable power

Mahapadma Nanda: He managed to consolidate ancient Bihar into one unified, formidable power. The first ruler of his dynasty, Mahapadma Nanda's reigned from 345 BC to 329 BC, achieving the feat of unifying various dynasties across the North India to form one big empire.

Introduction of single currency system in India

Chandra Gupta Maurya: The 20-year-old boy who defeated one of the most hated Nanda kings, Dhana Nanda, Chandra Gupta Maurya went on to establish the biggest empire seen in Indian history during his reign between 322 BC and 298 BC. The empire extended from Balochistan to Bengal and Himalayas to the Deccan Plateau.

The Mauryan king with the guidance of his genius advisor Chanakya established a central administration in the kingdom that boasts of one the best organised civil service. He is credited to have beaten Alexander's most powerful successor, Selecus I Nicator. Maurya's rule also produced Chanakya's great work Arthshashthra and boasts of establishing the single currency system in India.

Good relations with neighbours

Asoka Maurya: Also known as Asoka the Great, he is one of the most famous kings in the world. The grandson of Chandra Gupta had of the most drastic changes in rule. His desire for conquest led him onto conquer Kalinga, a territory that none of his ancestors could manage to win. But the bloody war and its pitiful aftermath changed Asoka forever.

Finding solace in Buddhism, he established a peaceful and harmonious yet prosperous rule during his 40 year reign. His rule saw the implementation of Ahimsa and he sent Buddhist missions across South East Asia. He undertook massive public works campaigns and the international network of trade was expanded.

The Golden Age

The Gupta rulers: During the rule of the Gupta dynasty, especially under Chandra Gupta, Samudra Gupta and Vikram Aditya, Magadha and India experienced the 'Golden Age.' Their empire was the served as the land of scientific inventions, discoveries and great works of art and architecture.

It is was during their time that Aryabhatta discovered the concept of zero and established that Earth rotated on its axis and revolved around the sun. Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, who was a part of Vikramaditya's court, produced some of the greatest poems and works in the sacred language during this period.

The Gupta military consisted of 5,00,000 infantry, 50,000 cavalry, 10,000 elephants and a navy of 1,200 ships, making it the most powerful empire of their time. Also, Chess and Kamasutra originated during their time!

These mind-boggling achievements and illustrious careers of Magadh's powerful rulers made Bihar's star shine the brightest. Can we please request the present day wannabe leaders of India's least developed state to take a few lessons from the legends?

First published: 30 September 2015, 17:13 IST