The Kanva dynasty

buzzo 1982

Apr 30, 2019
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However differences do subsist between human civilizations on the basis of ethnicity, religion and even linguistics, a few similarities do also exist. If you look into the history of an assortment of countries and their diverse periods of history some common aspects will be identified without ado. These include conspiracy, dissension, lust for more, and zeal to attain the zenith. Ancient India was no different to the same, the said features used to dominate the then political scenario and without a shred of doubt, the majority of decisive, even trivial political changes were the aftermath of these factors.

Perhaps to many students of history, these days, the name of Kanva dynasty may appear to be quite strange even if the rulers of the same did not only dominate extensive parts of India once but were also instrumental in brining about some influential changes. When did the Kanva dynasty assume power? In accordance with the historical anecdotes, Kanva dynasty became triumphant to replace the then mighty Sunga empire in Magadha, India’s political capital in those days, and did establish a suzerainty in the eastern part of India, between 75 BC and 26 BC. What were the other important features then? The Kanva dynasty, unlike the Indian political tradition (monarchy and administrations belonged to Kshatriyas exclusively) remained under the domination of Brahmins. Hence it came to be known as a Brahman dynasty.

Now the question remains what led to the establishment of the same. Prior to saying anything, it must be said (taking cue from aforesaid paragraphs), dissensions and disruptions, thanks to the presence of effeteness among the ruling clan, are capitalized on every age and there was no difference in this case too. As per history, the Kanva dynasty was founded under the aegis of Vasudeva Kanva, himself a Brahman, and also a strong and virile minister of Devabhuti, the last Sunga king, in 75 BC.

It is also learnt that the later Sunga kings, unlike their predecessors, were completely incompetent and used to spend the greater part of day in luxurious activities. This gave rise to dissensions among the nobles in royal court and also in different parts of the empire, which were becoming hard for Sunga kings to contain any more. Taking advantage of the situation, Vasudeva Kanva made a plan to exterminate the last Sunga scion and the dreaded conspiracy was carried out in no time. The annihilation of Devabhuti paved the way for the ascension of Kanva dynasty. Nevertheless, Kanva leaders were generous enough and this can be ascertained from the fact that Sunga rulers were enabled to rule in abstruseness in a corner of their previous dominions.

There were other surprises too. There was hardly any expansion of the Kanva empire and its domination did remain within the areas belonging to the Sunga dynasty once. This is quite unnatural since four Kanva rulers did rule in actual terms - Vasudeva, Bhumimitra, Narayana and Susarman. Even though the Kanva dynasty ruled for 45 years, it was not witnessed to remain engaged with the construction of any form of colossal monument or architecture. And with the overthrown of the same empire by the Satavahana dynasty of Andhra kingdom the fate was completely sealed. However, there was another implication of this conquest. Satavahana dynasty, through this triumph, did replace the Magandhan kingdom as the most prevailing Indian state.
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