India after Mauryas : Sungas | Kanvas | chetis


  • After the death of Asoka, his successors were not able to keep the vast Mauryan Empire integral.

  • Many provinces started declaring their independence.

  • Northwest India slipped out of the control of the Mauryas and a series of foreign invasions affected this region.

  • Kalinga declared its independence.

  • In south the Satavahanas (Andhras) also established their independent rule.

  • Finally the Mauryan rule was replaced by the Sunga dynasty.


Pushyamitra Sunga:

  • Founder of Sunga dynasty → Pushyamitra Sunga, commander-in-chief under the Mauryas.

  • He assassinated the last Mauryan ruler Brihadratha .

  • Protected north India against the invasions of the Bactrian Greeks from the northwest.

  • The Greeks advanced up to Pataliputra and occupied it but Pushyamitra succeeded in regaining the lost territory.

  • He also fought against Kharavela of Kalinga who invaded north India.

  • He was a staunch follower of Brahmanism.

  • Performed 2 ashvamedha sacrifices.

  • Buddhist sources refer him as a persecutor of Buddhism. But there is enough evidence to show that Pushyamitra patronized Buddhist art.

  • During his reign only the Buddhist monuments at Bharhut and Sanchi were regenerated.

Other Sunga rulers:

  • Kalidasa’s drama Malvikagnimitram, tells that Agnimitra was the governor of Vidisha during his father’s regin and he ruled for eight years.

  • Last ruler of Sunga dynasty → Devabhuti, who was murdered by his minister Vasudeva Kanva.

  • Significance of Sungas:

  • Defended the Gangetic valley from foreign invasions.

  • In the cultural sphere, the Sungas renewed Brahmanism and horse sacrifice.

  • Promoted the growth of Vaishnavism and the Sanskrit language.

  • In short, the Sunga rule was a brilliant anticipation of the golden age of the Guptas.

Kanva dynasty (72 BC-27 BC)

Vasudeva kanva

  • Founder of Kanva dynasty → Vasudeva kanva.

  • He assassinated the last Sunga ruler Devabhuti .

  • Ruled for 9 years.

Other kanva rulers:

4 kings ruled for 45 years:

1.Vasudeva kanva → 9 years

2.Bhumimitra → 14 years.

3.Narayana → 12 years and

4.Susharma → Last Kanva ruler → 10 years.

  • During the Kanva dynasty, the Brahmanical reaction continued.

Chetis of Kalinga

  • Their history is not known with any degree of certainty till the first century BC.

  • Founded by → Maha Meghavahana.

  • Kharavela belongs to the Chetis dynasty only.

  • He assumed the title of Kalingadhipati or Kalinga Chakravartin as a mark of his rule.

  • He was a follower of Jainism and constructed caves on the Udayagiri hills, near Bhubaneswar in Orrisa.

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