It was dark. Evening had crept in stealthily. Wiping out last rays of the afternoon Sun. There was a chill in the air. Faint sounds of jackals howling yonder floated in the air. It was dark. The Emperor had died.

From a State guarded by tight laws, lawlessness had become the order of the day. Theft and robbery had citizens on alert. Twenty four hours. War. Battles. Citizens of Magadha were fed up. And distressed. A kingdom that was the strongest was now on its knees. With misrule. Indiscipline. A kingdom at mercy of the Sakas. Who had defeated the king Rama Gupta.

Samudragupta. The Emperor. The Poet. The warrior. The administrator. Had breathed his last. Samudragupta. Who had performed Ashwamedh Yagna. And his son. King Rama Gupta had ascended the throne. The father and son were so different.

A lamb born to a lion. A crow born to a peacock.

King Rama Gupta was no administrator. He was no warrior. He was no ruler. And the message spread fast. Far and wide.

The Sakas who had not dared attack during Samudragupta’s reign came stealthily. And in battle defeated Rama Gupta. The coward Rama crawled in front of the Saka might.

And what did the Sakas do?

They ridiculed Rama Gupta and asked for his wife. The queen. As a gift for pardon. As a gift to spare King Rama Gupt his kingdom. The beautiful queen would now be in the Saka king’s court. As a gift.

Rama Gupta , the coward that he was agreed.

King Rama Gupta’s brother Chandra Gupta heard of this exchange. Kingdom for queen. And he trembled in anger and in insult. How could his brother?

DIn the dark of the night young Chandra Gupta disguised himself as a woman. As if he was the queen. And with his ‘sakhis’ – warriors dresses like women , Chandra Gupta came to the Saka King. For love making. And in the dark he killed the Saka King.

The disguised queen Chandra Gupta ripped open the Saka king’s belly with a knife. And his ‘sakhis’ – the soldiers massacared the Saka king’s men in the dark of the night.

The Queen was saved.

On return Chandra Gupta remained silent. For he did not want to add salt to his brother’s injured pride.

But a few years later he killed his brother Rama Gupta and ascended the throne.And thus began the brightest of reigns in ancient India.

The reign of Chandra Gupta II of the Gupta dynasty.

A glorious reign that brought stability to the Indian kingdom.

( From Devi-Chandra-Gupta by Vishakhadatta)

Note: This story is from an account by Romila Thapar in her chapter : The emergence of Empire: Mauryan India

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