Dhana Nanda (The Last king of Nanda Dynasty)
Dhana Nanda was the last king of Nanda Empire. He was one among the nine sons of Mahapadma Nanda. He was called Dhana Nanda for his love of hoarding wealth, the last Nanda was called Dhana Nanda.
Army: King Dhana Nanda inherited the vast empire of his father. The army of Emperor Dhana Nanda consisted of large number of cavalry, infantry, chariots and elephants. When Alexander the Great invaded India, the ruler of Magadha Empire was Dhana Nanda. Alexander and his army heard the glory of the army of Nanda Empire. The Macedonian army was so frightened that the they refused to move ahead to face the huge army of Magadha Empire.
Wealth: Apart from his vast empire and great army, Dhana Nanda amassed huge wealth. He was huge mass of gold reserves. It is said that he built his treasure house by causing a great excavation in a rock in the bed of the Ganges. He gathered wealth by levying taxes on skins, stones and various articles.
Unpopular among his people: In spite of his great wealth and power, Dhana Nanda lost the quintessence the support of the people. His unpopularity is testified by the classical writers.
It may be suggested that there were three reasons for the unpopularity of Dhana Nanda, which led to his ultimate overthrow.
- Firstly, in order to meet the expenses of a vast army he made financial extortion of the people. His love of hoarding wealth by squeezing the people made him hateful to them and probably they branded him as Dhana Nanda out of contempt. Perhaps, he taxed the peasants exorbitantly. The Nandas showed the way for the building on an empire basing on agrarian economy.
- Secondly, the anti-Kshatriya policy made them abominable to the orthodox Brahmanas and Kshatriyas.
- Thirdly, the oppressed people soon found a leader in Chandragupta Maurya. According to tradition, Chandragupta got the assistance of a Taxilan Brahmin, Chanakya (alsoKautilya) and overthrew the last Nanda king from the throne.
Fall of Dhana Nanda: The revolution which brought the end of the Nandas was not a bloodless revolution. There was violent encounter between the Nanda army led by general Bhaddasala and the army of Chandragupta in which the latter became victorious. The fall of the Nandas paved the way for the rise of the Maurya Empire.