Famous Personalities of India : Kautilya - Part I
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Kautilya (?-? 300 B.C.), also spelled Kautalya, was a Hindu statesman and political philosopher. Actually, Kautilya was the name of his father but Chanakya became more famous with this name. He is often referred to as India's original 'father of the nation'. He was an adviser to Chandragupta, the first Maurya emperor of northern India who ruled from 321-298 B.C. Kautilya was also known as Chanakya, or Vishnugupta.

He is credited to have written a major work in Sanskrit on Indian property, politics and economics, called the Arthashastra sometimes also spelled Arthasastra, (Science of Material Gain). According to tradition, Kautilya was born a member of the Brahmin caste and was educated at Taxila (now in Pakistan). He had some knowledge of medicine and through contact with the Zoroastrians he probably learned about Greek and Persian culture.

He nurtured a personal grudge against the Nanda dynasty, whose king Dhana Nanda had insulted him. In order to seek revenge he proceeded towards Taxila where he taught as a teacher in a Gurukul. At that time India was hopelessly divided into various Janpads (independent states). Each of them fighting with each other and nurturing personal grievances against each other.

The result of Alexander's invasion had shown that India needed unity and discipline in order to face further invasions from the west. Kautilya used this moment of unrest to awaken the masses about the need for a strong Indian nation. Along with his students from Taxila he set out on a movement which ultimately led to the formation of a India extending from Baluchistan to Burma and Kabul to Mysore. In Chandragupta Maurya he found a faithful disciple, who was ultimately crowned the first emperor of India.

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