The claim that Chanakya (also called Kautilya) wanted to build an Akhand Bharat, or had a vision of one, repeated again and again in North India, is not supported by any historical documents.

Yes, Chandragupta Maurya seems to have conquered most of what RSS ideologues call Akhand Bharat today. But there is nothing in the teachings of Chanakya that requires Chandragupta’s empire to be limited to or completely cover the RSS’s Akhand Bharat map. In other words, there in no proof that Chanakya had any idea of Bharat i.e, India as one political unit.

The Arthashastra, if it is indeed written or edited by the same Chanakya as Chandragupta’s teacher, doesn’t utter a word about which country it applies to. It applies to all countries. It talks about “the King”, but that is just any king, not just the king of an imaginary Akhand Bharat.

To read Akhand Bharat into Chanakya is to put words in his mouth and misinterpret and undermine a man who gave a formula for kings to rule well (according to him) irrespective of the size of their kingdoms. The Arthashastra is perfectly okay with dozens or even hundreds of kingdoms located inside what the RSS wishes to call as Akhand Bharat. It is only concerned with how the rulers of those kingdoms rule.

If conditions were conducive, Chandragupta could have conquered Persia, Greece, etc. Nothing prevented him from doing so other than opposition from the kings of those countries. And yes, even Chandraguptas experience plain old exhaustion and lack of interest; or find better things to do. In fact, Chandragupta’s successor and son, Bindusara, was very likely born to a Greek wife of Chandragupta. This was a political move to secure peace with the Greeks. Peace, because war and conquest were impractical.

Similarly, it wasn’t as if Chandragupta was welcomed all over India because of ‘one culture’ or some similar illusion. He just happened to be able to force through. All his conquests were either military or diplomatic, and often involved bloody wars. No simple “I am from the same culture, so you better accept me as the emperor”. Even his grandson Ashoka’s conquest of Kalinga involved such a bloody war that it turned him into a Buddhist.

It is wrong to interpret the Arthashastra as some text written for Akhand Bharat’s emperor. It is a shastra or science (loosely translated). By following this science, in the best case, any king could rule in peace, conquer or make peace with other kingdoms, and overall, make sure his subjects can live in peace and prosper.  That’s all.