Ashoka was the third emperor of the Mauryan dynasty. The Mauryan empire had 3 important emperors – Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara, and Ashoka. This article will briefly throw light on the life of Ashoka.
Ashoka – Massive Empire
Ashoka was the son of the second Mauryan emperor Bindusara and grandson of the first Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya. Ashoka was also known as Ashoka the Great.
- Ashoka ruled the entire Indian subcontinent (except parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala) from 268 B.C.E to 232 B.C.E.
- Ashoka expanded the empire of Chandragupta Maurya.
- It expanded from present-day Bangladesh in the east to Afghanistan in the west.
- The capital of Ashoka’s empire was Pataliputra (present-day Patna).
- Takshashila (later Taxila) and Ujjain were the provincial capitals of the empire built by Ashoka.
Ashoka – Gave up Violence after Kalinga War
- Ashoka waged a massive war against Kalinga and conquered it in 260 B.C.E.
- Kalinga war witnessed more than 1,00,000 deaths and 1,50,000 deportations.
- Ashoka wanted to give up violence and bloodshed as he was horrified to see the bloodshed after winning the Kalinga war.
- Ashoka converted to Buddhism and gave up violence after the Kalinga war.
- Ashoka’s 13th Rock Edict describes the Kalinga war vividly.
- Ashoka was perhaps the only king in the entire world who gave up his desire to conquer new territories after winning a major war.
Spread of Buddhism – Role of Ashoka and his Children
- Ashoka appointed officials known as the dhamma mahamatta, to carry the message and teach people about dhamma.
- Ashoka sent his children Sanghamitra and Mahendra to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism.
- They played an important role in the spread of Buddhism.
- Mahendra was the first-born son of Emperor Ashoka.
- Mahendra was sent as a Buddhist missionary to the Anuradhapura Kingdom in Sri Lanka.
- Maharani Devi was the first wife of Emperor Ashoka.
- Sanghamitra and Mahendra were the children of Maharani Devi.
Grandfather and Father of Ashoka – Famous Mauryan Emperors
- Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire in India.
- The Nanda Empire was defeated and conquered by Chandragupta Maurya.
- Chandragupta Maurya was guided by the legendary strategist named Chanakya.
- Chanakya is also called the ‘Indian Machiavelli”.
- Chandragupta Maurya laid the first foundation for uniting most of India.
- Bindusara was the son of Chandragupta Maurya and the father of the great Emperor Ashoka.
- Bindusara inherited a massive empire from his father. He extended the Mauryan empire farther south to the area currently known as Karnataka.
- Bindusara did not conquer the friendly kingdoms located in the Tamil Nadu region.
- During the reign of Bindusara, Ashoka was serving as the viceroy of Ujjain.
- NCERT Notes: Mauryan Empire: Reasons For Decline [Ancient Indian History for UPSC]
- Ashoka Inscription (The Edicts of Ashoka) [NCERT Notes – Ancient Indian History Notes For UPSC]
- Mauryan Empire (322-185) BCE – Ancient Indian History NCERT Notes for UPSC
- NCERT Notes: Ashoka – Life & Dhamma [Ancient Indian History Notes for UPSC]
- Kalinga War – Background, Events, Aftermath
- Sanchi Stupa – Know More About the Lion Capital