Ruthless Conqueror or Enlighted Ruler?
Asoka: ruthless conqueror or enlighted ruler...we don't know.The Indian leader asoka ruled the Mauryan empire over 2,000 years ago.He helped to spread one of the world's most popular religions and esablished reforms that still have great meaning for modern-day Indians.But his story also has a dark side.
When the nation of India gained it's independence from great Britian in 1947.They looked to their past-way back, over 2,000 years-to find a design that represented their culture and values.It's 24 spokes stand for the hours in a day and the fact that life is ever-changing.The charka was named for Asoka who ruled most of what later became India from 268 BCE until his death in 232 BCE.But what about Asoka's own identity?
In 261 BCE Asoka invaded Kalinga. All that time 350,000 people lived in Kalinga, 100,000 got killed in a battle, 100,000 died of disease or hunger, 150,000 were driven out of the country after the battle.Kalinga was conquered in the ninth year of Asoka's reign.After this conquest,Asoka ceased to indulge in wars of aggression.This, was not because he completely forsook the idea of war as a means to an end,though he claims to have done so.
Who does Asoka seek after conquering Kalinga? When the war in kalinga was over and the people conquered,he felt inside him a great crisis, a stirring for meaning and a remorse.Asoka goes on a pilgrimage seeking a guru,a teacher.
Asoka's 33 edicts are located in modern-day India,Nepal,Pakistan.Those engraved on pillars are known as "pillar edicts" and those on walls,and boulders are "rock edicts." "Asoka's pillars of stone with their inscriptions would speak to me in their magnificent language and tell me of a man who,though an emperor,was greater than any king or emperors".
Medicinal herbs whether useful to man or to beast,have been brought and planted wherever they did not grow,similarly,roots and fruit been brought and planted wherever they did not...
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