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Ashoka Great Yadav

Introduction

1. Ashoka(304–232 BCE), was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE.

2. Ashoka was born to the Mauryan emperor Bindusara and a relatively lower ranked wife of his, Dharmā [or Dhammā]. He was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of Mauryan dynasty.

3. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests. His empire stretched from the modern Iranian provinces of Khorasan, Sistan and Balochistan (unpartitioned), through the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan, to present-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The empire had Taxila, Ujjain and Pataliputra as its capital.

4. In about 260 BCE Ashoka waged a bitterly destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern Odisha). He conquered Kalinga, which none of his ancestors (starting from Chandragupta Maurya) had done.

5. He embraced Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest. "Ashoka reflected on the war in Kalinga, which reportedly had resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations." He was later dedicated to the propagation of Buddhism across Asia, and established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha. "Ashoka regarded Buddhism as a doctrine that could serve as a cultural foundation for political unity."

6. H.G. Wells wrote of Ashoka in A Short History of the World (H. G. Wells): In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves "Their Highnesses," "Their Majesties," "Their Exalted Majesties," and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day."

7. The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

Ashoka's Rise to Power

1. Ashoka put down a revolt due to activities of wicked ministers, during Bindusara's time as king.

2. Ashoka was stationed at Ujjayini as governor.

3. Bindusara's death in 273 BCE led to a war over succession. Bindusara wanted his son Sushim to succeed him but Ashoka was supported by his father's ministers, who found Sushim to be arrogant and disrespectful towards them.

4. The coronation happened in 269 BCE, four years after his succession to the throne.

Kalinga War

1. The Kalinga War was fought between the Mauryan Empire under Ashoka the Great and the state of Kalinga, a feudal republic located on the coast of the present-day Indian state of Odisha and northern parts of Andhra Pradesh.

2. The Kalinga city is capital of Kalinga kingdom, it is situated in present day Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh.

Kalinga War

3. The Kalinga war, was the biggest war Ashoka fought after his accession to throne, and is one of the major and bloodiest battles in world history.

4. Kalinga put up a stiff resistance, but they were no match for Ashoka's brutal strength.

5. Ashoka's edicts state that about 100,000 people were killed on the Kalinga side and almost equal number of Ashoka's army.

6. Thousands of men and women were deported. Ashoka after seeing this was filled with sorrow and remorse.

7. The bloodshed of this war is said to have prompted Ashoka to adopt Buddhism.

8. However, he retained Kalinga after its conquest and incorporated it into the Maurya Empire.

Ashoka's Legacy

1. Ashoka left behind the first written language in India since the ancient civilisation of Harappa. The language used for inscription was Prakrit.

2. In 1992, Ashoka was ranked No. 53 on Michael H. Hart's list of the most influential figures in history. 3. Ashokan Pillar at Vaishali.

4. A few days before India became independent on August 1947, the specially formed Constituent Assembly decided the flag of India, A flag with three colours, Saffron, White and Green with the Ashoka Chakra was selected.

5. The Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath has been made the national emblem of India.

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