Ashoka – ruler and statesman
Ashoka was the ruler of the Maurya Empire from 273 on 232 BC. After a series of military successes, he conquered a considerable part of South Asia from the present-day Afghanistan to Bengal and further to Mysore. He is known mostly as a great patron of Buddhism. It is said that Ashoka became a Buddhist when he saw the horrors caused by the wars he’d led.
Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta and son of Bindusara. His mother was Subhadrangi – daughter of a poor Brahmin. According to legend, the father gave her in the harem, because he received a prophecy that his daughter would be a mother of a great ruler.
Arriving in Ujjain, the capital of Avanti, Ashoka proved to be an excellent governor. He married Shakya Kumari – the daughter of a rich merchant, who gave birth to two children, named Mahendra and Sanghamitra.
Emperor of Bindusara died in 272 BC and Ashoka was crowned as the king of Magadha after his father’s death.
According to the legend, Asoka killed all his brothers for the sake of power, although, there is no historical evidence to confirm this information.
Ashoka ordered to make a list of protected animals and prohibited hunting for pleasure. He initiated the construction of social facilities. All India road system was updated. Trees were planted on roadsides, wells were dug, and watering sheds and rest houses were built. He even created something like the institution of human rights defenders.
Ashoka was the first king of India, who understood the importance of Buddhism in the strengthening of the Empire and contributed to its spread.
Maurya Empire fell in 180 BC., as a result of a plot.
In the Buddhist tradition, he is regarded as the ideal of the pious monarch, who built the first stupa and founded a pilgrimage to the shrines of Buddha.
To preserve his ideas, Ashoka had his teachings carved on rocks and pillars in public areas. These inscriptions are called the Rock Edicts and Pillar Edicts. The most famous is the lion pillar, which has become India’s national emblem.
He is remembered as a great ruler in world history and the greatest ruler in India.