Ashoka Ashoka was born to Mauryan King Bindusara and his queen Devi Dharma in 304 B.C. He was the grandson of the great Chandragupta Maurya, the founder emperor of the Maurya Dynasty. Ashoka was the third ruler of the illustrious Maurya dynasty and was one of the most powerful kings of the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. His reign between 273 BC and 232 BC. was one of the most prosperous periods in the history of India. Ashoka's empire consisted most of India, South Asia and beyond, stretching from present day Afghanistan and parts of Persia in the west, to Bengal and Assam in the east, and Mysore in the south.
Kalinga War Kalinga was a part of Magadha Empire during the time of the Nandas. When the Nandas were defeated by Chandragupta Maurya, Kalinga was an independent state. While Chandragupta Maurya and Bindusara initially wanted to re-conquer it, they could not succeed Ashoka wanted to follow the footsteps of his father and grandfather and set out to expand his empire to become a great conqueror
Kalinga Historians reveal that Kalinga had already expanded its military power and had huge material prosperity due to its trade relations with Java, Malay, and Ceylon, right from the time of Chandragupta to that of Ashoka, and Ashoka could not neglect the importance of Kalinga for the Mauryan Empire. Tadda Chandraguptas Bodh Gaya Janch Bay of Bengul Sed
Kalinga War In the 12th year of Ashoka's reign, he sent a message to the ruler of Kalinga to surrender his empire to the Mauryas. However, Kalingaraj or the ruler of Kalinga refused to submit to the Mauryan Empire. Thus, followed a huge war between the two rulers in 261 B.C.
The strength of warring forces The Kalinga army had only 60,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry and 700 elephants. On the other hand, the Greek ambassador Megasthenes mentions the military strength of Kalinga to be of about one lakh, which consisted of 1700 horses, thousands of elephants, and 60 thousand soldiers. Kalinga army also had a powerful naval force.
Kalinga War Ashoka and his army fought a severe fight with the army of Kalinga. They offered a stiff resistance to the Mauryan army. The entire town of Kalinga turned into a battle ground and every one came forward to fight against the Mauryan army, commanded by their ruler. However, they were no match for the mighty Magadha army, led by Ashoka himself. They resisted and fought bravely. In fact, in many instances, the army and the people of Kalinga came very close to victory. Till the last breath, they fought with great valour and finally the soldiers and the people of Kalinga perished in the battlefield and Ashoka won the great battle of Kalinga.
The larger implications of the battle Ashoka saw the blood filled battlefield with his own eyes. 100,000 men lost their lives and 1,50,000 were taken as prisoners. An equal number of Mauryan soldiers died. He saw the corpses of horses, elephants and soldiers in the battlefield. Blood streams were seen everywhere. There were orphaned children crying Wounded people were rolling on the ground in pain. Countless people suffered due to the war. The whole of Kalinga was destroyed in front of his own eyes. He conquered Kalinga but there was not a single man left to live a life of slavery.
Significance of the battle in the Indian History The Kalinga War prompted him to devote the rest of his life to non-violence (Ahimsa) and to victory through Dhamma (Dhamma-Vijaya) He became a follower of Buddhism. Ashoka promised that he would never again take to arms again. He ended the military expansion of the empire. The Kalinga war became his first and last war.
Significance of the battle in the Indian History He sent Missionaries were sent to other countries to preach Buddhism and dhamma, so that more and more people adapt to non-violence mode of living Sanghamitta was the eldest daughter of Emperor Ashoka and his first wife Devi. Together with her brother Mahinda, she entered an order of Buddhist monks. The two siblings later went to Sri Lanka to spread the teachings of Buddha at the request of King Devanampiya Tissa who was a contemporary of Ashoka.
Bibhuti Bhusan Swain
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