Biography of Ashoka the Great: Birth, Tenure, Religion, Empire, Conquest and Fall

Ashoka the Great (reigned 268–232 BCE), the third of the Maurya dynasty, was the greatest king of the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), known for his renunciation of war, the development of the concept of Dhamma (ethical social conduct), and the spread of Buddhism at home and abroad. He was known for promoting. as well as their vastly influential empire as an almost all-India political entity.



Biography of Ashoka the Great: Birth, Tenure, Religion, Empire, Conquest and Fall


Biography of Ashoka the Great

At its height, under Ashoka, the Mauryan Empire extended from modern Iran to almost the entire Indian subcontinent. Ashoka was able to rule this vast empire initially through the teachings of a political treatise known as the Arthashastra, attributed to Prime Minister Chanakya (also known by two other names, Kautilya and Vishnugupta, 350–275 BCE) who served under Ashoka’s grandfather Chandragupta Maurya (r.c. 321 – c.297 BCE) who founded the vast Maurya Empire.

Ashoka name meaning

Ashoka means “one without sorrow” which was probably his given name. He is referred to in his inscriptions, which are carved in stone, as Devanampiya Piyadassi, which according to the scholar John Kaye (and agrees with the scholarly consensus) means “Beloved of the Gods” and “Graceful of Pisces”. “.

He is said to have been very cruelly bloodthirsty early in his reign until he launched a campaign against the Kalinga kingdom in 261 BCE, which resulted in such carnage, destruction, and death that Ashoka called the war Abandoned Niti forever and, over time, converted to Buddhism, devoting himself to peace, as exemplified in his concept of Dhamma.

Outside of his orders, much of what is known about him comes from Buddhist texts, which regard him as an exemplar of transformation and virtuous behavior.

The empire that he and his family built was destroyed only 50 years after his death. Although he was the greatest of kings of one of the largest and most powerful empires in ancient Indian history, his name was lost to history until he was identified in 1837 CE by the British scholar and orientalist James Prinsep (1799–1840 CE). was not done.

head 1 head 2
Name Emperor Ashoka
Birth 304 BC
Father’s name Bindusara
Mother’s name Subhadrangi
Grandfather’s Name Chandragupta Maurya 321 – c.297 BCE
Wife’s name Karuvaki and Vidisha-Mahadevi
Brother Susim and Vitashoka
Lineage Maurya dynasty
Capital Patiliputra
Reign 273 – 232 BCE
Coronation 269 BC
Major war Kalinga war 261 BC
Children Son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra
Death 232 BC
Previous Bindusara
Successor Samprati
Religion Bodha

Since then, Ashoka has been regarded as one of the most fascinating ancient kings for his decision to renounce warfare, his insistence on religious tolerance, and his peace efforts to establish Buddhism as a major world religion.

Early life and rise to power of Ashoka the Great

Although Ashoka’s name also appears in the Puranas (encyclopedic literature of India dealing with kings, heroes, legends, and deities), his name appears as Ashoka Vardhana, but there is a paucity of information about his life. The accounts of his youth, rise to power, and renunciation of violence after the Kalinga campaign comes from Buddhist sources, which are in many ways considered more historical works and more religious legends.

when was Ashoka born?

Ashoka was born in 304 CE in Pataliputra, and is said to have been one of the hundred sons of his father Bindusara (ruled 297–c. 273 BCE) by his wives. His mother’s name is given as Subhadrangi in one place but as Dharma in another. She is also portrayed as the daughter of a Brahmin (highest caste) and the principal wife of Bindusara in some texts, while in others as a woman of low status and a minor wife.

The story of Bindusara’s 100 sons is rejected by most scholars, who believe that Ashoka was the second of the four sons. His elder brother, Susim, was heir apparent and crown prince, and Ashoka’s chances of rising to power were slim and even impossible because his father disliked him.

  Description of Ashoka’s qualification

He was highly educated at court, trained in martial arts, and of course, he was instructed in the precepts of the arts—though he was not considered a worthy candidate for the throne—just as one of the royal sons.

Arthashastra is a treatise that covers many different topics related to society, but primarily it is a manual on political science that provides instructions on how to govern effectively. This is attributed to Chanakya, Chandragupta’s prime minister, who selected and trained Chandragupta to become the king. When Chandragupta abdicated in favor of Bindusara, the latter is said to have been trained in economics and so, almost certainly, would have been his son.

Ashoka’s reign as crown prince

When Ashoka was around the age of 18, he was sent from
Pataliputra to Takshashila (Takshashila) to quell a rebellion. According to a legend, Bindusara gave his son an army but no weapons; The weapons were later provided by supernatural means.

The same legend claims that Ashoka showed mercy to those who laid down their arms upon his arrival. No historical account of Ashoka’s campaign in Taxila has survived; This is accepted as a historical fact based on suggestions from inscriptions and place names but the details are unknown.

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Salient Features of the Neolithic Age in India and the World – UPSC Special


Salient Features of the Neolithic Age in India and the World - UPSC Special
Image Credit-wikipedia

Salient Features of the Neolithic Age in India and the World – UPSC Special

The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period of development of human technology that began in the Middle East around 9500 BC. which is traditionally considered the last part of the Stone Age. The Neolithic Age coincided with the introduction of agriculture after the borderline Holocene Epipaleolithic period and gave rise to the “Neolithic Revolution”; This ended with metal tools becoming ubiquitous in the Copper Age (Chalcolithic) or Bronze Age, or developing directly into the Iron Age, depending on the geographic region. The Neolithic is not a specific chronological period, but rather a set of practical and cultural features, including the use of wild and domesticated crops and the use of domesticated animals.

The term Neolithic is used for the period when man did not know about metals. But he had started permanent housing, animal husbandry, agriculture, and making utensils on chalk. The climate of this period was almost similar to today’s, so such plants developed which were almost similar to today’s wheat and barley.  Man took out the grains from them and started using them as food and also collected information about their ripening.

Thus began the permanent residence. Due to this animal husbandry and agriculture got encouragement. So we can say that both agriculture and animal husbandry are complementary to each other.

Technological Developments and Tools in the Neolithic Age

The Neolithic period reflects various changes in culture and society. Technically the main change was that the man of this period polished the tools by grinding them to make them shiny. Economically, the change was that the man of this period became a food producer from a food collector. Extensive signs of metallurgy are not found at the Neolithic level, the actual Neolithic period is considered to be metalless. Wherever a limited amount of metal was seen at the Neolithic level, that period has been termed by archaeologists as the Chalcolithic period.

The man of this period developed tools with new technology, which were made shiny by grinding and polishing. To make the tools, first, the stone slabs were removed, and in the second stage uneven protrusions were cleaned, this was called packing. In the third stage, the tool was cleaned by rubbing against a large stone or rock and its edges were sharpened by grinding.

In the final stage, they were polished and smoothed with animal fat or vegetable oil. In this way, smooth-shiny and curvy tools were made in Neolithic man. In which axes, chisels, hammers, hammers, etc. are prominent. Apart from this, there were ploughs, grain-separating tools (Girdi) and blades etc.

Apart from being suitable for agricultural work, these tools were also used for household chores. Many scholars such as Garden Child have termed these important changes in the life of humans during this period as the Neolithic Revolution. Because there were fundamental changes in the human of this period as compared to the human of the stone age. In earlier times he was a wanderer.

During this period stability came into his life. Earlier he depended on nature for food, in this period he started producing food himself. These changes in human life did not happen suddenly, but we can see the beginning of these changes between the Palaeolithic period and the Neolithic period.

Before this period, we do not get to see the same form of cultures from the Palaeolithic to Mesolithic period in different places in Africa, Europe and Asia. The process of development of Neolithic culture took place at different times in different regions. The first phase of this period was called the pottery-free Neolithic because pottery art did not start in this period.

We get evidence of pottery-less Neolithic from Jericho, Ain-Ghazal, Hasiliyar Mereybir, Bigha, Mehrgarh (Pakistan) and Gufkaral (Kashmir, India) etc. located in the Jordan Valley. This culture started around 8000 BC. The most important of these was Jericho, where this culture first developed. Apart from this, evidence of the Neolithic period including earthenware is also found in these areas; which are relatively earlier.

The evidence of the third stage is found in Sialk, Fayum and Merimde (which is located in Egypt near Cairo), Jarmon Mesopotamia) etc.

North of the Alps mountain range in Europe, evidence of Neolithic culture is of a later period and this culture is also of low level. Evidence of this culture has been obtained from Drevly in Central Europe to the Baltic and the region between the Danube and the Vistula. Remains of wheat and barley agriculture and stone tools and animal husbandry have been obtained from here. Ornaments made of conch shells have been found in Rhineland, Germany. Near Köln, Lindsthal evidence has been found of a large house that was probably intended for the whole community.

Evidence of painting is found on pottery obtained from the Danube. Similarly, in Switzerland, Belgium, and Britain there is also evidence of the production of fibrous plants and grains. Neolithic men in Switzerland used to build their abode by burying wooden poles in the lake.

Important sites of the Neolithic age

On the basis of archaeological evidence, evidence of the Neolithic economy is found in the caves of Mount Carmel and other places. These cave dwellers, called Natufians, used flint tools similar to those of Mesolithic Europeans for hunting. Many sickles used in agriculture have been obtained from here.

  •     Jericho
  •     Bidya
  •     Abu Hurethara
  •     En-ghazal
  •     Mariabit
  •     Mehrgarh
  •     Gufkral
  •     Shylak
  •     jerimon


Jericho – This site is located in the Jordan Valley. From here the remains of the Neolithic age without pottery have been obtained, which are from the period around 8000 BC. A ditch 27 feet wide and 5 feet deep was dug around the settlement of this site and a stone platform was also made. There is evidence of wheat cultivation and animal husbandries such as cow, bull, sheep, goat, and pig rearing. The cremation process started during this period. Axes, arrowheads, sickles, blades, and scrapers have been found in the tools obtained from here. After this, we also get the evidence of the Neolithic period including earthenware from this place.

Bidya – This area is located 100 km south of Jericho. Around 7200 BC, evidence of Neolithic without pottery is found at this site. Here the houses were built on platforms, but there was no arrangement like Jericho from the security point of view. In agriculture, there is evidence of pistachios, olives, fruits, and pulses. Animal husbandry had started here, besides hunting wild animals (gazelle, bear, jackal, hare). The remains of pottery start being found here from the last level.

Abu Hurethara – This area is located in northern Syria. The evidence of the early stage of the Neolithic period in this area dates back to around 7500 BC. Here there is evidence of human habitation in the pit house. A large number of bone tools have also been found here, in which Beghaks, needles, double-edged Beghaks, etc. are prominent. We get evidence of the cultivation of barley, wheat, and lentils from the earliest stage. Fish were also hunted. In the later period, the Neolithic man started living by building a house along with earthenware.

An-Ghajal – The early Neolithic phase began around 7250 BC at this site located in the northeast of Amman, the capital of Jordan. The evidence of pistachios, almonds, and figs in agriculture is found here, along with agriculture animals were also hunted. Animal husbandry and the art of making pottery started here in the second phase of the Neolithic period.

Meriabit – Evidence of the early Neolithic phase began to be found here around 8000 BC. The later man started animal husbandry along with agriculture and the Neolithic man of the second stage started living here by making settlements. Red paint is found on the walls of the houses, whose roofs were of wood. Evidence of agriculture and animal husbandry is also found here.

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