Ashoka, The Emperor Who Gave Up War (Class 6 History Chapter 7 Notes)

Mauryan Empire: Important Cities and Inscription Sites
Ashoka, The Emperor Who Gave Up War (Class 6 History Chapter 7 Notes)
Mauryan Empire
  1. A very big kingdom is often called an empire.
  2. Chandragupta Maurya established Mauryan empire about 2300 years ago with the support of his teacher Chanakya (also known as Kautilya).
  3. Chanakya is the author of famous book on economics, Arthashastra.
  4. When members of the same family become rulers one after another, the family is often called a dynasty.
  5. The Mauryas were a dynasty with three important rulers — Chandragupta, his son Bindusara, and his grandson, Ashoka.
  6. Pataliputra was the capital of the Mauryan empire. Taxila and Ujjain are some of the important cities.

How are empires different from kingdoms?
  1. Emperors need more resources than kings as they are larger than normal kingdoms. They also need to maintain a big army.
  2. They need a larger number of officials who collect taxes and parts of empire are ruled by viceroys on behalf of emperor.

Ruling the Empire
  1. Different parts of empire are ruled differently. The area around capital city is directly comes under central administration. Other parts are administered by the viceroys or governor. These are often royal princes.
  2. The vast space between capital city and other regions are administered by local authorities who collected taxes on behalf of emperor. They charged tax for using roads and rivers.
  3. People living in forested region were more or less exempted for taxes, but expected to provide elephant, timber, honey and wax as tribute. A tribute can be defined as a gift given to the king by the people willingly.
  4. Megasthenes, the ambassador of Seculus Nicator to India, wrote extensively about Mauryan Empire and India as whole in his book Indica.

Ashoka
  1. Ashoka was the most famous Mauryan ruler.
  2. He is said to be first ruler who tried to spread his message through inscription.
  3. Most of the Ashoka's inscription are either written in Prakrit or Brahmi script.

Ashoka and the Kalinga War

  1. Kalinga is the ancient named of coastal Odisha.
  2. Ashoka fought a war to conquer Kalinga. Though he won the war, but horrified to see the destruction.
  3. So he decided to not fight the war anymore. He is the only king who gave up his conquest after winning it.

Ashoka’s dhamma
  1. Ashoka’s dhamma did not speak of worshipping god or performing sacrifice. He felt he need to share his knowledge with his subjects as father shares his knowledge with his children.
  2. He was inspired by the Buddhist teachings and pained by the reality of the world. He appointed dhamma mahamatta who went from place to place teaching people about dhamma.
  3. He also got his message inscribed on rocks and pillar, so everyone can read it.
  4. He sent his messengers to countries such as Syria, Egypt, Greece and Srilanka.
  5. He built roads, dug well, constructed rest houses and arranged medical facilities for both human and animals.