Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ashoka the Great

I will have the second in-class essay of Indian History class. The first one was about Mahabharata that I got an A. I wish I can do well this time also. The topic of the second essay would be about Emperor Ashoka. People knew him is primarily due to the Edicts of Ashoka. The inscriptions of the Edicts mainly about the conversion of Ashoka to Buddhism; he sponsorship of the spread Buddhism; his public projects for poor and animals.

Another very astonishing thing about Ashoka is that he suddenly changed from an aggressive and brutal killer to a Buddhist who loves peace and advocates non-violence. It said that in Ashoka’s middle age, after the war of Kalinga, Ashoka saw the mass dead bodies on the battlefields, he decided to abandon war and violence and converted to Buddhism.

Ashoka was called the great emperor not only in Maurya Empire or Indian history, but in the world. During his reign, India enjoyed several decades of peace and prosperity. After his death, the empire quickly decayed. I am not sure Ashoka is a great man or not. In my opinion, he is just such s smart guy. He killed as many people as he wanted, and then he claimed himself non-violence and benevolence. It is true that the change in his later life is good, better than none. However, how do you think and forget his killing?

His accomplishment is great, but I think his success is indeed rare. In the history there were many great figures who were either great military men, or were full of moral power. Ashoka is the one combined the two features. People can often represent white or black, but Ashoka can represent the two color by himself alone.


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