Asoka As An Enlightened Ruler Of The Mauryan Empire

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Many people may say that Asoka was a ruthless conqueror because of his conquest of Kalinga which was a bloody battle where many people died and many more were driven out of their country but I bet the evidence I will show you will make you believe he was an enlightened ruler. From 268 BCE to 232 BCE Asoka was the ruler of the Mauryan Empire, which is now known as India. During that time many of his actions show that he was enlightened. First, the conquest of Kalinga which many people think was ruthless was something that the Mauryan people needed so I believe that battle was one of an enlightened ruler rather than a ruthless conqueror. Asoka can also be considered an enlightened ruler because he went on a pilgrimage looking for a teacher and after finding a Buddhist monk and following his instructions he was able to understand history, reject violence, and form ideas that had never been thought of before. My final reason for saying Asoka was an enlightened ruler is because of the Rock Edicts, the Pillar Edicts, and the Asoka Chakra. As you will see later on they tell us a lot about who Asoka really was. Evidence shows that the conquest of Kalinga where 100,000 people were killed, 100,000 people died of illness or starvation, and another 150,000 people were driven out (Doc A) was an act of enlightenment rather than that of a ruthless leader. The evidence says “The conquest of Kalinga was of importance both to the strategy and the economy of the Mauryan Empire” (Doc B), and

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