Ashok the Great – For Class 4
Ashok was one of the greatest kings to rule in India. He was a conqueror and built a huge empire. King Ashok has special importance in history because he was a king who gave up war.
About Ashok’s Family
Chandragupta Maurya, grandfather of Ashok, was the first Indian king who built an empire. He ruled over a large kingdom called Magadh more then 2,000 years ago. The capital of Magadh was Pataliputra (present-day Patna). After Chandragupta Maurya, his son Bindusar became the king of Magadh. Ashok was Bindusar’s son.
The Kalinga War
A kingdom called Kalinga (present-day Odisha) had refused to bow down to the rulers of Magadh. When Ashok became the king of Magadh, he decided to conquer Kalinga and make it part of his empire. He attacked Kalinga with a huge army. A fierce and bloody war was fought between the armies of both the kingdom. Thousands were killed and wounded from both sides. King Ashok won the war but he was shocked by the death and destruction caused by the war. On seeing women and children crying over the dead bodies of their loved ones, he was filled with regret and thus, he decided to give up war forever.
Ashok and Buddhism
Ashok was a cruel king. He fought several wars with many kingdoms to increase his empire. But after the war with Kalinga, he became a completely changed man. He started to hate violence. He gave up hunting and killing. He adopted Buddhism and decided to live his life according to the principles of non-violence, mercy, charity, truth and tolerance as taught in Buddhism.
Ashok wanted to spread the teachings of the Buddha all over his kingdom. He made the Buddha’s teaching carved as edicts on rocks and pillars. He also built many stupas (a Buddhist holy building). He spread the teachings of the Buddha even beyond his kingdom. He send messengers to different places in Asia and to Greece and Egypt. He also sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism.
Ashok respected all religions and gave his people the freedom to follow religion of their choice. King Ashok was remembered as a great and noble king who served his people well.
A. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS.
- Why did Ashok attack Kalinga?
- How did the war with Kalinga change Ashok’s life?
- What message did Ashok spread through his edicts?
- How did Ashok try to spread Buddhism?
- Ashok declared,”All men are my children.” What did he do for his people?
B. TRUE OR FALSE.
- The Lion Capital of Ashok has animals other than lions.
- After the war with Kalinga, Ashok became nonviolent.
- Ashok travelled to different countries to spread Buddhism.
- Ashok went on tours to see how his people were living.
- Ashok ordered his people to become Buddhists.
C. FILL IN THE BLANKS.
- Chandragupta Maurya was Ashok’s __________.
- We know about Ashok’s rule from his __________.
- The edicts of Ashok were carved on _________ and _________.
- Ashok built a _________ at Sanchi.
- Ashok built _________ for travellers.