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Ashoka in Ancient India
In the third century BCE Ashoka ruled in South Asia and Afghanistan, and came to be seen as the ideal Buddhist king. Disentangling the threads of Ashoka’s life from the knot of legend that surrounds it, Nayanjot Lahiri presents a vivid biography of an emperor whose legacy extends far beyond the bounds of his lifetime and dominion.
Hardcover, 410 pages
Published by Orient Blackswan Private Limited
(first published August 5th 2015)
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Alexandria Marcus It is a combined effort- via the historical literature and the rock and pillar edicts. The book has its own technicalities but is written in a…moreIt is a combined effort- via the historical literature and the rock and pillar edicts. The book has its own technicalities but is written in a narrative form to engage the reader.(less)
If we are asked to name three great Indian emperors of all time, few people would settle at any other combination than Ashoka, Chandragupta II and Akbar. Ashoka is chronologically the first among them. Indian rulers of all times aspired to reflect some aspect of his legacy in their own reign, as he was the founder of a ‘unique political model of humane governance’. Ashoka made discourses with his people in the form of rock edicts scattered all over the country, like some kind of early ‘mann ki b ...more
There is a voluminous body of scholarship that readers and students can turn to, to learn more about India’s experience under colonialism or its more recent history since the achievement of Independence. Unfortunately, if you have any interest in pre-modern or ancient Indian history, the primary source of such information are highly technical and specialist journals that are not aimed at wider, non-specialist audiences. While things are changing, it remains the fact that there are very few reada ...more
We know about the emperor Ashoka only what he wanted us to know through the stone and pillar scribblings that he was so desperate to spread through his kingdom for his people and for people of the future. All these inscriptions on various pieces that have survived the turmoils of time and come down to us, join together and try to weave a story around the valiant emperor, so distinctive of people on his position, that he kept down the sword and picked up peace, trying to transform his people and ...more
A good insight into the life of Ashoka through his rock and pillar edicts, many of which have survived without much damage over the course of 2200 years. I skimmed parts of the book, as I was not interested in many details, an exciting read nevertheless.
Nayanjot Lahiri is a historian and archaeologist of ancient India and a professor of history at Ashoka University. She was previously on the faculty of the department of history at the University of Delhi