How did the conquest of Kalinga influence the personal life of Ashoka?
Given are highlights of the Kalinga War.
- Ashoka, the son of the Mauryan emperor Bindusara and the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, ascended the throne of Magadha and he set out to expand his empire.
- His target was Kalinga (now in Orissa). He sent out a message to Kalinga ruler asking for his submission. But he refused to submit his kingdom to Mauryan empire.
- As a result Ashoka lead a huge army against Kalinga in 261 B.C.
- The people of Kalinga offered a great resistance to the Mauryan army. It turned the whole of Kalinga into a battlefield.
- But despite the resistance victory ultimately rested with Ashoka.
- The war presented a horrible sight., Ashoka witnessed that the whole terrain was covered with the corpses of soldiers, soldiers groaning in pain, scavenging birds feasting on their dead bodies, orphaned children mourning and widows looked despaired. It overwhelmed Ashoka and changed his heart. He realized the futility of his victory.
- In the following years, Ashoka gave up violence and deviated towards Buddhism.