ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Lesson of ‘Ashokacare’

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My acquaintance with Ashoka, the ancient Indian ruler who converted to Buddhism more than 2,000 years ago, goes back to the distant past when I, a Soviet citizen at that time, read a samizdat (underground) essay which compared China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang with Ashoka. While emperor, he unified China and started to build the Great Wall.

Despite his clear achievements, the emperor was hated by his subjects due to his unspeakable cruelty. At the same time, Ashoka was loved by his subjects as the essay holds, because of his humanism. Ashoka demonstrated that a leader could rule by kindness. The implication for Soviet readers, used to reading between the lines, was clear: there is an alternative to a Stalinist/Maoist ruler who rules by terror. This leader could be truly loved by his subjects if he was humane and addressed the real needs of his people.

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Updated On : 21st Apr, 2017

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