Although Asoka was sometimes viewed as a ruthless conqueror, he was ultimately an enlightened ruler, because he learned from him mistakes and embraced the religion of others. Despite conquering other nations, Asoka only did it to expand his empire which allowed others to learn about one another’s religion and lifestyles. There are six document based questions(DBQs) that help give insight on Asoka’s rule.
Documents A and B show how Asoka was a ruthless conqueror. Document A is a map of India that’s shows Asoka’s land and the Kalingas land. It’s historical context shows how India was laid out at the time and how Asoka could block off trading routes to Kalinga. Over 100,000 Kalingans died of disease and hunger. Document B is after Asoka takes over Kalinga. The historical context is that it was written in 1997 by an Oxford Press. It was not written by a person during that time, but by someone who studies Asoka’s empire and had a view of both sides. The overtaking of Kalinga lead to much greater trading and transportation in Asoka’s empire, because it frees up much of the Ganges river.
Documents C,D,E, and F prove that Asoka was an enlightened ruler. Document C has historical context, because the war is over and he is feeling remorse for what he was done. He goes to seek a guru and follow the ways of Buddha and learn the religion. A ruthless conqueror would not feel pity or remorse for those he killed in war. Document D shows lots of purpose. The edicts that Asoka had written in stone tablets were used so travelers could see the rules that the nation abides by. Their purpose is to have unity amongst the nations and one set of laws that everyone knows. Document E was an edict make by Asoka publicly acknowledging his wrongdoing, but then declaring friendship with the forest people. the audience for this was the forest and his own people to let them know that they are allies and he apologizes for conquering them. This shows Asoka’s good side and how he was much more that just a ruthless conqueror. He cares about their religion, beliefs and freedom. Document F has a very authentic point of view. It comes from the late Indian prime minister. He says that Asoka was admired in all parts of India and Asia. He devoted himself to Buddhism and helped his people. He was much more than just a ruler. He was an enlightened ruler and all the people could see the good in Asoka.
Asoka conquered munch of India and killed many people, but the way he fixed his mistakes and helped others find religion made him an enlightened ruler. This DBQ ultimately showed that Asoka was a good person and cared about his people and others. He looked to learn other religions and always looked for ways to improve himself. Asoka was an enlightened ruler, because he learned from his previous mistakes and cared about other people’s religions.