Q. Explain how Ashoka used religion as a tool of political aggrandizement? (2019)

Ashoka was the most prominent king of the Mauryan dynasty under whose reign this dynasty reached its zenith.

With all the territories annexed only in the 9th regnal year (Rock edict XIII) of Ashoka, he was left with none to conquer.

The whole empire had a heterogeneous population which till his 9th regnal year, was controlled by a top-down approach i.e superimposed by a military rule.

Since Ahsoka left the policy of any further expansion, he started propagating his new philosophy of Dhamma Ghosh in order to reconcile the masses with a down-top approach for the empire.

According to the Arthashastra of Kautilya, the feature of a Chakravartin Kshetra orempire is to maintain a common political identity and reconciliation of heterogeneous sections.

Even the evidence put forward by a historian, H.C Raychoudhary, asserts the opinion of Romila Thapar.

According to Raychaudhuri, there is enough evidence of deviation from the principles by Ashoka.

He stated that, if Ashoka was too much serious about Dhammaghosa, he would not have suppressed the tribals who voiced against the Ashokan intrusion in their culture.

Also, two peacocks were killed every day in the royal kitchen of Pataliputra which indicates a compromise of principles of Non-Violence. Hence, it was just a method of political aggrandizement to reconcile the masses via religion. Therefore, it may be accepted that Ashoka used religion as a tool of political aggrandizement to reach a reconciliation principle that was very unique in its style and thus Buddhists had access to progressive growth as well.

History Optional Answer Writing