Q1. Write a paragraph on Ashoka (whatever you have got in this chapter).
Ans: Ashoka as the great ruler:
Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers known to history and on his instructions inscriptions were carved on pillars, as well as on rock surfaces. Before we find out what was written in these inscriptions, let us see why his kingdom was called an empire. The empire that Ashoka ruled was founded by his grandfather, Chandragupta Maurya, more than 2300 years ago. Chandragupta was supported by a wise man named Chanakya or Kautilya.
Many of Chanakya’s ideas were written down in a book called the Arthashastra.
The Mauryas were a dynasty with three important rulers — Chandragupta, his son Bindusara, and Bindusara’s son, Ashoka.
Ashoka, a unique ruler:
The most famous Mauryan ruler was Ashoka. Hewas the first ruler who tried to take his messageto the people through inscriptions. Most ofAshoka’s inscriptions were in Prakrit and werewritten in the Brahmi script.
Ashoka’s war in Kalinga:
Kalinga is the ancient name of coastal Orissa (seeMap 5, page 76). Ashoka fought a war to conquerKalinga. However, he was so horrified when hesaw the violence and bloodshed that he decidednot to fight any more wars. He is the only king inthe history of the world who gave up conquestafter winning a war.
Ashoka’s dhamma did not involve worship of a god, or performance of a sacrifice. He felt that just as a father tries to teach his children, he had a duty to instruct his subjects. He was also inspired by the teachings of the Buddha.
Q1. How do we know about samrat Ashoka?
Ans: Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers known to history and on his instructions inscriptions were carved on pillars, as well as on rock surfaces. These are the sources to know about Samrat Ashoka.
Q2. Write a short note on dynasty.
Ans: When members of the same family become rulers one after another, the family is often called a dynasty. The Mauryas were a dynasty with three important rulers — Chandragupta, his son Bindusara, and Bindusara’s son, Ashoka.
Q3. How are empires different from kingdoms?
Ans: Emperors need more resources than kings because empires are larger than kingdoms, and need to be protected by big armies.
• So also they need a larger number of officials who collect taxes.
Q4. Write a short note on the city ‘Patliputra’.
Ans: This is a large and beautiful city. It is surrounded by a massivewall. It has 570 towers and 64 gates. The houses, of two and three storeys, are built of wood and mud brick. The king’s palace is also of wood, and decorated with stone carvings. It is surrounded with gardens and enclosures for keeping birds.
Q5. Why Ashoka is called as a unique ruler?
Ans: The most famous Mauryan ruler was Ashoka. He was the first ruler who tried to take his message to the people through inscriptions.
Q6. Why the city Patliputra was more important than Taxila, Ujjain?
Ans: As the empire was so large, different parts were
ruled differently. The area around Pataliputra was
under the direct control of the emperor. But, there were other areas or provinces. Each of these was ruled from a provincial capital such as Taxila or Ujjain and this was the capital of Ashoka’s empire.
Q7. Why did Ashoka give up the war?
Ans: Ashoka fought a war to conquer Kalinga. However, he was so horrified when he saw the violence and bloodshed that he decided not to fight any more wars. He is the only king in the history of the world who gave up conquest after winning a war.
Q8. Why did Ashoka inscribed his messages?
Ans: Ashoka inscribed his message for the future, so that his son and grandson after him should not think about war. Instead, they should try to think about how to spread dhamma.
Q9. How did the Kalinga war bring about a change in Ashoka’s attitude towards war?
Ans: After the war of Kalinga, Ashoka realized that war is nothing but the loss of loved ones in both sides of the warriors. He also realized that winning people over through dhamma is much better than conquering them through force.
Q10. Write a short note on Dhamma.
Ans: Dhamma is Prakrit form of the word Dharma. Ashoka’s dhamma did not involve worship of a god, or performance of a sacrifice. After the Kalinga war Emperor Ashoka adopted a set of principles to change the people.
Q11. Discuss about Ashoka’s messages to his subjects.
“People perform a variety of rituals when they fall
ill, when their children get married, when children
are born, or when they go on a journey.
These rituals are not useful.
If instead, people observe other practices, this
would be more fruitful. What are these other
These are: being gentle with slaves and servants.
Respecting one’s elders.
Treating all creatures with compassion.
Giving gifts to brahmins and monks.”
“It is both wrong to praise one’s own religion or
Each one should respect the other’s religion.
If one praises one’s own religion while criticising
another’s, one is actually doing greater harm to one’s
Therefore, one should try to understand the main
ideas of another’s religion, and respect it.”
Q12. Why it was more difficult to many people to accept DHAMMA?
There were so many people like farmers, hunters, taraders etc. who could not follow all of the principles of DHAMMA. For example, farmers or hunters usually killed so many living things to survive. Or without telling lie no one of the business person can develop their business. But all this things were restricted in DHAMMA.
Q13. Which kind problems were faced by Ashoka to establish his DHAMMA and how did he solve it?
Ans: There were a number of problems that troubled
I) People in the empire followed different
religions, and this sometimes led to conflict.
II) Animals were sacrificed.
III) Slaves and servants were ill treated.
IV) Besides, there were quarrels in families
and amongst neighbours.
● Problem solving:
I) He appointed officials, known as the dhamma mahamatta who went from place to place teaching people about dhamma.
II) Besides, Ashoka got his messages inscribed on rocks and pillars, instructing his officials to read his message to those who could not read it themselves.
III) Ashoka also sent messengers to spread ideas about dhamma to other lands, such as Syria, Egypt, Greece and Sri Lanka.
IV) He built roads, dug wells, and built rest houses.
V) Besides, he arranged for medical treatment for both human beings and animals.