Kunal The Tragic King of Indian History
Kunal, Son of Ashoka the Great:
Kunal was a famous Indian writer, and his life was very miserable. He was born in 263 BC, Emperor Ashoka the great was his father, and his mother was Queen Padmavati. He was Ashoka’s presumptive heir and the Mauryan Dynasty’s future Emperor. The Dynasty ruled almost the entire Indian subcontinent. Ashoka’s eldest son Mahendra departed to Sri Lanka to expand Buddhism. So Kunal was the future Emperor of the Mauryan dynasty. But his stepmother felt jealous and wanted to make his son Samprati the heir to Mauryan Dynasty. Her evil thoughts made him cruel, and her plans made the heir blind.
Kunal Become Blind:
After every few months after Kunal birth, Queen Padmavati died, and Asandhimitra became the chief queen consort to Ashoka. She loved Kunal very much and brought him up as his son. When the boy was eight, Ashoka wanted to send him to Ujjain to learn princely education to make him the heir to the throne of the Mauryan Empire. As the wish of Ashoka, the boy started to go to Ujjain to learn about administration, Marshal Arts and war techniques.
Before going to the Ujjain, Ashoka wrote a letter to the clerk in Ujjain, where the heir would learn under their guidance. In the meantime, Samprati’s mother, who wanted to make Samprati the heir to Maurya Empire, read the letter. Then she secretly changed Adheeyu into Andheeyu, which gives the meaning that Kunal must be blinded. Ashoka sends the letter to the clerk in Ujjain without reading it. The clerk was shocked when looking into the letter, and not read loudly and kept their face sad. Then the young heir read the harsh sentences in the letter and obeyed the Emperor’s orders. Kunal himself touched the eyesight to the hot iron and became blind.
There were many stories about the Blinding of Kunal, but they had some contradictions. Kunal read the sentences in the letter and went to his father to ask about the penalties in the letter. Then Ashoka came to know who changed the sentences in the letter. He got furious and sentenced his wife to die. But some are uncertain to believe.
Attempts to claim the throne:
Kunal married Kanchanmala and faced many difficulties sustaining life due to his blindness. One day he came to Ashoka’s court accompanied by his wife Kanchanmala as a musician. He played the music intensely and appeased the king with his music. Then the pleased king Ashoka wanted to give him many gifts, So he asked him what he wanted. In the meantime, a minister of the court revealed to him the musician was no other than Prince Kunala. Then Kunal demanded his inheritance of the Mauryan Empire. The depressed Ashoka said that the blind could never ascend the throne. Kunal asked Ashoka; if the legacy was not for him but for his son ‘Sampriti’. Therefore Ashoka appointed Samprati as his Successor. When Ashoka died, Sampriti was too young to rule, so Ashoka’s other grandson Dasaratha became the ruler. Later, after Dasharatha’s demise, Samprati becomes the Emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty.