Kalinga war is one of the most important war, which made a lot of significance in Indian History as well as Ashoka the Great life. It happened in 262-261BCE, between Maurya Empire Ashoka the great and Kalinga king Raja Ananta Padmanabha. Kalinga, the strongest kingdom was a feudal republic kingdom in ancient India. After the accession of Ashoka as the king of Mourya Kingdom, as usually concentrated on expanding Maurya kingdom. He was successful in expanding the boundaries of the Maurya Empire. But the Kalinga kingdom was only left in the Eastern side of India. Therefore, he invaded on Kalinga with full force, did fierce war with Kalinga rulers. Afterward, Kalinga war became one of the bloodiest battles in the world history. Now Kalinga region located between the most part of Odisha and some part in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Causes of Kalinga War :
According to few historians, Kalinga itself declared Independent country after the overthrown of Nandas by Chandra Gupta Maurya. After Chandra Gupta, Bimbisara had no intention to do more wars and totally concentrated on administration. Due to these situations, Kalinga King increased its military power, strengthened her economic levels by maintaining commercial relation with foreign countries like Malaya, Java, and Ceylon. Hence the kingdom had enormous material prosperity. These matters made Ashoka alert to take protective steps to strengthen the Maurya Empire’s security, determined to invade Kalinga.
Kalinga War Impact on Ashoka:
In 262BCE, Ashoka started to Invade Kalinga with a huge army, horse force, and elephant force. After a fierce and courageous fight from both sides causes the cost of enormous bloodshed. Finally, Ashoka conquered, however, the brutal scenes of the war made Ashoka dishearten against the battles. In this battle, Kalinga suffered from horrifying loss as well as the Maurya Kingdom also. Nearly 1,00,000 men slain and 1,50,000 people deported. Countless people suffered a lot.
The lamented situations in the war made Ashoka change his attitude towards the imperialism. He saw the dead bodies without heads, decapitated soldiers, disarmed innocent people. His soul filled despair about the loss of innocent people, the hear rendered with deep sorrow and regret. The lamentation of the wives, women of the deads, the tears of the children, the terrifying sufferings of the dying soldiers, all had changed entire his attitude.
This made an incredible influence on the personal life of Ashoka and also in the history of India. Kalinga war taught him many lessons, his soul searches to lead a peaceful life instead of tyrant nature. Then he influenced by the Dharmas preached by the monks who were following the Buddhism. He found his consolation in Buddhism, intended to follow Buddhism was only the way for thriving Peace all over the world. He embraced Buddhism, took the vow of inculcating ‘Dharma’ to all men throughout the life.
After became a Buddhist, he brings significant changes in state policies. It ended the policy of Maghada Imperialism. Old policies revised. Conquest, aggressions replaced with a new policy of Peace and Non-Violence. Finally, the bloodthirsty tyrant Ashoka became a lover of mankind and preached Non-Violence all over the world.