NCERT Textbook - Asoka, The Emperor who gave up war Class 6 Notes | EduRev

NCERT Textbooks (Class 6 to Class 12)

Class 6 : NCERT Textbook - Asoka, The Emperor who gave up war Class 6 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


67 n
R R R R Roshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees
Roshan clutched the crisp notes that her grandfather
had given her on her birthday. While she badly wanted
to buy a new CD, she also wanted to just see and feel the
brand new notes. It was then that she noticed that all of
them had a smiling face of Gandhiji printed on the right,
and a tiny set of lions on the left. What were the lions
there for, she wondered.
A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom 
= = = = =
 an empire an empire an empire an empire an empire
The lions that we see on our notes and coins
have a long history. They were carved in stone,
and placed on top of a massive stone pillar at
Sarnath (about which you read in Chapter 6).
Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers known
to history and on his instructions inscriptions
were inscribed 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 lion capital
CHAPTER 7
ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPEROR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO
GA GA GA GA GAVE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP WAR AR AR AR AR
Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty
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.
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Page 2


67 n
R R R R Roshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees
Roshan clutched the crisp notes that her grandfather
had given her on her birthday. While she badly wanted
to buy a new CD, she also wanted to just see and feel the
brand new notes. It was then that she noticed that all of
them had a smiling face of Gandhiji printed on the right,
and a tiny set of lions on the left. What were the lions
there for, she wondered.
A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom 
= = = = =
 an empire an empire an empire an empire an empire
The lions that we see on our notes and coins
have a long history. They were carved in stone,
and placed on top of a massive stone pillar at
Sarnath (about which you read in Chapter 6).
Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers known
to history and on his instructions inscriptions
were inscribed 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 lion capital
CHAPTER 7
ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPEROR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO
GA GA GA GA GAVE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP WAR AR AR AR AR
Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty
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.
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
n 68
OUR PASTS–I
There were several cities in the empire (marked
with black dots on the map). These included the
capital Pataliputra, Taxila, and Ujjain. Taxila was
a gateway to the northwest, including Central Asia,
while Ujjain lay on the route from north to south
India. Merchants, officials and crafts persons
probably lived in these cities.
In other areas there were villages of farmers
and herders. In some areas such as central India,
there were forests where people gathered forest
produce and hunted animals for food. People in
different parts of the empire spoke different
The places where
inscriptions of Ashoka
have been found are
marked with red dots.
These were included
within the empire.
Name the countries
where Ashokan
inscriptions have been
found. Which Indian
states were outside the
empire?
MAP : 5
The Maur The Maur The Maur The Maur The Maury y y y yan Empir an Empir an Empir an Empir an Empire e e e e: showing the
principal cities and some of the places
where inscriptions were found.
Inscriptions were found
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Page 3


67 n
R R R R Roshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees
Roshan clutched the crisp notes that her grandfather
had given her on her birthday. While she badly wanted
to buy a new CD, she also wanted to just see and feel the
brand new notes. It was then that she noticed that all of
them had a smiling face of Gandhiji printed on the right,
and a tiny set of lions on the left. What were the lions
there for, she wondered.
A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom 
= = = = =
 an empire an empire an empire an empire an empire
The lions that we see on our notes and coins
have a long history. They were carved in stone,
and placed on top of a massive stone pillar at
Sarnath (about which you read in Chapter 6).
Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers known
to history and on his instructions inscriptions
were inscribed 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 lion capital
CHAPTER 7
ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPEROR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO
GA GA GA GA GAVE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP WAR AR AR AR AR
Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty
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.
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
n 68
OUR PASTS–I
There were several cities in the empire (marked
with black dots on the map). These included the
capital Pataliputra, Taxila, and Ujjain. Taxila was
a gateway to the northwest, including Central Asia,
while Ujjain lay on the route from north to south
India. Merchants, officials and crafts persons
probably lived in these cities.
In other areas there were villages of farmers
and herders. In some areas such as central India,
there were forests where people gathered forest
produce and hunted animals for food. People in
different parts of the empire spoke different
The places where
inscriptions of Ashoka
have been found are
marked with red dots.
These were included
within the empire.
Name the countries
where Ashokan
inscriptions have been
found. Which Indian
states were outside the
empire?
MAP : 5
The Maur The Maur The Maur The Maur The Maury y y y yan Empir an Empir an Empir an Empir an Empire e e e e: showing the
principal cities and some of the places
where inscriptions were found.
Inscriptions were found
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
69 n
languages. They probably ate different kinds of
food, and wore different kinds of clothes as well.
Ho Ho Ho Ho How ar w ar w ar w ar w are empir e empir e empir e empir e empires dif es dif es dif es dif es diff f f f fer er er er erent fr ent fr ent fr ent fr ent from kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms?
• 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.
R R R R Ruling the empir uling the empir uling the empir uling the empir uling the empire e e e e
As the empire was so large, different parts were
ruled differently. The area around Pataliputra was
under the direct control of the emperor. This
meant that officials were appointed to collect taxes
from farmers, herders, crafts persons and traders,
who lived in villages and towns in the area.
Officials also punished those who disobeyed the
ruler’s orders. Many of these officials were given
salaries. Messengers went to and fro, and spies
kept a watch on the officials. And of course the
emperor supervised them all, with the help of
members of the royal family, and senior ministers.
There were other areas or provinces. Each of
these was ruled from a provincial capital such as
Taxila or Ujjain. Although there was some amount
of control from Pataliputra, and royal princes were
often sent as governors, local customs and rules
were probably followed.
Besides, there were vast areas between these
centres. Here the Mauryas tried to control roads
and rivers, which were important for transport,
and to collect whatever resources were available
as tax and tribute. For example, the Arthashastra
tells us that the north-west was important for
blankets, and south India for its gold and precious
stones. It is possible that these resources were
collected as tribute.
ASHOKA, THE EMPEROR
WHO GAVE UP WAR
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Page 4


67 n
R R R R Roshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees
Roshan clutched the crisp notes that her grandfather
had given her on her birthday. While she badly wanted
to buy a new CD, she also wanted to just see and feel the
brand new notes. It was then that she noticed that all of
them had a smiling face of Gandhiji printed on the right,
and a tiny set of lions on the left. What were the lions
there for, she wondered.
A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom 
= = = = =
 an empire an empire an empire an empire an empire
The lions that we see on our notes and coins
have a long history. They were carved in stone,
and placed on top of a massive stone pillar at
Sarnath (about which you read in Chapter 6).
Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers known
to history and on his instructions inscriptions
were inscribed 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 lion capital
CHAPTER 7
ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPEROR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO
GA GA GA GA GAVE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP WAR AR AR AR AR
Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty
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.
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
n 68
OUR PASTS–I
There were several cities in the empire (marked
with black dots on the map). These included the
capital Pataliputra, Taxila, and Ujjain. Taxila was
a gateway to the northwest, including Central Asia,
while Ujjain lay on the route from north to south
India. Merchants, officials and crafts persons
probably lived in these cities.
In other areas there were villages of farmers
and herders. In some areas such as central India,
there were forests where people gathered forest
produce and hunted animals for food. People in
different parts of the empire spoke different
The places where
inscriptions of Ashoka
have been found are
marked with red dots.
These were included
within the empire.
Name the countries
where Ashokan
inscriptions have been
found. Which Indian
states were outside the
empire?
MAP : 5
The Maur The Maur The Maur The Maur The Maury y y y yan Empir an Empir an Empir an Empir an Empire e e e e: showing the
principal cities and some of the places
where inscriptions were found.
Inscriptions were found
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
69 n
languages. They probably ate different kinds of
food, and wore different kinds of clothes as well.
Ho Ho Ho Ho How ar w ar w ar w ar w are empir e empir e empir e empir e empires dif es dif es dif es dif es diff f f f fer er er er erent fr ent fr ent fr ent fr ent from kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms?
• 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.
R R R R Ruling the empir uling the empir uling the empir uling the empir uling the empire e e e e
As the empire was so large, different parts were
ruled differently. The area around Pataliputra was
under the direct control of the emperor. This
meant that officials were appointed to collect taxes
from farmers, herders, crafts persons and traders,
who lived in villages and towns in the area.
Officials also punished those who disobeyed the
ruler’s orders. Many of these officials were given
salaries. Messengers went to and fro, and spies
kept a watch on the officials. And of course the
emperor supervised them all, with the help of
members of the royal family, and senior ministers.
There were other areas or provinces. Each of
these was ruled from a provincial capital such as
Taxila or Ujjain. Although there was some amount
of control from Pataliputra, and royal princes were
often sent as governors, local customs and rules
were probably followed.
Besides, there were vast areas between these
centres. Here the Mauryas tried to control roads
and rivers, which were important for transport,
and to collect whatever resources were available
as tax and tribute. For example, the Arthashastra
tells us that the north-west was important for
blankets, and south India for its gold and precious
stones. It is possible that these resources were
collected as tribute.
ASHOKA, THE EMPEROR
WHO GAVE UP WAR
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
n 70
OUR PASTS–I
T T T T Tribute ribute ribute ribute ribute
Unlike taxes, which were collected on a regular
basis, tribute was collected as and when it was
possible from people who gave a variety of things,
more or less willingly.
There were also the forested regions. People
living in these areas were more or less
independent, but may have been expected to
provide elephants, timber, honey and wax to
Mauryan officials.
The emper The emper The emper The emper The emperor and the capital city or and the capital city or and the capital city or and the capital city or and the capital city
Megasthenes was an ambassador who was sent to the court of
Chandragupta by the Greek ruler of West Asia named Seleucus Nicator.
Megasthenes wrote an account about what he saw. Here is a part of
his description:
 “The occasions on which the emperor appears in public are
celebrated with grand royal processions. He is carried in a golden
palanquin. His guards ride elephants decorated with gold and silver.
Some of the guards carry trees on which live birds, including a flock of
trained parrots, circle about the head of the emperor. The king is
normally surrounded by armed women. He is afraid that someone may
try to kill him. He has special servants to taste the food before he eats.
He never sleeps in the same bedroom for two nights.”
And about Pataliputra (modern Patna) he wrote:
“This is a large and beautiful city. It is surrounded by a massive
wall. 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.”
Why do you think the king had special servants to taste the food he
ate?
In what ways was Pataliputra different from Mohenjodaro? (hint: see
Chapter 3)
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Page 5


67 n
R R R R Roshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees oshan’s rupees
Roshan clutched the crisp notes that her grandfather
had given her on her birthday. While she badly wanted
to buy a new CD, she also wanted to just see and feel the
brand new notes. It was then that she noticed that all of
them had a smiling face of Gandhiji printed on the right,
and a tiny set of lions on the left. What were the lions
there for, she wondered.
A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom A very big kingdom 
= = = = =
 an empire an empire an empire an empire an empire
The lions that we see on our notes and coins
have a long history. They were carved in stone,
and placed on top of a massive stone pillar at
Sarnath (about which you read in Chapter 6).
Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers known
to history and on his instructions inscriptions
were inscribed 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 lion capital
CHAPTER 7
ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPER ASHOKA, THE EMPEROR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO OR WHO
GA GA GA GA GAVE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP W VE UP WAR AR AR AR AR
Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty Dynasty
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.
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
n 68
OUR PASTS–I
There were several cities in the empire (marked
with black dots on the map). These included the
capital Pataliputra, Taxila, and Ujjain. Taxila was
a gateway to the northwest, including Central Asia,
while Ujjain lay on the route from north to south
India. Merchants, officials and crafts persons
probably lived in these cities.
In other areas there were villages of farmers
and herders. In some areas such as central India,
there were forests where people gathered forest
produce and hunted animals for food. People in
different parts of the empire spoke different
The places where
inscriptions of Ashoka
have been found are
marked with red dots.
These were included
within the empire.
Name the countries
where Ashokan
inscriptions have been
found. Which Indian
states were outside the
empire?
MAP : 5
The Maur The Maur The Maur The Maur The Maury y y y yan Empir an Empir an Empir an Empir an Empire e e e e: showing the
principal cities and some of the places
where inscriptions were found.
Inscriptions were found
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
69 n
languages. They probably ate different kinds of
food, and wore different kinds of clothes as well.
Ho Ho Ho Ho How ar w ar w ar w ar w are empir e empir e empir e empir e empires dif es dif es dif es dif es diff f f f fer er er er erent fr ent fr ent fr ent fr ent from kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms? om kingdoms?
• 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.
R R R R Ruling the empir uling the empir uling the empir uling the empir uling the empire e e e e
As the empire was so large, different parts were
ruled differently. The area around Pataliputra was
under the direct control of the emperor. This
meant that officials were appointed to collect taxes
from farmers, herders, crafts persons and traders,
who lived in villages and towns in the area.
Officials also punished those who disobeyed the
ruler’s orders. Many of these officials were given
salaries. Messengers went to and fro, and spies
kept a watch on the officials. And of course the
emperor supervised them all, with the help of
members of the royal family, and senior ministers.
There were other areas or provinces. Each of
these was ruled from a provincial capital such as
Taxila or Ujjain. Although there was some amount
of control from Pataliputra, and royal princes were
often sent as governors, local customs and rules
were probably followed.
Besides, there were vast areas between these
centres. Here the Mauryas tried to control roads
and rivers, which were important for transport,
and to collect whatever resources were available
as tax and tribute. For example, the Arthashastra
tells us that the north-west was important for
blankets, and south India for its gold and precious
stones. It is possible that these resources were
collected as tribute.
ASHOKA, THE EMPEROR
WHO GAVE UP WAR
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
n 70
OUR PASTS–I
T T T T Tribute ribute ribute ribute ribute
Unlike taxes, which were collected on a regular
basis, tribute was collected as and when it was
possible from people who gave a variety of things,
more or less willingly.
There were also the forested regions. People
living in these areas were more or less
independent, but may have been expected to
provide elephants, timber, honey and wax to
Mauryan officials.
The emper The emper The emper The emper The emperor and the capital city or and the capital city or and the capital city or and the capital city or and the capital city
Megasthenes was an ambassador who was sent to the court of
Chandragupta by the Greek ruler of West Asia named Seleucus Nicator.
Megasthenes wrote an account about what he saw. Here is a part of
his description:
 “The occasions on which the emperor appears in public are
celebrated with grand royal processions. He is carried in a golden
palanquin. His guards ride elephants decorated with gold and silver.
Some of the guards carry trees on which live birds, including a flock of
trained parrots, circle about the head of the emperor. The king is
normally surrounded by armed women. He is afraid that someone may
try to kill him. He has special servants to taste the food before he eats.
He never sleeps in the same bedroom for two nights.”
And about Pataliputra (modern Patna) he wrote:
“This is a large and beautiful city. It is surrounded by a massive
wall. 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.”
Why do you think the king had special servants to taste the food he
ate?
In what ways was Pataliputra different from Mohenjodaro? (hint: see
Chapter 3)
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
71 n
Ashok Ashok Ashok Ashok Ashoka, a unique ruler a, a unique ruler a, a unique ruler a, a unique ruler a, a unique ruler
The most famous Mauryan ruler was Ashoka. He
was the first ruler who tried to take his message
to the people through inscriptions. Most of
Ashoka’s inscriptions were in Prakrit and were
written in the Brahmi script.
Ashok Ashok Ashok Ashok Ashoka’s w a’s w a’s w a’s w a’s war in K ar in K ar in K ar in K ar in Kalinga alinga alinga alinga alinga
Kalinga is the ancient name of coastal Orissa (see
Map 5, page 68). 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.
Ashok Ashok Ashok Ashok Ashoka’s inscription describing the K a’s inscription describing the K a’s inscription describing the K a’s inscription describing the K a’s inscription describing the Kalinga w alinga w alinga w alinga w alinga war ar ar ar ar
This is what Ashoka declared in one of his inscriptions:
“Eight years after becoming king I conquered Kalinga.
About a lakh and a half people were captured. And more than a lakh
of people were killed.
This filled me with sorrow. Why?
Whenever an independent land is conquered, lakhs of people die, and
many are taken prisoner. Brahmins and monks also die.
People who are kind to their relatives and friends, to their slaves and
servants die, or lose their loved ones.
That is why I am sad, and have decided to observe dhamma, and to
teach others about it as well.
I believe that winning people over through dhamma is much better
than conquering them through force.
I am inscribing this message for the future, so that my son and
grandson after me should not think about war.
Instead, they should try to think about how to spread dhamma.”
How did the Kalinga war bring about a change in Ashoka’s attitude
towards war?
(‘Dhamma’ is the Prakrit word for the Sanskrit term ‘Dharma’).
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
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