Ashoka Edicts — Jaugada: Confessions of a conqueror


Somen Sengupta

In south Odisha’s Ganjam district flows the Rishikulya river slowly in the direction of the Bay of Bengal. On the financial institution of the river stands Purushottampur village, which makes no vital impression aside from a mass of rock that towers over the little hamlet. It is barely after reaching the village one sees an Odisha tourism signboard that reads “Ashoka Edicts — Jaugada.” There inside an iron cage, an enormous flank of elephantine boulder may be discovered on which edicts of Ashoka, the king of Magadha, who as soon as conquered this land of Kalinga had his declaration of Dharma written greater than 2,000 years in the past in a singular approach.

The edict, with an inscription overlaying 270 sq ft, remained unknown till James Prinsep of the Asiatic Society got here to know of it in 1837 however because of his ill-health the invention wasn’t pursued additional. In 1854, Walter Elliot, one other official of the East India Company, visited the place with an IAS officer. He tried to repeat the alphabets of the edict by pouring scorching tamarind juice over the incription and beat the identical with hammer. A big portion of the rock broke, deleting many an necessary data. He by no means talked about the invention.

In 1872, the edict was formally reported by W F Grahame, a district official. Considering its measurement and content material, the newly discovered Jaugada was counted as one of many main Ashokan rock edicts discovered within the subcontinent.

The edict of Jaugada was on no account just like different rock edicts, aside from the one present in Dhauli. Dhauli (historical title Toshali) and Jaugada (earlier generally known as Samapa) in Odisha, fell in historical Kalinga, a kingdom attacked and plundered by Ashoka’s troopers. These new Kalinga rock edicts have been completely different from different edicts of Ashoka.

Out of the 14 edicts discovered on the rock of Jaugada edict, 1 to 10 are just like different edicts discovered elsewhere. However with some very nicely calculated political gambit, creators of this public declaration mode changed edicts no 11 to 13 which point out Ashoka’s brutal and gory conquest of Kalinga and his subsequent regret on the struggling of individuals. This was precisely achieved in different rock edict present in Dhauli of north Kalinga. It is evident that with particular political agenda, Ashoka’s administration did its greatest to make individuals overlook the unimaginable brutality brought on by the emperor’s military within the Kalinga warfare. According to historian Charles Allen, “In Kalinga itself, those remarks had been deliberately omitted”.

In place of the three lacking edicts, two new edicts have been inserted to unfold Ashoka’s well-known doctrine of Dharma. These two newly inserted edicts are generally known as separate rock edicts. In one in every of these, an enchantment is circulated to Mahamartyas (particular spiritual officers of Toshali and Samapa) to contain themselves in religious welfare and impartiality to topics in order that they will stay in peace. In different new edict, reforms instituted by Ashoka are expressed by assuring individuals to stay with out concern and apply the Dharma of forgiveness. It additionally says that the king is sort of a father to topics and topics are his personal kids.

Interestingly, Jaugada geographically comes within the south of Kalinga, a territory Ashoka didn’t conquer in warfare. This was the brand new model of diplomatic growth launched by an clever chamber of politicians. All different rock edicts are typical of Ashokan’s doctrine of spreading Buddhism by means of peace and tolerance. Today Jaugada is, maybe, essentially the most forgotten rock edict of Ashoka, although it’s distinctive in its content material and big in its measurement. Though ASI has achieved a very good job by putting in an iron cage earlier than it however nonetheless marks of vandalism are palpable on its floor. The place is badly guided. Signboards describing the historical past, significance of the place and rationalization of each edict are pale past legibility.



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