Consequences of Kalinga War

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The Kalinga war had far reaching consequences which made lasting impact on mankind. The results can be discussed as follows:

Loss of man and material


Each and every war in history almost results in the loss of man and money. There was huge loss of man and material in the Kalinga war. In this war 150,000 soldiers from the side of Kalinga were taken as prisoners by Asoka and 100,000 were slain and many others got died out of injuries and epidemic after the war. The war brought miseries not only to those who took to arms but also to a large number of civil population.

Annexation of Kalinga

With the victory of Asoka in the Kalinga war, Kalinga was annexed to Magadhan empire and it constituted its fifth province. The other four provinces of the empire were Prachya, Uttarapatha, Avanti and Dakshinapatha having their capitals at Magadha, Takshasila, Ujjaini and Suvarnagiri respectively. Tosali was the capital of Kalinga and the centre of political activities for the Mauryan administration in Kalinga. Two separate Kalinga edicts of Asoka found at Dhauli and Jaugarh enumerate the pattern of Mauryan administration for the province of kalinga.

Change from Chandasoka to Dharmasoka

The horror of the Kalinga war changed the mind of Asoka. In Rock Edict XIII, Asoka expresses-“In conquering indeed an unconquered country (Kalinga), the slaying, death, deporting that occur there are considered extremely painful and serious by the Devanampiya” This war brought about a great transformation in the heart of Asoka. He was changed from Chandasoka to Dharmasoka with a vow to conquer mankind by conquering the heart of the people and not-to win over them by war.

Acceptance of Buddhism after Kalinga war

The Kalinga War had brought deep feeling or remorse in the mind of Asoka. It drew himself close towards Buddhism. After Kalinga War, he was converted to Buddhism by Upagupta, a Buddhist monk or Nigrodha, the seven year old son of Asoka’s elder brother Sumana whom he had killed or Mogaliputtatissa, the president of the Third Buddhist Council. Whatever the fact might be, Asoka accepted Buddhism after the Kalinga war.

Spread of Buddhism in India and outside countries

The transformation of Asoka helped in the spread of Buddhism. Buddhism, which was confined to the middle of the Gangetic Valley in Pre-Asokan period, suddenly became an all-India religion within a decade of his conversion. Not only in India, Buddhism also spread to different parts of the world. He sent Mahendra and Sanghamitra, his son and daughter respectively to Ceylon, Sana and Uttara to Suvarnabhumi (Burma) and further, he maintained friendly relation with Kings of Greece, Syria, Egypt, Macedonia and Cryne by sending missions of peace. Thus, Asoka, being converted to Buddhism after the Kalinga War, was instrumental for the spread of Buddhism from Greece to Burma and from the Himalayas to the Ceylon.

Paternal attitude towards his subjects

Asoka adopted a paternalistic attitude towards his subjects after the Kalinga War. In separate Kalinga Edicts (Dhauli and Jaugad) Asoka expresses himself as such . “All men are my children and just as I desire for my children that they should obtain welfare and happiness both in this world and the next, the same I do desire for all men…” This attitude made him a completely benevolent ruler.

Growth of art, architecture and literature

An important aspect of the Kalinga War was that it led to the growth of art, architecture and literature unprecedented in the land. Engravement in the edicts, erection of stupas etc. made the
Mauryan art unique in the annals of ancient Indian history. The Pali language which Asoka used in his edicts brought cultural unification of India popular among his subjects.

Appointment of Viceroy and Ministers

As the Kalingans had exhibited their violent protest against the Mouryan authority in the Kalinga war, Asoka wanted to give them a healing touch by providing an administrator tinged with mercy and liberalism. Although, he appointed a prince of royal blood as Viceroy to look after the administration of Kalinga, he also devoted his heart and soul to the smooth running of administration in Kalinga. As per the administration gathered from separate RE I found from Dhauli, Asoka appointed a body of ministers to aid and advise the Kumara Viceroy of Kalinga and to check balance his administrative powers.

Appointment of Dharma Mahamatras

In other parts of his empire, Asoka had given authority to the Viceroys to appointed Dharma Mahamatras on triennial tours inside the empire to impart religious instruction to the people. In case of Kalinga, however, the Viceroy had no such authority. Asoka took keen interest in appointing the Dharma Mahamatras specially for Kalinga. This shows that emperor Asoka had his personal involvernent in the administration of Kalinga even though he had appointed Viceroy to look after the administration of Kalinga.

Well organised bureaucracy

Asoka appointed a well organised bureaucracy to assist the viceroy of Kalinga. The important officers during Asoka’s time were the Mahamatras, Rajukas, Yuktas, Vachabhumikas, Antamahamatras, Ithijakamahamatras, Dharma Mahamatras etc. Antamahamatras were the ministers of the border provinces and the Mahamatras of Tosali and Samapa probably belonged to this cateogry. For Kalinga, Dhamma Mahamatras were appointed by Asoka personally. They were employed to look after the spiritual and moral upliftment of people of this land. As the
Rajukas were in charge of welfare of the Janapadas and were competent enough with absolute power in matters of reward and punishment, they might have played a dominant role in the administration of Kalinga.


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