Ashoka by Charles Allen

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by Guest on Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:13 am

a majority of muslims (perhaps the biggest majority by nation) are in india. lumbini in nepal is a pilgrimage spot for foreign tourists who do the buddhist circuit in india. ashoka did a pilgrimage to lumbini and kapilavastu. mansarovar, for hindus, is in china. should sri lankan sinhalese feel their religion is foreign?

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by ashdoc on Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:27 am

Huzefa Kapasi wrote:a majority of muslims (perhaps the biggest majority by nation) are in india. lumbini in nepal is a pilgrimage spot for foreign tourists who do the buddhist circuit in india. ashoka did a pilgrimage to lumbini and kapilavastu. mansarovar, for hindus, is in china. should sri lankan sinhalese feel their religion is foreign?

come on , nepal is and was under heavy indian cultural influence .

anything that comes from nepal does not sound foreign to me the way a religion from the mid east brought by central asian conquerors sounds to me .

anyway i am out of this thread--debate is getting sterile .

cheers Cool

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by Idéfix on Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:24 pm

It is more than a little strange to blame Ashoka for the disintegration of the empire forged by Chandragupta. Before Ashoka came to the throne, the empire was limited to the Indo-Gangetic plains and Afghanistan. Ashoka was the first ruler to bring most of modern India into one political unit. His empire extended to all but the southern tip of the subcontinent; his edicts were found in southern Karnataka. Without Ashoka's military conquests, the empire would not have been as vast as it was. Even when his empire declined under his descendants, it fell not to foreign invaders but to the Shungas (Pushyamitra was a brahmin general, to boot).

As for the notion that India is a pacifist civilization, that is more legend than truth. The fact is that various Indian rulers relied primarily on military might to expand, defend and govern. Ashoka's contribution was to emphasize better governance and the welfare of the people as a means to stabilize empire. Given India's geography, it has always been hard to hold together an empire that spans most of it -- until the telegraph, railways and other modern technology made it possible. So Ashoka's doctrine of generating stability through welfare was a great innovation that would in small measure be repeated by Akbar.

Even before Alexander and his Greeks, the northwest of the subcontinent was a constant battleground between the Persians and the Indic tribes of the northwest. The Achaemenids controlled many areas that Chandragupta and Ashoka later ruled. The true measure of India's ability to stand up to the Muslim invasions is in comparison with Persia -- both ancient civilizations. Persia has no pacifism to fall back on as an excuse, but its ancient civilization, culture and way of life was destroyed with the arrival of Islam. Later, Persia also fell to the Mongols. India, on the other hand, did not suffer either fate -- thanks in part to the forbidding geography of its borders, for sure, but also because it was not the pacifist culture that it is made out to be.

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by Guest on Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:54 pm

panini press wrote:
Even before Alexander and his Greeks, the northwest of the subcontinent was a constant battleground between the Persians and the Indic tribes of the northwest. The Achaemenids controlled many areas that Chandragupta and Ashoka later ruled.
exactly! that is when the firebrand, animal sacrificing hindu civilization was at its zenith in afghanistan and punjab! yet they had to cede the territory, time and again, to the better equipped achaemenidians!

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by Guest on Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:15 pm

Huzefa Kapasi wrote:
panini press wrote:
Even before Alexander and his Greeks, the northwest of the subcontinent was a constant battleground between the Persians and the Indic tribes of the northwest. The Achaemenids controlled many areas that Chandragupta and Ashoka later ruled.
exactly! that is when the firebrand, animal sacrificing hindu civilization was at its zenith in afghanistan and punjab! yet they had to cede the territory, time and again, to the better equipped achaemenidians!
i had made a sulekha post about these situations in the NW many years ago and miraculously i just found it while searching in sulekha. sulekha search is now unreliable (the archives are still there but arbitrarily de-linked). but now i have the text. i will format my sulekha post and post it here tomorrow. it is written in a style mimicing the great g v desani (my lord).

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by Guest on Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:48 pm

g v desani once imperiously told kushwant singh, then an attache in the indian embassy in london, that there were only two great writers of english in the world. one was james joyce, he declared, and the other yours truly. he was right. only the truly gifted know their worth and have the due right to display arrogance. like ashoka. g v desani had approached kushwant singh to have his name recommended for the nobel prize for he had learnt that a governmental recommendation was essential. kushwant singh could not explain to him that his recommendation was just not enough. g v desani died ignored. but not really. rushdie brought him into prominence by owing a huge debt to him in his interviews and pourings (as to laurence sterne too -- similar style). so did gita hariharan (whose style of writing -- the latter style -- eerily reminds me of g v desani). so did amitav ghosh. g v desani's writing was as provincial as that of joyce's. joyce's works are steepped in greek and latin traditions. desani's works, though very very provincial in style and language, strive to overcome that burden by absorbing greek, latin and the orient too in its singular fold. a spectacular effort! inimicable style. a style that would ruin the careers of gifted writers like allan sealy who could never shake the drunken stupor of desani and never break into their own voice (though seally did later). quite like calvino could never shake off the stupor of borges' fiction (or ficciones) and never found his own voice (or perhaps he did).

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by Idéfix on Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:53 pm

I finally had an opportunity to visit Musee Guimet in Paris to check out their excellent collection of Buddhist art from India. Here is a photo of the Ashoka as chakravartin that is featured prominently in Charles Allen's book:



The museum has an excellent collection of art from around Asia. I particularly liked their collection of Indian and Kambhojan sculpture.

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by Propagandhi711 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:25 am

Huzefa Kapasi wrote:
panini press wrote:
Even before Alexander and his Greeks, the northwest of the subcontinent was a constant battleground between the Persians and the Indic tribes of the northwest. The Achaemenids controlled many areas that Chandragupta and Ashoka later ruled.
exactly! that is when the firebrand, animal sacrificing hindu civilization was at its zenith in afghanistan and punjab! yet they had to cede the territory, time and again, to the better equipped achaemenidians!

what points did hindus achieve their civilizational zenith in the rape dept? pillaging and rapes are the spoils of war so did our ancestors get their fill or not? if I were a king, I'd march into one of the southasian countries mainly for their women - they grow some bewitching vixens in those parts of the world.

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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

Post by doofus_maximus on Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:49 pm

Got this book as birthday gift. Thanks for the reco. Will read it starting today.


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Re: Ashoka by Charles Allen

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