Published in the year 2012, this third edition of Asoka And The Decline Of The Mauryas is a book that provides the readers with in-depth insights into the life of Asoka, and the Mauryan Empire.
Summary Of The Book
Asoka And The Decline Of The Mauryas is a historical collection of information regarding the Mauryan Empire, by one of the most well-known historians on the subject, Romila Thapar. It was during the Mauryan period that the first sub continental empire began to surface. It required correct administration to cope with the changing political economy, communication specific to a sub continental territory, and new ideological efforts to gain support from a multi-cultural population.
This edition provides the readers with a fresh interpretation of India’s early history, and the developments that followed, with an emphasis on Asoka’s reign. Thapar dwells on the success achieved by Asoka during his reign, and attempts to throw light on the reasons behind his achievements. She then goes on to explain that it’s the environment in which he was raised that contributed to his success. The readers are given insight into whether Asoka’s pacifism made his empire crumble. Thapar goes on to explain that Asoka’s empire was indeed large, and he would have battled west of the Hindu-Kush if he wanted to enlarge his territory, but he did not consider that suitable. Additionally, he was also in good terms with Antiochus of Syria, who was his only serious contender in the world known to Indians.
Thapar goes on to explain the reason for the decline of the Mauryan Empire after Asoka’s reign. She tells the readers that the empire didn’t believe in statehood, and thought only on the lines of maintaining the social order. She also explains that the top order of the Mauryan administration was very heavy, and the center couldn’t cope with the periphery once the empire started weakening. Asoka’s death did play a major role in the downfall of the Mauryan Empire, as his successors were not capable enough.
About Romila Thapar
Romila Thapar is a historian and author.
Apart from this book, Thapar has written From Lineage To State: Social Formations Of The Mid-First Millennium B.C. In The Ganges Valley, Cultural Transaction And Early India: Tradition And Patronage, and India: Historical Beginnings And The Concept Of The Aryan.
Thapar was born on 30th November, 1931, in Lucknow, British India. She completed her degree from Panjab University. Thapar then went on to finish her doctoral degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She worked as a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, where she taught Ancient History. She presently serves as the Professor Emerita at the university. Through the course of her career as a professor, Thapar has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the College de France, and Cornell University. She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Calcutta, the University of Oxford, the University of Chicago, and the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris.
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