Different political organisations coming up with their own versions of history have always been a point of debate in our country.
Well, the latest is an RSS-backed publication that says emperor Ashoka was responsible for India's decline.
An article published in the May issue of Bappa Raval, the mouthpiece of the Rajasthan Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, a part of RSS' tribal wing, has claimed that Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism and his promotion of ahimsa led to foreign invaders such as the Greeks attack India. It has also accused Ashoka's promotion of Buddhism led to the fall of Vedic civilisation in India
“It was India’s misfortune that the same Emperor Ashoka, who became the reason for India’s decline…we worshiped him as great…It would have been better if, like Bhagwan Buddha, Emperor Ashoka too, would give up his kingdom, become a monk and promote Buddhism…(then) India would not have had to face such a mountain of hardship,” says a paragraph from the article as per a report by the Indian Express.
The views were countered by historian KS Gupta who called it factually wrong." The foreign invasions happened in 7th and 8th century even after Ashoka's period. At that time there was no policy of Ahimsa, so how could one blame Ashoka or Buddhism for it. The reason for the decline was internal feud among kingdoms in India," he said, reports Bhaskar.
"अशोक के बाद सातवीं और आठवीं शताब्दी में भी विदेशी हमले हुए। तब तो अहिंसा की पॉलिसी नहीं थी, फिर किसे दोष देंगे। अवनति की स्थिति का बड़ा कारण आपसी फूट थी।"
The article is part of “Bharat: Kal, Aaj, Aur Kal (Bharat:Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow)”, a series of essays on India’s history and is written by Dr Raadhika Ladha who is the editor of the magazine. Ladha has however, said that her article is being misrepresented by the media.
The media only handpicked two paragraphs without reading the full text. Never did I say that emperor Ashoka wasn't great as I still maintain that he was one of the greatest rulers of India. I only said that after he embraced Buddhism, he started aggressively promoting ahimsa (non-violence) which weakened the state. Every ruler commits a few mistakes during his lifetime. Is it wrong to talk about it?" she told ScoopWhoop.