Keywords: Emperor Ashoka, national symbols, Buddhism, edicts, Maurya, Mauryan Empire, Brahmi Script, dhamma, dharma, Jataka tales, world history, giant empires, religion, non-violence, religion and governement, social justice, human rights
Emperor Ashoka (304-232 BCE) was the third king of the Maurya Dynasty. He ruled a truly massive kingdom that stretched from the Hindu Kush to the Bay of Bengal. It was India's first great empire. It is not just that Ashoka ably ruled this huge empire but the quality of social justice that he brought to his already strong administration.
Remorseful after his bloody campaign and conquest of Kalinga, Ashoka embraced Buddhism. Thereafter reverence for life, tolerance, compassion and peaceful co-existance were the cornerstones of his administration. Under him the earliest know bans on slavery and capital punishment as well as environmental regulations came into place.
The Story of India from PBS http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/gallery/photos/6.html
And from the timeline http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/timeline/2/
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi from UNESCO - video
Updated March 2011