(Books) Asoka & The Decline of The Mauryas by Romila Thapar



Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication: Year 2012

ISBN-13 9780198077244

ISBN-10 0198077246

Language: English

Edition: 3rdEdition

Binding: Paperback

Number of Pages: 438 Pages

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.

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