Ashoka was a kind ruler. All his time was spent in thinking about the welfare of his subjects. He himself attended to even the minutest details of his administration. His one desire was to make his subjects happy. His subjects could meet him at any time, any in any place; even his private place was open to them at all times. He had trees planted on either side of the roads; he had wells dug by the road-side; he had rest houses and hospitals built for both men and women as well as animals. He, therefore, came to be known as Ashoka the good. He was a wise and righteous ruler, and was truly the father of his people.
Ashoka waged only one War and that too, early in his region. He saw the horror of it; he vowed never to go to war again. He said, ``I have seen the horror of the victory; I shall not draw the sword again expect to defend my country against an invasion. My old dreams are broken and dead, but to day I begin a new dream. Instead of the fear of wars I will give my people safety; instead of war, I will give them peace’’. And he kept his promise. His reign was a reign of peace. He gave his people lasting peace, and made such lows for them as were just wise and fair.
Ashoka became a Buddhist, and sent out bands of missionaries all over the country of preach Buddhism. He is a famous for the pillars he set up in all parts of his kingdom, pillars inscribed with his edicts. His aim in life was to establish in the hearts of his people Dharma or Righteousness. The chief principles of this Dharma were –reverence to superiors, including animals; and truthfulness in thought, in word, and in deed. He banned the killing of animals’ altogether, either for sport or meat-eating.
Asoka was more of a saint than a ruler. He was a saint because his main desire was to make his subjects virtuous, noble and wise. He cared for their souls as well as for their bodies.
What greater tribute can free India pay to the memory of his great and good king than this, namely that the Indian national flag bears upon it the Dharma Chakra of Ashoka’s Lion Capital at Saranath and that the government’s national seal is also based on it!