THIS WAS IN RESPONSE TO AN ARTICLE THAT APPEAR D IN THE CEYLON OBSERVER
Of Moguls and King Asoka
Hameed Abdul Karim
In recent times any article on Buddhism is not without an insult or a vilification of other faiths. It seems that to make Buddhism more authentic other faiths and ethnic groups have to be compared and showed in poor light in comparison to Buddhism.
The latest of such articles is the one that appeared in the government owned ‘Sunday Observer’ of 9 September 2013 titled ‘Emperor Asoka: The Saviour of Buddhist Places of Worship’ written by Rupa Banduwardena.
The article is informative, but, taking a pot shot at the moghuls, the author goes to absurd lengths claiming that Emperor Asoka had led campaigns against them when in fact they were not even in existence at that point of time. So there was no way they could have ‘plundered and razed most of the historic temples’ as the author claims. Is there a not so subtle attempt to distort history to vilify Islam, since the moguls were Muslims in faith but also politicians (like politicians today) in their lust for power?
Emperor Asoka was no saint in his pre-Buddhist days. History records that he had a wild temper and was of a wicked nature. It is recorded that he had no less than 500 of his ministers killed because they failed a test of loyalty. Apart from that he had 500 women in his harem. No problem there, because such were the customs for kings in those days. Problem was he had the whole lot burned to death because some of them said something that annoyed him a bit too much.
King Asoka earned the epithet ‘Chandaashoka’ for his torture chambers where many of his ‘children’, as he called his people, perished in agony. ‘Chandashoka’ means ‘Asoka the fierce’. Of course all this changed after he accepted Buddhism after his final battle that left thousands killed in battle.
For the record the moguls came into prominence in the early 1500’s that is hundreds of years after Emperor Asoka who was around even before the birth of Jesus Christ.