(INDIA: Great Emperor and Patron of Buddhism)
BIOGRAPHY: Ashoka was born around 294 BC in the city of Pataliputra(in modern day Patna). He was the son of the Mauryan emperor, Bindusara.
CONTRIBUTIONS: By all considerations, Ashoka is one of the greatest kings not only in the history of India but that of the whole world. In the beginning like all other kings he was also given in to Kingly pleasures and the military conquests but after the battle of Kalinga, a powerful kingdom on the Bay of Bengal , Ashoka was completely transformed.
After this Ashoka was converted to Buddhism and devoted the rest of his life to spread and put into the practice the teachings of Buddhism. Ashoka planted trees across the roads for providing shade and established hospitals for human beings and animals for the welfare of his subjects. Ashoka also followed the law of Dharma in his personal life; he gave up hunting and slaughter of animals for the royal kitchen. For spreading Buddhism , he also dispatched missions to foreign countries like Syria, Egypt etc. Ashoka’s son Mahendraand and daughter Sanghamitra went to Ceylon where they became successful in converting the Ceylonese king to Buddhism.
DEATH AND LEGACY: Ashoka ruled for an estimated 40 years.
QUOTE: Ashoka's own words as known from his Edicts are: "All men are my children. I am like a father to them. As every father desires the good and the happiness of his children, I wish that all men should be happy always."