Fierce fighter becomes peace maker
Ashoka was a fierce warrior-king who changed his ways and became a beloved peace maker.
The battle of Kalinga in 250 B.C. was what changed everything. Ashoka was standing on the field after the fighting had ended. Surrounded by the dead bodies, he realized that more than 100,000 people had died because of a war he had instigated. Horrified, he decided to change. He embraced the Buddhist belief of ahimsa, or non-violence. From that day on, he became known as “the pious Ashoka”, Dharmashoka.
Asoka made many changes both personally and across his kingdom. He gave up hunting and stopped eating meat. He established many hospitals for people and animals. He ensured that Banyan trees were planted to provide shade and mango trees to provide fruit, wells were dug and rest houses established.