Irrigation and Villages During Ashoka


Ashoka, also goes by the name Ashoka the Great, was a Maurya Dynasty Indian monarch or ruler who controlled the entire Indian subcontinent leaving some territories of the south, between 268 and 232 BCE.

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How Ashoka Helped Improve the Village Life

Ashoka, like previous pious rulers, was not a revolutionary. However, there were some modifications. In the years that followed, Ashoka blended his Buddhism with material concerns that fulfilled the Buddha's original aim to alleviate human suffering: he had irrigation canals built, wells dug, and highways built. He constructed rest stations along roadways, public gardens, hospitals, and therapeutic herb gardens.

Taxes Levied in Villages in The Ashoka’s Reign

The administrative system during the rule of Ashoka was primarily concerned with the effective collection of taxes. There were two sorts of land taxes, according to Ashoka's Lumbini inscription: Bali and Bhaga. In each site, the tax was imposed differently, ranging from one-sixth to one-quarter of the land's produce. The peasants paid a quarter of their produce as tax. They also paid their respects to the king.

The primary source of revenue was a land tax (Bhaga). It was charged at a rate of one-sixth of the product. The Bhaga or the land tax may have been highest during the Mauryan rule.

Ashoka's Lumbini decree during his visit to Buddha's birthplace emancipated the village and its people from the Bali tax (tax levied on agricultural produce and cattle) and reduced Bhaga (a religious tax) payment to 1/8th. Another method by which the state obtained land and agricultural products was sharecropping. Sharecroppers in The Ashoka Empire were supplied with seeds, cattle, and fertile ground for agriculture. Such peasants donated half of their harvest to the state. Other types of taxes were also common.

For example, Peasants were charged with a tax known as Pindakara. It was paid for by husbandmen and taxed in a group of villages. This was natural behavior. The communities also supplied food to the army as it passed through their respective areas.

Then there was the Hiranya tax. Its nature is obscure but it has to be paid in cash or gold. Some taxes may have been voluntary. Pranaya, for example, was a tax that translates as "gift of affection." Kautilya brings it up initially, but Ashoka expands on it. Depending on the type of soil, it contributed to a third or a quarter of the production. It may have become mandatory overtime.

Irrigation During the Ashoka Rule

Irrigation operations provided a consistent supply of water to agriculturists during the rule and time of Ashoka. Wells were built around the nation to assist agriculturists in properly tilling the soil and performing agricultural tasks. However, there were certain state authorities who had to frequently monitor the irrigation works and keep them in excellent shape. The government used to collect a water fee in order to provide the cultivator with the necessary irrigation water.

The water tax charged was high if the water was provided mechanically. However, people in ancient days may have known how to carry water from ponds or rivers to irrigate theirfarms using the Persian wheel. Irrigation was sometimes done on one's own initiative. Only the government took on large-scale irrigation projects. By building darns on rivers, excavating canals, and digging wells, the Mauryas attempted to create three types of irrigation systems.

During the time of Chandragupta Maurya, a 100-foot-high dam was erected in Girnar to provide water for agriculture, and Ashoka continued several such projects. There were others who worked on such initiatives. The grandest example, however, was the Sakashatrapa Rudradamana's Sudarshana lake, which was created on a river. The canals were used to irrigate the plain's agricultural areas. Wells and ponds were also dug to supply this water. Normally, canals were used to transport water to distant places. The government in power was responsible for all of this.

Ashoka’s Role in the Development of India

During his reign, Emperor Ashoka paved the path for the nation's growth from social, economic, political, and religious viewpoints. The Grand Trunk Road was built during the Mauryan period. It was called "Uttarapath" during the Mauryan era. Ashoka funded additional renovations to this route and later Sher Shah Suri rebuilt the majority of the Grand Trunk Road route in the 16th century.

This route linking the eastern and western sections of the Indian subcontinent was known as the Shah Rah-e-Azam, Sadh-e-Azam, and Badshahi roads during the time. The major route is referred to as Road A Azam. The British termed the road Grand Trunk Road in the 17th century. According to Ashoka's archives, Emperor Ashoka was a key figure in the creation of India.

Emperor Ashoka established a government based on fairness and fatherhood. Emperor Ashoka was a model for social fairness. As a result, Emperor Ashoka is known as the "Harbinger of Societal Harmony."

Emperor Ashoka the Great stated in the Dhauli inscription - "Every man that is, all human beings are my children." This demonstrates that Emperor Ashoka was humane and kindhearted towards his people. During the period of Emperor Ashoka, his realm was the biggest Indian empire.

Ashoka, their era's emblem, is now India's national symbol. It is based on the Ashoka Lat from Sarnath, which originally had four lions facing in all four directions, with a spherical base beneath which an elephant, a rushing horse, a bull, and a lion are constructed. This circular base is shaped like an inverted lotus blossoming. Every animal contains a Dharma Chakra.


Q1: Name a few taxes that were levied during Ashoka rule.

Ans: Bali, Bhaga, Pindkara, and Hiranya were few of the taxes collected during Ashoka's rule

Q2: What is the time period during which Ashoka ruled the Indian Subcontinent?

Ans: Ashoka ruled the Indian subcontinent between 268 and 232 BCE.

Q3: Name the two principles on basis of which Ashoka established his kingdom.

Ans: Ashoka established his kingdom on the principle of fairness and fatherhood.

Q4: Mention a few constructions done by Ashoka to improve his people's lives.

Ans: Ashoka constructed rest stations along roadways, public gardens, hospitals, and therapeutic herb gardens. Apart from these he constructed or renovated many dams and highways during his rule.


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 13-Oct-2022


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