Though there were many mighty rulers in India who made great reforms that had changed the world in many ways, I believe Emperor Ashoka and Akbar the Great were the prominent ones in Indian History.
When it comes to rulers and remarkable reforms, Emperor Ashoka who was a great warrior, ruler, reformer, philosopher and also a great follower of Buddha. Ashoka was a mighty ruler who fought many wars, for the expansion of his kingdom. It was the bloodshed in the war of Kalinga that made him took up Buddhism.
Ashoka’s reforms such as efficient civil services, fair land taxation, and rules made for the protection of laws reveal his administrative brilliance.
The Pillars of Ashoka which were sculpted with 33 inscriptions depicting the edicts of Ashoka, still remained as symbols of his commitment towards dharma.
He had secret messengers who used to report him about the needs of the people.
Ashoka also built safe roads, planted trees on both sides of the roads, built rest houses for travelers, dug wells and established hospitals and schools.
He encouraged and controlled foreign trade and boosted agriculture. He improved irrigation and drainage systems.
Ashoka made great reforms that helped farmers a lot. He sanctioned loans to the farmers from state and helped them cultivate well. If a farmer was able to cultivate certain land for five years continuously, that farmer was made the owner of that land he cultivated. This was implemented for several years after Ashoka.
Akbar is another powerful ruler who is mentioned as Akbar the great. The Mughal empire was tripled in size and wealth in Akbar’s reign. He created a powerful military system and implemented effective economic, political and social reforms.
Though he was a Muslim emperor, his religious tolerance was appreciable that he gave equal opportunities to everyone, by encouraging the merit in high civil and military posts.
His military reforms included the improvements of cannons, fortifications and the use of elephants in warfare, the introduction of Matchlocks and wide usage of Gunpowder.
He introduced the levels of administration in the revenue department regarding the collection of taxes and spending systematically, organized the judiciary department by appointing personnel, who also had the responsibility of protecting the religious beliefs and practices.
He even encouraged foreign trade, providing security for transactions and levied low customs duties.
Akbar had not only encouraged religious tolerance but respected them. He used to celebrate Diwali and other prominent Hindu festivals and allowed priests to bless him.
He encouraged the custom of wearing Rakhi. Akbar renounced beef and cow slaughter and banned meat on certain auspicious days.
Akbar also married Jodha, the Hindu lady, besides having multiple Muslim wives and set himself as an example for religious tolerance. He never forced her to change her religion and also encouraged the people in his kingdom practice their religion peacefully.
As far as his social reforms are concerned, Akbar promoted cultural integration making it a liberal state.
He introduced several social reforms such as the prohibition of Sati, legalizing widow remarriage and kept a bar on the age for getting marriage by discouraging child marriages.