The Kalinga War

- May 21, 2021


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By Srinidhi Murthy and Vijita Mukherjee The Kalinga War was fought between the Mauryan Empire of Magadha and the independent and prosperous state of Kalinga. It was a turning point in the life of Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Dynasty. The terrible outcome of the war made him question the price of his victory and its worth.  Illustration: Ram Waeerkar | Script: Meena Talim Background Kalinga was a prosperous nation with artistically skilled and peaceful people. It was under the Nanda Empire until 321 BCE. With important ports for trade and a strong navy, Kalinga controlled its coastline and played a crucial role in the trading world of the Bay of Bengal. The king of Kalinga was referred to as ‘Mahodadhi Pati’ or ‘the lord of the ocean’ by the poet Kalidasa in one of his works. The Mauryan Empire perceived Kalinga as a threat because Kalinga could interrupt communications between Patliputra, the Mauryan capital and its possessions in the central Indian peninsula. Emperor Ashoka sent a message to the King of Kalinga asking him to submit to his overlordship, but the king was in no mood to bow to this authority. The War ...

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