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World’s Oldest Democracy

Ashoka The Great… one of the greatest emperors of ancient India…

Who reigned from 273 BCE to 232 BCE as a great Mauryan Emperor..

Ashoka means “without any sorrow”

He was also called “Dev?n?mpriya” meaning the “one who is beloved of the Gods”.

The famous science fiction writer, H G Wells once said about Ashoka,

In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves ‘their highnesses,’ ‘their majesties,’ and ‘their exalted majesties’ and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day.

What made Ashoka so famous?

Over 1,00,000 deaths that took place in the Kalinga war, most of whom were civilians..

The great amount of destruction resulting due to Ashoka’s invasion of Kalinga..

The after math of the Kalinga war, the pain and sorrow of Ashoka when he saw the destruction he and his army had made…

He uttered, “Oh God, what have I done?”

Ashoka embracing of Buddhism after the Kalinga war…

His giving up of war and violence ever after the Kalinga war..

His spreading of the message of peace and love..

The mission which resulted in the entire east asia getting converted into Buddhism as far east as China, Thailand, Japan..

In the west he spread Buddhism as far as Rome and Egypt…

His children Sanghamitra and Mahindra established Buddhism in Srilanka…

But what was this Kalinga Kingdom whose invasion by Ashoka rewrote the future history of a large part of the world?

Kalinga is the oldest known democracy in the world. It was a kingdom in the current Indian state of Orissa.

Unlike other kingdoms in the ancient India where there was a king who ruled the kingdom.. Kalinga had a monarchical parliamentary democracy system, it was a Republic!

The people prided in their democratic system and so when Ashoka asked the Kalinga kingdom to submit to his rule, they refused resulting in the massive bloodshed, which finally led to the embracing of Buddhism and denouncing of violence by Ashoka…

Since ages, India has been practicing democracy and democratic and non-violent means to bring about peace and order in the world.. Kalinga is just another example, where the sacrifice of a 1,00,000 people resulted in the largest message of peace and non-violence being spread all over the world…

India even today prides itself as being the only country which achieved independence through non-violence and peace!! One of the most populated country protesting against the british rule via non-violence and peaceful demonstrations! Just imagine where the British would have been then if these millions of Indians had turned violent then!

Or probably, if Indians had carried out a more organized violent aggression against the violent british rule, India would have become independent in 1857 itself during the First war of Indian Independence when mangal pandey ignited the minds of Indians on April 8th 1857 at Barrackpore, Calcutta..

India would have got independence even before Gandhiji was born!! Independence 90 years before 1947!

There would have been no bloodshed of Indians by the British like the one at Jallian Wala Bagh nor would there have been the partition of India..

Again, even in 1947 I dont think it was because of Gandhiji or non-violence that India became independent.. it was more because of the world war II that ended in 1945, where the British had suffered terrible losses.. Britain was unable to maintain its troops anymore in India… they had already plundered India to its max.. Subhash Chandra Bose had already shown a sample of what an organized Indian military strike can do… they had a lot to do to set their own houses in order at Britain first..

And so the British left India in 1947.. What say?

Below is a nice theme music of “Mangal Pandey – The Rising” with an alternate video…

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Gurudev is the developer of Gurunudi AI Platform. This is his official website where he pens his thoughts on a wide range of topics, answers queries, shares resources and tools developed by him.


  1. The topic is about Kaling not Indian Independence. I would be interested if you please shed some more light on the Kaling Republic rather than India’s Independence.

    Does anybody have more information about the Kaling Republic? You can mail me. My email id is varaaroho@gmail.com

  2. I read it somewhere and this is the information I found:
    Oldest Democracy of the World ? Malana Valley
    Malana is a tribal village, which is considered as the oldest democracy in the world. The permission must be obtained by the head of the villagers to visit the important places in the village and one have to be very careful to not touch the untouched places (sacred places and monuments). In that case the villagers can claim the fine to the person who touched the places intentionally or not.



  3. I am happy that India won its independance in a non voilent way. Non voilence is a sign of maturity. I remember watching a program on Nat Geo on poisonous snakes. There is a some kind of snake very poisonous but when that snake meets another adversary, instead of fighting and biting each other which would have meant killing each other instantly, they would resort to a ‘dance’ to resolve the conflict. whoever loses the dance competition should withdraw from the territory.

    when snakes can have such maturity why not humans ? :-)

  4. Yes Gururaj, I agree with you that Gandhi acted as an uniting force for entire India during the freedom movement, but he failed to maintain this unity in the end.

    I feel that partition was definitely avoidable, and would have resulted in a even stronger India if India was undivided. It is sad that a power hungry congress under Nehru, who was unwilling to share power with Jinna preferred partition.

  5. what everyone seems to forget is that it was Gandhiji who was primarily responsible for the unified voice of Indian freedom movement. And unifying India is such stupendous task that it can never be over emphasized. Till Gandhiji arrived all the struggle for freedom was segregated ; never unified. Even in congress there was section called ‘naram dhal’ led by Gokhale and ‘garam dhal’ led by Tilak. It was only Gandhi who inspired all sections of people to even think about freedom. Even now many believe that British raj was good. You can imagine how divided we were then?

    And remember some of the statements he made are so timeless. Here are few still so relevant (not exact words):

    A nation’s advancement is measured by how it treats its animals.

    Nature can fullfill everyman’s need but not everyone’s greed.

    Every change you want to see in the world is change in you.

    In my view Gandhi was a genius. You cannot sustain non voilence without the intellectual and spiritual wisdom and an ability to read your adversary’s mind clearly.

    But the irony is that he failed to implement his principles with his own people at the time of partition. Again suggesting even great men are fallible. and that Life is not summable.

  6. Kartik
    There is no doubt that Gandhiji led the non-violent freedom movement in India and gave India a special place in terms of its freedom movement.

    But did the British leave India because of this? Britishers had promised India freedom if Gandhi asked Indians to fight for the British in WW II. But how many times had the British kept their promise till then? What changed in Indian in 1947 which was not there earlier? Undoubtedly it was the terrible losses suffered by the British in WWII, the inability to maintain a huge army in India, the great blow given by Netaji which gave new signals to Indian youth, and India had been almost completely looted by then and nothing really was left to be looted :)

  7. “”Again, even in 1947 I dont think it was because of Gandhiji or non-violence that India became independent.. it was more because of the world war II that ended in 1945, where the British had suffered terrible losses””
    this statement of urs, according to me, is undermining the effort of Gandhiji. I like Gandhiji’s ways because that brought respect to us from others. Even many britishers respect us for that.
    Jai Hind

  8. Yes Oemar, what you said about Indian independence is perfect, it was out of reluctance that they left India..

    If not for world war II, India would have been an autonomous British territory today!

    And if the world war outcome was the other way round, where german and japanese forces won it, then India would have probably been a super power today (an undivided India comprising of present Pakistan, Indian and Bangladesh), with Netaji being its first prime minister!

  9. Great post, thanks for Bachodi for guiding me to this. I have always held this opinion that WW II has contributed more than Gandhi to India’s independence. It was a face saving act by the British, who were finding it difficult to hold together their own country and colonies after the shattering war. Officially they won the war, but in reality they were more like ‘survivors’ not ‘winners’. About Samrat Ashoka, words cannot describe his greatness, so I ‘ll leave it as it is.


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