TV serial ‘Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat’ on the Colors channel has been seeing a steady increase in popularity over the months, with child artist Siddharth Nigam essaying the role of younger Ashoka.
However, the television serial has taken a time-leap now and guess who’s playing the part of grownup Ashoka, its none other than Mohit Raina (who had played the part of Lord Shiva in ‘Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev’).
“Since ‘Mahadev’ ended, I was waiting to play more larger than life characters. I had my eyes on ‘Ashoka’ since its first episode. I always waited for the makers to take a leap so that I can stand in the audition que and join the show.
For the role, I learnt horse riding and sword fighting. Siddharth is a gymnast and I was asked to look like him so I had to work on my body,” says Mohit.
Who Was Ashoka?
Ashoka Maurya, commonly known as Ashoka, and even as Ashoka the Great (of the Maurya Dynasty), was one of India’s greatest emperors who ruled over the entire Indian subcontinent (except parts of Tamil Nadu & Kerala). The empire’s capital was Pataliputra (in Magadha, present-day Bihar), with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain.
Kalinga War Transforms the King
Legend says that one day after the lethal war with Kalinga (modern Odisha), Ashoka ventured out in the city and the sight of the devastation made him say the famous monologue:
What have I done? If this is a victory, what’s a defeat then? Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valor to kill innocent children and women? Did I do it to widen the empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other’s kingdom and splendor? One has lost her husband, someone else a father, someone a child, someone an unborn infant…. What’s this debris of the corpses? Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these vultures, crows, eagles the messengers of death or evil?
The lethal war with Kalinga (modern Odisha) transformed the vengeful Emperor Ashoka to a stable and peaceful emperor and he went on to became a patron of Buddhism and played a big role in the spread of Buddhism.
If you’re an Indian, I’m sure you know that there’s a small wheel at the centre of the Indian flag (adopted on 22 July 1947, it replaced the Charkha – Spinning wheel), and that’s the Ashoka Chakra.
The Ashoka Chakra (wheel of dharma / Righteousnes) was built by Ashoka during his reign and signifies the cycle of time, as in how the world changes with time.
The Ashoka Chakra can also been seen on the base of Lion Capital of Ashoka which has been adopted as the National Emblem of India.
On 26 January 1950, Ashok Stambh (pillar) was adopted as the national emblem of India. It is used in different government letters and is also part of Indian currency.
The Ashok stambh of sarnath has a historical significance. It represents the place where Buddha taught his lessons of dharma to the five monks. Then these monks spread the Buddhism to all over the world.
Significance of Animals
This stambh has four lions seated back to back. These lions represent power, courage, confidence and pride. Besides lions some other animals are also illustrated on the pillar – a horse, a bull, an elephant and a lion.
- The elephant signifies the Buddha’s conception (at the time of Buddha’s conception his mother dreamt that a white elephant has entered into his womb).
- The bull represents Buddha’s zodiac sign Taurus.
- The horse represents Buddha’s horse which he rode at the time of leaving the palace to discover the meaning of life.
- The lion signifies the achievement of enlightenment.