Almost 2,320 years after the Mauryan period, the Bihar Government had on Thursday officially declared April 14 as the birth date of the famous Indian emperor Ashoka. Coincidentally, the date discovered by the Bihar Government is also the birth date of Dr B.R Ambedkar.
Political analysts described the unusual move as a political game played by the Mahagathbandhan government to bring the voters from Kushwaha community under its fold. Kushwahas believe that emperor Ashoka belonged to their caste. However, there isn’t any evidence to prove the same.
RJD JD(U) leaders admitted that the birth date of emperor Ashoka has been announced due to the pressure from the communities. Spokesman Ajay Alok said, “Both Ashoka and Ambedkar believe in Buddhism, it is good to tag Ashoka’s birthday to that of Ambedkar’s. In UP Ambedkar’s birthday is attached to that of the Ashoka’s in most of the regions. I don’t think that there is any political cause in this case”.
“Yes, i agree that there is no specific evidence to prove Ashoka’a birth. But, we believe that there’s nothing wrong in celebrating an occasion in the name of a great emperor. Buddhists also celebrate April 14th as the enlightenment day”, he added.
On the other hand, historians and Archaeology specialists condemned the government’s move stating that it is not justifiable act. “I’m shocked. How can the government declare any random date as the birth date of emperor Ashoka?. In that case, there is no need for us to work on archaeological sites and search for traces of history. Let the government assume the history as it wants”, D N Jha, who specialises in ancient Indian history said.
“The intentions of the government is clearly visible. They are using a greatest person from the Indian history as a political piece to satisfy their desires. I don’t support this kind of false assumptions and political games. Epigraphs carved during the period of Ashoka are the only remnants of history, which tells about emperor Ashoka and no epigraph in India had the birth date or birth year of Ashoka carved on it”, she added.
Emperor Ashoka has been the center of debate in the recent times, with BJP and the grand alliance using Ashoka as a bait to woo a specific community to win the recent elections in Bihar.