Ashoka defeated Kalinga in war, hadn't
he? He then appointed officers to administer the kingdom. How do officers who go from the
victorious state to the defeated land usually behave towards the people? They lose all
sense of justice and fair play and behave proudly. They insult the defeated people. Ashoka
did not want this to happen. He desired that the people of Kalinga should live in peace
and honor. This was his order to the officers who were sent to Kalinga:
"I have put you in charge of thousands of people. Earn the love and affection of
all those people. Whatever situation may arise treat all people alike. Be impartial in
your actions. Give up rudeness, haste, laziness, and lack of interest and short temper.
Nothing can be achieved if we are bored and idle. Therefore be active. If you understand
how sacred your work is and behave with a sense of responsibility, you will go to heaven,
and you will also repay your debt to the king who appointed you." Ashoka who treated
his subjects as his children, further said, "Like a mother who gives her child to an
able nurse, trusting that she would bring up the baby well. I have entrusted my subjects
to your care."