THE ALLAHABAD PILLAR
The Asoka Pillar now in Allahabad Fort is rightly regarded as originally erected at KauSambi. Dr. Bhandarkar says that the savanna or orders of Asoka against schism which we find engraved on pillars are at three different places, namely, Sarnath, Sanchi and Allahabad. "The pillars at the former two places are believed to be in situ, but that at present existing at Allahabad is rightly regarded as having been in Kausambi." This is also the view of Dr. Hultzch. He says: "KauSambi Edict is addressed to the Mahamatras of Kauambi. Cunningham concluded from it that the Allahabad pillar must have been originally erected by Asoka at KauSambi." He agrees in this with Cunningham but disagrees with him as to the latter's suggestion that Feroz Shah removed it to Allahabad, and holds with more reason that Akbar did it to add to the beauty of his newly built city. That this pillar was originally set up by Asoka is clear from another consideration. Asoka's edict on the Pillar now in Allahabad is aimed at schism which was breaking the unity of the Buddhist Church. The Jasana runs as follows: "Whosoever breaks up the Church, be it monk or nun, shall be clad in white raiment, and compelled to live in what is not a residence (of the clergy)." The Sasana or the order is addressed, as is clear from the inscription, directly to the Mahamatras of KauSambi. According to Dr.Radha Kumud there were two classes of Mahamatras. One class of Mahamatras were associated with Viceroys as Ministers, to whom kings' orders were communicated by the Viceroy,
or in some cases by the king himself jointly with the Viceroy. The other class of Mahamatras were 'Provincial Governors who were entitled to receive the king's message directly'.The learned scholar is of the opinion that since the Kausambi Edict is addressed by the king directly to the Mahamatras of KauSambi, it 'must have been, therefore, the headquarters of another province.' It is therefore natural to suppose that the Pillar had been erected in the seat of a provincial government, which was KauSambi.
Early History of Kausambi
By N.N. Ghosh
Published by Allahabad Law Journal Press, Allahabad - 1935
Photograph of the Ashoka Pillar in Allahabad, from an Album of Miscellaneous views in India, taken by Thomas A.Rust in the 1870s. Ashoka (reigned ca. 272-231 BC) was the most illustrious king of the Maurya dynasty. After his conquest of Kalinga in Orissa, struck with remorse at the suffering he caused, he converted to Buddhism and spent the rest of his life propagating his dharma (law). In order to achieve this, he had numerous edicts inscribed on rocks, pillars and caves, throughout his vast empire. These are written in various vernaculars and represent the earliest written document from the Indic regions. From these edicts it appears that Ashoka was an extremely tolerant and benevolent monarch. This pillar was originally erected in the 3rd century BC by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. The pillar was moved to Allahabad, in front of the gateway to the Allahabad Fort, in 1583 by Akbar. The pillar made of polished stone extends 10.7 m in height and is incised with an Ashokan edict.
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