After the violent annexing of Kalinga, King Ashoka (268 BCE to 232 BCE) underwent a transformation and dharma became the pivot of his royal policy and personal belief. He disseminated these ideas through a novel medium: a series of inscriptions incised on natural rock-faces and on pillars — 'The Edicts of Ashoka'.
Ashoka’s edicts are simple, brief, personal, and yet profound, abiding and universal.
A new project renders these edicts in song for the first time. The project has been conceptualised, composed and produced by noted Carnatic vocalist and social commentator TM Krishna in association with Ashoka University. Sung in the original Magadhi Prakrit, in ragas drawn from the Carnatic music tradition, with their meaning given in English subtitles, these edicts now carry the philosopher-emperor’s vision of a humane society into the realm of the arts.
The first set of four edicts premiered, in musical form, on 14 October, the day Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, on Krishna's YouTube, Facebook and Instagram channels.
"We live in times when empathy and justice seem to be slipping away. I do hope that by rediscovering Ashoka's words we can all find compassion within," says Krishna.
Watch the video here:
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