Historian Nayanjot Lahiri on encountering Indian emperor Ashoka in a small coastal town in Thailand – Scroll.in

(This article first appeared in Scroll.in on November 25, 2022)

  • There is no avoiding the figure of Ashoka (c. 304–232 bce) in the Thai city of Nakhon Si Thammarat. He swam into my ken there, an unexpected planet. I had gone in chase of him, expecting little, but then seen enough to become a Keatsian watcher of the skies. At first glance Ashoka’s presence in southern Thailand may seem to the normal reader more than somewhat surprising. The third emperor of the Maurya dynasty of ancient India is, after all, separated from Thailand by his Indianness, several centuries, and the Indian Ocean…

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