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Akbar vs. Ashoka: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on March 13, 2024
Akbar was a 16th-century Mughal Emperor known for his empire's expansion and religious tolerance, while Ashoka was an ancient Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, famous for his conversion to Buddhism and spreading its principles.
Akbar vs. Ashoka

Key Differences

Akbar, ruling from 1556 to 1605, was a Mughal Emperor who significantly expanded his empire in the Indian subcontinent. Known for his policy of religious tolerance, Akbar established a syncretic court culture and was instrumental in fostering the Mughal architecture style. His administration included the policy of Sulh-i-kul, which emphasized peace to all religions.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024
Ashoka, who reigned from 268 to 232 BCE, was an emperor of the Maurya Dynasty. His reign is notable for a massive expansion followed by a striking transformation after the bloody war of Kalinga. Deeply affected by the war's devastation, Ashoka embraced Buddhism and became known for his efforts to spread Buddhist teachings, as seen in his edicts carved on pillars and rocks across the subcontinent.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024
While Akbar's reign marked the strengthening of a centralized political system with innovative administrative practices, Ashoka's rule is significant for the propagation of Buddhist values and the concept of Dhamma, which focused on moral and ethical governance. Akbar's legacy includes a blend of Persian and Indian culture, whereas Ashoka's legacy is deeply rooted in the dissemination of Buddhist philosophy.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024
Akbar's approach to religion was inclusive, promoting a fusion of various religious ideas under the Din-i-Ilahi, whereas Ashoka's religious transformation led to the patronage and spread of Buddhism, although he maintained a policy of religious tolerance. Akbar's diplomatic relations extended beyond his empire, influencing trade and cultural exchanges.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024
Both rulers left an indelible mark on Indian history: Akbar is remembered for his enlightened rule that contributed to the arts, culture, and a strong central administration, while Ashoka is commemorated for his role in spreading Buddhism and his pioneering efforts in human rights, welfare activities, and environmental conservation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Reign Period

1556-1605 CE
268-232 BCE
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Dynasty

Mughal
Maurya
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Religious Policy

Religious tolerance, Din-i-Ilahi
Embraced Buddhism, spread its teachings
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Cultural Influence

Persian-Indian synthesis, Mughal architecture
Spread of Buddhist art and architecture
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Governance Style

Centralized administration, military expansion
Moral and ethical governance (Dhamma)
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Akbar and Ashoka Definitions

Akbar

Cultural Integrator
Akbar integrated diverse cultures within his empire.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Ashoka

Mauryan Emperor
Ashoka was a powerful emperor of the Mauryan dynasty.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Akbar

Mughal Emperor
Akbar was a great Mughal Emperor.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Ashoka

Dhamma Propagator
Ashoka spread the principles of Dhamma.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Akbar

Military Expansionist
Under Akbar, the Mughal Empire expanded significantly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024
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Ashoka

Buddhist Convert
Ashoka converted to Buddhism after the Kalinga war.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Akbar

Architectural Patron
Akbar patronized the development of Mughal architecture.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Ashoka

Pillar Edicts
Ashoka's edicts were inscribed on pillars across India.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Akbar

Religious Tolerance
Akbar is known for his policy of religious tolerance.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Ashoka

Peace Proponent
Ashoka advocated for peace and non-violence.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Ashoka

A tree of species Saraca asoca, native to South Asia and western Myanmar.
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Ashoka

A tree of species Saraca indica, native to Southeast Asia and eastern Myanmar.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is Akbar known for?

Expanding the Mughal Empire and religious tolerance.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Did Akbar have a unique religious policy?

Yes, he promoted the Din-i-Ilahi, synthesizing various beliefs.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Who was Akbar?

A 16th-century Mughal Emperor in India.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

What was Ashoka's governance style?

Based on Dhamma, emphasizing moral and ethical rule.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Was Akbar a conqueror?

Yes, he expanded his empire through military conquests.
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Mar 13, 2024

How did Akbar manage his empire?

Through a centralized administrative system.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What are Akbar's contributions to culture?

He influenced music, art, and literature.
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Mar 13, 2024

How did Akbar influence architecture?

He fostered Mughal architecture, a blend of Persian and Indian styles.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Did Ashoka leave any architectural legacies?

Yes, his pillars and rock edicts are famous.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Who was Ashoka?

An ancient Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Did Akbar have any unique administrative reforms?

Yes, including a land revenue system and military organization.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

What did Ashoka do after the Kalinga war?

He converted to Buddhism and promoted peace.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

How did Ashoka spread Buddhism?

Through his edicts and support of Buddhist monasteries.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

What was the extent of Akbar's empire?

It covered most of the Indian subcontinent.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Did Akbar interact with other religions?

Yes, he engaged with leaders of various faiths.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

How is Ashoka's rule viewed today?

As a pioneering effort in humane governance.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Was Ashoka initially a warrior?

Yes, before his conversion to Buddhism.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

What is unique about Ashoka's edicts?

They are among the earliest written records in India.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

How did Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism affect his empire?

It led to more ethical and welfare-oriented policies.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

Can Akbar and Ashoka be compared in terms of their legacies?

Yes, both left enduring impacts on Indian history and culture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 13, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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