By Colin Mason
The peoples of Asia now make up greater than 1/2 the world's inhabitants. they're more and more well-educated, and winning in each sector of contemporary alternate and know-how. Their impact within the remainder of the realm is usually turning into higher. Colin Mason presents a readable and transparent advent to their background and traditions, from prehistory correct as much as the current day. This completely revised, up-to-date and elevated new version comprises the big alterations and additions made worthwhile via the fast-changing scene in Asia, quite China's expanding prominence in global affairs. There are new chapters on Afghanistan and Taiwan, and on international struggle and its importance in Asia, in addition to huge remodeling of the chapters at the countries of South Asia. Maps and illustrations now additionally enhance the textual content all through, making this the basic advisor to the background of a desirable continent and its peoples.
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Its aim is the cultivation of purity and kindness. While these sentiments are commonplace enough now, it must be recalled that Buddhism preceded Christianity by more than 500 years, and was a tremendous step forward in a world which had, until then, generally accepted without question the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; a world in which cruelty and injustice were simply to be taken for granted. This new philosophy, born in the foothills of the Himalayas, was to become a profound influence throughout Asia.
Of the numerous stone columns Ashoka set up, the capital of one, with its figures of four lions, is used as the emblem of the present government of India. However, Ashoka is remembered mostly because he turned from cruel and amoral absolutism to institute quite revolutionary and remarkable reforms, unique in the world of their time. Ashoka’s conversion to the ways of peace are said to have resulted from an experience of the realities of war during an expedition against the neighbouring kingdom of Kalinga.
The Harappa showed considerable artistry in small objects. Among the ruins small figures in soapstone, alabaster and marble have been found depicting people, often in a sophisticated and lively style. There was a well-developed, distinctive system of weights and measures. Copper and bronze were used for weapons, tools and ornaments. The nature of the religion is unclear, but there are strong indications of a connection with gods of the later, Hindu, period, with evidence particularly of worship of a mother-goddess concerned with the fertility of the earth and the creation of life.
A Short History of Asia, Second Edition by Colin Mason