Story of India

The Power Of Ideas

Season 1, Episode 2 of 6

The second episode covers the last centuries BC -- the age of the Buddha, the coming of the Greeks with the invasion by Alexander the Great and the rule of the emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest figures in world history. The episode's theme is the power of ideas in Indian history, and among the people Wood meets is the Dalai Lama, who explains why Buddhism is relevant today. The journey continues by railway to the famous sites of the Ganges plain, Benares, Sarnath and Bodhgaya; by helicopter and army convoy through northern Iraq to the site of the greatest battle in the ancient world; by truck up the Khyber Pass; then by river to the first great Indian capital, Patna. Using archaeology, living traditions, legends and "India's Rosetta stone," Wood tells the story of the first great Indian state. Viewers hear the dramatic tale of the first great emperor, who renounced his kingship and starved himself to death, and of his grandson, who renounced warfare and introduced the dangerous idea of non-violence, which runs through Indian history all the way to Mahatma Gandhi and the Freedom Movement.

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