Even though Asoka ruled as a king, his views changed after the Kalinga war. He began to see that government’s role was to do things that promote people’s happiness. It was a revolutionary attitude at the time.
Now he wanted to give happiness to his people. He exhorted them to practice religious tolerance and live in peace with relatives and neighbors0. To make travel comfortable, he had shade trees planted on all roadsides; wells were also dug to provide water. He went on too provide free healthcare; hospitals for men and for animals were set up throughout the empire. He also made important changes to justice system. In one of his edicts to provincial governors he said: You are in charge of thousands of men; you should win their affection by being impartial to all. Injustice is a cause of suffering; men suffer when they are imprisoned or tortured without good reason; men also suffer when a prisoner is released without reason. You should strive to practice impartiality… see to it that men are never imprisoned or tortured without good reason.” It was Asoka’s People’s Bill of Rights.
He paid special attention to the sorry plight of villagers. In one of his edicts, he declared: Just as a person feels confident entrusting his children to the care of a good nurse, I’ve appointed officials for the welfare and happiness of the country people. They have independent authority to fulfill their roles calmly and fearlessly. They are models for the villagers as to what makes for happiness and unhappiness. “
In neighboring countries, news quickly spread how he had brought about unheard of changes to his people. When asked how he did it. Asoka replied: What gives me satisfaction is that I have never used any force (in implementation) and in promotion of public welfare and happiness.