We have noticed above already that Asoka's propaganda in favour of Buddhism stopped short of the Tamil country. That it did not get into the Tamil country is clearly in evidence in the fact that no important Buddhist centre indubitably referable to the Tamil country is found enumerated among those that sent delegates to the great assembly for the consecration of the Mahavihara in Ceylon in the 2nd century B.C. That coupled with the knowledge of the country in the period previous to the Christian era we gain from Tamil literature, would warrant the conclusion that the advance of Buddhism into th6 Tamil country in the fashion contemplated by Asoka was kept back by force But this is confirmed by the opposition set up in the Tamil land against the encroachment of the northerner of which we get glimpses in this body of Tamil literature. Asoka would not have stopped short in his propagandist mission if he could have carried it into the Tamil country although it is possible that the self-abnegation that prompted desistance from war might be regarded sufficient explanation. This latter fact, however, would not explain his abstention from propagandism of the organised character that he carried through in the rest of India. Along with this has to be taken the number of references in Tamil literature to the Aryans (Vadavar) being beaten back. It is just likely that we shall have to take into consideration the wars against the Vadukar also in various localities, which would not have been undertaken by the rude tribes along the northern frontier unless 8 there was an organised power behind them, either to incite them to it, or at least to encourage them if they did it. The early Chola, Pandya and Chera rulers, all of them take credit for achievements against the Aryas of the north. The Chola Karikala, the Pandya Nedum-Seliyan and the Chera Nedum-Seral all of them claim to have set their emblems on the Himalayas, and even the Malayaman chieftain of Tirukkovilur is given credit for having beaten back an Aryan force besieging his citadel of Mullur. Even omitting the references to the Vadukar for the time,1 this opposition seems to have been set up not so very much in mere hostility to the peaceful pursuit of Buddhism or Jainism; but seems essentially intended for securing the freedom for the unfettered pursuit of Brahmanism in the Tamil country. This it would be difficult to explain except by the assumption that in the empire of Asoka, it was difficult to pursue this form of religion unmolested if not by active persecution at least by the propagandist effort at the imposition of a certain kind of uniformity, or much rather conformity.

1 Canto 1, 11. 54.57.

1 For actual references see pp. 95-100 of my Beginnings of South Indian History.

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