Ashoka ruled for thirty seven years and died in 232 B.C. With his death political decline set in and soon after the empire broke up. The Ganges valley remained under the Mauryas for another fifty years. The north-western areas were lost to the Bactrian Greeks by about 180 B.C.
The reasons for this political decline are, up to a point , similar in the disintegration of most empires on the Indian sub-continent,. The basic reason which have been associated with the decline of the Mauryan empire, is the policies of Ashoka. He was responsible for causing a virtual revolt within the Brahmans because of his pro-Buddhist policy. But making this factor, singly, responsible for the decline of the Mauryan empire would be a exaggeration of facts. Mauryan economy was under considerable pressure. The need for vast revenues to maintain the army and to finance the salaries of officials and settlements on newly cleared land must have strained the treasury.
By 180 B.C. the first experiment in imperial government in India had ended. Other experiments were to be made in later centuries but the conditions were never quite the same.
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