Where The Imperial Dreams Shattered
When you are asked: “What do you know about ancient Indian Civilzation?” You will start with great Maurya Empire and stumble upto Aryan Invasion. Some might give reference of “Indus Valley Civilization”. But is it true that the history of India is just a list of Military defeats. Is it a fact that had it not been for the British, we still ended up residing in the stone age? Then how could our ancestors ended up so advanced culturally, compared to their foreign counterparts. There is no denying of the legends of the Navaratna, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Vedas, Puranas etc. Or the truth is something else that was hidden and distorted with a specific propaganda. Western historian said that there was no “proper” history in pre-islamic India. But there is the existence of numerous Indian texts which describes that their is a tradition of Bharatbarsha Milatary: they seem to be accustomed to thrashing down the world conquerors from the ancient time, be it Assyria, Persia, Greek, Huns or any other. The invaders are known to have faced their worst nightmares right at the borders of Bharatbarsha, and whoever was lucky enough to dig a little deep, they did not face any more war, what they experienced was a complete butchery. Lets have a look what our own history tells about ourselves.
After India’s fall to British, one of the major objectives of European Historians and Philosophers was to solely establish the superiority of Christianity over Hinduism. Just because the colonial British were not able to digest the fact that world conquerors failed miserably at the borders of Bharatbarsha, they were simply relegated to mythology, or omitted from history. Had they won the round, it would have benefited their propaganda – Bharatbarsha, a country trivialized by anyone an everyone. An account of their failed attacks are listed below. If Greek accounts or sources went against the Colonial agenda, they, carefully, hedged their writing with terms like ‘half legendary account’ with ‘possibly’ , ‘supposed’ , ‘may represent’ with a few ‘doubtful’ also thrown in – for free. When it comes to Indian triumphs, Semiramis becomes half legendary. Yet in another book, the same Semiramis is hailed as ‘the great conquerors of antiquity.’ In a matter of a few pages, they used to dismiss Indian history in a half-Hegelian manner.
The Western Connection
1301 B.C. – There was the famous Chariot battle between Egyptian and Hittites which ended not so well for the powerful Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II. He had to make a peace treaty with the Hittites. One of the powerful allies of the Hittites was Rimisharrinaa. This name has a striking resemblance with the hindu name ‘Ramsharan’. It is also a fact that Hittites has a lot of similarity with Hindus. (Probably they were the Indians in the Middle East(?)). The Hittites (like Mittanis) did not impose their religion on the conquered peoples (Why does this sound familiar?). No royal tomb has ever been found for Hittites kings. In Vedic cultures, there are no royal tombs – like the Pyramids, or the Catacombs, or Mausoleums. Hindus cremate their dead royals. They do not build memorials or mausoleums. The civilization of the Hittites rose up suddenly, and it did fall down also without any prominent reason. Nobody knows where they came from and where did they go. The mind-blowing similarities of Hittites with Hindu Culture indicates that it may very well is possible, that, the Hittites were in fact nothing other than a Hindu colonization in the Middle East in ancient times.
The Assyrian Misadventure
805 B.C. -One of the earliest recorded attacks on India was by Semiramis (Sammurammit), who ruled the Assyrian Empire during the years 811-806 BCE – or nearly 500 years before the invasion of Alexander of Macedon. According to the accounts of ancient Greek historians Diodorus and Ctesias, after successfully carrying out several military campaigns to quash uprisings in Persia to the east and in Libya in North Africa. the warrior queen “resolved to subjugate the Indians on hearing that they were the most numerous of all nations, and possessed the largest and most beautiful country in the world”. For two years preparations were made throughout her whole kingdom – modern day Iraq, Egypt, Turkey and parts of Central Asia. In the third year she collected 3,000,000 foot soldiers, 500,000 horsemen and 100,000 chariots. Beside these, 100,000 camels were covered with the sewn skins of black oxen and fitted with fake movable trunks in order to trick the Indians into believing that she had a large elephant corps as well. King Supratika (or Satyabrata) (Stabrobates according to Greeks), the king of the Indians, awaited the Assyrians on the bank of the Indus with an even larger force gathered from the whole of India. In the ensuing battle, the soldiers of Semiramis resisted only a short time before the Indian elephants caused an immense slaughter. The Assyrians left their ranks and fled, and the king pressed forward against Semiramis. His arrow wounded her arm, and as she turned away his javelin struck her on the back. After exchanging prisoners Semiramis returned. She had lost two-thirds of her army. The kingdom of Assyria never dared to make an eye contact with ancient Hindus, again.
Shattered Dream of Persian Empire
530 B.C. – The first ruler of Persian Achaemenid dynasty, Cyrus The Great, was victorious battle after battle. His armies defeated all others they came across. Building on the Assyrian Empire, he expanded his empire across most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, from Egypt and the Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east. After all these victories, he turned his attention towards India. Why trying to conquer India, he met his nemesis. The battle against the Indian border state, Massaga, is judged as to be be the bloodiest battle he had witnessed. Not even a Persian messenger survived to carry the tale of the battle, and for years his people did not know what had become of Cyrus. After this battle, the Persians switched their expansionary vision towards the west. They were never able to cross the border tribes of ancient Bharat.
Myth of Alexander
Alexander’s troubles began as soon as he crossed the Indian border. He first faced resistance in the Kunar, Swat, Buner and Peshawar valleys where the Aspasioi and Assakenoi, known in Hindu texts as Ashvayana and Ashvakayana, stopped his advance. Although small by Indian standards they did not submit before Alexander’s killing machine.
326 B.C. – The Assakenoi offered stubborn resistance from their mountain strongholds of Massaga, Bazira and Ora. The bloody fighting at Massaga was a prelude to what awaited Alexander in India. On the first day after bitter fighting the Macedonians and Greeks were forced to retreat with heavy losses. Alexander himself was seriously wounded in the ankle. On the fourth day the king of Massaga was killed but the city refused to surrender. The command of the army went to his old mother, which brought the entire women of the area into the fighting. Realising that his plans to storm India were going down at its very gates, Alexander called for a truce. The Assakenoi agreed; the old queen was too trusting. That night when the citizens of Massaga had gone off to sleep after their celebrations, Alexander’s troops entered the city and massacred the entire citizenry. A similar slaughter then followed at Ora. However, the fierce resistance put up by the Indian defenders had reduced the strength – and perhaps the confidence – of the until then all-conquering Macedonian army.
326 B.C. – Battle of Hydaspes – For more than 25 centuries it was believed that Alexander’s forces defeated the Indians. Greek and Roman accounts say the Indians were bested by the superior courage and stature of the Macedonians. Two millennia later, British historians latched on to the Alexander legend and described the campaign as the triumph of the organised West against the chaotic East. In 1957, while addressing the cadets of the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, Zhukov said Alexander’s actions after the Battle of Hydaspes suggest he had suffered an outright defeat. Zhukov would know a fleeing force if he saw one; he had chased the German Army over 2000 km from Stalingrad to Berlin. Facing this tumultuous force led by the genius of Alexander was the Paurava army of 20,000 infantry, 2000 cavalry and 200 war elephants. Being a comparatively small kingdom by Indian standards, Paurava couldn’t have maintained such a large standing army, so it’s likely many of its defenders were hastily armed civilians. Also, the Greeks habitually exaggerated enemy strength. The battle was savagely fought. As the volleys of heavy arrows from the long Indian bows scythed into the enemy’s formations, the first wave of war elephants waded into the Macedonian phalanx that was bristling with 17-feet long sarissas. Some of the animals got impaled in the process. Then a second wave of these mighty beasts rushed into the gap created by the first, either trampling the Macedonian soldiers or grabbing them by their trunks and presenting them up for the mounted Indian soldiers to cut or spear them. It was a nightmarish scenario for the invaders. As the terrified Macedonians pushed back, the Indian infantry charged into the gap. In the first charge, by the Indians, King Purushottam (Puru or Porus)’s brother Amar killed Alexander’s favourite horse Bucephalus, forcing Alexander to dismount. This was a big deal. In battles outside India the elite Macedonian bodyguards had not allowed a single enemy soldier to deliver so much as a scratch on their king’s body, let alone slay his mount. Yet in this battle Indian troops not only broke into Alexander’s inner cordon, they also killed Nicaea, one of his leading commanders. According to the Roman historian Marcus Justinus, Porus challenged Alexander, who charged him on horseback. In the ensuing duel, Alexander fell off his horse and was at the mercy of the Indian king’s spear. But Porus dithered for a second and Alexander’s bodyguards rushed in to save their king. Says Plutarch: “The combat with Porus took the edge off the Macedonians’ courage, and stayed their further progress into India. For having found it hard enough to defeat an enemy who brought but 20,000 foot and 2000 horse into the field, they thought they had reason to oppose Alexander’s design of leading them on to pass the Ganges, on the further side of which was covered with multitudes of enemies.” Indeed, on the other side of the Ganges was the mighty kingdom of Magadh, ruled by the wily Nandas, who commanded one of the most powerful and largest standing armies in the world. According to Plutarch, the courage of the Macedonians evaporated when they came to know the Nandas “were awaiting them with 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 8000 war chariots and 6000 fighting elephants”. Undoubtedly, Alexander’s army would have walked into a slaughterhouse. Alexander ordered a retreat.
In a campaign at Sangala in Punjab, the Indian attack was so ferocious it completely destroyed the Greek cavalry, forcing Alexander to attack on foot. In the next battle, against the Malavs of Multan, he was felled by an Indian warrior whose arrow pierced the Macedonian’s breastplate and ribs.
305 B.C. – Ultimate Test of Power between Bharat and Greece – While no accounts of the actual battle fought exist today, the historical consensus is that Chandragupta Maurya emerged victorious against the Greek forces. Post the battle, Chandragupta continued control over all the regions he had conquered previously. Seleucius also ceded to Chandragupta his territories in Arachosia (Kandahar), Gedrosia (Balochisthan) and Gandhara. Around the same time, Chandragupta is said to have taken over the Hindu Kush, eastern Iran, Punjab and east Afghanistan – greatly growing his empire and expanding his victory of Seleucius to establish his dominance from modern-day Afghanistan to Bihar. The terms of terms of peace negotiated by Seleucus with Chandragupta went beyond the ceding of Greek territories to the Indian monarch. Seleucus is also speculated to have married off his daughter to Chandragupta. This battle ended the Greek dominance in this region permanently.
The Forgotten Valor
180 B.C. – These invaders were usually termed in Indian literature as the Yavanas’. But, it is ascertained from historical evidences that they were, in fact, the Bactrian Greeks. Some historians tried to identify that invader as King Demetrius, some others think of him as Menandar. Whosoever might have been the king of the invading forces, he was not able to conquer the Sunga territory. Evidences suggest that a grandson of King Pushyamirta led the royal army against the enemies, defeated the Indo-Greek forces, and drove them out.
100 B.C. – On his campaign against Magadha from the south, King Kharavela of Kalinga was reported that one Greek King (probably Strato I or Heliokles II), also attacked Magadha from the west. For King Khavavela, had he joined the invaders. it would have been quite easy to defeat powerful Magadha. But the King quickly judged and decided that the foreigners will sure come after him after the fall of Magadha. Hence, he withdrew his attack on Rajagriha and sent his army westwards to check Indo-Greeks. As soon as the Indo-Greek king heard that Kharavela’s army was marching against him, he ordered his army to withdraw. He had already come to know of Kharavela’s prowess. He had miscalculated and misjudged Kharavela.
458 A.D. – When a King Kicked Huns Out – Everywhere they went, the terrorizing roars of the Huns evoked primal fear in the hearts of all the cultured folk. The Huns waged terrifying and destructive wars on all the cultured people and civilizations of the world. And at every opportunity they got, they killed, destroyed, burnt, and engaged in malicious activities, thus displaying their demonic sadism. In Europe, Huns were the reason for the downfall and destruction of the powerful Roman Empire. Even Constantinople, the former capital of the Roman Empire, trembled due to the barbaric onslaught of the Huns. Barbarity of the Romans was no less than the Huns; the same with the Turks. Even such barbaric groups were unable to check the onslaught of the Huns. Huns were the people who, by their cruelty, made even the Islamic empire tremble. But in ancient Bharat, there was someone name Skandagupta. Maintaining the tradition of his forefathers, he managed to drove away them. Huns, who were able to destroy the world-dominating Romans, never came back for around one decade. He erected a victory pillar to commemorate this battle, which still stands at Bhitari in Ghazipur district, bearing silent testimony to the Gupta victory.
470 A.D. – Complete Annihilation of Huns – Huns waited till the death of the Gupta ruler Skandagupta to invade India again in a proper manner. During this time, the Guptas had been ruling over a greater part of India. This time Hunas were under the leadership of Mihirkula (also known, as Mihirgula or the “Indian Attila”). He was the successor and son of Toramana, and known as a very tyrant ruler and a destroyer. Nothing was sacred to the Huns. For the Indians, fastidious in their religious practices, wedded to an unassailable hierarchy of status and power, the unmitigated savagery of the Huns must have been a miserable imposition to bear and experience. The uncouth behaviour and lack of culture of the Huns must have created in them a sense of disgust. When Mihiragula’s cruelty became unbearable, two kings joined hands – Yasodharman of Malwa and Narasimhagupta Baladitya of the later Gupta dynasty. The Huna power in India collapsed after the defeat of Mihirkula.
The antiquities of Asia – Diodorus Siculus, Diodorus, Edwin Murphy
Women Warriors – David E. Jones
War Elephants – John M. Kistler
King Porus, A Legend of Old – Michael Madhusudan Dutta
History of Porus – Buddha Prakash
Ancient India – Ramesh Chandra Majumder
Ancient Indian History and Civilization – Sailendra Nath Sen