Left over parts of Indika of Megasthenes
India, again, possesses many rivers both large and navigable, which, having their sources in the mountains which stretch along the northern frontier, traverse the level country, and not a few of these, after uniting with each other, fall into the river called the Ganges. Now this river, which at its source is 30 stadia broad, flows from north to south, and empties its waters into the ocean forming the eastern boundary of the Gangaridai, a nation which possesses a vast force of the largest-sized elephants. Owing to this, their country has never been conquered by any foreign king: for all other nations dread the overwhelming number and strength of these animals. [Thus Alexander the Macedonian, after conquering all Asia, did not make war upon the Gangaridai, as be did on all others; for when he had arrived with all his troops at the river Ganges, and had subdued all the other Indians, he abandoned as hopeless an invasion of the Gangaridai when he learned that they possessed four thousand elephants well trained and equipped for war.]
(38.) It is said that India, being of enormous size when taken as a whole, is peopled by races both numerous and diverse, of which not even one was originally of foreign descent, but all were evidently indigenous; and moreover that India neither received a colony from abroad, nor sent out a colony to any other nation. The legends further inform us that in primitive times the inhabitants subsisted on such fruits as the earth yielded spontaneously, and were clothed with the skins of the beasts found in the country, as was the case with the Greeks; and that, in like manner as with them, the arts and other appliances which improve human life were gradually invented, Necessity herself teaching them to an animal at once docile and furnished not only with hands ready to second all his efforts, but also with reason and a keen intelligence.
The same writer tells us further this remarkable fact about India, that all the Indians are free, and not one of them is a slave. The Lakedaemonians, and the Indians are here so far in agreement. The Lakedaemonians, however, hold the Helots as slaves, and these Helots do servile labour; but the Indians do not even use aliens as slaves, and much less a countryman of their own.