Historical Battles in Ancient & Medieval Bharat

ramana
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Postby ramana » 05 Jul 2007 22:07

For Airavat

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[quote][size=59][color=red][color=red]आगरा किला में खà¥

ramana
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Postby ramana » 05 Jul 2007 22:22

And a
Book Review

Iqtidar Alam Khan. Gunpowder and Firearms: Warfare in Medieval India. Aligarh Historians Society Series. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004. xiv + 263 pp. Illustrations, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. $39.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-566526-0.
Reviewed by: Timothy May, Department of History, North Georgia College and State University.
Published by: H-War (August, 2006)
Guns, Influence, and Power
There is no question that the advent of gunpowder weapons permanently changed the course of warfare, but exactly how this happened varies from region to region. Often in the public's mind, the impact of firearms is relegated to Europe and its origins in China; somehow everything in between is overlooked. Thus, Iqtidar Alam Khan's volume, Gunpowder and Firearms: Warfare in Medieval India will hopefully begin to fill that void.


Khan's work is important for two reasons. First, it traces the origins and influence of gunpowder weapons in India as a regional history rather than as an ancillary to a larger work. The author critically examines when firearms appeared in India, and then what other influences--whether local or foreign--played in the development of the weapons. Moreover, he discusses their impact, not only on the medieval state, but on society as a whole. Second, Khan's work serves as a model for other regional studies on firearms as well as the distribution of other forms of technology or goods.


Chapter 1 of Gunpowder and Firearms discusses the diffusion of firearms into the subcontinent by focusing on the role of the Mongols as agents of transmission. Although the author notes that the Chinese had been using gunpowder weapons before the Mongols arrived on the scene, it is not until the end of the thirteenth century that firearms of any sort, particularly rockets, appear in the Sultanate of Delhi or in regional literary references. While he places the greatest emphasis on the Mongols as the agents of technological transmission, Khan does not rule out other sources such as a Himalayan or sea route. Regardless of their origin, knowledge and use of these weapons quickly spread.


Chapters 2 through 4 focus on the use of artillery from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. Although cannons became somewhat common throughout India, the Mughals used them the most effectively, thus giving rise to one of the popularly called Gunpowder Empires (along with the Ottomans and Safavids). Yet, these three chapters emphasize one key point. As in late medieval Europe, the expense of cannons meant that few among the nobility besides the ruler possessed the resources to purchase them. Fortress walls gave little shelter against cannons and the nobility quickly learned to acquiesce to the authority of the ruler.


Although similar situations appeared among some of the regional Indian states, the rise of the Mughals brings this phenomenon into better focus. Chapter 3 continues to deal with centralization of power, but in the context of the arrival of not only the Mughals, but also the Portuguese with their European metallurgical and artillery advances. From the Portuguese, the Mughals and others learned how to make cannons from wrought iron, thus reducing the cost of the weapon, while at the same time improving it. The Mughals, who learned from Ottoman advisors, quickly grasped the importance of light artillery as it became less expensive and more easily manufactured. While magnificent in siege warfare, the lack of maneuverability of heavy cannon left it virtually useless on the battlefield.


Chapter 4 discusses the dominance of the Mughals. By the time of Akbar, heavy mortars and cannons were rarely used in the Mughal military. Light cannons that could be used on the battlefield were the mainstay of the Mughal artillery corps, including the shaturnal, similar to swivel guns, but carried on the backs of camels and even in the howdahs of elephants. As this chapter ties into the arrival of the British East India Company, Khan continues to discuss technological developments, or the lack thereof.


In addition to artillery, handheld firearms also became ubiquitous throughout the Mughal Empire. Chapter 5 examines the nature and development of handguns in the Mughal Empire. In addition to local factors, Khan includes a good discussion of Western influences, which in this instance includes the Ottoman Empire. Western influences included new technologies in firearms manufacture. However, not all of these became widespread. As a result, stagnation occurred particularly in terms of standard weapons. The preferred weapon became the matchlock, even after other technologies surpassed it. Why the matchlock remained the weapon of choice ties into chapter 6, which discusses the role of the matchlock musket in the centralization of Mughal authority.


Mughals also used musketeers to maintain their authority. Babur began his career with a scant musket bearing force of just over a hundred men, but by the time of Akbar, over 35,000 musketeers existed in the Mughal military. One reason for this was that, despite the cost of their weapon, the musketeers were actually less expensive than garrisoning cavalry forces. The expense of feeding the man and his horse grossly exceeded that of a musketeer. Thus, a small but trained force of musket wielding troops allowed the Mughals to assert their authority in even the most remote provinces. This was also possible as, for several decades, the nobility were forbidden to recruit their own forces of musketeers. At the same time, this mass force of troops with firearms undermined the Mughals. As the matchlock became ubiquitous, its cost dropped, but it also was deemed very reliable by those using it. Thus, even when other technologies came into the region, like flintlock muskets, the Mughals failed to adopt them due to economic reasons as well as the matchlock's popularity.


While firearms aided the process of centralization, it also played a role in undermining the Mughal's authority. Because of the affordability of matchlocks and the relative simplicity in gaining expertise with them, one did not have to train for years to be a warrior. Ultimately this let to the diffusion of firearms into the general populace and resistance to central authority. Beginning in the late-sixteenth century, not only political rebels, but even peasants opposed to tax collection acquired firearms. As domestic tensions grew, the widespread use and manufacture of matchlock muskets played a role in the breakdown of central authority, and the Mughals, despite several innovative attempts, failed to halt the eventual Balkanization of their empire. Khan's work is impressive and is the result of twenty years of research that ranged over four hundred years of history. Utilizing Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, and English primary sources and supplemented by a wide array of secondary works, Iqtidar Khan has produced an excellent work. The four appendices are useful supplements dealing with the use of firearms by the Mongols, the analysis of terminology in a couple primary sources, and the origins of the Purbias, who were gunners for a few Indian states in the 1500s. The volume also contains almost thirty illustrations of firearms and their use. These dramatically illustrate Khan's points as well as show the reader the variances between the weapons.


Yet, the book is not without faults. While Gunpowder and Firearms is an insightful and well-argued work, the author exaggerates the Mongols' use of gunpowder. While it is true that the Mongols never met a weapon they did not find a use for, there is no concrete evidence that the Mongols used gunpowder weapons on a regular basis outside of China. Indeed, the author recognizes this and notes that his claims are based on Persian terms which could be interpreted as firearms. Unfortunately, while many of these terms such as manjaniq are used to refer to cannons, during the medieval period manjaniq meant a mangonel. It is plausible that in later periods, the Mongols did make more extensive use of gunpowder weapons, but in period of the conquests (1206-60), there is inadequate evidence to support Khan's assertion.


One other minor criticism is the exclusion of Kenneth Chase's Firearms: A Global History to 1700 (2003). I suspect that, given their publication dates, Chase's and Khan's books crossed paths. Although Chase takes a global perspective, the authors reach similar conclusions. Nonetheless, Gunpowder and Firearms will appeal not only to historians of India, but also anyone interested in the development of weapons and military systems or the creation of states. In summary, not only is Iqtidar Alam Khan's work an impressive study on the diffusion of firearms in India, it will also serve as a model for others pursuing similar research on the spread of technology or goods on a regional basis.



I think the reviewr is confusing the between Mongols and Mughals and thus makes comments on Khan shaheb's book.

Can New Delhi folks get hold of the book ?

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Postby Airavat » 06 Jul 2007 07:12

ramana wrote:Iqtidar Alam Khan. Gunpowder and Firearms: Warfare in Medieval India. Aligarh Historians Society Series. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004. xiv + 263 pp. Illustrations, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. $39.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-566526-0.
Reviewed by: Timothy May, Department of History, North Georgia College and State University.
Published by: H-War (August, 2006)
Guns, Influence, and Power


Well I haven't read the book but it sounds interesting. The reviewer, Timothy May, is confused about certain things.

Chapter 1 of Gunpowder and Firearms discusses the diffusion of firearms into the subcontinent by focusing on the role of the Mongols as agents of transmission. Although the author notes that the Chinese had been using gunpowder weapons before the Mongols arrived on the scene, it is not until the end of the thirteenth century that firearms of any sort, particularly rockets, appear in the Sultanate of Delhi or in regional literary references. While he places the greatest emphasis on the Mongols as the agents of technological transmission, Khan does not rule out other sources such as a Himalayan or sea route. Regardless of their origin, knowledge and use of these weapons quickly spread.



Siege-artillery (catapults, ballista, fire-thrower) in Ancient India was well known....this kind of artillery, with minor modifications, was also known in the medieval era.

However gunpowder artillery is another matter.

It gives rise to two separate questions:

1) When was gunpowder known in India?

2) When was gunpowder-artillery (cannon, rockets, matchlocks) used in battles in the Indian continent?

There are some indications that gunpowder-like chemicals were known in ancient times but this needs further investigation.

As to gunpowder-artillery the Mongols can be regarded as the prime agents of spreading this knowledge. Some Muslim books in India refer to a device called kushk-anjeer, which they translate to "a perforator for throwing stones".

Before the famous Ranthambhor battle (early 14th Century) described earlier, there was another attack on the Rajput fort by a general of Ala-ud-din named Nusrat Khan (1299). Nusrat Khan was killed by a stone thrown from the fort, confusion erupted in the Muslim army, upon which the Rajputs opened the fort gates, charged the enemy and defeated them.

The interesting thing is that the Muslims refer to sang-i-maghribi which was violently gushing stones from the fort, one of which killed Nusrat Khan. This term is translated as "western stone" and refers to a sort of cannon.

From the Portuguese, the Mughals and others learned how to make cannons from wrought iron, thus reducing the cost of the weapon, while at the same time improving it.


Here the problem is that the same Portuguese state, "The Moors of Sumatra, Malacca, and the Deccan Kings, were well disciplined and much better stored with artillery when we attacked them in 1506."

By the time of Akbar, heavy mortars and cannons were rarely used in the Mughal military. Light cannons that could be used on the battlefield were the mainstay of the Mughal artillery corps, including the shaturnal, similar to swivel guns, but carried on the backs of camels and even in the howdahs of elephants.


This is rubbish.

The Mughals used all manner of artillery, light medium and heavy. Just refer to the three sieges of Kandahar fort, and Aurangzeb's attacks on Bijapur and Golconda.

the Mughals used them the most effectively. As in late medieval Europe, the expense of cannons meant that few among the nobility besides the ruler possessed the resources to purchase them. Fortress walls gave little shelter against cannons and the nobility quickly learned to acquiesce to the authority of the ruler.


We know that when Babur fought Rana Sanga in the Battle of Khanua (1527), the Rajputs did not have cannon or matchlocks. However when their respective descendants clashed in Akbar's siege of Chittor (1569) the Rajputs had cannon and they had hired musketeers from Kalpi (eastern UP).

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Postby ramana » 06 Jul 2007 10:48

Airavat, I maybe wrong but Babur introduced cannon at Panipat in 1526 against Ibrahim Lodi's troops. The reviewer is confused between Mongols and Mughals.

BTW the book is from OUP and is ~ Rs 500.

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Postby ramana » 07 Jul 2007 03:15

I have been thinking about the loss of Kandahar Fort by Shah Jehan. I think this is the seminal event which separated Afghanistan from India. Throughout history the frontiers of civilizational India were at the borders of Afghanistan. With this loss, Afghanistan spun out of Indic mileu. In a way this contributed to the unravelling of the Mughal Empire in a span of hundered and fifty years, as it led to anti-Imperial forces in Punjab and also turned the focus of the Empier towards Deccan which sapped the Mughal treasury and military. This loss came back to haunt the Indian sub-continent time and again- Marathas at Panipat, British in the many Afghan wars and eventually the Taliban.

Folks might say what about the loss of Afghanistan to Subuktigin at teh turn of the last millenium? Well after the Muslim raids they were not invasions and the conquest of Delhi and the establishment of Mughal Empire it was not the same. For most of the Mughal Empire the frontier was at Afghanistan and not Peshawar.

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Postby SK Ram » 07 Jul 2007 10:07

@ Ramana

That was something I was also wondering about for quite some time . For a long time it seems Afghanistan was very much part of our scheme of things ..in contrast to the disconnect between us now ..

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Postby ramana » 07 Jul 2007 10:13

Lets follow it up in the Indian interests thread. I don't think anyone has connected the role of Afghanistan to India like I did right now.
Thanks, ramana

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Postby svinayak » 07 Jul 2007 10:23

ramana wrote:I have been thinking about the loss of Kandahar Fort by Shah Jehan. I think this is the seminal event which separated Afghanistan from India. Throughout history the frontiers of civilizational India were at the borders of Afghanistan. With this loss, Afghanistan spun out of Indic mileu. In a way this contributed to the unravelling of the Mughal Empire in a span of hundered and fifty years, as it led to anti-Imperial forces in Punjab and also turned the focus of the Empier towards Deccan which sapped the Mughal treasury and military. This loss came back to haunt the Indian sub-continent time and again- Marathas at Panipat, British in the many Afghan wars and eventually the Taliban.

Folks might say what about the loss of Afghanistan to Subuktigin at teh turn of the last millenium? Well after the Muslim raids they were not invasions and the conquest of Delhi and the establishment of Mughal Empire it was not the same. For most of the Mughal Empire the frontier was at Afghanistan and not Peshawar.


Why was Afghanistan important for Mughals and all previous Muslim invaders. That region was the gateway to India and they looked at Persia and Central asia (and beyond) as the region of their ancestors.

When the Afghanistan fell and separated the Mughals lost the connection to their mother civilization in Persia and beyond. The seeds of renewal and
replenishment to their stock came from beyond Afghanistan.

That blocking of passage thru Afghansitan brought the downfall of Mughal empire.

This fear of being isolated and losing their connection to their stock can be seen even in the elite RAPE class of TSP.

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Postby ramana » 17 Jul 2007 04:08

Airavat! Special for you.


ramana wrote:Google e-Book: Indo-Aryans_Rajendralal Mitra_1881



Please see pages 295 to 353 on this very subject of this thread.


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Postby Katare » 17 Jul 2007 06:46

ramana wrote:Airavat, I maybe wrong but Babur introduced cannon at Panipat in 1526 against Ibrahim Lodi's troops. The reviewer is confused between Mongols and Mughals.

BTW the book is from OUP and is ~ Rs 500.


Ramana,

Mongols = Mughals (in Hindi)

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Postby negi » 17 Jul 2007 07:29

Katare wrote:Mongols = Mughals (in Hindi)

No saar hindi text books have made a clear distinction between the two.

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Postby ramana » 17 Jul 2007 10:13

Mongols were Central Asian tribals who attacked India under Genghis Khan during the time of the Slave dynasty rule of Balban. These invaders from Central Asia were called Mongols just as all Europeans are called Firangis (Franks). The invaders under Babur were actually Chagtai Turks but since they came from Central Asia they were called Mongols or Moghuls.

So Mongols are the Genghis Khan hordes. Moghuls are Islamized horde from Central Asia.

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Postby gashish » 17 Jul 2007 10:51

but , didn't Babur claim descent from Genghis Khan?
Last edited by gashish on 18 Jul 2007 09:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby ramana » 17 Jul 2007 11:02

On his mother's side. he was descendant of Timurlane from father's side.

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Postby Inder Sharma » 17 Jul 2007 15:58

Timurid Prince’s, including Babur, were of Chagtai clan, Turkic in origin. On the other hand, the Mongols who were semi-nomadic were seen as uncivilized in the regions beyond hindukush. Yet any ambitious claimant to tinpot nobility or royalty in Farghana-Oxania would seek lineage to the House of Changez due to the sanctity attached to the name. Timur too, in order to obtain this legitimacy, managed to forge this lineage by marry one of the daughters of the descendent of Changez.

So although, Babur recognizes himself as a Chagatai from the House of Timur. The ppl from the eastern flank of Indus choose to brand him as a Mughal, much for the same reason, the natives of Oxus did :wink: .

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Postby Airavat » 19 Jul 2007 07:14

Image

Portuguese settlements in India

Chaul was, from 1521, under the Portuguese, in the same year, they built the first fort.
In October 1531, the Portuguese, erected a massive, square stone fortress at Chaul, which contained also a church and dwelling-houses for 120 men, the fortress was named "Santa Maria do Castello".
Around this castle, the Portuguese town developed, but in 1558, a treaty, had precluded the town‘s fortification.
In November 1570, Chaul was attacked by Nizam Shah, the siege lasted for mounts, the city was reduced to great straits. But, at the end, in July 1571, the siege was raised and a treaty was signed.
After the siege, the town was rebuilt, and a town walls with several bastions was built around it.
In April 1592, the Moors, began a new siege of Chaul, but after an hard battle, the Portuguese succeeded to repel the assault.
In 1594, the Portuguese, conquered the adjoining fortress of the "Morro de Chaul".
Owing to the repeated attacks by the Moors against Chaul, in 1613, new works of defense were carried out.
The Portuguese power declined and Chaul, slowly, lost his importance.
In March 1739, Chaul and the fortress of "Morro de Chaul" were besieged by the Angria, but after some months, in October, the Angria, raised siege.
On 18 September 1740, the conclusion arrived, Chaul was ceded by treaty to the Mahrattas.


http://www.colonialvoyage.com/bacaim.html

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Postby Airavat » 20 Jul 2007 04:43

As the Portuguese example shows trade is the cause of war. The Portuguese ought the Arab traders in the Hindu Kingdoms of Calicut and Cochin and eventually the kingdoms themselves. In the north they clashed with the Muslim rulers of Gujarat and Bijapur.

What happened the when the Arabs first began dominating the sea trade between India and the west? Were there clashes with Indian ships/merchants or with Indian kingdoms?

It is said that even during the Arab domination of the sea trade, Indian merchants still had a strong presence in the trade with East Africa, but had been marginalized in the trade with the Arabian peninsula and Mesopotamia.

We know that Arab traders took Islam to Southeast Asia and had settlements there, which grew into kingdoms (as they did on the west coast of India).

So why were there almost no Arab settlements on the east coast of India?? Was it because the kingdoms in the east were large and powerful (Cholas, Orissa, Vijaynagar) while those on the west coast were small and weaker?

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Postby Airavat » 24 Jul 2007 04:59

[url=http://orissagov.nic.in/e-magazine/orissaannualreference/ORA-2005/pdf/martial_tradition_of_orissa.pdf]Martial Tradition of Orissa
[/url]

Orissa known as Kalinga in the pre and early Christian era, had not only flourished and prospered in art and architecture, but also took a lead in spearheading martial tradition through the ages. The early history of Orissa holds out the saga of great warriors whose valour and military skill, expanded Kalingan empire from the river Ganga to Godavari.

The Hathigumpha inscription of Udayagiri near Bhubaneswar reveals that Mahameghavahana Kharavela was the emperor of Kalinga in the 1st century B.C. The powerful army of Kalingan Emperor Kharavela, defeated Satkarni of Satavahana dynasty in the south and reached the River Krishna.

This victory was achieved by emperor Kharavela in the second year of his rule. He further extended his kingdom to the west by defeating kings of Rashtrakas and Vojakas, belonging to Maharastra region. In the 5th regnal year, Kharavela conquered Magadha and brought back the Jinasana, (Jain image) which was plundered away by the Nanda king from Orissa. In his 8th ruling year, Kharavela conquered Mathura and Rajagiri. The kings of Magadha, Bruhaspati Mitra, had to accept the suzernainty of emperor, Kharavela.

The victory of Ashok in Kalinga War in 3rd century B.C. was thus
avenged by the mighty king Kharavela. The powerful army of Kharavela consisted of cavalry, Hastisena the infantry and the valiant charioteers. The Hathigumpha inscription further throws light on the magnanimity of emperor Kharavela, whose military campaign never exhibited cruelty and mindless destruction. His rule was also full of benevolent acts and welfare measures for the people.

In the words of reputed historian Dr. M.N. Das. The military career of this emperor was one of the rare examples of oriental valour. His twelve years of warfare in all corners of India was real manifestation of a true Digvijaya, yet the name of the Digvijaya had never been associated with any act of wanton
cruelty, such as the execution of the defeated kings and misery of the conquered people. Thus the military glory of Kalingan people, during the reign of Kharavela startled the minds of many kings of both Northern and Southern kingdoms of India.

If we survey military history of Orissa, we find that after Kharavela the people of Kalinga exhibited their valour in establishing and flourishing maritime trade in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Sinhala and Indonesia during rule of the Sailodbhaba and Bhaumakar and Ganga dynasties. During the rule of Ganga dynasty (1068 to 1435) Kalingan empire was spread
from Ganga to Godavari. Chodaganga Dev, Ananga Bhima-II and Narasingha Deva, were great warriors, whose military might threatened the Mohammedan rule of Bengal. They did not dare to invade Orissa. During Ganga period, Orissan art and architecture reached their zenith and the famous Konark Sun Temple was constructed during the golden rule of Ganga king Narasingha Dev.

The military strength of Orissa was further strengthened during the rule of Suryavamsi Gajapati king Kapilendra Dev (1435-1466) who was known as second Kharavela of Orissa. He extended his empire up to Vizagapatnam. He conquered Vijayanagaram, Rajmahendri and other nine forts. The mighty Kapilendra Dev was known as Gajapati Navakoti Karnatak Utkal Kalavargeswar. He also conquered a part of Bengal. Thus Kapilendra Gajapati was the ruler of Eastern Ghat, Bay of Bengal
and Sourthern plateau. After a long reign of 30 years, Kapilendra Dev died on the 15th of November 1466. In the military tradition of Orissa, Kapilendra Dev had shown exemplary courage in invading
territories and suppressing revolutions and rebellions.

After Kapilendra Dev, the military tradition of
Orissa got a setback during the rule of Prataprudra Dev, (1497 to 1534 A.D.). The mighty and vast Kalingan empire lost her independence in the year 1568 after the death of Gajapati Mukunda Dev.

The southern region of Orissa was occupied by the ruler of Vijayanagar and Bahamani Sultan of Golkunda. The Sultan of Bengal also attacked coastal regions of Orissa. Thereafter Orissa became
the battleground between Mughals and Afghans. The Afghan power of Bengal could not consolidate its rule in Orissa. The Mughal ruled Orissa for more than a century. After a treaty with Afghans, Akbar appointed Raja Mansingh consolidate to Mughal sovereignty over Orissa.

But with the death of Aurangzeb, rapid decay of the Mughal empire started. Thereafter Orissa passed under the rule of the independent Nawabs of Bengal. During this period the rise of Maratha power destroyed the Mughal empire. In 1741 the army of Raghuji Bhonsle under Maratha General Bhaskar Rao fought with army of Alivardi Khan, the Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Orissa again became the main battleground for rival forces for nearly ten years.

The people of Orissa had no powerful king to face this onslaught of rival forces. Alivardi Khan, acceded Orissa to the Marathas whose rule lasted for more than half a century till British occupation of Orissa in 1803. It is an irony of history that the local Raja of Khurda, Ramachandra Dev, succeeded the title of the last Hindu king of Orissa, and his
claim was confined to the management of the temple of Jagannath at Puri only
.

It is note-worthy to introspect the causes of the decline of glorious military power of the Kalingan people who laid the foundation of superiority and sovereignty over many territories of Northern and
Southern India for more than 2000 years. Some historians are of the opinion that king Prataprudra Dev diverted his goal from good governance to extreme devotion to Vaisnavism of his spiritual
preceptor Sri Chaitanya.

The kings utter neglect for strengthening and nourishing martial tradition of Orissa was the main cause of the gradual decay of military power of Orissa. But there are otherfactors such as internal fatricide and rebellion among small chieftains for power, caused schism in civic society for which neighbouring power-hungers, like Afghans, Mughals and Marathas struggled for supremacy. That caused immense sufferings to the people of Orissa.

Some historians cite other socio-economic reasons. The climatic changes leading to silting of prosperous ports of Orissa, severely hampered the growth of maritime trade. The recurrence of devastating floods and famines also added to the misery. The economic backbone of Oriya merchants in particular and people in general made people fatalist.

But in course of time, history repeated itself.

The resurgence of valiant Oriya Paikas - peoples of militia caste , raised hopes and aspiration of people. After 1803 the British started experimenting with stiff revenue system which caused hardship to the farming community (peasants) of Orissa. The Paikas, the hereditary militias were denied of their hereditary rights over the land. On account of British misrule, one valiant Oriya named Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar the then military chief of Raja of Khurda, revolted on 2nd April 1817. Puri was captured by Jagabandhu Bidyadhar with his Paikas. The British soldiers retreated from Puri and Cuttack. It was the Paikas of Orissa who constituted the standing army under the leadership of Bakshi Jagabandhu. This rebellion of Paikas of 1817 is
known as the Paika Bidroha of Orissa.

In March 1817 nearly four hundred Khonds marched from Ghumusar in Ganjam to Khurda where, Paikas joined with them. They attacked the thana of Banapur and set fire to the government buildings. They killed nearly one hundred persons and carried a treasure of Rs.15,000/-. When these Paikas entered Khurda, all the government officials fled away.
The English commander of one detachment was killed by the Paikas during fighting at Gangapada.

The then Raja of Khurda, Mukunda Dev joined these rebels when they entered Puri Sadar and declared the fall of the British. The entire region of South Orissa was under possession of the rebels. This Paika Rebellion posed serions threat to British authority. About five hundred fifty English soldiers were sent to Khurda to crush this revolt. The Paikas were defeated and King Mukunda Dev II was captured. Some of Paika rebels fled to jungles and continued their fight till 1826, but ultimately they
were subjugated and many were sent to prison. Raja Mukunda Dev died in prison in November 1817.

This Paika Rebellion of Khurda was torch-bearer to similar type of anti-colonial movements in Orissa. In the annals of martial tradition of Orissa and its resurgence in 1st half of the 19th century, chivalrous Oriya heroes of Rebellions against the British misrule are to be remembered and honouredfor their sacrifice for the cause of freedom of the people. The sacrifice of Dewan of Khurda Jayakrushna Rajaguru Mohapatra popularly known as Jayee Rajaguru who was publicly hanged to death in 1804
cannot be undermined. The heroic leadership of Krutibas Patsani in Banapur Rebellion in attackings police station of Banapur with Panchu Nayak and declaring independence in 1836 and finally facing
death bravely, are really tragic episodes in the history of anti-colonial movement of Orissa led by great Oriya warriors.

Similarly the Ghumusar Rebellion of Kandhas under the leadership of Dora Bisoi and his nephew Chakra Bisoi in 1846 is an epoch-making event among tribals residing in remote villages, constantly fighting guerilla warfare for a decade before the uprising of First War of Independence of 1857. Chakra Bisoi led a life of fugitive. British ruler failed to capture him. Surendra Sai who raised revolt and waged war in 1827 fought with British for 37 years. He was accused of false charge of
murder and was confined in the Asurgarh fort till his death. The glorious martial tradition of Orissa ended with the death of Surendra Sai, one of the greatest Oriya fighters of freedom movement.

It is the call of the time in this age of globalisation and unipolar world, to recall the memory of our national heroes of martial tradition, who fought relentessly against the injustices perpetuated by alien rule. They sacrificed their lives for the cause of justice, liberty and freedom. By paying homage to these national heroes, we the Oriyas of great culture can arouse the patriotic jeal and fervour among the youth and re-establish Oriya identity and unity on the path of progress and prosperity of
the state, which is still reeling despite her abundant mineral resources, enterprising, aspiring human resources and glorious cultural tradition. Here lies the relevance of study of history of martial tradition
of Orissa.

Apart from arousing heroic feelings among the younger generation, this martial tradition has influenced our art, architecture and literature. If we minutely observe the beautiful carvings of Konark, we find scenes of heroic deeds, warfare, and friezes of innumerable elephants. The cave carved sculptures of Udaygiri Caves of Orissa also reflect the scenes of martial tradition. Some of theperforming art of Orissa have also been greatly influenced by this glorious martial tradition. Chhau, Ghumura and Ranapa dances reveal the skill of martial art.

In the field of Oriya literature, we find many narrations on martial tradition of Orissa. In 15th century the martial tradition has been well-described in Sarala Dasa s Mahabharat the epic of Oriya literature. The Oriya poet Balaram Das (1470 AD) has beautifully rendered a narration of
warfare education in his literary work - Jagamohan Ramayana . Kabi Bhaktacharan Das has vividily depicted the scenes of Malla-Judha (Boxing) in his poetry book entitled Mathura Mangala . The war-
scenes depicted by Purusottam Dev (1725 AD) in his book - Kanchikaveri and Kabi Brajanath Bada Jena s (1750 AD) immortal creative works - Samara Taranga are glorious examples, as to how martial tradition of Orissa, shaped the language, imagination, theme and literary dimension of Oriya literature.

The innumeral forts of Orissa, the farming community of Orissa having titles of Bahu Balendra, Pahad Singh, Maharathi, Bahinipati. Mansingh, Gadnayak, Patnaik, Champati Ray, Ray Singh, Dakshina Kabat, Baghisingh signify hereditary tradition of militia caste (Paik-Khandayats) of Orissa.

In our modern literature, Poet Laureate Sachi Raut Ray s poetry Baji Rout , the poetry of Godabarish Mishra, Godabarish Mohapatra, Mayadhar Mansingh, Radhamohan Gadanayak and rebel poet Rabi Singh have depicted the spirit of heroic martial tradition. Thus Orissan art, literature
and culture bear the voices as well as tales of victories and tragedies of heroes of martial tradition of Orissa. These reminiscences of great warriors are lively, heart touching and inspiring to all of us.

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Postby ssmitra » 24 Jul 2007 07:42

A bit off topic, but apart from the "All class" regiments which other regiments are represented by orissa and Andhra

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Postby bala » 26 Jul 2007 06:53

Chola, Pandya ‘nagarams’ similar to European towns

Changes in the characteristics of ‘nagarams’ (towns) and commerce in Tamil country during the late Chola and Pandya period were somewhat similar to what was witnessed in Europe. between 850 and 1200 A.D., there was no difference between villages and towns. In both, people were broadl y land owners. They took part in community work and were under the control of the state. But after the 12th century, ‘nagaram’ became a promoter of commerce by associating itself with ‘ainnurruvar’ (merchant guild of 500 people), an institution that had been conducting itinerant trade from the 10th century. ‘Jati’ formation also accelerated the development. Towns became important, powerful and independent. brisk trading with Arabs, the Southeast Asian nations and China took place in the later part. Tamil inscriptions were found in Takuapa (Thailand), Pagan (Myanmar) and Sumatra (Indonesia), which talked about the merchant guilds. The inscriptions belonged to the 9th-12th century period. A 13th century Tamil inscription in Quanzhou, a southern port of China, talked of the plans of the Tamil community to build a Shiva temple there.

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Postby Airavat » 04 Aug 2007 06:37

The most important festival in Bastar is the Dusshera when all the deities from all the villages congregate at the temple of Danteshwari in Jagdalpur, the district head quarters. The Dusshera in Bastar, unlike Dusshera in other parts of India, has nothing to do with the triumphant return of Rama to Ayodhaya.Dusshera in Bastar is devoted entirely to the goddess, Danteshwari Devi. Bastar Dusshera is believed to have been started by Maharaj Purushaottam Deo, the fourth Kakatiya ruler of Bastar, in 15th century.

The festival involves participation of all major tribes of Bastar.Bastar Dusshera has several components, each of which has a history of itw own. Dusshera is observed by the Raj family with great importance for ten days, during which period the arms gifted by their family goddess are worshipped. The special feature of the festival is the formal handing over of the charge of the management of the state to the Diwan in the presence of the Zamindars, and other leading men.

The ceremony is held at the Kachin Gurhi on the evening of the day Kunwar Amavasya. But before the ceremony takes place the permission of a girl who is under the influence of a spirit has to be taken. This permission is given by the girl while she swings and fights with a wooden sword in hand with another individual. For this performance a girl is selected and trained in advance. At night in Durbar the Raja takes off his dress and hands it over to his Diwan, thereby, formally making over charge of the state affairs.

On the Pratipada (or the following day) the kalasthapna ceremony os performed by the chief himself in Maoli temple. The next is the day of arti and salami by the officials to the Raja who remains seated in a chariot, attired in state dress with a bow and an arrow in his hands.The ninth day after Amavasya is the day of reception by the Raja in state of the Danteshwari doli at the entrance of the town. The tenth day is the Dusshera day on which another Darbar is held when arti is done to the Raja and nasar is made to him. A custom has of late been introduced by the Raja of giving audience to the people and the state officials on this day and of hearing their grievances.


History and Culture of Bastar

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Postby Airavat » 13 Aug 2007 04:02

Changes in Indian military formations during the Saka-Kushan invasions

The use of chariots was on the decline, being replaced by cavalry bearing lancers, since horses were more maneuverable than clumsy chariots. Chariots were no longer counted in the armies of the small Indian kingdoms of the northwest, which faced the foreign invaders. However the mighty Mauryan army, wielded units of infantry, elephants, chariots, and cavalry——a practice continued by the empires that followed in the east. The use of chariots does not appear to have affected the battles fought between the foreigners and the Indian empires. In fact they were only very gradually phased out from the eastern armies, being found in the armies of the Palas of Bengal in as late a period as the 8th Century CE[1]!

Elephants in those days were also found in the western Punjab and the mountain tracts of Gandhar. But their quality and quantity would've been inferior to those magnificent elephants found in the moist jungles of the Sunga Empire. This is why, after initial success against the smaller Indian kingdoms, the Yavans were defeated by the Sunga Empire. The Sakas and Kushans, particularly the latter, used elephant units in their armies. The Greek writer Philostratus, describing events in the 1st Century CE in the Kushan dominions, states, "…when they came to the Indus, they saw a herd of elephants crossing the river, and they say that they heard this account of the animals. Some of them are marsh elephants, others again mountain elephants, and there is also a third kind which belongs to the plain; and they are captured for use in war. For indeed they go into battle, saddled with towers big enough to accommodate ten or fifteen Indians all at once; and from these towers the Indians shoot their bows and hurl their Javelins, just as if they were taking aim from gate towers. And the animal itself regards his trunk as a hand and uses it to hurl weapons."

The case with horses was exactly the opposite. The native Indian Horse in ancient times was small and lean, and was ideal for pulling chariots, which is why the Rig Veda claims the horses of the Saraswati region (north Rajasthan) as the best. But for the cavalry in this new age, the tall horses of the foreigners were indispensable...they had to be imported from regions like Iran, Afghanistan, and Bactria. This put the small Indian Kingdoms in the northwest at a disadvantage. For only the empires and larger powers could afford the cost of annually importing such horses in sufficient numbers.


This partly explains the sweeping victories of the foreign armies in the politically fractured northwest India. However Indian clans in Rajasthan adapted to the changes by making the best use of the native horse breeds——in this regard see the parallel case of the latter-day Rajputs against the Turk invaders.

The Sakas and Kushans traditionally used horse-archery in their native lands...the bows and arrows that they used were much smaller than those used by Indian archers. The Chinese author Shih Chih states, "The great Yueh-chih is a nomadic state: they move about, following their cattle, and they have the same customs as the Hsiung-nu. There are about 100,000 or 200,000 archers. Formerly they were strong and treated the Hsiung-nu with contempt."

These bows were adopted and used by Indian infantry, whether on foot or mounted on elephants and camels, but horse-archery itself required a skill that was drummed into the Saka and Kushan warriors from childhood. The archers mounted on elephants and camels did not have to worry about driving or controlling the beast.

Moreover the only region of India with the vast open plain similar to Central Asia, uninterrupted by hills, thick forests, cities, or numerous villages, is north Rajasthan. So while the colonial/leftist historians claim some Rajput clans to be descendants of the Saka-Kushans, it is striking that the Rajputs used only lances and swords from horseback, in the manner of their Indian ancestors. Horse-archery was the preserve of their enemies, the latter-day Turk invaders, who came from the same Central Asian region as the Sakas and Kushans.

The Indian longbow thus went out of general use and was later found only in martial arts schools and as literally described in the Indian texts.

As we all know animals used in warfare perform the equally important role of logistics and troop transport. This is the case with horses, bulls, elephants, and for the first time is noticed with camels. The twin humped camel found in Central Asia is depicted on the coins of the Kushans.

Camels were not included in the armies of the eastern Indian empires, for obvious reasons, but were counted in the western empires of the latter-day Pratihar Rajputs (8th Century CE). The Rajputs of western Rajasthan maintained camel units in their armies till late in the 19th Century (see the Bikaner Camel Corps). Camels were also used by the Muslim Turks who invaded India and fought these Rajputs——so it is possible that camels in warfare was a case of independent use by both Indians and foreigners without influencing each other.


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Postby parshu » 13 Aug 2007 21:34

I am always on the lookout for Indian medieval weaponry/tactics books. ParGha (or anyone), can you suggest some titles/authors that caught your eye? Particularly Indian archery and tactics.
[/quote]


You will enjoy E Jaiwant Paul's Indian arms and armour.

Char baans, chaubis gaz, ungal asht pramaan,
Ta uchiyo baitha hai Sultan, Mat chukyo Chauhan!


The death of Mohd Ghauri, fm Prithviraj raso of Chand Bardai. If Yasmeen Ghauri is a descendant, then he did not go Up with empty hands. :)

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Postby sanjaychoudhry » 14 Aug 2007 02:13

You will enjoy E Jaiwant Paul's Indian arms and armour.

Char baans, chaubis gaz, ungal asht pramaan,
Ta uchiyo baitha hai Sultan, Mat chukyo Chauhan!


The death of Mohd Ghauri, fm Prithviraj raso of Chand Bardai. If Yasmeen Ghauri is a descendant, then he did not go Up with empty hands. :)


That is a myth. Prithviraj Chauhan did not die like that, and he never went to Afghanistan. (That is why that idiot killer of Phoolan Devi dug up Prithviraj's "grave" in Ghazni, and couldn't find a single bone inside.)

You really want to know how he was defeated, how he died and how Ghuri died? There were actually only two battles fought between Ghuri and Prithvi Raj.

[quote]THE BATTLE

The capture of Lahore brought Ghuri face to face with Prithviraj’s kingdom that covered East Punjab, Northern Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. In 1191, the forces of 29-year-old Ghuri and 32-year-old Prithviraj clashed at the famous Battle of Tarain. (Tarain is the plain between the towns of Karnal and Thanesar in Haryana, about 150 km from Delhi.)

A contemporary Muslim historian states: “Before the onslaught of the Chauhan army, the right and left flanks of the Muslim army broke down and took to flight... The sultan might have fallen off his horse had not a Khalji youth recognized him and carried him out of the field of battle. The Muslim army, not seeing their leader, fled headlong from the battlefield and did not draw rein till they reached a place considered safe from pursuit. The sultan was also brought there in a litter of broken spears. From there, they returned to their own dominion.â€

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Postby Airavat » 14 Aug 2007 06:21

sanjaychoudhry wrote:
(Note: What happened was that Prthviraj was sitting on the elephant directing the war. Ghuri rode his horse up to him and gave him a blow with his lance. Prithviraj's two front teeth broke as a result. Then Prithviraj retaliated and struck a blow with his lance at Ghuri. Ghuri collapsed on his horse. His horse was running on the battlefield aimlessly when Ghuri was spotted by a Khalji youth and rescued.)


The Rajputs, bound by their battle code of honor, did not pursue the defeated Muslim army to annihilate it, thus allowing it to fight another day. This was a fatal mistake.



The person whose teeth were broken, and who wounded Ghuri, was Govindraj a general of Prithviraj.

There are various accounts of the fate of Prithviraj:

The most popular accounts about Prithviraj were written centuries later by a Muslim (the book Gulshan-i-Ibrahimi by Ferishta) and by a Hindu (the book Prithviraj Raso by Chand Bardai). Both of these are full of exaggerations and myth.

According to Ferishta Prithviraj had an army of 300,000 cavalry (!), 3000 elephants (!), and innumerable infantry (what could be more innumerable after 300,000 horsemen? The entire population of the Kingdom of Ajmer?). Later Rajput Kingdoms (when cavalry had become the most important formation in the army) of a similar large size had at the most 20,000 cavalry. By this comparison Prithviraj could not have had more than 10,000 horsemen.

Chand Bardai states that after the first Battle of Tarain Prithviraj fell in love with, carried away, and married Sanyogita, daughter of Jaychand Rathor of Kannuaj. His love for her caused the defeat in the second battle, which is not borne out by the facts related above. According to contemporary literature, inscriptions, and coins the rulers of Kannauj were Gahadvals…the Rathors of Badaun were their tributaries. There is no record of a conflict between Ajmer and Kannauj for the simple reason that they did not have a common border.

Tarain I was fought in early 1191, for thirteen months after this Prithviraj was busy in the siege of Sarhind (early 1192); Tarain II was fought only a few months later. When did Prithviraj have the time to correspond with a princess, admit his love to her, and make arrangements to carry her away from a place hundreds of miles in the east?

The more contemporary, and accurate, account is the Prithviraj-vijay written by Jayank. This man was a Kashmiri who had settled down in Ajmer and was a poet in Prithviraj’s court. The names of the Chauhan Kingdom’s ministers and generals are given here—interestingly one of these generals, named Udayraj, was from Bengal. The Prithviraj-vijay also describes the early communications between Ghori and the Chauhans, and the advice given to Prithviraj by the minister Kadambvas.

There are two other books that mention these events in passing. The Prabandha-chintamani by Merutunga Acharya claims that Prithviraj was taken prisoner but was restored to the throne of Ajmer by Ghori. On a visit to Ajmer the Turk chief happened to see a wall painting in the palace that showed the Muslim soldiers being crushed by a charging horde of wild boar. The humiliated Ghori had Prithviraj killed.

The Viruddhavidhi-vidhvamsa by Laksmidhar describes the absence of the main Chauhan general Skanda in another battle (the enemy is not described). But it goes on to say that Prithviraj was killed by the Turushkas and his brother, the Rajaputra Hariraj became King.

The Hammir-Mahakavya of Nayachandra Suri is a later work. It has many internal details of the Chauhan clan but exaggerates Prithviraj’s victory (it claims several victories) over Ghori by describing the repeated capture and release of the Turk chief. The Hammir-Mahakavya also claims that Prithviraj was taken prisoner but to Delhi—the Bengali general Udayraj attacked Delhi to rescue his master but Prithviraj died in captivity and Udayraj was killed in battle. This work confirms that the Rajaputra Hariraj became the next King of Ajmer.

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Postby Paul » 14 Aug 2007 09:09

A thought just crossed my mind....the Indo-israeli collaboration in defence is eerily similar to the collaboration between the Vijayanagar empire and the Portugese. The Vijayanagar empire depended upon the Portugese for horses, damascus steel and other equipment. But the portugese decline on the high seas and the ascent of the British and the French coincided with the eclipse of this great empire as they lost their principal source of weaponry.

India will do well not to over depend too much on the Israelis for all the latest gizmos. Israel after all has it's problems has desperately trying to hold back the Arab sea. Not sure how long this outpost of the western world will be able to hold out. No offense to anyone here.

JMT

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Postby parshu » 14 Aug 2007 10:45

Paul wrote:A thought just crossed my mind....the Indo-israeli collaboration in defence is eerily similar to the collaboration between the Vijayanagar empire and the Portugese. The Vijayanagar empire depended upon the Portugese for horses, damascus steel and other equipment. But the portugese decline on the high seas and the ascent of the British and the French coincided with the eclipse of this great empire as they lost their principal source of weaponry.

India will do well not to over depend too much on the Israelis for all the latest gizmos. Israel after all has it's problems has desperately trying to hold back the Arab sea. Not sure how long this outpost of the western world will be able to hold out. No offense to anyone here.

JMT


The analogy is a good one but more suitable for our defence buying from Russia, it is partly to prevent sales to Pakistan

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chand bardai

Postby parshu » 14 Aug 2007 10:51

not claiming historical accuracy for Prithviraj raso, only the zafranis do that. But it is a fascinating read none the less.

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Postby bala » 14 Aug 2007 21:17

Not quite Bharat, but has denizens from Bharat establishing an impressive civilization that lasted decades and was the world's largest.

Site was similar to L.A. in extent, researchers say. Dwarfs Blore sprawl in modern times. Makes one wonder, what current India needs to do to catch up with its ancient past of true world leadership and path breaking civilization concepts.

Ancient Khmer city's vast spread revealed

The medieval Khmer city of Angkor in Cambodia was the largest pre-industrial metropolis in the world, with a population of nearly 1 million and an urban sprawl that stretched over an area similar to modern-day Los Angeles, researchers reported Monday.

The city's spread over an area of more than 115 square miles was made possible by a sophisticated technology for managing and harvesting water for use during the dry season - including diverting a major river through the heart of the city.

But that reliance on water led to the city's collapse in the 1500s as overpopulation and deforestation filled the canals with sediment, overwhelming the city's ability to maintain the system, according to the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

During the six centuries that the city thrived, it was unparalleled, particularly because it was one of the few civilizations that sprang up in a tropical setting, said archaeologist Vernon Scarborough of the University of Cincinnati.

One section of the city, called West Baray, "was 900 times larger than the entire nine-square-kilometer hillock on which sat Tikal, the largest city in Central America," he said.

The scale is truly unparalleled. The core data came from a synthetic aperture radar unit flown on the space shuttle in 2000.

The group, collectively called the Greater Angkor Project, released a partial map three years ago. The new one released Monday contains, among other things, an additional 386 square miles of urban area, at least 74 long-lost temples and more than 1,000 newly recognized artificial ponds.

Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire, which got its start in A.D. 802 when the god-king Jayavarman II declared the region's independence from Java. At its height, the empire ruled not only Cambodia but also parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

It is perhaps best known for the magnificent temple Angkor Wat, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century.

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Postby Nirantar » 17 Aug 2007 03:02

Wondering if we could learn the reasons of infamous era of foreign agression during the above years with in new perspectives:-
1. Was the lack of quality leadership?
2. Were we too timid i.e. peace loving?
3. Were people of that time racially inferior to muslims? aka thin legged veggie Indians vs tight ass cow eater muslims?
4. How honest is it to believe that the disunity among rulers was the only reason when the looters of not considerable size plundered again and again...?
5. Were they better trained, motivated and their arsenals better equipped than us. Its hard to believe that the great scientists of that era dint channelise their gyan the way we are doing it now.

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Postby Airavat » 18 Aug 2007 05:54

Nirantar wrote:Wondering if we could learn the reasons of infamous era of foreign agression during the above years with in new perspectives:-
1. Was the lack of quality leadership?
2. Were we too timid i.e. peace loving?
3. Were people of that time racially inferior to muslims? aka thin legged veggie Indians vs tight ass cow eater muslims?
4. How honest is it to believe that the disunity among rulers was the only reason when the looters of not considerable size plundered again and again...?
5. Were they better trained, motivated and their arsenals better equipped than us. Its hard to believe that the great scientists of that era dint channelise their gyan the way we are doing it now.



For arguments' sake give a provisional "yes" to all these questions....but in that case some other questions will pop-up:

Why did the Muslim invaders fail to completely conquer India? Why were their kingdoms confined to the Indo-Gangetic plains and the Deccan?

Why were the inhabitants not converted to Islam despite the horrific bloodhsed?

How did indigenous kingdoms survive in so many parts of India (Rajputana, South India, Central India, Assam, etc.)?

Even after centuries of fighting, how were the "racially inferior veggie Indian" so strong that Akbar utilized them to crush the fanatic Muslims who were rebelling against him (see previous posts)?

And finally, when Islam successfully conquered and converted entire countries from Morocco to Indonesia, why did they fail to do the same in India??

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Postby JCage » 18 Aug 2007 14:56

And finally, when Islam successfully conquered and converted entire countries from Morocco to Indonesia, why did they fail to do the same in India??


Violent armed resistance from every segment of the population upon attempts to convert by force when these attempts reached a threshold that the local population was unwilling to bear.

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Why the mughal Empire unravelled

Postby parshu » 18 Aug 2007 15:02

ramana wrote:I have been thinking about the loss of Kandahar Fort by Shah Jehan. I think this is the seminal event which separated Afghanistan from India. Throughout history the frontiers of civilizational India were at the borders of Afghanistan. With this loss, Afghanistan spun out of Indic mileu. In a way this contributed to the unravelling of the Mughal Empire in a span of hundered and fifty years, as it led to anti-Imperial forces in Punjab and also turned the focus of the Empier towards Deccan which sapped the Mughal treasury and military. This loss came back to haunt the Indian sub-continent time and again- Marathas at Panipat, British in the many Afghan wars and eventually the Taliban.

Folks might say what about the loss of Afghanistan to Subuktigin at teh turn of the last millenium? Well after the Muslim raids they were not invasions and the conquest of Delhi and the establishment of Mughal Empire it was not the same. For most of the Mughal Empire the frontier was at Afghanistan and not Peshawar.



Though kandahar was lost to the Persians by the Mughals, it was not exactly the gateway to India, connected through Herat in the West to the rest of the Iranian plateau, it was much easier for the Persians to bring force to bear on it logistically, as much as it would have been very easy for the Mughals to bring great force to bear in the defence of Lahore in their heyday. In fact, attackers from kandhahar ( sunnis by sect, Pashtun by blood) had plundrered Isfahan within a lifetime, and were only removed by Persian Super-Conquerer Nadir Shah ( an Afshar Turki by blood, Shia by faith, Persian by culture inasmuch as it applied). The Mughal Empire's downfall was not an immediate reaction to that old bigot, Aurangzeb, but he kick-started the momemtum of the forces that would bring it down. The rajput alliance, a pillar of the empire, ( A-Zeb had Rajput genes)fell in tatters with his distrust, and the rajput Chieftans like Durga Dutt Rathor were often in open revolt. ( A-zeb called them "beast-faced")The mahrattas ( A-zeb:"mountain rats")who were the cancer that ate up the empire, rose in revolt, The Sikhs could have been won over by the old fox, alas an Afghan fanatic assasinated Guru Gobind Singh, in nanded maharashtra, as he came to meet Alamgir for peace talks, while he was camped fighting the Mahrattas, and most interestingly, there was a change in the pattern of World Trade in aurangzeb's century. The silk Route stopped counting as the Europeans established mastery of the seas, with profound implications for Turkey, Persia, India and China.

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Mughlai khichdi

Postby parshu » 18 Aug 2007 15:29

In fact, the legitimacy of then Mughal Emperor was so overwhelming, even when all the territory around Delhi was controlled by mahratta Cheiftans, they still recognized him as overlord.
In an interesting connect with our age, it was an ulema-man Shah Wali Ullah, who blamed the fall of the Mughals not on the fanaticicsm of Alamgir, but, on a deviation from faith by Mughal kings- and he invited Ahmad Shah Abdali in Afghanistan to come down and take out the Mahrattas (which he did) as well as the Mughals ( he just raped Delhi)
Shah wali Ullah released the ideology that called for a militant return to faith and holy war, and saw the need for forced conversion ( "like bitter medicine is given to a sick child for his own good")things that, to give the old devil his due, even Aurangzeb did not really enforce, and I quote Alamgir himself "what business do affairs of religon have to do with affairs of the state - for you your religon and for me mine" dealing with a sifarshi Muslim candidate seeking appointment on basis of faith. However Shah wali Ullah's work had a profound impact on theoligians everywhere, in places across the Gangetic plain like indeed,Deoband and Bareli.


Mahratta control continued after the Pearl of the Afghans went back, in a weakened form. In the ensuring Matsya-nyaya in Punjab, the Sikhs rose and took back Punjab from Abdali's governors ( their Dhoti-Choti- kinsmen, the jats, had risen too) and were to take Peshawar back too.

Other than Shah wali Ullah's ideology, alive and kicking in the JEM and Hizb, the other living historical connect to that period are the leftovers of Mahratta Brahman sardars in the Hindi Belt after the third battle of panipat. The Pants, Joshis, Pathaks and Pandeys of Himachal, Uttranchal,UP & Bihar are their descendnats.
Last edited by parshu on 16 Sep 2007 12:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Today's Gokhars

Postby parshu » 18 Aug 2007 15:47

[
quote]HOW GHURI DIED:

In 1206, Ghuri was camping on the banks of the Jhelum river. In the night, about 20 Hindu tribals of Punjab called Gakhars raided his tent. Ghuri was stabbed 22 times in his sleep to avenge the atrocities he had committed on their tribe. On hearing the news of the assassination – Ghuri had no male heir – Aibak immediately declared himself the sultan of Delhi and founded the Slave dynasty – the very first Muslim dynasty of India.


Ghuri was actually sleeping inside his tent in the night with three Hindu slave girls. It was quite hot and he told them to pull the curtains aside for some air. In the dead of the night, the Gokhars arrived quietly and stealthily carrying long knives to avenge the deaths of their people at the hands of Ghuri. The latter was killed and the Gokhars dissappeared as quietly as they had come.[/quote]

Their descendants survive today. The surname is Khokhar, who are Ramgharia ( artisan class)Sikhs, the one I know is called Arvind Pal Singh Khokhar. And wasn't the pakistani Ambassdor at one time Riaz Khokhar?

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Postby sanjaychoudhry » 18 Aug 2007 16:23

And finally, when Islam successfully conquered and converted entire countries from Morocco to Indonesia, why did they fail to do the same in India??


Good question. It intrigued me for years. Hindus are the only civilisation in the world that could survive a 600-year-long brutal occupation by the medieval Islamic army but still survive intact. Why? What did Hindus have that others didn't?

Finally, after years of search, I found the perfect and very well researched answer. It is in a book called "The Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders" by Sitaram Goel. It is a very small book with six chapters. You can read it online at http://www.voi.org/books/hhrmi/

The book will open your eyes how tenaciously the Hindus fought the Muslims till the latter forgot all about capturing and converting them and thought it prudent to make alliances with them so that they could rule in peace.

In the brutal and ferocious encounter between Islamic World and Hindu World, the Hindus came on top. We won. Why? The answer is: WAR. No civlisation fought the way Hindus fought the Muslims. And they carried the fight over centuries. Till they end, Hindus did not give Muslims breathing space.

Consider what happened to other countries when Islamic armies stormed out of Arabia in all directions immediately after Mohammad died.

The era in which Prithviraj lived – the latter half of the 12th century – is significant not only for Delhi but for entire India. By this time, the Islamic armies of Arabs and Turks had struggled non-stop for 550 years to seize India. (The first Muslim attack was made as early as 636 AD on Thane near Mumbai.)

But all they had to show for the labor was the capture of some frontier states on India’s north-west border like Multan, Kabul and parts of Punjab and Sindh.

This was small consolation compared to the lightning victories of Islamic armies elsewhere. Between 633 – 637 AD, the Arabs had conquered Syria and Iraq. Between 639 – 642, Egypt succumbed. The Sassanian rulers of Persia fell to the Arab armies in 637 and Islam replaced Zoroastrianism as the state religion. (The Persians who fled to India at that time are called Parsis and now play a prominent role in its society. They still follow their native religion of Zoroastrianism.)

The countries of north Africa were subdued within a few decades along with the central Asian regions inhabited by such hardy warriors as Uzbeks, Turks and Mongols. By 712, the Arabs had captured Spain and were making inroads into southern France.

In India, however, because of sustained resistance from Hindu kings – especially the tiny border states of Sind, Kabul and Zabul – the Muslim invaders couldn’t progress to India’s heartland (which for all purposes meant Delhi).

It took the Islamic invaders 300 years just to capture Afghanistan (which till then was predominantly Hindu and Buddhist as evident from the now-extinct Buddha statues of Bamiyan).

India’s luck finally ran out in the 12th century. In 1173, the Afghanized Turk Muhammad Ghuri (1162–1206) defeated Prithviraj Chauhan by deceit -- he attacked Hindu army early morning without warning after bluffing the Hindus that he was calling off hostilities for some time to discuss the matter with his brother back home.

After Ghuri defeated Prithviraj Chauhan and established first ever Muslim state in north India, the next three centuries were a non-stop theatre of war -- the Delhi Sultanate -- with a life and death struggle between Islamic armies and Hindus being fought in every corner of India.

Ghuri got his just desserts when a small gureilla band of Hindus stabbed him in his sleep in his tent on the banks of Jhelum. The brother of Prthvi Raj raided the fort of Ajmer soon after Ghuri had captured it, and slaughtered Ghuri's governor right inside the fort! (The "dargah" of this governor still exists inside the Taragarh fort of Prithviraj at Ajmer. I visited this fort in January this year.)

Delhi Sultnate couldn't make much headway in three centuries of its rule since Ghuri's victory over Prithviraj. Even Delhi (which that time meant the settlement around Qutub Minar) was not safe. It was plundered regularly by Hindu gujjars and Mewatis from the countryside when the Sultan was away!

The Muslims could sack cities but the Hindus rallied right back and recaptured them. For example, after a siege of five months, Alauddin Khilji conquered Chittor in Rajasthan, another center of stubborn Rajput resistance. But it did not last long.

A medieval historian states that when the sultan was on his deathbed, “the Rai of Chittor rebelled, tied up the hands and necks of the sultan’s officers and men who were in the fort, and threw them down from the ramparts.â€

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Postby mandrake » 18 Aug 2007 17:25

Anyone read Raj Kahini here, I dont know if there has a English translation or not? by Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951)

Though its a Children Classic but a very nice book regarding Rajputs, It was in my mid school curriculum.

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Postby Rahul M » 18 Aug 2007 17:53

loosely based on Colonel Todd's annals of rajasthan, rajkahini is a really magnificient historical romance novel . dunno if english translations are available. but you have high probability of landing a translation in english and other Indian languages courtesy of sahitya academy.

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Postby SriKumar » 18 Aug 2007 19:13

sanjaychoudhry wrote:
And finally, when Islam successfully conquered and converted entire countries from Morocco to Indonesia, why did they fail to do the same in India??

Good question. It intrigued me for years. Hindus are the only civilisation in the world that could survive a 600-year-long brutal occupation by the medieval Islamic army but still survive intact. .........

.... all and we still retain the spiritual traditions and culture of our long-ago ancestors. We have not let them down.

Waah! Waah! What a post! (I am assuming/hoping that all of what is written here is historically accurate..the part about British taking Delhi from Hindus was new to me.). You da man. The only thing I would add is that the Spanish were able to expel the moors from their midst.

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Postby sanjaychoudhry » 18 Aug 2007 19:34

Self deleted -- double post
Last edited by sanjaychoudhry on 18 Aug 2007 19:43, edited 1 time in total.


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