The Caste System of India had its effects on Muslims as well and there are clear parallels which the Muslim Sociologist Aysha Sunbul told me to watch. In Hindu Religion there are four castes. As it happened the Muslims of India have unconsciously followed the same pattern by having four equal groups.
The Sayyeds: The descendents of the Prophet Mohammad.
The Pathans: The Martial race and the warriors.
The Sheikhs: Converts who till the land and are mainly in businesses.
The Workers: Barbers, cooks, Ironmongers etc.
The lady is mistaken. Only the first three (along with the Mughals) are the equal groups....the last, Indian converts, were the lowest and were shunned socially by the foreign Muslims.
It was actually a racist system where the foreign races (Ashraf) considered themselves superior to the Indian converts (Ajlaf).
And the foreigners were also divided further into those who were of foreign birth (vilayet-za
) and those who were of foreign descent
(several generations had lived in India).
Ancient/Medieval Indian sources are AFAIK silent on the recce/survey ops
Usually military info is limited in our texts and we have to make assumptions based on what little is available and by cross-comparisons with other cultures.
From an earlier post on the Maurya Empire
Maurya Military Administration
Chandragupta maintained a vast standing army of 600,000. It was controlled by a war-office made up of 30 members....these 30 were ditributed among six boards of five members each:
5. Transport, commissariat, and army service.
6. The members of this board were to co-operate with the Admiral of the Fleet.
A description of board no. 5:
They co-operate with the superintendent of the bullock-trains, which are used for transporting engines of war, food for the soldiers, provender for the cattle, and other military requisites.
They supply servants who beat the drum, and others who carry gongs, grooms for the horses, and mechanists and their assistants. To the sound of the gong they send out foragers to bring in grass, and by a system of rewards and punishments ensure the work being done with despatch and safety.
Usually the work of foraging, finding grazing ground for the animals and water supply for the army, went together with recce. Such recce and communications work was best done by horsemen.
The ancient/medieval armies marched in different formations, separated by several kilometres. Each formation had light cavalry units which fanned out around the marching column and did the twin work of foraging for food/water and seeking info on the enemy.
When the enemy was sighted, or definite information on his location was obtained from spies, the alert was sounded. The different formations closed up and formed into battle array, with the non-combatants safe in the rear and protected by a rear-guard.
In the Panipat example, Ahmad Shah Abdali's army, on its march through Punjab is described in the following words by a contemporary historian:
"The Abdali vanguard under Jahan Khan, Shah Pasand Khan, and Abdus Samad Khan had entered the Banur and Chhat district (26 km north of Ambala) on the 15th (December 1759) and that their front skirmishers were advancing, daily foraging right, left and in front, beating the jungle and shouting for thirty or forty km on each hand...
Ahmad Shah had also given instructions to his soldiers to slaughter any Indian who saw them, no matter if they were women children or old men, farmers or city-dwellers, Hindus or Muslims. In this way he denied exact intelligence on his movements from reaching the Maratha army units in UP and Delhi until it was too late.
The Maratha army units were under Dattaji Sindhia, who as overall commander was campaigning against Najib Khan Ruhela in Ruhelkhand, his brother Jankoji held the reserve troops at Delhi, while Malhar Holkar was campaigning against Jaipur.
As soon as the Abdali troops swept aside the Maratha (commanded by Bhoite) and Mughal (under Muhammad Said Khan Qipchaq) formations in Thanesar, Najib Khan came out of his defences and pushed Dattaji back to Delhi, wher the latter was killed in the Battle of Barari Ghat.
Malhar Holkar and Jankoji joined forces, sent all their baggage artillery and non-combatants to Maharashtra under the charge of Govind Ballal, and fought a guerrila campaign against the invaders, moving from place to place and attacking the enemy's flanks.
This was similar to the 26-year war in which their ancestors had defeated Aurangzeb, but for its success it required a friendly local population to supply food and information on the enemy movements
. This friendly population was not available in the north because the Maratha tactics of plundering the countryside were only less hated than the worse plundering, rape, and enslavement, of the Muslim inavders in the past.
Malhar Holkar was at Sikandrabad on the 28th of February (1760) when he received intelligence that nearly 10 lakh of treasure from Najib Khan's lands in Ruhelkhand had arrived at Anupshahr on its way to the Abdali camp. Malhar sent out scouts to search for a ford (on the Yamuna) near Anupshahr and halted for 3 days
. Because of this long halt, the enemy learnt of Malhar's location, and sent a strong cavalry unit under Sardar Jahan Khan, which made a froced march through the night and surprised Malhar's camp at dawn on the 4th of March.
The broken remnants of the Maratha army hovered near Mathura and Agra through the summer months, waiting for the fresh army under Bhau to arrive in the north.
The Abdali army, on the other hand was cantoned safely in Aligarh, and was fed and supplied by Najib Khan Ruhela, who then persuaded the Nawab of Awadh to join his (mostly Shia) forces with the Abdali's (Sunni) army.