The Epic History of Indian Army

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  • Topic: India, Maurya Empire, History of India
  • Pages : 6 (1674 words )
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  • Published : October 9, 2010
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Ancient History|
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The epic history of Indian Army dates back to more than ten thousand chequered years. The two epics of ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’ constitute the fundamental framework around which the edifice of Indian Army is built. The massive epic war ‘Mahabharata’, fought at Kurukshetra in north-central India, has left indelible imprints on the Indian psyche. Fought relentlessly for eighteen days in quest of peace, the force level described in the Epic states 18 ‘Akshaunis’, seven with the ‘Pandavas’ and eleven with the ‘Kauravas’, amounting to nearly 400,000 assorted troops fighting on chariots, horses, elephants and foot soldiers.| Though innumerable wars have been fought thereafter, almost all were in quest of universal peace and ‘dharma’. Recourse to arms was only taken when peace was threatened. In fact the word 'peace' forms the very core of Indian philosophy, which can most aptly be traced to one of India's ancient scriptures known as the ‘Yajurveda’. In it is stated in verse, the English translation of which reads - “May the sky be peaceful; may the atmosphere be peaceful; may the earth be peaceful; may eternal peace cometh upon us”.| The archaeological history of India dates back to more than 2500 BC, when an urbanised civilisation known as the Indus Valley Civilisation flourished along the banks of River Indus, in the alluvial north - western plains. Similar findings like the coastal cities of Lothal and Dwarka came to light more recently along the coast of Gujarat. However, the Indus Valley Civilisation’s two urban centres at Mohenjodaro and Harappa gradually declined in the second millennium BC, and almost completely disintegrated around 1500 BC due to ecological reasons like drying up of rivers and drought. The coastal cities disintegrated due to massive floods.| |

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Due to the gradual extinction of such civilizations, the north-western invasion route through the Hindu Kush Mountains remained unguarded for centuries, and gradually many immigrant people and tribes managed to cross over for better economic prospects.

With many recent landmark findings refuting the invasion of Asian-European people, or the Aryans, into the Indian sub continent en masse, the military history of India dates back to 6th century BC, encompassing the period when some of the more belligerent forces like the Persians, Greeks, the Turks, Huns, Mongols and so on crossed over into the more fertile and alluvial plains of India from the north-western route. | |

Though scanty details are available of the early conflicts between the invading forces, but evidence shows that some of the invaders did manage to slowly overrun western India and consolidated their hold along the Indo - Gangetic plains, and in the process subdued numerous native tribal kingdoms through pitched battles. Their advance further south was generally halted by the jungle - covered Vindhya Mountains. Those apart, certain areas along the western coast and the Deccan plateau were hilly and sparse – unsuitable for the movements of considerable bodies of people. However, this vast area also lent itself favourably to resistance against invasion by loose fighting warriors, such as the Marathas who subsequently became a force to reckon with. The other major pre-condition of war in India was and continues to be the climate. Monsoon rains between June and September rendered movement of armies virtually impossible. The best season for campaigning was always October and November, when the corps were ripe, the herbage green and it was possible to live off the country.|

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In between foreign invasions, wars in the north became a sport of kings and noblemen, and rarely become a national struggle for existence save when a new invader from the northwest entered the fray.The armies of the native tribes were made up mostly of foot-soldiers, later come to be known as the infantry. The bow and arrow were their...
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