Ancient India Wars: The illustrious history of Indian Army dates back more than ten thousand years. The two magnificent epics of ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’ lay down the fundamental framework. It is this foundation around which the entire structure of the Indian Army is built.
Important Wars in Indian History
The Kurukshetra war, according to Indian mythology was fought in the north-central part of ancient India. The place Kurukshetra exists till today and is now a part of the state of Haryana. The word “Kurukshetra” is of Sanskrit origin and means ‘Battle-field’ of the Kurus.’ This war was a civil war which took place within the Kuru dynasty. This war took place between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
This massive war has left unforgettable marks on the Indian psyche. This war was fought insistently for eighteen days in the pursuit of peace. As stated in the epic the war was fought with eighteen ‘Akshaunis’, seven with the ‘Pandavas’ while eleven with the ‘Kauravas.’ This amounted to approximately 400,000 assorted troops fighting on chariots, horses, elephants and foot soldiers.
Ancient India Warriors
Interestingly, as many as 1,660,020,000 warriors died in these 18 days war. That death toll amounted to around one-sixth of the world’s population today. In the epic, at the end of 18 days of struggle, the Pandavas emerged victorious though with heavy losses.
The victory of the war, however, was truly a defeat and a murder of a fellow family. The epic was believed to have been written by one named Ved Vyasa. Ved Vyasa was a contemporary of the characters in the epic and is himself in the epic too though he was not part of the war scene.
Though countless wars have been fought thereafter, most of them were fought in the pursuit of universal peace and ‘dharma’. Recourse to arms was only taken when there was a threat to peace. As a matter of fact, the word ‘peace’ forms the very heart of Indian philosophy. This can most aptly be traced to one of India’s ancient scriptures known as the ‘Yajurveda‘.
Ancient India Wars
One of the verses in the Yajurveda states 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. Around that time, an urbanized civilization known as the Indus Valley Civilisation flourished along the banks of River Indus, in the fertile land in the northwestern 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 Civilization’s two urban centers at Mohenjodaro and Harappa gradually declined in the second millennium BC and almost completely disintegrated around 1500 BC. This disintegration was due to ecological reasons like drying up of rivers and drought. The coastal cities disintegrated due to massive floods.
Due to the gradual extinction of such civilizations, the north-western invasion route through the Hindu Kush Mountains remained unguarded for centuries. Also, gradually many people and tribes managed to cross over for better economic prospects.