Ancient Indian Military Army and Infantry

Ancient Indian Military and Infantry: The next important division of the army was the infantry or foot-soldier. The Arthashastra speaks of the infantry as a separate army department. This department was under the charge of a special officer of the State. This was further affirmed by Megasthenes.

Besides the Maula or hereditary troops which formed a considerable portion of the army, there were the mercenaries, the Sreni or soldiers. These soldiers were supplied by the different group and guild organizations. The Mitra or soldiers were supplied by allies, the Amitra or deserters from the enemy ranks, and the Atavi recruited from forest tribes.

Ancient Indian Military

According to the Sukraniti and the Kamandakanitsara, the army was to be made as imposing as possible to frighten the enemy by its size. The Agni-Purana says that victory ever attends the army where foot-soldiers were numerically strong. The Sukraniti also mentioned that foot-soldiers possessed fire-arms when they fought.

Ancient Indian Military
Ancient Indian Military

The Commissariat: The Caturanaga was a classical division of the army. It found the backing of tradition. But in the era of the epics, Sadanga or the six-fold army included the commissariat as well as the admiralty. This belonged to the category of administrative division of troops as against the combatant.

Ancient Indian Military

This division of the army into two categories was first seen in the battle of Mansikert around 1071 A.D. This was purely a civil department attached to the army. Care was also given to wounded animals. The numerous references in our authorities to the Commissariat demonstrate without doubt that wars were planned methodically and conducted systematically.

The Admiralty: The Admiralty as a department of the State. Though it was a creation of Chandragupta there is evidence to show that the use of ships and boats was known to the people of the Rig Veda as well.

Cartography: There is no special word in Sanskrit for ‘a map.’ However, there is a reason to believe that in ancient India, a map or chart was regarded as a ‘Chitra’ or ‘Alekhya.’ ‘Chitra’ or ‘Alekhya’ signified ‘a painting or a picture.’

Ancient Indian Military

There is sufficient evidence from the evidence of the New History of the T’ang dynasty to prove that maps were made in ancient India. The New History of the T’sang dynasty gives an account of the Chinese general Wang Hiuen-else’s exploits in India in the year 648 A.D.

Hindu Valor: The Hindus were declared by the Greeks to be the bravest nation they ever came in contact with. It was the Hindu King of Magadha who struck terror in the ever-victorious armies of Alexander.

Abul Fazal, the minister of Akbar, after admiring their noble virtues, spoke of the valor of the Hindus in the following words: “Their character shines brightest in adversity. Their soldiers (Rajputs) know to what it is to flee from the fields of battle, but when the success of the combat becomes doubtful, they dismount from their horses and throw away their lives in payment of the debt of valor.”