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Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History

Six Glorious Epochs
of Indian History
V. D. Savarkar
Six Glorious Epochs of Indian
V. D. Savarkar
Translated and Edited By
S. T. Godbole
www. s a v a r k a r . o rg
S i x G l o r i o u s E p o c h s o f I n d i a n H i s t o r y


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A WORD IN CONFIDENCE …………………………………………………..6
1 First Glorious Epoch – Chapter 1……………………………………..9
1.1 CHANDRAGUPTA – CHANAKYA 1 ……………………………………………… 9
1.4 ALEXANDER’S AGGRESSION …………………………………………………. 11
1.6 DR. JAYASWAL’S ‘HINDU POLITY’ …………………………………………… 12
1.7 ‘IONIAN’ AND ‘YAVAN’ …………………………………………………………….. 13
1.9 A GREEK MEANS A YAVAN! ………………………………………………………… 13
1.10 ALEXANDER AND STUPID MUSLIMS ………………………………………. 14
1.12 WAR WITH PORUS…………………………………………………………………. 15
1.14 INQUIRY OF THE INDIAN ASCETICS ……………………………………….. 16
1.15 THE CANON OF DANDAMIS ……………………………………………………. 17
1.18 REPUBLIC SUBSISTING BY ARMS ………………………………………….. 19
1.19 THE REPUBLIC OF THE YOUDHEYAS ………………………………….. 19
1.21 ALEXANDER’S SPEECH TO HIS ARMY57 ………………………………… 20
1.22 ALEXANDER’S RETREAT………………………………………………………… 22
TRIBE …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 26
1.27 THE AGRASHRENIS……………………………………………………………….. 26
1.28 THIS IS THE SAME JOHAR! – JAI HAR!! ……………………………………. 26
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1.30 PATTANPRASTHA………………………………………………………………….. 28
1.31 ALEXANDER’S HOMEWARD VOYAGE……………………………………… 28
1.32 INDIA WAS NOT PERSIA…………………………………………………………. 28
1.33 ALEXANDER’S DEATH ……………………………………………………………. 29
1.34 INDIAN POLITICIANS CONSPIRE …………………………………………….. 29
1.35 GREEK GOVERNORS BEHEADED…………………………………………… 30
1.37 THE EMPEROR OF MAGADHA………………………………………………… 32
1.39 THE STORY OF CHANAKYA’S FAMILY…………………………………….. 34
ONSLAUGHT ………………………………………………………………………………….. 36
REASON…………………………………………………………………………………………. 36
1.44 FOR THE ENTIRE UNDIVIDED INDIA ……………………………………….. 37
1.46 THE ONLY WAY TO REPEL RE-INVASION ? …………………………….. 38
1.48 MAHAPADMANAND BEHEADED ……………………………………………… 39
1.49 SAMRAT CHANDRAGUPTA KI JAYA!……………………………………….. 39
MIGHT FIRST ………………………………………………………………….. 40
TERMS OF THE VICTORIOUS………………………………………………………….. 42
1.56 LOVE IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT FEAR [भय बन होय न ूीत ] …………. 42
1.58 DID ALEXANDER CONQUER INDIA ? NO. ……………………………….. 43
1.59 SUPER ALEXANDER! ……………………………………………………………… 44
Appendix: ………………………………………………………………………….47
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This is the last work of Veer Savarkarji which he completed during his
illness and old age. After its Marathi and Hindi editions have been circulated, we
feel it a matter of profound pleasure and pride to offer to the public the English
version of the book. How far the book has been popular can easily be seen from
the fact that its Hindi and Marathi editions have been published repeatedly.
The author wanted to translate this voluminous work into English himself,
but he could not do so because of his failing health. His world famous book, The
Indian War of Independence, 1857 was translated into English from the original
Marathi by his several patriot colleagues, but the final touch given to the book
was of the author himself. He wrote Hindutva and Hindu-Pad-Padashahi
originally in English.
Savarkar was a writer of great eminence in Marathi. Besides
the charm of language, there is a striking originality in his writings, and
thought is paramount. Hence the necessity of making his work available
in other languages arises invariably. But translation, they say, is like a
faithless mistress. The charm of the original goes. The learned translator,
his labour tempered with devotion, has, however, tried to give his best.
Shri S.T. Godbole has not translated the book in the customary
way. The scores of books (given in the Appendix) which he has quoted in
support of the assertions made by the author while, on the one hand,
lend authenticity to the book, they, on the other hand, show the colossal
labour put in by him in the project. We are extremely thankful to him.
Savarkar saw the panorama of Indian history in the rise and
fall of the Hindus. This concept of history moulded his political thinking
and career. How far he has been successful in presenting his point of view
is left to the discerning reader.
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It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I present to the readers
this translation of the original book in Marathi. I consider it a piece of good
luck to have had an opportunity of translating such an important book by the
late Swantantrya-Veer V. D. Savarkar, which cropped up in my casual talk with
Shree Balarao Savarkar, the devoted private secretary of that Prince of
Patriots. After it was translated every chapter went to the illustrious author who
honoured me by going through it very carefully and when I had the good fortune
to meet him personally on the completion OF the undertaking, he obliged me by
saying that he was satisfied with the translation and appreciated the hard labour
it entailed. Would that Swa. Veer Savarkar had been alive today to see this
English translation of his book in print!
Veer Savarkar’s book, ÔÔभारतीय इितहासातील सहा सोनेर पानेÕÕ is a
commentary—not a history in its academic sense—on the significant events and
periods in our national life, taking a broad survey of the growth and survival of our
Hindu race. In a way this attempt of Savarkar has been singular, barring few
honorable exceptions.
The general trend of the Histories, written, read and taught in schools and
colleges have been one of eulogizing the foreigners and deprecating the Hindu race,
relying wholly on the biased records of the foreign historians and travelers.
Attempts are, happily, being made to reconstruct and restate the history of India
from the national point of view, sing to the utmost all available native records of
coins and inscriptions and covert allusions in the otherwise non-historical works,
slender though they may be; but they are still sporadic and isolated, relating to this
or that particular phase of Indian History. This volume presents. ‘Six Glorious
Epochs of Indian History’ since the beginning ————— —— —- from the days of
Chandragupta Maurya to the end of the British dominance over India. Hence, like its
predecessor, ‘The War of Indian Independence of 1857’, which galvanized the public
opinion and changed the world outlook on that phase of our national life, this book
too is very likely to start re-orientation of our historical concepts and the accepted
historical theories. A need for an English translation of this book was, therefore,
sorely felt with a view to introducing it to the people who are unable to read or
understand Marathi.
A book of this type had to be substantiated with proofs, especially when it
was replete with thought-provoking – even at times shocking – statements and
conclusions. Basic references were, therefore, an unavoidable necessity; but the
author, who had already crossed the bar of eighty years, and whose physical
ailments had already created insurmountable difficulties in the very writing of this
book, could not be expected to stand the rigour of pin-pointing his references,
voluminous as they were. I, therefore had to shoulder that responsibility. The
appendage of the basic references to this volume is thus my humble contribution.
They will clearly show to the reader that the facts mentioned in this volume are
fully backed by evidence. The interpretation of these facts and the conclusions
drawn from them, however, are the author’s special privileges, if only they obey the
laws of logical reasoning. The chapters are numbered serially from one to twentythree.
Each paragraph is serially numbered at the beginning, while the figures in
the body of the paragraphs indicate the reference number. In preparing the index,
reference is made to the paragraphs and not to the pages.
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My thanks are due to my son, Shri P, S. Godbole for going through the type
written sheets and preparing the Index. I am thankful to Shri B. D. Velankar, the
Asiatic Society of Bombay and the University of Bombay for library facilities. I am
also thankful to the publishers who have brought out this book.
S. T. Godbole
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1 S T GL O R I O U S E P O C H
1st Glorious Epoch
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1. According to modern historical research, the first phase of the
dawn of our national life dates back almost from five to ten thousand years
ago1. Like that of China, Babylon, Greece and other ancient nations our
ancient history, too, is clothed in the poetical garb of mythology. It is replete
with anecdotes, folk-lore, and deification of national heroes and heroines, and
resorts to supernatural and symbolic description. Yet these ancient mythologies
(Puranas) of ours are the pillars supporting the edifice of our ancient history2.
Just as these extensive Puranic texts of ours are a magnificent treasure of
our ancient literature, our knowledge, our glorious deeds and our grandeur
and wealth, in a similar way they are a vast store-house of the accounts of our
past, desultory, chaotic, even at times, ambiguous though it may be.
2. Our Puranas, however, are not ‘history’ pure and unadulterated3.
3. Hence, I propose to set aside the consideration of the ‘Pauranic
times’ in the present context. For the ‘Glorious Epochs’, that I am going to
refer to, and dilate upon, belong not so much to the Pauranic times, as to the
historic periods of our national life.
4. The main criterion of history is that the dates and places and
descriptions of events referred to therein must necessarily bear the stamp of
authenticity, and they should be corroborated, as far as possible, by foreign as
well as indigenous evidence.
5. The account of our past which fairly stands this test begins
approximately from the time of Lord Buddha. Hence many Indian and Western
Orientalists have accepted the Buddhist period as the beginning of Indian
history4. The incessant and indefatigable labours of these Orientalists may in
future include some of the so-called ‘Pauranic period’ into the historical one if some
new evidence were to come to light. Till then at least we have to regard the
Buddhistic period as the starting point of our history.
6. Again, in respect of establishing the authentic history of nation beyond
doubt, the convincing references in the contemporary literature of other nations
are really invaluable. The ancient period of our history which can be supported by
the now available, unimpeachable evidence in the historical records of countries
other than India is the one which begins round about the times of Emperor
Chandragupta Mourya5. For, since the date of Alexander’s so-called invasion of
India numerous references to events in India are to be found in the historical
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accounts of the Greek writers and the description of their travels by the Chinese
7. What should be the criterion for determining the Glorious Epochs, I am
going to discuss here. For that matter there are hundreds of glorious epochs in
the history of our nation which stand the tests of poetic exuberance, music,
prowess, affluence, the height of philosophy and depth of theology and many other
criteria. But by the ‘Glorious Epoch’ I mean the one from the history of that
warlike generation and the brave leaders and successful warriors who inspire and
lead it on to a war of liberation in order to free their nation from the shackles of
foreign domination, whenever it has the misfortune to fall a prey to such powerful
fatal aggression and to grovel abjectly under it, and who ultimately drive away
the enemy making it an absolutely free and sovereign nation. Every nation extols
such epochs of the wars of independence which inflict crushing defeats on the
enemy. Take for instance, the American War of Independence. The day on which
America wrenched her independence from England, vanquishing her completely
on the battlefield, is a red-letter day in the history of America and is celebrated
like a festival all over the country. The moment recording this successful struggle
for freedom is acknowledged as a glorious epoch in the history of America.
8. Moreover, the birth of the United States of America is only of a recent
date. In the very short span of her history it is not unnatural that only one such
terrible calamity befell her and consequently gave her only one glorious occasion
to overcome it. But the nations like China, Babylon, Persia, Egypt, ancient Peru,
ancient Mexico, Greece and Rome and many others, which can boast of a history
of thousands of years, naturally had many occasions of being overcome and
oppressed by mightier foreign aggressors6. From these monstrous calamities some
of these nations freed themselves again and again with exceptional valour, and
humbled and routed the enemy. These nations with a long tradition of thousands
of years are naturally proud of many such glorious moments recording their signal,
victories over their enemies. The history of India as compared with that of other
nations has a consistent and unbroken record. Most of the nations that flourished
side by side with her in the past are now extinct and are remembered only by
their names. China stands today as an old witness of the greatness of India.
9. Both China and India are vast countries and have maintained their
independence and power right from the ancient days. No wonder they had to
face many more mortal dangers of foreign domination than the other short
lived nations. The unerring wheel of fortune affected them too. Just as India
was attacked by the Sakas, the Huns, the Mughals and others, so was China too
a victim of the invasions of these and other alien nations7. She had to build the
world-famous China-wall all around her territory as a bulwark against the
Hunnish inroads. Nevertheless the enemies did conquer China, sometimes by
circumventing the great wall or at times crossing it8. Mostly only in parts, but
sometimes at least wholly, China had to writhe and squirm under the yoke of
foreign domination9. Yet every time she could revive her strength and overthrow
the foreign aggression and regain her independence, and even today she is an
independent and powerful nation. This in itself is a marvel of history. An
appraisal of Indian history demands the same criterion to be adopted. But
specially when our country was smarting under the British sway, many English
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writers had so much perverted the Indian history and obliged two or three
generation of Indian students in their schools and colleges to learn it in such a
way, that not only the rest of the world but even our own people were misled.
Absurd and malicious statements implying that India as a nation has always been
under some foreign rule or the other or that Indian history is an unbroken chain
of defeat after defeat of the Hindus10, have been used like currency and are
accepted by our people without affront or remonstrance or even a formal
protest. To refute these statements is essential not only from the point of view
of honor of the nation but also for the sake of historical truth. Efforts being
made by other historians in this direction have to be supported, as far as
possible, by propaganda. That in itself is a national duty. That is why I have
decided here to describe the historical achievements of those generations and
of their representative leaders who vanquished the aggressors from time to
time and liberated their country.
10. Alexander’s attack on India is the first well-known foreign invasion
during the ancient period of Indian history. It took place in 326 B. C.11, a period
of human history when the modern European nations like England, France,
Germany and others were not even born. The Roman Empire had not as yet any
foundation laid for it. It was only the Greeks who were resounding the European
stage12. Small Greek city-states ruled themselves independently. Of these Sparta
and Athens were the most progressive. But when these small separate citystates
were invaded by the ruler of a vast, well-organized, unitary and very
powerful Persian empire, 13 they were unable to face him successfully. Those
small Greek republics did their best to fight the enemy back, but all their efforts
proved fruitless before the vast ocean-like Persian armies. Naturally, the Greeks
earnestly thought of effecting a fusion of all their separated small city-states into
a powerful Greek Kingdom and forming a united front. So Philip, King of
Macedonia, who was fired with the same ambition, conquered all those small
Greek republics14; but he died before he could develop them into a mighty
nation15. However, his son who succeeded him to the throne was much more
ambitious, more eager to gain power than his father whom he surpassed in
valour16. It was Alexander. He inspired the whole Greek Community with a sense
of solidarity and militant nationalism. He organized an invincible army, and
marched on the Persian Emperor, Darius, himself, who had been the arch-enemy
of the Greeks17. This well-organized Greek army simply routed the vast but illorganized
Persian army. At the battle field of Arbela (331 B.C.) whole of the
Persian administration virtually collapsed18. With his victorious army Alexander
marched straight on to the Persian capital and after conquering it he proclaimed
himself the emperor of that country19. This unprecedented success is lust for
conquests. With the Greek and Persian empires at his feet, the sky seemed to him
well – within his limit. He was intoxicated with the wild ambition to conquer the
whole world and therefore he planned to invade India, of which the Greeks had
been hearing so much for generations together. He thought he would run over
India as easily as he had crushed the Persian as well as the ancient Babylonian
empire. In order to execute this daring plan he formed a new powerful army with
the pick of his Greek soldiers, full of youthful enthusiasm and equipped it with
glittering weapons. This army consisted of one hundred and twenty thousand
foot-soldiers and a cavalry fifteen thousand strong20. These brave soldiers, mad
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with victory after victory, had been so much impressed by the unbroken chain of
Alexander’s conquests that they looked upon this great general and emperor as a
divine being. Alexander himself began to pose as the son of the Greek God,
11. In those days, some two thousand and five hundred years
ago, the Indian community and Indian kingdoms had spread far beyond
the Indus, right up to the boundary of Persia. The mountain range known
today as the Hindukush was at that time called Paropnisus22, by the Greeks.
Modern Afghanistan was called Gandhar, known in India tradition by the
name, Ahiganasthan23, while the river Kabul has been called Kubha in our
ancient literature24. Throughout the whole region up to the Hindukush
mountain, ruled peacefully various states, some small, others large25. Right
from these Indian states, all along the banks of the Indus, straight up to
the place where it leaps into the sea, was a long and unbroken chain of
Indian states which strictly followed Vedic religion. Most of them were
republics26 and were then called ‘Ganas’ or ‘Ganarajyas’. Their constitution
was essentially democratic. There were only two or three monarchies worth
the name, one of which the biggest and strongest, was ruled by a Pourav
King, whom the Greeks called Porus37.
12. Dr. Jayaswal, one of the prominent members of the
revolutionary party, ‘Abhinava Bharat’, during the critical years of 1907-
1910, and later on a world-famous Orientalist, has given, after a critical
research, a very detailed account of the different ‘Bharateeya Ganas’
spread along both the banks of the Indus right up to its confluence with
the sea.
13. According to Greek mythologies, they seem to have believed
that their ancestors had migrated as a separate branch of the original
Aryan Stock from the Gandhar and other regions beyond the Indus28.
When Alexander’s forces entered the precincts of India they accidentally
came across a small community of people who called themselves the
original Greeks29. They had been completely merged with the Indians, but as
soon as they saw this Greek army they avowed that they were the ancient
brethren of those Greeks30. Alexander, too, was led to believe that India
must be the original abode of his ancestors. He and his whole army were
so much delighted at the sight of this, their antique fatherland, that they
stopped fighting for some days and celebrated a great festival. The
Greeks performed a sacrifice and offered oblations to propitiate their Greek
14. The Greek Gods resembled the Vedic ones very closely. Their
names had undergone changes in pronunciation by corruption in course of
time. The Greeks too performed sacrifices as the Indo-Aryans did, and
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offered oblations through the fire to their various deities32. They were also
called Ionians.
15. It is likely that these Greeks were the descendants of Anu, the son
of Yayati? One wonders if Anwayan was later on corrupted to Indian. This
bit of a guess must, however be left to the research scholars. The fact
remains that the Indians called these Greeks ‘Yavanas’ from the very
beginning, as is seen from the Sanskrit literature33. It is from the Greek word
‘Ionians’ that they came to be called ‘Yavans’ or ‘Yons’ in India.
16. One more fact deserves mention here. The contemporary Greek
writers have given in their books detailed description of the varied life of the
people from those parts of India where Alexander moved—from Gandhar to
Panchanad (the Punjab) and thence along both the banks of the Indus to the
very place where it flows into the sea. But throughout descriptions not a single
reference to either Lord Buddha or the Buddhistic cult or sect can be found,
whereas there are numerous references to the Vedic Hindus34. From this and,
of course, from other contemporary references it is quite clear that at least till
that time the Buddhist sect was quite unknown beyond the Shatadru (Sutlej)
river. It means about two hundred and fifty to three hundred years after the
death of the Buddha the Buddhist cult spread here and there round about
Magadha and not farther off, a fact which deserves special notice for the
proper interpretation of subsequent history34a.
17. Our contemporary Indian ancestors called these aggressive Greek
foreigners, who professed a slightly alien religion, ‘Yavans’. But that is not the
reason why we should call all foreign aggressors ‘Yavans’. It is obviously a
mistake. Especially when our people began to call the Muslims ‘Yavans’, they
really committed a blunder. Although the Greeks were aggressors and
foreigners, they were, comparatively speaking, considered to be particularly
devoted to learning and highly cultured and civilized according to the
standards of the time. The Muslim hordes that invaded India, centuries
afterwards, were highly fanatical, diabolic and ruthlessly destructive. It would
have been in the fitness of things to call them ‘Mussalmans’ in view of their
demonic nature. To call them ‘Yavans, is doubly wrong in as much as it
unduly flatters them and does a very great injustice to the word ‘Yavan’
itself. The Mussalmans may be called ‘Mlenchhas’, not ‘Yavans’.
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18. A stupid notion common amongst most of the Muslims is worth a
mention here. The name ‘Alexander’ was corrupted into ‘Shikandar’ in the
Persian language. So long as the Greek empire had Persia under its sway
many of the Persian people highly impressed by the unprecedented valour of
Alexander named their new-born sons Shikandar. Later on even after the
Persians were converted to Islam this practice of naming their children
‘Shikandar’ persisted. ‘The Muslim converts in India adopted that practice. But
ignorant of the historical origin of the word ‘Shikandar’ thousands of Muslims
in India fondly believe that, like Mohammad Ali, Kasim and others, the name
Shikandar is a Muslim name; and (that valiant Alexander must be some Muslim
personality). Nay, he could be so very valiant and a world conqueror simply
because he was a Muslim. If any one tries to convince these fanatics, vulgar
and vain-glorious Muslims that ‘Shikandar (Alexander) was not a Muslim, that
he could never be one, as Mohammed Paighamber, the founder of the Muslim
religion, was himself born not less than a thousand years after the death of
Shikandar, these, die-hard Muslims, would call that person un-informed.
19. The eastern boundary of Alexander’s empire at that time was the
Hindukush Mountains. After having crossed these mountains he marched with
his vast armies to Taxila in India. The King of Taxila, King Ambuj (Ambhi)
accepted his overlordship without giving him any battle36. Some Greek writers
assert that this very King of Taxila had invited Alexander in order to put down
his rival, King Porus36a. If that is so, Ambhi had quite naturally to pay for his
treachery by his willing, though abject submission to the Greeks.
20. Taxila was the seat of the most famous Indian University of the
time, where students from different counties came to study various sciences
and arts. Even the Princes of different states came there, learnt political
science and got lessons in the art of governance, warfare and strictly observed
the rules of discipline prevalent there37.
21. By some strange coincidence, just when Alexander was marching at
the head of his army into India, after reducing Taxila, a brilliant youth, who, a
little later, was destined to carve a glorious page in the history of India, was
learning the sciences of war and politics in the same University of Taxila38. He
was called Chandragupta. The old teacher who was well-versed in different
lores of the time and was also an astute politician and was giving lessons in
politics and national revolutionary activities to this splendid youth under the
portals of the same University, was Chanakya39.
22. But in the confusion wrought by this invasion of Alexander these
two exceptionally gifted personalities had not yet attracted public attention to
them. Both of them had been watching very closely the movements of Alexander’s
vast forces. Alexander had, as it were, put all the crowns and coronets of Kings,
and kings of kings and of all the small Rav’s and Raval’s, into a melting pot and
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forged a single crown to proclaim himself the Emperor of India; while the old
sage, Acharya Chanakya, was secretly planning an easy transfer of that covetable
crown to his young disciple’s head by means of a coup d’etat.
23. The king of Taxila, Ambuj or Ambhi had, as already said, bowed down
to the Greek might without fighting a single battle, and therefore everybody
began to jeer at his treacherous act, as it humiliated the braver spirits. In order
to counteract it, the neighboring Indian monarchies, and republics decided to
force a bitter struggle on the Greeks. It is really unfortunate that these various
independent Indian states did not think of making it a common cause, or
perhaps had no time to do it. As soon as he reached Taxila, Alexander without
any loss of time, sent ultimatum, to all the neighboring Indian states,
demanding unconditional surrender, and when Taxila’s very next neighbour,
King Porus, ignored his ultimatum and took up the challenge, the Greek captaingeneral
marched on him40.
24. King Porus mainly depended on his war-chariots and elephants,
whereas the Greeks relied upon their cavalry brigades. The river Vitasta
(Jhelum) separated the two-armies. All of a sudden, even before the two armies
joined battle, torrential rains overflowing the river with high floods began to
assail them all round. Alexander searched high and low and in a few days found
to the north a place where the river was fordable. With precipitate haste, be
crossed the river and with his fine cavalry, dashed against the forces of King
Porus41. This disturbed the whole plan of Porus; still he fought on a fierce battle.
But the rains had turned the field muddy41a, rendering utterly useless Porus’s
two great instruments of war, namely chariots and elephants. He could not,
therefore, successfully check the brisk and energetic attacks of Alexander’s
horsemen. In the thick of the battle, Porus seated on his elephant and
desperatly fighting, was grievously wounded41b and fell into the hands of the
enemy. Thus, partly because of Porus’s misfortune and partly because of
Alexander’s military skill on the battlefield the Greeks were crowned with success.
25. When Porus was taken as a captive before Alexander the latter
asked the Indian King, "How should I treat you?" Porus promptly replied, ‘like
a King’. This apt reply has evoked the comment of European as well as our
own historians that impressed by this bold reply, Alexander returned to Porus
his territory making him a governor under him, instead of putting him to
death41c. But this interpretation of Alexander’s treatment of Porus is wrong,
and therefore, such platitudes should be avoided in school textbooks.
26. Obviously, Alexander was not like the artless simple Indian King,
Harishchandra, who gave away his kingdom in his wakeful hours in order to
fulfill a promise made in dream. He knew if he killed Porus or liquidated his
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kingdom, placing in his place some Greek Satrap; the high-minded people of
the state would be aflame with rage and hatred towards the Greeks. "Now
Alexander wanted to fight his way all along to the chief Capital of India,
namely Pataliputra! Could he ever do so with the sole support of his own Greek
army? On the other hand, it was far more profitable to win over Porus with
apparent magnanimity and kindness as he had done to Ambhi of Taxila
(Takshashila) and enlist his active support in order to facilitate the
accomplishment of his of daring plan of the conquest of India. It is, therefore,
not for the sake of appreciating the bold rejoinder of Porus but as a clever
political strategy, that arch diplomat Alexander returned to Porus his
Kingdom. He even annexed the smaller neghbouring states, which he had
conquered immediately before or after his clash with Porus to the latter’s
kingdom. He had appointed him as his Satrap (governor) of this vast Indian
province28. Porus too gave his assent to Alexander’s proposals to simply wait for
his time for fortune had played foul with him. Porus had done his duty, as a
Kshatriya warrior would do, of fighting till the end against the enemy of his
nation. In fact तावत ् कालम ् ूितेताम ् (Bide the time!) is a valuable tenet in
political science. Knowing that the submission of king Porus was only time
serving, the Indian populace also did not take it amiss. It will be shown later
how at the opportune time King Porus (now Satrap Porus) turned the tables
against Alexander himself.
27. After the end of the war with Porus, Alexander set himself up to
the task of stabilizing the newly conquered neighbouring states and began
a careful study of the life of the people there and in the yonder regions.
Besides, to replenish his army that was depleted in numbers and energy
because of the incessant wars from the Hindukush to the Panchanad,
Alexander ordered fresh regiments of forces from his Satraps in Babylon and
Greece, and sent back those of his fighting forces who were wounded and
rendered invalid and also those who were shirkers43.
28. The scouts whom Alexander had sent round to survey the local
condition of the people in the subjugated as well as non-subjugated
provinces, brought, among other reports, detailed descriptions of the
penance-groves in the forests, and of the ascetics, anchorites, recluses, freed
from all worldly bonds, wandering about all alone in search of knowledge and
also of those sages who were deeply engrossed in philosophical thought
Alexander himself was fond of learning and philosophical discussions, for he
called himself the disciple of the great philosopher, Aristotle. He had already
heard much in Greece itself of such ascetics and of austere Brahmins. So he
earnestly desired to see personally at least some of these austere Brahmins in
India, who the Greeks called ‘Gymnosophists’ and have talks with them. So he
sent for some of such hermits from their forest-abodes44 and some he saw in
their secluded cells. The Greek writers themselves have given some interesting
tales about such occasions. I would like to cite a tale or two from among those in
the words of the Greek writers themselves, so as to throw some light on the
thoughts and feelings of the Greeks and their leader, Alexander.
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29. "This philosopher (Kalanos), we are told, showed Alexander a symbol of
his empire. He threw down on the ground a dry and shrivelled hide and planted
his foot on the edge of it. But when it was trodden down in one place, it started
up everywhere else. He then walked all round it and showed that the same thing
took place wherever he trod, until at length he stepped into the middle and by
doing so lade it all lie flat. This symbol was intended to show Alexander that he
should control his empire from its centre not wander away to its distant
30. Alexander keenly felt that he should send for and have a personal talk
with one Brahmin, of whom he had heard so much in Taxi (Takshasheela). The
Greeks called Brahmin ‘Dandamis’48 but I have not so far succeeded in tracing
down his original Sanskrit name. The Brahmin, bent with age and knowledge, was
free from all worldly ties and wandered naked everywhere. He did not pay any
heed to Alexander’s messages. Thereupon Alexander sent his own officer
‘Onesikretos’ to this selfless recluse who told him, "Alexander the very son of God
Zeus (Sansk: Dyus) and a world-conqueror has summoned you to his court. If you
still fail to come, you will be beheaded instantaneously." The Brahmin began to
laugh vociferously at this threat and replied, "If Alexander is the son of Zeus; in
the same manner and for same reason I am also the son of that very Zeus (Dyus).
As to his boast of being a world-conqueror, it is absolutely vain! He has not as yet
seen the other bank of the river Vyas. If he successfully faces the brave Indian
states beyond and, yonder still, the powerful empire of Magadha, and still remains
alive, we shall have time to consider whether he is a world-conqueror. Alexander
offers me land and gold, but go and tell him that ascetics like me spit upon such
things. This mother-land of mine provides me with everything I want, with the
loving care of a real mother. If Alexander is going to chop my head off, then my
head and body would mix up with this earth of which they are made, but he
would never be able to murder my soul. It is invincible, indestructible and
immortal. Go and tell him that he should issue these threats to those who are
slaves of gold and power and are afraid of death. Before us these threats of a
mortal like Alexander fall flat and are powerless! For, a true ascetic Brahmin can
never be won over by gold, nor does he ever fear death!! I won’t come! Go
31. We have quoted only some of the sentences from the reply of
Dandamis to Alexander. Greek writers have given the full text of his fearless and
direct reply46a. Plutarch too, has mentioned these tales. Some writers47 astounded
by his dauntless and straight-forward answer, have remarked, "If at all anyone in
the world has so successfully defied Alexander, who had conquered so many
kingdoms, it was this naked, old Brahmin ascetic of India"47a.
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32. In his survey Alexander came to know that although these worldforsakers,
ascetics, recluses and others were wandering all alone, their opinions
exerted a powerful influence because of their disinterestedness, fearlessness and
their disregard for any consequences whatever, upon the governments of Indian
republics and also on the monarchies. The tongues of these free and fearless
Brahmin ascetics had sharp edges like the swords of the Indian Kshatriyas and
they protested against the unjust Greek aggression very sharply and spread,
openly or secretly, great discontent against Alexander amongst the Indian
populace. Naturally his first adoration of these ‘Gymnosophists’ suddenly gave
place to his intense hatred against the Brahmin hermits. Thereupon he began to
seize some such Brahmins and hang them48. Before beheading one such Brahmin;
when Alexander asked him as to why he instigated a certain Indian ruler
”.’against’ the Greeks, he fearlessly and firmly replied that it was his most
sacred tenet and that if he were to live, he ought to live honorably, else he
should die honorably." (Plutarch LXIV)
33. After defeating King Porus, Alexander thought his dazzling victory
should unnerve the neighboring states and force them to submit meekly, but his
hopes in this respect mostly belied him. As he crossed the Vitasta (Jhelum) and
marched onward the various republics big or small, on his way began to offer
sanguinary battles49. Without" a decision at the battlefield, they would never
accept his overlordship meekly. Although the superior number and might of the
Greeks went on overpowering the Indians, the consequent strain of incessant
fighting did not fail to make itself felt on the Greeks.
34. Greek writers have described many such battles with various Indian
republics, but this is no occasion to mention them either at some length or
briefly. However, some of the chosen incidents have got to be given here at
some length, at least as a mark of respect to those brave Indian republics who,
though not jointly yet severally, offered the toughest of resistance to that mighty
Greek army of a Hundred thousand gallant soldiers and their brave, worldfamous,
captain-general Alexander, who had vowed pompously to trample over
the whole of India and conquer the Crown of Magadha for himself, and which
finally forced him to strike a retreat homeward from the very threshold of India.
35. The constitution of both these republics was democratic. Writes a Greek
writer Diodoros,50 they were governed by laws in-the highest degree salutary and
their political system was admirable50a. One special feature of these republics was
that with a view to promoting healthy, strong and handsome progeny, the
procreation of human species was not left to individual whims and fancies, but
was controlled by the state. They were very fond of physical beauty50b. Hence
marriages were arranged not with an eye on the handsome dowry, but with
proper consideration of mutual physical fitness, beauty and health, and the
ability of the bride and the bridegroom to bring forth healthy and sturdy children.
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Even while electing their leaders, who were-to guide the nation and bear the
yoke of national welfare, sufficient weightage was given to the candidate’s build
of the body and physical strength. Their laws regarding the proper production of
human species were so strict that within three months of their birth children
were medically examined by the state authorities, and if a child were found
with some native defect or to be suffering from some incurable disease or
deformed, it was immediately put to death under state orders without any
35-A. Readers of history know well that the Republic of Sparta had
similar laws about heredity51.
36. Though not so very strict and ruthless as the Saubhootis and the
Kathas, there were other Ganas or republics in India who paid special attention
to heredity, and the bringing forth of strong and handsome children. The
‘Vrishnis’ were also very particular, from the ancient times, about the physical
beauty and strength of their leaders and state officials. The physical strength
and beauty of the world-famous leader of these Vrishnis, Lord Shree Krishna,
has been immortalized. Lord Shree Krishna’s sons, too, have been credited by
the Puranas52 with exceptional beauty.
37. A good many republics, in the Panchanad (the Punjab) and along both
the banks of the Indus, right up to its great leap into the sea, were said to be
living on weapons53. The most remarkable fact about them was that not only the
men but the women too in those republics, had necessarily to undergo military
training so that at the time of war, literally "the whole nation could be drafted for
military action. Although different from each other in some particular respects,
their constitutions, needless to say, were essentially democratic. Whether big or
small in size, they were all independent.
38. The Republic of the Yondheyas, spread far and wide in the fertile lands to
the south of the river Vyas In the Panchanad (the Punjab), was the most
prominent of them all. It was looked upon with awe and respect by every one
because of its valiant youths who always fought for their independence
regardless of their lives. It was truly called, by the foreign historians54, ‘A nation in
arms’. They too had a law necessitating everyone between the ages of 18 and 21
to undergo sound military training which kept not only their male but even the
female population well-equipped with arms.
39. On seeing Alexander march down the Vitasta (Jhelum) and the
Chandrabhaga (Chenab) in order to cross the Vyas, after defeating King Porus, the
adjoining republics and the hill tribes, the gallant Youdheyas55, who were to the
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south of the river, spurned Alexander’s ultimatum of abject surrender and
began all-out preparations for war. Yet the so-called Emperor of Magadha, the
cowardly Dhananand, was not roused from his stupor. That lily-livered coward
does not seem to have sent any military help to the gallant Youdheyas in order
to vanquish Alexander at the very portals of India. Nevertheless, the
Youdheyas got ready to face Alexander, relying on nothing but their own
40. When Alexander’s army came fighting to the banks of the river Vyas,
after crossing the Indus, the Vitasta, and the Chandrabhaga, they came to know
that beyond that river the democratic Youdheyas had taken arms to fight for
their independence against the Greeks. Besides, they learnt about their bravery
and also of the fact that beyond the Youdheyas mightier Indian states along the
banks of the Ganges were making ready to fight with them. Though the Greek
soldiers already spent and disgusted with unceasing warfare with the Indians in
the Panchanad, dared not cross the Vyas and join battle with the courageous and
daring Indian states like the Youdheyas and the others56.
41. But the lust for war and conquest of their war-intoxicated
enterprising, and exceptionally courageous captain-general and emperor,
Alexander, was not quenched in the least. He proclaimed, throughout all the
divisions of his army, his immutable decision to cress the Vyas, conquer the
Youdheyas and March, straight off to Magadha. This obstinate declaration of
Alexander roused a great furore and rage amongst the already war-weary army,
even amongst the veterans! The Greek soldiers secretly began to pass resolutions,
group by group, to refuse straightaway to go ahead. In spite of the fact
that they had been considering Alexander unconquerable and the son of God
Zeus, they were extremely disgusted with his lust for power. No sooner did
Alexander smell of this dissatisfaction amongst his soldiers, he delivered an
inspiring speech.
41-A "On seeing that you, O Macedonians and allies! No longer follow
me into dangers with your wonted alacrity. I have summoned you to this
assembly that I may either persuade you to go farther or to be persuaded by
you to turn back-……if we have driven the Scythians back into their deserts, and
if besides the Indus, Hydaspcs, Akesines and Hydraotes flow through the
territories that are ours, why should you hesitate to pass the Hyphasis also…? Are
you afraid…?
41-B. “For my part, I think that to a man of spirit there is no other aim and
end of his labours except the labours themselves…
41-C “But if any one wishes to know the limits of the present warfare, let
him understand that the river Ganges and the Eastern sea are now at no great
distance off…
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41-D “But if we turn back, many warlike nations extending beyond the
Hyphasis to Eastern sea and many others lying northwards between these and
Hyrkania, to say nothing of their neighbours, the Scythian tribes, will be left behind
us unconquered, so that if we turn back, there is cause to fear lest the conquered
nations, as yet wavering in their fidelity, may be instigated to revolt by those who
are still independent. O Macedonians and allies! Glory crowns the deeds of those
who expose themselves to toils and dangers…….
41-E. “Such of you as wish to return home I shall send back to your own
country, or even myself will lead you back.”
41-F. According to Smith, “he (Alexander) recited the glories of their
.wondrous conquests from Hellespont to Hyphasis and promised them the dominion
riches of all Asia. But glowing words fell on unwilling ears and were received with
painful silence, which remained unbroken for a long time” (P. 79).
42. But the effect of his inspiring speech was contrary to his expectations. As
it was now amply clear from the very lips of Alexander that they would be required
to fight more sanguinary wars of attrition, they were scared to the marrow. Dr.
Jayswal writes in his Hindu Polity, “The Greek army refused to move an inch forward
against the nations whose very name, according to Alexander, struck his soldiers
with terror”58.
43. Alexander was extremely enraged to see that his soldiers disobeyed him
by flatly— refusing to cross the Vyas in order to save all further trouble, because
they were thoroughly exhausted and afraid to fight immediately without any rest59.
But Alexander was as cunning as he was brave. Apprehending danger, Alexander
refrained from doing any thing rash in a fit of anger and straightaway walked off
into his tent in utter despair. He stopped talking to anybody. He did not show
himself outside his tent for three consecutive days60. Then he thoughtfully hatched a
new plan in his mind. He, thereafter, gathered the whole of the Greek army and told
them that he had given up the plan of crossing the Vyas. He said, “I have now
decided to go back to Greece”. This statement naturally elated the rank and file of
his army. Alexander then asked, "But how are we to go back? If we turn our backs
straightaway and go to Greece by the same route as we came along, all this Indian
Territory we have conquered would rise in revolt, thinking that we are stricken with
terror. So instead of turning our back straight off towards the land route to Greece
we should better go a little obliquely to the sea along the banks of the Indus and
then return to Persia along the sea-route. Next time when we shall come again to
India, we shall conquer the Indian states beyond the Ganges and accomplish our
conquest of India”6Oa.
44. True it is that Alexander said ‘When once again we shall come to India’-
"But O Greek Captain General, once again! Truly! But when? Let alone the kingdoms
beyond the Ganges but if these very states that you have conquered today were to
renounce the yoke of your sovereignty and become indepedent, then? Nay, even
before that next time you mentioned, if you yourself were to be no more then…?
Even the race of Zeus can succumb to the ravages of time, may it then belong to
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45. If those Indian Gymnosophists, ascetics and recluses have ridiculed
Alexander’s threat of coming back again to India in some such manner, it could
never have been out of place.
46. However loudly and pompously Alexander might have swaggered with
his mouth, the fact remains that the Greek soldiers took a fright of the Youdheyas
and others beyond the Vyas and hence Alexander could not dare cross that river!
Indian valour had taken the conceit out of the haughty spirit of the advancing Greek
army, and so they had to strike a retreat. Alexander did not retire willingly. The
Greeks proved to be powerless before the Indians, and hence was this ignoble
retreat! To hide this simple fact the Greek & European historians write, "Had he but
crossed the Vyas Alexander would have defeated not only the Youdhey but and the
Magadha empire also. The Youdheyas and the Magadhas had never actually
defeated the Greek army of Alexander on the open battlefield61.” These boastful ‘ifs’
and ‘whens’ can be answered most aptly on behalf of the valorous Indian
Youdheyas in some such way:
का कथा बाण संधाने या शदेनैष दरू त:।
हुंकारेणेव धनुष: सह वनायपोहित।। 62
– Kalidas’ Shakuntalam, Act 3 Shloka 1
[Why fight with an enemy who flees away at the mere twang of our
47. Again this typical itch of the Greek army for fighting in the open field was
to be allayed for ever by the Indian military strength a little later! Soon
Chandragupta was to make his entry on the military stage of India. Wait a bit, O
you, reader!
48. Soon after his retreat from the Vyas, Alexander had five to six hundred
warships built in order to make his way to the sea along the course of the Indus63.
Embarking thousands of his well-equipped warriors on these warships, he began to
march off to the sea through the river. About the commencement of this voyage of
Alexander along the waters of the Indus, arrived the two fresh regiments of forces
ordered from Babylon and Greece63a. Naturally, the heretofore war-weary and
rebellious freek soldiers of Alexander were cheered up once more.
49. But while Alexander was making his way towards the sea after striking
an ‘honourable’ retreat from the Vyas, a very great political conspiracy began to
shape itself most secretly throughout the Greek-trodden Indian Territory from the
banks of the Vyas right up to Gandhar. But of that conspiracy we shall have
occasion to speak in a more detailed way a little later. Here it should suffice to say
that; the Indian republics along both the banks of the Indus, whether big or smallmade
light of Alexander’s threat to come again to conquer India as nothing more
than a pompous political stunt, and prepared grimly to oppose his forces as severely
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and as stubbornly as possible. But alas! It was a decision taken separately by each
particular republic; it was not a well-organized, united effort, under a central
authority to destroy the Greeks under Alexander. Hence the same story of Gandhar
and Punchanad was repeated here, and the well organized army of Alexander, with
its superior numbers, could successfully fight each Indian republic and go ahead.
Even if these stray battles with various Indian armies did not fail to exhaust and
weaken Alexander’s forces, still they could not crush him completely. There were, of
course, some exceptions to these separatist war-efforts. Of them at least two, which
even the hostile Greek historians praise whole-heartedly and which gave such a
severe blow to Alexander, deserve a brief mention here.
50. The two republics led their separate lives along the banks of the Indus.
Both were rich, brave democracies with a high sense of honour. Of the two, Malava
republic was the more famous from the ancient times and was quite extensive.
These two republics had at times been hostile to each other. But when they saw
Alexander’s powerful navy went on defeating every single Indian state in various
battles and kept on forging its way to the sea, the political leaders of both these
republics decided to correct the mistake of these several Indian democracies which
fought singly with a vastly superior enemy, a mistake which was proving fatal to
their wider national interests. So, instead of fighting the Greek army singly, they
decided to amalgamate their fighting forces under a unified control64. Not only did
they unite their men at arms but they intermarried in order to bring about political
and social unity among them. For the intermingling of castes and blood they had a
great collective marriage ceremony, wherein at least a thousand girls from both the
‘Ganas’ (republics) were inter-married to the youths of the other republic.
51. While this unified army of the Malava-Shudrak republics was fighting
tooth and nail with the Greeks, Alexander laid siege to one their important cities.
Although the name of this city cannot be ascertained positively, it must have been
some capital city or one of similar importance. As this republican city kept on
fighting desperately the Greek siege had to prolong. The haughty Alexander could
not bear it. He thought of ordering the ladders to be put up on the ramparts of the
enemy stronghold and commanding his Greek soldiers to climb them up and
strainghtaway storm the city.
52. But the same sort of unrest and disaffection against Alexander began to
be seen in his army as was once experienced at the time of the crossing of the
Vyas. The Greek army was avowedly wending its way homeward in order to avoid
new wars. But all along the bank of the Indus they had to fight fresh battles. And
they knew that unless Alexander gave up his aggressive designs calculated to pacify
his unsatiable lust for conquests brutal wars were unavoidable. Because of this bitter
war with the Malava-Shudrak combined forces, the Greek discontent reached the
climax and there were rebellious whispers openly flouting Alexander’s commands.
52-A. ‘When the Macedonian soldiers found that they had still on hand a
fresh war which the most war-like nations (गण) would be their antagonists, they
were struck with unexpected terror and began again to upbraid the King in the
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language of sedition. (Curtius Bk. IX Ch. IV as quoted in ‘Hindu Polity’) (Mc Crindle t.
L. by, Alexander P. 234).
53. Still in the end Alexander promulgated his command to his soldiers to
climb up the ladders and leap straight into the enemy stronghold which valiantly
defied the Greek siege. Seeing that his Greek soldiers hesitated to undertake the
daring feat, that exceptionally valiant commander of the Greeks, the mighty
Alexander, himself began to climb one of the ladders put up against the ramparts of
the stronghold. At this the whole Macedonian army was suddenly inspired to do the
great deed, and all began to climb instantaneously. Once at the top of the ramparts
Alexander straightaway jumped down in the midst of the enemy and there ensued a
hand-to-hand fight between the Indian and the Greek forces.
And suddenly –
54. And suddenly an Indian warrior took out an envenomed arrow from his
sheath and applied it to his bowstring and let it fly with an unmistakable aim at the
place where Alexander stood edging on his warriors, and shining in his golden
55. It was not an arrow; it was in fact Indian revenge incarnate. To use the
lines of poet Moropant (with a slight variation, of course) we can say –
लो शर गरधरवरसा पवसा रवसा ःमरारसायकसा।
लछ दंतर घुसला वमीका माज नागनायकसा।।
(With apologies to Moropant आयाभारत-कणपव© )
56. The shaft of the Indian warrior unmistakably pierced the heart of
Alexander, and suddenly the emperor rolled down unconscious66. A Greek soldier
immediately covered him with his shield. There was a sudden hue and cry in the
Greek ranks that Alexander had been wounded, that he had fallen unconscious.
With exceptional daring the Greeks lifted him from the pool of blood and carried him
safely to his camp. There with great difficulty that terrible shaft of the Indian warrior
was extricated. The Greeks heaved a sigh of relief when after a long time of patient
nursing, Alexander gradually regained consciousness. It took several days for the
wound to heal up. During all this time Alexander was confined to bed.
57. But everywhere, in Babylon and Greece, the news that was received
reported that Alexander was killed in the war by an Indian arrow67. Consequently
there were some uprisings in Gandhar and Persia. But later on when it was known
that Alexander was only severely wounded and was now recovering, the situation
came to normalcy.
58. No wonder whatsoever, if the news of Alexander’s having fainted by a
bow-shot was greeted cheerfully throughout the Malava-Shudrak republic. Alexander
was so much puffed up with pride when King Pourav (Poros) was wounded in the
battle, that he circulated a new coin with a picture showing his fall stamped on it.
The coin is still to be seen as a mark of his vanity67a. That insult inflicted on India
was fully avenged by the Indian arrow which sent the Greek emperor rolling down
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on the battlefield in pools of blood. The Ionian Emperor, Alexander, who
unjustifiably shed Indian blood, was made to atone for it personally by the shedding
of his blood.
59. The Malava-Shudrak republic too should have stamped on some golden
coin the picture of Alexander fallen in a pool of blood with an arrow deeply thrust
into his chest. Possibly they did.
60. According to his cruel military code, he had been cruelly crushing down
the states which had opposed him. But whenever there appeared any foe who was
equally strong and who retaliated furiously, Alexander had the cunning to dissemble
nobility and frankness of heart. When he recovered from his wound, he began to
make overtures of peace to the commanders of the Malava-Shudrak army instead of
dictating his usual arrogant terms68. For cease-fire talks a hundred representatives
of the joint Malava-Shudrak republic were elected, and for them Alexander held a
grand reception ceremony in his camp. Detailed and very entertaining descriptions
of this reception are available in the books of Greek historians69. But for want of
space we have to satisfy ourselves with a brief reference to it. The hundred
representatives were, even according to the Greek standards, of uncommon height,
heavily built, having handsome muscular bodies. They were clad in valuable
embroidered clothes and had worn beautiful ornaments of gold and pearls and
precious stones. Every one of them went to the Greek camp in his well-decorated
and well-equipped golden chariot. They had with them elephants, too, with costly
and beautiful outfits. The Greeks had always felt a special fascination for the
61. Although ranking in his mind was the fact that these very representatives
of the Malava-Shudrak joint republic had brought upon him a little while ago, a
mortal danger, Alexander showed his magnanimity in that reception ceremony and
paraded his own imperial splendour. For every one of those hundred representatives
there was a special golden seat. The banquet which was given in their honour was
attended with costly wines and excellent savoury dishes68a. The grand banquet was
followed by various field games and tournaments, music and dancing. In the end, a
treaty was signed by the Malava-Shudrak representatives and Alexa.nder70.
62. The divergent accounts given about this treaty by various Greek writers
of the time have at least this much in common to tell. The Greeks and the Indians
had jointly agreed to put a stop to their hostilities and that the Malava-Shudrak
republic was not to cause any harassment to the retreating army of Alexander while
it was progressing on its way home along the Indus. Of these two valiant republics,
the Malavas will be referred to later on when; I shall be describing the wars with the
Sakas, the Yuechis and other Mlenchha powers. The fact that this Malava republic
had been prosperous and strong for many centuries to come, therefore, need not be
specially proved.
63. Even the Greek writers could not help recording some more acts or
valour during the Indian resistance to the Greek onslaught, although the details of
the time and place of their happenings are not available. Two of them are cited here
to serve as specimens.
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64. At Masaga, Alexader captured a small armed community of seven
thousand, which included several women. Alexander promised them their lives on
condition that they should join his army and fight with his Indian enemies, or else,
he threatened them with wholesalem an-slaughter. Or, as a third alternative, he
said, he would carry them off as slaves! The leaders of the community agreed to his
first proposal, but requested that they should be allowed one night for mutual
exchange of views. Alexander agreed. Thereupon these seven thousand Indians
marched towards a hill some nine miles ahead of the Greek Camp. Writes Vincent
Smith, ’The Indians being unwilling to aid the foreigners in the subjugation of their
countrymen desired to evade the unwelcome obligation’70a. So they decided to give
the slip to the Greeks. But Alexander came to know of their intention. So while they
were sleeping for a little rest, Alexander fell upon them all of a sudden with his huge
army and began to cut down everyone. There was a great havo amongst those
Indians. But within a short time they drew up their swords and other weapons. They
made a hollow circular formation, gathering the women and children inside it, and
faced the Greek attack most heroically. A good many women also were found
desperately fighting with the foe. Till almost all of them were killed they kept on
fighting for the freedom of their nation.
64-A. “The gallant defenders met a glorious death which they would have
disclaimed to exchange for a life with dishonour.” (Early History of India, by Vincent
Smith 1924, Page 59)
65. This little Indian republic of the Agrashrenis too, instead of surrendering,
fought to the last with the vast Greek navy of Alexander as it was making its
headway to the sea through the course of the Indus. When the Greeks attacked
their very capital these brave Indian warriors erected blockades and barricades at
different intervals and fought every inch of their ground so tenaciously that
Alexander could not enter the city before he had sacrificed many Greek lives.
According to Curtius71, “when those brave fellows could not further resist the odds,
they (the Agrashrenis) set their houses on fire and their wives and children and all
threw themselves into the flames71a!" That is to say, they ‘made johar’ (to use later
day phraseology).
66. We generally believe that this magnificent and awe-inspiring tradition of
‘johar’ or self-immolation of large groups of men and women in times of national
crisis was originally practised by the Rajputs only. But instances, like the one just
mentioned, cited by the Greek writers who were astounded to witness them, go to
prove that, even before the name of the Rajputs was ever heard of, this splendid
tradition was followed by our Indian warriors right from the ancient days. The word
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‘johar’ is comparatively modern. It was perhaps derived from the war-cry ‘Jai Har’!
The Indian God of war and destruction is Har! Har! Mahadev!! That is why the
Indians fought desperately inspired by this deafening war-cry! The Marathas too
used the same war-cry ‘Har, Har, Mahadev!’ After fighting to the last, when every
hope of success was over, or every chance of escape from the enemy was lost, this
johar, this martyrdom, this noblest type of self-sacrifice was resorted to by the
Hindus as the last unfailing weapon to save their religion, their nation, their own
self-respect and to avoid capacity, abject slavery and hateful conversion! As soon as
all men of fighting age were slain on the battlefield after taking the greatest toll of
the enemy blood, their wives, mothers, daughters, hundreds of them, with babies at
their breasts, used to leap into the burning pyres, specially kept ready for the
purpose, and were reduced to ashes. This was what .known as ‘Johar was it was not
an easy job! It was the limits of valour and endurance for the sake of keeping up
the prestige of one’s self and one’s own religion!
67. Whoever had donned this exceptional armour of ‘johar’ and its leaping
flames were beyond all attempts of an Alexander, an Alla-ud-Din or a Salim-why,
even of Satan himself-to pollute them and convert them to his religion! Confronted
with this horrible sacrificial fire the enemy stood aghast, discomfited and crestfallen.
68. The above-mentioned ‘johar’-collective immolation of lives-by the
Agrashrenis is one of the many described\ by the astounded Greek writers, and
which the Indians preferred to the humiliation of being the captives of the Greeks.
69. At last when Alexander’s naval force reached the mouth of the Indus,
fighting incessantly all the way, it met with yet other independent republics. These
‘janapadas’ or ‘Ganas’ were like the small Greek city-states, and had none amongst
them which could ably withstand with equal numbers the mighty and numerous
army of Alexander. Still one of them, the ‘Brahmanak janapad’ made up its mind to
cross swords with, rather than submit to, Alexander. This was the same ‘Brahmanak
janapad’ which is referred to by Panini, says Dr. Jayaswal71b. It is already told how,
while fighting in the Panchanad (the Punjab), Alexander had wreaked his
rancourous revenge against the clan of philosophers, especially the Brahmans.
When Alexander learnt that it was the same clan of Brahmans, to which this small
state belonged, he decided to whack his malicious stroke upon it with all his might.
Plutarch (McCrindJe ‘Invasion of India by Alexander’ P. 306; V; A. Smith E. H. I. P.
106) writes in his ‘Life of Alexander’, “These philosophers were specially marked
down for revenge by Alexander as they gave him no less trouble than the
mercenaries. They reviled the princes who declared for Alexander and encouraged
free states (in India) to revolt against his authority. On this account he hanged
many of them” (Ch LIX).
69-A. That little ‘Janapad’ too fought to the last with these Greeks for the
sake of its national honour and independence.
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70. What now is called by the Muslims, Sindh Hyderabad, was at that time
known as Pattanprastha. In Sanskrit language the cities along the sea-shore or at
the mouths of rivers were mostly called ‘Pattan’. Pattan is equivalent to the English
word ‘Port’. Perhaps the English word ‘Port’ might have been a corruption of the
Sanskrit ‘Pattan’. When Alexander neared the sea this small state of Pattanprastha
was confronted with a dilemma: to surrender to the enemy was most hateful to the
Pattanprasthis’, but they knew full well that they would never be able to fight with
the powerful Greek army on equal ground. So they resolved the dilemma by
forsaking, collectively, their native country, their homes and landed property and
motherland with sad hearts72.
71. That part of the ocean where the Indus flows into it should really be
called Sindhusagar. Sindhusagar, a name for the sea to the west of India is a fitting
counterpart for the Gangasagar, a traditional name for the eastern sea.
72. On first reaching the sea, Alexander divided his army into two parts. The
first batch he sent back to Iran (Persia) by a land route through what now goes by
the name of Balucbistan73. The whole of Alexander’s army had been thoroughly
exhausted in this expedition to India. Moreover, Baluchistan, at that time was full of
impregnable forests and thoroughly unknown to the Greeks. So, the Greek division,
sent this way, somehow reached Persia, after so many hazards and privations. On
the other hand, Alexander himself set sail by the sea-route with another division of
his army and reached Persia74. As the whole of the old Persian Empire had now
formed a part of Alexander’s greater demsne he went to his capital namely Babylon.
But he did not return to the capital in that same triumpnant spirit in which he had
started on his Indian campaign two years ago, with a view to winning for himself
the vauntful title of the Emperor of India. Not only did he not return like the
Emperor of India, he did not even appear to be an emperor at all. He returned just
like an ordinary commander of an army despaired and worn out after a long-drawn
and hazardous campaign.
73. The cause of this disappointment of Alexander was that the Greeks up to
that time knew only one empire, worth the name, -much more extensive than their
own Persia! When these Greeks marched upon that Persian emipre under their
uncommonly brave and brilliant commander, Alexander, and when after only two or
three campaigns the vast Persian Empire fell before them like a paper palace, they
were so much flushed with their victory that they fondly considered their
commander to be endowed with divine qualities, and as such unconquerable.
Alexander himself could not escape the infection of pride. His ambition to win for
himself the over lordship of the whole world soared to the sky. Bharat appeared to
him just next to and as easy a prey as, Persia. So very vast a land and so very
weak!!! So he wanted to crown his Persian conquest with the glittering diadem of
the Indian imperial authority. Greedily enough he ran to have it with all haste!
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74. But the experience he had was quite contrary to what he had expected.
In India he had to face the bitterest. Opposition at every step. Although he never
lost a battle as such, his Greek army was completely exhausted and exasperated in
the very process of winning them. These victories were far too costlier than the ones
in Persia, and all their vauntful declarations of conquering India as easily as Persia
proved to be empty words ‘full of sound and fury signifying nothing’. And in the end
he had to return with the acquisition of only a small strip of land along’ the Indus
75. Thus was Alexander disappointed and to a certain extent insulted. But
that valiant emperor was not downcast! He was itching to return once again to India
after stabilizing things in the newly conquered regions of India and annexing them
permanently to his vast empire, like those of Syria, Persia, Babylon and others.
76. Alexander declared the annexation of the region from Hindukush and
Gandhar to Taxila (Takshasheela), half of the Panclhanad up to the river Vyas, and
that from the confluence of .the Vitasta with the Indus to the sea. He appointed the
Indian King Ambuj or Ambhi of Taxila his governor (Satrap) of the Hindukush
region75,’ and King Porus as his governor of the Panchanad. To the third but narrow
strip of land along the Indus, were appointed his two trusted Greek generals, Philip
and Nicanor, under whom he placed the mobile force of the Greeks. He established
in India some townships too, one of which was Alexandria in the direction of Taxila76.
77. Before Alexander decided to stabilize things in the Indian Territory he had
recently captured, he learnt that the local democratic institutions refused to accept
his over lordship77. Even while Alexander was in Sindh, he received intelligence of a
revolt by the Indian subjects in Gandhar. He was about to send a fresh and large
Greek army to Gandhar. But in quick succession followed another disturbing news of
a fresh conspiracy being hatched in the Punjab (Panchanad) to overthrow Alexander
completely. But Alexander could at that time do nothing to thwart any such attempts
at revolt. During his campaign against India not only his army but he himself was
completely exhausted. To add to it, his addiction to drinking had grown beyond all
limits of safety; he suddenly took ill and died in B.C. 323. That is to say, hardly
within a-year-and-a-half of his return from India with all his army the great Greek
(Macedonian) Emperor breathed his last at Babylon78.
78. As has already been told, as soon as Alexander began to retreat along
the Indus, some of the Indian politicians began hatching out a secret plan
against the Greeks in the Punjab to win back their lost freedom. But it was not
merely aimed at the recovery of the lost territory. It was essentially to overhaul
and revolutionize the whole gamut of the political life of India and to bring about
a sweeping change in the internal life of the country. Even if Alexander had not
died so soon, the deep-laid Indian plot was destined to achieve this daring
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political revolution. This sudden death of Alexander, however, gave Indian
political workers an unexpected golden opportunity and they were quick enough
to utilize it for the overthrow of the Greek power.
79. Alexander had left behind Nicanor and Philip as the chief
representatives of the Greeks. When the news of Alexander’s death reached
India the Indians in the republic of the Ashvinis suddenly fell upon the Greek
Governor, Philip, and assassinated him along with his small Greek regiment79.
The second, Nicanor, was also similarly despatched,80 and all those monarchies
and republics along the banks of the Indus which had acquiesced in the Greek
overlordship, shook it off at once and proclaimcd their independence forthwith.
Greek colonies, Greek ensigns and standards-whatever signified the Greek power
were completely destroyed on the spot. The whole of the tract along the banks
of the Indus right from the Panchanad to Sindh which Alexander had conquered
and annexed for ever and anon to his empire, became independent within six
months of Alexander’s death81.
80. Alexander had conquered states und countries and empires like Greece,
Syria, Persia, Babylon, Egypt and the like. There founded Greek cities and Greek
colonies, and even after the division of his vast empire, just after his death, his
governors and military commanders and their dcscendants ruled the respective
regions like Babylon for centuries together. Even now in some other countries cities
exist with the name Alexanderia, and Alexander’s name is ever crowned with the
honorifix ‘The Great’ throughout ancient history.
81. But what happened in Bharat? The small states and republics in the
farthest corner of India which Alexander had annexed to his empire under the
impression that he had conquered them for ever and for ever, after fighting incessantly
on various battlefields for two long years and shedding the blood of millions of
Greek and Hindu soldiers – those very Indian states and republics and monarchies
literally uprooted his power, his standard, the Greek coloniesand every hated sign of
the Greek victry-and that too witJrin six months or at the most a year81a !
82. At last, not to speak of the city of Alexandria which he had established,
his own name too is not to be traced anywhere in Indian history, as if there never
was any invasion, any aggression on India’s borderland of any Mlenchh (Yavan)
emperor, named Alexander, who dinned the ears of the people throughout Europe
with his proud title, ‘The Great’! Curiously enough, even no stray reference has yet
been discovered in Vedic or Jain or Buddhist ancient literature.
83. Writes Vincent Smith in his famous Early History of India: “All these
proceedings prove conclusively that Alexander intended the permanent annexation of
those (Indian) provinces to his empire…. But within three years of his departure from
India (fron 325 BC to 322 BC) his officers in India were ousted, his garrisons
destroyed and all traces of his rule had disappeard. The colonies which he founded in
India, unlike those established elsewhere in Asiatic provinces took no root. His
campaign though carefully designed to secure a permanent conquest was in actual
effect no more than a brilliantly successful raid on a gigantic scale which left upon
India no mark save the horrid scars of a bloody war. India remained unchanged. She
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continued her life of splendid isolation and soon forgot the passing of the
Macedonian storm. No Indian author-Hindu, Buddhist or Jain-makes even the faintest
allusion to Alexander or his deeds;” (Page 117).
84. Who were the most prominent leaders of this political conspiracy which
wiped out, within a period of six months or a year, the whole of foreign political
dominance caused Alexander’s aggression right from the Panchanad to Sindh?
History as yet is ignorant of their names81b! Still two of them at least have become
immortal! They are the same two men whom I have mentioned while describing
A1exander’s advance up to Taxila. The first was a brilliant and smart youth, who had
just completed his studies at the University of Taxila, Chandragupta! And the other
was Acharya Chanakya, who had been a teacher at that University and who later on
gave practical lessons in political craft and political revolutions to the young
Chandragupta! As they were to lead the whole of Bharat hereafter, it is fit and
proper that they should be introduced here.
85. Like all other great men of the ancient world Chandragupta and Chanakya
have their life-stories clouded with legends, ancedotes and imaginary accounts.
Those who are interested in them for the sake of intellectual entertainment may
profitably read Radhakumud Mukherjee’s ‘Chandragupta Maurya And His Times’. We
shall give here only so much of their lives as appear to us to have historical sanction.
86. Some small bands of the Shakyas, amongst whom was born the great
Lord Gautam Buddha, had at one time to shift to far off regions because of some
disastrous calamity that had befallen them. They called themselves Kshatriyas.
However, in those adverse days those displaced Shakyas began to follow other
professions for their livelihood. There happened to be a plentiful breed of peacocks
in the forest where these trtbes later on lived. To keep these peacocks and sell them
became one of their professions. So they had ‘Moriya’ as their nickname, and the
Moriyas formed a class by themselves. One family of these Moriyas came back to
settle in the vicinity of Pataliputra. One woman of that Moriya tribe named Mura
(Mayura) somehow got access to the harem of the royal palace and soon became
the concubine of the Emperor, Mahapadmanand-or ‘Dhananand’ as he was generally
called. Her son from this Nanda Emperor was the same Emperor Chandragupa.
87. However, when Chandragupta became an emperor, the story of his birth
might have appeared derogatory to his greatness and therefore in some books of the
time the story was slight1y altered to mean that Muradevi was the wedded queen of
the Nanda emperor, not his concubine, which in consequence meant that
Chandragupta was a legitimate royal prince and not an illegitimate one.
88. But a third anecdote seems to outdo both the above, stories saying that
Mura and Emperor Nanda were in no way connected. Mura had a son from her
husband of the same clan and that son was Chandragupta himself. Later on with the
help and guidance of Arya Chanakya and with his own valour he raised his poor
father and mother to eminence and after wresting the imperial power from the
Nandas he founded the Maurya Dynasty82.
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89. It seems a common weakness among all human societies and
communities, in a greater or lesser degree, to attempt to judge the greatness or
meanness of an individual, not so much from his manifest virtues or vices as from
the race, the community or the family he is born in. That is why as the time passes
such inflated anecdotes about their family tradition are propagated and popularized
through plays, poems and novels or through folk-lores. There are other anecdotes
too besides the ones referred to above, which seek to ascribe greatness or meanness
to Chandragupta. But for the reasons giyen above they need not be mentioned here.
90. Was Chandragupta a concubine’s son? Was he not a Kshatriya? What
matters though! Chandragupta could have said with justifiable pride, “More than
any of you, nominal caste-born Kshatriyas, who bowed your heads to the
Mlenchhas, the Greek emperor and his commanders, I, a ‘peerless’
Chandragupta, have a greater claim to being a Kshatriya in as much as with my
sword I have completely vanquished those very Mlenchhas in every battlefield.”
With the same haughty affront of Kama, he could have flung in the face of those
railing enemies the following words :
सूतो वा सूतपुऽो वा यो वा को वा भवायहम।् ।
दैवायं कु ले जम मदायं तु पौषम।् ।
– वेणीसंहार of Bhatta Narayan, Act III, 37
[“Whether a charioter or a charioter’s son. or whoever (else) I may be,
(that is of no consequence !) Birth in a (noble) family depends on fate; but
manliness depends on me I”]
91. The son of Mura is a Maurya! That is precisely why Chandragupta is
called a Maurya. Proud of his maternal extraction Chandrgupta designated his
royal family as Maurya and immortalized the name of his mother, Muradevi in
Indian history. The Maurya emperors accepted the same Moriya caste too, (one
which traded in peacocks) that belonged to his mother. The guardian deity of the
Maurya family is also a ‘Peacock’. This fact is corroborated by rock inscriptions.
The Ashoka pillar found at Nandangad bears at the foot a picture of a peacock.
The stories from the life of Ashoka inscribed on the celebrated ‘stupas’ at Sanchi
have similar figures of peacock carved beside them82a.
92. Mahapadmanand was the emperor ruling at that time over the vast Magadha
empire. He was already very unpopular because of his many vices82b. His subjects were
exasperated because of the heavy taxes, levied on them in order to satisfy his lust for gold.
People called him Dhananand instead of Mahapadmanand in order to deride him for his
excessive lust for money82C. He could come to the throne because he happened to be the
brother of the earlier emperor, but he had not a single virtue, fit for an emperor! He would
have proved his worth had he but taken up the challenge of Alexander and crushed him in the
Panchanad when the latter had marched on India and when he had proudly declared his
intention of conquering Magadha and be the emperor of India. He should have at least
undertaken such a great expedition as to overthrow the Greeks and free the Indian territory
subjugated by them to deserve the title of an emperor! But he did nothing of the kind, and
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meekly swallowed the insult hurled at him by Alexander! This cowardliness on his part made,
on the one hand, every self-respecting and nationalist Indian despise him, while, on the other,
made him crafty. He hated the selfless national politicians. In order to undermine their
prestige, he insulted them publicly. A really capable person was invariably an objcct of his
hatred and was subjected to malicious treatment.
93. From this Mahapadmanand, it is said, his concubine, Mura, had the
illustrious son, Chnndragupta. Some anecdotes pertaining to Chandragupta’s
childhood are available but they are far too few and merely hearsay stories. What
appears to be certain is only this that the cowardly but crafty Mahapadma nand
began to fear the young Chandragupta, shining with his sharp wit, his daring and
ambitious spirit, seeking to exercise his rights as the heir to the throne, bastard as
he was. He feared that under the leadership of this unrestrained bastard son, his
antagonists would not fail to dethrone him! Mahapadmanand very well knew how his
very Nanda forerunners had vanquished the original Shishunag dynasty of Magadha
and usurped the throne! Under some such apprehension there appears to have
occurred some clash which Mahapadmanand used as a pretext to banish
Chandragupta out of the precincts of the Magadhan empire82d. The intervening
account is permanently lost to oblivion. Hereafter Chandragupta makes his
appearance in the University of Taxila (Takshasheela) as a royal prince having his
lessons in politics and the science and art of war. An anecdote which is current in
that region viz. that he got access to this university mainly tbtough the good offices
of renowned and learned Arya Chanakya may have some grain of truth in it83.
Chandragupta had already been studying in the manner described above at this
university for about six or seven years when Alexander attacked India. There, for the
first time, this illustrious disciple of Chanakya, this young Chandragupta, began to
shine with his exceptional brillance in the sacred national conspiracy that was being
hatched by the Indian patriots and politicians to avenge the insults heaped on the
Indian nation by the Greeks and to liberate the territory lost to them.
94. Young Chandragupta seems to have secretly wandered through the Greek
camps in order to study the peculiar features of the Greek armoury, the Greek
military formations and war strategy. For he was once caught by the Greek sentries
on suspicion that he was reconnoitring in the emperor’s camp84. The report reached
Alexander himself and the Maeedonian emperor summoned the disguised Indian
youth to his presence. Some even think that the said youth went to see Alexanaer by
previous appointment.
95. That valiant Macedonian supreme commander and emperor Alexander, in his
thirties and the future Indian captain-general and emperor Chandragupta just on the thresbold
of his twenties, but as yet merely a wandering nonentity stood face to face sizing up each
other for a few moments! It appeared as if two lustrous suns, one fast approaching his zellith
and the other not as yet risen fully out of the misty shroud of the early dawn, were staring at
each other’s eyes.
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96. This strange interview is not likely to have lasted for more than half an
hour. But it has truly proved to be a historical marvel of perennial interest!
97. Even while almost all the Greek- writers85 allude to this strange interview,
nobody can say for certain what exactly transpired between the two or what words
were exchanged by them. One or two of them write only this much that
Chandragupta said distinctly that he was related to the royal family of Magadh or
something to that effect85a. This much is certain that to the questions put by
Alexander, Chandragupta answered boldly and resolutely! In that strange parely
something went wrong and Alexander ordered the youth to be taken out of the camp
forthwith. Instantly the fiery youth left the camp, but in the meanwhile when
Alexander changed his mind and called again for the youth in his presence, he was
now here to be found again85b.
98. Arya Chanakya was born in a Brahmin family and his name was
Vishnugupta. His name Chanakya must have probably been derived from his native
town of Chanak. But he is more particularly known by his name Chanakya. Koutilya is
one more name by which he is equally well-known. His great and abiding work is
known as Koutiliya Arthashastra. Koutilya must have been formed from his original
family name (गोऽ नाम) Kutal. He was well-versed in almost all the sciences of the
time and was renowned at the University of Taxila and also amongst the learned
circle of India, as a great scholar. He was ugly in appearance. Later on, when after
the imperial revolution of Magadha his name gained great fame not only all over
India but even in Greece and other foreign countries, as the guide and preceptor of
Chandragupta’s early years and later as the chief minister of the Indian empire,
several hearsay stories sprang up as to his early age, as they did regarding
Chandragupta and Alexander. Several references to them based on solid grounds or
otherwise are to be found in many literary works, dramas, folk-lores, written many
centuries after the deaths of both Chandragupa and Chanakya. These referenees in
Jain, Buddhist and Vedic literatures are not wholly reliable86. Even in a Sanskrit
drama, his character has been depicted in an unrealistic manner for the sake of
dramatic effect. As such the ridiculous descriptions of his ugliness or of his ungainly
teeth or the childish reports, that he picked up from amongst the uneducated rustic
children playing in the street one reckless Chandragupta to be made the future
emperor of India simply because he took a fancy for the child, or because his knowledge
of palmistry guided his choice, cannot be taken as historical truths. However,
more discerning research-workers should necessarily investigate if there is any basis
for them.
99. One such anecdote about Arya Chanakya should be discussed here as an
illustration. For, it is being taught in the present-day schools in that very perverted
form. The said anecdote purports to say that because he became famous as a great
scholar in the University of Taxila (Takshasheela) and the regions round about. Arya
Chanakya was appointed as the Chairman of the Grants Commission (दानाय) in the
royal palace of Mahapadmanand at Pataliputra87. While he was working in that high
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office, Emperor Mahapadmanand came there one day on his inspection rounds. But
he laughed at his teethless ugly mouth and his unshapely body, at which Chanakya
took a great affront. Therefore, Nanda pulled him down instantly and, as is written in
some books, pulled his tuft of hair till it was uprooted and finally ordered him to be
driven out of the palace. The fiery Brahmin instantly retorted saying “I shall drag you
down from your throne and completely destroy the Nanda dynasty and then and
then alone shall tie up my tuft of brain.” With this grave vow he marched straight out
of the pa1ace88.
100. But let it be remembered that Emperor Nanda had come there to inspect
the work of the Charity Department, not to visit a beauty parlour! How is it plausible,
then, that Mahapadmanand who had himself appointed that learned scholar to the
high office of the President of the Charitable Grants Department, wou1d now say
that because of his ugly features Arya Chanakya was unfit for that post? The office
of the Chairman of the said Grants Department required the expert knowledge of the
religious sciences and judicial procedure, not physical beauty! But there is a more
potent objection than this one to disprove this foolish anecdote. This anecdote
implies that Chanakya revolted against Emperor Nanda because of his personal insult
alone, and that, had he not been thus insulted, he would have remained a loyal
servant of Mahapadmanand, that the India-wide revolution that he successfully
brought about was not for the sake of freeing the Indian land from the foreign
Mlenchcha domination, but only to avenge his personal insult! For this very reason
this anecdote is clearly perverted.
101. When as a strategy in politics Shivaji went to Agra accepting the
overlorship of Aurangzeb, the latter insulted him, and when there was a clash of
words, Shivaji was put under arrest. But Shivaji slipped away most miraculously and
skilfully and declared war against Aurangzeb. If, after telling this story, any wiseacre
were to conclude that it was because he was personally insulted that Shivaji bore a
grudge against Anrangzeb and established an independent kingdom for himself, that
he had no higher motive of the emancipation of his religion and country, it would be
the height of absurdity and foolishness. Equally absurd and foolish would it be to say
that it was only to avenge his personal insult by Emperor Nanda that Arya Chanakya
brought about a political revolution by exterminating the Nanda dynasty.
102. It is not true to say that because of his personal insult Shivaji revolted
against Aurangzeb. On the contrary, Aurangzeb had taken a fright that it is to
overthrow his alien religious domination that Shivaji had taken arms, fired as he was
with a glowing fervour for Hindutwa. That is why he insulted Shivaji and relegated
him to captivity! In a similar way because Mahapadmanand had secret reports that
availing himself of the weakness of the reigning monarch, Arya Chanakya was busy
conspiring against him so as to overthrow the Nanda empire, the Emperor Nanda
insulted him in his royal palace and at that very moment the illustrious Brahmin Arya
Chanakya retorted boldly, ‘If I am a true Chanakya I shall see to it that your
tyrannical rule is overthrown so that Bharat might prosper”. This is how the anecdote
should be explained.
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103. A very solid proof for this is available to us in the very Koutiliya
Arthashastra written by Chanakya himself. While introducing the writer it is said (in
the very book)—
चाणय इित वयात: ौोऽीय: सवधम व।।
…मुिारास उपोान Telang’s edition P. 44
ये न शं च शां च नंदराज गताच भू:।।
अमषगोघतृ ायाशु तेन शाःतिमदं कृ तम।् । É अथश ा P. 429
“He who destroyed the Nanda and rejuvenated the national armed strength,
as also the nationnl scientific advance, which were decaying under the Nanda regime
and thus caused the uplift of his Bharatbhoomi, has written this treatise.” He has not
used even a single word in these introductory lines to say that he destroyed Nanda
to avenge his personal insult. It is for the progress and prosperity of his own nation
and motherland that Nanda was destroyed! Chanakya’s great work itself tells it
104. The anecdote which is told in a downright dramatic way perhaps means
only this, that his original nationalistic animus towards Nanda was whetted the more
because of this personal insult.
105. Chanakya had been living in the vicinity of Taxila good many years
before the aggression of Alexander89. He had a first-hand knowledge of the political
situation in tlfe Bharatiya frontier territories right up to the Indus.
106. Just adjoining the borderland of India had stretched far and wide the
unitary and centrally well organized nation inimical to India. Chanakya was shrewd
enough to understand that in the event of an aggression by such a well-organised
and inimical country, the small native democracies and monarchies from the
Panchanad to the Indus would utterly fail in the open battlefield, if they were to fight
107. Just then a practical demonstration of the abovementioned axiom took
place in Greece. The moment the Persian Emperor invaded Greece the small Greek
city-states like their prototypes in India, were convulsed to their bones. In the end, it
is only when Philip and Alexander conqucred all of those separatist Greek city-states
and forged them into a powerful empire was it possible for then: to vanquish the
Persian Empire. Chanakya was not slow to understand its significance.
108. He arrived at the firm conviction that vis-a-vis a powerful and extensive
inimical empire as its neighbour, India had only one way to defend its independence
and make its administrative machinery strong enough to withstand any foreign
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aggression and that was to boil down all the smaller monarchies and republics and to
forge out of them a centralized, unitary and strong empire.
l08-A. But there was not a single Indian monarchy or republic throughout the
whole of the region right from Gandhar, Panjab to the Indus delta, which could
execute this plan of Chanakya, who had already appraised their capability and
inclination. Naturally his next choice fell on the only mighty empire of North India,
namely Magadha. His head full of plans for the future Indian revolution, Arya
Chanakya came again to Magadha in order to study secretly the political situation
visiting every place right from a poor man’s cottage to the royal palace. As such he
was trying to get access to the King’s court on some pretext or the other. When the
question of the appointment of Arya Chanakya of the Chairman of the ‘Grants’
department’ (दानाय) was mooted Nanda did not object to it because till then he
had known nothing else of Arya Chanakya, but of his scholarship. This appointment
greatly helped Arya Chanakya to perfect his secret revolutionary plans.
109. But before long Emperor Nanda had reports that Arya Chanakya was not
a scholar pure and simple, but an expert organiser of secret plots and was at that
time busy plotting against him. Enraged at this, he publicly insulted Arya Chanakya
as already told before, deprived him of his authority as the Chairman of the Grants’
Department, and expelled him out of his imperial precincts. Being thus outlawed,
Chanakya returned again to Taxila.
110. In the meanwhile, the young bastard son Chandragupta being exiled, as
has been already told, from the Magadhan court by Emperor Nanda, went to Taxila
and joined Chanakya-an incident which proved most favourable to that patriot’s
ambitous plans of establishing an all-India empire.
111. If he were to dethrone the weak and wicked Nanda and crown in his
place on the throne of the Magadha empire any outsider, the tradition-loving
important persons from amongst the feudatories, the Indian princes and even the
common people would probably have opposed vehemently, even though the chosen
person had been endowed with the most excellent qualities whereas Chandragupta,
though not a lawful royal prince had some native blood-relation to the throne as the
bastard son of the Emperor of Magadha. He was, moreover endowed with valour and
other qualities of head and heart. As such the arch-diplomat Chanakya shrewdly
guessed that even these votaries of tradition were far less likely to oppose
Chandragupta’s election to the throne of Magadha. He, therefore, determined to
champion the claim of Chandragupta to the emperorship of Magadha–why even to
that of the whole of India.
112. While the grand plan of an India-wide empire of Chanakya-and-
Chandragupta was thus being set afoot the unfortunate event of a foreign invasion
was reported towards Persia. Alexander had already destroyed the empire of Persia
and had invaded India. Although, as has been related in the foregoing page, he was
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staunchly opposed by the Bharatiya valour and forced to retreat home, it was plain
that Alexander’s well organized imperial military might was not totally annulled.
113. Even out of this evil some good did emerge. The republican subjects of
the frontier regions, with their faith in democratic principles shaken rudely by the
heavy knock of a foreign invasion and the bloody wars that followed, began to agree
with Chanakya and other patriotic prophets that national independence was in peril
unless a countrywide Indian empire was established on the lines of the vast, highly
centralized, well-organized and unitary form of empire of the enemy.
114. The first happy sign of this revolutionary spirit was seen in the general
uprising throughout the smaller states and republics, conquered by Alexander and
annexed to his empire, and in the fact that hardly within six months or a year of
Alexander’s death these Indian territories shook off the foreign rule and became
independent. Justin, an ancient, renowned writer, credits the leadership of Chandragupta
with the authorship of this wonderful and noble collective uprising. “India after
the death of Alexander had shaken, as it were, the yoke of servitude from its neck
and put his governors to death. The author of this liberation was Sandrocottus.” The
Sandrocottus of this quotation is Chandragupta. The Greeks pronounced the name of
Chandragupta in this very way.
115. Although the general rising in these frontier provinces was successful
under the guidance of Chandragupta, Chanakya and others, the followers of
Chanakya began to warn an princes and political leaders, that it had not as yet made
Indian independence completely safe from the future Greek onslaught, They went on
preaching everywhere that Alexander himself had vowed till the day of his death that
he would invade Indian onee again and conquer it thoroughly, that the “chief officers
of his state and commanders were at war with one another for the division of the
Greek empire, that the triumphant one among them who would ascend the throne at
Babylon would not fail to attack India with an army more powerful than before and
that the first victims to that aggression would be these very people, if they remained
disunited us separate Rajakas (monarchies) and Prajakas (republics). But if they
availed themselves of this opportunity of the civil feuds of the Greeks and if they
could merge the whole of India into a strong empire with an efficient administration
at the centre, this new Indian empire stronger than that of the Greeks, could very
easily beat the Mlenchchsas were they to come once again aggressively. Hence they
said India should be built into one strong nation!
116. Without wasting even a single moment of the golden opportunity of the
Greek internecine wars, Chandragupta and other followers of Chanakya began
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openly to raise a powerful army to march first of all against Magadha according to
Chanakya’s plan of the political revolution. A few but very telling references to this
fact are to be found in the critique named ‘Mahavamsha’90. From these and from
other sources it appears that this invading army of Chandragupta was mainly
composed of the soldiers from Panchanad, the Pauravas and the republics who were
inspired with the preaching of Chankya for a unitary Indian empire. In order to enlist
the sympathies of the Parvateshwara i.e. King Paurav, who was a powerful king in
those provinces Chanakya is said to have met him secretly. As Alexander’s sway had
been completely thrown off from the Indian territories, King Paurav was no longer a
subordinate satrap of the Greeks. From stray references in some books it appears
that only King Paurav offered his support for Chanakya’s cause, but some wealthy
people too helped him actively. Chanakya offered the command of the whole army to
Chandragupta. After establishing their hold on all possible regions of Panchanad,
they marched speedily on Magadha91. The Indian populace and the local powers
disgusted with and enraged at the tyrannical and weak rule of the Nanda and
inspired by Channkya’s ideal of a strong unitary empire of the whole of India, joined
Chandragupta’s army as it marched ahead fighting92.
117. In this daring and stormy march of theirs Chandragupta and
Chanakya had many times to face very grave dangers to their lives. Once their
whole army was routed by a violent knock of the opposing forces and both
Cbandragupta and Chanakya had to flee into the forest to save their lives93. One
night they had to sleep on the bare hard ground, but undeterred by any of these
calamities, Chandragupta and Chanakya formed their armies again and again and
kept on marching ahead and in the end entered the precincts of Pataliputra, the
Magadhan capital itself.
118. The arch-diplomat, Chanakya, had bribed the army and the people in the capital
of Nanda. On the strength of this general sedition the daring Chandragupta fell like an arrowshot
upon the city of Pataliputra.
119. When Chandragupta’s army rushed into the capital blocking it very rigidly from
every side there was a great havoc everywhere. Chandragupta himself enterd the royal palace,
but Mahnpadmanand had already left it in the gcneral disorder that had ensured and was
trying to slip out of the capital secretly. He was, however, caught on tbe way and beheaded
almost instantaneously94.
120. Chandragupta was soon proclaimed Emperor of Magadha. He
adopted Maurya as his family name after that of his mother, Mura. Hence he and
his royal dynasty came to be known for ever in history by that very name
‘Maurya’. As soon as he publicly ascended the throne of Magadha he appointed
Chanakya as the Chief Minister of the empire, approximately in B.C. 32195.
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121. Alexander died round about B.C. 323. It means, therefore, that within
about two years Samrat Chandragupta and Chanakya effected this gigantic
revolution which established the indepedent and powerful Indian empire dispelling all
gloom of despondency and disintegration, while on the other side the Greek feudal
lords were quarrelling amongst themselves96. In order to avail himself fully of this
opportunity, Chanakya immediately busied himself with the establishment of internal
peace and order.
122. But the peace and order of even a unitary empire ultimately depends on
its military strength alone which forms the bed-rock of the whole imperial structure.
This was the basic principle of Chanakya’s political theory. Warlike spirit and armedstrength,
he said, were the very life-breath not only of the political but also the civil
life of a community. Let that warlike spirit mitigate itself a bit and all religions, all
sciences, all arts, why the whole life of a nation, is doomed!
सव धमा ूयेयुववृा: । ाऽे ये राजधम पुराणे।। 97
‘In the event of the Kshatriyas forsaking their old kingly duty aIl the religions
are (bound) to perish’. A huge building without a (proper) foundation, as also, an
empire without an (adequate) military strength are bound to topple down even with
a stormy wave of wind. Arya Chanakya, who preached all this, first of all began to
reorganize a huge powerful army, which was well-commanded and inspired with the
ambition to win in order to defend the newly-born empire. This he did with such an
amazing speed that during the three or four years not only his subjects came to have
faith in his great powers but also the enemies of India began to fear it.
123. What did this huge army of Chandragupta so well planned and so well
organised amount to?
124. Hardly four years earlier when Chandragupta-Chanakya vowed secretly
to establish an independent Indian empire under a unitary command their armed
might was literally nil! That very Chandragupta who started with this ‘nil’ had now a
well equipped loyal army of 6,00,000 foot soldiers, 30,000 cavalry 2,000 warelephants
and 4,000 chariots98!
125. With this powerful army, Chanakya wiped out the chaos created by the
separatist small states, republics and monarchies in north India which wanted to lead
an independent life of their own, and established peace and unitary organization. In
the end all the territory on this side of the Indus up to the Panjab, the Kingdom of
the Pauravas and Sindh proper were annexed to the Mauryan empire99.
126. Had any political thinker and administrator or an Indian emperor felt
proud to have established for the first time such a unitary Bharatiya emperor, it,
would have been but natural.
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127. But Chandragupta and Chanakya were not satisfied with extending the
boundaries of their empire up to the banks of the Indus only, they had vowed to
establish the Bharatiya empire over the whole of India and to annihilate the unruly
Mlenchchas! At that time the (north western) frontier of India did not rest with the
eastern bank of the Indus. But it reached much farther beyond the India so as to
include among its fold the regions like the Gandhar and the rivers now lost to
Afghanisthan, but once well-known to Vedic Aryans, like the Kubha (the Kabul of
today) the Kramu (the Kurram of today), the Suwastu (the Swat of today), Gomati
(the Gumal of today) and others, right up to the peaks of the Hindukush
mountains100. To that far end were spread our republics following the Vedic religion
and born of a Bharatiya race! And over these regions had been ruling the traditional
royal dynasties of India. As our people in that ice-cold regions were comparatively
whiter it was also called by some "White India.”101. Naturally the national aspiration,
as embodied in Chandragupta-Chanakya scheme of things, fortified its imperial
boundaries not only up to the eastern bank of the Indus with a strong army, but it
also busied itself with the planning and preparation and execution of the extension of
the imperial boundaries right up to the natural geographic frontiers of India, the
Hindukush mountoin, and yearned to hoist its flag on the top of that mountain.
यकांित तपोिभरयमुनय: तःमन ् तःययमी ।
"These also laboured in the cause espoused by the other sages"
128. In the meanwhile, the Greek civil feuds had temporarily ceased by
dividing Alexander’s empire, ceding its vast portion from the Indian frontiers up to
Babylon to Seleucos Nicator, one of the bravest and most experienced veteran of
Alexander’s military officers, who ruled it as an independent sovereign102. He was
supposed to inherit the claim to the region beyond the Hindukush which was
formerly conquered by Alexander.
129. He, therefore, demanded the surrender of that region from Chandragupta who
had appropriated it to himself108. Of course, Seleucos did not realize that now the Greeks had
to face not an Ambhi of Taxila as before, nor any cowardly minister, but King Chandrngupta
and his minister, Chanakya! They not only scoffed at this frivolous demand ofSeleueos but
demanded in return the surender of the region from Gandhar to Hindukush beyond the river
130. Enraged at this rebuff, Seleucos marched against India round about 315
B.C. with a Greek army, trained under Alexander105. If we leave aside the littleknown
invasion of Gandhar by Alexander in B.C. 329, this was the second invasion of
lndia by the Greeks after the famous one, already fully described, by Alexander in
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131. But this time, after he crossed the Indus, Seleucos was amazed to see
that the region instead of being divided into separate Indian republics as at the time
of Alexander had undergone a complete change, both political and military, because
of the brave efforts of Chandragupta and Chanakya. He was confused. Right from
the northernmost part of the Panjab, on the bank of the Indus, to the waters of the
Western Sea (Sindhusagnr) he saw erected, as it were, a steel wall of well organized,
centrally controlled fourfold Indian army to check his advance! And at the head of it
was Chandragupta himself!!
132. As soon as the two armies thirsting to fight met, a bitter war started.
The Greeks did their utmost but at last the Indian forces on two or three battle-fields
somewhere on the banks of the Indus (the place or places are unknown yet), put
them to such a pitiful rout that Seleucos could not help capitulating to the victorious
133. Thus was avenged by this decisive victory of Chandragupta over the
vanquished Greeks the old sore of the defeat of King Paurav and other atrocities and
insults meted out to the Indians by Alexander! So –
134. According to these terms of the treaty, Seleucos relinquished his right to
the Indian region this side of the Indus which he had so far maintained. But when he
was firmly told by Chief Minister Chanakya that the war would not end unless the
whole region from Gandhar to Hindukush, which was till then in the Greek hands,
was yielded to the Indian Emperor, he submitted to it meekly and the thousands of
Greek warriors who proudly held their brave chests and their swords drawn up while
crossing the Indus on their march against India, now returned crest-fallen, with their
heads and swords held down. They crossed not only the Indus backwars but
retreated to the farthest end of the Hindukush mountain108.
1.56 LOVE IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT FEAR [भय बन होय न ूीत]
135. This siugular victory-of Chandragupta brought the Indian frontiers quite
close to those of the Greek empire of Seleucos and the dividing line between the two
empires was the range of the Hindukush Mountain! The might of this Indian emperor
and the personality of Chandragupta and Chanakya impressed the Greek Emperor,
Seleucos, so much that he was fully convinced of the advisability of having friendly
relations with such a mighty empire than to be on inimical terms with it! Secondly,
Seleucos had enemies on the other frontiers although they too were Greeks. Friendship
with Chandragupta, therefore, was calculated to overawe them too! For these
reasons the Greek Emperor, Seleucos, whole-heartedly signed a treaty of permanent
peace with Emperor Chandnrgupta.109
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136. Moreover, with a view to cementing this political and international
friendship with wedlock between the two royal families and personal affinities and
ties, the Greek emperor celebrated the marriage of his daughter with Chandragupta.
137. This offer of the royal princess in marriage by Seleucos erected a golden
pinnacle bedecked with jewels over the magnificent temple of the success of
Emperor Chandragupta !
138. How very effectively and firmly with full regard to the propriety of the
case and yet how very discreetly Chanakya managed the affairs of the state can be
clearly seen from his treatise on body politic named Kautileeya Arthashastra and
from the far-reaching influence of the invincible Indian Empire which kept on
increasing for at least a hundred years afterwards. The account of Megasthenese,
the Greek ambassador at the court of Chandragupta, also testifies to the part this
Treatise played in maintaining peace and order and afflunce in the whole empire.811
139. At times a single historical event happening overnight or within a single
day changes the whole current of history for over a thousand years to come. This
decisive victory of Chandragupta over the Greeks had also had farreaching effects.
The English historian, Vincent Smith, has this remark to offer : “For almost a
hundred years after the failure of Seleucos Nikator no Greek sovereign presumed to
attack India”.
140. “…The first Indian emperor, more than two thousand years ago thus
entered into possession of that “Scientific frontier” sighed for in vain by his English
successors and never held in its entirety even by the Moghul monarchs of the 16th
and 17th centuries (Early History of India, 4th ed. 1924 by V.A. Smith, P. 126).
141. In the ancient period throughout the whole of Europe Greek civilization
was the only one which was far ahead of others. Almost all the modern nations of
Europe, therefore, revere it as their source. Naturally the name of a valiant Greek
emperor of that time like Alexander is, therefore, a source of living inspiration to
them. The European histories, therefore, call him “Alexander the Great” and many
anecdotes and legends in the mythical manner are colourfully taught to the young
pupils through their history text-books. But the commonly educated European people
– not of course, the few learned historians – are blissfully ignorant of thet hen Indian
antogonists of Alexander and his Greek empire, Chandragupta, his minister,
Chanakya! Snch perversion of history can be overlooked so far as the European
people are concerned. But after the establishment of the British rule over India in our
schools and colleges too the same disproportionate praises were sung of Alexander
in the history text-books and other types of literature. Because three or four
generations of ours have been imparted the same English education, our educated
classes are also impressed by the name Alexander the Great. But they too probably
never knew who Chandragupta or Chanakya was. This perversion of history and the
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misunderstanding it has created in the minds of our people should no more be
tolerated hereafter. We may not mind the other traditional anecdotes about
Alexander, but those at least which are connected with Indian history and which
extol Alexander disproportionately to the derogation of the Indian people, must be
deleted from our school text-books and from our literature. Take for example, the
one colourfully told in the school and college books of Europe and other types of
literature and which was widely published in our country also by the English.
142. The Greeks and the other European people believed that Alexander was
a world-conqueror and he had conquered the whole of India. When that war-like
Emperor returned home after his world-conquest, he is said to have burst into tears
at the sad thought that no more country remained for him to be conquered. This
anecdote about Alexander is proudly told not only in Europe but even in India! Now
it can be very clearly seen how very absurd and ludicrous this belief is from the short
account given earlier in these pages. To the great nation of those times, China, he
never turned his face. But even if we leave this fact aside, we have already shown
how he was baffled and made to retreat when he came conquering to the Western
frontiers of India with the ambitious design to conquer the Empire of Magadha and
the rest of India and how his aspirations were defeated. Alexander was brave,
Alexander was a conqueror! But he was not a world-conqueror! Conqueror of India
he never was!! If at all that valiant hero was really moved to tears it was impossible
that his tears should have been caused by the thought that there was no other
country left for conquest! For he himself knew that it was false. His tears then must
have been caused by the sad realization that he was not able to defeat Indian
completly which he longed so much to conquer. On the contrary he must have been
much disturbed by the thought that even the small corner of Indin that he believed
he was able to conquer was also very likely to be wrenched from his bands by thc
rebellious Indians!
142-A. As it is said in the poem “Gomantak”
अय कुणाचा असो िशकंदर, परंतु भारत जेता ना।।
अंगण हे ना तये देखले कला ह ना कुणाकुणा।।112
[Of whomsoever else he might be the conqueror, Alexander was never the
conqueror of India! He did not even see the courtyard (of the palatial edifice) of
India, and to many others he was never known (even by name)!]
143. Great men should ordinarily be never compared with one another. They
are great in various ways, but if anybody tries to compare any such and extol the
one to the derogation of the other, this hoax must be exposed and refuted
completely. So long as Europe eulogizes Alexander alone as ‘the Great’ and tries to
brow-beat his antagonist, Emperor Chandragupta, by evading any reference to him,
we Indians must need assert that if at all they are to be compared, Chandragupta
was Super-Alexander in comparison with Alexander! Alexander ascended the throne
of a strong nation, already won by his father and commanded an army that was also
formed by King Philip. On the strength of this ancestral inheritance he bravely built
up a strong Greek empire! But Chandragupta enjoyed no such heritage! He had not
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a single soldier under his command; besides he had been banished from his
ancestral empire by his father! Only one man was at his side; it was Arya Chanakya!
Under these circumstances he had to start anew! Yet he built up a army, conquered
the ancestral empire, and wiping out the Greek conquests under Alexander himself
and under his general Seleucos Nicator, founded an Indian empire mightier even
than that of Alexander himself!
144. The epoch which starts with the conquest of the Yavanas by Emperor
Chandragupta, the Super Shikandar is THE FIRST GLORIOUS EPOCH of Hindu
Victories over the Aggressor.
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1 S T G L O R I O U S E P O C H
CONTENTS – FULL BOOK (Coming soon)
1st Glorious Epoch
Chapter I.: Chanakya-Chandragupta
2nd Glorious Epoch
Chapter II. Yavana-Destroyer, Pushyamitra
3rd Glorious Epoch
Chapter III: Vikramaditya, Shaka-Kushan Menace
4th Glorious Epoch
Chapter IV: Yashodharma, the Conqueror of the Huns
5th Glorious Epoch
Chapter V: The Climax of Maharashtrian Valour
Chapter VI: The Beginning of Muslim Incursion
Chapter VIII: The Peculiar Nature of the Muslim Atrocities
Chapter VIII: Perverted Conception of Virtues
Chapter IX: Super-Diabolic Counter-Offensive
Chapter X: Intermittent Hindu Retaliation
Chapter XI: Tipu Sultan, The Savage
Chapter XII: A Resume
S i x G l o r i o u s E p o c h s o f I n d i a n H i s t o r y Page 47 of 49
1 S T G L O R I O U S E P O C H
Chapter XIII: Hindu War Policy
Chapter XIV: Age-Long Relations of the Arabs with India
Chapter XV: Twelfth to Thirteenth Century
Chapter XVI: Muslim Invasions on South India
Chapter XVII: Khushrukhan and Devaldevi
Chapter XVIII: Beginning of the Final Overthrow of the Muslim Empire
Chapter IX: New Hindu Empire of Vijayanagar
Chapter XX: The End of the 16th Century
Chapter XXI: The Marathas
Chapter XXII: Attock and Beyond
6th Glorious Epoch
Chapter XXIII: India Freed From British Domination
Appendix – Books Referred
S i x G l o r i o u s E p o c h s o f I n d i a n H i s t o r y Page 48 of 49
1 S T G L O R I O U S E P O C H
S i x G l o r i o u s E p o c h s o f I n d i a n H i s t o r y Page 49 of 49

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