For 800 years India had been subject to constant attacks by barbaric looters, marauders & religious zealots…. We fought and we lost. We won many battles but we kept on loosing the important wars. Starting from the Ghorivid invasions and fall of the last “great” king, Prithviraj Chauhan to arrival and departure of the British, India faced constant loses and erosion of national wealth – material, spiritual and intellectual.
Yes we won some but we lost many more. Yes we kept on fighting but got final success only after 800 years of constant struggle.
Does it bother the Hindus that lost and we kept on loosing after that?
We did not lose because we were not good fighters or because we were not brave enough. We lost because we forgot our shashtras. We lost because we ignored the teachings of our ancient gurus. We lost because we were careless enough to NOT invest in armament and war tactics and technology.
Advent of monotheistic religious sects led to constant wars. Constant wars forced the development of new technologies and tactics of war. While we in India did not wake up when Mhd bin Qasim came knocking at our North Western Borders. In that moment in time we lost a few battles but we won the war by taking the war to the enemy.This made India safe from further invasions for the next 300 years. But we did not evolve militarily. No great King rose up to unite the small states into one unified empire.
Sadly our tactics and military technology stayed stuck in antiquity.
- Near zero organized cavalry
- Poor metallurgy especially weapons related
- Absence of recurve bows
- Continued use of simple bows
- Poor spycraft
- Fetish of fighting the moral wars
Let us consider the use of GUNPOWDER…. When Taimour the Turkic Mongol attacked in 1398, he used gun powder. He used gun powder to attack and disoriented the war elephants. Our response – we kept on using elephants against an enemy who knew how to break the charge of an armored war elephant. 300 years later when Taimour’s distant ancestor came invading India – our response was the same – bewilderment, confusion, fear.
Same tactics – Same results. THEY WON, WE LOST.
PS – Alexander also rendered Porus’ elephants useless by trapping them in the river mud bed and cutting off their hamstrings.
We kept on using elephants in the same way since 350 BCE to mid of 1600 CE – nearly 1300 years of same battle tactics against an enemy that was mobile and knew how to halt the charge of war elephants.
Little or no CAVALRY – At no point in the last 1000 years did we have well developed cavalry. Besides the shortage of war like horses (sturdy, stamina & unafraid to charge) our Kings failed to develop cavalry tactics. The Roman Empire had the world’s best and most efficient killing machine – their army. Even though they had no organized cavalry. It was an army of foot soldiers who had perfected the art of fighting in tight square (phlanxes) with each soldier protecting the other with his shield. Lacking horses, the romans used them in a very well defined role. BUT even that army lost to the highly mobile Mongol hordes. The Crusader armies lost the 2nd and 3rd crusades to the highly mobile Turkic-Mongol armies on horse backs. The Marmalukes on horses rose out of that defeat. In India we refused to advance our military technology & tactics as we preferred to fight among ourselves. One insignificant lord fighting another insignificant lord – even when the barbaric hordes were at our gates.
Our Archers & their useless WAR BOWS – Indian armies kept using the single curved bows. These bows lacked the power and distance that the central asian invader’s bows. They used the double recurved bow.these bows were curved upon themselves thereby they could shoot an arrow faster, longer and with more power than any Indian bow.
METALLURGY – Indian steel lacked the strength and flexibility of the Damascus steel. many times during battle the Indian sword would shatter against the Damascus steel swords wielded by the invaders. This is inspite of the fact that our metallurgists had far greater knowledge of metal working than any. But out metallurgists preferred to cast Astha Dhatu statues or farm implements rather than forge the unshatterable sword or other instruments of war.
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