A wealthy and influential State Invaded for her wealth
Yet, despite massive attack, by intrepid invaders, India has never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history. India has been invaded by foreigners on several occasions. The Great Himalayas, with its parallel ranges (in the North) and 2500 kms length has acted as a natural war of defence, keeping invaders away, and protecting it from the cold and dry north winds of Central Asia.
The 22 Janapadas and later 16 Mahajanapadas (great country) were the main kingdoms during Vedic India who ruled between 600 BC to 325 BC. Some of the more prominent kingdoms include Magadha, Kosala, Vatsa, Malwa, Avadh. It is from Ayodhya (Saketa) that the mythical epic hero Rama sets out on exile.
Alexander, from Macedonia, in 326 BC rallied his battle-worn army already exhausted with years of fighting, to make the final journey to India crossing the Indus near Attock. He was much excited with what lay there, and defeated King Porus in battle of Hydaspes. When Porus was taken prisoner; and Alexander asked him how he expected to be treated, he answered, “As a king.” He was made the king of the conquered western part of India. Later, on finding his army adamant to continue fighting in India, given their experience of fighting with King Porus, that Alexander turned back to Macedonia, sailing down the Indus, and marching across the Gedrosian desert. With Alexander’s departure, his satraps began to depart, paving the way for the Maurya empire which was to last 140 years. Under the guidance of Chanakya, Chandragupta was groomed.
The only way to pay tribute to King Porus is by sharing an outstanding poem from one of Bengal’s lesser known Poets, who had an outstanding style and flair!
Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Tribute to Porus
Loudly the midnight tempest sang,
Ah! it was thy dirge, fair Liberty!
And clouds in thundering accents roar’d
Unheeded warning from on high;
The rain in darksome torrents fell,
Hydaspes’ waves did onward sweep,
Like fiery passio’s heandlong flow,
To meet th’ awaken’d calling deep;
The lighting flashed bright- dazzling, like
Fair women’s glance from ‘neath her veil;’
And on the heaving, troubled air,
There was a moaning sound of wail
But, Ind! thy unsuspecting sons
Did heedless slumber,- while the foe
Came in stealthy step of death,-
Came as the tiger, noiseless, slow,
To close at once its victim’s breath!
Alas! they knew not ‘midst this gloom’
This war of elements was burst,-
Like to an earthquake in the womb
Of a volcano,- deep and low-
A deadlier storm-on them to burst!
‘I was morn’ the Lord of Day
From gold Sumero’s palace bright,
Look’d his own sweet clime,
But lo! the glorious flag,
To which the world in awe once bow’d,
There in defiance waved
On India’s gales- triumphant-proud!-
Then, rose the dreadful yell,-
Then lion-king, each warrior brave
Rushed on the coming foe,
To strike for freedom-or the grave!
Oh Death! upon thy gory altar
What blood-libations freely flow’d!
Oh Earth! on that bright morn, what , thousands
Rendered to thee the dust they ow’d!
But ‘fore the Macedonians driven’
Fell India’s hardy sons,-
Proud mountain oaks by thunders riven,-
That for their country’s freedom bled-
And made on gore their glorious bed!
But dauntlessly there stood
King Porus, towering ‘midst the foe’
Like a Himala-peak
With its eternal crown of snow:
And on his brow did shine
The jewell’d regal diadem.
His milk-white elephant
Was deck’d with many a brilliant gem.
He reck’d not of the phalanx
That ‘round him closed-but nobly fought’
And like the angry winds that blow
And lofty mountain pines lay low,
Amidst them dreadful havoc wrought,
And thinn’d his crown and country’s foe!
The hardiest warriors, at his deeds,
Awe-struck quail’d like wind-shaken reeds:
They dared not look upon his face,
They shrank before his burning gaze,
For in his eye the hero shone
That feared not death;-but high-alone
A being as if of lightning made,
That scorch’d all that is gazed upon-
Trampling the living with the dead.
Th’ immortal Thund’rer’s son,
Astonish’d eyed the heroic king;
He saw him bravely charge
Like his dread father,- fulmining:-
Tho’ thousands’ round him closed,
He stood-as stand the ocean rock
Amdist the lashing billows
Unmoved at their fierce thoundering shock.
But when th’ Emathian conqueror
Saw that with gaping wounds he bled,
‘Such nobel blood should not be shed!’
Then a herald was sent
Where bleeding and faint,
Stood, ‘midst the dying’ and the dead,
King Porus,- boldly, undismayed:
‘Hail, brave and warlike prince!’
Thy generous rival bids thee cease-
Behold! there flies the flag,
That lulls dread war, and wakens peace!’
Like to a lion chain’d,
That tho’ faint-bleeding-stands in pride-
With eyes, where unsubdued
Yet flash’d the fire-looks that defied;
King Porus boldly went
Where ‘midst the gay and flittering crowd’
Sat god-like Alexander;
While ‘round’ Earth’s mightiest monarchs bow’d.
King Porus was no slave;
he stooped not-bent not there his knee,-
But stood, as stands an oak,
In Himalayan majesty.
‘The mighty king of Macedon:’
‘Ev’n as a King,’ replied
In royal pride, Ind’s haughty son.
The conqu’ ror pleas’d,
Him forth releas’d:
Thus India’s crown was lost and won
Do let me know if you enjoyed the history or the poetry bit, and I will plan to share more in subsequent articles.