Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Printable Version

+- Forums (
+-- Forum: Indian History & Culture (
+--- Forum: Indian History (
+--- Thread: Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere (/showthread.php?tid=871)

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 11-08-2004

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A cool piece from Aiiravat Singh here..

Was late medieval India ready for a Revolution in Military Affairs? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Yeah, I really enjoyed reading that! Especially the part when the short-n-dark BERADS roundly thrash the tall-n-fair AFGHANS <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 01-29-2005

Historic blunders

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 03-08-2005

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - ramana - 04-15-2005

Book reivee in The Telegraph, 15 April 2005,

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->SCIENCE OF KILLING 

Written in stone 
HINDU ARMS AND RITUAL: ARMS AND ARMOUR FROM INDIA 1400-1865 By Robert Elgood, Mapin, Rs 3,500

Historians have always believed that the south Indian polities were technologically backward and that new kinds of weapons were introduced among them by the Muslim rulers of the north. <b>Contradicting this view, Robert Elgood asserts in this book that south India had a dynamic tradition of producing various kinds of military hardware, few of which have survived.</b> For one, the monsoon rains led to the rusting of the iron weapons. Two, the British, determined to disarm the Indian people, destroyed most of the arms. In fact, the East India Company melted down countless swords and shields which it sold as scrap. Three, the British ruling elite sequestrated weapons from the private armouries of kings and took them home. Many of these can now be seen in private collections and museums in Europe and America. Comparing the few scattered pieces in existence with the sculptures in temples, Elgood tries to chart the evolution of the weapons of south India.

<b>Historians had also long held the idea that Hindu weapons were governed by aesthetics and were not very effective in combats</b>. Such an interpretation is certainly overdrawn and arose because only the weapons studded with precious stones which belonged to the rulers have survived due to their intrinsic value. But it is clear that the process of secularization of European arms and armours, which began after the Renaissance, did not occur in pre-British India. The Hindus and Muslims considered military hardware as part of their religious ethos. The Hindus believed that weapons were the dwelling places of gods and that religious motifs would protect the warriors. Through the iconography on the weapons, the warriors expressed their spiritual loyalties.

<b>The Cholas introduced the tiger symbol in weapons, which continued under Tipu Sultan. Ancients also Hindu believed that gems warded of evil spirits which explains why the swords of rulers had precious stones on their hilt. The Bahmanis and the Mughals continued this tradition.</b>

The kingdoms south of the Vindhyas evolved many types of swords and daggers which were adopted by those in the north. <b>For example, the arms produced by the Cholas in the Sangam age was adopted by the Hoysalas and from them, passed on to Vijaynagara and then on to the Bahmanis and later the Mughals.</b> Elgood quotes medieval Islamic writers who noted that Damascus blades were made with steel imported from south India. The straight-bladed swords known as khandas, which the Rajputs adopted from south India for close combat, were in no way inferior to the Persian single-edged curved swords — tulwars — with which the Delhi Sultanate’s cavalry was armed.

<b>In south India, shields were made by boiling buffalo and rhinoceros hide in oil. This tradition spread to Kutch and thence north India. Such leather shields could stop bullets fired from 18th century muskets</b>.

The history of arms and armour remains an exotic subject even among scholars of military history. Elgood’s monograph, which places pre-modern south Indian military equipment within the social and religious context, will probably bridge this gap.



<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->MEN IN ARMS
- The weapon of the oppressor as well as the oppressed 

From the barrel of a gun 
<b>Gunpowder and Firearms: Warfare in Medieval India By Iqtidar Alam Khan, Oxford, $ 35</b>

Iqtidar Alam Khan’s articles about gunpowder manufacture and firearms technology, which spread in early medieval times from China to Europe, on the one hand, and through central Asia and the Middle East into India, on the other, have been an important source of information for a quarter century now about the use and changes in firepower in the medieval Gangetic Plains, Bengal and the Deccan. Khan is a distinguished member of the Aligarh group of historians, which is devoted to critical analyses of Persian (and also Arabic and Turkish) texts so as to place them in a systemic perspective, informed by a secular approach to history as a record of class struggles. He has covered many aspects of Mughal history in his writings — the early Turco-Afghan ideas of governance, Muslim theologians, the Rohilla and Bangash chieftains in the Doab, and evidence of a “middle-class” in Mughal times. This volume gives information about the social character and political significance of technological change, or tardiness in accepting it, in pre-colonial India. It is embellished with black-and-white reproductions of artefacts, paintings, sketches and photographs of cannons and handguns, or of soldiers carrying them during a sieges, a battle or on the move.

The four chapters deal with early references to gunpowder and rockets. Hawais or baans were commonly used throughout the period and still survive in our fireworks. Missile scientists nowadays see them as forerunners of European reformulated rocketry, which have become so common in low-intensity terrorist warfare. Khan looks at the effectiveness of various kinds of artillery cast in bronze or brass, as against the Europeans’ lighter and easier to manoeuvre cast-iron guns, which Clive used to decimate Sirajuddaulah’s troops at Plassey. Indian state power controlled the market for artillery, but it was lax in ensuring cost-effectiveness. This helped late 18th century British victories. When regional potentates in Mysore, Gwalior or Lahore sought to compete, they were “too late” to challenge the colonial domination of the sub-continent. Khan is interested in a more significant innovation than cannons, the mechanical aspects of improved musket power in the hands of actual people who were the agents of the state, or who resisted it.

The next two chapters give a novel interpretation of Indian musketmen as part of the interaction between imperial centralization and peasant revolt. Armed contingents were raised by the emperors to use firepower to cow down the countryside. But, if muskets made it easier than heavier cannons for the rulers to reach and to probe into village recalcitrance, the emulation effect also made muskets cheap for the peasantry themselves. Many areas are classified in the revenue records as mawas (rebellious), or zortalab (brought to order only by force). Here the new banduqs could be used against imperialist surplus extraction. Even in Akbar’s days, Badauni had described zamindars getting ordinary villagers (gawaran) to fix planks on trees to station musketeers to fire down on approaching government levies. The Italian traveller Manucci (an expert artillery man himself) described, a hundred years later, peasants outside imperial Agra, firing at state troops, from the shelter of “slight walls” with women standing just behind them, holding their spears and lances, and reloading their matchlock guns. Interesting examples are given of how the low caste Dhanuks or archers; sweepers among the Jats; or Paiks, the footmen of the Bengal-Orissa borderland, were gunmen for the rebels against superior authority, thus contributing to the Mughal breakdown. Khan could have continued giving data for the first century of British rule, since it was not until 1857-59 that such “civil disturbances” were crushed. An analogy is possible with the early Marxian tag of the 1840s about religion — musketry too was “the cry of the oppressed as well as the oppressor”. Khan clearly bears out the mechanics of Irfan Habib’s thesis that elements of the agrarian crisis led to the dissolution of the Mughal Empire.

The conclusion is comprehensive. It re-emphasizes that “a possible response of the Mughal military system to the widespread use of muskets by agrarian rebels was the creation of a new corps of mounted musketeers; some of them were manned by horsemen of Ottoman origin. They came to be designated as barq-andaz.” Their guns “were in most cases, unwieldy matchlocks, which could be fired only after dismounting”. As the Mughals and their successors-principalities failed to resist powerful neighbours like the Marathas or the Afghans, not to speak of the British, there were the menials themselves — men of the sweeper class — who, by the mid-18th century, were moving from village to village, hiring their own matchlocks and renting themselves out to Rohilkhand landowners for “one ser of flour and a little dal…a little tobacco… (and) after victory, some grain”. Three hundred of a band of such men had begun to call themselves “Barkis”. The menials, inverting themselves into subalterns of alternative authority, were as important factors as colonialist aggrandizement in the collapse of the old order during the first century of British rule in India. It was left to colonialism to effectively subjugate the lower classes.


Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 08-29-2005

Has anyone read this book: Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis (Lost Science Series)

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 11-07-2005

<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Aug 29 2005, 08:36 PM-->QUOTE(Viren @ Aug 29 2005, 08:36 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Has anyone read this book: Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis (Lost Science Series)
Yes, I have - it was quite interesting. It describes the location of the Rama empire, the seven great cities and how they were destroyed by an iron thunderbolt. It would be interested to know if the cities of Harappa and Mohen-Jaro are really radioactive, and have radioactive skeletons.There is a discussion of the 32 systems that a vimana was supposed to possess.

It mentions 'crystals' but these would really seem to be piezoelectric and electroluminescent blocks of glass. All the different systems are really based on basic physics to manipulate air pressure, and basic chemistry for the different defence systems - the darkness creating machine is simply a black smoke generator. The listening device is simply a couple of leather hemispheres (parabolic dishes) attached to a hollow wooden pole. It would be quite possible that sound runs straight through the wire, without going into anything electrical, although it would be quite possible for a piezoelectric crystal to work. The cooking system worked by mixing acids and crystals together to generate fire, smoke and heat. There is even a description of a lightning rod system like a Tesla umbrella which rotates (perhaps to build a negative charge?), an anti-static build up system, and even an X-ray system for the wheels to detect mines and bombs.

Of course, the great mystery is how these machines flew - The description describe five wheels, the bottom and top which do not move but have holes in them, and the middle three which rotate. Perhaps this is by infra-sound, or maybe they are a planetery set of fan blades (like a jet engine).
There is mention of tanks of mercury - they could be basic electric motors.

Definitely worth a read.

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 12-07-2005

Cool article by Rudra..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indian Martial Arts – Will they survive?
by:   Rudra on Dec 3 2005 8:26PM in Indology

Much is known about Indian philosophical disciplines, Indian Arts, Mathematics, and Sciences – but not much is known about a very important aspect of our Society – Martial Arts. While quite a lot of us know about the accomplishments of Baudhayana and Varahamihira, how many can claim to have even the remotest knowledge about the pioneers of “scientific” fighting?

Admittedly, most of these pioneers are unnamed, unsung heroes; but they shaped a lot more than just fighting and warfare as it was in Ancient India (and to a certain extent even in the modern day).  The development of Traditional Indian Medical systems is possibly very closely tied with Indian Martial Arts.  For example, The knowledge of “Pressure points” (Vital Points if we were to literally translate it) – “Marma Vidya” (11) – was a direct result of grueling experimentation in the Art and Science of Fighting.  The knowledge thus acquired (of Marma Vidya) effectively led to the next level in Medicine – the more “enhanced aspects of Ayurveda” wherein the Masters of these systems could reputedly heal major ailments caused by energetic imbalances by merely manipulating the Marmas (distribution centers of the flow of “Prana” in the body). Remnants of this knowledge still exist in the Martial Arts of Kerala  (in the Fighting-system called Kalari Payat). This essay will try to trace the history and many faces of Indian Martial Arts through it’s illustrious past into the future.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 12-07-2005

Sulekhite "rl" posted this as comment on Rudra's article..


Nice article. Do you practice any martial arts? I thought the article was very basic, but considering that your target audience is primarily a bunch of desis that know very little about martial arts beyond Jackie Chan I think it's appropriate. Kudos.

You'll also find that a lot of modern martial artists are incorporating Indian wrestling exercises into their training regimen. I've heard of Hindu push-ups, Hindu squats (buski anyone?) and kettlebells being adopted from indian wrestling tradition for dynamic strength training (and they give credit where it is due). I remember the condescension piled on it by wannabe westerner classmates growing up. I wonder what they'll think now - maybe, as you said, they'll jump on the boat now that the west has embraced this! Not to mention, yoga is an excellent supplement for any martial art, physically and mentally.

My ancestors hail from South Karnataka, what is called 'Tulu-Nadu'. The 'Vadakkan Paatu' - a story/poem about North Kerala Kalari masters talk about them going further north to Tulu-Nadu for advanced training. What's interesting about Tulu Nadu is that a lot of Tulu Brahmins have ancient manuscripts that show that they're descended from Drona (Vishwamitra gotra) and Parashurama's brothers (Bhargava gotra). Unrelated research also evidenced manuscripts that showed that Tulu Brahmins came from the ancient kingdom of Ahicchatra (now in UP) at the behest of a local king - Ahicchatra is the region of Panchala that Drona took after the pandavas defeated the king of Panchala, Drona's ex-classmate - this ties with the other story. All of this ties together with the tradition of Kalarippayattu which claims that Parashurama bought it to Parashurama-Kshetra (The area south of gokarna upto kanyakumari) and taught Brahmin masters there. These brahmin masters seem to have taught anyone their skills regardless of caste and even religion (there is a famous muslim kalari master in kerala, for example), since most kalari masters in kerala are non-brahmin.

The life story of Madhvacharya speaks how the students learnt grappling/joint-locks in gurukula - in fact, Madhvacharya was supposed to be a great grappler with phenomenal strength. Unfortunately, a lot of the masters of traditional kalarippayattu in Tulu-Nadu were killed by the british, and I mourn the loss of that tradition (unless it's hidden away in the remote villages around there somewhere). It's healthy and well in Kerala - the malayalis are damn proud of kalarippayattu, regardless of religion - one factor is the stories like 'Vadakkan paatu' (Malayalam for "Song of the North" since it's set in North kerala) and it's move renditions that make kalari skills 'cool' - maybe other indian traditional martial arts could take a leaf out of this to gain 'soft capital' with the masses.

I really liked this link on kalari, so I've posted it here -

... You know what? I grew up (for about 11 years) about 15 minutes (by bicycle) from a CVN Kalari ! I wish I had known all this back then, I would have put in some effort to have learnt something!<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 12-07-2005

Also from "rl"

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Part 2  - Asian martial arts, the Indian (or Hindu) connection.

CHINESE KUNG-FU - Everyone has heard the story of Bodhidharma (Ta Mo in Chinese). He is the first patriarch of Chan (Zen in japanese) buddhism, who supposedly introduced Kung-fu into China. Legend has it that he was a South Indian prince (some say of kanchipuram), of either Kshatriya or Brahmin descent. His legends abound, and a google search can tell you more about him than I have the patience for. He is supposed to have bought Chigung (Chi strengthening - Chi is 'lifeforce' - the most similar word in Sanskrit is 'Prana') exercises to Shaolin temple as well as some martial arts, which form the basis of Shaolin Kung-fu. However, many centuries have passed, and many local and not-so-local martial arts have entered and left the temple. Also, Shaolin temple has been burnt to the ground 3 times and a lot of history and practice have been lost - every time the tradition has to be rebuilt by re-learning the martial arts from local non-monk folk-masters being in traditions descended from Shaolin. Also, the Daoists also had their own martial arts which have cross-pollinated with Shaolin. This has given rise to a uniquely chinese system of martial arts. However, Northern Shaolin Kung-fu is very similar to kalarippayattu to look at. The concepts underlying are very similar to yogic ones too (Chi <->Prana, Chi meridian <-> Naadi, Dan Tien <->Chakra). It is fashionable for some jingoistic Chinese to deny Damo's existence since they don't want to have anything to do with India. At this point he is a legend, so it's hard to argue either way. Also, it is very hard to find authentic kung-fu nowadays since the communists cracked down on kung-fu in the 50s and 60s and persecuted the old masters who had to go underground, just like the british did to kalarippayattu. Nowadays, the kung-fu in Shaolin is just for show, and very few of them can actually use it in a real fight.

INDONESIAN MARTIAL ARTS - They are definitely indian/hindu in origin. The master is called 'Guro' and they have 'Marma Adi' in it, just like kalarippayattu! However, the Muslims are trying to co-opt these traditions and claim them to be of Muslim origin.

THAI MARTIAL ARTS - Muay thai is very popular in thailand, and has made it's name as an excellent stand-up style in the UFC. Thai people practice a synctretic form of Hinduism/buddhism, and the Ramayana is their national epic. Hence you will find a lot of Hindu names to the Muay Thai techniques - eg., Hanuman visits Lanka, Hanuman's ring, etc. A lot of the advanced trainers are buddhist monks. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 12-10-2005


I'm researching Deccan dynasties Indian armies and others that fought against the Portuguese in Malabar from 1550-1600. Can anyone provide me with such information?

Best regards,

Nuno Pereira

<span style='color:red'><b>CHANGE YOUR ID TO MEET FORUM RULES</b></span>


Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Hauma Hamiddha - 12-11-2005

>descended from Drona (Vishwamitra gotra)

droNa is not vishvAmitra gotra: He is A~Ngirasa gotra, shardavata bhAradvAja pravara.

The bhAradvAjas are famous martial brAhmaNas right from the R^igveda where they have the yuddha sUktaM.

vishvAmitras are kShatriyas later turned brAhmaNas. They were the founders of one of the famous martial traditions of dhanurveda.

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Mitra - 12-11-2005

HH have you ever heard of a book called "Samarangana Sutradharam"?
I was looking for some info on that.

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Hauma Hamiddha - 12-12-2005

<!--QuoteBegin-Mitra+Dec 11 2005, 12:29 PM-->QUOTE(Mitra @ Dec 11 2005, 12:29 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->HH have you ever heard of a book called "Samarangana Sutradharam"?
I was looking for some info on that.

The samarangaNa-sUtradhara is an encylopaedic work of the great paramAra Rajput bhoja-rAja. Its main focus is on vAtsu shAstra that is construction of buildings, temples, idols of deities and mechanical devices including a so called flying machine or glider. It is composed largely in the anuShTubh meter and in about 83 chapters. I believe it is an important text that has hardly received the attention it should, especially as a text of Hindu civil engineering. I have refered to the following devanagari edition of the book by Shri Ganapati Shastri:

Samarangana-sutradhara of Maharajadhiraja Bhoja, the Parmara Ruler of Dhara. Originally edited by Mahamahopadhyaya T. Ganapatisastri. Revised and edited by Vasudeva Saran Agrawala. (Gaekwad’s Oriental Series. 25.) Baroda (Oriental Institute), 1966

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Mitra - 12-13-2005

I was under the impression that it dealt extensively with matters relating to war and weaponery. Does it only deal with civil engineering? There was an English translation brought out by Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar of Kolkata, unfortunately its out of print now. Thanks for the info though.

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 12-13-2005

what is a gotra actually and what does it signify??
i have heard conflicting opinions.

and how is it different from a surname ?

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 12-14-2005


I'm researching Deccan dynasties Indian armies and others that fought against the Portuguese in Malabar from 1550-1600. Can anyone provide me any information about arms, tactics, leadership, units, etc?

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Hauma Hamiddha - 12-14-2005

The most concerted campaign against the Portuguese was by the Vijayanagarans under Ramaraya and his generals. An essay in this site should give you an outline of those campaigns. The Portuguese attempt to loot the Tirumala temple was also countered and sparked another major conflict in this period. Vijayanagar had a major plan to liberate Goa under Ramaraya but they had to redirect their efforts in the last moment due to a Moslem attack from the North of the Krishna. Joao Decastro negotiated a peace treaty in this period that resulted in a relative quite for some time.

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Hauma Hamiddha - 12-14-2005

<!--QuoteBegin-Mitra+Dec 12 2005, 02:28 PM-->QUOTE(Mitra @ Dec 12 2005, 02:28 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->HH
I was under the impression that it dealt extensively with matters relating to war and weaponery. Does it only deal with civil engineering?

There are some references to fortifications and yantras related to war. But over all the main thrust is engineering

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 02-10-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->DARPA's Cutting-Edge Programs Revolutionize Prosthetics
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2006 – In the old Star Wars movie "The Empire Strikes Back," Luke Skywalker gets a new, fully functional right hand after Darth Vader chops his off with a light saber. Today, thanks to work under way through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, servicemembers who have lost limbs in the line of duty could experience something almost as revolutionary in the years ahead.

Among the cutting-edge technology DARPA is developing is a highly advanced, mechanical arm that works and looks just like a human one, Jan Walker, a DARPA spokesperson, told the American Forces Press Service.

DARPA has awarded a $30.4 million contract for the program to Johns Hopkins University. Researchers at the Baltimore university's applied physics laboratory hope to create a prosthetic arm within the next four years that enables wearers to feel and manipulate objects, lift up to 60 pounds and conduct normal, everyday tasks, even in the dark, Walker said.

The research, part of DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 program, represents a quantum leap in the advancement of prosthetic devices, she said. It basically involves connecting the limb directly into the peripheral and central nervous system so users can operate the arm naturally, just as they move their biological arm.

DARPA is looking at technologies and breakthroughs to develop a prosthetic arm that's controlled by the brain through thought, Walker explained. The limb, as envisioned, would enable users to move like they normally do, without having to think about the actual process to make it happen.

In another DARPA program, researchers at DEKA Research and Development Corp. in Manchester, N.H., are collaborating with researchers and clinicians around the country to create a prosthetic limb with near-human strength and appearance, Walker said.

Working with an $18.1 million grant awarded under DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2007 program, the company's Integrated Solutions Division hopes to create a prosthetic arm that looks like a real one and represents a major advance in currently available technology, she said.

DARPA hopes to have this advanced prosthetic ready for clinical trials within two years.

The dual programs represent the largest pool of funding for prosthetics in at least a decade, Walker said.

Improved body armor is saving lives that might otherwise have been lost during earlier wars, resulting in a surge in amputees from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense officials noted. Two DoD centers - one at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and one at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio - are dedicated specifically to amputees' care.

Army Col. Geoff Ling, DARPA's manager for the Revolutionizing Prosthetics programs, said the agency is committed to ensuring that service members who have lost limbs in the line of duty can go on to live normal lives.

"At DARPA, we have a vision of a future where a soldier who has lost an extremity in battle will regain full use of that limb again," he said. "We will get to this future by making revolutionary, neurally controlled prosthetics."

DARPA is advancing the state of the art in prosthetics as the agency works to deliver an advanced upper-extremity prosthetic device within the next two years, Ling said. In four years, DARPA plans on having a prosthetic so revolutionary that it is indistinguishable in use and appearance to a missing arm.

The results of these efforts will help transform the lives of service members wounded in combat who have sacrificed greatly, Ling said. "We will do whatever is necessary to restore these people who have given up so much for the idea of freedom and in service to their country," he said.

<b>The concept of prosthetic limbs for wounded warriors goes back centuries. A sacred Indian poem, written in Sanskrit between 3500 and 1800 B.C., tells of the warrior queen Vishpla who lost her leg in battle. As the story goes, Vishpla was fitted with a prosthetic leg made of iron so she could return to the battlefield.</b>

The first large-scale program to fit injured soldiers with prosthesis was introduced in the United States during the Civil War, according to historical accounts."

Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere - Guest - 03-05-2006

<b>Vedas: Experts see military tech </b>

Hyderabad, March 4: Guided missiles and precision targeting were first mentioned in the Vedas, vouch Sanskrit scholars. Two city-based Vedic research organisations, Sanskrita Bharati and I-Serve, claim that the hoary Atharvana Veda is the prime source of military science, containing references to almost 60 sophisticated weapons.

The arsenal is so big that even present-day military scientists would feel sheepish. “We think the Vedas are synonymous with religion,” says K. Lalith Manohar, chairman of the State chapter of Sanskrita Bharati. “This is because of our narrow-mindedness and ignorance.” Mr Manohar adds in his research paper that the military science in the Vedas was meant to destroy evil and preserve peace.

Indiscriminate killing of enemies is not part of the ethos of Vedic military science. Some of the weapons described in the Vedas can be controlled even after they are set in motion. They can even be recalled. Mantras form an essential part of war strategy in Vedic military science. One has to decode the mantras to find the secret of the sastras (weaponry) mentioned in the texts. “Unfortunately, we do not have the complete text of the Atharvana Veda,” says Mr Manohar. “We have to focus on the available fragments.”

Some of the weapons mentioned in these texts are Danda Chakram, Dharma Chakram, Kalachakram, Vishnu Chakram, Indram, Vajram, Saivam, Aagneyam and Brahmastram. Unlike modern weapons of mass destruction, most of the weapons mentioned in the Vedas are <span style='color:red'>‘precision weapons’ </span>used to take out specific targets. The powerful “Samhara Astrams” also have the recall facility embedded in them. “Even the all-powerful Brahmastram can be subdued by the person who used it,” says Kuppa Venkata Krishna Murthy of I-Serve.