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Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere
China buries jihadists in pig skin
Please stick to the topic of this thread.
I am not sure if this is considered pre-modern or post-modern but the guerilla warfare of 1600s-1700s, improvisation by the warriors is worth some discussion.

Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru after martyrdom of his father Guru Arjan Dev at Lahore on the orders of Mughal emperor Jahangir, started a unique concept in India. Calling it Meeri (political) and Peeri(spiritual) he ordered all his Sikhs (Sikh means disciple i.e. Shishya and Guru means teacher) to only come to his prescence with a horse and a weapon. He organized military training right in front of Golden Temple and created another building that he namd Akal Takht i.e. "Eternal Throne". Bouts of wrestling, swordship, mock battles, etc were daily routine. He created a small army of 700 foot and 300 riders as well as 4 cannons. A small fort in the vicinity of Golden Temple was created that he called "Lohgarh" i.e. "Iron Fort".

People started calling him "Sacha Padishah" i.e. "True King" as oppose to Mughals who were "false kings". Then one day Jahangir and his hunting party in the vicinity of Amritsar/Lahore came in contact with the Sikhs who were also hunting there., a skirmish broke out and Mughals fled to Lahore, only to return to Amritsar for a revenge. Mughals were defeated again. Guru Hargobind with his family and other Sikhs started moving east towards current day Jalandhar, Mughals kept sending small detachments to harass Guru. In one such battle where his Son Tyag Mall showed an excellent swordship Guru renamed him calling him "Tegh Bahadur" i.e. "brave of the sword" who later became ninth Sikh Guru as well as Martyr at Delhi to protect the Kashmiri Brahmins. Guru Hargobind started the war cry of Deg Teg Fateh. i.e. Deg means "langar or a utensil full of food" Tegh means "Sword" and Fateh means "victory".., meaning "Victory to the whole organized battle along with supplies".

He preached all over North India and in one such expedition at Haridwara he met a Maratha saint. ???Das questioned Guru Hargobind that being from the line of a saint like Nanak why is he keeping all these soldiers. It is said that Guru Hargobind's answer astonished the Maratha saint and immpressed him so much that back in Maharashtra was one of the principle forces behind Shivaji.

Then he was invited by Jehangir to Delhi where he was arrested and jailed at the fort in Gwalior for about 2 years. Released when ailing Jehangir thought that the reason for his disease was the arrest of Guru Hargobind, Guru Hargobind refused to come out of the jail asking Jehangir to release all the 52 prisoners (Hindu kings from all over India) who were also released along with Guru Hargobind.

Then.. rest of the Sikh history is mostly wars with Mughals, Afghanis, Nadir Shah and British. Guru Hargobind gave

1. Organized battle plans through "Degh Tegh fateh".
2. Emphasis on Practice, discipline and physical fitness.

In 1720s for the Guerilla warfare of Sikhs a unique concept was improvised by Jathedar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and his ilks., calling it
Dhai Phatt, i.e. "two and a half strikes". Small bands (100-200) would attack a strategic location on the moving column of Nadir Shah or Abdali to free up the slaves or snatch back the booty being sent to Afghanistan. They would attack then retreat and then attack again to massacre the enemy soldiers following them. In such operations, Sikhs released many slave girls and sent them back to their families. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was aptly named "Baandi chhor" i.e. "deliverer of the women slaves" when in one such raid he released 2200 women from the baggage train of Abdali. These Sikh bands were 100% riders with muskets and double edged swords.
The Sikh riders in the area between Indus and Jamuna were revered by villagers calling them "Sardars" i.e. "Leaders". Since then
all Sikhs in India have been called "Sardars".
<b>war in ancient India</b>
Brahma astra

Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita (2)

The Bhagavad Gita is not a mythological story.

Brought up as most children are, on a diet of comics and super-heroes, it is natural for us to speak of Krishna as one more fictional and mythic hero.

Nevertheless, Krishna is not a myth. He is not the figment of the imagination of Veda Vyasa. He is not like Superman, Batman, or a hero from Star Wars. He is a genuine historical personality who walked on this earth more than 5,000 years.

Off the coast of Saurashtra, an Indian archeological expedition extensively
explored a submerged city, several thousand years old. Dr. Rao, the Chief Archeologist declared, "This underwater city cannot be anything other than
Krishna's Dwarka!"

Another archeologist from the former Soviet Union, Professor A.A. Gorbovsky
unearthed from the fields of Kurukshetra (north of New Delhi) - a human skull. He took this skull back with him to his country to study and carbon date it.

His evidence revealed that this skull belonged to a man who died in a war 5,000 years ago - the approximate date of the battle of Kurukshetra. Amazingly, the skull emitted radiation similar to that of an object exposed to a nuclear blast.

In the Mahabharata, there is a graphic description of the explosion that follows the use of a Brahma-astra (nuclear weapon). The vivid Sanskrit prose describes in great detail the classical mushroom shaped cloud, the intense heat and radiation, the nuclear winter that follows, and the horrible effects on its miserable survivors.

It is only recently after Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the modern world was able to understand all the horrors of nuclear war that Veda Vyasa recorded in the Mahabharata 5,000 years ago.

Krishna is not a myth but a historical personality. The battle of Kurukshetra that took place 5,000 years ago, is an ancient conflict fought with nuclear weapons. And the Bhagavad Gita is an actual conversation between Krishna and Arjuna, faithfully recorded in a historical text (itihaasa) - the Mahabharata.

if some has more info on this please respond .

I remember reading an article in a news paper on the research findings of a german scientist on the similar lines.
<!--QuoteBegin-fanne+Oct 1 2003, 01:22 AM-->QUOTE(fanne @ Oct 1 2003, 01:22 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> I was wondering can anyone point to one place about 'moder' warfare concerning India, mainly between Indians and one outside current boundry of India, starting from maybe 500 A.D. (i.e. from the time of Gupta's)

fanne <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

yes, for this you could read more about raja raja cholas invasion of cylon,sumatra, bali.....
<!--QuoteBegin-Krishna+Oct 5 2003, 11:08 PM-->QUOTE(Krishna @ Oct 5 2003, 11:08 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> I have a question: In the Ramayana & Mahbharatha, there are these warriors raining down arrows, all coming out of one launched initially. Also, something called 'Bramhastra' which acted much like a present day nuke. Is there a possibility that some existed like that, or they just myths? 

Can someone please throw some light on these.

TIA! <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Book Review in Telegraph, Calcutta.. 6/18/2004..
From hydaspes to kargil: a history of warfare in india from 326 BC to ad1999 By Kaushik Roy, Manohar, Rs 595

Military history in India has never been Clio’s favourite child. One kind of military history flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the hands of great narrative historians like Jadunath Sarkar. They wrote about battles with great fanfare. Seldom, if ever, detailed analysis of tactics and strategy was brought into play. But even this kind of attention to military matters disappeared when issues of social and political history came to acquire a prominence in Indian historiography.

It is impossible to recall a single important book on Indian military history written in the last 30 years by a serious academic historian. It became infra dig to do research on military history. Graduate students in premier universities were guided by their professors to the obscure corners of nationalism and to arcane problems of agrarian relations as possible themes for their doctoral dissertation.

Kaushik Roy is the rare species that fought off blandishments and threats of academic marginalization to pursue research in military history, his childhood passion.

The book has a wide range. It begins with the battle of Hydaspes. Alexander the Great’s triumph on the banks of the Jhelum in 326 BC is taken as India’s first battle. The book ends with Kargil, though one might well wonder if Kargil was a battle or a skirmish.

Roy raises the most interesting question about the complete absence of military coups in India. His answer to this is problematic. He says, “the roots of civilian supremacy may be traced back to classical antiquity. The marginalization of the army within the entire state structure of the state machinery was the chief characteristic of ancient Indian political philosophy.’’

Further, he discovers the influence of “the anti-militaristic Hindu tradition in almost all spheres of [India’s] national life.’’ When such claims follow mumbo-jumbo like, “Credit is due to Nehruvian political vision for subordinating the military through a judicious military synthesis of British-designated bureaucratic systems and statecraft based on the Kautilya-Ashokan format’’, one begins to wonder about the seriousness of this book and the common sense of the author. One of the first rules a historian learns is to avoid cross-epoch and cross-cultural generalizations. Mr Roy will serve his passion best if he stayed with the details of strategy and tactics. In military history, as in most other branches of the subject, the truth lies in the details. Where Mr Roy flies from the details, he also flies off the handle.

Draupadi Ghosh
Hi Everyone,

My name is Lorenzo Rubbo-Ferraro, from Melbourne Australia, and I am looking for an English version of the Dhanurveda. I have found excerpts from the net by Dr. B. Chakravarti at:


This excerpt pertains only to archery and was commissioned by ATARN (an Asian Archery association), however I am looking for the complete work. I very much admire Dr. Chakravarti's translation and am wondering if he has ever translated the complete work or if this Veda has ever been translated into English?

I am deeply in need of the Dhanurveda and would greatly appreciate any information on how I can obtain an English version. If you live in India and can locate a copy for me I am willing to pay for it.

Thanks for your time, I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Lorenzo Rubbo-Ferraro.
L. Rubbo-Ferraro

Thankx a Ton !

I was searching for this one day ...
There is a thread on related subject at: Pre-modern Warfare:India And Elsewhere
Dhanurveda Samhita, Text with English tr., by Purnima Ray, 1997, Delhi, JP Publishing House

Translation of vasiShTha dhanurveda
Hey, thanks for the replies.

I found two online bookshops selling Purnima Ray's english version. One required a minimum order of $100 so I am thinking of ordering through the other one, Books and Periodicals Agency ( http://www.bpagency.com/Home.asp ). And yes, Viren, I have read that thread but thought it better to make a general post.


Hi all,

I recently posted, asking for details of an English edition of the Dhanurveda. Thanks to your help I now have a copy!

I hope you can help me again. I am after details of a scripture or help from a pandit who knows about celestial weapons. So far I have gathered a lot of information regarding celestial weapons but it is by no means complete and I am still asking questions about how they function.

The Dhanurveda mentions a few, and their mantras, and how they can be counteracted by saying the mantra in reverse. It does not mention elementals, which I have found in other scriptures, for example; a wind weapon can be beaten by a mountain weapon, fire by water etc.

I still have many questions, some are:

- Are they all missile types? And if so what about the divine weapons of the devas that aren’t hurled, (like clubs, swords etc.)
- What makes them unique? The brahmastra can kill enemies in mass but can also be pin-pointed to destroy only a child in the womb, how do the others function?
- Arjuna received these weapons from the devas and yet it seems they can be learnt by anyone?

So, if anyone could point me towards the definitive sastra on celestial weapons, or if you have more detailed knowledge of them, please write me.

Yours sincerely,
Lorenzo Rubbo-Ferraro.
The Ramayana too has mentions of Each type of Astra being launched from a different DANUSH (Missile Launcher?), for Rama now-and-often commands Lakshmana to prepare his 'Danush' for the next missile launch.

Also, furing the battle, I think it was Athikaya who is said to have come with a WIERD looking (Vichitra) danush that has never been seen before, and Valmiki mentions that not many in the world knew how to operate it.

All our ideas of Ramayana and Bharatha comes from Movies, and artist's renditions. Thus we imagine that an Abimantra for an ASTRA is done by taking a stick arrow and touching it to the nose with a few chants. Methinks that a Mantra is an operating procedure that is applied to a particular launcher and missile combination.

It may be interesting to note about the Harappan Nuclear blasts. (Dont know how true it is, but if anyone could enlighten me on the Harappan blasts it would be apreciated.)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ancient nuclear blasts and levitating stones of Shivapur

The great ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata, contains numerous legends about the powerful force of a mysterious weapon

The archaeological expedition, which carried out excavations near the Indian settlement of Mohenjo-Daro in the beginning of the 1900s, uncovered the ruins of a big ancient town. The town belonged to one of the most developed civilizations in the world. The ancient civilization existed for two or three thousand years. However, scientists were a lot more interested in the death of the town, rather than in its prosperity.

Researchers tried to explain the reason of the town's destruction with various theories. However, scientists did not find any indications of a monstrous flood, skeletons were not numerous, there were no fragments of weapons, or anything else that could testify either to a natural disaster or a war. Archaeologists were perplexed: according to their analysis the catastrophe in the town had occurred very unexpectedly and it did hot last long.

Scientists Davneport and Vincenti put forward an amazing theory. They stated the ancient town had been ruined with a nuclear blast. They found big stratums of clay and green glass. Apparently, archaeologists supposed, high temperature melted clay and sand and they hardened immediately afterwards. Similar stratums of green glass can also found in Nevada deserts after every nuclear explosion.

A hundred years have passed since the excavations in Mohenjo-Daro. The modern analysis showed, the fragments of the ancient town had been melted with extremely high temperature - not less than 1,500 degrees centigrade. Researchers also found the strictly outlined epicenter, where all houses were leveled. Destructions lessened towards the outskirts. Dozens of skeletons were found in the area of Mohenjo-Daro - their radioactivity exceeded the norm almost 50 times.

<b>The great ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata, contains numerous legends about the powerful force of a mysterious weapon. One of the chapters tells of a shell, which sparkled like fire, but had no smoke. "When the shell hit the ground, the darkness covered the sky, twisters and storms leveled the towns. A horrible blast burnt thousands of animals and people to ashes. Peasants, townspeople and warriors dived in the river to wash away the poisonous dust." </b>
I was watching Mahabharat yesterday -specifically the episode where pandavas are in vanavas after having lost everything. Anyway Sri Krishna asks Arjuna to go pray to Mahadeva and Indra and get all the celestial weapons. Arjuna acquires Pashupatastra from Mahadeva and then proceed to Indra-lok to acquire all the celestial weapons. After acquiring all the weapons when he goes back to Indra to ask for his leave Indra says he needs to acquire one more *Astra*. Arjuna asks which one ? Indra says "Gaadharv-astra" from Gandharva king Chitrasen (?). Arjuna gets all confused what is a warrior going to do with Gaandharvastra and Indra explains its one of the most powerful astras of all.

Anyway to cut long story short, art of dancing (I am assuming Gadharvastra means art of dancing) can also be considered a weapon. <!--emo&:rocker--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rocker.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rocker.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Reference from Ramayana.

<i>Drshtvâ râmasahasrâni gândharvâstrena mohitâh[13] |
indriyârtheshu tishtantam bhûtâtmânam iva prajâh[14] ||219||</i>

The Core Force (Moola-bala) of Ravana, were stupefied by the Gandharva-astra of Rama and saw thousands of Rama’s, (but not the source of them all) just as people (do not recognise the Jivatma which is the power-source for) all sense-experience of objects.
<!--QuoteBegin-Sunder+Sep 2 2004, 09:29 PM-->QUOTE(Sunder @ Sep 2 2004, 09:29 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> It may be interesting to note about the Harappan Nuclear blasts. (Dont know how true it is, but if anyone could enlighten me on the Harappan blasts it would be apreciated.)
Sunder, this is nonsense. Please do not buy such stuff. They are peddled by a guy called Childress- look him up on google.

I would recommend Gustav Oppert's old book on Hindu weapons. I would definitely be of some interest to readers on this forum.
<!--QuoteBegin-Rajita Rajvasishth+Sep 11 2004, 11:06 AM-->QUOTE(Rajita Rajvasishth @ Sep 11 2004, 11:06 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Sunder, this is nonsense. Please do not buy such stuff. They are peddled by a guy called Childress- look him up on google.

I would recommend Gustav Oppert's old book on Hindu weapons. I would definitely be of some interest to readers on this forum. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Thanks Rajita, I was surprised when I saw quite a few hits for "Harappa" and "Radioactive" on google. It also occured in the site "A tribute to Hinduism" under the Vimanas Category.

So, do we conclusively know that radioactive skeletons in Harappa is a bogus theory? If so, I will drop it like a hot potato.
A cool piece from Aiiravat Singh here..

Was late medieval India ready for a Revolution in Military Affairs?

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