Monday, April 4, 2011



The King of Macedonia, Alexander invaded India as part of his ambition to conquer the entire world. Even before Alexander’s invasion, India was not unknown to the Greek world. Certain parts of Indian territories were ruled by the Persians, who obtained huge revenue in terms of gold from these territories. Herodotus was aware of the richness of India because Herodotus had described the revenue obtained by the Persian empire from Indian territories. The Indians in the Persian army of King Xerxes had fought against the Greeks.
After defeating and conquering Persia, Alexander decided to invade India also. However this invasion is not recorded in the ancient Indian literature. This invasion did not have much impact on the everyday life of Indians as Alexander did not touch the heartland of India.

After crossing the Indus river, Alexander found an ally in King Ambi of Taxila who accepted the supremacy of Alexander. However, he had to face stiff resistance from King Porus who impressed Alexander with his tremendous fighting abilities. The army of Alexander ultimately overcame the resistence of Porus who was wounded in the battle and was arrested. However ,the Greeks returned the territory of Porus to him because Alexander liked the heroics of the king.
Alexander intended to cross the river Ganges which was ruled by the Nandas of Magadha. However, his deputies pressured him to retreat from India, as they had become homesick and they were also told that it would not be easy to cross the Ganges as Nandas possessed a huge army and it would be difficult for the Greeks to defeat them. It is probable that the Greek soldiers were afraid of the huge standing army of the Nandas.
Alexander’s invasion gave a starting date for Indian chronology on the basis of Greek accounts of India. He defeated and thereby weakened many war tribes of India. This in a way helped the Mauryan king Chandragupta Maurya to subjugate the Indian territories. It is said that Alexander was wounded in a fight with an Indian tribe and later died in Babylon.
After the death of Alexander, Chandragupta Maurya conquered the Indian territories from the Greeks by fighting with the Greek governor Seleukus. It is said that they entered into a matrimonial alliance and decided not to attack each other's territories.

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