Wednesday, 11 April 2012

An assessment of Indian character - The Measure of a Nation

Thoughts from my continued perusal of the book "Forty-one Years In India, From Subaltern To Commander-in-chief " (Previously mentioned in another post):

The Commander-in-Chief has lived through a period of great excitement and action in Indian history involving the Sepoy Revolution and the Afghan wars.

Having lead the troops against the Afghans in the Second Afghan War, in a description of events, he states:

"It is comparatively easy for a small body of well-trained act on the offensive against Asiatics, however powerful they may be in point of numbers. There is something in the determined advance of a compact, disciplined body of troops which they can seldom resist. But a retirement is a different matter. They become full of confidence and valour the moment they see any signs of their opponents being unable to resist them, and if there is the smallest symptom of unsteadiness, wavering, or confusion, a disaster is certain to occur. "

These words made me reflect upon many events that comprise matters of import in Indian History.
Porus may have been a man of valor, backed by the huge hordes of the traditional four-fold army (The Chathurangabala : Ratha-Gajha-Thuraga-Pathadi, chariots-elephants-horsemen-infantry), but he could not withstand the small, compact army of a determined invader!

Link : King Porus

Link : Caturangabala (hence the game Chaturanga, the father of Chess)

Again, we read of Nader Shah, galloping into the plains of Northern India, looting and pillaging, carrying everything by the might of his sword.

Link : Nader Shah

The British occupation and rule over India is but the continuation of a sad story; Of a vast population unable to defend against the attack of a determined compact enemy force.

How else can we explain the multitudes of Muslim soldiers flying before a few white British soldiers under the control of Clive in the Battle of Plassey.

Link : Robert Clive

Link : Battle of Plassey

It is true that the invaders invariably brought new techniques and advanced weaponry into warfare. The Moguls brought in the use of gunpowder and canons, mechanized bows and arrows, against which our tradition bound Chaturangabala could do nothing!
And Clive? He put to maximum use the British principle of divide and rule, playing one section of the population against another, in securing his victory.

What a misfortune, that the Indians in-spite of individual valor, lacked a sense of coheision and failed to present a determined-united frontage!

Image Source :

Will India wake up, realise the lack of togetherness through play of forces like religion, cast, language and demography?
Will India achieve a sense of Oneness?

That day will perhaps be the dawn of the one true Indian Dream!

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