• Monday, June 17, 2019

Alexander the Great/ Mauryans/ Graeco-Bactrians

Discussion in 'Pakistan History' started by Pan-Islamic-Pakistan, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. Pan-Islamic-Pakistan

    Pan-Islamic-Pakistan SENIOR MEMBER

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    This series, 'Historical Background of Pakistan and its People', is written by Ahmed Abdulla and edited by K. Hasan.

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    PART-1 can be found here: Historical Background of Pakistan and its People/Rarely part of India/IVC

    PART-2 can be found here: Coming of the Aryans/ Persian Rule

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    PART-3

    ALEXANDER'S INVASION

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    Western historians have tried to extol the cultural aspects of Alexander's invasion and to exaggerate the extent of its impact on the East. The truth of the matter is that he was a destroyer of civilizations and in this respect was no better than Changez or Hulagu. [This disputed claim is only the authors' opinion] He annihilated the greatest civilization of the time flourishing in Persia under the Achaemenians, effaced the finest cultural monuments erected by the great monarchs of that dynasty and by setting fire to the capital city of Persepolis and several other towns and cities, left Iran desolate and deserted. It took Iran more than six centuries to revive and resuscitate itself from the devastation wrought by Alexander's armies. Iran rose again and regained its lost power and prestige under the Sassanians in the 3rd century A.D. In Pakistan also Alexander and his forces carried out large-scale massacres. In lower Sind alone 80,000 people are said to have been put to the sword and innumerable men and women sold as slaves. (Early History of India, By V.A. Smith)

    Since Alexander was determined to reach the eastern-most limits of the Persian Empire he could not resist the temptation to conquer Pakistan, which at this time was parceled out into small chieftain- ships, who were feudatories of the Persian Empire. Alexander entered Pakistan from the northern route at Swat but was given a tough fight by the local forces in which he himself is said to have been injured. Next, he reached Indus which was crossed at a place called Ohind, fifteen miles above Attock. The first local ruler he encountered was that of Taxila, Raja Ambhi, with his territories lying between Indus and Jhelum. This raja, because of the geographical position of his kingdom, kept himself well informed of developments across Indus and beyond, and was shrewd and pragmatic in his approach. Having received the information that the Achaemenian Emperor Darius III was ignominiously defeated by Alexander and that entire Iran had been over-run and devastated by his armies, Ambhi considered it prudent to conclude peace with the Greek dictator. Alexander was extended a glorious welcome at Taxila where he stayed for some time and held discussions with the learned people of the city. He was so pleased with the raja that he confirmed the latter as ruler of the area and gave him costly presents.

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    Further east, however, Alexander's advance was halted by the famous Raja Porus who inflicted considerable losses on the Greek forces. Porus was the ruler of territories east of Jhelum. The local armies fought valiantly and but for some tactical mistakes might have won the war. In spite of the defeat, Porus was confirmed as ruler in his principality in recognition of his prowess and patriotism. Moreover, Alexander did not want to antagonise the local people and rulers in view of their potentialities and also in view of his own limited resources. "It is clear from classical accounts of Alexander's campaign that the Greeks were not unimpressed by what they saw in India (i.e. Sindhu or Indus Valley or Pakistan -- ancient India was in Pakistan region, not present day India). They much admired the courage of the Indian (Pakistani) troops, the austerity of the ascetics whom they met at Taxila and the purity and simplicity of the tribes of the Punjab and Sind. The Greeks were impressed by the ferocity with which the women of some of the Punjab tribes aided their menfolk in resisting Alexander." (The Wonder that was India, By A.L. Bhasham)

    "The Greeks who were much impressed by the high stature of the men in the Punjab acknowledged that in the art of war they were far superior to the other nations by which Asia was at that time inhabited. The resolute opposition of Porus consequently was not to be despise." (The Oxford History of India, By V.A. Smith)

    Alexander went up to the bank of the Beas somewhere near Gurdaspur where his army, according to historians, refused to move further. What- ever the immediate cause, by reaching Beas Alexander had almost touched the eastern-most frontier of the traditional boundaries of Pakistan and accomplished his mission. It was but logical that he should return. He came down through the entire length of Pakistan, crossed the Hub River near Karachi and departed for home dying on the way. It should not be overlooked that during his 10-month stay in Pakistan and during his movements from one end to the other he did not have smooth sailing. He had to fight small rulers almost everywhere in the N.W.F.P., Punjab and Sind. The Mallois of Mullistan (Multan) inflicted considerable losses on his forces.

    Alexander's invasion of this area and the extent of his journey again boldly highlight the fact that Pakistan's present boundaries were almost the same in those days. From Hindu Kush, Dir and Swat to the banks of the Beas and down to Karachi - this entire area was one single geographical, political and cultural bloc under the suzerainty of the Persians. It will also be recalled that this was the same area as covered by the Indus Valley Civilization which continued to remain separate from India through the ages. Alexander's halt and return from the bank of the Beas is not without significance in this context. "The sphere of Persian influence in these early times can hardly have reached beyond the realm of the Indus and its affluents. We may assume, accordingly, that when Alexander reached the river Hyphasis, the ancient vipac, and modern Beas, and was then forced by his generals and soldiers to start upon his retreat, he had touched the extreme limits of the Persian dominion over which he had triumphed throughout." (The Cambridge History of India, Vol.1, Edited by E.J. Rapson)

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    The redeeming feature of this period that stands out distinctly is that Pakistan, again, was NOT a part of India and was affiliated to a western power. We have seen that whether during (a) the Indus Valley Civilization 3000 B.C. - 1500 B.C. or (b) during the period of Aryan settlement 1500 B.C. - 1000 B.C. or (c) during the half a millennium period after further Aryan migrations eastward 1000 B.C. - 500 B.C. or (d) during its affiliation with the Achaemenian Empire 500 - 325 B.C., Pakistan was all along a separate entity having nothing to do with India. The period covered by these four chapters of its history is from 3000 B.C. to 325 B.C., i.e., about two thousand seven hundred years.

    The immediate impact of Alexander's invasion on Pakistan was faint and inconsequential. The long-term and indirect effects, however, were of considerable importance which shall be discussed at a later stage. Here we shall pick up the thread of political history and follow the destiny of this area immediately after Alexander's departure.

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    UNDER THE MAURYAN EMPIRE

    Alexander's invasion had a two-fold political effect: By crushing the Achaemenian Empire it loosened the already feeble control of the Persians over Pakistan; and by creating a power vacuum in this area it encouraged, for the first time in history, intrusion by India into Pakistan. Fortunately for India, at this opportune moment a man from Punjab, Chandragupta Maurya, was able to set up a strong government in the Gangetic Valley which extended its sway over most of northern India. Alexander's successor Seleucus who had yet to grid his loins and muster his forces after the Dictator's sudden and unexpected demise, was prevailed upon by diplomacy to cede Pakistan to Chandragupta peacefully, avoiding the sufferings of war whose outcome seemed uncertain to him. Pakistan, as such, became a part of India's Maurya Empire in 300 BC without war. This was the first time in history that Pakistan was looking eastward and the first time it had become part of India and ruled by India. But strangely indeed, shortly afterwards, the third Mauryan Emperor, Asoka, became Buddhist and Pakistan did not have to smart under Hinduism for long. Though incorporated in the Indian Empire, Pakistan escaped Hindu rule. Under Asoka's missionary activities she adopted Buddhism and was to remain largely Buddhist till the arrival of Muslims.

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    Mauryan rule, however, did not last long. Pakistan's ties with India were severed barely a hundred years later in about 200 BC when the Greek King Demetrius, already in control of the areas beyond Hindu Kush with his capital at Bactria (Balkh in northern Afghanistan), pounced upon Pakistan at the very first opportunity. Within a few years (190-180 BC) Demetrius took over a considerable portion of the Indus basin. This ushered in the golden period of Graeco-Bactrians who had their capital in Taxila. This new state also embraced almost the whole of present day Pakistan within its eastern boundary extending up to Sutlej; had an independent existance and again looked westward having hardly anything to do with India. The greatest Graeco-Bactrian king was Menander who was a Buddhist and ruled from 160-140 BC.

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    GRAECO-BACTRIAN RULE

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    Since Alexander's invasion, a number of Greek families had settled down in various parts of Pakistan and had made sizeable contribution to art and architecture, science and medicine during Mauryan period. "That during this period there were several foreign communities living in northwestern sub-continent can be established from India's own literary records. Asoka refers to his Yavana (Greek) subjects. He seems to have employed Greek nobles in the service of the state" (Studies in Indian history, By K.M. Pannikar). With the establishment of Greek rule, arts and sciences received fresh and vigorous impetus and Taxila, their capital, became one of the greatest centres of learning. Scholars from all over the world flocked here to acquire knowledge. "From now on the Yavanas are mentioned from time to time in Southasian literature. Through the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom western theories of astrology and medicine began to enter Southasia and perhaps the development of the Sanskrit drama was in part inspired from this source. One of the Greek kings of the Punjab is specially remembered by Buddhism as the patron of the philosopher- monk Nagasena; this was Milinda (Menander) whose long discussions with the sage are recorded in a well-known Pali text, the Questions of Milinda. Menander is said to have become a Buddhist" (The wonder that was India, By K.M. Bhasham). "In this area (Pakistan) which came to be known in Buddhist books as Uddiyana, Asoka's missionary activities seem to have borne fruit and soon it became one of the classic centres of Buddhism" (Studies in Indian history, by K.M. Pannikar). Sind was also under the jurisdiction of the Bactrian rulers. "It is probable that both Apollodidus and his successor Menander ruled over Sind for a hundred years" (The Imperial Gaztteer of India, Vol XXII). In the ancient and early Indian sources we find reference to cities built by the rulers of the Graeco-Bactrian states in the basin of the Indus Delta.

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    "The expansive policy of Bactria's Hellenistic rulers, who had conquered more peoples than Alexander himself, resulted in the establishment in the north-western part of the sub-continent, of the so-called Indo-Greek Kingdom stretching from Kashmir to the coast of the Arabian Sea. According to Strabon's testimony, the Indo-Greek kings in the south possessed the lower reaches of the Indus and the Saurashtra. The most powerful of them was Menander (mid-second century B.C.) a master of sea ports, mines, cities and custom-houses" (The Peoples of Pakistan, By Yu. V. Gankovsky).

    "It is Hellenism that became the ideological form and justification of this process under the concrete historical conditions existing in the northwestern part of the subcontinent in the middle of the later half of the first millennium B.C. This was largely due to the age-old political as well as economic ties between the territories of the Indus Basin and the countries of Western Asia. These ties became especially strong after Alexander the Great's campaign and reached their climax (in the antiquity) at the turn of our era. The local aristocracy, as G.F. Ilian points out, "seems to have been gravitating more to the countries west and north west of Taxila than to the countries to the south of it, both economically and, by tradition, politically. This is attested, among other things by the numerous rebellion raised here against Mauryan rule.

    "At the same time the Milindapanha (1,2) describes the West Punjab as "the country of the Yonana," because in the time of Menander the Hellenized members of the local aristocracy and the descendants of the Graeco-Macedonian invaders constituted here the ruling substratum of slave owning society.

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    "The top of society harboured the Greek language: by the testimony of Philostratus Fraotes, King of Taxila (the latter half of the first century A.D.) spoke Greek fluently. It is in Greek, as Strabon states, that the message of the Indus (Pakistan) King Por to the Roman Emperor Augustus (27 B.C. to A.D. 14) was composed. Some scholars hold that Greek was fostered as a living tongue at the court of the Saka rulers in North-West sub-continent (i.e. Pakistan).

    "The northern Southasian contingents supplied by Alexander the Great and his successors into their armies seem to have become hellenized much earlier than other sections of the population. Indigenous troops were armed with Macedonian weapons and trained by Macedonian methods. Hellenization worked on the offspring of intermarriages between Macedonian soldiers and Asiatic women, as well as on the population of numerous cities founded or re-built by the Graeco-Macedonian invaders. These cities were populated with Graeco-Macedonian soldiers unable for further service and with local dwellers. Thus according to Diodorus, Alexander recruited 10,000 peoples to inhabit a city he had founded in the Lower Indus. Seleucus Nicator carried on town construction too; he built many towns all over his vast kingdom, including "Alexandropolis in the land of the Indus" (The Peoples of Pakistan, By Yu. V. Gankovsky).

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  2. Pan-Islamic-Pakistan

    Pan-Islamic-Pakistan SENIOR MEMBER

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  3. Indus Pakistan

    Indus Pakistan ELITE MEMBER

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    Thank you for tagging me. I will take delight from reading this later in the evening. But from the quick scan I can see the author is not scared of using 'Pakistan' in historical context. This is a pet peev of mine and any article that does this anoys but to no limit. Besides anything else if people don't use 'Pakistan' they are at worse negating it';s existence to struggling to come to terms with it's existence and at best have guilt complex about it. This suggests deep inferiority complex and has to be faced in a robust manner or it will always remain so.
     
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  4. kris

    kris FULL MEMBER

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    Article was talking about two non existing nation's nation's of that time- India and Pakistan
     
  5. Agnihotra

    Agnihotra BANNED

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    Mauryans were real deal, i am personally a fanboy of Chandragupta the great and Chanakya who were badass in their timeline, not only they took ragtag nomads and tribals of North and West India and built an Army of their own but also defeated India's largest Empire at that time but also forged a new dynasty that united all of Bharatvarsh under their rule.

    later when one of the best general of Alexander who ruled Persia, Turkey, Levent, Central Asia and Afghanistan attacked their Empire to fulfill the goal of India under greek rule, not only they kicked Selucid back to Iran but also took Afghanistan and astern Iran as a price and his own daughter Helena as a trophy wife to add insult to injury.

    this same helena gave birth to the 2nd Mauryan Emperor "Bindusara" who conquered Rajasthan, Gujarat and Most of Deccan for Mauryan Empire.

    they were mightiest Emperors of India,from original Kshatriya Bloodline.

    Mauryan empire under Chandragupta,
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    Empire under his son Bindusara
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    the emblem of Mauryan Empire (lion) and Dynasty(Moreya/peacock)
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    @padamchen @Nilgiri @ranjeet
     
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  6. Corona

    Corona FULL MEMBER

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    Is it just me or does this article read like a kid trying to list victories and loses to see who stacks up better?
    "Pakistan, as such, became a part of India's Maurya Empire in 300 BC without war.","Pakistan was looking eastward and the first time it had become part of India and ruled by India. ", "Pakistan did not have to smart under Hinduism for long. ",,"Though incorporated in the Indian Empire, Pakistan escaped Hindu rule. "
    Yeesh...
     
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  7. Sher Shah Awan

    Sher Shah Awan SENIOR MEMBER

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    Thanks for the tag. Interesting once again to look at the history of Pakistan and its peoples. I found the above very interesting, as some historiographers consider Awans to be the remnants of Bactrian Greeks, and the above geographical description matches areas where Awans once held sway. Whatever the case, all of this history belongs to all Pakistanis. And those pesky no bodies who constantly steal other peoples histories to feel good about themselves should have some shame.
     
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  8. Pan-Islamic-Pakistan

    Pan-Islamic-Pakistan SENIOR MEMBER

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    Maurya Empire was a big influence on India, but only ruled the Pakistan region for a hundred years.

    The bigger influence on Pakistan in this period were the Greek states which ruled Pakistan.

    You are welcome to open a thread on Indian history to discuss the Mauryans’ impact on India.

    I want to keep this thread focused on Pakistani history.
     
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  9. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer PROFESSIONAL

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    Nations, in the Westphalian sense, yes, cultures and geographical areas, no.

    It is a common mistake to assume that India was then the Indus Valley. It is now a mistake assiduously promoted by those who recognise the urgent need for Pakistan to acquire a creation myth, and to be able to point to its existence from ancient times. We have seen the effects of a brilliant mind devoted to this back-story, when @Indus Pakistan coined the ingenious phrase 'co-terminous Pakistan'. That actually means nothing but Pakistan as it should have existed in the past to entitle Pakistanis to claim a coherent identity in the past, when the very focussed and topical need for that nation to exist had never been thought about.

    Unfortunately, that wise man's efforts have been taken up by the less wise, and the result is a constant hail-storm of half-baked claims and brags and boasts by the less equipped.

    Most of this is sunken by two facts that stubbornly refuse to go away: the extent of the Indus Valley Civilisation shows clearly that it was not only not confined to the Indus Valley, some of its greatest achievements and creations were outside; further, that its cultural remainders were to be found where the survivors had left the crippled and dying culture and taken refuge in the second urban growth in India (I use this term deliberately here, for reasons that will be mentioned later) in the Yamuna-Ganges Valley. Ironically, the Yamuna might very well have nourished a successor civilisation both culturally and physically; besides the lost trail of the Harkara or Ghaggar, that khaki chaddis habitually claim as the original Saraswati, the Yamuna in its earlier path might have flowed into the Indus, and might well have had been a major contributor to the fertility that first promoted the IVC; its capture by the Ganges eco-system might well have been a major factor behind the desiccation of the rich hinterland of the IVC. The second factor is the testimony of the ambassador of the Greeks, of the Seleucids, to be precise, the closest of the Diadochi to India, that he visited the court of the Mauryas at Pataliputra, alas, never any part of co-terminous Pakistan, in his book on his visit and his experiences named Indika. Not Biharika; not Gangetika; not Prasipolis; not Icthyophagetica; Indika.

    The sub-continent was never a single coherent mass, not once in its history, not during the earlier empires, whether Maurya or Gupta, not under the Sultanate, not under the Mughals, not under the British, but was always a series of local, river cultures that resembled each neighbour on either side most, and whose neighbours in turn shared characteristics with its own neighbours, similarly. The nine river basins, the Ganga, the Brahmaputra, the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Kaveri, the Tungabhadra, the Narmada and the Indus, in strictly clockwise order, were the formative elements in India's cultural life, and not the tribes and coalitions of horse-mounted brutes who swept in from time to time and brutalised the frontiers until the next succeeding wave swept in in their own turn and did to their predecessors what their predecessors had done at their own time of success.

    I admire and applaud the brilliant effort of Indus Pakistan at knitting the diverse elements of Pakistani society today into some sort of cohesive previous history. It is a sad reflection on the insecurity of a nation-state that it has to devote the talents of its wise to creating a history that never existed, and an even sadder reflection that those who embrace this vision do not have the learning or the discernment to distinguish this from the plaster idols that were earlier worshipped.
     
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  10. T-123456

    T-123456 ELITE MEMBER

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    A deficiency of most people of the region.
    ''Skin whitening'' is the best example,black Africans dont care but you(the regions people) do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  11. Sher Shah Awan

    Sher Shah Awan SENIOR MEMBER

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    Skin whitening creams are also very famous in several African countries. I see no difference between skin whitening creams and tanning booths/sprays used by White Europeans.

    It seems as if darker people want to be white, and white people want to be darker. Humans are never happy it seems.
     
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  12. newb3e

    newb3e SENIOR MEMBER

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    just started this documentary.
     
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  13. M. Sarmad

    M. Sarmad SENIOR MEMBER

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    @Joe Shearer

    In this era, all sorts of information are readily and instantly available, but some people still believe that 'myths' can be created and propagated easily.

    More funny than sad, I would say...
     
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  14. T-123456

    T-123456 ELITE MEMBER

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    You dont?
    The difference is that one side has a psychological problem with his/her skin colour,wants to be ''white'' forever,thats why the creams and bleeching,while the other side likes a tan which happens every summer anyway. So,its nothing new for the white person,no complex at all.
     
  15. Indus Pakistan

    Indus Pakistan ELITE MEMBER

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    I don't think you have been exposed to this species. They will reconfigure everything. Artificial straight hair, skin lightening, nose re-engineering. Just look at Micheal Jackson before and after pictures.
     
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