Unfortunately, most of the Indian history in our text books comes from our invaders. A bigger tragedy is the continued propagation of it by our lazy historians. There’s more to Indian History than Morley Minto reforms and the Razia Sultan’s horse.
Here are a few facts that many Indians are generally unaware of:
1.) That how Martial Arts and Zen buddhism were founded in China by an Indian?
– Bodhidharma, a Pallava prince from Kanchipuram in Southern India, went on to become the first patriarch of the Chan Buddhism in China, who established what we now know as the Shaolin temple and Kung-Fu.
He arrived in China after 382 AD and is identified as the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism. Today, there are major temples and sites dedicated to Bodhidharma all over China, Tibet, Malaysia and Japan. Many movies and documentaries have been made in China and Japan on his life and times. The only people perhaps who have forgotten him are we, Indians.
2.) That how the Britishers took away the control of India from the Marathas and not the Mughals
– Can you name the war that the Mughals fought against the British? You cannot because there was none. When Robert Clive defeated the Nawab of Bengal in the Battle of Plassey to put the foundation stone of the British Empire, the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II, was a 58 year old puppet, put to the throne by the Mighty Marathas and kingmaker Imad-ul-Mulk.
Yes, Marathas and not Mughals were the dominant power, when the British entered India. Marathas ruled over an Empire larger than that of Akbar, dominating India for over 75 years, and we wouldn’t even have known about Bajirao, had there not been that Bollywood Movie by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
There was a famous saying (Kahawat) for the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II who reigned soon after Alamgir II – Sultanat-e-Shah Alam, Az Dilli ta Palam, meaning, ‘The kingdom of Shah Alam is from Delhi to Palam’,being a suburb of Delhi. The Mughal kings that came after Shah Alam were mere pensioners under the British rule and weren’t the dominating force they are pictured to be.
The British had to face the Mighty Marathas and not the Mughals in the first major war for the control of the Indian Sub-continent – The Anglo Maratha War in 1775–82, which ended up in the Surrender of the British Troops.
It took the conceit, treachery, manipulation and 44 long years of war against the Marathas for Britishers to finally consolidate the British Empire in India.
3.) That why was there a 150 year gap between Md. Ghazni and Md Ghori’s invasion into India?
– Because of the Great Battle of Bahraich (near present day Lucknow) where the huge and undefeated invading armies ofgeneral faced the much smaller army lead by Dalit King Suhal Dev Pasi on 1033–34 AD.
It was a clean sweep for Suhal Dev, with almost every member of the invading turk army killed or captured. Salar Masud himself was killed and buried along with his horses near the battlefield, where his Mazar stands till this day.
The defeat left the invaders shell shocked and ensured that no one dared come back to India for the next 150 years. The Indian History might not have given importance to King Suhal Dev Pasi, but the invaders did 300 years ago and the folk songs of the Pasi community still do to this day, singing the events of the Great Battle of Bahraich.
4.) That how the Ahoms of present day Assam were responsible for the downfall of the Mighty Mughals?
– If you’re not from the North-East of India, it is highly possible that you’ve never heard about the famous Battle of Saraighat. It was a battle fought in 1671 between the Powerful Mughal army of Emperor Aurangzeb and a much smaller army of the Kingdom of Ahom, led by the inspiring and tactful commander.
Knowing very well that he was facing a much larger army, Lachit Borphukan devised an ingenious plan which involved drawing the attackers to Saraighat, where Brahmaputra was narrow, and the river bank was surrounded by Hills. The approaching Mughal army on boats was completely decimated by the Ahom army with Archers hidden in the hills and just 7 war boats in the waters.
The Battle of Saraighat became the first major defeat for the Mughals since Humayun’s banishment to Persia and led to the eventual downfall of the Mughalia Sultanate.
Every year, the best passing out cadet ofis conferred the Lachit Borphukan gold medal during the Antim Pag ceremony.
5.) That how Marthanda Varma of Travancore, defeated the mightiest empire of the day, and is the reason why I am not writing this article in Dutch language today?
– We’ve never been taught in our history text books about the Battle of Colachel, which taught the Dutch East India Company, the mightiest power of the time, a lesson so hard, that it never dared to return to India again.
When the Dutch governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Gustaff Willem Van Imhoff met Varma and threatened to invade Travancore, Marthanda Varma responded in the following words – “I have been thinking of invading Europe some day as well.”
On February 4, 1741, the Dutch forces launched an assault hoping to unseat Varma. In response, Marthanda Varma’s army surrounded the attackers and laid a siege cutting down their supply lines. The siege ended on August 5, 1741, with an unconditional surrender of all the Dutch forces.
The Dutch East India Company commander and his lieutenant were captured and later employed to train and modernise the Army of Travancore and build forts. The Dutch signed the treaty of Mavellikara, formalising their defeat.
Note: The Dutch trained Travancore Army was later absorbed into the Indian Army and formed the 9th Battalion of the Madras Regiment. The battalion still celebrates July 31 every year as Colachel Day.
6.) That how there is almost no evidence of Ashoka becoming a pacifist after the Kalinga war?
– According to the famous Sri lankan chronicle, Ashokavadana, which is the basis for most historians and literary figures writing on him, Ashoka accepted buddhism much before the start of the Kalinga War and went on with major massacres of Jains and Ajivikas even after the said War.
In fact the Ashokan edicts and decrees that are the only official evidence of his renunciation actually start with a description of his sorry heart for killing so many Kalingans but goes on to threaten anyone who dares to go against him with the same violent retribution.
Ashoka went on to see the decline of his Empire within his lifetime and was almost forgotten by the Indian History and folklore until the advent of the British.
7.) That how the Indian Navy is also responsible for the Independance of India
– Following the end of World War II, the returning sailors of the Indian Navy, angry with the colonial power, revolted and took control of the Bombay city. They were battle hardened professionals in control of some of the most sophisticated naval weaponry and organised themselves using the radio wireless system under their control. The revolting sailors elected M.S. Khan as their president and Madan Singh the vice-president of their struggle. The ever dependable Gorkhas called in to control the mutiny refused to shoot their comrades.
The Flag officer J.H. Godfrey (The Inspiration behind the ‘M’ character in the James Bond series by Ian Fleming – Thank youfor the correction) threatened the revolting officers with the then famous line, “Submit or perish”! British Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s Labour Cabinet went into deliberations and concluded that a colonial control of India was not sustainable any more.
The British had to offer incentives and make promises to convince the Revolting Navy men, to surrender. Clement Attlee was forced to immediately announce the Cabinet Mission to India and hastened the process of independence.
The members of the ‘Bombay Mutiny’ (as it was officially called) were not taken back into the Indian Navy even after the Indian Independence the next year.
A Ganesh Chaturthi Idol being taken for Visarjan after the Royal Indian Navy mutiny, 1946, Bombay, India.
In the end, I would like to leave you with 5 questions here below. If you’ve liked what you’ve read so far, a little googling on these questions may open your eyes to a completely new dimension in Indian History. Hope you enjoy and share.
- That how India and not Saudi Arabia has the second oldest Mosque in the world?
- That how the Odias and a few Bengalis ended up colonising Sri lanka?
- That how Alexander the great and not King Porus lost in the battle?
- That how the oldest continuously inhabited Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian community in the world, is right here in India?
- That how India and not the west gave the Iron technology to the world?
Update 1: A couple of comments suggested appending a video by Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal as the source. I am afraid, it is not the videos but the Books by Sanjeev Sanyal which inspired me to work further and do my own research 🙂
All the sources used for the facts used have already been marked and mentioned. The flow and the write-up is my own. Hope this helps.
By Naman Chakraborty at quora