500-yr-old bags of gunpowder found in Jaisalmer Sonar fort

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Virendra, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    Latest news from Jaisalmer that is shedding some light on the use of Gunpoweder in medieval India.

    500-yr-old bags of gunpowder found - The Times of India
    JAISALMER: Over 1,500kg of gunpowder in five leather bags has been found near the Jain temple in the Sonar fort of Jaisalmer, made famous by Satyajit Ray's film 'Sonar Kella'.

    The explosive is expected to be 500-years-old. The district administration has sought the Army's help to destroy it.

    Jaisalmer Vikas Samiti secretary Chandra Prakash Vyas said the gunpowder was found in a closed 'burj' (tower) on Wednesday night by some labourers engaged in repair work. The 'burj' was closed for centuries.

    On getting the information, local authorities vacated nearby areas. Historian Nand Kishore Sharma said the explosives could be dated back to the time of Maharaj Loonkaran Singh in 1550 when the use of cannon was started.

    He said that even today five big cannons are kept at the sonar fort in Jaisalmer and generally the explosives were stored near the cannons. Possibly the explosives were stored in burj near the cannon placed near the Jain temple and on Thursday it has come to light. The burj was lying closed for last many years.
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    Regards,
    Virendra
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Why destroy the gunpowder? Does it not give an insight into the technology of the time and should be preserved in a safe manner?
     
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  4. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    Don't know why the administration wants to destroy it. Safety might be a reason.
    The quanitity 1500 kg is too high for a not so well kept fort, surrounded by the now sprawling population.

    Perhaps a sample should be kept and maintained.

    The fort sat on a junction of medieval trade ruotes going in and out of India. It obviously grew prosperous and travelling traders also contributed to its architectural finnesse.
    It contains 99 bastions, three layers of snaking walls
    It is the world's only living fort of Rajasthan. About a quarter of city's population lives in the fort. In fact during the medieval centuries, everyone lived inside.

    [​IMG]

    Most probably this gun powder is owing to the fight between Rao Lunakaran Singh and Humayun who attacked it in 1541, while the latter was enruote from Punjab to Ajmer.

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
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  5. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Started by whom, the Rajputs? Gunpowder artillery was in use in India since at least the mid-1300s.
     
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  6. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    Devaraya 1 is famous for Cannons
     
  7. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Vijayanagar Empire was using gunpowder in warfare since the reign of Bukka Raya, in 1360s.

    I don't know about North India though. For some reason the Lodis neglected to equip their armies with the latest arms.
     
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  8. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    It must be very unstable lying all these years.
     
  9. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    For 500 years nothing happened and now we are worried about it going off. I think it can be stored
     
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  10. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    The Gunpowder didn't go off this while because nobody knew it was there and only now they opened that tower closed for centuries.
    But now with the repair work going on and the news spread, there will obviously be a risk.
    They can take it away & lock it down in some secluded place.
    Even then, it is a liability for our lacklustre departments to avoid an accident, that could rip apart a section of the building where they house this 1500 kilograms of Gunpowder.

    Yes. I think it was natural for them to deploy Gunpowder artillery when Babur and his descendants were using it extensively against them.
    I don't know about South but up north Babur was the first guy who brought Gunpowder Artillery into India.
    He learned it from his Central Asian cousins / foes who ruoted him from there.

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
  11. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Yeah, it's well-accepted that Babur was the one who introduced gunpowder weapons to North India, or at least was the first one to be recorded using them decisively. But according to Ferishta, the Vijayanagar Empire and Bahmanid Sultanate (both in South India) both acquired firearms and artillery in the mid-1300s and records several battles between them involving the use of gunpowder, long before Babur arrived. This is supported by the accounts of European travelers to South India during this time.

    The Bullet - By : Apoorv shelke , Kalpesh Khatavkar , Nikhil Rane & Paresh Patil - Google Books

    What's strange, however, is that the Delhi Sultanate failed to pick up on the new technology and continued to rely on obsolete tactics, while its neighbors to the south, north, and west all adopted new ways of waging war. The extensive maritime trade links that South India had with China and West Asia, which the Delhi Sultanate lacked, probably contributed to the quicker adoption of new technology by the South and the relative insularity of the North.
     
  12. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    North's insularity was finally over when the technology came from Central Asia via Babur.
    As far as Lodis are concerned, they were not alone. Even Rajputs didn't adopt the Artillery on time. They opened their eyes only after getting mowed down in Khanwa (although artillery's role in that battle's result is debated).
    Anyway, coming back to Lodis. Them and previous dynasties of Turko-Afghan ethnicity had been in India for centuries.
    Being in India, they were used to Indian warfare now and were not as well adapt / up to date to whatever latest was happening in Central Asia.
    After Mongols were culled and absorbed, the Turko-Afghans in India were mostly disturbance free from the Central Asian side - until of course Babur brought the Mughals finally in 16th century.
    By the way Babur didn't just have artillery with him. His calvary archers (typical central asian feature) were far better than what the Lodis fielded.

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
  13. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Gunpowder spread on the ground would be harmless and shortly assimilated as fertilizer.
     

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