Causes of Indian Military Defeats

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by JBH22, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Having covered the ‘non-causes’ of Hindu defeats, we analyze the possible cause of defeat in the following paragraphs.
    Aggressive Spirit Missing

    In view of the above types of factors, Hindus lost their aggressive spirit; they were overtaken by a defensive mindset. Their central slogan became ‘We will fight only when attacked’; and they stuck to it steadfastly. One irrefutable lesson of military history is that nations and generals without an offensive mindset can do no good even in the defensive mode. World military history proves the inviolability of this dictum. The only way to save ‘Ajmer and Delhi’ (and therefore Bharat) was for Prithviraj Chauhan to go and capture Ghazni and Ghur in Afghanistan. He had the capability and military muscle to do that; but the mindset was missing. But for that type of ‘defensive mindset’ Bharat would never have been a slave.

    Closely allied with the aggressive spirit, is the question of attitude towards ‘risk-taking’. There is a famous saying — ‘No risk, no gain’; this dictum is particularly applicable to war situations. Only the bold and daring generals succeed. Fortune helps the brave, who will inherit the earth. In an earlier chapter, we have quoted the Sanskrit shloka ‘Veera Bhoga Vasundhra — the Brave will enjoy the Earth.’ Lord Krishna in the Bhagwad Gita, effectively gave the same message; but, the Hindu antennas did not receive it. Thus, along with the loss of aggressive spirit, Hindus also became ‘Risk-Averse’; ‘Safety first’ became their motto. Otherwise, there is no reason for Prithviraj Chauhan for not mounting a campaign to capture Ghazni and Ghur. If you dither at a crucial point in history, you are likely to be assigned to its dustbin. In view of the totality of the above factors —

    • Ask not — ‘Why the Hindus were defeated?’

    • But ask — ‘Why the Hindus were never on the OFFENSIVE?’

    Unfortunately, this latter question has never been asked of the Hindus; neither by themselves, nor by anyone else. The impression that is sought to be created is that the ‘Offensive’ option was never available to the Hindus, and is not available now. Hindus themselves are at the forefront of creating this impression. Hindu apologists remark that ‘Offensive’ actions are not in Hindu culture. ‘We are not that type of people’ is a phrase often heard. This is a complete distortion of the Hindu religion.

    The true Hindu scriptures are all for aggressive and offensive actions, for that one aim of achieving victory. Even the means adopted for that do not matter. We have covered this aspect in detail in our earlier chapters (40 and 41); here we just quote a Rig Veda Hymn (RV 6.75.2):

    “With the bow let us win cows, with the bow let us win the contest and violent battles with the bow. The bow ruins the enemy’s pleasure; with the bow let us conquer all the corners of the world.”

    We must take note of the repeated use of the words ‘Win’ and ‘Conquer’ in the above short hymn; ‘Violent’ battles are recommended. ‘World conquest’ is a slogan given by the Rig at that stage of pre-history. All this establishes great stress of the Rig on ‘Offensive Actions’ and ‘Victory’ — always and under all circumstances.

    The Hindus’ problem lay in the fact that at some stage they got confused about their true scriptures. Most of the Hindu religious literature that emerged in the Christian era had a thick coating of Buddhism. That is true of the Puranas that dominate present day Hinduism. The ordinary folk are not able to discern that Buddhist coating; the learned perhaps are not interested.

    We conclude this part by recording the following three broad reasons for the Hindu military defeats, especially during the 2nd millennium AD:

    — Almost total absence of the ‘Aggressive Spirit’

    — General lack of enterprise and aversion to ‘Risk Taking’

    — The above two resulting in the absence of the ‘Killer Spirit’

    The above attitudes have arisen in the Hindus, out of misreading and wrong interpretation of Hindu scriptures, combined with their inability to identify their true scriptures. Some of that misreading may have been deliberate; it helped the Hindus explain away their prolonged slavery, in rather easy terms.

    The overall conclusion that emerges is that Hindus like to blame everyone, except themselves for their woes; this is their trademark. Rather than facing the hard realities of life, they like to live in a cocoon of ‘make-believe’; it helps their ‘self-delusion’. Thus, the cause for Hindu defeats lay in their mind, rather than in their muscle. Only after Hindus accept and face this bitter truth that any recovery process can start. The issues involved are of such basic nature that the recovery process may extend over many decades, perhaps even a century. However, there is little probability that Hindus will accept this conclusion. Rather, they would attribute unholy motives to anyone talking along these lines, and call him ignorant, knave and prejudiced, who is not acquainted with the great Hindu culture.

    http://www.indiandefencereview.com/2010/08/causes-of-indian-military-defeats.html:emot158:

    Food for thought!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
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  3. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    The article assumes that Indians (or "Hindus", as the author likes to put it) NEED to have an aggressive spirit. But why should we? Before the 19th century India was the richest land in the world. Who would we invade? To the north are impassable mountains, to the east dense jungles, to the west barren deserts, and to the south the Indian Ocean. Indians are content with the land that we have. Other peoples invaded us because they were attracted by India's great wealth. It is said that great beauty attracts unwanted attention!

    Furthermore, there are plenty of cases of "Hindu rulers" showing "aggresive spirit". For example, Chandragupta's campaign against the Seleucid Empire and Asoka's campaign against Kalinga. Both were very successful from a military standpoint. But after these campaigns, both rulers renounced their aggresive spirit and peacefully managed their empire for the rest of their reign. Perhaps ancient Indians were wiser than other people, and realized that having an "aggresive spirit" only leads to bloodshed and turmoil?

    Food for thought.
     
  4. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Considering that we were so badly divided ,At every 100 km there was a new kingdom , it was but natural that we were invaded and subjugated.
    At least we can now learn from history.History is a good teacher.
    Since India was a prosperous country , there was no need for people to go in search of rich lands .

    Afghans and arabs were in search of rich lands .And India was closest to them
    Even Europeans were in search of new route to India, when columbus ventured out and found America.

    Religious motivation was also a factor .Religious leaders of Islam and Christianity instructed their followers to spread their religion far and wide.
    And new weapons like canons and mounted archers were not invented because " conquests " was not on the mind of the local kings.

    Why go so far .Look at 1962 . Prior to 1962 defeat we were not interested in building up the armed forces.
    At the most we wanted to protect kashmir from pakistan , which we did in 1947.
    China was considered a friend till 1962.
    WE should thank China for "ENDING OUR INNOCENCE"
     
  5. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    The author focuses on ancient India as such Hinduism is the main focus other monotheistic religion Christianity or Islam came with invaders or traders.
    Asoka converted to Buddhism after the bloodshed he caused,there's nothing to cry over when the Mauryan empire had power it expanded.To realise that bloodshed in some cases in futile but it should not impinge on the security of the defender adopting an ostrich approach won't clear any impending danger.
    Perhaps India was rich but certainly the rulers failed in all aspects..
     
  6. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Before British Invasion all the princely states never thought Bharat as one. They were busy fighting each other and not to mention internal politics. The Maratha empire was one of the victims of internal politics among the pehwe's . Even Delhi sultanate and internal problems.

    Princely states did not unite when Alexander invaded India. Internal politics and corruption was taken advantage by the British "traders" and finally 1857 uprising was not supported by princely states who sided British. If they had sided the uprising they would have been wiped out.

    We never had unity. It was probably Mahatma Gandhi who in struggle for independence made India united. We are united but the old disease of politics and corruption still exists.
     
  7. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    **face palm**
    The rebuttal here has enough material for a dissertation, I'll just point out a minuscule part...

    I'm always amused that these nonsensical hyperbolic "theories" still ruminate in the minds of educated Indians to this day. This article (which I'm hoping is nothing more than a random blog post) in particular is hilarious given its ironic twist.

    First, this issue of "killer instinct" the de facto buzz word to describe all of India's failures (especially on seaming cricket pitches) is nothing short of lazy sophistry. This concept of "aggressive"= civilization success+ domination+ colonization etc. etc. VS "not aggressive"= submission+ losses in battle+ enslaved etc. is for the most part invalid, or at least in the way you project it here. Afghans are a people who never lost their aggressive and confrontational outlook, look how well it has worked out for them. The same goes for pre WWII Germans in Europe- in fact the nazi movement was founded entirely on this principle of "aggressive" response to humiliation/low self esteem. Unfortunately the obsession with these irrational theories have also given rise to Hindu right wing organizations like the Shiv Sena, RSS etc. who have contributed absolutely nothing to societal progress with compensating aggression. However unlike Pakistan who too has succumbed to this "killer instinct" disease (as displayed by their fast bowlers on said seaming pitches) India has a plethora of sane rational constructive people who are able to counteract the listing effect.

    Scandinavians on the other hand are some of the most 'successful and prosperous' people in the world today; and their rise to this immense success has come heavily on the backs of their post expansionist pacifist societies. The same goes for post war Germany and Japan.

    Now as far as the material posted.... I think its very, very poorly thought out.

    What silly theories leave out in their indignant cacophony are simple and practical facts like: (these are only a few)
    • In agrarian and post agrarian conflicts the evidence shows that invading/dominating forces always utilized* their resources far better than the subjugated parties.
    • The colonizers were always beneficiaries of superior financial systems (not to be confused with accumulated capital, which was in the hands of Indian Kings).
    • Unlike their defeated Hindu counterparts the aggressors had a better distribution network within their society (especially in dissemination of information).
    *Utilization of resources is not the same as accumulation of resources. Indian kings were superior in the latter aspect.

    Hinduism has affected these factors, unfortunately the authors have addressed none of them. Instead they choose to elaborate upon a litany of nonsensical and self contradictory "theories" starting with the ludicrous declaration of "wrong interpretation of Hindu scriptures." This is patently idiotic given that the victorious Islamic societies (which they keep harping about) precipitously regressed on account of their retrograde fascination with the "correct interpretation" of their holy book. Some of them have even gone back to the caveman status; it is interesting to note that "aggression" and "killer instinct" have yielded them no victories or success, has brought about a lot of explosive disaster though. This retrograde trend is common in all human societies in every corner of the world.

    Also, Hinduism as it is practiced is hardly an individualistic endeavor. India even today despite its stunning diversity remains highly communal and there is virtually no recognition of individualism unlike the colonizing West or the Muslims of yore. One can successfully argue that the lack of individualism has had a heavy dampening effect upon ingenuity and social progress. At the same time the individual oriented culture of the west has bore far more success which has also been capitalized upon by Indian immigrants.
    I can go on and on about how virtually everything listed in this post is sophistic, but I do not have the time and this post is already far too long.

    There is one valid point here about environmental conditions, but here too the authors have made a hash of it. This however is a separate topic altogether.

    In short, these "theories" and "explanations" are nothing more than remnants of poor self esteem, paranoia, irrationality and false pride that haunts Indian society to this day.
     
  8. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    One of the reasons why Indians and hindus in general had a very different attitude towards war and military expansion was probably our religion. Be it Hinduism , buddhism or Jainism all have peached nonviolence and kindness. Now compare that with barbarians from central Asia or the Arabs who believed that nothing wrong in massacering, brutalizing people in the name of religion. They believed their God told them to kill non-believers and rape their women.
    The great Ashoka after bringing almost all of s.asia under his control beame an ardant Buddhist and gave up war and military ambitions. But western religions in general have not condemned war infact they they glorified the CRUSADES & JIHAD .
     
  9. gogbot

    gogbot Regular Member

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    I read a few points , this article sounds oddly self serving.

    Making up excuses for past events that needed none.

    Talking about only Hindu's as Indians, really ticked me off.

    Lets, face it People who came to India to rule , were always the pick of the crop, famous conquers that would be remembered in the pillars of history.
    And most of them choose to make their home here and die here.
    That is the only reason why some Indian empires could not drive them back.

    Why we did not Make new Machines of war.
    Indian empires had their moments , but we were not explorers or traders. And thus our inventions lacked some of the flare , that others may of had. But were important in their own regard.
    We were very isolationist really, we never had any voyages of discovery, We ventured in search of trade, trade came to us. Surrounded by great sea's , the Himalayas and the desert. It was dangerous to go in any direction really.

    Perhaps it would be more accurate it to say , we were thinkers rather than inverters.
    Idea's have always been India's gift to the world.

    Our contribution to mathematics
    Our observations and deductions of the stars and earth(astronomy)
    Ashokas wheel of justice and his charter of human and Animal rights
    Bhuddism
    Non-violence
    etc

    they were all but Idea's.
     
  10. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    This article has some valid points, and a lotta bullshit ones. I want to raise a few of the more valid ones:

    - Firstly, everyone getting ticked off with the article attributing Hindu to all Indians ought to realize that there is a body of evidence suggesting that the word "Hindu", in its etymological origins, came from the word "Sindhu" from Sanskrit in the Rig veda, and was used by foreigners, especially Arabs who traded with the Indian subcontinent, to refer to all those that lived east of the Indus river. Only in colonial times, under the British, did the term come to take on religious connotations.
    - Secondly, that fractious, small states impacted our ability to wage war on outsiders is a logical, deductive conclusion. Small states were less better endowed, had smaller armies and smaller territorial leeway. They were also susceptible to being turned on each other, as our history has vastly proved.
    - However, that the Hindu scriptures, even in distorted form, had any role to play in "galvanizing" 'the Hindu' or not, is to me a load of bullshit. Babur's army fell three times to the Rajputs, before defeating a muslim army in the form of Ibrahim Lodhi. There is, however, one exception that comes to mind from the lore of my own homestate: Before battle, the Marathas, who were saddled with pilgrims, were forced to fast for several days. As a consequence, they were often waging war on empty stomachs, after long days of walking and tiresome nights.
    - That indigenous tribes of the subcontinent have traditionally chosen to 'play by the rules' is no great secret. At the last battle of Panipat the Marathas vs. the Durranis, there are descriptions of how the cavalry could have inflicted a decisive blow on the Afghans, had they chosen to wage a night attack. Instead they were forced to rout and flee in a hundred different directions.
    - That the Hindu states never tried to "adventurously expand" is all a pack of stinkin' doggie poo. Has the author forgotten the Chola, that stretched all the way into Vietnam and into the Malay peninsula? Or the Maurya or Pala, that stretched into the very heart of Afghanistan? How do you think they got there, sitting on their @$$es all day long?
    - You have to understand, that nine times out of ten, history has shown that the better-organized, better-equipped, better-trained Army will beat the 'Spirited Army'. Why else do you think the Pakistanis don't rely on the lie that one Pakistani = ten Indians, and developed nuclear weapons?
    - I think material causes, followed by political causes, were the two great reasons we failed to 'conquer' the continent. Had we organized society into the same kind of fighting force the Romans had, or the Arabs, utilized all of that great entrepreneurship in the smithy and weaponry, and struck the right political clauses with the right people, in the manner that the shrewd Moghuls or Afghans or the British did, we, or rather one among us, would have become an unstoppable force...At least for a while!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
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  11. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Rome as such was a small state before they created an empire. So was macedonia before Alexander started his conquest. Britain is a puny island and conquered the world and enslaved it for a couple of centuries. The small state logic does not hold good.

    That we were surrounded by sea is not an excuse as even the brits are. But they created a big navy and that helped them dominate. Indian states small or big never wanted to venture out. Even the mighty Moghuls didn't. Iindian states didn't even mount a conquest of south east asia or burma or even sri lanka. We were not expeditionary.
     
  12. Shaitan

    Shaitan Zandu balm all day Senior Member

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    "According to economic historian Angus Maddison in his book The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, India had the world's largest economy from the first to eleventh century, and in the eighteenth century, with a (32.9%) share of world GDP in the first century to (28.9%) in 1000 AD, and in 1700 AD with (24.4%. " This type of growth was shifting between empires in India and China for centuries, until slowly western Europe rose and dominated trade route and the sea and Asia fell..

    Mauryan empire help 33% of the worlds GDP. Guptas empire 28%. Pala empire 24%, Mughals 24%.. So its not that bad as you make it. Well Northern India was being invaded, Tamil Chola empire had colonized almost all of South East Asia.

    Be happy most Hindus didnt convert under the pressure like pre-Islamic middle east and parts of Africa, or pre-Christian Americas and Europe.

    Hindus were to tolerate, for example how many religions was birthed and promoted side by side with Hinduism? Many, image a religion spring up in mediveal Europe and Middle east, they would be a heretic immediately. For example when the Arabian invasion of the middle east was happening where did many Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians fled to? India! I am a Christian from Kerala, when St. Thomas one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ came to Kerala, who helped him build the first churches in India? Hindu kings!

    And religion is used like a mask as a political tool, make not buts about that. Hindu kings, Muslim kings, etc call themselves Muslims, Hindus, etc but they are very much more politicians. For example when the Mughals(Mongols) came to India who did they take over, slaughter, etc? A Muslim empire(Dehli Sultanates) and later Gujarati Sultanates and some small Muslim kingdoms too and many Hindu once too. Mughals drank alcohol, smoked, fell for temptation of women, had emperors from Hindu wifes, even killed other Muslims when they knew they can get more power. Call these Hindu kings, Muslim kings, Christian Kings, etc is like calling the pope in the dark ages a true Christian.Its politics and that all there is to it.

    Dont act like Hindus didnt do no harm in India to, because if you read history you can find out this is very much false.
     
  13. Shaitan

    Shaitan Zandu balm all day Senior Member

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    This is false Chola empire conquered Sri Lanka an almost all of Indo-China area and South east asia. Why do you think their culture was SOO influence by India? South Asia in itself is as big as Roman empire. Roman empire is 5,000,000 km2 in 117, and Mauryan empires pike was 5,000,000 km2. Indian empires were MUCH richer then most of the empires in history, only once to compare were Chinese empires.
     
  14. Shaitan

    Shaitan Zandu balm all day Senior Member

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    Marathas were very courages though..

    27 year was the turning point for the Mughals

    Before his death, Shivaji had mastered the entire Deccan and emerged as a sole power to challenge the Mughals. The Bijapur kingdom was in decline. The Hyderabad kingdom was paying tribute to Shivaji. The Mughals failed to control the rise of the Marathas. Hence, with the death of Shivaji, Aurangzeb made the final attempt to subdue the Marathas. In the first half of 1681, many contingents were despatched to lay siege to Maratha forts on the border of present day Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. By the end of 1681, a Mughal general had laid siege to Fort Ramsej. But the Marathas did not succumb to this onslaught. The attack was well received and it took the Mughals 7 years to win the fort.

    Aurangzeb arrived at Khadki, the Mughal headquarters of the Deccan, made it his capital, and renamed it Aurangabad. Hereafter, it became the de facto Mughal capital. Mughal contingents numbered about 500,000. It was a disproportionate battle in all senses. However, Sambhaji led the fight valiantly and did not let Aurangzeb win even a single major victory. But then, Sambhaji was treacherously captured by the Mughals.

    The heroic death of Sambhaji rekindled the spirit of valor in the minds of Marathas, which made Aurangzeb's mission impossible. In the same year and at the same place where Sambhaji was tortured to death, Santaji Ghorpade attacked the imperial camp, defeated one of their units and brought disgrace to them. Now war was fought from the Malwa plateau to the east coast. Such was the strategy of Maratha commanders to counter the might of the Mughals. Maratha generals Ramchandrapant Amatya and Shankaraji Niraji maintained the Maratha stronghold in the rugged terrains of Sahyadri.

    In several brilliant cavalry movements, Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav defeated the Mughals. Their offensive, and especially that of Santaji, struck terror into the hearts of the Mughals. In the battle of Attani, Santaji defeated Kasim Khan, a noted Mughal general.

    After death of Rajaram, his widow queen Tarabai assumed the charge of the empire. She herself took to the field and remained mobile and vigil during the crisis. In words of Jadunath Sarkar, 'It is her character that saved the nation in that awful crisis.' By 1705, Marathas had penetrated mughal possession of Central India and Gujarat. Nemaji Shinde defeated mughals in Malwa plateau. By 1706, Mughals started retreating from Maratha dominions. Aurangzeb died at Khultabad (Aurangabad) in 1707. Defeated mughals released grandson of Shivaji, Shahu from their captivity.
     
  15. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Major cause of indian defeats were the lack of scientific innovations.and adapting to new techniques -Like those of horse mounted cavalries of Alexander and the use of gun powder by babar by cannon mounted of camel ...he defeated both ibrahim lodhi and rana sanga.Then Mughals lost coz they neglected navy and the musket innovation by the british.etc etc....
     
  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Well the discussion is about indian defeats and non conquests. And by india we mean the entire sub continent. I am aware of the cholas conquest. That's why we have Hindu temples in SE Asia. But it was never consolidated. India didn't colonize any country for good at any point.
     
  17. Shaitan

    Shaitan Zandu balm all day Senior Member

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    Marathas left the Mughals a small piece of territory in Delhi.They were on a complete winning stick until Durranis humiliatingly defeat the Marathas from a Afghan expansion, later the Sikhs defeat the Durrani attack from a India expansion. When the British attacked out of Bengal, the heavy weight in India where the Marathas. They were beat and punched out Sikhs, Mysore, etc and allied with the rest of India like the rajputs, this goes down hill in a complete de-industrialization in India and a halt of progress in India like never before.. People dis the Mughals, but in reality they gave much progress in India. I agree early Mughals like Babur where bad and the psychopath Aurangzeb(he even said that in his death bed), but Akbar, Bahadur Shah II, etc were good, Akbar promoted Sanskrit and Vedic culture and had them recorded. Even pretty much every emperor after Akbar the Great was born from a Rajput Indian. They themselves came from a Mongol(Babur) then know look at last emperor Bahadur Shah II, his children, his wife who were hybrids(except wife). They dont look Mongol anymore. Similar case to the Ottoman emperors they were Turkic(Mongoloids) from central Asia in the beginning know fast forward to middle and later emperors in the Ottoman empire they mixed in with Greeks, Anatolians(modern Turkish),etc. Same with Mughals.
     
  18. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Battle of plassey is a classic example when in the Siraj ud daula fought with elephants against robert clives force of cannons. all this at the time of industrial revolution in Europe. I think if we consider the last 500 years, we should also include lack of industrialization and innovation as a reason behind indian defeats.
     
  19. Shaitan

    Shaitan Zandu balm all day Senior Member

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    It did the Sailendra Empire of Java, Sumatra and Malaya was a colony of the Pala empire.
     
  20. Shaitan

    Shaitan Zandu balm all day Senior Member

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    Battle of plassey, Mughal were getting disintegrated completely. Marathas in this time were making inroad on Mughal territory, it is true what you said about the last 500 years industrialization and innovation as a reason behind indian defeats. Its was the rise of Europe and fall of Asia like I said. All Asian nations were in a complete decline Persians, Chinese, Indians, South east Asians ,etc. Japan held on and Ottomans Turks were falling slowingly until the WW's which completely F'ed them up..
     
  21. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    It depends how you look at india during various periods of its history and how you define its boundaries.If you consider BD,Pakistan Afghanistan,Myanmar as different countries then at various time periods the central authority in india did colonize these countries .And if you look india inclusive of all these countries then india never colonized any country.So it all difference of perception.
     

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