Two Indian disasters--rajputs at tarain and marathas at panipat

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ashdoc, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2010
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    I recently came across this book on the net-- '' India's historic battles -From Alexander the great to kargil ''-- by Kaushik Roy.

    It gives accounts of 12 historically important battles in India---however ,only 2 are open for viewing in the portion of the book released on the internet.

    But these 2 are the more interesting battles that I wanted to read anyway.

    About the battle of tarain , the account gives a real picture of the military culture of the turks , and how they evolved into master cavalrymen and incredibly effective horse archers in the semi-arid steppes of central asia .

    It also gives a account of the military culture of the rajputs ,and show why it was inferior to the that of the turks---why rajputs failed to protect their land from foreign invasion .

    It differs from other accounts in saying that prithviraj chauhan was not a brave prince as suggested , but in fact ,an indolent prince who did not take advantage of his first victory over the turks to either finish them off or to prepare for the next battle , but remained immersed in pleasure after his victory ..........and after the second defeat , tried to unsuccessfully flee away from the battlefield instead of dying a soldiers death.

    I also learnt about the rajput custom of taking opium before any battle ,to fight without regard for ones life in the battle.

    As for the battle of panipat , it squarely puts the blame of the defeat on sadashivraobhau ,the hot-headed and arrogant commander of maratha forces at panipat ---it was he who disregarded the advice given by other generals , that of keeping the women , servants and other baggage away from the battlefield ...........the maratha forces on the battlefield were massively hampered by the need to protect these camp -followers , and were consequently not able to fight in their traditional fashion ,resulting in defeat.

    It also blames the peshwa of the marathas for leaving the frontiers of the country undefended after conquering punjab .......if he did not have enough forces to defend it he should not have invited disaster by conquering it.

    In both battles , the commanders of the Indian armies erred in not keeping a reserve force for any emergency ,and carrying out a final decisive charge.

    The foreign commanders ,however kept a reserve which attacked the tired Indians at a later stage of the battle ,when they were worn out by the fighting.

    Both these battles deserve close study , as they were real-life epic disasters --an entire generation of Indian warriors died on these battlefields.

    Link to book-

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