The Iranians and the Greeks learnt a great deal from Bharat. They gained a lot of insight into the Bharateeya vision, literature, language, diction and art. Bharateeya goods started reaching the shores of Egypt, Iran and Greece. All these invaders gradually blended with the Bharateeya culture and lifestyle. They lost their individuality in the process and subsequently, a lot of these people even represented Bharat in her future battles.
Alexander’s army refused to go beyond River Vyas. In a way this was considered to be a very unique kind of protest by the soldiers. When Alexander could not persuade the soldiers to move ahead even after three days, he finally asked them to retreat. Not having been able to recover completely from his third injury, Alexander breathed his last in 323 BC.
Owing to the disturbance in Central Asia and China, quite a few tribes were compelled to relocate from their native places and started staying in Sistaan in the North-West of Bharat during the 2nd Century BC. There they encountered the Indo-Bactriyans and the Indo-Parthians who were residing there originally. These tribes were called Shakas or Scythians. Their rulers derived the title of Shahi-Shahnu-Shahi. Few of these tribes reached Kathiawar in Gujarat and few reached Punjab. Few others reached Magadh (Pataliputra) via Mathura. But they were pretty much defeated everywhere by local rulers. Gardmilya, the king of Malav Gan defeated them and acquired the title of Vikramaditya or Shakaari, thus commencing the Vikrami Samvat in 57BC which is valid till date.
The North-West of Bharat was also influenced by another tribe called the Kushans. The most influential ruler among them was King Kanishka who made Peshawar the capital of his empire and extended his empire till China on one side and Mathura and Pataliputra on the other. But he was badly defeated by the rulers of the Gupta Dynasty. Samrat Samudragupta (335-375 AD) released West Punjab and Afghanistan from the Kushanas. Chandragupta the second (376-415 AD) chased them beyond the Hindukush mountains and then extended his empire upto Vahlik region.
Similarly, the Hun Tribes residing along the borders of China also started creating a lot of chaos around 5th century and started proceeding towards Bharat. The Gupta Ruler Skandagupta defeated them in 460AD. Towards the end of the 5th century, the leader of the Huna, Torman occupied some parts of Punjab. In 518 AD, the leader of Hunas, Mihirkul attacked but was defeated by Yashodharman who was the main leader of Malwa. The battle with the Hunas continued till 540 AD and finally they were defeated by the Gupta ruler Narsingha Gupta.
Broadly, from the time of the Iranian attack till the time of King Harshavardhan, which was roughly 1,000 years, we were constantly involved in battles with foreign invaders, winning successfully over each one of them. The Iranians and the Greeks learnt a great deal from these conquests and attacks. They also gained a lot of insight into the Bharateeya vision, literature, language, diction and art. Bharateeya goods started reaching the shores of Egypt, Iran and Greece. All these invaders gradually blended with the Bharateeya culture and lifestyle. They lost their individuality in the process. Subsequently, a lot of these people represented Bharat in her future battles. They eventually adopted our religion, culture and traditions. For instance Greek Ruler Menander (165-130 BC) adopted Buddhism. Greek Ambassador Holiodorus took to Vaishnavism and Vidisha constructed a Pillar in the name of Lord Vishnu and inscribed an image of Garuda. The Takshashila education system influenced the Greeks. It is said that Alexander carried two and a half lakh bulls for farming and thousands of carpenters and blacksmiths to make boats. But the magnitude of the impact of Alexander's visit to Bharat can be very well understood from the fact that no Bharateeya historian or writer had really mentioned anything about him, which proved that his visit was not of much importance to us.
Kanishka, the ruler of the Kushanas adopted Buddhism. He had also called for a Buddhist meeting in Kashmir during his reign. It was during his time that Buddhism spread to Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Java. Mahayana was established in Buddhism during this time. What was more important was that Sanskrit became the language of Buddhism. There were Sanskrit scholars in his court. A new and unique type of sculpture, known as the Gandhar style of art developed. To summaries , all foreign invaders were either driven out of the country or they themselves blended with our culture and became a part of us.
Dr Satish Chandra Mittal (To be concluded) (The writer is Professor ( Retd), History Department, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra)