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Invasion of India

 

India was under attack by various foreign forces - Turki, Arab, Afghan, Persian, Mongol etc from about 700AD to 1100AD. It took 400 hundred years of relentless battles before Indian borders collapsed and the enemy found a foothold in India. No other country or culture has managed to hold out 400 years against such sustained attacks.

Flawed political strategies, royal infighting, selfish attitude towards expansion etc were an issue for Indians aswell as it's enemies.  But the two things that helped outsiders get inside India was 'new weapons' and 'religious zeal'.

Islam united the disparate tribes and war lords who wanted to amass loot and garner souls for their religion.  Killing, raping, enslaving to expand the Islamic influence was sanctioned by the religious leaders of Islam.  Soldiers readily join in this mission because Koran allowed them to keep whatever they won as war booty - including women and slaves.  If they converted people to Islam, even if it was by force, Koran promised them permanent access to paradise!  What more could a soldier want?  Riches here and further rewards hereafter!

Fighting for 400 years, they made no major dent in India.  But when the foreigners acquired new weapons - cannon and musket - they won battles against Indians who did not have these at the time. It doesn’t matter how brave you are or how strong your walls, if they are pounded by cannon, they will eventually fall. Being in touch with China - through Mongols - the muslim armies had access to gunpowder and all it that entailed. Indian kingdoms in the North-East were isolated behind the Himalayas and they did not have access to this new technology. As a result, they faltered and failed.

Having access to weapons of mass destruction helped Europeans conquer North and South America with ease.  Natives there had no resistance to new diseases and even the common cold could wipe out entire towns.  India had suffered from regular waves of plague, chicken pox and flu, so foreign diseases did not kill them off.  But, just like muslim invaders, the christians came with tremendous religious zeal and new weapons.

Europeans used their weapons and their navy to defeat the muslim empires around the world and subjugated the mighty Chinese empire too. Europeans also conquered India through trade and treaties that promised to protect the kingdoms with European weapons and soldiers trained in new fighting techniques. Kings never realized that outsourcing defense / military was a foolish policy to save time and money. Those to promised to protect, took over their thrones under the guise of various 'treaty violations'. By the time Indian kings realized how mercenary soldiers and legal jargon in leaky contracts was being used to defeat them, it was too late!

But Indians are brave and their culture is resilient. Despite being ruled by Islam for 800 years and Christianity by 200, we haven’t lost our identity. Most other nations have given up their cultural roots and native religion within 3 generations of being under the yoke of islam or christianity. Hinduism is still strong in India.

After a millennium of being ruled by others, when we got our independence in 1947, we were keen on defending our borders ourselves and have taken huge steps in being militarily independent where possible. We purchase foreign machines, but we also make our own. We have developed nuclear weapons to keep China and Pakistan at bay. Hopefully, we have learned our lessons from history and wont make the mistake of being behind in the weapons race nor will we sign away our defense to vagaries of foreign rulers.

 

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