There is a controversy on battle between Alexander (Macedonian) and Indian Porus, one of his last battles before he died . While history (legend) says that Alexander won the hard fought battle, some scholars and experts argue that Greeks turned the tale around to hide Alexander’s first defeat, which forced him to leave the plans to move further into Great India. It’s even more surprising to find out that Plutarch wrote Alexander’s biography over two hundred years after Alexander’s death using oral legends as his source.
Alexander’s quest to conquer the entire world started in 335 B.C . It’s 326 B.C spring time that he entered India “the land of milk and honey”, for invasion. He set to battle with Porus, the ruler of the kingdom Paurava situated between the rivers Hydaspes (modern Jhelum) and Acesines (Chenab). Its capital may have been at the site now known as Lahore, assisted by Porus arch rival Ambi of Taxila.
The legend : (According to History)
The Porus were outnumbered and outclassed by the Macedonian army. A wounded king Porus surrendered only after the destruction of his entire army.The Indian leader accepted his defeat. When Alexander asked him how he wanted to be treated, he gave the famous reply ‘as a king‘. An impressed Alexander reappointed Porus as satrap of his own kingdom. Porus received additional territories to the north of his kingdom which belongs to Ambi . Alexander moved down to conquer more Indian territories .When the armies reached the Beas, they were tired and homesick. So they refused to proceed any further.This rebel forced Alexander to giveup the quest and divided army into two parts to reach home. On his way back, Alexander died in 323 B.C.at an early age of 33 at Babylon near Baghdad.
The controversy :
In the 1960, an Indian scholar named Buddha Prakash argued, basing himself on the famous medieval epic named Shahnameh by the Persian poet Firdausi, that Alexander was defeated’ by Porus, that the two men became friends, and that this explained why Alexander left him so much territories. So did Alexander really venture successfully into India and turn back at the urging of his men? Or was it all spin? So what exactly happened to Alexander in India? Let’s see the two famous conspiracy theories put forth by some famous scholars :
Theory 1 : Alexander gave up to battle rest of India….
Alexander won on Porus with utmost difficulty. Porus is captured and brought to Alexander in chains. Alexander asks him how he wanted to be treated. Porus replied, “Like a king” – his arrogance and pride aroused Alexander’s admiration. Promptly, Alexander released Porus, agreed to be his friend, restored his lost kingdom to him, and added to it lands that were part of Ambi’s Taxila. Alexander made mistake by asking Porus “What it would take to win the rest of India?” in public with all his generals listening in, and Porus described the entire rest of the Gangetic valley with its multiple kingdoms, and the Magadhan empire downstream. Porus described these in terms of how much bigger they were than his own little kingdom. As a result, there was no more stomach among Alexander’s generals for continuing. They had almost lost to Porus. How could they successfully confront even larger forces? And so army revolted against continuing for this reason but not for “homesick” as told in history.
Theory 2: Alexander lost to Puru.
Puru imposed a separate peace on Ambi that included the surrender of some Taxilan land to Puru. So there’s Alexander, having suffered his first major defeat, set adrift down the Indus with a much reduced army. To get food and supplies, they have to negotiate or fight with the cities they pass. Alexander suffers a wound to the side. They reach the delta of the Indus and make a decision to split . Whichever half returned first, it would serve to spread a different story, a story of the victory and the magnanimity of Alexander the Great The two “small” kingdoms, Taxila and Puru, that were swallowed up by the expanding Magadhan empire. leaving true details of the encounter between these Indian kingdoms and Alexander would be lost to history for ever. Modern research revealed that the alleged sayings and letters those were assigned to Alexander are mostly fake.
What is most startling is that the Indian contemporaries of Alexander had often neglected the invasion of Alexander and had not mentioned it in their works. A shrewd politician, like Kautilya should not have missed out the invasion of Alexander had it been of a greater importance. All these suggest that Alexander’s campaign failed to acquire any significance in the political context of India. Alexander fought a total of six battles in India, and interestingly enough the Greek and Roman chroniclers often failed to mention the actual outcome of those six encounters. Alexander even resorted to pure and simple cheating to win some places. But these unsuccessful military campaigns had reduced the strength of the Macedonian army.
With this reduced and broken force, Alexander faced Porus in the much hyped battle of Jhelum. King Abhisares, a lesser monarch had shown the audacity to defy Alexander’s warnings and despite this show of defiance, a world conqueror like Alexander did not attack the lesser and weak king. Why? This suggests that Abhisares was quite sure that Alexander lost all his strength.
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