(Last Updated on : 19/05/2014)
History of Indian Army
is pregnant with real and true accounts of extraordinary heroism and valour and can be traced back to the ancient periods in India. The earliest mention of Indian Army is found in the ancient texts and scriptures, including the Vedas and the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. The History of Indian Army emphasises that Indians have not taken to the science of warfare recently and their fighting traditions are not merely 200 years old. There are several glorious instances of large scale operations undertaken in ancient times backed by a definite military science based on brilliant strategy and tactics. During the ancient period, when Dharma played such a dominating role in the daily routine of a person, Warfare had to be undertaken frequently. The epitome of Dharma
Yuddha, as it was originally known as, is to be found in the 2 Indian epics namely Ramayana
. No base means were used and the dignity of man as a warrior, victor and vanquisher was maintained always. History of Indian Army mentions that in ancient India the organisation of the army altered with changing dynasties.
History of Indian Army mentions that in ancient India the organisation of the army altered with changing dynasties.
Ancient History of Indian Army
Indian Army in the ancient period
describes that the Rig Vedic tribes of Indo-Aryans engaged in warfare with other tribes, as well as with each other. The Rig Veda
describes the utilization of horse-drawn chariots set with spikes and weapons constructed with bronze. The other weapons that were commonly employed from the earliest times until about 1000 AD were primarily bow and arrow, sword, spear and axe. A large number of other weapons were also employed as is evident from the ruins of Mohenjodaro
, Sanchi, Udaigiri
. The infantry and cavalry used a long cylindrical pipe and fired it in the manner of a gun of the modern times. This would indicate the active use of gun-powder in ancient India. Further, the ancient army was composed of the infantry, cavalry, chariots, elephants and a commissariat department.
Even the admiralty or position constituted a separate department. The higher echelons of command were very well organised and it was considered to be a very efficient system with the large number of military dignitaries and officials. The duties of each person were laid down in great detail which indicates a deep study of the art of war. The composition of the armed forces and employment of balanced forces kept on varying according to the needs of the times. Ample utilisation of intelligence strategies was made and the securing of decisions by means other than by often hostilities. Even though chariots and horses were employed, they were more for dignity and show than for obtaining tactical superiority. Later Ashoka
formed the espionage section in his army to protect his states.
Medieval History of Indian Army
In the Medieval period the Indian Army was complete standstill in the military thought, until the Hun invasion in the country and who penetrated deep into the Gangetic plains and up to the Vindhyas in the south. Thus, with the Muslim invasion in the country, the Indian army, in various parts of the country, was well-knit and organised forces, much in the same manner as before. However, they still lacked mobility and the infantry provided the bulk of the forces. Small well-trained armies still formed the nucleus, while the bulk was provided by the vassals and dependents. When the Afghans started their in-roads into the country through the passes in the north-western direction, there was again complete standstill as regards military thought. Especially in the time of Akbar
, the army was united and it was the real picture of the Mediaval history of Indian Army
Although the Muslim rulers had by now firmly established themselves in the country, they did not add anything new to the army organisation. Thus, at this stage the emphasis shifted to the cavalry as they had to undertake regular campaigns to far off lands. A small standing army was maintained at the centre as body-guards and for the immediate defence of the capital. Military associated details were also properly maintained under provincial governors.The Rajputs
, who earlier formed the military classes, were replaced by the new rulers and their own co-religionists. During a brief spell of around a hundred years, the Sikhs
also organised themselves into a military class. Their evolution is considered as another milestone in the military history of the country.
History of Indian Army during British Rule
History of Indian army during British rule
depicts that it became more structured. Although India has been ruled over by several foreign kingdoms but her interests and borders were always secured by the sons of the soil. Even under the British rule, the revolt against the colonisers was initiated by men in uniform. During the reign of the emperors, the loyalty of the soldiers laid with their kings and during later periods, this entire concept underwent sea changes. This mainly occurred due to the rise of the concept of nation. Under the British rule, the army was organised completely on a foreign pattern, designed to suit their ends in the country and to fight their battles in other countries that were as far as China and Europe.
The Indian National Army
(INA) or Azad Hind Fauj was not the fifth columnist of the Japanese Army but the independent Indian army found by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
. It was an armed force in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II. The aim of the army was to liberate India from the British occupation with Japanese assistance. It was initially composed of Indian prisoners of war captured by Japan in the Malayan campaign and at Singapore and later drew the direct assistance of thousands of Indian living in Maynmar. The INA also was at the forefront of women's equality and the formation of a women's regiment, the Rani of Jhansi
regiment was formed as an all volunteer women's unit to fight the British occupiers as well as provide medical services to the INA. It can be denoted as the independent Indian Army before independence.
Indian Army in Modern India
Modern India has witnessed several valorous soldiers who have laid down their lives for their motherland. The names of such warriors have been immortalised in the history of Indian army. Whether in the Indo-China Conflict or the Kashmir
attacks, Indian military history states, with pride, that their troops have always successfully forced the invaders to retreat. In fact, whenever the outsiders have tried to disturb the harmony and peace of India, the Indian army has marched to the battleground and vanquished the trespassers.
History of Indian Army shows that since ancient times a conventional method of warfare was followed. Hence the structure, strength and the policies differed in the various empires, but what remained unaltered, was the undeterred bravery with which the courageous men faced their foes. Indian Army that is well regarded as the epitome of chivalry, gallantry and intrepidity, is the subcontinents guardian against all kinds of intrusions. The Indian army assures and makes certain that every civilian can assuredly retreat to slumber whilst they are guarding the border of the nation round the clock, with their lives with highly developed and technically advanced weapons and best strategic planning.