Monday, 25 April 2011

Alexander the Great failed to conquare Bangla region known as Gangaridai/Gangaridi


Statue of Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedonia (356 BC -323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of Macedonia, a state in the north eastern region of Greece. He was born on 20 or 21 July 356 BC in Pella, the capital of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. He was the son of king Philip II and queen Olympias. In his boyhood Alexander was tutored by the famed Greek philosopher Aristotle.
In 336 BC Alexander succeeded his father Philip II of Macedonia to the throne at the age of 20, after his father was assassinated. Philip had brought most of the city-states to mainland Greece under Macedonian hegemony, using both military and diplomatic means. Upon Philip's death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He succeeded in being awarded the generalship of Greece and with his authority firmly established, launched the military plans for expantion left by his father. In 334 BC at the age of 22, he invaded Persian ruled Asia Minor(now a days Turkey region) and began a series of campaigns lasting ten years.By the age of thirty Alexander was the creator of the largest empires in ancient history, stretching from the Ionian sea to the Himalaya.He was undefeated in the battle and is considered one of the most successful commanders of all time.
Asia in 323 BC,Nanda Empire and the Gangaridi Empire
Now a days all the histories, descriptions, stories what we find in text were written by the Greek writers and historians.Megasthenes, Arrian, Diodorus Siculus,Ptolemy, Periplus were the Greek writers, historians,geographist who wrote books about Alexander's travell,adventures and war histories. They described also about that times contemporary countries, their locations, people, their culture and custom and some other notable things.So, what I narrate here in this article all the informations are collected from their writtings.
Alexander when planned to invade India, he reached first in the north of Gandhara what is now Pakistan.That region including now a days Punjab, Alexander could conquare. He defeated a local Hindu ruler Porus, who ruled in the Punjab, in 327 BC.Then Alexander decided to march forward with his army.To come upto this region Alexander crossed the rivers Indus(Shindhu), Jhelum, Chenab and Ravi and reached the shores of river Hyphasis(now a days Beas river), a distance of about 390 miles from the Indus crossing. He wanted to move further eastward to Bengal and beyond. In the beginning Alexander tried to get information about his next campign destiny and the route. He was informed that the next empeir named Gangaridai/Gangaridi and situated on the bank of the river Ganga. According to his collected information, to make the journey possible Alexander started to build big boats by the local people. He needed 800 boats to enable him and the army to sail efter the Bengal campaign. Local people built the boats and it took almost two years to be completed. Within this time Alexander and his army got sufficient information about the Gangaridai/Gangaridi nation and their empair.
East of Porus' kingdom, near the Ganges river, was the powerful Nanda Empire of Magadha (north and west Bengal were part of the Magadhan empire known to the Greeks as Prasii) and the mighty Gangaridai/Gangaridi empire of Bengal (southern part of Bengal now a days Bangladesh) . From different sources under his boat building two years time, preparation time to invade Bangla Alexander and his mighty undefeated army got information of the Gangaridai/Gangaridi empire's military strength. Alexander heard that the king of Gangaridai/Gangaridi and his army allied with porisii (Nanda) empire waiting for a counter attack with 200000 infantry, 20000 cavalry-horses, 2000 four-horsed chariots and 3000 elephants trained and equipped with arms for war.
When all preparation were completed to invade Bangla or Gangaridai/Gangaridi empire, Alexander called a general meeting with all his troops and generals.In the assembling Alexander tried to pacify the fears of his troops and persuaded them to march forward towards Bengal that times  Gangaridai/Gangaridi. He appealed to their love of king, country and the Greek Gods. He tried to flowrished his troops courage and said that ''If stories could have defeted us we would have fled Asia long ago.'' The soldiers listended in silence and hung their heads.They didnot respond to the king's exhortations. Then Coenus, one of the generals came forward to speak to the king. He said to the king,''You are preparing to enter another world and seek on. India even the Indians don't know. That is a program appropriate to your sprit, but beyond ours.'' Coenus made a memorable point, that it was a noble thing to exercise self-restraint when all was going well.
Alexander was compelled to change his mind and plan when he saw that his troops and the other generals were unwilling to march forward for fighting with the Gangaridai/Gangaridi empire's army. Mean while, the ships he had ordered were ready for the journey. Alexander appointed his boyhood friend Nearchus, as the Admiral of the fleet. Then he sent much of his army with his general Craterus and admiral Nearchus towards the Persian Gulf and he led the rest of his forces back to home through Babylon.
According to the Greek writers Gangaridai/Gangaridi empair-that times Bangla rigion kept on flourishing at least upto the 1st century AD.
''Before ending this article, imagine yourself as a decendant of a mighty empire which had its glory and might to take a rightful position in the book of history.When we travell around the world  usually we visit different historical places, old civilization. We take  photoes and post them in internet and proudly say that I stood in the place where the mighty Ceaser, Pharaoh or Emperor stood. Funny enough when places and culture lays at our backyard unattended and forgotten. Now a days people forget their roots and heritage. I am not anti western but also I am a diehard Bangladeshi. I am not here to criticize the western culture but to promote mine. So here is a request, if you like something about being Bangladeshi be proud to share it and dicuss it''.
video
This video clip is a part of a documentary film''In the footsteps of Alexander the Great''. British film maker Michael Wood has presented this award winning film from BBC in the year 1998.To make this film Michael Wood and his group started their journey from Greece following Alexander's route and reached in India. He traveled over 20,000 miles- on everything from foot,camels and horses-to helecopters, boats and jeeps through 16 countries and four war zones.

S: en.wikipedia.org (articles on Alexander the Great, Gangaridai, Megasthenes, indica, Nearchus, Coenus); bengal unconquared by Alexander-a article in google groups; harekrsna.com/sun(features july 2009-the history of ancient bengal); wastelandersdiary.wordpress.com(article-Gangaridai). 

1 comment:

  1. One can certainly take pride in Gangaridai. However one should not forget Bangladesh came to existence only in 1971. Before that it was India. So claiming Gangaridai as exclusively Bangladeshi is nothing but falsification of history.

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