Tanks of Porus: Assumptions Vs Reality

By: | Muhammad Ali Azlan |



India has recently made their nefarious designs known with regards to the controversial “Cold Start Doctrine” for which we see frantic deployments on the borders, India is preparing to deploy more than 460 main battle tanks (MBTs) along its border with Pakistan, substantially increasing its already sizable tank force there.

To understand the entire nexus of this supposed “clandestine” operation we take a page out of history and try to analyze it.

King Porus (Sanskrit: Purushottama) was the ancient Hindu King of Paurava, an ancient Indian Kingdom located between the Jhelum and Chenab rivers (in Greek, the Hydaspes and the Acesines rivers) in modern day Punjab, Pakistan, and later of dominions extending to the Beas (in Greek, the Hyphasis). Porus fought Alexander the Great in the Battle of the Hydaspes River in 326 BC (at the site of modern day Mong and was defeated. He then served Alexander as a client king.

The Battle of the Hydaspes River was fought by Alexander the Great (sic) in 326 BC against King Porus of the Hindu Paurava kingdom on the banks of the Hydaspes River (Jhelum River) in the Punjab near Bhera. The battle resulted in a complete Macedonian victory and the annexation of the Punjab, which lay beyond the confines of the defeated Persian empire, into the Alexandrian Empire.
Although victorious, it was also the most costly battle fought by the Macedonians. The resistance put up by King Porus and his men won the respect of Alexander who asked him to become a Macedonian satrap. Alexander’s army is estimated at about 6,000. Depending on the sources, Alexander was outnumbered somewhere from 3:1 to 5:1.

The recorded numbers in history are for Alexander’s army 6,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry on the other hand Porus came with a Mighty Army of 20,000, 30,000, or 50,000 infantry, 2,000 – 4,000 cavalry, 200-130 (“likeliest” according to Historians) or 85 war elephants and 1,000 chariots.

After a hard fought battle Porus lost with his son killed in battle, while Alexanders army took a huge loss, The most ever in all their battles according to many historians.

The army of Alexander the Great approached the boundaries of the Nanda Empire. His army, exhausted from the continuous campaigning, Got to know of another huge Indian Army waiting for them in Nanda, Alexanders Army-men demanded that they should return to the west. This happened at the Hyphasis (modern Beas), the exact spot being believed to be at ‘Kathgarh’ in Indora tehsil of Himachal Pradesh with nearest rail head at Pathankot, Punjab. Alexander finally gave in and turned south, along the Indus, securing the banks of the river as the borders of his empire. After hasty departure of Alexander from Punjab triggered by the reluctance of his troops to move forward in Punjab, King Porus was established as the sovereign for the West Punjab. Some historians blame conspiracy by Chanakya in poisoning Porus. His son reigned for a short period and was eventually succeeded by Chandragupta Maurya.(Please keep the caste “MAURYA” in mind).

Chanakya is often called the “Indian Machiavelli”, although his works predate Niccolò Machiavelli’s by about 1,800 years. His works were lost near the end of the Gupta dynasty and not rediscovered until 1915.Chanakya believed in Hindu supremacy and is believed to be the founder of “Hindutva” also referred to as Chanakya Ideology.

Hindutva a word coined by (Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his 1923 pamphlet entitled ‘Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?’ is the set of movements advocating Hindu nationalism. Members of the movement are called Hindutvavadis. According to a 1995 Supreme Court of India judgment the word Hindutva could be used to mean “the way of life of the Indian people and the Indian culture or ethos”.

Muslims have always Adapted and innovated according to the changing times in the confines of the religion and upon the teachings of Quran and Ahadith they did the same militarily.

                                                          “Zamane Ke Andaz Badle Gye
                                                        Naya Raag Hai, Saaz Badle Gye”
                                                                      (Allama Iqbal r.a)

Just to quote an example: Mysorean rockets were the first iron-cased rockets that were successfully deployed for military use. Hyder Ali, the 18th century ruler of Mysore, and his son and successor, Tipu Sultan used them effectively against the British East India Company. Their conflicts with the company exposed the British to this technology, which was then used to advance European rocketry with the development of the Congreve rocket.

Cold Start is a military doctrine developed by the Indian Armed Forces for use in a possible war with Pakistan. It involves various branches of India’s military conducting offensive operations as part of unified battle groups. The Cold Start doctrine is intended to allow India’s conventional forces to perform holding attacks in order to prevent a nuclear retaliation from Pakistan in case of a conflict. The doctrine is intended to allow India’s conventional forces to perform holding, swift and unexpected attacks in under 72 hours.

The Pakistani Army chief declared 2010 the “Year of Training”, conducting a large scale military exercise named Azm-e-Nau 3 which focused on offensive defense against Cold Start. The army also tested the Nasr, a nuclear-capable missile from the family of Hatf-IX missiles with a purported range of 60 km, high accuracy and a shoot and scoot delivery system. The Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses stated that the development of the Nasr indicates that Pakistan views Cold Start with concern and that the missile was meant to deter India’s implementation of the doctrine. It added that the net result would be “further nuclear impact(s) on Pakistani territory”.. This new concept seeks to improve troops mobilization time and to put a joint Army, Navy and Air Force response to any conventional threat, will further strengthen Pakistan’s ‘credible minimum deterrence’ by countering India’s perception of surprise attack.

Now, this is how Indians look at the battle of Hydespes negating historians from all over the world…

“Records of Greek writers suggest that the Greeks had the better of the Indian Army. The chariots of Porus got stuck in the river bank sand and the swift moving Greek cavalry was lethal. Porus son was killed and then Porus decided to charge with his elephant corps. Greek writers admit that the sight of the elephants was terrifying, but seduces the Greek general of Alexander led the assault against the elephant corps which after the death of their mahouts just disintegrated. Porus was captured and there is a famous account of his encounter with the Greek warrior. The Greek king asked him how he would like to be treated. Porus replied ‘like a king’. So Alexander treated him like a king and gave him back his kingdom including additional lands as well.

But there is no denying the fact that this battle with Porus and his elephant corps had a devastating effect on the rank and file of the Greek army and they refused to go further. in effect it was the most terrifying battle the Greek army had fought so far. But there is a lingering doubt that whether Porus was really defeated at all. It is possible that his elephant force so demoralized the Greeks that they refused to march forward.

Some Indian scholars have argued that Alexander was in fact defeated’ by Porus and after the battle they both became friends. This opinion is based on the medieval epic Shahnameh by the Persian poet Firdausi. Scholars argue that this was the reason that Alexander left vast territories to Porus. Western historians however discount this theory. But what ever the truth, the fact remains that Alexander went back and Porus though having suffered a tactical defeat was in real terms the victor. For this alone Porus needs to be remembered as a great Hindu warrior”.

Acting upon this belief here are the statistics of Indian Armed forces… (The figures quoted are just for reference and may differ from the actual statistics)

Available for military service:                                                                                                               319,129,420 males age 16–49 (2010 est.), 296,071,637 females: age 16–49 (2010 est.)

Fit for military service:
249,531,562 males, age 16–49 (2010 est.), 240,039,958 females, age 16–49 (2010 est.)

Reaching military age annually:
12,151,065 males (2010 est.),10,745,891 females (2010 est.)

Active personnel:

Reserve personnel:

Budget US$:
46.1 billion

As of 2013, the Indian Navy has a strength of 58,350 personnel and a large operational fleet consisting of 2 aircraft carriers, an amphibious transport dock, eight guided missile destroyers, 15 frigates, one nuclear attack submarine, 13 conventional submarines, 24 corvettes, 30 patrol vessels, 7 mine countermeasure vessels and various auxiliary ships.

International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimates that the Indian Air Force has a strength of 127,000 active personnel. However, various reliable sources provided notably divergent estimates of its strength over the years. Flight global estimates there to be to 1,370 aircraft in active service during 2012/2013.

Indian Army is one of the largest standing armies in the world, with 1,129900 active troops and 960,000 reserve troops. With a jaw dropping 3569 tanks in their arsenal.

The statistics of Pak Armed Forces… (The figures quoted are just for reference and may differ from the actual statistics)

Available for military service:
48,453,305 males, age 16–49 (2010 est.), 44,898,096 females, age 16–49 (2010 est.)

Fit for military service:
37,945,440 males, age 16–49 (2010 est.), 37,381,549 females, age 16–49 (2010 est.)

Reaching military age annually:
2,237,723 males (2010 est.), 2,104,906 females (2010 est.)

Active personnel:
617,000 (ranked 7th globally)

Reserve personnel:

$6.41 billion

As of 2008, the Pakistan Navy has approximately forces exceeding 35,700 personnel, Frigates (11 in service), Submarines (8 in service), Fast Attack Crafts (12 in service), Mine Countermeasure Vessels (3 in service) and 8 auxiliary ships.

The PAF employs approximately 65,000 full-time personnel (including approximately 3,000 pilots) and currently operates 400 combat aircraft as well as various transport and training aircraft 902 aircrafts in total.

Pakistan Army According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) it has an active force of 725,000 personnel as of April 2013. In addition there were around 550,000 reserves bringing the total to 1,275000 troops. Including 2220 tanks in their arsenal. The Constitution of Pakistan contains a provision for conscription, but it has never been imposed.

The Comparison clearly shows who is superior in terms of numbers, that being India… as explained above Indians believed that the Hindu king Porus won the war and he won it in part due to his infamous Elephants and superiority in numbers against Alexander. They Revere him as a victor and a great Indian Hero…Crux of the matter being Indians believe in the saying that there is “Strength in numbers”.

What is the reason for all this? Why is India doing all this? that is the pertinent question now that you know the History of Indian Military Strategy and where it is derived from.

Akhand Bharat, literally Undivided India Indians believe Akhand Bharat and sampoorna samaj (united society) can bring real freedom to the people of India. The footsteps of these terms can also be traced back in time of Hindu religion and Hindu Rule over the sub-continent.

Ashoka Maurya (304–232 BCE), commonly known as Ashoka and also as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE.One of India’s greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests. His empire stretched from the parts of the ancient territories of Khorasan, Sistan and Balochistan (unpartitioned) in what is now Afghanistan and possibly eastern Iran, through the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan, to present-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The empire had Taxila, Ujjain and Pataliputra as its capital.

Greater India is another phenomenon, Greater India was the historical extent of the culture of India beyond the Indian subcontinent. This particularly concerns the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism, by the travellers of the 5th to 15th centuries, but may also refer to the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism from India to Central Asia and China by the Silk Road during the early centuries of the Common Era. To the west, Greater India overlaps with Greater Persia in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountains.
The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka.
Why the bitterness against Muslims? Where is China in all this?

Hajjaj in a letter sent to Muhammad bin Qasim:

“My ruling is given: Kill anyone belonging to the combatants (ahl-i-harb); arrest their sons and daughters for hostages and imprison them. Whoever does not fight against us..grant them aman (safety) and settle their tribute (amwal) as dhimmah (protected person)…”

Raja Dahir was the last Hindu ruler in Sindh and parts of the Punjab in modern Pakistan. At the beginning of the Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent, his kingdom was conquered by Muhammad bin Qasim (an Arab general) for the Umayyad Caliphate. This is how ISLAM entered the otherwise predominantly Hindu sub-continent and never left and ended up being if NOT bigger then at Par with Hinduism as a religion.

There are only two countries who pose the greatest threat to the “Hindu Dream” and are stopping them from becoming a regional superpower and ultimately an undisputed superpower of the world.

As pointed out above, India is eyeing Akhand Bharat and Greater India to ultimately return to the fabled “Golden Age of Hinduism”.

After arch enemy Pakistan who also happens to be a Muslim Country along with being a strong ally and friend of China, the only country left with the ability to halt India’s transgressions is China who wants to be a super-power in his own right.



The views expressed by the Author and the reader comments do not reflect the views and policies of The NewsOne.