Monday, April 26, 2021

അലക്സാണ്ടറുടെ പോറസ് [പൗരവ] രാജാവുമായിട്ടുള്ള യുദ്ധം

അലക്സാണ്ടറുടെ പോറസ് [പൗരവ] രാജാവുമായിട്ടുള്ള യുദ്ധം ഇങ്ങനെയെന്നാണ് ചരിത്രകാരൻ ഫിലിപ്പ് ഫ്രീമാൻ പറയുന്നത്

............Porus continued the fight from the back of his giant elephant. Alexander so admired the man’s courage that he sent a messenger to the king begging him to surrender and be spared. Unfortunately the envoy was Omphis of Taxila, whom Porus bitterly hated and tried to kill with a spear. Then Alexander sent another messenger who at last persuaded the Indian king to lay down his arms. As the two rulers met, the elephant Porus was riding knelt down in spite of its wounds to allow the king to dismount. Alexander approached Porus and marveled at the stature of the man, more than six feet in height, as well as his regal bearing even in defeat. Alexander asked how he would like to be treated, to which Porus replied, “Like a king.” The victor allowed him to retire from the
field to seek medical treatment, then gave him back his kingdom....

പിന്നീട് എന്ത് നടന്നു ? പൗരവൻ എന്ത് ചെയ്തു / ചെയ്തില്ല ? അലക്സാണ്ടറോ ?  രസകരം തന്നെ.  ഇവിടെ വായിക്കാം 
 


Omphis was eager to be accommodating as he was in a permanent state of war with the neighboring kingdoms, including a powerful state to his south beyond the Hydaspes River ruled by Porus, king of an Indian people known as the Paurava. The young ruler of Taxila wanted to expand the borders of his own kingdom at the expense of Porus and was happy to use the gold and army of Alexander to accomplish his goal. His prospects seemed even more promising when an envoy Alexander had sent to Porus returned to Taxila. The Macedonian king had demanded that the Indian lord pay tribute to him and meet him at the borders of his realm when he moved south. Other local rulers had submitted, but Porus replied that he would not be giving Alexander any tribute, though hewould be happy to meet him at the Hydaspes with his army ready for battle. This was a serious blow to Alexander’s plans for a quick and peaceful march through India. His intelligence network had already informed him that Porus had a large army, including more than a hundred war elephants. Alexander was confident he could beat such an adversary, but it would not be easy, especially as the monsoon had just begun. The Macedonians didn’t mind rain, but they had never experienced anything like the deluge that poured on them from the Indian sky. Adding to their misery was the unbearable heat, creating the rare and thoroughly miserable sensation of being hot and wet at the same time. Day after day the rain continued with no respite. Streets turned to rivers, fields became lakes, and thick mud covered everything. The Indians were perfectly cheerful in the rain as the monsoon was essential for their crops, but the Macedonians began to despair that they would ever be dry again. The local people assured them that the rain would stop in a few months, but Alexander could not afford to wait that long. He appointed a Macedonian as commander of a permanent military garrison at Taxila—just in case Omphis wavered, in spite of the gold—and led his very wet army to the Hydaspes River. Alexander and his soldiers marched south over a low range of mountains for several days until they suddenly came to a pass leading down to the plain of the Hydaspes. From this gap they first saw the vast Punjab plain, an utterly flat landscape stretching south and east all the way to the Ganges River. Below they could see the Hydaspes River, almost a mile wide, fast-moving and swollen by both the monsoon and the melting snows of the Himalayas. Porus was on the far side of this flood with an army smaller than that of Alexander, but the Indian ruler knew the territory well and possessed many trained elephants that would terrify any horses that approached. Alexander took one look at the Hydaspes and sent Coenus back to the Indus to dismantle the pontoon bridge that Hephaestion had built and bring the boats to him in pieces. Meanwhile the king made camp on the north bank of the river and considered how he might cross such a stream undetected by Porus. He had to find a spot along the river that was out of view of the southern shore. After days of searching, his scouts located a likely place several miles to the east near where a ridge of mountains approached the Hydaspes. Across from this headland was a large island in the river surrounded by several smaller islands, all covered with thick trees that hid the north shore from the troops of Porus, constantly patrolling the opposite side. Alexander realized this was the perfect location to launch his amphibious assault, but he had to make sure the Indian king didn’t know the attack would come so far to the east. To keep Porus guessing,Alexander ordered units of his army to move back and forth along the northern shore for many miles. He would shift troops to the west, then the east, then back again to his main camp. The Macedonians also built campfires along the river and made a point of being noisy as they went about their duties. The Indian troops across the Hydaspes were driven to distraction by this constant motion and eventually gave up trying to keep track of every movement of the Macedonian soldiers—just as Alexander intended. The king also ordered tons of grain from the surrounding countryside transported to his camp as if he planned to stay there until the autumn when the rain would stop and the river subside. He also announced to his troops—and to the Indian spies among them—that they would wait at least two months to move across the river. When Porus heard the report, he was unconvinced, but Alexander was not seeking to deceive the king as much as he was to keep him off balance. When the ships were at last ready, Alexander left Craterus in charge of the main camp opposite Porus with a strong force and orders not to move unless the Indian king shifted east to the site of the upcoming crossing. Then in darkness Alexander led his toughest troops silently upriver to the embarkation point. He must have felt the heavens favored him as the normally steady showers had turned into a violent storm. The crashing of thunder and the pounding rain covered the noise made by the Macedonians as they prepared to launch the boats, though several were reportedly killed by lightning. Thousands of troops slipped into the boats and began to paddle across the raging river and around the large island as best they could. When at last they reached land, they poured out of the landing craft ready to face Porus, only to find that in the darkness they had not reached the southern bank but one of the many smaller islands in the river. It was an absolute disaster as the storm was now breaking and the sun rising, leaving the Macedonians visible to the Indian scouts. With no time to lose, Alexander ordered his men into the deep channel separating them from the southern bank. The heavily armored soldiers were up to their necks in swift water and the cavalry horses could barely swim through the current, but at last they struggled out of the river onto land. At this point word reached Porus that a large force of Macedonians was crossing several miles to the east, leaving the Indian king with a difficult decision. He could see that many of the enemy were still directly across from him in Alexander’s camp. Was the eastern attack a ploy to draw him away so that the western force could cross and attack him from behind, or was it in fact the main thrust of the assault, outflanking him to the east? There was no time to send out more scouts, so Porus ordered his son upriver with a chariot brigade to prevent the landing if possible or delay it if not. Then he followed with the mainforce of his army, leaving only a small detachment with a few elephants behind to hinder the remaining Macedonians from crossing. Porus was a brave and capable leader, but he was in an impossible situation. Outnumbered, he now found himself facing Alexander’s superbly trained troops, who were so tired of being wet and miserable that they were ready to massacre every Indian they found. The one advantage Porus had was his elephants, who just as Alexander feared caused havoc among his cavalry and trampled his men. But by now the Macedonians had developed a defense against these creatures. Although it cost the lives of many of their countrymen, Alexander’s troops would encircle an elephant and stab it with their long sarissa spears while the archers shot out its eyes. Then the maddened and blinded beast would charge wildly, as likely at friends as foes. Alexander surveyed the Indian battle order and decided to deploy a classic envelopment tactic to surround the enemy troops. He sent his cavalry to the left and right with orders to come up behind the Indians while the main army attacked from the front. It was a brutal battle waged savagely in mud and blood with heavy casualties on both sides. At one point, Alexander was riding Bucephalas when the old horse was struck by a spear and mortally wounded. The king was too busy to mourn, so he switched to another mount and continued the fight. When the Indian lines began to break, Craterus quickly crossed the river and came up behind to cut off the Indians’ retreat. Only Porus continued the fight from the back of his giant elephant. Alexander so admired the man’s courage that he sent a messenger to the king begging him to surrender and be spared. Unfortunately the envoy was Omphis of Taxila, whom Porus bitterly hated and tried to kill with a spear. Then Alexander sent another messenger who at last persuaded the Indian king to lay down his arms. As the two rulers met, the elephant Porus was riding knelt down in spite of its wounds to allow the king to dismount. Alexander approached Porus and marveled at the stature of the man, more than six feet in height, as well as his regal bearing even in defeat. Alexander asked how he would like to be treated, to which Porus replied, “Like a king.” The victor allowed him to retire from the field to seek medical treatment, then gave him back his kingdom, even adding nearby lands, much to the chagrin of Omphis. The Macedonians held funeral rites for their dead, offered sacrifices, and celebrated athletic games on the banks of the Hydaspes in honor of their costly victory. Then, in memory of Bucephalas, Alexander founded a city near the site of the battle and named it for his beloved horse. Alexander meanwhile sent a work party into the mountains to cut wood forships. His plan was to build a great navy and sail down the Hydaspes to the Indus, then follow the river to the sea, subduing kingdoms along the way. As this grand construction project would take weeks if not months, the king announced to his men that in the meantime they would invade eastern India. His army still must have believed that the great sea lay just over the horizon, even though by now Alexander had learned the true extent of the Indian subcontinent. The problem was once again how to keep the troops moving. This was especially challenging as the monsoon was still raging as they moved into a region where the ground was so thick with snakes that the men took to sleeping in hammocks like the locals. Yet the king marched on with his loyal but increasingly disgruntled troops behind him. The westernmost tributary of the Ganges was two hundred miles away, while the mouth of that great river system lay more than a thousand miles to the east. Still Alexander was determined to lead his army all the way to the Ganges delta, taking the rich kingdoms along its banks. His first stops were the cities near the borders of Porus, thirty-seven towns in the shadow of the Himalayan mountains. He conquered these easily enough and gave them to Porus as part of his expanded kingdom. Then he advanced to the Acesines, one of the largest and swiftest rivers of the Punjab. He loaded his troops onto their transportable boats and launched out into the stream, only to find that the current ripped many of the craft to shreds, drowning a number of his men. Afterward he moved forward to the Hydraotes River, just as broad as the Acesines but not as swift. The natives on the far bank put up only token resistance, then submitted to the Macedonians. But beyond the Hydraotes was the land of the Cathaeans, a warlike tribe with the city of Sangala as their capital. The Macedonians heard tales that the Cathaean widows were encouraged rather forcefully to burn themselves alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands, a suttee ritual reportedly initiated after one local woman poisoned her husband. These Indians placed wagons in front of their city to block the Macedonian charge and manned their walls to shower arrows and spears on the attackers. But Alexander’s men were finally able to break through the brick walls and take the city by storm, aided by Porus, who had recently arrived with a brigade of elephants. The king of the next country along the sodden march was Sopeithes, who wisely surrendered before the Macedonians drew near to his capital. Alexander gave him back his kingdom to govern in his name, then enjoyed the hospitality of the Indian ruler for the next few days. The unusual customs of the country surely reminded Alexander of Spartan society or the ideal city laid out in Plato’s Republic. At birth, the children in the kingdom of Sopeithes were separated into two groups, the most fit and beautiful of which were carefully reared, while therest were killed. As the survivors grew, they were placed in arranged marriages with those mates that would likely produce the finest offspring for the state. Sopeithes was also proud of the hounds raised in his land and gave Alexander more than a hundred of these animals, so fierce they were said to have tiger’s blood in their veins. To prove this to his guest, the Indian king staged a fight pitting four of the dogs against a full-grown lion. The canines were winning when Sopeithes sent a servant in to cut off the right leg of one of the dogs that had a death grip on the lion. Alexander rose up to object, but the hound did not even flinch as its leg was severed, keeping its jaws clamped on its prey even while it slowly bled to death. By now, after weeks of fighting their way across the Punjab, the evervictorious Macedonians were starting to feel like Sopeithes’ dog. Alexander pushed them on to the kingdom of Phegeus on the Hyphasis, the last of the great rivers of the Punjab. This Indian ruler also submitted and received back his throne, much to the relief of Alexander’s soldiers, who had no desire for another battle in the rain. Alexander questioned Phegeus about the country ahead and learned there was a wide desert to the east, followed by a deep river leading to the Ganges. Beyond this was the great kingdom of the Gandaridae ruled by Xandrames, who reportedly possessed two hundred thousand infantry, twenty thousand cavalry, and four thousand war elephants. Alexander couldn’t believe these numbers, so he sent for Porus and questioned him separately. Porus assured his new lord that the report was accurate, adding, however, that Xandrames was a lowly born son of a barber who had seized his throne through treachery and murder. This news only fired the desire of Alexander to march on and conquer lands no other Western ruler, not even the Great Kings of Persia, had dared to dream of. He reminded himself that the oracle at Delphi had said he was unbeatable and that Zeus-Ammon at Siwa had confirmed his rule over the whole world. Alexander was so excited that he led his troops down to the banks of the Hyphasis to begin the crossing to the other side. He launched into a magnificent speech extolling the bravery of his fine Macedonians and their allies, enticing them with promises of spoils from the rich cities that lay ahead. There were armies and elephants to the east, of course, but they were nothing compared with what they had already overcome. Eight years ago, the king declared, we crossed the Hellespont together, then conquered Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Bactria, Sogdiana, and more. We have marched ten thousand miles and accomplished the impossible. There is no limit to what men of noble spirit can accomplish. All of Asia lies within our grasp if we press on a little farther. The eastern sea is there, just beyond the horizon, waiting for us to bathe our feet in itswaters. Then we can return home, knowing that our new empire is secure and rejoicing that our names will live forever. Of course, if you want to stop here, you certainly can. You may run home and tell your children that you deserted your king in a distant land. But as for myself, I will go on even if I march alone. But those who come with me to the fabulously wealthy lands ahead will be the envy of all when they return home to live like kings. This sort of speech had always worked for Alexander before, so he waited in anticipation for the rousing cheers he knew would follow. But to his surprise, there was a complete silence as his men hung their heads, not daring even to raise their eyes to look at their king. At last Coenus, Alexander’s most senior surviving general, who had served him so faithfully as he had his father, Philip, before him, rose to speak. The old soldier spoke for the entire army when he told Alexander that they had been honored to follow him for so long amid all the toils and dangers they had faced together. But now they were exhausted and their spirits broken. So many of their friends had died, so many of those who survived bore the scars of battle. Their own clothing had worn away long ago so that now they were forced to wear Persian and Indian garments beneath their armor. They wanted to see their parents, if they were still alive, and to embrace their wives and children once more. He urged the king to return to Macedonia with them and lead back a new generation of soldiers, young men to follow him to the glorious victories that surely lay ahead. But as for themselves, they could go no farther. Now a great cheer rose up from the army in support of Coenus as the men openly wept at the thought of going home. Alexander, however, was so furious that he dismissed the assembly and stormed off to his tent, not seeing even his closest friends for three days. He waited for his men to change their minds and come to him as they had in the past, begging him to forgive them, swearing that they would follow him to the ends of the earth—but no one came. At last the king had to accept that his dream of marching down the Ganges was dead. To save face, he held a public sacrifice to seek the counsel of heaven. After examining the entrails before them, the soothsayers wisely declared that the omens were poor for crossing the river. Alexander then stood before the army once again and declared that he would not fight the will of the gods as well as his men. They were all going home. Before he left the Hyphasis, Alexander ordered his army to erect twelve towering altars, one for each of the Olympian gods. These were in thanksgiving to the gods for having carried him so far, but also as lasting memorials to his own accomplishments. Some stories say he also constructed an enormous fort with beds more than seven feet long and feeding troughs twice the normal sizeso that future generations of Indians would think the Macedonians and their horses were giants. With a last wistful look to the east, Alexander began the long march back to Macedonia. They were still on the northern edge of India, more than a hundred miles from the fleet being readied on the Hydaspes. After that it was a voyage of almost six hundred miles to the sea. Alexander’s plan was to conquer the remaining tribes of the Indus valley on his journey rather than return by way of Bactria. He must have used considerable charm and persuasion to convince his officers and troops that the fastest road home lay to the south. From a military point of view, it also made perfect sense to complete the conquest of western India. From the Indus delta he would send his fleet along the coast to rendezvous in Persia with the army he would be leading overland. This would close the great circle the king had begun when he left Persepolis four years earlier to chase Darius, but also give him the opportunity to establish a trade route between his provinces in India and the rest of the empire. What the troops did not know— and Alexander himself did not realize—was that some of the toughest fighting of the long campaign still lay ahead, as well as one of the most grueling desert marches in military history. The journey back to the Hydaspes was uneventful, aside from the surrender of a few remaining Indian kings who decided that fighting was unnecessary now that the Macedonians were withdrawing. Alexander was also pleased with the arrival of a sizeable group of reinforcements who had journeyed all the way from Greece to join his army. These included thirty thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry, along with wagonloads of medical supplies and twenty-five thousand sets of armor inlaid with gold and silver from his treasurer Harpalus.These were much appreciated by the men, whose original armor was falling apart. A sad note was struck by the sudden death of old Coenus. In spite of the timing, it is likely that he died of natural causes. In fact it may have been a sense of his approaching demise that had given Coenus the courage to face down Alexander at the Hyphasis. When the army arrived back at the Hydaspes, the king was thrilled to see that the fleet was ready. There were more than a thousand ships prepared for the voyage, including large warships, horse transports, and cargo vessels. Alexander recruited the seafaring Phoenicians, Cypriots, Carians, and Egyptians in the army to serve as sailors and appointed his boyhood friend Nearchus as admiral. A few days later at dawn when everything was finally in order, Alexander sacrificed to Zeus and Hercules as well as to many other gods, including the divine powers ruling the rivers of India. He poured libations into the Hydaspes from a golden bowl, much as he had done in the middle of the Hellespont before crossing to Troy. There was not enough room on the ships for most of the army, so Alexander sent Hephaestion and Craterus to lead the rest of the men on opposite banks following the fleet. These two companions of the king had developed an intense mutual hatred and had even drawn swords on each other once, so Alexander considered it prudent to keep a river between them. The departure was a great ceremony, with the ships moving in perfect formation down the wide stream with the sound of drums and oars striking the water. The local Indians had never seen such a spectacle and were especially impressed by the sight of horses riding in boats. The locals all came down to the banks to cheer the Macedonians and sing songs in celebration. Alexander was deeply touched by the beautiful farewell the Indians were giving him, taking it as a sign of their affection, but they were undoubtedly thrilled to see him and his army sailing away.





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