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History of War in India:

I found a really interesting article on a website, with courtesy to this nice website I am sharing a part of the article, if you wanna know more go to that website:
Amukta Weapons 
The first of the Amukta weapons was the Vajra or the thunderbolt. The origin of this weapon is given in the Rirthayatra portion of the Mahabharata. It was made out of the backbone of the Rishi Dadhici which was freely given by him to Indra. Originally perhaps it had six sides and made a terrible noise when hurled.

  • The Parasu is the battle-axe attributed to Parasu-rama, of great fame. Its blade was made of steel and it had a wooden handle. There were six ways of manipulating it to one's own advantage.
  • The Gada is a heavy rod of iron with one hundred spikes on the top. One of the four cubits was able to destroy elephants and rocks. It could be handled in twenty different ways. By means of gun powder it could be used as a projectile weapon of war. Its principal use was to strike the enemy either from a raised place or from both sides and strike terror into the enemy especially of the Gomutra array.
  • The Mudgara was a staff in the shape of a hammer. It was used to break heavy stones and rocks. This is again a movable machine according to Kautalya.
  • The Sira was a bucket-like instrument curved on both sides and with a wide opening made of iron. It was as long as a man's height. The Pattisa is a razor like weapon.
  • The Sataghni, literally means that which had the power of killing a hundred at a time. It looked like a Gada and is said to be four cubits in length. It is generally identified with modern cannon and hence was a projectile weapon of war.
    • "sataghni tu catustala lohakantaka samcita yastih! iti Kesavah."

  • It was generally placed on the walls of a fort and is included among the movable machines by Kautalya.
  • Asi or the Swords - The best sword measured fifty inches. They were usually made of Pindara iron found in the Jangala country, black iron in the Anupa, white iron in the Sataharana, gold colored in the Kalinga, oily iron in the Kambhoja, blue-colored in Gujarat, grey-colored in the Maharashtra and reddish white in Karnataka. The aSi si also known as Nistrimsa, Visamana, Khadga, Tiksnadhara, Durasada, Srigarbha, Vijaya and Dharmamula, meaning respectively cruel, fearful, powerful, fiery, unassailable, affording wealth, giving victory, and the source of maintaining dharma. And these are generally the characteristics of a sword.

    It was commonly worn on the left side and was associated with thirty-two different movements. It measured 50 thumbs in length and four inches in width. In the Santi-parva (166,3 ff; 82 ff). Bhisma being asked as to which weapon in his opinion was the best for all kinds of fighting, replies that the sword is the foremost among arms (agryah praharananam), but the bow is first (adyam).
B.K. Sarkar says that the secret of manufacturing the so-called Damascus blade was learnt by the Saracens from the Persians, who, in their turn, had learnt it from the Hindus. Early Arabic literature provides us with a curious illustration of the esteem with which Indian swords were looked upon in Western Asia.

An early Arabic poet, Hellal, describing the flight of the Hemyarites, says:
"But they fled under its (ie. the clouds) small hail of arrows quickly, whilst hard Indian swords were penetrating them." and again: "He died and we inherited him; one old wide (cuirass) and a bright Indian (sword) with a long shoulder-belt."
(Hindu Achievements in Exact Science - By B. K. Sarkar p. 45).

Note: Hindus made the best swords in the ancient world, they discovered the process of making Ukku steel, called Damascus steel by the rest of the world (Damas meaning water to the Arabs, because of the watery designs on the blade). These were the best swords in the ancient world, the strongest and the sharpest, sharper even than Japanese katanas. Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Persians, Turks, and Chinese imported it.

The original Damascus steel - the world's first high-carbon steel - was a product of India known as wootz. Wootz is the English for ukku in Kannada and Telugu, meaning steel. Indian steel was used for making swords and armor in Persia and Arabia in ancient times. Ktesias at the court of Persia (5th c BC) mentions two swords made of Indian steel which the Persian king presented him. The pre-Islamic Arab word for sword is 'muhannad' meaning from Hind. So famous were they that the Arabic word for sword was Hindvi - from Hind.

Wootz was produced by carburizing chips of wrought iron in a closed crucible process.
"Wrought iron, wood and carbonaceous matter was placed in a crucible and heated in a current of hot air till the iron became red hot and plastic. It was then allowed to cool very slowly (about 24 hours) until it absorbed a fixed amount of carbon, generally 1.2 to 1.8 per cent," said eminent metallurgist Prof. T.R. Anantharaman, who taught at Banares Hindu University, Varanasi.

"When forged into a blade, the carbides in the steel formed a visible pattern on the surface."
To the sixth century Arab poet Aus b. Hajr the pattern appeared described 'as if it were the trail of small black ants that had trekked over the steel while it was still soft'. In the early 1800s, Europeans tried their hand at reproducing wootz on an industrial scale. Michael Faraday, the great experimenter and son of a blacksmith, tried to duplicate the steel by alloying iron with a variety of metals but failed.

Some scientists were successful in forging wootz but they still were not able to reproduce its characteristics, like the watery mark.
"Scientists believe that some other micro-addition went into it," said Anantharaman.

"That is why the separation of carbide takes place so beautifully and geometrically."
The crucible process could have originated in south India and the finest steel was from the land of Cheras, said K. Rajan, associate professor of archaeology at Tamil University, Thanjavur, who explored a 1st century AD trade centre at Kodumanal near Coimbatore. Rajan's excavations revealed an industrial economy at Kodumanal. Pillar of strength The rustless wonder called the Iron Pillar near the Qutb Minar at Mehrauli in Delhi did not attract the attention of scientists till the second quarter of the 19th century.

The inscription refers to a ruler named Chandra, who had conquered the Vangas and Vahlikas, and the breeze of whose valour still perfumed the southern ocean. "The king who answers the description is none but Samudragupta, the real founder of the Gupta empire," said Prof. T.R. Anantharaman, who has authored The Rustless Wonder. Zinc metallurgy travelled from India to China and from there to Europe. As late as 1735, professional chemists in Europe believed that zinc could not be reduced to metal except in the presence of copper.

The alchemical texts of the mediaeval period show that the tradition was live in India. In 1738, William Champion established the Bristol process to produce metallic zinc in commercial quantities and got a patent for it. Interestingly, the mediaeval alchemical text Rasaratnasamucchaya describes the same process, down to adding 1.5 per cent common salt to the ore. (source: Saladin's sword - By The Week - June 24, 2001 -

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