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A Military History of Medieval India
Maj. Gen. Gurcharn Singh Sandhu A Military History of Medieval India : Maj. Gen. Gurcharn Singh Sandhu : Vision Books : Book (ISBN: 8170945259)
Pages: 887
Price: Rs. 1250
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 8170945259
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Published in 2003
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A Military History of medieval India

This book is a rare study of warfare in India from the 11th to the 18th century of the Christian era. It traces the evolution of strategy, tactics and weapons employed by indigenous as well as invading armies during this period in rich detail.

Carrying forward India’s military history from where the author’s companion volume, A Military History of Ancient India left it, the book opens with Mahmud of Ghazni’s raids into India between ad 1000 and 1028, describes his successive expeditions, the Ghazanavid military system and the reasons for Mahmud’s easy success in the country. The author then examines in detail the military systems of the Rajputs, the Turkish Sultans of Delhi, the Bahmani Sultans of the Deccan, the Vijayanagara emperors, the Sur Afghans, the Mughal emperors and the Marathas. Major and crucial battles have been described with the help of maps and sketches for a better understanding of the strategy employed by the combatants. A detailed tactical examination of each battle offers readers rich insights about its conduct and progress. A political history of the country has been included in bare outline as a contextual framework for conflicts and battles which brought about cataclysmic political changes. The book closes with a review of the great military leaders of the period.

The book, thus, presents a study of the development of warfare in the country from the 11th to the mid-18th century when modern warfare made its appearance in India, unlike in Europe where it had developed two centuries earlier. The first such occasion was in 1746 in the battle of the Adyar River (San Thome) when a few French soldiers supported by a detachment of European-trained "native soldiers" defeated a much larger local force of the Nawab of Carnatic, thus heralding the advent of modern warfare into the country’s antiquated military system.

Wars have been the primary, if not the only, instrument for political change since ancient times. A study of the development of warfare in a country is, therefore, an essential component for a correct understanding of its political developments. Notwithstanding this fact, India’s military history has, thus far, been sadly neglected by the country’s professional historians. This book, a result of huge scholarship and stamina, helps to set right this lacuna. The author draws many lessons of enduring value which the military history of medieval India has to offer the country’s policy-makers, politicians, bureaucrats, historians, political scientists and professional soldiers.

Maj. Gen. Gurcharn Singh Sandhu

Major General Gurcharn Singh Sandhu (b. December 1922) graduated with a first class honours from Government College, Lahore; his subjects of study were History and Political Science. He went on to obtain a Master’s degree in English before joining the Army in 1944. He was commissioned into the 18th King Edward’s Own Cavalry in 1945 and saw military service during World War II on the Northwest Frontier. In 1948, he attended the first Staff College course at Wellington. As a staff officer at HQ 1 Armoured Division, he took part in the Hyderabad Police Action in 1948.

In 1959 he was selected to attend a year-long Armor Officers’ Advance Course at the US Armor School at Fort Knox. Soon after the 1962 India-China War he was posted as Military Assistant to the newly-appointed Chief of the Army Staff, General J. N. Chaudhuri, and continued in that appointment during the 1965 Indo-Pak War. He raised an armoured brigade at Siliguri before India's 1971 war with Pakistan and took part in operations against the Pak army in the northwest sector of erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). He was awarded a Param Vasisht Seva Medal for his service during the 1971 war. After a course at the National Defence College, he commanded another armoured brigade followed by the command of an infantry division. His last appointment in the Indian Army was as head of the Armoured Corps at Army Headquarters from where he retired early in 1978.

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