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.