The conceptual framework of the study and its parameters were left entirely to my discretion following a brief discussion with late Professor Ravinder Kumar, (former Academic Coordinator of the PHISPC) and detailed verbal presentation made by me at a full meeting of the general approach of the PHISPC at New Delhi on 28 June, 1997. In keeping with the general approach of he PHISPC, we have treated the subject conceptually and not linearly or chronologically. The attempt is to portray and analyse warfare, no o recount battles, which are mentioned only to illustrate the point.
Military history has been of special interest to me since my college days. Fortunately, my official responsibilities and tasks in the thirty -six years of service of service in the Government of India related directly to academic work and research in my favourite subject. Rockefeller Foundation funding and a Sabbatical from the Ministory of Defence in 1953-54 enabled me to work in the UK and USA in the India Office Library and Records in London, Congressional Library in Washington D.C. Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, etc. Discussions with dedicated scholars and thinkers, including celebrities like B. H. Liddell Hart, J. F. C. Fuller, Robert Oppenheimer, and Einstein himself, proved invaluable in providing insights from many perspectives and in roughly mapping out unexplored areas. The subsequent decades have been spent in further studies, some lecturing and paper writing, and in reflecting on the world of military history, and its innumerable riddles. So, when the opportunity came to say something on the subject, I did not hesitate, for military history remains a badly neglected subject. The present level of research in this field is only slightly better than the dismal picture presented in my survey of work done on it (a 1976 publication of the Indian Council of Historical Research).
As a preliminary, a comprehensive, all-inclusive framework was constructed for the study, covering all possible topics. This was necessary in order to ensure that nothing was omitted from consideration due to oversight. Next, a detailed topic-wise examination of the selected material was undertaken to fit the specifications of time and space allotted for this project, though the Director, PHISPC, very kindly offered subsequently to allow me more space. The third, and most important, constraint was that of finding specialist scholars competent and willing to contribute different chapters, and to complete their drafts by the target dates. I was not willing to treat these target dates as flexible. By the grace of God, the work has been finished within four months of he target date, in spite of unforeseen health problems.
As expected, it was soon confirmed that all aspects of warfare down centuries could not be covered, due to the constraints mentioned above. Nor did it appear really necessary to discuss developments affecting, and familiar to, the whole world- such as the impact of drilled armies, the Railway or the Machine Gun. Features of war peculiar or specially significant to the Indian experience deserved priority. Operations during the British period of our history have been, comparatively speaking, more widely studied and are better known by all.
We have, therefore, attempted to explore the native of warfare only in ancient and medieval times and southern India, the last being much terra incognita in military literature. A section on the newly emerged Low Intensity Conflicts has been included as a special section, as Indian has, unfortunately, gathered significant experience of such warfare as compared to other countries. Each of these sections have their own appendices, chronology, abbreviations, references and bibliography, as well as glossary and transliteration tables. For the convenience of the reader, therefore, these sections are presented here as separate, self- contained parts. I have tried to submit, in the Introduction, a synthesising overview and perspective, with some reflections on war in he Indian context.
I have been fortunate in securing the assistance and collaboration of four specialist scholars meeting all the stringent requirements of this history project. They are established authors whom I hold in high esteem and who are intimately familiar with the original sources in their respective areas of specialisation. But, like true acholars- and with our innate respective for age -they have cheerfully accepted my proddings, suggestions and amendments, the interaction perhaps smoothened by the fact that three out of the four had worked with me for years in the past decades. To all of them, I express my deep appreciation and gratitude. Each author, of course, accepts responsibility for the facts stated and views expressed by him, which in no way involve the PHISPC or others.
My Research Assistant, R. C. Baluja, also deserves my apperception and gratitude. For all these three years he has worked with loyalty and competence, showing admirable initiative in implementing at New Delhi the instructions and requests sent by me from Lucknow. His long experience in research work in the Ministory of Defence has been most useful for both of us.
Among others to whom I feel indebted for pro viding, in discussions, valuable insights and suggestions are Lt Gen (Retd) S. K. Sinha, PVSM, Lt Gen (Retd) E. A. Vas, PVSM, and Professor Imdad Hussain of the N.E. Hill University, Shillong, My daughter, Nandita P. Sahai of the Hindu College, Delhi University - the family's only other historian by profession - also deserves my hugs and gratitude for up-dating me on the latest researches particularly regarding subaltern sociology, and for the initial proof reading.
Above all, I would like to thank Professor D. P. Chattopadhyaya for his unfailing consideration, kindness and help on all occasions. Professor Bhuvan Chandel, Project Coordinator, and other officers and staff of the PHISPC were also cooperative in their attitude for which I am happy to record here my kindest appreciation and thanks.
From the Jacket
The volumes of the PROJECT ON THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY AND CULTURE IN INDIAN CIVILIZATION aim at discovering the main aspects of India's heritage and present them in an interrelated way. These volumes, in spite of their unitary look, recognise the difference between the areas of material civilization and those of ideational culture. The Project is not being executed by a single group of thinkers and writers who are methodologically uniform or ideologically identical in their commitments. In fact contributions are made by different ideological persuasions and methodological approaches. The Project is marked by what may be called 'methodological pluralism'.
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES OF WARFARE IN INDIA: SOME MORALE AND MATERIEL DETERMINANTSseeks to survey and interpret the history of war-making in India from the earliest times. It takes note of the special features of geopolitical, strategic and tactical preferences and compulsions of warfare in different temporal, special as well as socio-religious contexts. The supra-physical as also the hardware components are examined and the distinguishing features of the Indian experience are highlighted. Army organisations and operational doctrines are focused upon instead of individual battles, which are discussed only to illustrate a point.
D. P. Chattopadhyaya, after obtaining his London School of Economics, taught philosophy at Jadavpur University, Calcutta. He is the founder Chairman of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi. Currently, he is the Chairman of the centre for studies in Civilizations, and General Editor of this Project.
Chattopadhyaya is one of the propounders of interdisciplinary studies in the country with his wide knowledge of philosophy, political theory, economics, history and science. His publications include individuals and societies: A Methodological Inquiry (1967); History, Individuals and World (1976); Rupa, Rasa O Sundara (in Bengali, 1980); Anthropology and Historiography of Science (1990); Induction, Probability and Skepticism (1991); Sociology, Ideology and Utopia (1997).
S. N. Prasad, formerly Director of history Division, Ministory of Defence, headed the National Archives of India from 1969 to 1979; After being awarded D. Phil in History by the Allahabad University he pursued his post doctoral research on military history in the USA on a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship.
Dr. Prasad was a member of the Executive Archives, Paris, from 1972 to 1980. He was elected in absentia as the Vice- President of ICA in 1980, becoming the first person from the third world to be so honoured.
Often called 'Pitamah' (Grandfather) by Indian military historians, Dr. Prasad has authored or edited almost all official histories of Military Operations in Indian from 1939 to 1971 during his long stint in the Government of India from 1948 to 1992.
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