The Huns : Barbarians Tamed by the Warriors of Dharma

Posted December 3, 2012 by admin in Legendary Battles

Myth says that when told of the power of the mighty Persian empire of antiquity, their ability to cover the very sun with their hail of arrows the Spartans would retort mockingly – ‘so much the better – at least we will fight in the shade’  The reality of war in the ancient world was of course quite different.

A thunderous hail of arrow and projectiles darken the sky. Waves of fast moving horse mounted warriors in compact bands of up to 4000 release their arrows before wheeling away to allow the next band to attack. In such a manner an unrelenting hail of projectiles would be hurled at the enemy. Modern historians have estimated that a mounted warrior of the early Common Era from Central Asia would be able to shoot at a speed reaching 40 kph. That speed combined with the range of the recurved composite bow when dealt with in massed attacks were an unmatched weapon until the introduction of the machine guns in the First World War. This was the Huns (also known as the Hunas )

Armed with this force the Huns swept across Asia bursting into the splendour of the Roman Empire destroy all before them. The hardy tribes of the Eastern Europe and the Balkans and around the Black Sea fell under a deluge of violence and havoc that the world has seldom seen. The mighty legions of Rome found their strongest armour and formations unable to withstand the legions of the Huns. The name of their leader, Attila has become a byword for terror and destruction which was scarcely held off in the depth of Western Europe at the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields.

However many centuries later the Huns had defeated and taken prisoner Feroz, the Persian Emperor and made them a subject peoples.Onwards the waves of destruction marched into South Asia only to meet with the might of the Gupta Empire in the noontide of their power. The vast dominions of the Guptas had been conquered by a succession of warrior emperors and was now led by Skanda Gupta. Marshalling his forces he marched to meet the as yet undefeated Huns under their leader Khingila and in a ferocious conflict near the borders of modern India

The warriors of Skanda Gupta braved the waves of arrows and barbaric onslaughts of the Huns to engage them in a deadly hand to hand combat. The military skill of Skanda Gupta enabled him to marshal his reserves and thwart each probing attack of the Huns and cut their supply lines to eventually inflict an unprecedented defeat –. The slaughter was so great that only a few wandering bands of the Huns returned to their cantons with a rumour of the wrath and terror of the Gupta Emperor.The Bhitari pillar inscription speaks of the great victory over the Huns and the court bards went on to say:

‘By whose two arms the earth was shaken when he joined in close conflict with the Huns’

Thus a great catastrophe was averted and whilst much of Europe was laid to waste India breathed a sigh of relief.The subsequent breakup of the Empire of the Gutpas after the death of Skanda Gupta however gave a new fillip to the Huns.

Their war leader Toramana united the Hunnic tribes and seeing the divisions amongst the kings of South Asia launched his mobile warriors into a renewed attack. This time the merciless hordes managed to break through the borders and establish a foothold. The land of Punjab was laid waste and left to the tender mercies of the Huns. The ancient university and seat of learning at Taxishila near modern Sialkot in Pakistan was utterly destroyed.  

Toramana launched further expeditions into the hinterland of India casing great devastation and horror. His and much of the Huns gradual absorption and acceptance of Indic and Vedic concepts did little to lessen the cruel and barbaric basis of Hunnic society

His son Mihirkula outdid his father in every concept. An early adept of Buddhism he later turned against the institution of the monks and despite becoming a votary of Vedic deity Shiva launched into a tirade of destruction against the Buddhist monasteries and the monks.

His overall cruel and despotic nature caused waves of revulsion across the land. The Yaudheyes raised a banner of rebellion in Punjab and from the land of Malwa the warrior king Yashodarman together with the last Gupta king Narasimnagupta in 528 CE gave battle to their ruthless enemies. Led by repeated charges by Yashodorman the Huns gave way and found their banners trampled into the ground by the Hindu kings the proud warriors who had carried death and destruction across the face of the known world were beaten into submission. Mihirkula was dragged in chains before the Hindu monarch and in an unbelievable act of chivalry was released unharmed to return to his dominions beaten and humiliated.  Temples were raised in honour of the Vedic Gods and of the sublime Lord Buddha to celebrate the victories over the Huns and their violations of the eternal laws of Dharma

Mihirkula returned chastised to his dominions and the Hunnic Empire collapsed into oblivion. The wheels of Dharma turned on as from the beginning of time – the Huns passed on into the annals of history but the people did not. The various cantons and mandalas of the Hunas merged into a revitalised Hindu society to stand at the forefront of Hindu society in the centuries to come together with the clans of the Rajput’s, Gujars, Jats, Nayars and others in a new spirit of honour and  chivalry that has seldom been seen in the world,

 

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