The ancient reference to the festival of Rakhi dates back to 300 BC at the time when Alexander conquered India. King Alexander of Macedonia also tried to take over the kingdom of the Indian King Porus but he was resisted by King Porus.
Seeing this, Alexander's wife Roxana got worried and the Greek ruler's wife hastily approached King Porus with a rakhi.
As she knew the custom and importance of Raksha Bandhan, asking him not to harm her husband during the battle.
In the nick of time, I'd say, because in the very next battle Alexander fell off his horse and found Porus holding a sword to his neck. A moment later, Porus let him go. He had promised his sister after all.
Hence, she became a sister of his and this is the reason King Porus restrained himself to deliver the final blow to Alexander which would have taken his life.
There are many essays in the Net in the above vein! My mind at once told me that such a story was a perfect hocus-pocus and that this was nothing but being true to the Indian tradition of often inventing stories in the place of writing history. Yet I must research in order to know the truth! And what I can write here in a blog will be in a limited space only.
True, the year was 326 BC when Alexander was just 30 years old. He was born in 356 BC. There was that important if not an immense battle between him and the Hindu King Porus who ruled the "Paurava kingdom lying between the river Jhelum (Hydaspes in Greek) and the river Chenab (Acesines in Greek). Porus is the Greek name for Puru or Purushottam (in Sanskrit), and we will keep it Porus here. There are no ancient Indian records about this battle which the Greeks have named "The Battle of Hydaspes River. Again, Hydaspes stands for Jhelum. The available ancient primary accounts are from the writings of the historian Arrian (circa 86-160), the historian Diodorus (1st century BC) and the historian Plutarch (circa 46-120 AD).
Let us quickly trace what Alexander had achieved before fighting with Porus. He was 20 when he began his wars of conquest for winning individual glory and world recognition. He fought several battles before defeating the Persian King Darius. Persia was then the biggest empire in the world that included Asia Minor, Egypt, Bactria (Afghanistan) and it stretched up to Indus river. Alexander married the Bactrian princess Roxana in 327 BC. The same year, he decided to come into India for which he had to first cross the river Indus. King Ambhi was ruling the area between Indus and Jhelum, with his capital at Taxila. King Ambhi and his eastern neighbor King Porus were enemies. Ambhi bought peace with Alexander, not wanting to fight him, and promised him forces to help fight Porus. In return Alexander rewarded Ambhi with plentiful gifts and gold looted during Persian battles. King Porus was located east of Jhelum and therefore the big problem before Alexander was one of being able to ferry his infantry men, cavalry men and horses across the river Jhelum. Alexander was a great tactician and strategist and we will see soon how he got to the other side of the river and fought Porus.
I must go into an interesting digression here. The Rig Veda mentions the "Battle of the Ten Kings. They were all Aryan Kings, not the usual Aryans versus Dasyus. It is said that this battle was a battle between Puru tribes and Bharata tribes. It is said that Porus was possibly a descendant of the Puru Tribe.
As per historian Arrian, the soldiers of Porus carried flags depicting Herakles, which as per our Indian recent historian Ishwar Prasad was Krishna (Herakles=Hari Krishna). Ishwar Prasad believes that Porus was a Soorasaini. King Soorasena is regarded as the grand father of Krishna and Balarama, and was the Yadava king of Mathura. Ishwar Prasad believes that Soorasainis (Yadavas) of Mathura and Dwarka migrated to the Punjab. The Dera Ghazi Khan District (now in Pak) Gazette of 1898 talks about probable migration of Yadus from Gujarat to Peshawar/Kandahar/Kabul about 1100 years before Christ!
We know that King Yayati had two sons named Puru and Yadu amongst other sons. The 26th descendant of this King Puru was King Hasti who founded Hastinapur. From King Hasti issued several Tribes of which the Kuru and the Pandavas were the most distinguished. From King Yadu, elder brother of Puru, issued the tribe/race of Yadavas (that included Krishna). Porus is believed to be from the Puru Tribe. This interesting digression is possible thanks to Mahabharata and Puranic sources.
Now let us get back to the battle between Alexander's forces and Porus's forces. On reaching the western bank of Jhelum, Alexander's forces had to find the means to ford the river, while on the eastern bank of the river king Porus and his warriors were lying in wait for the battle. Alexander's men waited many months on the river bank, and they walked along the riverside up and down quietly in order to find a site for crossing the river. One night, a bigger chunk of Alexander's forces forded the river 17 miles upstream and entered Porus's territory. On knowing this, Porus sent his son with a small army to encounter the invaders. In the ensuing fight the son was killed and the army suffered reverses. Then Porus himself led his huge army to meet the invaders head on.
Porus had 34000 men and 200 elephants, and chariots too. Alexander had no elephants and no chariots. Alexander's infantry was only half of the infantry of Porus. However, Alexander had nearly 8000 horses compared to 2000 horses with Porus. The clever Alexander straightaway put to use his superior cavalry forces. Due to rains and the slush, the chariots of Porus got bogged down. Yet, normally speaking, the elephants could have won the war for Porus. However, Alexander's men shot arrows at elephants' eyes, blinding them. The elephants then got panicky and went helter skelter. Porus fought bravely on despite a certain defeat. Alexander was much impressed by the bravery of Porus. Porus was much bigger and taller compared to the medium height of Alexander. As the defeated Porus stood before Alexander, the latter spared his life and asked him what he wanted. Porus told him to treat him like a king. According to historian Arrian, impressed by this statement, Alexander let Porus continue to rule his kingdom and planned his eastern march to fight the Nanda king. But the Nanda army was too big for the Greek forces and besides the trained Nanda war elephants themselves ran into thousands. The weary Greek Generals and soldiers wanted Alexander to march homewards. They all went westwards and at Babylon (in modern Iraq) Alexander contracted fever and died when he was hardly 33.
There seems to be no raksha bandhan business between the wife of Alexander and King Porus in any historical account! Porus was the defeated one and where was the question of his clemency towards Alexander? Porus even lost his son. Surely we will be better off without fanciful story-concoctions presented as history.
And what is the originating basis for the Roxana's rakhi? It is "India Cultures Quarterly, Vol.25"(1968),School of Research, Leonard Theological College, USA!
Topic started by deepikagupta9
Last replied by myviewprem