Read this article in English to learn about the foreign invasion in India.
In the Pragmaurya era, the jurisdiction of the Magadha emperors could not extend to the northwestern regions of India. At the time when the states of Central India were falling prey to the expansionist policy of the Magadha Empire, there was an atmosphere of utter chaos and disorder in the northwestern regions.
This region was divided into many small and big states, among which Kamboj, Gandhar and Madra were prominent. There was no such universal power in these states that could win the mutually struggling states and organize them under unitary rule. This entire state was divided and prosperous at the same time.
In such a situation it was only natural to attract the attention of foreign invaders towards this land of India. As a result, this region of the country was the victim of two foreign invasions. The first to come was the Hakhamani King of Persia.
- Hakimni (Parseek) Invasion:
i. Cyrus II (558–529 BC):
In the middle of the sixth century BCE, an ambitious man named Kurusha or Cyrus II established the Hakhamani kingdom from Iran. He soon made himself the most powerful ruler of West Asia. The eastern border of his empire touched India.
At this time the political circumstances of northwest India were providing the above mentioned opportunities for fulfilling its imperialist aspirations. Hence, he appeared for the Indian campaign. Which territories of India were definitely won by Cyrus, it is not known in the absence of concrete evidence.
The details of classical (Greek-Romani) authors in this subject are the only evidence to our knowledge. Among these authors are Xenophon, Ctesias, Strabo and Arian. It appears that at this time there were two routes from Iran to India.
The first route passed through the vast desert of Jedrosia while the second reached the Indus River via Bactria, Sogdiana and Kabul Valley. From the account of Alexander’s naval commander Nearchus, who is safeguarded by Arian and Strabo – we learn that Cyrus attempted to invade India through the desert of Jedrosia but suffered catastrophic failures. On the way, his entire army was destroyed and corrupted and he escaped with only seven soldiers.
From the description of Megasthenes it is known that – except for the Hireclies, Dionysus and Alexander by the route of the Kabul valley, neither Indians ever won nor did they get themselves into war by any other foreign power. Although the Parsiks had invited Hidrak (petty) soldiers to fight on mercenaries, the Parsikas never invaded India. ‘
Thus Nearchus and Megasthenes are of the opinion that Cyrus never invaded India. But it is difficult to agree with such a conclusion. It is possible that the contemporary Greek writers of Alexander deliberately ignored Cyrus’ successes in order to increase the importance of their commander.
Another thing to consider in this regard is that these Greek writers consider Indus on the western border of India. It is possible that Cyrus may have conquered the border region of India west of the Indus. It is known from the description of the Roman writer Pliny that Cyrus destroyed the city of Kapisha. Cyrus does not seem to have been disappointed with his initial failure and attacked India from the Kabul Valley for the second time. This time the King of Parsik got some success.
Arrian tells us in another place that the Indians situated between the Indus and Kabul rivers were under the Assyrians and Medians in ancient times, and later the Parsis. He turned the Parsik king to Cyrus. The Indian tribes named Ashtak and Ashwak resided in these regions. He accepted Cyrus’ subjection.
Xenophon writes in ‘Biography of Cyrus’ (Cyropedia) that – “Cyrus conquered the Bactrians and the Indians, subjugated his vast empire and extended his sphere of influence to the Erythrian Sea (Indian Ocean).” Some king of India sent an angel with gifts to Cyrus. ‘
This leads to the conclusion that Cyrus had authority over the Kabul Valley. Thus Cyrus succeeded in conquering Iran and the intermediate territories of India. Edward Mayer’s conclusion in this regard seems most logical – ‘Cyrus conquered the Hindukush and Kabul chati, especially the Indian tribes of Gandhar. Dara himself came as far as the Indus River. ‘
Cyrus ruled from 558 BCE to 529 BCE. He died fighting against an eastern tribe called the Durbaic in the Caspian region. After his death his son Kambujiya or Kembisij II (529–522 BC) succeeded his empire. He remained entangled in civil wars and during his time the Parsiq empire could not expand towards India.