Indian history books leave us with the impression that we had no great heroes in ancient India. We are told that the Vedas are all about Gods, the Ramayana and Mahabharata are myths and the first acknowledged king was Purushottama or Porus of the Punjab, who was defeated by Alexander, although it is more likely that he halted the advance of Alexander into India, for even the Greeks say that Porusremained king and his territory doubled, while Alexander’s treasury was given to Porus, although the former could not pay his army.
The very first hero, whom nobody talks about, was Sudasa, a Tritsu-Bharata king who lived on the eastern bank of the Parushni (River Ravi). He defeated a confederacy of Ten Kings and established the pre-eminence of his tribe. Not many people know of this great Indian, no text book ever mentions him. He was a great warrior, son of Pijavana and grandson of Divodasa.
The Dasharajna battle—or Battle of the Ten Kings—described in the seventh book of the Rig Veda (VII. 18, 33, 83) was a battle between the Arya Sudasa and his warriors against the Puru confederation. Sudasais situated on the eastern bank of River Parushni and fights a historical battle against this coalition coming from the west. Individual Puru warriors are named, who were drowned in the river by Indra, the rain, who then demolishes their ‘forts and their seven cities’ and gives the dwellings of the ‘sons of Anu’ to the Tritsu-Bharatas. 66,660 warriors, who had come to carry off their cattle, perished thanks to Indra, who made the waters of the Parushni fordable and recovered the cattle from the plunderers. The enemies of Sudasa tried to change the course of the river (probably by damming it), but Indra—the rain—made the river flow again. The hostile invaders took flight and were ‘scattered all over the earth’, says the Veda. They certainlyreturned to the west. Importantly, tribes from the east resisted the onslaught and banished the tribes back to the west. The Tritsus, says the Rig Veda, lived on the banks of the Yamuna, where the Indra-hating Purus were killed.It is impossible to date this event, just asit is impossible to date the Rig Veda itself.
The spiritual head of the Tritsu-Bharatas was Vashiṣhṭha and that of the invading Purus was Vishwamitra, who was advisor to the cattle-stealing Puru tribes. The later story of Vishwamitra stealing the cow of Vashishtha probably originated from this enmity between the two purohits, who frequently appear in later Sanskrit literature.
Who were Sudasa’s enemies?
– The Anus, led by King Anava who lived in western Punjab, from where they attacked the Tritsus, led by king Sudasa;
– Druhyus, who are remembered in the Rig Veda as a defeated enemy of the Aryas. Their king Gandhara founded a state named after him—Gandhara or modern Kandahar;
– Pakhta, modern Pakhtoons;
– Bhalana, probably of the Bhalana or Bolan region in Baluchistan;
– Alina of Nuristan (eastern Afghanistan), mentioned by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang in the 7th century;
– Parsu, the Persians;
– Pṛithu, obviously Parthian (north-east Iran);
– Sivas, who may have belonged to Khiva in Uzbekistan;
– Shimyu—the Sarmatians?;
– Bhṛgu—Phryge/Phrygian of Turkey?
– Vishanin, not identified.
– Panis, a tribe in the present Pakistan-Afghanistan region thatlasted till the time of Sikandar Lodi;
– Matsyas, who belonged to Rajasthan and Haryana.
The number does not make a perfect ten but the author of the Rig Vedic mandala probably chose a round number. The Ten Kings were cattle raiders, a constant cause of war in ancient times. All these tribes have been attacking India through ancient, medieval and modern times. Even today, these tribes are a thorn in India’s flesh, fighting us as Pakistanis, terrorists and Islamic jihadis.
This is the most important historical event in the Rig Veda. The enemies attack the Tritsu-Bharata tribe from the north-west and, after their defeat, relocate to Afghanistan and Iran. The names of the enemies are Iranian, not Dravidian. The enemies are ‘without Indra’ and ‘without the Devas’, both of whom were demonised in the ancient Persian religion. They are ‘without fire-sacrifice’: in the Persian religion, fire was so sacred that it could not be polluted. Here we see the beginnings of Mazdaism, even before Zarathushtra. The Iranians called their God Ahura (Mazda) and demonised, the Devas of the Aryas,as daevas or demons, while the Indians demonised Ahura as asura. The Persian God became the Indian demon.
This event, shorn of all myth, establishes two very important facts. Firstly, the Aryas were in the east, defending their land from enemies coming from the west. The defeated tribes went back to the west, and not to the south. The Rig Veda mentions no other homeland of the Aryas. This gives the lie to the Aryan Invasion Theory, a favourite of our leftist cabal.
We were taught that the Aryans invaded India, subjugated the local people and made them into dasas or slaves. But Sudasa, the Arya hero, is a dasa. He was the grandson of Divodasa, another Vedic hero and a dasa. Both were the favourites of Indra. So what happened to the so-called Dravidian Dasas? More rubbish from our leftist historians. The word Aryan was a European invention. Arya means ‘noble one’, and was never a racial term. The Vedas call them Aryas: Max Müller made it Aryan.
But this incident also establishes the beginning of a long enmity with the people to the west—modern Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The villains in both epics—Kaikeyi in the Ramayana and Shakuni in the Mahabharata—came from Kekeya(west Pakistan) and Gandhara (Kandahar, Afghanistan), respectively. Both were unpleasant characters without whom neither epic would have existed. Shakuni, prince of Gandhara and the evil uncle of the Kauravas, stayed in Hastinapur with his sister Gandhari with the sole purpose of destroying the Kurus.
When Bharata, son of Kaikeyi, returns to Ayodhya, his maternal grandfather sends ‘gigantic dogs with sharp teeth, as powerful as tigers, who were bred in the palace.’Alexander’s chroniclers mention them. Dog fights continue to be popular in Pakistan to this day. Disgusted with the widespread dog-fighting, the Manu Samhita labels the people of the north-west as Mlecchas (outcastes or barbarians), which is derived from Meluhha, the Mesopotamian name for the Pakistani region. So, long before Pakistan came into existence, ‘proto-Pakistanis’ were already called ‘barbarians’.
One more event in the Mahabharata that caused great anguish and enmity was the burning of the Khandava forest by Arjuna and Krishna in order to build Indraprastha (modern Delhi). Takshaka, chief of the Nagas, is banished from Khandava and goes west to establish the city of Takshashila or Taxila. He was never reconciled to this banishment and remained an implacable enemy of the Bharatas, and was responsible for the death of Arjuna’s descendant Parikshit. And the people of the region are our enemies to this day.
In a paper on ‘The Concept of Pakistan in the Vedas’(Law Animated World, Hyderabad, October 30th, 2015), historian and Indologist KoenraadElstmaintains that the Pakistan region was always hostile towards the genteel Aryas. Read alongside Shrikant G Talageri’s‘The Identity of the Enemies of Sudasa in the Dasharajna Battle in the Rigveda’, we can identify the tribes which fought King Sudasa and see how the roots of enmity and jealousy run deep. We are still fighting the same tribes after 5,000 years. None of them knows past history, but their desire to capture Indian land remains strong.
Unfortunately, we have no tombs or monuments left to celebrate men like Sudasa, the first great hero of India who was forgotten, unlike Egyptian and Greek heroes. Megasthenes, Greek Ambassador to Patliputra in 300 BCE, writes, ‘the Indians do not rear monuments to the dead, but consider the virtues which men have displayed in life, and the songs in which their praises are celebrated, sufficient to preserve their memory after death.’ I have come across only one book celebrating this great hero and the historical event: Ten Kings by Ashok Banker, a fictionalised recreation of the events of that day when Sudasa drove awaya confederation ofnorth-western tribes from the banks of the River Ravi.