The first tweet thread that I read today was the one on Alexander by Savitri Mumukshu. A hero of mine just went up in smoke under the fire of truth. I am appalled to discover that we have been fed complete untruths as “historical” facts 😡. Am left wondering if anything we read in our history books was true at all … Almost everything is now under a cloud of doubt. This thread reminded me of another thread on the battle with King Porus.
Alexander – moving from great to the not-so-great
Do read the thread here – Savitri Mumukshu on Alexander
1/n Did you know Alexander the "Great" was such a great strategist that he thought the Indus river was the source of the Nile in Egypt? Despite spies scouting India's geography before his "conquest", he thought that the Eastern Ocean (Bay of Bengal) lay after the Beas river.
2/n Alexander’s poor knowledge of geography was based on his teacher Aristotle who knew nothing about the Ganges river system. No Alexander writer or geographer before Ptolemy mentions even the Sutlej. Justin’s statement that Alexander conquered Magadha was completely fictional.
3/n The truth is he never even reached the Ganga. The soldiers thought they were just one river away from the edge of India at the river Beas. His army rebelled & refused to go further after the Battle of Hydapses (Jhelum).
The Greeks thought the Indus is the largest of all rivers and that the Indus valley was close to the outer ocean. Beyond the Eastern Ocean of India they believed was only miles of desert. In reality they did not proceed beyond the NW border of today's India proper.
5/n Arrian’s history tells us that since Alexander’s men refused to go any further than the Beas, he gave a speech saying “One more river and then the end”, thinking that he had reached the edge of the Eastern Ocean (Bay of Bengal). 6/n He still believed that the ocean was relatively close and that he could overrun the territory to the east in a relatively short time. This fake legend of Alexander reaching the Ganga was created by the historian Phegeus who clearly had all the details wrong.
7/n Phegeus said that beyond the Beas was a desert crossed in 12 days to reach Ganga - all of which is 100% utterly false. The truth is Alexander the not so great geographer had to turn back from the river Beas, & later Greek historians said it was the river Ganga to glorify him. References: Alexander the Great: Volume 2, Sources and Studies, Volume 2 - By W. W. Tarn Aristotle, India and the Alexander Historians [article] A. Brian Bosworth https://www.persee.fr/doc/topoi_1161-9473_1993_num_3_2_1478
Alexander Vs Porus – Another Lie
The history that we were taught said Alexander won the battle at Hydaspes (Jhelum) with Porus. Well, that too is a lie. Yet another amazing twitter thread from 2019 by Aabhas Maldahiyar shows clearly that the outcome of this famous battle was so different ! Do read – Alexander never defeated Porus.
I just want to share some of the tweets in that 24 tweet thread to drive home this point –
18/n They had also heard about the havoc that Indian war elephants were supposed to create among enemy ranks. The modern equivalent of battle tanks, the war elephants also scared the wits out of the horses in the Greek cavalry. 23/n According to Budge, in the Battle of Hydaspes the Indians destroyed the majority of Alexander’s cavalry? Realising that if he were to continue fighting he would be completely ruined, the Macedonian requested Puru to stop fighting. 24/n True to Hindu traditions,the magnanimous Indian king spared the life of the surrendered enemy. A peace treaty was signed & Alexander helped Puru in annexing other territories to his kingdom. (Source: https://threader.app/thread/1101449484398022656)
Alexandria, Trilogy by Manfredi
In 2004, Krishnan and I along with Amma and Appa went to Egypt for our annual vacation. One of the main reasons to visit Egypt besides seeing the pyramids, was to visit Alexandria, the city named after Alexander and the place where supposedly he is buried in an unmarked grave. That’s how big a fan I was. I have read the Alexander trilogy by Valerio Massimo Manfredi a couple of times and still retain a set of these books … thankfully Manfredi doesn’t claim them to be historically accurate.
Its a sad realisation that someone whom you thought of as a hero is not a hero :).
Well, truth is liberating even if it is harsh. Wonder how many heroes will bite the dust before history becomes factual.