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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/182

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HISTORY— PRE-MUHAMMADAN

far from the eastern end of the present railway bridge. Favoured by night and a monsoon rain-storm — it was the month of July, 326 B.C. — Alexander succeeded in crossing some miles higher up into the Karri plain under the low hills of Gujrat. Here, somewhere near the line now occupied by the upper Jhelam Canal, the Greek soldiers gave the first example of a feat often repeated since, the rout of a large and unwieldy Indian army by a small, but mobile and well-led, European force. Having defeated Poros, Alexander crossed the Chenab (Akesines), stormed Sangala, a fort of the Kathaioi on the upper Ravi (Hydraotes) and advanced as far as the Bias (Hyphasis). But the weary soldiers insisted that this should be the bourn of their eastward march, and, after setting up twelve stone altars on the farther side, Alexander in September, 326 B.C., reluctantly turned back. Before he left the Pan jab he had hard fighting with the Malloi on the lower Ravi, and was nearly killed in the storm of one of their forts. Alexander intended that his conquests should be permanent, and made careful arrangements for their administration. But his death in June, 323 B.C., put an end to Greek rule in India. Chandra Gupta Maurya expelled the Macedonian garrisons, and some twenty years later Seleukos Nicator had to cede to him Afghanistan.

Maurya Dominion and Empire of Asoka, 323-231 B.C.— Chandra Gupta is the Sandrakottos, to whose capital at Pataliputra (Patna) Seleukos sent Megasthenes in 303 B.C. The Greek ambassador was a diligent and truthful observer, and his notes give a picture of a civilized and complex system of administration. If Chandra Gupta was the David, his grandson, Asoka, was the Solomon of the first Hindu Empire. His long reign, lasting from 273 to 231 B.C., was with one exception a period of profound peace deliberately maintained by an emperor who, after