Opinion

If Mahabharata is real, where are the bones of 4 million soldiers who died in the Battle of Kurukshetra?

Questioning our old faiths is not a new thing for Indians. A lot of times, scepticism overcame our beliefs and we have resorted to demanding proof for what our ancestors believed to be true for centuries. Sometimes the cynicism has been so intense and ignorant that the very foundations of our existence and religion have been questioned. Though questioning is considered to be a good thing, interrogations that lead to unrest in the social scenario are never a good thing.

Same applies to questions raised in regard to the authenticity of Ramayana and Mahabharata. When India has such an elaborately documented and maintained history that is deep rooted in logic, as well as left numerous evidence for generations to validate, it only seems foolish to question such heritage. However, interrogations are still posed and time again answered to reinstate our faith in Indian legacy. Here is one such conversation we found on Quora that answers a considerably difficult question regarding the battle of Mahabharata.

If the battle of Mahabharata did actually take place over the lands of Kurukshetra, then why is it that we haven’t found even a single bone/ fossil remains of the 4 million soldiers who died on the field?

The first fact that answers this question is, if you read the Mahabharata, it is clear that Yudhistira (the eldest of the Pandavas) commanded the dead to be cremated with dignity at the end of every day for 18 days. The cremation took place through burning the dead and disposing their ashes in water, which explains the absence of bones or human fossils on the field in the first place.

Secondly, Mahabharata took place in a different era altogether, after which time has induced innumerable incidences that have changed the grounds completely. According to scientific estimates, it’s been 5500 years since the battle took place. Not only there has been a load of soil and minerals deposited over the then land of Kurukshetra, multiple establishments to have been erected and demolished over time. Human and animal inhabitations have contributed to significant changes in the area. Such vast scales of natural and human activities are bound to bury down whatever little remains there might have been of the great war of Kurukshetra.

Moreover, the land where the battle took place is heavily inhabited even today, making excavation impossible in the area. It is practically impossible to dig out layers of soil to find minute remains of a war that happened thousands of years ago. Translocation of inhabitants will be questioned highly, and there is not even much hope that something will be found.

Another interesting explanation provided to this question roots itself in the Sanskrit meaning of terms associated with Mahabharata. ‘Gram’ and ‘Pur’ were the words used to indicate villages and towns in times back then. A Gram was a tiny village, whereas a Pur was little larger with inhabitation more than 500. Well, that’s not a great number at all.

While units of population were that tiny during those times, then the number ‘4 million soldiers’ does sound like an exaggeration. It might be possible that the documented history was presented appealingly by a number of writers and poets, in the due course of which the numbers were enlarged. Given the population units of the time, the number of soldiers does not seem feasible, and that explains the absence of fossils as well.

Well, answered or unanswered, Hindu heritage never seeks explanation. The absence of an extremist doctrine permits us to keep faith in just ‘faith’ and lead our lives in harmony. Posing questions over our history might induce encouragement to find answers, but shall never hinder the faith we have in it.


Ashwini Jain

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