Barbarism of the Huns and the valour of Skanda Gupta

Famous kannada poet Nagachandra says, “If one composes a work with some average person as the protagonist, then the poem or play will not gain importance. On the other hand, if a magnanimous personage like Sri Rama is the hero of a play, then the work gets validation and recognition. A golden necklace will adorn the neck but what of a garland made of iron? It is not just the craftsmanship alone that matters; the material is equally important.”

– Rāmacandracaritapurāṇa 1.37).

Some of the so-called historians have always tried to make us wear the garland of iron by making heroes out of barbaric invaders and criticizing our own heroes as patriarchal, egoistic, incompetent and what not!!!!!!

In an attempt to tarnish the Gupta Empire they have made ridiculous attempts claiming “Kumaragupta had absolutely no qualifications. He revolted against his own father,” and spinning such yarns. However the coins that he issued are in themselves the best evidence that show his capability and competence in administration.

After Kumaragupta, his son Skandagupta destroyed the Huns in his time. In the middle of fourth century CE, there was a disaster that struck, like the great explosion of a volcano, unseen in human history.  Everywhere they went, the terrorizing roars of the Huns evoked primal fear in the hearts of all the cultured folk. The Huns waged terrifying and destructive wars on all the cultured people and civilizations of the world. And at every opportunity they got, they killed, destroyed, burnt, and engaged in malicious activities, thus displaying their demonic sadism.

In Europe, Attila the Hun (remember the movie ‘Night at the museum? The scene where Attila tries to get Larry executed? By stretching all his limbs to tear him? Yes, that scene minus comedy is what the real barbarism of the Huns) the reason for the downfall and destruction of the powerful Roman Empire. Even Constantinople, the former capital of the Roman Empire, trembled due to the barbaric onslaught of the Huns.

The Roman Empire had established its unchallenged supremacy over the rest of Europe. At that point in time, North and South Americas were unknown. The name Australia did not exist. There were three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. The Romans lorded over both Europe and (parts of) Africa. It was against such a formidable force that the Huns waged war and ultimately subdued.

There are  many stories of infamous Mihirakula and his barbarism. Mihrakal an ancient Persian name night have got changed to Mihirakula in later years.

It is said that he was just as wicked and cruel as his father Toramana was. Where ever Mihirakula marched, the vultures would always fly by because they are sure to feast upon the in numerous dead bodies of people killed by his atrocities.

There is a place in Kashmir Valley by name ‘Hasthivanj’- means the place of massacre of elephants. It is said that when Mihirakula was marching through the valley one of the elephants of his army accidently fell into the valley, and its helpless cry made everyone sick in their stomach except Mihirakula. He enjoyed that cry to such an extent, he ordered massacre of nearly 100 elephants in the same fashion.

Skandagupta was able to destroy the Huns; he ensured that the Huns never set foot in India again. The Huns began invading India around 455 CE. A problem that did not exist during the reign of Chandragupta or Kumaragupta had now raised its ugly head. In the mid-fifth century, Skandagupta remarkably faced the Huns with great courage. If the Huns never returned to India, even by mistake, then it only stands testimony to the immense valour of Skandagupta. The peace and harmony established thus became the nourishment for the rise of the Kanyakubja Empire. We see in the famous Girnar rock inscription at Junagadh the heroic tale of Skandagupta defeating the Huns and emerging victorious.

Skandagupta took an oath, “Until I defeat the Huns and drive them away from my country, I will not sleep on a bed, I will not eat on a plate; I will sleep on the floor and I will eat on a leaf.”

With great effort, Skandagupta fought against the barbaric invaders and destroyed them. The reason this has to be reinforced is because the barbarity of the Romans was no less than the Huns; the same with the Turks. Even such barbaric groups were unable to check the barbarism of the Huns. The Huns and the Mongols were so cruel and so hard-hearted that in fact they were ready to completely destroy Islam; the Arabs were on the verge of extinction.

Skandagupta was a person who chased after such people and drove them away; that was his capacity. Later when the Muslims invaded India, Rajputs like Prithviraj Chauhan and Jayachandra forgot all about this valour and that was a disaster.

The politics of the Guptas was centered around dharma and not around mata (opinion, sect, religion). The brilliance of their valour was Vedic in nature and they didn’t quarrel about different schools of thought, be it Shaiva, Vaishnava, Dvaita, Advaita, Jaina, or Bauddha. That was the reason they emerged victorious. We can see all those details in history even today.

Dr Sindhu Prashanth