Ancient Indians used Gunpowder long BEFORE Mughal invaders were even BORN. Ancient Indians used Saltpetre (Agnichurna), the major constituent of gunpowder, to make firecrackers (ulkah) on Diwali.
“Gunpowder originated in Ancient India”- Indologist Dr. Gustav Oppert
While it is true that use of Gunpowder in matchlocks proliferated in the middle ages. Ancient Indians used Saltpetre (Agnichurna) in mining and warfare. It was already mentioned by Kautilya in Arthashastra as a weapon of war (4th century BC) long BEFORE Mughals were born
From the time of Arthashastra down into the Medieval ages, North West Indians continued to use gunpowder in warfare. A Chinese text dating back 7th century CE attests to the use of Gun Powder in North West India.
Snippet from “Military Transition in Early Modern Asia,1400- 1750”
According to the old tradition of Muslim Arabs themselves, They learnt the use of Gunpowder (barud) from Indians. They received their earliest Gunpowder supplies from India
When Timur, the ancestor Abbu of Mughals invaded India in 1398 CE, Indian troops shot his army with rockets and fireworks. It shocked his troops and they were beaten in the initial engagement
Even in 13th century, a Mongol foreign ambassador to India was greeted with 3000 celebratory firecars which are much reminiscent of Indian firework celebrations during Dipavali and Kartika Purnima
Vaisampayana, the narrator of Mahabharata, describes the manufacture of smoke balls by ancient Indians using Gunpowder. Atharvanarahasya mentions the use of charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre to make fireworks, which are the same ingredients used even today to manufacture Gunpowder
Remarkable sculptures from Hoysaleswara Temple (Halebidu, Karnataka. built c.12th century) show warriors using rockets (fire arrows). Arrows were tipped with Gunpowder / flammable combustibles. They were known as Agnibanas and used together on a launching pad in wars
A sculpture from Halebidu (12th century) depicting rocket warfare in Ancient India. Notice the launching pad that is holding the missiles/combustible arrows. Mughals brought Gunpowder to India? Yeah right!
While ancient Indians did use Gunpowder, what they did not have was a projecting weapon like a matchlock which could be integrated with the fire. They simply used to tip their arrows with Gunpowder and shoot at the enemy.
Twitter thread by Bharadwaj
Disclaimer: The opinions/facts expressed within this article are the personal opinions/facts of the author