North-West India and 4.10 Alexander
Historically, the north-west part of India remained a region under varying suzerainties such as north India, Afghanistan and Persia (Iran). During 6th century BCE, it was part of the Achaemenid empire founded by Cyrus II of Persia. The Indian region had since been providing mercenaries for the Persian armies in their fight against the Greeks.
Takshashila or Taxila, as the Greeks called it, was a prominent city in the north-west. It turned out to be a centre for inter-mixing of Iranian and Indian culture and learning. The ascendency of Achaemenid empire in north -west ended with the conquest of that empire by Alexander of Macedonia. While marching on the territories of the Achaemenid Emperor Darius III. Alexander, the Greek Emperor entered the Indian provinces in 326 BCE. His campaign in northern India lasted for two years. The king of Jhelum region, Porus, fought him heroically in the battle of the Hydaspes (Jhelum). Though Porus lost the battle, he was restored to the throne only to be killed by one of Alexander’s generals after Alexander’s death.
Alexander had left his governors in India. But his sudden death at the age of thirty three prompted his governors to leave north-west India to seek their fortune in West Asia. Alexander was a great general and a world conqueror. After his death, his great empire fell to pieces. Ptolemy took Egypt with its capital Alexandria, while Seleucus had Persia and Mesopotamia and part of Asia Minor as his share. Alexander’s death, however, cleared the way for the founding of a great empire, the Mauryan empire in India.