Why did the Mughals, Mauryas and Marathas never invade Southern India?

That part of India is known as South India, where the Dravidian languages ​​are spoken. It includes states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Most of this region is sometimes under the Mauryans, Delhi Sultanate and Mughals. What was originally left is Kerala and southern Tamil Nadu. Now the question arises why these empires could not expand in South India like North India.

When we study Indian history, we read about foreign invasions in India, rulers, changes in maps, etc., but more incidents in South India have neither been read nor heard. Similarly when Maurya If we look at the map of the empire or Mughal emperors, Tamil Nadu and Kerala do not see part of these maps. What could be the reason behind this, have you ever thought?

The Maurya Empire has been the largest Indian empire till date and was founded by Chandragupta Maurya along with his Guru Chanakya.The Mauryan Empire was spread over the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of South India. On the other hand, the Mughal Sultanate was the second largest of India. The empire was founded by Babur in 1576 after defeating Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi of Delhi in the first war of Panipat. Apart from this, in 1674 AD, Shivaji had established the Maratha Empire, but he too could not invade large parts of South India.

That part of India is known as “South India”, where Dravidian languages ​​are spoken. It includes states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Most of this region is sometimes called Maurya, Delhi Sultanate and Mughals. Originally what was left is Kerala and southern Tamil Nadu. Now the question arises why these empires could not expand in South India like North India.

Let us see why no one has ever attacked South India.

  • The Maurya Empire under Bindusara (father of Ashoka) had friendly relations with Ilaimkateni, Sangam era Chola king. Therefore, due to this alliance between Bindusara and the Chola king, the expansion of state could not be made in South India.

  • The rulers of the Maurya Empire considered the Greek successors as their main rivals. For this reason Chandragupta and his son, Bindusara, were more keen on expanding westward, even the famous Kalinga Empire remained untouched.
  • 600 BCE – 300 BCE saw the rise and fall of 16 Mahajanapadas. The Maurya Empire was one of these 16 major dynasties / states. They were all situated in the Gangetic plain, some of which extended to Afghanistan. In the Mauryan Empire and these other dynasties, there was a competition to defeat each other. It is interesting to note that none of the Sangam era Tamil dynasties, Kerala or Chera dynasty, were in these 16 Mahajanapadas.
  • Geographical situation can also be a reason. There was a very dense Dandakaranya forest in Central India and any invading army had to face these forests to cross the Vindhyas. Only then could he reach the southern plains, which was probably difficult.
  • If you look at India during the time of Aurangzeb, most of South India is part of the Mughal Empire. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, North Tamil Nadu all. Originally what was left was Kerala and southern Tamil Nadu. In the case of the Mughals, it would not be wrong to say that each Mughal emperor expanded the empire further south and in the time of Aurangzeb, it almost extended to the southern tip. If Aurangzeb had been allowed to concentrate on his southern conquest and if his successors had been more than half as powerful, he would have been well skilled Lead could conquer the Kanya Kumari.
  • Aurangzeb fought under the Maratha Confederacy, which was ended at the cost of 40 years of his rule, his treasury became bankrupt, destroying the power of both the Mughals and the Marathas. That is, Aurangzeb left behind an empire that was very weak and fell immediately afterwards.
  • One reason for not conquering the southern tip of India was also the excessive distance. Ancient kingdoms were ruled from the north. As the Mauryas ruled from Patliputra, the Mughals from Agra and Delhi. India is a big country and in ancient times this distance was very much. If you are ruling from Delhi, then Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan are all closer than the southern tip of India. We often reduce the size of India but do you know that the distance between Trivandrum to Delhi or Patna is more than the distance between London and Moscow.
  • Before modern times, it was not easy to control a place 2500 km away and even in modern times only naval areas can be controlled.
  • Apart from the distance, in Kerala too, geographical situation was the biggest reason such as Mangalore, Kanyakumari and Palakkad are protected by the Western Ghats except for small intervals near the pass.
  • If we look at the British invasion of India, then they knew that sea route was the only easy way to attack Kerala and that is why the British were the first external power to occupy it.

In the case of South Tamil Nadu, there are many dry areas like Ramanathapuram district. This was not very useful for the invaders. There were many areas in India with much better land than this.

After Maurya, the Kalinga rulers made Orissa their modern capital. Under their king Kharavela, the empire expanded far south. There were also Rashtrakutas, whose initial source is not clear, but may have been from Madhya Pradesh or Rajputana (Rajasthan). His kingdom extended to the south. This article has shown why Mauryas, Mughals or Marathas could not expand their empire in South India.

Akash Sangule

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