very gun”. He then came to south India and tried forthe secret. The south Indians were more tolerant. They told him that the secret is not known to the public.The engineers who made the guns reside in the king’s fort generations. The guns were kept in the armory andthe public might not have even seen a gun. The guns were brought out only at the time of emergency like awar. A few persons gave hint to Marco Polo that the knowledge of making gun powder was given to the Chinese
when some Indians visited them in ancient times. Then Marco Polo went to China, but he could not find anyguns there. The gun powder was used there for making some festival fire crackers and rockets. He tooksamples of the gun powder and returned to Europe. We know that the gun powder consists of niter, sulphur andcharcoal powder. Natural niter was scarce in Europe,and what they could get from other lands was not thatpure. The world’s purest niter in its natural state is
available in the mines of India. The other problemsaced by the Europeans in making the guns are lack ofgood metallic alloys to make the bodies of the guns andt he non-availability of good machine tools for makingthem. Manufacture of the guns fell into temporary oblivion because most of them back-fired or exploded.
How did the British conquer India? Not with their guns. The first war between the Indians and the British took place at Mysore during reign of Hyder Ali. The casualties on the British side was 90 percent and those on the Indian side was 10 percent. The British realized that their weapons were inferior to those used by the Indians. The Indians had rockets and missiles besides guns and cannons. What is a Sathagni? Most of us think that it is cannon. Satha means 100 and Agni means fire; it is a missile containing 100 bullets. It is launched from a cannon. It explodes after reaching its
destination. Sanskrit manuscripts like Sukra Neethi Sastra contain many formulas for making gun powder. The first item exported by the then British East India
company was Indian niter.
connection they had used arrows of naptha. It is also argued that though Persia possessed saltpetre in abundance, the original home of gunpowder was India. In
he light of the above remarks we can trace the evolution of fire-arms in the ancient India.