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Foot Soldiers Or Infantry In War In Hinduism

Foot soldiers, or the infantry, made up the fourth division of the army in ancient Hinduism. Strong-bodied, armed warriors constituted the bulk of the army right from Vedic times and also in the epic period. The foot soldiers were well paid.

Arthashastra mentions that the infantry was an independent department under the charge of a special officer.

Foot soldiers were well-trained in the use of different weapons such as bows and arrows, lances, axes, pikes, clubs, swords and javelins. They wore armor and carried shields for protection.

The best foot-soldiers were place in the front battalions and the rest at the back.

Agni Purana (chapter 228.7) states that armies with large numbers of foot soldiers were always victorious.

Foot Soldiers or infantry was an important part of the Chaturanga – the ancient four-fold division of army in Hinduism.

Chaturanga is a Sanskrit word meaning four-limbed, from the words Chatura (four) and anga (limb). This word appears in Rig Veda (X.92.11) with reference to the human body and was later used to describe the four-fold division of the army (sena), which consisted of chariots (ratha), elephants (gaja), horses (turaga) and infantry (pada).

The army combination of akshauhini in ancient Hindu religion, mentioned in texts like Mahabharata etc, consisted of 109,350 foot soldiers.

In any army combination it was the foot soldiers who were the maximum in number.