Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Grand Trunk Road:Kabul to Bengal


These days I am going through history books on Ancient India. I never had a chance to read our history in such details earlier. In collage & university, I was a science student and as such my knowledge of history remained basic - taught up only to the tenth grade. While in service, most of my time was devoted to going through the histories of other countries, hence this effort to catch up.

In my blog dated 13 June 2011, I had mentioned the Grand Trunk Road connecting Kabul to Bengal. In schools we were taught that this road was built by Sher Shah Suri, who had ruled parts of India from 1540 to 1545.  In Pakistan it is claimed to have been built by the Mughal kings. However, as a young boy, I was told numerous stories of a great Hindu king named Chandra Gupta Maurya, his son Bimbisar and his grandson Asoka the Great who ruled the subcontinent from 321-185 BC. The Maurya empire covered not only whole of India but present-day Pakistan including POK, Afghanistan, and Sri-Lanka. It is therefore obvious that this grand road was built by the Hindu Mauryan kings and not by the Suris or Mughals.

In this respect following experts from books of some of the eminent historians like Romila Thapar, are worth mentioning:

1. “Taxila (presently in Pakistan) was in the BCs a place of learning. It was not merely a political capital of strategic importance. It was on the main North–West highway connecting East & West and thus a commercial centre with a cosmopolitan culture”.

2.  “With the spread of the Mauryan empire from Pataliputra outwards communications had naturally to be extended as far as the frontier or even farther. The development of bureaucratic administration contributed to the necessity for such communications, since the officials had constantly to be in touch with the capital cities. Thus, there were not only the main routes traversing the empire or radiating from Pataliputra, but the provinces had also to be served with their own smaller network of routes. Mauryan administration seems to have employed a special group of officials whose concern was with the building and maintenance of roads. These are referred to by Magasthenes as agoranomoi. The literal meaning of the term being “market commissioners”. But their work was related to communications. They were responsible for the construction of roads. At every ten stadia signposts were erected recording distance, by-roads, and other such information. This remark is reminiscent of the 7th Pillar Edict where Asoka states that he has had wells dug at every eight Kos, which is a distance of about nine miles.

The Royal Highway from the North West (in the region of Taxila) to Pataliputra was considered the most important route; it had continued to be so through the centuries, being familiar today to modern Indians as the Grand Trunk Road. It has been described in some detail in a Latin source. ‘There was an extension eastward which was said to have reached as far as Tamluk or even farther to the mouth of the Ganges. It was equally important from both the commercial and the strategic point of view. Before the development of the sea trade it was the chief trade route with the west, Taxila being the point of exchange. Even for inland trade it was frequently used since there was considerable exchange of goods between the Ganges region and the North-West’”.

Having so much of historical facts about this road, one fails to understand why the history is not represented in our country in its true perspective. Is there any deep rooted-agenda or appeasement policy towards some? Why should this Sher Shah Suri road, which is also called the Grand Trunk road, not be named after the Hindu kings who really built it? (Leave aside Pakistan, which survives on lies and continues to make all efforts to eradicate past history in the region not connected with Muslim rule). But we should be proud of our past glory. 


  1. Good day for you, sir!
    Your blog is very-very interesting, i read your stories with real interest.

  2. Thanks a lot. Will start writing soon. Presently busy with the Anti- corruption movement in India, writing, moving around, lecturing people to support the movement started by Anna Hazare & his JAN LOKPAL BILL. Jai Hind

  3. Just came by your post while googling on the works on reviving the true history of India. Nice to read this one and I do not see any reason to disagree. It is very unlikely for a king, who was too busy in protecting his throne and had riots all across his kingdom, to build this road and many more attributed to his name in just 5 years of rule.
    Probably time has come to give a death blow to the years of wrong propaganda about the Indian history with a vicious intent to undermine the indigenous glory of India and prove that whatever good is here has come from outside. This trend was set by the British with a purpose and nourished by Gandhi-Nehru and Co. This cannot continue for ever.

    1. thanks for your comment. India's glorious history has intentionally been diluted by Govt appointed historians. This needs to change. Some of the present leaders in the govt. are not less than Nadir Shah & Ghazani who want to loot India. Time has come to react and stop it.