In this article we will discuss about Alexander’s invasion and its effects.

The Greeks again came into close contact with India following India’s invasion by Alexander in 326 B.C. Alexander became the king of Macedonia in 336 B.C. following the death of his father. After conquering the whole of Greece, Persia, Asia Minor, Egypt etc. he advanced towards India in 326 B.C.

It may be noted that Alexander invaded only the province of Punjab which formed a part of the Persian Empire and did not go beyond Bias, where the Persian territory ended.

Soon after Alexander crossed Indus king, Ambi of Taxila accorded a warm reception and offered him rich presents. This ready submission of the ruler of Taxila was due to the fact that he wanted Alexander’s help against the neighbouring states, particularly the kingdom of Abhisara ruled by Porus.


Alexander demanded a homage and a tribute from Porus, which the latter refused to pay. This resulted in a terrible battle between the two which resulted in the defeat of Porus. However, Alexander showed generosity towards Porus and restored his kingdom to him.

Thereafter Alexander wanted to proceed eastwards with the intention of attacking Magadha, but the war-worn Macedonian army refused to go beyond Bias.

As a result Alexander had to retreat without accomplishing much. During his return march tribes like Siboi, Agalassoi, Kshudrakas, Mallas offered tough resistance to the Alexander, but he met this resistance with success, and overran them. He faced the toughest battle with the Mallas. Alexander reached Babylon in 323 B.C., where he died of fever.

Effects of Alexander Invasion:

Alexander stayed in India for a period of only 19 months. He came like a storm and went back like a whirlwind. Some scholars hold that the invasion of Alexander was an incident of minor impor­tance in ancient Indian history. His name in the Indian history comes like a flashlight which shines for a few moments and then fades into darkness.


According to Dr. V.A. Smith “India remained unchanged. The wounds of battle were quickly healed India was not Hellenized. She continued to live her life of splendid isolation and soon forgot about the passing of the Macedonian storm. No Indian author, Hindu, Buddhist, or Jain, makes even the faintest allusion to Alexander or his deeds.”

Dr. Radha Kumud Mookerjee also holds “Alexander’s campaign was not a political success, for it did not result in any permanent Macedonian occupation of the Punjab. It left no permanent mark on the literature, life, or govern­ment of the people. What remained of the foreign occupation after Alexander’s retreat from India and his death in 323 B.C. was wiped out in the war of liberation fought successfully by the Indian leader, Chandra Gupta Maurya, who became ruler of the Punjab about that time.”

But the Greek writers have greatly exaggerated the significance of the Alexander’s attack on India and devoted pages after pages to its description. However, it would be wrong to say that the Alexander’s invasion was barren of all the effects and was merely a passing episode. It exercised much influence on the course of Indian history.

By subjugating the small kingdoms and tribes existing in Punjab and Sindh, Alexander paved the way for Chandragupta to provide political unity to India. The unified rule in Punjab and Sindh was one of the immediate direct result, of Alexander’s invasion.


One of the most important gains of Alexander’s invasion was that the Greeks left dated records of Alexander’s Indian campaign which has greatly helped in building chronology for the subsequent political events with certainty.

In fact Alexander’s invasion forms the sheet-anchor of Indian chronology. The works of the Greek writers, though now not available in original, have been frequently quoted by the subsequent writers and are a useful source of information about the early Indian history.

However, certain scholars have expressed the view that the above cultural effects were not due to Alexander’s campaign but due to Indo-Parthians and Indo-Bactrian’s who settled on the borders of India. These scholars have tried to under-estimate the effects of Alexander’s campaign.

This view is as erroneous as the view express­ed by others that Alexander’s invasion left a deep impact on India. Both these views are on the extreme. In fact Alexander’s invasion was neither an incident of so minor a nature that it may not deserve a detailed description, nor of so great an importance which may deserve high praise. However, the effects of his invasion cannot be denied altogether.