The origin of Indian dhal (shield) lies in obscurity. However, some of the prehistoric paintings drawn on the walls of caves (e.g., Bhimbetkam Pachmarhi, etc), referable to fifty thousand to one hundred thousand years ago, depict shields. The paintings in the Jogimara caves (c 10,000 BC) show round and convex shields. The Indus Valley sites have yielded no shields although certain pictographs in the Harappan seals (1) may represent men holding shields.Two terms are found in the Vedic literature (2) Charma and varutha - the former was made of leather or hide and the later of wood. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata describe several varieties of shields used during the respective wars.
The Greek warriors accompanying Alexender invaded India in 326 BC they all carried shields on their backs. About the Indian soldiers, Arrian writes, " In the left hand, they carry bucklers made of undressed ox-hide, which are not so broad as those who carry them, but are as long. The horsemen are equipped with two lances and with a shorter buckler". (J.W.McCrindle, The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great, 1896), (p.108). This is the earliest reference if a shield used by the caveliers in India, prior to which its use was confined to the foot-soldiers and charioteers only.
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