Tusharas (alias Tukharas) were a Mlechcha tribe, with their kingdom located in the north west of India as per the epic Mahabharata. An account in Mahabharata (Mbh 1:85) depicts Mlechchas as the decendands of Anu, one of the cursed sons of king Yayati. Yayati's eldest son Yadu, gave rise to the Yadavas and youngest son Puru to the Pauravas that includes the Kurus and Panchalas. Only the fifth son Puru's line was considered to be the successors of Yayati's throne, as he cursed the other four sons and denied them kingship. Pauravas inherited the Yayati's original empire and stayed in the Gangatic plain who later created the Kuru and Panchala Kingdoms. They were the followers of proper Vedic culture. Yadavas made central and western India their stronghold. The descnedands of Anu, also called Anavas migrated to Iran, of which the Tusharas settled in Turkmenistan, Turkistan (in Afghanistan) and Turkey. The Tushara country mentioned in the epic could be Turkmenistan, a Central Asian Republic or the Turkistan of Afghanistan.

References in Mahabharata

Tushara kingdom is mentioned in the traves of Pandavas in the northern regions beyond the Himalayas:- Crossing the difficult Himalayan regions, and the countries of China, Tukhara, Darada and all the climes of Kulinda, rich in heaps of jewels, those warlike men reached the capital of Suvahu (3:176).

Cultural differences with Vedic culture

The ancient Vedic people could not understand the real oringins of the Mlechcha tribes who were highly skilled in weapons, warfare and material sciences but never followed the Vedic rites properly. The confusion of ancient Vedic people in dealing with the unfamilier tribes is evidient in the following passage from Mahabharata. At (12:35) is mentioned:- What duties should be performed by the Yavanas, the Kiratas, the Gandharvas, the Chinas, the Savaras, the Barbaras, the Sakas, the Tusharas, the Kankas, the Pathavas, the Andhras, the Madrakas, the Paundras, the Pulindas, the Ramathas, the Kamvojas, the several castes that have sprung up from Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas, and the Sudras, that reside in the dominions of (Arya) kings?.

Tribute to Yudhisthira

The kings of the Pahlavas and the Daradas and the various tribes of the Kiratas and Yavanas and Sakras and the Harahunas and Chinas and Tukharas and the Sindhavas and the Jagudas and the Ramathas and the Mundas and the inhabitants of the kingdom of women and the Tanganas and the Kekayas and the Malavas and the inhabitants of Kasmira, were present in the Rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhisthira the king of the Pandavas (3:51). The Sakas and Tukhatas and Tukharas and Kankas and Romakas and men with horns bringing with them as tribute numerous large elephants and ten thousand horses, and hundreds and hundreds of millions of gold (2:50).

In Kurukshetra War

The Tusharas, the Yavanas and the Sakas, along with the Chulikas, stood in the right wing of the Kaurava battle-array (6:75). The Tusharas, the Yavanas, the Khasas, the Darvabhisaras, the Daradas, the Sakas, the Kamathas, the Ramathas, the Tanganas the Andhrakas, the Pulindas, the Kiratas of fierce prowess, the Mlecchas, the Mountaineers, and the races hailing from the sea-side, all endued with great wrath and great might, delighting in battle and armed with maces, these all—united with the Kurus and fought wrathfully for Duryodhana’s sake (8:73). A number of Saka and Tukhara and Yavana horsemen, accompanied by some of the foremost combatants among the Kambojas, quickly rushed against Arjuna (8:88).

Other References

*Tuhara is mentioned as a warrior in the army of Kartikeya.

See also

Kingdoms of Ancient India

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Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 13 Jan 2010 09:39 and updated at 06 Jun 2010 04:14

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