|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)|
Variants of name
Mention by Panini
V. S. Agrawala mentions Ayudhjivi Sanghas in the Ganapatha under Yaudheyadi group, repeated twice in the Panini's Ashtadhyayi (IV.1.178) and (V.3.117) which includes - Dhārteya – unidentified, probably the same as the Dārteyas. The Greek writers mention Dyrta as a town of Assakenoi or the Āśvakāyanas of Massaga, and this may have been the capital of the Darteyas.
H. W. Bellew writes that After the capture of Aornos, Alexander, descending from the Rock, marched into the territories of the Assakenoi (perhaps the Aswaka or Assaka, the tribe perhaps of the Assagetes, which name may stand for Assa Jat of the Assa tribe of the Jat nation or race; the Assakenoi may be now represented by the Yaskun as before stated), in pursuit of the Barbarians who had fled into the mountains there; and when he arrived at the city of Dyrta (capital perhaps of the Darada), there, he found both that and the country around entirely destitute of inhabitants. (Alexander appears to have crossed the Barandu river into the Puran and Chakesar valleys, now inhabited by the Chagharzi Afghans; there is a castellated village in Chakesar called Daud perhaps the Musalman disguise of a native Dardu, possibly so named from inhabitants of the Dardu tribe.)
Arrian writes....ON the first day his army constructed the mound the length of a stade; and on the following day the slingers shooting at the Indians from the part already finished, assisted by the missiles which were hurled from the military engines, repulsed the sallies which they made against the men who were constructing the mound. He went on with the work for three days without intermission, and on the fourth day a few of the Macedonians forcing their way occupied a small eminence which was on a level with the rock. Without taking any rest, Alexander went on with the mound, being desirous of connecting his artificial rampart with the eminence which the few men were now occupying for him. But then the Indians, being alarmed at the indescribable audacity of the Macedonians, who had forced their way to the eminence, and seeing that the mound was already united with it, desisted from attempting any longer to resist. They sent their herald to Alexander, saying that they were willing to surrender the rock, if he would grant them a truce. But they had formed the design of wasting the day by continually (delaying the ratification of the truce, and of scattering themselves in the night with the view of escaping one by one to their own abodes. When Alexander discovered this plan of theirs, he allowed them time to commence their retreat, and to remove the guard which was placed all round the place. He remained quiet until they began their retreat; then taking ‘yoo of the body-guards and shield-bearing infantry, he was the first to scale the rock at the part of it abandoned by the enemy; and the Macedonians ascended after him, one in one place another in another, drawing each other up. These men at the concerted signal turned themselves upon the retreating barbarians, and killed many of them in their flight. Others retreating with panic terror perished by leaping down the precipices; and thus the rock which had been inexplicable to Heracles was occupied by Alexander. He offered sacrifice upon it, and arranged a fort, committing the superintendence of the garrison to Sisicottus, who long before had deserted from the Indians to Besstts in Bactra, and after Alexander had acquired possession of the country of Bactria, entered his army and appeared to be eminently trustworthy.
He now set out from the rock and invaded the land of the Assacenians; for he was informed that the brother of Assacenus, with his elephants and many of the neighbouring barbarians had fled into the mountains in this district. When he arrived at the city of Dyrta1, he found none of the inhabitants either in it or in the land adjacent. On the following day he sent out Nearchus and Antiochus, the colonels of the shield-bearing guards, giving the former the command of the Agrianians and the light-armed troops2, and the latter the command of his own regiment and two others besides. They were despatched both to reconnoitre the locality and to try if they could capture some of the barbarians anywhere in order to get information about the general affairs of the country; and he was especially anxious to learn news of the elephants. He now directed his march towards the river Indus3, and his army going forward made a road, as otherwise this district would have been impassable. Here he captured a few of the barbarians, from whom he learnt that the Indians of that land had fled for safety to Abisares, but that they had left their elephants there to pasture near the river Indus. He ordered these men to show him the way to the elephants. Many of the Indians are elephant-hunters, and these Alexander kept in attendance upon him in high honour, going out to hunt the elephants in company with them. Two of these animals perished in the chase, by leaping down a precipice, but the rest were caught and being ridden by drivers were marshalled with the army. He also as he was marching along the river lighted upon a wood, the timber of which was suitable for building ships; this was cut down by the army, and ships were built for him, which were brought down the river Indus to the bridge, which had long since been constructed for him by Hephaestion and Perdiccas.
2. The name Indus is derived from the Sanscrit appellation Sindhu, from a root Syandh, meaning to flow. The name Indians, or Sindians, was originally applied only to the dwellers on the banks of this river. Hindustan is a Persian word meaning the country of the Hindus or Sindus. Compare the modern Sinde, in the north-west of India, which contains the lower course of the Indus. In Hebrew India was called Hodu, which is a contraction of Hondu, another form of Hindu. See Esther i. 1; viii. 9. Krüger changed ωδοποιειτο into ωδοποιει
Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 177 mentions the Kshatriyas who came on Swayamvara of Draupadi. Dhartarashtra (धार्तराट्रा) is mentioned in verse (I.177.4). 
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.145
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.450
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.500
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.450
- An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan, H. W. Bellew, p.69
- Arrian Anabasis Book/4b, Ch.28
- एते चान्ये च बहवॊ धार्तराट्रा महाबलाः, कर्णेन सहिता वीरास तवदर्थं समुपागताः, शतसंख्या महात्मानः परथिताः क्षत्रियर्षभाः Mahabharata (I.177.4)