Question might seem strange for many who witnessed success of Agni and other range of missiles developed by India. These rockets are hailed as one of the finest in the world and have been developed indigenously by Indian Defense Research and Development, which was spear headed by Dr. A P J Abdul Kalaam.
But for many it is a little known fact that the early usage of War Rocket Technology was indeed developed in India. Rockets as such were invented by Chinese around 1000 AD, however entertainment was the prime purpose. It was in the period of 1750 AD and 1799 AD, when Haider Ali and his son Tippu Sultan have improvised the technology and use them in battles against British Troops.
Tippu’s army launched a rocket assault on British troops, which caused massive destruction and lead to their defeat in the Second Anglo-Mysore War. He however lost the Third and Fourth Anglo-Mysore Wars. Tippu Sultan, died in 1799 saving his city, Seringapatnam, when British troops took over the City. The troops which captured the city found unused rockets which were then moved to Royal Artillery Center in London.
William Congreve, reverse engineered these rockets to develop new ones for British troops which were used by them in Wars fought later. Few of the rockets that were acquired during the siege of Seringapatnam are still at display in Royal Arsenal Museum in London.
NASA, is said to believe Tippu as father of War rocket technology and has a picture of the rocket attack on British troops in their halls. We are sharing this picture from NASA’s archive for you.
There is a detailed account of the Tippu’s rocket technology in “Wings of Fire”, the autobiography of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalaam, from where this article is inspired.
It is however sad that such a Technology went into oblivion for 150 years before resurfacing. We will bring forth Ancient Indian perspectives on many current technologies through our series, “Ancient Indian Technologies”.
Images Courtesy: NASA and Wikipedia