Military Mahabharata

indiatankThis, from the February 2nd issue of India Today: “In a final showdown between two contenders for the title of Tank No. 1 this June, the Indian Army will conduct comparative field trials between the indigenously built Arjun main battle tank and the Russian-built T-90 Bheeshma tank in the 40 degree Celsius plus the heat of the Thar desert [in Rajasthan]. Fourteen Bheeshmas will be pitted against an equal number of Arjuns. During the three-day exercises, each tank will fire 50 rounds and traverse 150 km in a test of strength. Given how the Arjun vs. Bheeshma mythological contest ended, the army is hoping for a different conclusion; it is already heavily committed to the Bheeshma, importing over 650 tanks and building 1,000 locally.”

Meera Subramanian is an editor of Killing the Buddha and writes about the environment and culture for Nature, InsideClimate News, Virginia Quarterly Review, Orion, and others. Her first book is A River Runs Again: A Natural History of India from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka (PublicAffairs, 2015). Visit her at