Porus was the ruler of the Pauvaras in the 4th century B.C., an indian
tribe in Punjab
, whose territory stretched between the Hydaspes
and Chenab rivers.
Porus was impressive both as a leader and as a man, a great commander of men and a mighty warrior in his own right, he is rumoured to have been seven foot tall and very powerful in battle, although it is likely that his war elephant may have played a part. Porus and his tribe led the most significant resistance to Alexander the Great's Indian campaign, barring of course Alexander's own troops. Porus gathered a huge army including 200 war elephants and engaged Alexander at the battle of the Hydaspes River in 326 B.C.. The river was in flood, and Porus had a strong position, unfortunately for him, he was facing one of the most talented generals of all time and his advantage was lost. In a bloody battle the majority of his army was either killed or captured, he himself was wounded and taken prisoner by the Greeks. Incidentally this battle provides one of the most common scenes in art depicting Alexander's life, the image of Alexander the Great on his horse Bucephalus, meeting Porus on his elephant, the two embodiments of clashing cultures, much in the same way as Solon meeting Croesus is portrayed.
When he was brought before Alexander, he was asked how he wished to be treated, his response of "like a king", earnt him the respect of Alexander, and territories in addition to his own to manage as Alexander's vassal. Alexander after he got as far as he could go in 325 B.C., declared Porus as ruler of all his land east of the Hydaspes river. By 324 B.C., Porus is thought to have gained control of Sind as well. Unfortunately Porus could not bring his empire together and after his assassination in 318 B.C. by one of Alexander's commanders, western India was vulnerable to Sandracottus (Chandragupta Maurya), although others have suggested that a prince attributed to helping Sandracottus was actually Porus and that he was considering an alliance with him.
Porus was a general and a leader who in another time could have done quite well, unfortunately for him he was up against Alexander the Great, and he can be credited with offering Alexander one of the greatest challenges of his career.