Showing posts with label Akbar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Akbar. Show all posts

Myths of Rajput origin

Rajputs are a community in northern India and Gujarat consisting of a number of clans such as the Gujjars. While present-day Rajasthan Rajasthan and Gujarat have been the main centers of the Rajputs, their clans have had a long and significant presence in other states. This page examines certain facts regarding the origins of the Rajputs, based on information gathered from inscriptions, copper-plates, contemporary Prashastis and texts.

Rajput Origins
The term Rajputra first emerged as a title used by some of the rulers referring to their royal ancestors. The term was first used at the time of Harshavardhana and later by the Sena king Vijayasena, a Chahamana Chauhan officer named Jojal and by certain descendants of the Shahi clan of Kashmir. The term was used in inscriptions for the crown princes of the Kalachuri dynasty and by dynasties in Orissa, Bengal and Assam.

Any speculations as to the origins of the Rajputs has to be presaged with the caveat that in general, no single origin-theory can be held to be authoritative. The traditional occupations of the Rajput are war and agriculture. Many scholars have pointed out that these areas lend themselves uniquely to the ingress of groups that were not formerly affiliated with those professions. The gradual accommodation of the new entrants into the social and family circle of the traditional community is the essential quid pro quo of the sanskritization that the aspirant community essays. This phenomenon of gradual inclusion has indubitably obtained in the case of the Rajputs.

The Agni-kunda Legend
The Agni-kunda legend is the best-known traditional account that deals with the origin of the rajput Rajputs. This account begins with the puranic legend wherein the traditional kshatriya Kshatriyas of the land were exterminated by Parashurama, an avatara of Vishnu. Later, sage Vasishta performed a great Yagya or fire-sacrifice, to seek from the gods a provision for the defense of righteousness on earth. In answer to his prayer, one or more youths arose from the very flames of the sacrificial fire, according to different versions of the legend.

Sometime during 16-17th century, the legend came to be applied to the Pratiharas , Chauhans , Solankis , and Paramaras , Rahevars clans. The Gurjara-Pratiharas established the first royal Rajput kingdom in Marwar in southwestern Rajasthan in the 6th century 6th century, the Chauhans at Ajmer in central Rajasthan, the Solankis in Gujarat , and the Paramaras at Mount Abu. Evolution of the legendA large number of inscriptions and texts have come to light since the mid-19th century 19th century that allow us to trace the evolution of this legend in detail.

The Agnikunda story is first found in the Nava-sahasanka-charita by Padmagupta, a fictional romance where the hero is identifiable as Sindhuraja, the patron of the author Padmagupta. This work mentions that the progenitor of the Paramaras was created from fire by sage Vashishtha. During the period of decline of the Paramaras of Dhar, the story finds mention in several royal inscriptions. Later, the story is expanded to include two or three other Rajput clans. Eventually, some scholars proposed that all of the Rajputs were created from the Agnikunda.

Early Paramara Chronology
949 AD: First known Paramara copperplate Harsola copperplate. Mentions Paramara Siyaka as a feudatory of Rashtrakuta Akalavarsha. It mentions the Paramaras as being of the same clan ' as the Rashtrakutas.
975, 986 AD: Vakpati Munja assumes Rashtrakuta name Amoghavarsha and titles Srivallabha and Prathvivallabha, indicating that he regarded himself as being a succesor of the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta.

Thus, there is no mention of the Agnikunda legend in the early records; the Paramaras appear as a branch of Rashtrakutas, as proposed by D.C. Ganguli.

Gradual Evolution of the Myth
  • 1005 AD: Padmagupta writes the fictional Navasahasanka-charita during the rule of the Parmar king Sindhuraj of Dhara. This is the first mention of the legend wherein the first Paramara is created from an Agnikinda by Vashista.
  • 1000-1055 AD: Bhoja Bhoja no mention of Agnikunda in his copperplates or inscriptions.
  • 1042 AD: Vasantgarh inscription mentiones Paramara origin from Agnikunda.
  • 1070-1093 AD: Udayaditya, Udayapur prashasti mentions Paramara origin from Agnikunda.
  • uncertain date: The Prathviraj Raso is composed, the oldest copies of which do not mention the Agnikunda legend. It is attributed to poet Chand who lived during the rule of Prithviraj Chauhan Prithviraj III , however the language of available manuscripts appears to be much more recent.Ain-i-Akbari by Abul Fazl mentions creation of a Dhanji from an Agnikunda, somewhere in the Deccan Deccan Plateau, to fight Buddhism Buddhism. That fire-born warrior goes to Malava and establishes his rule. When Puraraj, fifth in line from him, dies childless, a Paramara is selected to succeed him.
  • 16th-17th century: Agnikunda legend inserted into the Prithviraj Raso, where three clans, Pratihar, Chalukya and Panwar, are mentions as having been created from the Agnikunda. The legend is not present in the Udaipur manuscript of 1585 CE.
  • Uncertain date: Agnikunda legend in Bhavishya Purana. It mentions four clans: Paramara, Chauhan, Chalukya and Parihara, as having been created from fire to annihilate the Buddhists during the time of Ashoka.
  • 1832 AD: James Tod presents his theory that the Agnikunda legend symbolizes the elevation of Sakas Indo-Scythians, etc. to the status of being Kshattriyas; by implication, all the Rajaputs are descendants of central Asian invaders.
  • 1954 AD: Tod's view is repeated by A. L. Basham in his "The wonder that was India". By now, the view becomes accepted.
Rastrakuta origin
There are three schools of thought about the origin of the Paramara clan. The most widely accepted school of thought is that the Paramaras – along with the Chauhans, the Pratiharas (Parihars) and the Solankis (Chalukyas) – were one of the four Agni kula ("fire-born") clans of the Rajputs. In a second school of thought, the Parmar clan is said to have been a tribe of central India that rose to political prominence as the feudatory of the Rashtrakutas. In a third school of thought, the Parmar clan is said to have originally been an inseparable part of the Rashtrakutas, which later branched out from the Rashtrakutas (Rathore)and declared themselves to be a distinct Rajput clan.

Rathore (earlier known as Rastrakutas)
At Hathundi, in what was formerly the princely state of Jodhpur , 10th century inscriptions have been found mentioning kings Harivarma, Vidagdha, Mammata, Dhavala and Balaprasada, all of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. This is not in fact surprising, since the Rashtrakutas held sway over Marwar in that era. However, as we have seen above, the Rathores first emerge in Rajasthan shortly after that same era; therefore, Rathores are offshoots of Rashtrakutas.

Chalukya Origin
The Solanki (from Chalukya, an ancient Indian dynasty) are a Hindu clan who ruled parts of western and central India between the 10th and 13th centuries AD. The Solanki are a branch of the Chalukya dynasty of whose oldest known area of residence was in present-day Karnataka. The Solanki clan-name is found within the Rajput and Gurjar communities. The Chalukya gave raise to following clans Shakha- Baghel, Chalke, Ingale, Pisal, Rannavre, Dubal, Mahale and of Solanki: Salunke, Pandhare, Patankar, Patole, Shevale, Babar, Padwal, Magar, Randheer, Ranpise, Sonvane, Gunjal, Lahane, Vyavhare, Navale, Londhe

Kalachuri Origin
Kalachuris ruled North Maharastra during 6th century AD , Pulikesin defeated them and made them feudataries of Chalukyan Empire. After the death of Harshavardhan vinayaditya defeated the successor to Harsha and annexed his kingdom , kalachuries were given charge of vindyas and north of Vindyas. They had martial relationships with other kannada dyansties like Rastrakuta, Chalukya, Solankis , Sena, Malla and pala dynasties. Ruling from the centre of India they are one of the major contributors to Rajput Clan.

The Rajputs did not originate as a tribe or a single community. They emerge from history as a collection of clans ruling different regions. The term Rajput as it is used today refers to the set of intermarrying royal clans mostly with karnata roots. Two lists of 36 clans are found in Kumarpala Charita and the Prithviraj Raso, apparently compiled in the Gujarat/Rajasthan region with its own historical claim to aristocratic Gurjara or Gujjar titles. But as History shows the Rajput are of Kannada origin to start with with Rastrakuta, Chalukya background, when they ruled Rajasthan, Gujarat and North India.

Home of Pali

Pali, in which only the Buddha delivered his noble messages, appears to have been hallowed as the text of the Buddhavacana. The language of the Buddhavacana is called Pali or Magadhi and sometimes Suddha-Magadhi, presumably in order to distinguish it from Ardha-Magadhi, the language of Jaina Canons. Magadhi means the language or dialect current in the Magadha. In Pali Lexicon, the definition of Pali is given thus: pa paleti, rakkhati ' ti pali. Since it preserves the Buddhavacana (words) in the form of the sacred text, it is called Pali. In fact, the word Pali signifies only "text" "sacred text".

According to the tradition current in Theravada Buddhist countries, Pali is Magadhi, Magadhanirutti, Magadhikabhasa, that is to say, the language of the region in which Buddhism had arisen. The Buddhistic tradition makes the further claim that the Pali Tipitaka is composed in the language used by the Buddha himself. For this reason Magadhi is also called Mulabhasa as the basic language in which the words of the Buddha were originally fixed. However, for Pali now arises the question, which region of India was the home of that language which was the basis of Pali.

Westergrd and E.Kuhn consider Pali to be the dialect of Ujjayini, because it stands closest to the language of the Asokan-inscriptions of Girnar (Guzerat), and also because the dialect of Ujjayini is said to have been the mother-tongue of Mahinda who preached Buddhism in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). R.O. Franke had a similar opinion by different means; and he finally reached the conclusion that the original home of Pali was "a territory, which could not have been too narrow, situated about the region from the middle to the Western Vindhya ranges". Thus it is not improbable that Ujjayini was the centre of its region of expansion. Sten Konow too has decided in favour of the Vindhya region as the home of Pali.

Oldenberg (1879) and E.Muller (1884) consider the Kalinga country to be the home of Pali. Oldenberg thinks that Buddhism, and with it's the Tipitaka, was introduced into Ceylon rather in course of an intercourse between the island and the neighboring continent extending over a long period. However, E.MUller bases his conclusion on the observation that the oldest settlements in Ceylon could have been founded only by the people of Kalinga, the area on the mainland opposite Ceylon and not by people from Bengal and Bihar.

Maurice Winternitz is of the opinion that Buddha himself spoke the dialect of his native province Kosala (Oudh) and it was most likely in this same dialect that he first began to proclaim his doctrine. Later on, however, he wandered and taught in Magadha (Bihar) he probably preached in the dialect of this province. When in course of time the doctrine spread over a large area, the monks of various districts preached each in his own dialect. It is probable that some monks coming from Brahmin circles also attempted to translate the speeches of Buddha into Sanskrit verses. However, the Buddha himself absolutely rejected it, and forbade learning his teachings in any other languages except Magadhi. Here it is related , how two Bhikkhus complained to the Master that the members of the order were of various origins, and that they distorted the words of the Buddha by their own dialect (Sakaya niruttiya). They, therefore, proposed that the words of the Buddha should be translated into Sanskrit verses (Chandaso). The Buddha, however, refused to grant the request and added: Anujanamibhikkhave sakaya niruttiya buddhavacanam pariyapunitum. Rhys Davids and Oldenberg translate this passage by "I allow you, oh brethren, to learn the words of the Buddha each in his own dialect". This interpretation, however, is not accorded with that of Buddhaghosa, according to whom it has to be translated by "I ordain the words of the Buddha to be learnt in his own language (i.e., in Magadhi, the language used by Buddha himself)". In fact, the explanation given by Buddhaghosa is more acceptable, because neither the two monks nor Buddha himself have thought of preaching in different dialects in different cases.

Magahi or Magadhi is spoken in the districts of Patna, Gaya, Hazaribagh and also in the western part of Palamau, parts of Monghyr and Bhagalpur. On its eastern frontier Magahi meets Bengali. Dr.Grierson called the dialect of this region Eastern Magahi (Magadhi). He (Dr.Grierson) has named western Magadhi speeches as Bihari. In this time he includes three dialects, Magahi (Magadhi), Maithili and Bhojpuri. Dr.Grierson, after a comparative study of the grammars of the three dialects, had decided Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri as three forms of a single speech. There are four reasons for terming them as Bihari, viz.,

Between Eastern Hindi and Bengali have certain characteristics, which are common to the three dialects.
It becomes a provincial language like Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, etc.
The name is appropriate from the historical point of view. Bihar was so named after so many Buddhist Viharas in the state. Ancient Bihar language was probably the language of early Buddhists and Jainas.

It is not a fact that in Bihar there is no literature. In Maithili we have extant ancient literature.
Though Hindi is highly respected as a literary language in Biharyetthe Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri languages are deeply entrenched in the emotions of the people. The fact is that Bihari is a speech distinct from Eastern Hindi and has to be classified with Bengali, Oriya and Assamese as they share common descent from Magadhi, Prakrit and Apabhransha. It is clear that an uneducated and illiterate Bihari when he goes to Bengal begins to speak good Bengali with little effort but ordinarily it is not easy for an educated Bihari to speak correct Hindi. Dr.Grierson has inclined to decide that Magadhi was a dialect of Magadha (Bihar) and some parts of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

The area covered by the Buddha's missionary activities included Bihar and Uttar Pradesh including the Nepal Tarai. So it may be assumed that the Buddha spoke in a dialect or dialects current in those regions. Welhelm Geiger considers that Pali was indeed on pure Magadhi, but was yet a form of the popular speech which was based on Magadhi and which was used by Buddha himself. It may be imagined that the Buddha might choose a widespread language which was used or understood by common people in the region, because through which he could propagate his noble teachings to the common people. Thus, Pali or the dialect of Magadha was more probably the language of the common people and also a lingua franca of a large region including mainly Magadha (Bihar).

Lanka prince Sree Vijaya Legends

Sree Vijaya Ancestary
According to Mahavamsa sree vijaya belonged to Vanga(Bengal) and Kalinga(orissa), subsequently got exiled from there because of the evil ways and landed in Tambapanni(ancient Lanka). Nissanka Malla's inscriptions mention Simhapura as the capital of Kalinga.

The arena associated with the legend of Vijaya and his followers may be in Sihapura (Simhapura), in the Lala Rattha (Lata Rashtra) either latur area in present day konkan or one more in Gujarat.

There is an epic reference to one Simhapura kingdom located on the upper Indus which shared borders with Ursa, Abhisara, Bhlika, Darda and Kamboja. Seventh century Chinese pilgirm Hiun tsang also refers to this Simhapura (Sang-ho-pu-lo) and localises it on upper Indus, in Gandhara (north--west Punjab).

So there is a substantial points of view of ancestary of Sri vijaya.