Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Empire of the Dharan Jats, Misnamed Guptas
First Edition 1980
Publisher: Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd, AB/9 Safdarjang Enclave, New Delhi-110064
|The digital text of this chapter has been developed into Wiki format by Laxman Burdak|
- 1 Page 175
- 2 Page 176
- 3 The word 'Gupta'
- 4 Page 177
- 5 Guptas were Jats
- 6 Page 178
- 7 Page 179
- 8 Page 180
- 9 Page 181
- 10 Page 182
- 11 Page 183
- 12 Page 184
- 13 Page 185
- 14 Page 186
- 15 Page 187
- 16 Page 188
- 17 Literary and Puranic Evidence
- 18 Page 189
- 19 Page 190
- 20 Page 191
- 21 The Brahmana Caste theory of S. R. Goyal
- 22 Page 192
- 23 Page 193
- 24 Page 194
- 25 Page 195
- 26 Page 196
- 27 Page 197
- 28 Conclusion
- 29 Page 198
- 30 Page 199
- 31 Page 200
- 32 References
We have already seen how the Empire of the brave Mandas was attributed to the Medes who were traders and shopkeepers and were living in small towns and principalities. It was due to the grace of nature which took a hand in removing the philologiical mistake, and provided proof of the name Manda during the excaavations of the ancient sites of Darius and Nabonidas. The mistake which had been perpetuated in historical writings was thus corrected and justice done to the Jat race.
An exactly similar blunder was committed in the identification of the Empire of the Dharan clan of the Jats mistaken and missnamed by historians as the 'Guptas' empire. As in the case of the Medes, the 'Guptas' too were, and perhaps still are a trading and shopkeeping community who never had or built any empire and indeed never tried to create one. As in the former case, this mistake was perhaps also born of ignorance, caused by the name 'Gupta' which for some unhistorical reason formed a part of the names of almost all the emperors of this dynasty. On the evidence of the existing Guptas of the Vaisya caste in present-day India, it was taken for granted that the emperors bearing the name 'Gupta' must also be Vaisyas. Later on evidence started coming up in various forms to show that the 'Guptas' were not from the Vaisyas class because they were expressly mentioned as leading Kshatriyas (Ksatriyah Agraṇi). The evidence, of, course, was already there in the form of coins of all the great emperors of this dynasty, and on those coins the Central Asian dress of coat, trousers and caps and other symbols, were already there. But the historical questions which these foreign symbols naturally raised
The word 'Gupta'
Before proceeding further, let us deal with the word 'Gupta'.
The first notice of this word was taken by Panini in the fifth cenntury B.C. when two words are mentioned, viz., 'Goptri' and 'Gupti'. V.S. Agarwala in India as Known to Panini defines 'Gupti' as 'defence' and 'Goptri' as the art or science of military arrangements. On this basis, the person who was incharge of defence, was called 'Gupta' or 'Gopta'.
In the Rajatarangini of Kalhana, the word appears as 'Goptri' and is defined as "Guardian of the Earth" or defender of the realm.1 Even in the eighteenth century this was the meaning attached to this word. Evidence for this is available in a book which gives the Sanskrit equivalent of all the words and posts and titles which were in the use during the Mughal times. The name of the book is Yāvanaparipāti written by Dalapati Raya, in 1764 A.D., under the patronage of Prince Madhava Simha of Jaipur. In that book there are two titles mentioned, "Nagara Gauptika" which is translated as city Kotwal. The other word is "Sima Gauptika" which is translated as "Faujadar." Even during the 'Gupta' period this word was used in the same sense of military governor. Skandagupta wrote in his inscription that he had "appointed military governors in all provinces."2
- सर्वेषु देशेषु विधाय गोप्त्रीन
In the Mandsor inscriptions of Bandhu Varman, his ancestor, "Vishva Varman is called a 'Gopta', a term which, according to Junagarh Rock inscription of Skandagupta, means a military governor."3 Thus we find that this word 'Gupta' means a military governor and was used in this sense right from the fifth century B.C. to the eighteenth century A.D. and the so-called 'Guptas' themselves used this word in the same sense. The mere fact that the word 'Gupta' is a part and parcel of the names of the emperors, should not, and cannot, give any other meaning to this word. It is to be borne in mind that the word 'Gupta' is not used as a surname-it is
1. Rajat., VIII, 341 and 339. Stein's Edition.
2. J. P. Fleet, CII, Vol. III, No. 14.
3. SIH & C, p. 405.
always part of the personal name. If we give 'Gupta' the meaning of a surname of the Vaisya caste, then even Chanakaya will become a Vaisya because his name was Vishnugupta. There are hundreds of other names ending with the word 'Gupta' and the name of Chandragupta Maurya, and Kshemagupta, husband of the famous queen Didda, a ruler of Kashmir, may be quoted. Many well known Brahmans and Kshatriyas are found with names ending with 'Gupta', but that does not make them Vaisya.
Thus we may conclude that the name 'Gupta' signifies only a military governor and it was never used as a surname or a clan name. Even the Mahabharata, used this word 'Gupta' in the sense of military defence. 4
Guptas were Jats
It is known that the 'Guptas' were the successors of the famous Kushana empire. Even though they succeeded the latter after a lapse of time, it is quite possible that they were military governors under the Kushanas. It was at one time considered that the Kushanas were driven out of India and some historians even tried to find out the people who ended the Kushana empire. The credit for the overthrow of the Kushana power was once given to the 'Guptas'.5 But this view can no longer be upheld.6 Dr. Jayaswal advocated the view that the Nagas/Bharasivas ended the Kushana empire7, to be finally finished by the Vakataka Pravarasen-I but this view also has been rightly rejected. 8 The Vakatakas never came into conflict with the Kushanas. There is a great probability that the so-called 'Nagas' were themselves Jats.9 We have already shown that the word Bharasivas is Sanskritised form of Turanian Frasiao, a descendant of Emperor Tur, from whom the Tur or Turks descended as per Firdausi. Jayaswal himself admits that the Nagas of Mathura were Yadus-a line to which, many of the Central Asian immigrants were admitted. Even today the Gujars and Ahirs and many Rajputs, claim to be connected with the 'Yadu' race, which is but a form of Yetha or Yuti race of the
4. Adi Parvan, chap. 96, verse, 108.
5. Banerji, The Age of Imperial Guptas, p. 5.
6. VGA, p. 26.
7. See Note I at the end of this section.
8. JNSI, V, p. 111-134.
9. See Note II at the end of this Section.
Chinese, as per Col. Tod and others. For the Nagas of Padmavati, Jayaswal gives the Takka Vamsa. Now Tak or Tank is an existing Jat clan. Their so-called 'Gotra', mentioned as 'Karapati', may well be a form of Kharapari, of the Allahabad Pillar inscription. And again, Kharap is an existing Jat clan.
Majumdar and Altekar give the credit to the republican tribes10 but all these tribes became independent as a result of disintegration of the Kushana empire and were not the cause of it.11 Most of these so-called republican tribes, were themselves Jat clans. The Yaudheyas, the Kunindas (Kundus), the Paunas, (Puniyas) the Atwals, the Kaks, the Kharaps and the Salkalans, are all existing Jat clans even now. The first designation, i.e., Yaudheya, was however a general term. Even if it is taken as the name of the clan, as has been done, and the clan is to be identified, with the Johiyas, our view in either case is not affected, because Johiyas are even now a Jat clan. Therefore, it is almost certain that after the Kushana empire disintegrated, a number of local clans, established local republics and became independent. This was so not only in central and north-west India but also in Magadh proper. This is also proved by excavations and other research work carried out in that region. We know that Prabhudama, a sister of Rudrasen, known from a seal found at Vaishali which describes her as Mahadevi (chief queen) was married there.12 "It is not unlikely that he (husband of Prabhudama) may have been .... a Hinduised Kushana chief ruling over small principality in Magadh, which had survived the collapse of Kushana empire"13 Further, sculptures of two warriors have been found in Magadh itself, wearing typical Kushana dress.14 This evidence goes to show that even in Magadh, the local Jat rulers established their small kingdoms. Mathura was under the Jats right from the first century B.C. and we have already indicated that the so-called Bharasivas, were themselves of Tur/Tak clans. Therefore, it was in Mathura that the Dharan clan of the Jats thought of uniting India again under a common administration. For this purpose, marriage alliance with the Licchavis-an important republican state near
10. or. cit.
11. See. Note III at the end of this section.
12. ASIAR, 1913-14, p. 136.
13. VGA,p. 51.
14, EI, XX, p. 37.,
Magadha, with its capital at Vaishali-was formed. Credit for this important discovery goes to Dr. Jayaswal himself for proving that the so-called Guptas were Jats.15 Dr. Jayaswal has been supported by Dashratha Sharma and others.
The view of Dr. Jayaswal, that the so-called 'Guptas' were Jats, found documentary support from Arya Manjusri Mula Kalpa, a history of India in Sanskrit and Tibetan, written before the eighth century, A.D. verse 759 of which mentions "In that country, undoubtedly (then) there will be a king-a great king-of Mathura Jata (Jat) family, born of Vaishali lady, originally Vaisyas. He became the king of Magadhas" .16
भविष्यन्ति न सन्देह: तस्मिन् देशे नराधिपति मधुरायाम जातवन्शाढ्य: वणिक सूर्वो नृपो वर:
Here the reference is to Samudragupta who was born of a Vaishali lady and who proudly proclaimed the fact on his coins by mentioning himself as "grandson of the Licchavis". Vaishali was the capital of the Licchavi clan and therefore, the Licchavis were also termed as Vaishalis. The word Vaisya would not be taken as a reference to the modern bania class. It was a term denoting the agricultural profession and the Jats are well known as agriculturists which is in fact their main profession. This word Vaisya, is used even for the Nagas. Even Alberuni mentions, that, "it is the duty of the Vaisya to practice agriculture and to cultivate the land, to tend the cattle ..... ". From:Vedic times, the term Vaisya, denoted agriculturists in particular. Thus the word Vaisya is used in the context of profession; 'that is why Dr. Jayaswal comments, "owing to the name 'Gupta', the dynasty has been considered by the author as 'Vaisya' originally. But the author is careful to note the fact in the next verse that they were described before him as leading Kshatriyas" 17
- (i) Therefore on the authority of AMMK, we know that Chandragupta-I was a Jat from Mathura and had married a lady from the Licchavi, the later being proved
15. JRAS, 1901, p, 99; 1905, p. 814; ABORI XX, p. 50; JBORS, XIX, p. 113-116; Vol. XXI, p. 77, and Vol. XXI, p. 275.
16. Imperial History of India, p. 52.
by history also. Her name was Kumaradevi, and she is represented with her husband, on their coins.
- (ii) It is interesting to note that some of the earlier seals of this dynasty have the expression, 'Gutasya' meaning, "of the Gut". We know that Gut is a form of the word Jat and in that background, its appearance on the seals of the "Guptas", throws a flood of light. Even in the Puranas the word 'Gupta' is not consistent and sometimes it is mentioned as 'Guhya', meaning 'hidden'. This was, perhaps, so, because the clan name of the dynasty was not known to the author of that particular Purana and therefore, he mentioned it as hidden or unknown.
- (iii) From Wright,18 and Levi19 as also from the Allahabad Pillar inscriptions of Samudragupta, we know that Nepal formed part of their empire, and many 'Gupta' kings ruled in Nepal even after their empire collapsed in Magadha. As per Nepalese history, these 'Gupta' rulers are mentioned as 'Gāwlās' i.e. cowherds. They are aho mentioned as Ahirs. This also indicates that the 'Guptas' were originalIy cattle owners and agriculturrists.20
- (iv) While illustrating the use of a tense, grammarian Chanddragomin mentions that "the invincible Jats defeated the Hunas". He was a contemporary of the event and we know from history that the 'Guptas' were the only people who defeated the Hunas. This has been rightly taken as proof that the so-called 'Guptas' were Jats. S.K. Belvelkar has improperly suggested that the word Jarto/Jat should be changed into 'Gupta'. 21 This mistaken attempt also shows albeit, indirectly, that the so called 'Guptas' identical with the Jats, defeated the Hunas.
- (V) Majumdar and Altekar mention the fact that at the time of marriage of Prabhavati Gupta, daughter of Chandragupta II, the name of their gotra was given as Dharan.22 The Poona plate of Prabhavati Gupta herself gives the
18. History of Nepal, p. 108.
19. Nepal II, pp. 157, 172.
20. JBORS, XXII, p. 109.
21. Systems of Sanskrit Grammar, p. 58. Z2. VGA, p. 131.
- gotra as Dharan.23 This has been identified with the still existing Dharan clan of the Jats of Bikaner and the adjoining districts of the Punjab, by Dasharatha Sharma.24 This gotra of the Emperors of this dynasty is further proved by the Tipperah copper plate grant -of Loka Nath, a small king of Bengal who mentions the name of his paramount ruler as Shri Jiva Dharan, who conferred upon Loka Nath, the said kingdom. This copper inscripption was written in 650 A.D. or so, when the later "Guptas" were ruling in Bengal, etc. Jiva Dharan is identified with Jivit Gupta. This is yet another documentary proof of unimpeachable validity establishing that the Dharan gotra of the Jat emperors was known to the public.25
- (vi) Yet another proof, which is again of conclusive nature is furnished by the dress of the so-called 'Gupta' emperors on their coins. The coins of these rulers show that almost all the 'Gupta' rulers were fond of wearing coat, trousers, boots and cap and other articles of Central Asian dress, made famous by the Kushanas. The coins of Samudragupta, Chandragupta I (Kumardevi type), Kācha, Chandragupta II Vikramaditya, Kumaragupta I, Skandagupta, etc., all have the Central Asian long coat and trousers and boots and long swords. This is the most significant fact proving that the 'Guptas' were in fact Central Asian Jats, who later on entered India and settled in regions from Afghanistan to Mathura and Central India. They had brought not only their particular dress but also their arts and architecture. It is only later, i.e., after their coronation as emperors, that the Dharans used the Indian dhoti, etc., on certain occasions. This was under the influence of the local population which was predominantly Brahmanical. It was again under their influence that these Central Asian Jats started performing the horse sacrifice. It is however, to be noted that the custom of horse sacrifice, especially a white horse, was very much
23. EI, Vol. XV, p. 39.
24. JBORS, Vol. XXII, p. 227.
25. IHQ, 1935, Vol. XI, pp. 326-27.
prominent even among the Central Asian people, the Sakas, the Hunas, etc. On important and memorable occasions, a white horse used to be sacrificed and its blood was utilised for cementing the ties which necessiitated the occasion, as per Herodotus and others.
Even in the matter of sculptures and images of gods, the 'Guptas were in direct line of the earlier Jats. The so-called 'Gupta style' of art, is but a progressive form of Gandhara, Mathura and Sanchi styles. We have already mentioned the most important symbol of the sun-god images, and have shown that the paramount god of the Jats in Central Asia was the sun, which retained its position even in India where the images of this god were made in the same form and dress as these people themselves wore. The long coat or tunic, the sword, the boots, and the sunflower (as against the lotus flower of the traditional Brahmanism) were used on these images of their gods. Many such images have been found from Mathura to Bengal and the famous Bhumara temple of the 'Guptas' is well known.26 There too the Surya image has 'foreign symbols' 27
This fact of the 'foreign' nature of the so-called 'Gupta' coinage is well known to every historian, but they prefer to shut their eyes and do not want to see the truth. Even the fire altar of Magian priests is sought to be passed off as a 'tulsi' plant! It is necessary to give examples in order to convince the layman in particular. Let us take for example The Coinage of the Gupta Empire by A.S. Altekar to prove our point. This is as good a book on the subject as any other. The comments in brackets are ours.
"In the initial stages, the Guptas gold coinage does show some foreign influence, but it is Kushana rather that Roman".28 (This refers to the view of Smith that it was Roman influenced.)29 "Even in the marriage scene depicted on the coinage of Chandragupta I, (pI. I, 13), the 'Gupta' emperors is shown as wearing Kushana coat and trousers. He does not discard it even when offering oblations on altar in the standard type.30 The goddess on the reverse in early
26. Plate No. 14, MASI, No. 16.
27. IHQ, p. 202.
28. op. cit., p. 15.
29. JRAS, 1889, p. 24.
30. op. cit., Plate I, pp. 14-15.
coins is an exact copy of Ardoxsho with cornucopiae in her hand seated on a high backed throne; only her name is omitted.31 Contrary to Hindu cannons of propriety, Samudragupta is shown as his own standard-bearer,32 simply because such was the case with the king on the Kushana coins "33 (This fact of going against Hindu ideas of kingship is significant.)
"Gupta artists were, however, out to Indianise these foreign types The Kushana peaked cap was replaced by the Hindu head-dress from the beginning,"34 but the foreign coat and trousers lingered on some coin types for several decades."35 As regards the first part of the statement, the tight fitting cap is again a Central Asian article of dress. Cap or topi-termed Kulli-was used in India only from first century B.C., i.e., after the arrival of Sakas. "In third century A.D., the cap was mainly worn by the foreigners who used it in the Kushana and Gupta period as well". 36 Even the full skirt or gown type dress of the goddess/queen on the coins, is Central Asian, worn even today by ladies in Uzbek andUighur areas of Soviet Russia. And the Central Asian long or short coat and trousers, did not 'linger on' but were worn by all the Great Dharan emperors from 320 A.D. to 467 A.D.! The first emperor Chandragupta I, and the last Great emperor Skandagupta, were fond of it !. (The goddess) "Ardoxsho was transformed into Durga by seating her on a lion".37 (Now this is arbitrary, as we cannot say definitely that it was Durga. At another place, Altekar tries to identify her with Ganga ! 38 and we know that on the coins of Kanishka III, the Kushana king, she is sitting on a lion !39 "On one coin of Huvishka, we see Nana40 riding a lion"41 This Kushana goddess, Ardoxsho, was initially seated on a high-
32. ibid., Plate II, pp. 1-7.
33. ibid., p. 15.
34. ibid., p. 8-15.
35. ibid., p. 15-16.
36. IHQ, 1962, p. 31; Moti Chandra, Ancient Indian Dresses, pp. 77,109.
37. op. cit., p. 16.
38. ibid., p. 21.
39. ibid., Plate 1 & 7, p. 28.
40. See Note IV at the end of this section.
41. op. cit. Plates 1-6, p. 31.
backed throne; then, later, on a smaller wicker stool. The disapeaance of the back of the throne, "marks a further progress in Indianisation" . 42 She is sometimes standing, sometimes walking43 and sometimes engaged in feeding the peacock.44 The Lotus throne was of course introduced in order to Indianise her, and ultimately she was turned into Laxmi, and appeared on the coins of Mahmud-bin-Sam and Alauddin Khilji too.
Now for the next emperor Samudragupta, his coins, show him in coat and boots and trousers. On the reverse (of the standard type coins) "the king is seen offering oblations at the altar. This was of course a motif borrowed from the coins of late Kusana type.45 It is however, interesting to note how the motif was gradually further and further Indianised."46 "The notion of a kmg offenng oblations, while dressed in coat and trousers, was foreign to Hindu tradition."47 (Was it not because the king himself was a "foreigner"? This motif persisted down to the reign of Kumaragupta I. See his swordsman coins.)
The next emperor, Kācha, (line of succession, even identificaation, disputed) also issued gold coins dressed in coat and trousers. His successor, Chandragupta II Vikramaditya, also wears "Kushana coat and trousers" (on Archer type coinsy. 48 On other coins he is wearing a "cots and shirts", i.e. half pants49). The "horseman" type coins, newly started by him, show him in the same coat and pants, and shoes.
42. ibid., p. 43.
43. ibid., p. 23.
44. ibid., p. 24.
45. ibid., Plate 1, pp. 3-5.
46. ibid., p. 43.
47. ibid., p. 53.
48. ibid., p. 93.
50. ibid., pp. 169, 177.
51. ibid., p. 243.
wearing even a 'loin cloth' (Jānghia).52 Even religious ideas were Central Asian. Gradual Indianisation was, of course, there-rulers cannot afford to be permanently "foreigners" to their subjects. The same is the position with regard to the so-called 'Gupta' art and architecture. It is therefore suggested that a fresh look should be given to their coirys, legends, images, etc.
- (vii) Yet another significant fact is the use of the "Deva" title by these emperors. We know that 'Deva' and 'Devaputra' (god and son of god) were used as titles by the Kushana kings. We find that this practice is continued by the Dharans too. Samudragupta is described as a "god come down to live upon earth". 53 लोकधामनो देव(स्य) The coins of Chandragupta II give him title of Devaraja and "Devashrama" (abode of gods),54 Skandagupta, too, took the title of Devaraja (king of heaven or gods; divine king). Were they simply copying the earlier Kasvan Jats in all these aspects, many of them going, definitely, against the tenets of Hinduism? The answers is a definite no, because these kings were simply following their ancient Central Asian customs.
- (viii) The weight of their coins (called Dinār) is also significant. It was originally, the same as the weight of earlier Saka/Kushana coins. But gradually it was Indianised and brought up to the ancient Indian standard weight of Suvarṇa (sovereign) of 156 grams. Thus these coins give a lie to those who consider these emperors as indigenous to the Indian soil. Of course, they were completely Indianised, by and by, and their religious ideas, dress, weight of coins, etc. became fully Indian. Goddess Ardoxsho was transformed into Laxmi, complete with the Lotus throne. Sanskrit was popularised and patronized-a process which started with the Saka satraps of Lat (Gujarat etc.). The great satrap, Rudra Daman, used poetical Sanskrit for the first time in his Junagadh inscription. Even the Pushyamitras, who were fanatically following the orthodox religion, did not use Sanskrit for their
52. ibid., p. 189.
53. CII, Vol. III, p. 8.
54. Altekar, op. cit., p. 99.
- inscriptions; nor did the Satavahanas, who called themselves "only Brahmans". Their inscriptions of Kanheri and Karle are in Prakrit.55 It was left to the foreign immigrants-the Sakas/Kushanas/Dharans to patronize Sanskrit.
- (ix) The law of primogeniture where the eldest son invariably succeeds his father on the throne-so sacrosanct in orthodox Hinduism and made into an ideal by Bharata, brother of Rama Dasarthi, was never followed by the Dharans. And it was only to shut the mouths of super critical priests that Chandragupta-I, openly and amidst the court, called his son, Samudragupta, to be an 'Arya'. This was done by way of reply to those who did not want to 'award' these brave people, any status above the 'Sudras' or "degraded" Kshatriyas". This is the solitary instance in Sanskrit literature where a father, addressed his own son as 'Arya'-a term of high respect. 56 Further there is the famous passage in the Bhitari Pillar inscription of Skandagupta, गीतैशच स्तुतिमिशच वन्दकजनो यं प्रापत्यार्य्यांताम् Fleet has translated this line in the following manner: 'Whom the bards raised to distinction with (their) songs and praises'. But he seems to have missed the real significance of the use of the word 'Aryatam' in the inscription. Actually, it means 'the Arya status' to which Skandagupta was raised by the song and panegyrics of the bards. Skandagupta's mother was not a Mahadevi, though there is nothing to warrant the suggestion that she was a concubine. However, she seems to have belonged to an avaravarna. This explains why her son, Skandagupta, was probably regarded as of Anarya birth by a section of the orthodox people. These notions about his low descent were repudiated by the bards through their songs and panegyrics. 57
- It was therefore, not "on account of the low social status of his mother, that Samudragupta was not regarded as an Aryan"58 but because he himself was, in the
55. Dr. V. Upadhyaya, Gupta Abhiltkha, 1974, p. 85.
56. VJJ, XVI, pt. I, p. 78.
57. iNd., p. 78.
- eyes of the orthodox Hindus-a Vratya (impure, foreigner) and it was by their force of arms and heroic deeds that they got, not only Agrani Kshatriya (leading warrior) status. but also compelled historians to term their period, as the Golden Age of Indian history. That is why in the above mentioned incidents, the Dharans had to repeat that they were "Arya" and "Kshatriyas". Mahashivagupta, king of Central India, wrote this fact in his Sirpur Prasasti.59
- (x) As regards the names Gut or Get/Got, we find evidence in the inscriptions of 'Gupta' period itself that this general name of the Jats was freely used along with Gujjars and other names, ending with Rāta, which is already shown to be a foreign name. The city of Gilligitta, Goti putra, the Guttal kings of Dharwar, etc., are but different forms of this racial name.
J.F. Fleet, referring to the inscriptions on the top of a lid of the steatite casket found in stupa No.2 at Andheri, near Sanchi,60 says that it should be, "plainly read. Sapurisasa Gotiputasa Kakanada-Pabhasanasa Kodina-Gotasa". This has been translated by Fleet as, "The relics of the virtuous Prabhasana of Kakanada, the Gotiputra, of theKaundinya gotra". Here no explanation has been given for the word 'Gotiputra'. It is similar to the word 'Rajaputra' occurring in the Kura inscriptions of Toramana, and it can only mean the son of a Jat. The gotra itself which Fleet changes into Kaundinya, may well be Kadin, the modern Kadian. 6l
The Sanchi Stone inscriptions of the year 93, No.5, pl. III B, refers to three persons of the family (Rajakula) of Devaraja Chandragupta II. 62 The names of these persons are given as Maja, Sarabhanga and Amrarata; and these· persons are definitely spoken of as belonging to the royal Rajakula. The interesting point is that these names are not purely Indian.
59. Majumdar, AI, Vol. II, p. 190.
60. Bhilsa Tope, p. 347; and Plate XXIX, No.7.
61. CII, Vol. III, p. 31.
62. ibid., pp. 32-33.
63. R.C. Sharma, Indian Feudalism, pp.106-107; and P.C. Bagchi, India and Central Asia, p. 17.
the fact that, at the time of their arrival in India they had foreign names. We know that an individual named Shaphar, son of Maka, and a member of the Gasura clan is mentioned in an inscription.64 Resisting this identification of Gusur with Gujar, Upendra Thakur says that the word 'Gusur' is not available in any standard Sanskrit or Prakrit dictionary.65 It may be so, but this word is certainly available in one of the inscriptions of this period under consideration. The Sanchi Stone Pillar inscriptions, No. 73, PI. No. XLII A speaks of a person named Gosura Simha Bala. Here the word 'Gosura', the forerunner of Gujjars, occurs but as is obvious, the name of the individual is completely Indian. These two inscriptions show how the Central Asian Gosuras were Indianised. This process was taking place in the same period when the Dharan Jats were being Indianised.
Yet another inscription of the same period shows the instance of a Jat royal house in Gwalior-Jhansi region. This is the Bijaygarh Stone Pillar inscription, No. 59, PI. XXXVI C.66 Here the king is named as Vishnu Vardhana of the Varika tribe. The year on this inscription is 428 and it must be correlated with the-Saka era, and not with the Malava era. About the other implications of this inscription, we shall deal with in a subsequent chapter. Here our purpose is to show that this king Varika clan of the Jats was ruling in that area in the year 428 S.V., and the name of his grandfather was Yashorata and that of his great grandfather was Vyagrarata. The 'Rata' ending names are admittedly foreign to Indian and this example also shows how the personal names were gradually being Indianised.
Literary and Puranic Evidence
64. EI, Vol. XXX, p. 61.
65. op. cit., p. 253.
66. ClI, Vol. III, p. 252.
Again some historians, try to differentiate them from the Sakas, but without success.67
The Geographike of Ptolemy says that in 140 A.D., the Murundas were established in the valley of the river Sarabos or Sarayu .68 Half a century later, Oppien mentions the "Maruandien" as a Gangetic people.69 S.R. Goyal quotes several other Jain authorities to show that Pataliputra in particular, as well as Kanya-Kubja were ruled by the Murundas/Sakas. The Jain ascetic, Padahpta Suri, cured the Murunda ruler of Pataliputra of his terrible headache and converted him to Jainism. 70 During the reign of Wu dynasty (220-227 A.D.) Fan Chen, the king of Kambodia, accordin to P.C. Bagchi sent his relative as ambassador to the Indian king of Pataliputra. The ambassador was heartily welcomed and the gesture was returned by the Indian king who sent two men as ambasssadors as well as four horses of the Yue-chi, i.e., the Jat country, as presents to the King of Kambodia. According to this account Buddhism was in a prosperous state at that time in Magadha and the the title of king was Meouloun. This title has been identified with Murunda and this shows that in the middle of third century A.D. the Murundas were still ruling over Pataliputra.71 These Murunda rulers of Pataiiputra had special relations with the rulers of Peshawar.72 "Incidentally it may be noted that this tradition as well as the Chinese account point to the intimate relations between the Murundas of Pataliputra and the kings of Peshawar. It was but natural, for, after all the Murundas and Kushanas both belong to the same Scythian stock".73
From this it is clear that racially the rulers of Magadha in the third century A.D. were identical with Kushanas, ruling in Afghanistan the Puranas, they are mentioned as ruling India after the Tukharas (Takhars Jats) and the Puranas also say that 13 kings of the Murunda dynasty ruled India. It is significant that the Puranas also mention that these Murunda rulers destroyed the Caste system and, in the language of the Puranas, they raised "low
67. P.C. Bagchi, op. cit., p. 133.
68. Vol. VII, 2.14.
69. EHNI, p. 117.
70. S.R. Goyal, A History of Imperial Guptas, p. 57.
71. P.C. Bagchi, op. cit., p. 134.
72. S.R. Goyal, op. cit., p. 57. See also Note V at the end of this section.
caste peoele" to high offices and all these people were of "Mleccha" origin. In Vishnu Purana correctly gives the clan name of these people as Munda still existing Jat clan. The title Munda means "Lord", in Saka language, as per Sten Konow. Even today this word Munda is used by the Jats; and means the top or the head, in particular, the top of the wick of the lamp.
Thus the literary evidence and the evidence of the Puranas shows that immediately before the Guptas, the Munda were ruling over Magadha and their rule lasted for about two centuries, by taking 15 years for one rule. It is unfortunate that none of these 13 rulers, is even named in Indian history! This is really a matter of pity for the Indian historians. Apparently, all this was deliberately done only to remove all traces of the rule of the Jats which lasted for many centuries in all parts of India. It is possible that the Puranas, which were revised during or after the Gupta Age, deliberately excluded the details of these Jat rulers. We shall come to this topic in a separate chapter, presently our purpose is to show that none of the Gupta rulers is named in any of the Puranas. The various Puranas merely mention that the "kings born of the Gupta race will enjoy all the territories".74 It becomes necessary to find out the reason behind this sorry state of affairs. And the reason can obviously be the foreign origin of these rulers. That is why Alberuni, was told by the self appointed custodians of the Indian culture, that the Guptas were powerful but bad people and the Indians celebrated the end of the Gupta rule by starting a new era!
Now to go back to the literary view and other evidence of the Jat rulers before the Gupta period. The evidence quoted already shows an entirely different picture. In the words of S.R. Goyal, in the light of the evidence given above, certain isolated facts acquire new significance.75 Firstly, it may be noted that an extremely fragmentary Sanskrit inscription, recently discovered from Mirzapur, now in the Sanskrit University, Varanasi refers to a certain. king Rudradamasri. Palaeographically it can be assigned to 'third-fourth century'.76 The name of this king is clearly Scythian; so he could have been a Murunda ruler of the post-
74. Pargitar, DKA, p. 73.
75. S.H.. Goyal, op. cit., p. 59.
76. AI, 1959·60, p. 65.
Kushana period. Secondly, one of the seals discovered at Vaishali by Spooner reveals the existence of a Saka queen Mahadevi Prabhudama. She has been described as the daughter of the Mahaksatrapa Swami Rudrasimha and the sister of the Mahakshtrapa Swami Rudrasena.77 Unfortunately the name of her husband has not been mentioned but in the light of the facts mentioned above, she appears to have been the queen of a Murunda ruler of Magadha.78 Dasharath Sharma has conjectured that Prabhudama was one of the queens of Samudragupta and was given to him by Rudrasimha II (c. 305-16 A.D.) pursuant to the kanyopa-yanadana policy of the Emperor. But the son of Rudrasimha II was Yasodaman II (known dates 316-32 A.D.), and not anyone having the name Rudrasena.79 The Rudrasena III whom Sharma identifies as the brother of Prabhudama was the son of Rudradaman II, and not of Rudrasimha.80 To us the suggestion of Altekar81 and S. Chattopadhyaya82 seems to be correct. They believe that Prabhudama was the daughter of Rudrasimha I (c. 181-88 and 191-97 A.D.) and the sister of Rudrasena I (c. 200-222.A.D.).
Thus the inscriptional as well as the literary and Puranic evidence shows various Jat clans ruling in North India. The varikas, the Mauryas, the Mundas, the Kushanas, the Tanks, etc. are some of them. Various other clans having republican governments mentioned in the Allahabad Pillar inscription of Samudragupta, are still existing Jat clans. This clear picture of. different Jat families ruling in different parts of North India is striking and cannot be ignore by any writer of Indian history. Is it not permissible to conclude that, like most of their subordinate feudatories, the paramount rulers too, were of the same Jat stock?
The Brahmana Caste theory of S. R. Goyal
According to the half-hearted attempt of S.R. Goyal, the caste of the Gupta emperors was Brahmana.83 For this assertion, he
77. ASIAR, 1913-14, p. 136.
78. D. Sharma, PIHC, 1956, pp. 146-48.
79. NHIP, p. 57.
80. ibid., p. 61.
81. op. cit., p. 51.
82. EHNI, p. 126.
83. op. cit., p. 74.
has noted that their Dharana gotra is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. He has also given the opinion of Dasharath Sharma that "the word Gupta used in the name of these emperors is not indicative of their caste. It was the name of the first ruler of the dynasty and was adopted as a surname of the members of this family when it acquired eminence during the reign of Chandragupta I."84 S.R. Goyal has gone against the views of G.S. Ojha, S. Chattopadhyaya, G.P. Mehta, V. Upadhyaya, etc.85 He has also ignored the fact that the Guttala kings of Dharwar claimed to be Kshatriyas and descendants of Chandragupta Vikramaditya.
For this purpose he has mainly relied upon the marriage alliances and has drawn support from the ideal Anuloma (as against Pratiloma) form of marriages. Under Anulomii form of marriage, the Brahmanas are permitted to marry the females of the lower caste, but not vice versa. He has therefore, suggested that the marriage of a Naga girl, Kuber-Naga with Chandragupta II, the marriage of Prabhavatigupta with "Brahmana" Vakataka king, Rudra Sen II, the marriage of Kadamba girl in the Gupta family, are all Anuloma forms of marriages and therefore Guptas must be Brahmans. He has also mentioned that, "no authentic instance of a Pratiloma marriage" is on record.86 While saying so, S.R. Goyal of course ignores all other evidences, viz., the complete disregard of the law of primogeniture, the foreign dress and manners, the foreign religious symbols, the un-Indian habit of the kings becoming their own flag bearers, the un-Hindu habit of the kings offering oblations while standing and wearing boots and trousers, etc. He has also not mentioned the authority of AMMK and other works and he has taken for granted that the Bharasivas, the Vakatakas, the Kadambas87, etc., were Brahmans. Some eminent historians say that the Vakatakas were Yavanas, i.e., foreigners. This view is based on the Puranas.88 "When they (Pauras) are destroyed, the Kailakila Yavanas will be kings; the chief of whom will be Vindhya Sakti" says Vishnu Purnaa.89
84. JRAS, XXXIX, p. 265.
85. ibid., p. 76. Note VI.
86. See Note V at the end of this section.
87. See Note VII a;t the end of this section,
88. Bhan Daji, JBBRAS, Vol. VII, p. 69.
89. Wilsons Edition, p. 380.
The Vayu and Matsya Purana say that these people were Yavanas in institutions, manners and policy. When the Vindhya race is extinct, there will be three Bahlika kings, Supratika, Nabhira and Shakyamanabhava. Wilson has drawn our attention to this last name and apparently it means a Scythian of Mana origin. Wilson was further forced to express his surprise as to what the Bahhkas or Prince of Balkh, had to do in this part of India ?90
Had Mr Wilson gone further deep-into this matter, he would have found that not only the three princes, but most of these rulers right from Nandas and Mauryas to Harsha, and even later up to the advent of the European power, the rulers of India were mainly from Balkh and adjoining areas. About the Mandas, whom Wilford considers to be a tribe of the Hunas, and whom the Matsya Purana calls of Mleccha origin (Mleccha-Sambhava), are called Arya-Mleccha, by Vayu Purana. Wilson again queried whether this term meant, "Barbarians of Ariana". He is so right in his query, these people were really from that area. The Manavya gotra and descent from Hariti allotted to the converted Kadambas, were also allotted to some Rajputs of Agnikula descent. This is clearly the result of their formal conversion to Brahmanism but that does not make them Brahmans and all the different clans of the so-called Nags are now found in the Jats. As for the authentic instances, we know from a Rajatarangini of Kalhana that Toramana, a Huna ruler, had married an Ikshavaku lady and Pravarsena was the product of this union. Later in the period we have the instances of Chach, a Brahman marrying a "Sudra" lady of Sindh, and that too a widow. The Chachnama also gives the instance of the marnage of a Brahman girl of that chach family with Sarabandha Lohana, a Jat; and the proposed marriage of another lady of the same Brahman family with Bhatti king, Ramal. We must also remember that Ashoka Maurya, admittedly a Kshatriya, and called a "Sudra" by certain Brahmanical writers, had married Subhadrangi, a daughter of a Brahman of Champa, as per divyavadana;and also married the lady Devi, a daughter of a merchant of Ujjayini (Vaisya caste). Such instances can be multiplied both from pre- as well as post-Gupta period. The proverbial last straw on the camel's back of this Brahman caste theory is the marrage of Chandragupta Vikramaditya with the widow of his elder brother,
90. ibid., note 68
S.R. Goyal mentions the invasion of Kalinga by Yavana Rakta Bahu and says that princess Hemamala had to fly from her country to Ceylon, carrying with her the tooth relic of Lord Buddha, as per Mahavamsa.91 He identifies this Yavana with Samudragupta and the attack is dated by him as 359-60 A.D. But he is very much conscious of the pitfalls involved in this identification. In a footnote on page 160, he tries to explain the word Yavana, on all possible grounds. Firstly, because the Buddhists were unhappy with Samudragupta, they called him a Yavana ! The second possibility mentioned by him is that the imperial army was sent to Kalinga under a Yavana commander! And lastly, finding the above two arguments as puerile, he hastens to add that the name of the invader has not been correctly handed down to us!
He has thus not faced the implications of his own identification, viz., that the so-called Guptas, were called Yavana, perhaps because they came from the West, the land of the Yavanas. We know that Orissa and the adjoining areas were under the Jats for a pretty long time. The coins of the Tanka clan of the Jats identified by historians as the Puri Kusanas, have been found during excavations. It was In 592 A.D. that the Kesari King, Yayati, superseded the Tank Jat ruler in Orissa.92 The 'Guptas' are called Karaskaras by some people, and this was thought to be a tribal name. In fact, it was the name of a country. Mahabhashya knows a plant (used in medicine) named Karaskar, obviously after the country.93 Vayu Purura says that Karaskara, Kalinga and countries north of Indus river, are inhabited by people devoid of Ashrama Dharma (Hindu division of caste, etc.).94 This is further proof of the fact that 'Guptas' were not originally Indian as the Karaskaras did not follow the caste system. Mahabharata mentions Karaskara, Mahishaka, Karambha, Katakalika, Karkara and Viraka. 95It is again clear, that like the Khatkal, Kakaran, Virk, etc., the Karaskars were Jats. It is possible that the Mahishaka
91. S.R. Goyal, History of the Imperial Guptas, pp. 159-60.
92. JBORS, 1930, Vol. XVI, p. 460.
93. P.D. Agnihotri, op. cit. p. 277.
94. Vayu Purana, 78/23.
95. MBT, Karna Parva, 37/54.
may be a Sanskritised form of Bains, which, in Indian languages sounds like Bhains (buffallo). 96
Vikramarka Prabandha, included in Puratana Prabandha Sangraha says,
- अकार्षीद नृणामुर्वीं विक्रमादित्य भूपति: ।
- स्वर्णे प्राप्ते तु हैरकंस्तुरष्क कुलितां व्याधात ।।
- हूणवंशे समुत्पन्नो विक्रमादित्य भूपति: ।
- गन्धर्व सैन तनय: पृथ्वीम् नृणाम् व्याधात् ।।
See also Vridhavadi Suri Charita (I77-179) under Prabhavaka Charita and Jiva Suri Charita (71-75) included in the same collection.
What is the meaning of calling Vikramaditya as a Huna and son of Gandharva Sena? It is to be noted that Samudragupta was very fond of, and an expert in, playing various musical instruments, as is clear from his coins. There is no wonder, therefore that he has been called Gandharva Sena, because this art is especially associated with the Gandharvas. And it is impossible to believe that an Indian writer shall call a national hero of their history's golden period as a Huna, unless it is the truth !
Elliot and Dowson, have given an extract from Mujmalut Tawarikh. As per these extracts the king of India, who was contemporary of Alexandar the Great is named as Kafand.98 Buddha Prakash has identified this K-afand with Chandragupta Maurya, perhaps because of the mention of Alexander as his contemporary. But his son is named Ayand, and his son is named as Rāsal. This Rasal had two sons named Rāwwal and Barkamaris. Now Rawwal and Barkamaris have been identified with Rama gupta and Chandragupta Vikramaditya. This is on account of the story of Dhruva Devi who was married to Vikramaditya after he killed his elder brother Ramagupta. This story also comes in the said Tawarikh.
Thus the mention of Alexander makes this king Kafand identical with Chandragupta Maurya but the mention of Rawwal and Barkamaris shows that he was identical with Chandragupta I of the Dharan dynasty. Obviously, there is mixing of facts by the
96. ASI, 1971-73, Vol. VI, P. 47.
97. ASI, 1871-73, Vol. VI, p. 139.
98. Elliot & Dawson, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 108;
author of the Tawarikh. Our purpose, however, is to show that in either case, this king Kafand was a foreigner and came to rule over India:, starting from Punjab, Sindh, etc. To quote from the Tawarikh, "this Kafand was not a Hindu, but through his kindly disposition and equity all became obedient to him. He made fine speeches and praised the Hindus and their country. He raised their hopes by his virtues, and realised them by his deeds".99
Although we feel that this Kafand has to be identified with Chandragupta Maurya and we have dealt with this piece of evidence while dealing With the Mauryas, it is siguificant that he is expressly mentioned as a non-Hindu and non-Indian. This piece of evidence also supports our view that like Chandragupta Maurya, the so-called Guptas were also outsiders who had entered India as conquerors and finally established empires.
The following quotes taken from an article by R.S. Sharma in Central Asia, also prove the foreign nature of the Kushana and the Gupta rulers. "The Kushanas were skilled horsemen, Usingg reins, saddles and possibly some kind of stirrups. Horseriding had been introduced into China earlier, and to facilitate it, a Han Law of 122 B.C. required horsemen to wear trousers. The Kushana coins and sculptures clearly show that boots, tunics and trousers formed the essential equipment of the Kusana horsemen who were good archers. Their love of horses is indicated by the coins of Miaus, Soter Megas, Kaniska I, Huviska and Vasudeva. Since the Kushana ruled almost over the whole of northern India for about two centuries, they popularised the use of horsemen. From their period onwards cavalry assumed a dominant role in India.... Coins show that the Gupta horse-riders Wore tunics fastened by belts, helmets, trousers and buttoned-up boots; and all these came from Central Asia. Possibly the Gupta soldiers learnt the use of long swords fitted with scabbards from the Kushanas. The Guptas also used armoured, caprisoned horses fitted With some kind of stirrups, which Were borrowed from their Central Asian predecessors. Their seals and inscriptions speak of Asvapati, Mhasvapati and Bhatasvapati, which stand for captains of horsemen and testify to the growing importance ofcavalry."100
100. Central Asia, 1971, p. 175.
Here R. S. Sharma. too, is following the beaten path and fails to see that the evidence mentioned by him proves that the so-called Guptas were Central Asian Jats. It was not a case of imitation on the part of the so-called Guptas but all their actions, their dresses, their coins, their art and architecture and their religious habits, were brought by these emperors from Central Asia. The names of Asvapati and Mahasvapati as found in the inscriptions of this period are also foreign names. That is why Sharma says, "the reclining figurines, drummers, women with double-knobbed headddress, men with peaked caps, mother goddess with heavy breasts, and the devotees placed in the shrine of the mother goddess, are objects completely foreign to Indian tradition... A study of the dress and decoration of these figurines as well as the representaations on the coins demonstrates a change in the cultural traditions in so far as we find the trousers, chitons, himations, etc. in place of the dhoti, and the uttariya." 101
J.N. Banerjea says, "The extant sun images of north India dating from comparatively early period are characterised by some non-Indian features. The most important element in these alien traits is their udicyavesha (the dress of a northerner). It consists of a long heavy cloak covering practically the whole of the body, and some sort of 'boots' or 'leggings'. This type of garment, though not in vogue among the Indians of ancient times, was much in use among her early foreign rulers of the Saka, Pahlava and Kushana stocks. The headless inscribed statue of Maharajadhiraja Devaputra Kaniska in the Mathura Museum typifies this mode of dress, some not far distant copies of which can be recognised in such extant sun-icons of the Gupta period as the Bhumara Surya in the Indian Museum, Calcutta."102
Thus investigated from any angle, we find that the so-called 'Guptas' were Jats of the Dharan clan, from Mathura. Historians have no evidence against this view. The only adverse opinion is in fact not adverse at all as it is an opinion about the date of Kaurnudimahotsava, a book and it is rightly refuted that the villain of that drama, Chand Sen, can be identified with
101. ibid., p. 115.
102. IHQ, Vol. XXVIII, p. 1.
Chandragupta I. 103 In fact this literary piece has no connection whatsoever with history and Jayaswal's attempt to paint Chandragupta I in the darkest colour only to re-paint his successor in bright and lovely colours, is entirely baseless.104 The only other adverse view against this fact, based on the so-called Bhavishyottara Purana105 has been proved to be based on a forgery as the so called Purana is proved to have been false and forged in many aspects.106
Therefore, every piece of evidence, documentary, inscriptional, historical, literary and numismatic, besides dress, habits and customs, all point to one and only one conclusion, viz., that the so-called 'Guptas' were Jats, originally from Central Asia; and it is by their sheer political acumen and force of arms that they became kings of Magadh, ruling there for about three centuries. It is therefore, the duty of the historians, at least of those who believe in truth and justice to correct the false writings and nootions, and render unto Caesar, what is obviously his.
"The suggestions that the Bhara Sivas were responsible for the overthrow ofKushana supremacy in India and that the Dasasvamedha Ghat Banaras owes its name to the celebration of the ten horse sacrifices by the Bharasivas on that spot, may be regarded as fantastic." 107
103. IHQ, Vol. XIV, p. 582.
104. See N.N. Laws, !HQ, Vol. II, pt. 2 and 3; and /HQ, 1935, Vol. XX, pp. 145-46.
105. JBRS, Vol. XXX, p. 1.
106. R.C. Majumdar (IHQ, XX, p. 345); D.C. Sircar (JNS/, VI, p. 24 if); H.N. Dasgupta (lHQ, XX, p. 351). have proved that the Bhavi$ayottara PurcuJa is "a palpable modern forgery". Even P .L. Gupta, who earlier accepted its authenticity (JNS!, II pp. 33-36) later declined to accept its testimony (IHQ XXII p. 60).
107. Majumdar & Pusalkar, A/V, p. 169.
108. ibid., p. 169.
The real cause of the decline of Kusana power is 'the division of power between the joint rulers as well as the personal incapacity of fhe successors of Kaniska to exercise control over the outlying provinces'.109
This goddess, Nana/Nina/Naina/Nannai, is at least 4,000 years old and originally was a Babylonian goddess. Her statue was installed in a temple at Uruk (the Uruga desha of the Puranas ?). In 2287 B.C. she was carried off to Susa, after the defeat of Babylonia, 1,635 years later, i.e. 652 B.C. Asur Banipal sacked Susa and took away the statue of the goddess back to Uruk, and installed her in her own temple.
According to J. Allan (Gupta Coins Intra- p. XXIX) we have considerable evidence to show that in the early centuries of the Christian era, the Murunda kingdom was a powerful one covering the greater part of the Ganga valley and that the dynasty was a foreign one. 111
According to Junagarh inscription, Rudradaman attended several Svayamvaras (a lady choosing her own husband) and won the hearts of a number of princesses".112 Did he 'win' the daughters of foreigners only? As per Hiuen- Tsang, Mihirakula married a daughter of Baladitya, king of Magadha.
109. ibid, p. 168, note.
111. B.N. Puri, India Under the Kusanas, p. 51.
112. AIU, p. 185.
An inscription of 1118 A.D. (Ep. Carnatica Shikarpur 117) says, "From a drop of sweat from the broad forehead of Hara, in the ground under a Kadamtsa tree, sprang Kadamba with four long arms and an eye in the forehead, like another Purari (Shiv). From him was born king Mayura Varman, also named Mayura Sarman, i.e. both a Brahman and Kshatriya".114
Historians take Sriguta, Sanskritised into Srigupta, as the originator of the Gupta kings. But even in Chinese Turkestan we find Sriguta as a personal name.115
113. PHAI, p. 363, note 3.
114. D. D. Kosambi, Indica, 1953, Silver Jubilee issue, p. 202.
115. T. Barrow, op. cit., p. 23,S.N., 130.