|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)|
Variants of name
- Kulina/Kulīna (कुलीन) = of eminent family
- Mahākula (महाकुल)
- Mahākulīna (महाकुलीन)
- Rajakula (राजकुल) = royal family
Mention by Panini
V. S. Agrawala writes about Family (Kula) (कुल) - The family was considered to be fundamental unit or nucleus of society in ancient India. Society was an aggregate of families, each comprising several members under the headship of the father, or in his absence elder brother, and as far as possible partaking a common household. Panini calls family a Kula (IV.1.139, IV.2.96).
The word Kulīna (कुलीन) ‘of eminent family’ (IV.1.139) indicated high descent. The epithet Mahākula was indicative of still higher family status. Panini refers to the members of these distinguished families as Mahākulīna, and Mahākula (IV.1.141).
V. S. Agrawala writes Kula – The phrase Gana-Rajakula used in connection with Sangha of the Vrijis shows that political Sangha called Gana was composed of various Rajakulas or royal families and that the heads of these Rajakulas constituted the governing body of that Gana. This is confirmed by the Mahabharata which says that the members of Gana were equals of one another in respect of birth and family (Shantiparva, 107.30). Kautilya also states that Kula was the unit of a Sangha.
The Kula basis of the tribes appears to be vitally connected with a number of Paninian Sutras dealing with Gotrāpatya and yuvan descendants. Apart from those names which were Rishi gotras Panini also includes a number of tribal names in the lists dealt with in the Gotrapatya chapter. For example, in the very first sutra (IV.1.98) Kunja and Bradhna were not names of Rishi Gotra but of Vrātas, a class of rudimentary Sanghas of the Ayudhajivi pattern (V.3.113). The need for distinguishing the gotra-descendant from the yuvan-descendants should be understood clearly. In-fact in the social as well as political sphere, the family was the unit of representation, which was exercised through the head of each family, called Kula-vriddha (Shantiparva, 107.27). In grammatical literature, Panini refers to him as Vriddha, which was a pre-paninian term for Gotra. Panini in his grammar substituted Vriddha mostly by Gotra, stating that all the descendants of an ancestor in a family except the son of the founder were called Gotra (Apatyaṁ pautra-prabhṛiti gotram, IV.1.162).
[p.430]: During his life time the eldest male member who represented the family was the Gotra and the junior members were called Yuvan. Panini also uses a third term, viz. Vaṁśya, to designate him; this also appears to be a pre-paninian saṁjñā incidentally retained (IV.1.163).
Each individual was given his personal name and a Gotra name. The latter came in for special attention of grammarians owing to its importance in social and political life. According to Panini only one member in the family at a time was to retain the title Gotra, the rest were Yuvan. This implies that only one person, usually the oldest male member, represented his Kula on all important occasions and functions.
This family basis of Gana polity preserved the hereditary character of its ruler-ship vesting in the same families. The number and names of these families comprising the ruling class were carefully preserved as in the case of Lichchhavis whose number is stated 7707 in Pali literature. In the capital of Cheta state mention is made of 60000 khattiyas all of whom were styled Rājāno (Jat. VI.511), and must have represented so many Kshatriya members constituting that State. The craze for constituting new republics had reached its climax in the Vahika country and north-west India where clans consisting of as many as one hundred families only organized as Ganas, as in the case of 100 sons of Savitrri establishing themselves as Kshatriya clan under Saviti-putras with the title of Raja applied to each one of them (Vanaparva 297.58, Karnaparva V.49, and Panini in Dāmanyādi group V.3.116).
James Todd  writes that Most of the kula (races) are divided into numerous branches (sakha), and these sakha subdivided into innumerable clans (gotra). Got, khanp, denote a clan ; its subdivisions have the patronymic terminating with the syllable ' ot,' 'awat,' 'sot,' in the use of which euphony alone is their guide : thus, Saktawat, ' sons of Sakta ' ; Kurmasot, ' of Kurma ' ; Mairawat, or mairot, mountaineers, ' sons of the mountains.' Such is the Greek Mainote, from maina, a mountain, in the ancient Albanian dialect, of eastern origin. A few of the kula never ramified : these are termed eka, or ' single ' ; and nearly one-third are eka.
ठाकुर देशराज ने लिखा है कि....गणराज्यों के सम्बन्ध का श्री जायसवालजी का विवेचन तथा उपर्युक्त वर्णन उनके (प्रजातंत्रों) शासन-सम्बन्धी बातों के जानने के लिए पर्याप्त है। यह सब वर्णन उन ग्रन्थों में संग्रह किया गया है, जो एकतंत्र की छाया में रहने वाले लोगों द्वारा लिखे गये थे। हिन्दू-ग्रन्थों में बहुत कम उनका जिक्र है। बौद्ध-ग्रन्थों में अवश्य कुछ अधिक है, किन्तु बौद्ध-ग्रन्थों के अनुशीलन की मर्यादा अभी सीमित है। ये प्रायः सभी गण समयानुसार ज्ञातिवाद की ओर झुकते गये और उनका एक संघ (जट) बन गया। हजारों वर्षों के बाद गणों से संगठित हुए, जट के लिये, सिर्फ इतनी दन्त-कथा शेष रह गई कि जाट गणों से हुए हैं और गण महादेव ने पैदा किये थे क्योंकि गणों के वास्तविक इतिहास से लोग अनभिज्ञ हो चुके थे। इसलिये गणराज्यों से बने हुए जाट को पौराणिक कल्पना के गण-व्यक्तियों के उत्तराधिकारी मान बैठे। अस्तु, हम जट (संघ) के थोड़े से उन गणों का ऐतिहासिक परिचय देते हैं जो कि अब केवल गौत्र या कुल के रूप मे जाटों में पाये जाते हैं।
- Tej Ram Sharma: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Names of Householders and Traders,p.72
- Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Monier Williams p.294, col 2.
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p. 93, 429, 430
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.509
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.505
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.93
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.64
- India as Known to Panini,p.93
- India as Known to Panini,p.429-430
- James Todd Annals/Chapter 7 Catalogue of the Thirty Six Royal Races,p.99
- Jat History Thakur Deshraj/Chapter V, p.160
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