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Shankaravarman (शंकरवर्मन) (A.D. 883 to 901)[1] was an Utpal clan ruler of Kashmir in 9th century. He was son of Avantivarman. Gopalavarmma was son of Shankaravarman.


Rajatarangini[2] tells us that ....Udaya who worked hard, until he fainted, in collecting an army, heard that in the town of Shankaravarmma, Lothana had joined Alankarachakra, and he also heard that Vigraharaja, son of king Sussala, and Bhoja, son of Salhana,had come with Lothana. Then when their insurrection had gained strength, Udaya hurriedly marched in one day over the road which is traversed in many days. The Damara (Alankarachakra), unable to take possession of Kantha with his own party, was at a loss, and on being checked in his movements by Udaya's attack, he fled and took shelter in the fort of Shirahshila, situated on the banks of the Sindhu, where the Madhumati also flowed with its pearl like beauty. (p.223)

The Genealogy of Utpala dynasty

The Genealogy of Utpala dynasty is: Utpalaka or UtpalaSukhavarmanAvantivarman (855) → Shankaravarman (A.D. 883 to 901) → Raja ParthUnmattavanti (937 AD)

Rajatarangini on Shankaravarman

Rajatarangini[3] writes that On death of Avantivarman all the members of the family of Utpala aspired to the throne. But Ratnavardhana the Royal guard raised Shankaravarmma, son of the late king, to the throne. The minister Karnapavinnāpa became envious, and raises Sukhavarmma the son of Suravarmma to the dignity of heir-apparent and so the king and the heir-apparent became enemies to each other, and consequently the kingdom was frequently disturbed by their quarrels. Shivashakti and other warriors refused offers of wealth, honor, &c, from the opposite party, and remained faithful to their master, and died for him. Honorable men never desert their party. After much trouble the king prevailed at last. He defeated Samaravarmma and others, on several occasions, and acquired great fame.

Having thus beaten and subjugated his own relatives,he made preparations for foreign conquests. Though the country was weak in population, he was able to set out with nine hundred thousand foot, three hundred elephants, and one hundred thousand horse. He, whose command had been ill obeyed in his own kingdom a short while before, now began to pass orders on kings.

[p.116]: His army was joined by the forces of tributary kings, and increased as he went on. On his approach the king of Darvabhisara fled in terror and there was no fighting. The Kashmirian army caught several lions and confined them in a fort, a sort of abode in which they had never lived before. The king then marched for the conquest of Gurjjara. Prithivi-chandra the king of Trigarta hid himself, but his son Bhuvanachandra, on whom the king of Kashmira had bestowed wealth before, came to pay homage. But when he saw the large army of Kashmira, he became afraid of being captured, and accordingly turned and fled. The king of Kashmira, whom the historians describe as a very handsome man, was regarded by other kings as Death. Shankaravarmma easily defeated Alakhāna king of Gurjjara who ceded Takka a part of his kingdom to his conqueror. The king of the Thakkiyaka family took service as guard under the king of Kashmira. The latter caused the kingdom of the Thakkiya king which had been usurped by the king of Bhoja to be restored to him. The king of the country which lay between Darat and Turushka, (as the Aryavarta lies between Himalaya and Vindhya,) Lalliya Shahi by name, who was among kings even as the sun is among stars, and was also lord over Alakhāna, did not submit to the king of Kashmira, on which the latter drove him out of his country.

After his conquest, Shankaravarmma returned to his country, and built a town named after him in the

[p.117]: province of Panchasattra. In that beautiful town he also set up two images of Shiva, Shankaragaurisha and Sugandhesha — the former named after himself, and the latter after his queen Sugandha, daughter of Shrisvami, king of Udakpatha. One Nayaka, a learned man, built another temple to Sarasvati in tha neighbourhood of the above mentioned temples. Poots purloin from each other's poetry, and the great rob other men of their properties and thereby increase the beauties of their own works. In order to adorn this new-built town, tho king conveyed into it beautiful things from Parihasapura. The salo of beasts for which the town of tho Pattavas was celebrated, now went on in this new-built city. Ratnavardhana the minister, who had raised tho present king to the throne, set up a Shiva named Shriratnavardhana. It is strange that the king who had once done glorious acts, now began to do things which were evil. He became avaricious, and began to oppress his subjects. His treasury was empty, and in order to meet the heavy expenses of his luxury, he at last, and after consultation with his advisers, commenced to plunder the temples. He raised money from towns, houses, and villages, and created two offices named Attapatibhaga and Grihakritya.* He cunningly appropriated the money which was set apart for the purchase of incense and oil for the use of the temples. And

* The duty of these officers appears to have been to help him in his extortion. According to Dr. Goldstucker they were revenue officers in Kashmira where duties were levied on perfumes, sandal wood, oil &c. The Sector regards the offices m one and tho game.

[p.118]: on pretence of superintending temples he plundered sixty-four of them through their headmen. He took lease of villages attached to tho temples, but appropriated all the income without paying anything to the gods. The king gave only one-fourth of what had hitherto been given annually to the courtiers for the cost of their food, blanket &c. ; and this was more than what he wished to give. When he found village officers absent from their posts, he fined them one year's pay through the respectable persons of the villages. He also fined innocent rural officers their year's pay. Thus he introduced heavy and impoverishing imposts in villages ; these imposts were of thirteen sorts. He impoverished villages by collecting the monthly salaries of his Kayasthas who were given to cruel extractions, and by various other means. From the savings made by reducing gifts to temples as also from the fine imposed on villages, he managed his household expenditure. He established five camps and a sixth named Lavata the principal treasury, on spots where the various industries of the country were carried on.

When the subjects were thus severely oppressed, the king's son Gopalavarmma, took compassion on the people and one day thus spoke to his father : — "O father ! the boon which you promised to grant me before, and you are a truthful man, I ask of you now. The steps which you have adopted through the advice of Kayasthas, hardly leave any hope or means to your subjects to live upon. It is 'not

[p.119]: likely that any good will come to you in this or in tho next world from your tyranny. Who can say what effect these oppressive acts may bring in the future world? But in the present world there is nothing but mischief. People suffer from the avarice of kings more than from famine, disease, &c. When the king is avaricious, no one wishes for his welfare. Charity and kind words can conquer the world, but avarice destroys charity and kindness. The avarice of kings destroys their beauty, length of reign and power. The inheritors of an economical man thrive ; but no servant will do good to him, who is not grateful. Even his own men try to kill him who has gathered immense wealth. What unpleasant things may not be effected by avarice, — as by enemies? Avarice is tho cause of disgrace to kings, so desist from snob, avarice." Having heard the gentle words of the prince the king smiled and calmly replied " your advice against tyranny has roused in me the feeling I felt of yore. When I was young like you, I was a prince, and, like you, loved the subjects. According to my father's direction, I used to wear iron mail in summer, in winter I could not wear warm clothes, and was made to go about with my feet bare. Hunters who used to go before me, saw me walking by my horse, my feet torn with thorns, and eyes filled with tears, and spoke ill of my father. But my father said that he had risen to the dignity of a king from a low position, and that he knew how,to appreciate the labors of those who served in

[p.120]: different capacities ; and that after undergoing such pain myself I should be able to know the sufferings of others, which otherwise I should never be able to appreciate, being born rich. I, who have thus been schooled by my father in hardships, am now oppressing my people after getting the kingdom. As the sentient being, when born, forgets the pain which it felt when in the womb. when so the king, after getting a kingdom, forgets the thoughts , he used to entertain before. Therefore, grant me a boon that after getting the kingdom you will not be more oppressive than I am. When the king had said thus, the courtiers who were there, smiled and looked on the prince, who held down his face in shame.

The king was unwilling to make presents and there-fore kept himself aloof from the company of learned men, while Bhallata and other minor poets attended his court. Good poets did not get any pay from him, but Bharikolavata used to get two thousand dinnaras as his salary. The fact of the king's birth in a family of Kalpapāla was betrayed by his vulgar words which were like those of a drunkard. His venerable looking minister Sukharaja behaved like an actor on the stage, in order to do things according to the wishes of the bad king. The king fearing a rebellion, killed during night the innocent and heroic chief of Dārviābhisāra, Naravahana and his servants. Twenty or thirty of this wicked king's sons died without any disease, through the curse of his subjects. Kings who oppress their subjects lose their

[p.121]: wives and children, wealth and life in a moment ; and I shall narrate hereafter, how even his name has been lost by his cruel deeds.

He built a town named Pattana, and made his minister Sukharaja's nephew (sister's son) lord of Dvara, but that man lost his life at Bīrānaka through his own carelessness. This incensed the king, and he marched upon, and devastated Biranaka, and entered Uttarapatha. He conquered many kingdoms on the banks of the Indus, and when the affrighted people of those places submitted, he returned.

Death: When he was entering Urasha with the inhabitants of the place, and his army lay encamped, an arrow of a hunter came from the top of a hill and accidentally pierced his throat. When on the point of death, he ordered his faithful men to lead back tho army to his country. He was carried on a karniratha. His sight became dim, but he knew his weeping queen Sugandha, by her voice, entrusted to her care his boy Gopalavarmma, and expired as the arrow was extracted from the wound. His death happened on the way, on the 7th day of the dark fortnight of the moon in the month of Phalguna, in the year 77 of the Kashmirian era.

Sukharaja and others safely conducted the army through the hostile countries, concealing the fact of the king's death. By some contrivance made by means of a cord, the king's dead body was made to bend to the feudatory princes who bowed to him. After sis days the

[p.122]: array reached Vallāsaka, a place within the Kashmirian territory, where being free from fear, they performed the funeral rites of their dead king. Surendravati and two other queens perished on the funeral pyre, as also the grateful Valavitu and able Jayasinha, and two servants Lāda and Vajrasāra. Thus perished seven persons in the flame.

Rajatarangini[4] tells.... Udaya who worked hard, until he fainted, in collecting an army, heard that in the town of Shankaravarmma, Lothana had joined Alankarachakra, and he also heard that Vigraharaja, son of king Sussala, and Bhoja, son of Salhana,had come with Lothana. Then when their insurrection had gained strength, Udaya hurriedly marched in one day over the road which is traversed in many days. The Damara (Alankarachakra), unable to take possession of Kantha with his own party, was at a loss, and on being checked in his movements by Udaya's attack, he fled and took shelter in the fort of Shirahshila, situated on the banks of the Sindhu, where the Madhumati also flowed with its pearl like beauty. (p.223)

Rajatarangini[5] tells....Bhaṅgileya and other Damaras meditated an attack on the town of Shankaravarmma from the Kshiptika to the Samala. Trillaka and others calculated that they would reach the banks of the great river, and that the Damaras of Nilashva would commence hostility outside the town. (p.289)

उत्पल - उप्पल गोत्र का इतिहास

कैप्टन दलीप सिंह अहलावत[6] ने उत्पल-उप्पल गोत्र का इतिहास वर्णन इस प्रकार किया है।

अवन्तिवर्मन: इस उत्पल जाट राजवंश का महाराजा अवन्तिवर्मन कश्मीर नरेश सम्वत् 912 (855 ई०) में सम्पूर्ण डोगरा प्रदेश पर शासन करता था।

शंकरवर्मन: उसके पश्चात् इसके पुत्र राजा शंकरवर्मन शासक हुए, जिसके पास एक लाख घुड़सवार, 9 लाख पैदल सैनिक और 300 हाथियों की सेना थी। इसने विक्रमी संवत् 959 (902 ई०) तक अनेक विजययात्राओं में मन्दिरों को भी लूटा।

राजा पार्थ: इसके पुत्र राजा पार्थ के शासनकाल में अकाल के कारण मरने वालों की लाशों से जेहलम नदी का जल देर तक श्रीनगर को दुर्गन्धित किए रहा था। इस राजा पार्थ ने प्रजा से साधारण ऊंचे दर पर सम्पूर्ण अनाज मोल लेकर सैंकड़ों गुने ऊंचे दर से बेचा। उसने बड़ी प्रसन्नतायुक्त उत्सुकता से अपने महलों के पास दम तोड़ते अपनी प्रजा को देखा।

उन्मत्तवन्ति: वि० सम्वत् 994 (937 ई०) में इसके पुत्र उन्मत्तवन्ति ने तो क्रूरताओं की एक ऐसी सीमा स्थिर की जिसे अभी तक कोई न लांघ सका। इन अत्याचारों व क्रूरता के कारण इस राजवंश का अन्त हो गया।

जाटों और खत्रियों में इस वंश की समान रूप से संख्या है। वीर योद्धा हरीसिंह नलवा इसी वंश के महापुरुष थे (इसकी जीवनी देखो, पंजाब केसरी महाराजा रणजीतसिंह प्रकरण)।

उत्पल जाटों ने बीकानेर के पास बड़ी खाटू के समीप पलाना गांव बसाया। उस गांव के बाद अन्य स्थानों पर बसने वाले उन जाटों ने अपना परिचय पिलानिया नाम से देना आरम्भ कर दिया।

इस वंश का बांहपुर बहुत ऊंचा घराना है, जो कुचेसर भरतपुर के वैवाहिक सम्बन्धों से जातीय जगत् में विशेष प्रसिद्ध हुआ। यहां के राजा कर्णसिंह ने वैधानिक रीति से ऊंचा गांव इस्टेट की स्थापना की। वहां पर कुं० सुरेन्द्रपालसिंह जी (बहनोई महाराजा भरतपुर) ने एक नया किला और दर्शनीय राजमहल बनवाया। उप्पल-उत्पल जाटों की सिक्खों में बहुसंख्या है।


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