Sugh

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Location of Jagadhri in Yamunanagar District

Sugh is a village in tahsil Jagadhari of Yamunanagar district in Haryana.

Location

It is in south of Buria.

Mention by Panini

Sraughnah (श्रौघ्न:) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [1]

Hstory

V S Agarwal [2] writes that Panini takes Bhakti to denote loyalty of the citizen to the State either a kingdom or a republic. The Kashika mentions, as examples of this kind of Bhakti or loyalty, 1. Angaka, 2. Vangaka, 3. Sauhmaka, 4. Paundraka, 5. Madraka, 6. Vrijika. We may also consider as Sraughnaḥ, Māthuraḥ, one owing loyalty (bhakti) to the township of Srughna, Mathura, as indicative of the civic devotion of a citizen to his city.


Xuanzang travelled up the river to Shrughna, also mentioned in the works of Udyotakara, before crossing eastward to Matipura, where he arrived in 635, having crossed the river Ganges.

It was known as Srughna or Sugana in ancient times and was an old Capital of Ancient Punjab.[3]

According to Siddhartha Gauri [4] the best findings about Buddhism are in Haryana. There were as many as 14 such Buddhist sites in Haryana. His research further revealed that Buddhism was in full influence in Haryana from King Ashoka’s era tifi the rule of king Harsh Vardhana who ruled over a vast area of North India in the 7th century Buddhism dominated the area and it flourished and prevailed in Haryana uptifi the 14th century. According to a report, Haryana was an important centre of Buddhism. The foundation of Buddhism inthe state was laid by Lord Buddha himself when he set his foot in Sugh village of Haryana, 5 km from Yamunanagar. Lord Buddha delivered his sermon here. Though the structural evidence is lost, but coins and figurines depict a picture of Sugh as a centre of learning as important as Taxila and Patliputra of that time. Both the Chinese traveler Huen Tsang and Sanskrit grammarian Panini also rated Sugh as one of the highly civilized and developed villages of that time. The highly evolved people of different faiths- the Buddhist, Jains and Hindus, were engaged in their intellectual activities and lived harmoniously.

Visit by Xuanzang in 635 AD

Alexander Cunningham[5] writes that On leaving Thanesar, Hwen Thsang at first proceeded to the south for about 100 li, or 16⅔ miles, to the Kiu-hoen-cha, or Gokantha monastery, which has not yet been identified, but it is probably Gunana, between Vyasthali and Nisang, 17 miles to the south-south-west of Thanesar. I am obliged to notice this monastery as it is the starting-point from which Hwen Thsang measures his next journey of 400 li, or 66⅔ miles, to Su-lu-kin-na or Srughna, which makes the distance between Thanesar and Srughna just 50 miles.[6] Now Sugh, the place which I propose to identify with the capital of Srughna, is only 38 or 40 miles from Thanesar ; but as it agrees exactly in name, and corresponds generally in other particulars, I am quite satisfied that Hwen Thsang's recorded distance must be erroneous, although I am unable to suggest any probable rectification of his figures. The true distance is about 300 li, or 50 miles, from the Gokantha monastery.

The Sanskrit name of the country is Srughna, which in the spoken dialects becomes Sughan and Sugh, as it


[p.346]: is called at the present day. The village of Sugh occupies one of the most remarkable positions that I met with during the whole course of my researches. It is situated on a projecting triangular spur of high land, and is surrounded on three sides by the bed of the old Jumna, which is now the western Jumna canal. On the north and west faces it is further protected by two deep ravines, so that the position is a ready-made stronghold, which is covered on all sides, except the west, by natural defences. In shape it is almost triangular, with a large projecting fort or citadel at each of the angles. The site of the north fort is now occupied by the castle and village of Dyalgarh. The village of Mandalpur stands on the site of the south-east fort, and that of the south-west is unoccupied. Each of these forts is 1500 feet long, and 1000 feet broad, and each face of the triangle which connects them together is upwards of half a mile in length, that to the east being 4000, and those to the north-west and south-west 3000 feet each. The whole circuit of the position is therefore 22,000 feet, or upwards of 4 miles, which is considerably more than the 3½ miles of Hwen Thsang's measurement. But as the north fort is separated from the main position by a deep sandy ravine called the Rohara Nala, it is possible that it may have been unoccupied at the time of the pilgrim's visit. This would reduce the circuit of the position to 19,000 feet, or up wards of 3½ miles, and bring it into accord with the pilgrim's measurement. The small tillage of Sugh occupied the west side of the position, and the small town of Buriya lies immediately to the north of Dyalgarh. The occupied houses, at the time of my visit, were as follows: — Mandalpur 100, Sugh 125,


[p.347]: Dyalgarh 150, and Buriya 3500, or altogether 3875 houses, containing a population of about 20000 soul.

Of Sugh itself the people have no special traditions, hut of Mandar, or Mandalpur, they say that it formerly covered an extent of 12 kos, and included Jagadri and Chaneti on the west, with Buriya and Dyalgarh to the north. As Jagadri lies 3 miles to the west, it is not possible that the city could have extended so far ; hut we may reasonably admit that the gardens and summer-houses of the wealthier inhabitants may once possibly have extended to that distance.

At Chaneti, which lies 2 miles to the north-west, old coins are found in considerable numbers ; but it is now entirely separated from Buriya and Dyalgarh by a long space of open country. The same coins are found in Sugh, Mandalpur, and Buriya. They are of all ages, from the small Dilials of the Chohan and Tomar Rajas of Delhi to the square punch-marked pieces of silver and copper, which are certainly as old as the rise of Buddhism in 500 B.C., and which were probably the common currency of Northern India as early as 1000 B.C. With this undoubted evidence in favour of the antiquity of the place, I have no hesitation in identifying Sugh with the ancient Srughna.

The importance of the position is shown by the fact that it stands on the high-road leading from the Gangetic Doab, via Mirat, Saharanpur, and Ambala, to the Upper Punjab, and commands the passage of the Jumna. By this route Mahmud of Ghazni returned from his expedition to Kanoj ; by this route Timur returned from his plundering campaign at Haridwar ; and by this route Baber advanced to the conquest of Dehli.

According to Hwen Thsang, the kingdom of Srughna


[p.348]: was 6000 li, or 1000, miles in circuit. On the east it extended to the Ganges, and on the north to a range of lofty mountains, while the Jumna flowed through the midst of it. From these data it would appear that Srughna must have comprised the hill states of Sirmor and Garhwal, lying between the Giri river and the Ganges, with portions of the districts of Ambala and Saharanpur in the plains. But the circuit of this tract does not exceed 500 miles, which is only one half of Hwen Thsang's estimate. His excess I would attribute chiefly to the difference between direct measurements on the map, and the actual road distances in a mountainous country. This would increase the boundary line by about one-half, and make the whole circuit 750 miles, which is still far short of the pilgrim's estimate. But there is an undoubted error in his distance between the Jumna and the Ganges, which he makes 800 li, or 133 miles, instead of 300 li, or 50 miles, which is the actual distance between the two rivers from the foot of the hills down to the parallel of Delhi. As it is probable that this mistake was doubled by applying the same exaggerated distance to the northern frontier also, its correction is of importance, as the double excess amounts to 167 miles. Deducting this excess, the circuit of Srughna will be only 833 miles according to Hwen Thsang's estimate, or within 83 miles of the probable measurement.

Probable age of the Stupa of Bharhut

The probable age of the Stupa of Bharhut which Cunningham has assigned to the Asoka period or somewhere between 250 and 200 B.C. Bharhut was on the high road between Ujjain and Bhilsa in the south, and Kosambi and Sravasti in the north, as well as Pataliputra in the east. On this line at a place called Rupnath, only 60 miles from Bharhut, there is a rock inscription of Asoka himself. As he was governor of Ujjain during his father's lifetime Asoka must often have passed along this road, on which it seems only natural to find the Stupas of Bhilsa, the rock inscription of Rupnath, the Stupa of Bharhut, and the Pillar of Prayaga or Allahabad ; of which two are actual records of his own, while the inscriptions on the Railings of the Stupas show that they also must belong to his age.

The inscription of Raja Dhanabhuti, the munificent donor of the East Gateway of the Stupa — and most probably of the other three Gateways also. In his inscription he calls himself the Raja of Sugana, which is most likely intended for Sughna or Srughna, an extensive kingdom on the upper Jumna. I have identified the capital of Srughna, with the modem village of Sugh which is situated in a bend of the old bed of the Jumna, close to the large town of Buriya. Old coins are found on this site in considerable numbers. In this inscription on the East Gateway at Bharhut Raja Dhanabhuti calls himself the son of Aga Raja and the grandson of Viswa Deva, and in one of the Rail-bar inscriptions we find that Dhanabhuti's son was named Vādha Pala. Now the name of Dhanabhuti occurs in one of the early Mathura inscriptions which has been removed to Aligarh. The stone was originally a corner pillar of an enclosure with, sockets for rails on two adjacent faces, and sculptures on the other two faces. The sculpture on the uninjured face represents Prince Siddhartha leaving Kapilavastu on his horse Kanthapa, whose feet are upheld by four Yakshas to prevent the clatter of their hoofs from awakening the guards. On the adjacent side is the inscription placed above a Buddhist Railing. At some subsequent period the Pillar was pierced with larger holes to receive a set of Rail-bars on the inscription face. One of these holes has been cut through the three upper lines of the inscription, but as a few letters still remain on each side of the hole it seems possible to restore some of the missing letters. We read the inscription as follows :

1. Kapa (Dhana)

2. Bhutisa * * * Vatsi

3. Putrasa (Vadha Pa) lasa

4. Dhanabhutisa dānam Vedika

5. Torana cha Ratnagraha sa —

6. -va Buddha pujāye sahā māta pi-

7. -tā ki sahā* chatuha parishāhi.

There can be little doubt that this inscription refers to the family of Dhanabhuti of Bharhut, as the name of Vātsi putra of the Mathura pillar is the Sanskrit form of the Vāchhi putra of the Bharhut Pillar. This identification is further confirmed by the restoration of the name of Vādha Pāla, which exactly fits the vacant space in the third line. From this record, therefore, we obtain another name of the same royal family in Dhanabhuti II., the son of Vadha Pala, and . grandson of Dhanabhuti I. Now in this inscription all the letters have got the matras, or heads, which are found in the legends of the silver coins of Amoghabhuti, Dara Grhosha, and Varmmika. The inscription cannot, therefore, so far as we at present know, be dated earlier than B.C. 150. Allowing 30 years to a generation, the following will be the approximate dates of the royal family of Srughna :

  • B.C. 300. Viswa Deva.
  • B.C. 270, Aga Raja.
  • B.C. 240. Dhanabhuti I.
  • B.C. 210. Vadha Pala.
  • B.C. 180. Dhanabhuti II.
  • B.C.150. -------------

Now we learn from Vadha Pala's inscription, Plate LVI., No. 54, that he was only a Prince (Kumara) the son of the Baja Dhanabhuti, when the Railing of the Bharhut Stupa was set up. We thus arrive at the same date of 240 to 210 B.C. as that previously obtained for the erection of the magnificent Gateways and Railing of the Bharhut Stupa. To a later member of this family I would ascribe the well-known coins of Raja Amogha-bhuti, King of the Kunindas, which are found most plentifully along the upper Jumma, in the actual country of Srughna. His date, as I have already shown, must be about B.C. 150, and he will therefore follow immediately after Dhana-bhuti II. I possess also two coins of Raja Bala-bhuti, who was most probably a later member of the same dynasty. But besides these I have lately obtained two copper pieces of Aga Raja, the father of Dhana-bhuti I. One of these was found at Sugh, the old capital of Srughna, and the other at the famous city of Kosambi, about 100 miles to the north of Bharhut.


Note - This section is from The stūpa of Bharhut: a Buddhist monument ornamented with numerous sculptures by Alexander Cunningham 1879, pp.14-17

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References

  1. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.431
  2. V S Agarwal, India as Known to Panini,p.430-431
  3. Suraj Bhan : "Srughna or Sugh : An old Capital of Ancient Punjab" Visveshwaranand Indological Journal, Vol. V, Pt. I, March 1967, pp. 84-89.
  4. Reviving Buddhist Heritage, Culture : Haryana Review, October 2011
  5. The Ancient Geography of India/Central India, p.345-348
  6. Julien's 'Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 215. See Map No. X.

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