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The Image of the Barbarian in Early India

  • Romila Thapar (a1)

The concept of the barbarian in early India arises out of the curious situation of the arrival of Indo-Aryan-speaking nomadic pastoralists in northern India who came into contact with the indigenous population (possibly the remnants of the urban civilization of the Indus) and regarded them as barbarians. The earliest distinction made by the Aryan speakers was a linguistic distinction and, to a smaller extent, a physical distinction. The Indo-Aryan speakers spoke Sanskrit whereas the indigenous peoples probably spoke Dravidian and Munda. However the distinction was not one of binary opposition—in fact it admitted to many nuances and degrees of variation, hence the complication of trying to trace the history of the concept. The distinction was rarely clearly manifest and based either on language, ethnic origins or culture. Political status, ritual status and economic power, all tended to blur the contours of the distinction. Added to this has been the confusion introduced by those who tend to identify language with race and who thereby see all speakers of Sanskrit as members of that nineteenth-century myth, the Aryan race.

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1 E.g. Caldwell , A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Family of Languages. Thus, all south Indian brāhmans who use Sanskrit were seen as originally Aryan.

2 The use of the word ‘Aryan’ in this article refers to those peoples who spoke an Indo-Aryan language. It has no ethnic connotation and is merely used as a more manageable form than the phrase ‘Aryan-speaking’ with which it is synonymous.

3 For a discussion of the nature and impact of Aryan culture on existing cultures in northern India, see Thapar Romila, Presidential Address, Ancient History Section, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, December 1969.

4 Categories of speech are demarcated in Vedic literature reflecting a considerable concern for the correctness of speech. Satapatha Brāhamaṇa, IV, 1, 3, 16; Samhita Kāṭhaka, I, 11, 5; Samhitā Talttiriya, VI, 4, 7, 3; Maitrāyanī Samhita, III, 6, 8.

5 The Nyāyamalavistāra. Maṇu, X, 43, distinguishes between mleccha-vāc and ārya-vāc.

4 Recent exponents of this view are the Finnish scholars, Parpola et al., who have made this identification basic to their reading of the Harappa script as proto-Dravidian, Decipherment of the Proto-Dravidian Inscriptions of the Indus Civilisation, Copenhagen, 1969. An even more recent reading is that of I. Mahadevan who reads two Harappan pictograms as *mil-ey which becomes *mil-ec which in turn becomes mleccha in Sanskrit, all of which mean ‘the resplendent ones’-the assumption being that this was the name by which the Harappan people called themselves. Journal of Tamil Studies, II, No. 1, 1970.

7 Vinaya Pifaka, III, 28.

8 Buddhaghoṣa's commentary explains it as ‘Andha ḍamil, ‘ādi’ The Jaimini Dharmasāstra gives a short list of mleccha words, I, 3, 10. These are all words used in the Dravidian languages, but are given in this text in a slightly Sanskritized form—pika, nema, ṡata, tamaras, meaning respectively, a bird, a half, a vessel, a red lotus. Pāṇini mentions that the affix an denoting descent occurs in the name of persons of the Andhaka, Vṛṡṇi or Kuru tribes, IV, 1, 115. The affix an in this context is characteristic of Dravidian languages.

9 Shafer R., Ethnography of Ancient India, p. 23.

10 Aṣṭadhyāyi , VII, 2, 18.

11 Bannerjee N. R., The Iron Age in India.

12 Such as mleccha-deśa (country), mleccha-bhāṣā (language), Mleccha-nivāha (horde), mleccha-bhojana (food-used by rice-eaters for non-rice-eaters, particularly those eating wheat), mleccha-vāc (speech).

13 Mahābhārata, XII, 207, 65.

14 Majjhima Nikāya, I, 128.

15 Ṛg Veda, III, 12, 6; II, 12, 4; III, 34, 9; V, 29, 10; IV, 16, 9; I, 33, 4; IV, 16, 3; X, 22, 8; II, 20, 8; VI, 20, 10.

16 Ṛg Veda, III, 34, 9; II, 24, 4; I, 104, 2. The word ‘Varṇa’ literally means ‘colour’ and came to be used for Varṇa society or caste society. The word Varṇa does not refer to the actual caste of a person but to a more broadly differentiated group which some writers mistook for caste. With the exception of the brāhmaṇs and the kṣatriyas the precise caste status of the other two groups was never uniform.

17 Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, III, 2, 1, 23; which reads, te'surā āttavacaso he'lavo he'lava Hi vadantah pārabābhabūḥ. The Kanva recension has a variant reading (Sacred Books of the East, XXVI; p. 31, n. 3) but the end result is similar.

18 Vyākaraṇa Mahābhasya, I, 1, 1, which reads, te'surā āttavacaso he'lavo he'lava Hi vadantah pārabābhabūḥ. In both cases the word for enemy, ari, uses T instead of the pure Indo-Aryan ‘r’ The Asuras here referred to are a puzzle. They are described as demons, but also as a maritime people whom the Aryans of the Ṛg Veda had to contend with. Were they the people of the Harappa Culture or were they a branch of the Aryans who came from the southern coast of Iran? Archaeological remains in Chota Nagpur are associated by the local tribes with the Asuras. Sastri Banerji, Journal of the Bihar Oriental Research Society, XII, pt. ii, 246 ff.

19 A characteristic of the Prakrit of eastern India as attested by the inscriptions of Aśoka is that the ‘r’ sound changes into ‘l’, Bloch J., Les Inscriptions d'Asoka, p. 112.

20 Maṇu, II, 23; X, 45.

21 Arya-varta was traditionally the region inhabited by t he āryas. Its precise geographical area is difficult to define as the concept was not static in history. Broadly speaking, however, the Ganges-Yamuna Doab and the plain of Kurukshetra to the north of Delhi would roughly correspond to ārya-varta, in the strict sense. Some texts extend the definition to include almost the entire Indo-Gangetic plain, e.g., Maṇu, II, 1774.

22 Viṣṇu, LXXXIV, 14.

23 Maṇu, X, 45, 57; speaks of ārya-vāc and ārya-rūpa (noble speech and noble visage) where ārya is used in an adjectival form. The Pali ayya or ajja carries the same sense. The antonym of anārya, dāsa or dasyu again carries the meaning of lacking in worthiness and respect and cannot be taken in an ethnic sense alone.

24 Aiyangar S. K., Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture, pp. 142.

25 Maṇu, X, 1012; 1617.

26 Others included the Āndhras, Ābhira, Pulinda, Khāsa, Magadha, Kirāta, Malla. Gautama Dharmaśāstra, IV, 4; Baudhāyana, I, 9, 3; Vasiṣṭha, XVIII, 9.

27 Gautama, IV, 15; Baudhāyana, I, 8, 8; Vasiṣṭha, XVIII, 1–6.

28 Maṇu, X, 39.

29 Aitereya Brāhmana, VII, 21; The Āmbaṣṭha tribe is frequently identified by modern scholars with the Ambastanoi of Arrian and the Sambastoi of Diodorus. Raichaudhury H. C., Political History of Ancient India, p. 255.

30 Taittereya Brāhmana, III, 8, 5.

31 Taittereya Samhita, I, 8, 9, 12; The suta was one of the ratnins at the rites of the vājapeya sacrifice.

32 Pāṇinī, II, 4, 10. Sharma R. S., Śudras in Ancient India, p. 125, suggests that originally they may have been an aboriginal tribe using their own dialect, the cāṇḍla-bhāsā.

33 Pañcavimśataka Brāhmaṇa, XVII, 1, 9; 53, 2. Ápastambha Dharmasūtra, XXII, 5, 4.

34 As for example the use Maṇu makes of the term vrātya-kṣsatriya or ‘degenerate kṣatriyas’ when describing the Greeks, or vrātya for those who have failed to fulfil their sacred duties, X, 20; II, 39.

35 Atharvaveda, XV.

36 Also included were the Bedar, Daśārna, Mātanga, Pundra, Lambakarna, Ekapāda, Yaksa, Kinnara, Klkafa, Niṣāda. Some of these are fanciful names—;Long-ears, Single-footed; some were celestial beings; but in the main both literature and epigraphs record the names of many of these tribal peoples.

37 Chanana D. R., Agriculture in the Ramayana.

38 Yāska in Nirukta, II, 2.Atharveda, V, 22, 14; Chāndogya Upaṇiṣad, VI. 14, 1, 2.

39 The western Ānavas were the Yaudheyas, Āmbasfha, Śibi, Sindhu, Sauvira, Kaikeya, Madra, Vrṣadarbha. The eastern Ānavas were the people of Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra and Suhma. It has been suggested that the names ending in anga are of Muṇdā origin and these tribes would therefore be pre-Aryan. Bagchi P. C., ed., Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian in India.

40 Aitereya Brāhmaṇa, VIII, 14, 23; Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, III, 2, 13, 15; Kausttaki Brāhmaṇa, VII, 6.

41 Sutta Atanatīya, Digha Nikāya, III, p. 199 ff.

42 Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇḍa, II, 19, 24; III, 59, 46. Vāyu, 91, 7; Matsya, 83, 34; 105, 20.

43 The Kuru tribe had a well-known status and antiquity. They acquired fame through the epic Mahābhārata which concerns a family feud between the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas, both members of the Kuru lineage. The Pañtcālas were a confederation of five tribes. According to bardic tradition the royal family of the Pañtcālas was an off-shoot of the Bharata family.

44 Lai B. B., ‘Further Copper Hoards from the Gangetic Basin …’, Ancient India, No. 7, 1951, pp. 20 ff.Gupta S. P., ‘Indian Copper Hoards’, Journal of the Bihar Research Society, XLIX, 1963, pp. 147 ff.

45 Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, I, 4, 1, 10.

46 Atharvaveda, XV, 2, 14; Baudhāyana Dharmasūtra, I, 1, 32–3; Maṇu, X, 11.

47 Texts as late as the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa and t he Yajnavalkya Smrti, III, 292, repeat the need for the prayaicitta.

48 Prajñapaṇa Upanga, p. 397; Acāranga Sūtra, II, 3, 1; II, 11, 17.

49 Anguttara Nikāya, I, 213. The sixteen mahājanapadas or major states are listed as Gandhāra, Kāmboja, Kuru, Pañcāla, Surasena, Matsya, Kosala, Kāśi, Malla, Vrjji, Magadha, Anga, Vatsa, Cedi, Āvanti, Asmaka.

50 Sammoha-vinodani, Vibhanga commentary, 388; Manorathapurāṇi, Anguttara Commentary, I, 409; Apādāna, II, 359; Sutta Nipāta, 977.

51 Jātaka, VI, 208, 210. Cf. Maṇu, X, 44.

52 Summahgala Vilasini, I, 276; Sammoha-vinodani, 388.

53 Ibid; the ancestry of the Pulinda located in Ceylon alone, according to the Buddhist sources, derives from the marriage of prince Vijaya with the demoness Kuveni.

54 The cāṇḍāta is known and mentioned in Buddhist sources but usually in the context of his overcoming his low status although this is often done through the acquisition of some spiritual power.

55 Major Rock Edict, XII. Bloch J., Les Inscriptions d‘Asoka, pp. 130 ff. Aśoka lists the Yona, Kāmboja, Nābhaka, Bhoja, Pitinika, Āndhra and Pālida.

56 The Second Separate Edict. Bloch J., Les Inscriptions d'Asoka, pp. 140 ff.

57 Arthaśāstra, II, 1; III, 16; VII, 8; VIII, 4; IX, 1; IX, 3; X, 2.

58 McCrindle , India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian, pp. 20–1; McCrindle , India as Described by Ktesias, pp. 23–4, 86. Earlier Greek writers such as Ktesias, the Greek physician at the Persian court in the sixth century B.C., referred to the Indian king trading cotton and weapons for fruit, dyes and gum with the Kynokephaloi or Kynomolgoi, a barbarian tribe. The identity of this tribe has not been conclusively established as yet.

59 Matsya Purāṇa, 34, 30; 50, 76.

60 Utpala's commentary on the Brhatsamhita, XIII, 3. describes the Śakas as mleccha-Jātayo-rājanas and adds that the period of their destruction by Vikramāditya would be known as Saka-kāla.

61 A large number of early Sanskrit inscriptions come from the mleccha areas of northern and western India. Corpus Inscriptinum Indicarum, Vol. II. The Greeks had used Greek and Prakrit or Sanskrit bilingually as on their coins: Obverse—Basileus Suthos Menandros, Reverse—Mahārājas Trādarasa Menamdrasa. Smith , Catalogue of Coins in the Indian Museum, Calcutta, Vol. I, pp. 22 ff. Kuṣāna coins show a slow but increasing adoption of Indian deities particularly of the Śaivite family. The Saka kings not only affirm their protection of the law of varṇa but even record large donations of cows and villages and wealth to the brāhmaṇṣ. Rudradātnan's Junāgadh Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, VIII, No. 6, pp. 44 ff.

62 Maṇu, X, 43–4; Mahābhārata, Anuśāsana Parva, XXXV, p. 226; Aśvamedha Parva, XXIV, p. 74; Sabhā Parva, XIV, p. 44; LII, p. 145.

63 Kanakasabhai , The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago, pp. 37 ff.Subramaniam M., Pre-Pallava Tamil Index, p. 618.

64 McCrindle , Invasion of India by Alexander, p. 234; Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, XXX; British Museum Catalogue of Indian Coins, p. cv. The legend reads, malava-gaijasya-jaya.

65 McCrindle , The Invasion of India by Alexander, p. 232; Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, XXX; Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, IX, p. 82; British Museum Catalogue, p. cxxiv; the legend reads, sibi janapadasa.

66 Aṣṭadhyāyi, V, 3, 116; Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, XXX; the legend reads, trakafaka janapadasa. Aṣṭadhyāyi, IV, 1, 178; British Museum Catalogue, pp. cxlix-cl. The legend reads, yaudheya-bahūdhānyake, and a fourth-century coin-mould reads, yaudheya-ganasya-jaya.

67 The Allahabad prasasti of Samudragupta. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, III, pp. 6 ff.

68 The eighteen major Purāṇas were recorded from about the third century A.D. onwards. They claim to be compendia of information orally transmitted over a period going back to c. 3000 B.C. The texts deal with the mythologies of the creation of the universe, genealogies of kings and sages, social custom and religious practices generally pertaining to a particular sect of which each Purāṇas claims to be the sacred book. In fact much of the material reflects contemporary attitudes at the time of the composition of the Purāṇas. The genealogical sections are in the form of a prophecy, an obvious attempt to claim antiquity.

69 Purāṇic cosmology envisages a cyclical movement of time and the world goes through a period of four ages with the golden age at the start and an increase in evil through the duration of the cycle. The last of the four is the Kaliyuga at the end of which evil will be prevalent and the mleccha all-powerful. Ultimately the entire universe will be totally destroyed after which a new universe will be created and the cycle will start again.

70 Vāyu Purāṇia, 99; Bhāgvata, XII, 2, 12; 14, 38; II, 38; XII, 3, 25; 3, 35–6. Deprived of sacrificial activities the world will be reduced to mleccha-hood.

71 Matsya Purāṇa 47, 252; Vāyu, 98, 114; Brahmāṇḍa III, 14, 80; 22, 22; 73, 108; 35, 10; IV, 29, 131.

72 Vāyu Purāṇia, IV, 24, 51; Brahmāṇḍa, II, 16, 59; III, 14, 80; IV, 29, 131; Maṇu, X, 838; Yajñavalkya smṛti, III, 292; Smṛticandrikā, I, 2224. This is particularly contradictory in the case of the Purāṇas where a number of mleccha cults and rites had become incorporated into the recognized religion, particularly rites associated with the mother-goddess. For the reference to the Śakas and Yavanas see, e.g., Nasik Cave Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, VIII, No. 8, pp. 60 ff.

73 In the Rudrādhyāya of the Yajurveda. Other degraded professions are the nomads, carpenters, chariot-makers, potters, smiths, fowlers, dog-keepers and hunters. In this text as also the Nirukta of Yāska they are mentioned as the fifth group after the four varṇas. III, 8; X, 3, 5–7.

74 Maṇu, X, 8, 18, 48. They were descended from the marriage between a brāhmaṇ and a sūdra woman.

75 Garuḍa Purāṇa, VI, 6; LV, 15; Padma, II, 27, 42–3; Harivamśa, XV, 27, 33.

76 Viṣṇu Purāṇa, I, 13.

77 Matsya Purāṇa, 10, 410; Bh¯gvata, IV, 13, 42, 47; Mahābhārata, Ś¯nti Parva, 59.

78 Matsya Purāṇa, 10, 7.

79 The Amarakoṣa VII, 21; a lexicon of the post-Gupta period, in its definition of mleccha mentions these three tribes and describes them as hunters and deer killers, living in mountainous country, armed with bows and arrows and speaking an unintelligible language—the conventional description of the mleccha by the time of the medieval period. Yet the location of mleccha-deśa in this text is not in central India but in northern India.

80 Ṛg Veda, III, 53, 14; Mahābhārata, Karṇa Parva, V, 9; Bhāgvata Purāṇa, 11, 21, 8; Maṇu, X. 44.

81 Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, LVH, 144.

82 Mārkaṇdeya Purāṇa, p. 284; Matsya Purāṇa, 114, 307; a seventh-century author identifies them with the Bhila and Lubhdhaka tribes of the Vindhyas and also connects them with the Mātanga, the lawless hunters of the region, Dandin, Daśakumāracarita, III, 104; VIII, 203. The name Mātanga is very curious and suggests a Muṇḍā—Dravidian combination. The twelfth-century Pampa Rāmāyana of Abhināva Pampa, VII, 105–55, also refers to them.

83 Bhāravi's long poem, the Kirātārjunīya, is based on an episode from the Mahābhārata when Arjuna goes into the Himalayas and does penance. He finally meets the god Śiva in the form of a Kirāta with whom he has a protracted fight, but eventually acquires the divine weapons which he is seeking. It is interesting that the Kirata should be identified with Śiva—perhaps suggesting their worship of Śiva, and also that it is through a Kirāta that the great hero Arjuna acquires the divine weapons.

84 Pampa Rāmāyaṇa, Nijagunayogi's Vivekacintamani, pp. 423–4. Chikka Deva inscription of the seventeenth century in Rice , Mysore and Coorg from its Inscriptions, p. 129.

85 Buddhist sources refer to the children of the demoness whom prince Vijaya married on his arrival in Ceylon as the Pulinda and state that they lived in the interior of the island at a place called Sabaragamuva (= Śabaragrama, the village of the Śabaras?), Mahāvaṇsa, VII, 68; Vinaya Pifaka, I, 168. These have come to be associated with the primitive Veddah tribes of Ceylon. In early brahmanical sources they are mentioned as a wild mountain tribe of the Deccan, Aitereya Brāhmaṇa, VII, 18; Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, CLXXVII, 504. Later sources connect them with the Bhilas, Kathāsaritasāgara, II, 12; Amarakosa, II, 20–1.

86 Ptolemy, VII, 1, 64; Ptolemy's phrase brings to mind the use of the Piśāca in Indian literature which also carries the meaning of those who eat raw flesh. Its most obvious connection is with the famous Brhatkatha of Guṇādhya which was written in a Piśāca or goblin language, and the location was the Vindhyas. Possibly the Piśāca language was that of these mleccha tribes. Interestingly, it is often associated by some scholars with the north western areas which may suggest a migration of some at least of these peoples from the northwest to the Vindhyas. Keith , A History of Sanskrit Literature, pp. 266 ff.

87 Rāmāyaṇa, IV, 3; XLIV, 12; Kathāsaritasāgara, IV, 22.

88 Nātyaāstra, XXI, 89; Brhatkathaslokaśangraha, VIII, 31.

89 Rāmāyaṇa, Ādi Kāṇda, I, 59; Āraṇya Kānda, LXXVII, 632.Bāṇa , Kādambari, p. 12.

90 Inscription Dholpur, Indian Antiquary, XIX, p. 35; Khadavada Inscription of the time of Gyas Sahi of Mandu, Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, XXIII, p. 12.

91 Rāmāyaṇa, IV, 37–8.

92 Amuktamālyada, IV, 206.

93 Viṣṇu Dharmasūtra, 71, 59; 84, 24; Vasiṣṭha, 6, 41; Gautama, IX, 17; Atri, VII, 2. The śrāddha ceremony was an essential rite for the arya since it concerned the offering of food to the spirits of the ancestors and thereby strengthened and re-affirmed kin-ties. It is clearly stated in the above texts that the ārya is prohibited from speaking with the mleccha, from learning their language or from making journeys to a mleccha-deśa since contact with the mleccha was polluting. The journeys were regarded with particular disapproval since the śrāddha ceremony could not be performed in such areas.

94 Medātithi, a tenth-century commentator, on Maṇu, II, 23.

95 Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, 174, 38; Mahāvastu, I, 135; Raghuvamśa, IV, 67–8.

96 Eran Stone Boar Inscription, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. III, p. 158; Sharma G. R., Excavations at Kauāmsbi, pp. 1516.

97 Rājatarahginī, I, 306–7; Kalhana calls him the ‘god of destruction’.

98 E.g. Hsüan Tsang's descriptions: Beal S., Buddhist Records of the Western World, I, pp. 171 ff.

99 Dhānyaviṣṇu the brother of Matrviṣṇu (yiśayapati of the Gupta king Budhagupta) became the feudatory of Toramāna. Cf. The Eran Inscription of Budhagupta, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, III, p. 89 with the Eran Stone Boar Inscription of Toramāna, op. cit., p. 158. Budhagupta in his inscription is referred to merely as bhupati (king), whereas Toramana takes the full imperial title of Mahārājādhirāja and is described as ‘the glorious’, ‘of great fame and lustre’ and ‘ruling the earth’.

100 It is believed that the Gurjaras came from central India after the sixth century A.D. and were of Tocharian extraction, Bhandarkar D. R., Indian Antiquary, 01 1911, p. 21–2; Bannerjee A. C., Lectures in Rajput History, p. 7; Bagchi P. C., India and Central Asia, p. 17. Place names in the Panjab–Gujerat, Gujeranwala, etc.,–suggest a settlement there as do the presence of the Gujjar herdsmen in Kashmir. The Gurjara Pratiharas ruled in western India, and there is the more recent Gujerat as a name of western India. The existence of the Gujjar caste in Maharashtra points to a further movement towards the south; I. Karve, Hindu Society. The Bad-Gujar clan survives among the Rajputs as also the brāhman caste, Gujai-Gauda.

The Ābhlra are nomadic herdsmen who are believed to have migrated into India with the Scythians. Some of them very soon rose to importance, such as the general Rudrabhuti, Gunda Inscription of A.D. 181 in Epigraphia Indica, VIII, p. 188. They are located in the lower Indus and Kathiawar region, Bhāgvata Purāna, 1, 10, 35; Periplus, 41; Ptolemy, VII, 1, 55. The Ābhtras are described as mlecchas and Mdras in status, Manu, X, 15; Mahabhasya, I, 2, 72. They gradually took over political power from the Sakas and the Satavahanas and spread down the west coast of India where there is mention of the Konkanabhlra, Brhatsamhita, 14, 12; 5, 42; 14, 18. Samudragupta in the Allahabad praiasti refers to the conquest of the Ābhlras , Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, III, 6 ff. A tenth-century Pratihara inscription speaks of removing the menace of the Ābhlras in western India, Ghatiyala Pillar Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, IX, p. 280

101 This situation is discussed by Sharma R. S. in his book, Indian Feudalism.

102 Ghatiyala Pillar Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, IX, p. 280.

103 The Gaṅga and Caṇella dynasty claim Candravaśṃi descent, the Gurjara-Pratihāras Sūryavaṃśi descent and the Parmaras regard their ancestor as having emerged from the Agnikula. The Gūhilas, the Cālukyas of Veṅgi, the Cālukyas of Bādami and the Cālukyas of Kalyāni all claim solar descent, Sircar D. C., ‘The Guhila Claim of Solar Origin’, The Journal of Indian History, 1964, No. 42.

104 An example of this, which was a common condition, is discussed in Sircar D. C., The Guhilas of Kishkinda. Even the Khaśa chiefs claim kṣatriya status in the Bodh Gaya inscription, Epigraphia Indica, XII, p. 30. The Pratihāra claim to descend from Lakṣmaṇa the younger brother of Rāma who acted as a door-keeper (pratihāra) is very suspicious, Indian Antiquary, January 1911, p. 23.

105 Sharma R. S., ‘Early Indian Feudalism’, in Problems of Historical Writing in India (Gopal S. and Thapar R., ed.) p. 74. These ideas are further worked out in his Social Changes in Early Medieval India.

The same policy was adopted by the Mughals who located colonists in these areas partly to encourage them in the ways of Islam and of‘civilization’ and partly to keep a check on them, particularly at the time of the Maratha-Mughal conflict when the Vindhyan tribes occupied a strategic geographical position. It is not surprising that, during the period of British rule in India, Christian missionaries were extremely active in these regions.

106 Una Pillar Inscription of Avanivarman II dated A.D. 899, Epigraphia Indica, IX, p. 6 ff.

107 Atpur Inscription of Śaktikumār, Indian Antiquary, XXXIX, p. 191 ff.

108 Kanhadeprabandha of Padmanābha, a fifteenth-century work, mentions a Huna among the list of Rajput jāgirdars, The Journal of Indian History, XXXVIII, p. 106.

109 Amarakosa, II, 10, 2; 5, 16; 8, 13; 4, 11; 4, 29; 2, 13.

110 Rice , Mysore and Coorg from the Inscriptions, p. 5.

111 Epigraphia Carnatica, VII, p. 188; VI, p. 113–14.

112 The Gaṅga king Koṅgunivarman gave a grant in A.D. 887.

113 Saletore B. N., Wild Tribes in Indian History, p. 81 ff.

114 Ray , Dynastic History of Northern India, II, p. 941.

115 Bargaon Copper-plate of Ratnapāla, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, p. 99; Pārbatiya plates of Vanmālaveramadeva, Epigraphia Indica, XXIX, pp 145 ff. It has been suggested that the name Śālastambha approximates a Sanskritized version of the name of the Tibetan king, Sron-bstam-sgam-po.

116 Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, 174, 38; Maṇu, X, 43–4; Matsya Purāna, 16, 16.

117 Brhatsamhita, V, 80; Mārkaṇdeya Purāna, 57, 39. Chinese interest in eastern India during the seventh century A.D. is attested to in the reign of Harsa and by his contemporaries in Assam. The pedestal inscription on the tomb of Tai Tsung mentions a diplomatic connection with eastern India.

118 Gwalior Inscription of Nagabhatta I; Sagar Tal Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, XVIII, p. 107 ff. An Arab attack on Kashmir in the eighth century is mentioned in the Rājatarahgini, VIII, 2764.

119 Māhamadi Sāhi Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, I, p. 93; Jaitrasimhadeva grant, Epigraphia Indica, XXXII, pp. 220 ff.; Vilāsa grant of Prolaya Nāyaka, Epigraphia Indica, XXXIII, pp. 239 ff.; Chitorgarh praśasti, Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, XXIII, p. 49; Madras Museum Plates, Epigraphia Indica VIII, p. 9; Bhilsa Inscription of Jayasimha, Epigraphia Indica XXXV, p. 187; Dantewara Inscription of A.D. 1703, Epigraphia Indica, IX, p. 164.

120 Bhatūrya Inscription of Rajyapāla, Epigraphia Indica, XXXIII, p. 150; Chitorgarh praśasti of Rana Kumbhakarṇa, Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, XXIII, p. 49; Bālaghāta Plate of Prithviśena II, Epigraphia Indica, IX, p. 270.

121 Sāgar Tal Inscription of Mihlra Bhoja, Epigraphia Indica, XVIII, p. 107.

122 Śaka inscriptions reveal this very clearly as also the names of the Indo-Greeks, Epigraphia Indica, VII, p. 53, 55; Epigraphia Indica, VIII, 90; Archaeological Survey of Western India, IV, pp. 92 ff.

123 Mention is made of the Gandhāra and Kāmboja melodies as also of Śaka and Ābhlra melodies, Pañcatantra, Apaniksetakanakam 55.

124 From this point of view at least Indian eating habits and rituals would form an ideal subject for structuralist analysis, along the lines of the theories developed by Lévi-Strauss. See Maṇu, IV, 205–25; 247–53; for laws regarding the acceptance of various kinds of food.

125 Trikāṇdas'esa in Nāmalinganuśāsana of Amarakoṣạ.

126 For the prohibition on onions and garlic, Manu, V, 19; for references to eating the flesh of the cow, Jaiminl, I, 3, 10 and Rājatarahginī, VII, 1232.

127 Mahābhārata, Parva Santi, LXV, 1315.

128 Viṣṇu Dharmaiastra, 84, 4; ArthaSastra, III, 1315.

129 Mathura Lion Capital Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, IX, p. 141; Mandasor Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, VIII, p. 95; Viṣṇudatta Inscription, Epigraphia Indica, VIII, p. 88. Śaka kings often refer to themselves as dhārmika on coin legends with the symbol of the Dharmacakra on the coin.

130 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1909, pp. 1053 ff.

131 Eran Stone Boar Inscription. The varāha cave is at Udayagiri.

132 As for example the reference to Jalauka in the Rājataranginī, I, 108–52.

133 The snake cult or worship of the Nāga is attested to in literature as well as in the archaeological remains of a multitude of nāga shrines. It is frequently seen as the symbol of the chthonic goddess, of the ancestors and of lunar and fertility cults, and is commonly found even to this day in the Himalayan and Vindhyan regions. In the historical period it gained considerable respectability particularly in the peninsula.

134 There is mention in the Ṛg Veda of the pre-Aryan cults such as the worship of the phallus, śiṣṇadevaḥ, and the existence of sorceresses, yatumati, practising magic. The Harappan evidence clearly indicates the worship of the mother goddess which was new to the Aryan religion.

135 Harivanśia, II, 22, 59.

136 Ibid., II, 22, 53–4.

137 Ibid., II, 3, 12. She is sometimes described as krsnachavisama kr$na (as black as can be), adorned with peacock feathers and with dishevelled hair. Bana, writing in the seventh century A.D. when speaking of the mleccha tribe of the Vindyas, describes a Durga temple, Kddambari, p. 331. Of the Pulindas said to be living in the Vindhyan region, an eleventh-century text states that their king adores the cruel Devi, offers her human victims and pillages the caravans, Kathāsaritasāgara, IV, 22.

138 Harivamśa, II, 58; Daśakumaracarita, I, 14; VI, 149; VIII, 206.

139 Vākpati , Gauḍavaho, V, 305.

140 Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, LXXXII, 1018.

141 Bhamya Purāṇa, II, 26; I, 39. Samba Purāṇa, 27, 28.

142 Mahābhārata, Parva Aṇu, XC, 11. Maṇu, III, 162.

143 Brhatsamhita, LX, 9.

144 Patterson Maureen, ‘Chitpavan Brahman Family Histories’, in Structure and Change in Indian Society, (ed.) Singer Milton and B. Cohn.

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