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Mahabharata
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/17/21

Highlights:

Vishnu Sukthankar, editor of the first great critical edition of the Mahābhārata, commented: "It is useless to think of reconstructing a fluid text in an original shape, based on an archetype and a stemma codicum. What then is possible? Our objective can only be to reconstruct the oldest form of the text which it is possible to reach based on the manuscript material available." That manuscript evidence is somewhat late, given its material composition and the climate of India.


-- Mahabharata, by Wikipedia

I have a larger vision or fantasy of original Indian Buddhism as an ocean with many icebergs, each representing the local textual traditions...of the different parts of the Indian world. Those icebergs are mostly gone...We have the Pali canon...the partial Sanskrit canon...They had a common core but they had many different texts in and around that basic commonality... and... there's no hope of finding them mainly for a simple physical reason, the climate of...India proper is such that organic materials...never last for more than a few hundred years. There are really no really old manuscripts in India proper. You only get the ancient manuscripts from the borderlands of India, in this case Gandhara which has a more moderate climate.

-- One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas, by Richard Salomon


Image
Mahabharata
महाभारतम्
Mahabharata
Manuscript illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra
Information
Religion: Hinduism
Author: Vyasa
Language: Sanskrit
Verses: 200,000

The Mahābhārata (US: /məhɑːˈbɑːrətə/,[1] UK: /ˌmɑːhəˈbɑːrətə/;[2] Sanskrit: महाभारतम्, Mahābhāratam, pronounced [mɐɦaːˈbʱaːrɐtɐm]) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa.[3] It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their successors.

The Kurukshetra War, also called the Mahabharata War, is a war described in the Indian epic poem Mahābhārata. The conflict arose from a dynastic succession struggle between two groups of cousins, the Kauravas and Pandavas, for the throne of Hastinapura. It involved several ancient kingdoms participating as allies of the rival groups.

The historicity of the war remains subject to scholarly discussions. It is possible that the Battle of the Ten Kings, mentioned in the Rigveda, may have "formed the 'nucleus' of the story" of the Kurukshetra war, though it was greatly expanded and modified in the Mahabharata's account, making the Mahabharata's version of very dubious historicity. Attempts have been made to assign a historical date to the Kurukshetra War. Scholarly research suggests ca. 1000 BCE, while popular tradition holds that the war marks the transition to Kali Yuga and thus dates it to 3102 BCE.

The location of the battle is described as having occurred in Kurukshetra in North India. Despite only spanning eighteen days, the war narrative forms more than a quarter of the book, suggesting its relative importance within the entire epic, which spans decades of the warring families. The narrative describes individual battles and deaths of various heroes of both sides, military formations, war diplomacy, meetings and discussions among the characters, and the weapons used. The chapters (parvas) dealing with the war are considered amongst the oldest in the entire Mahābhārata.

-- Kurukshetra War, by Wikipedia


It also contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha (12.161). Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, the story of Savitri and Satyavan, the story of Kacha and Devyani, the story of Ṛṣyasringa and an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, often considered as works in their own right.

Image
Krishna and Arjuna at Kurukshetra, 18th–19th-century painting

Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa. There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and compositional layers. The bulk of the Mahābhārata was probably compiled between the 3rd century BCE and the 3rd century CE, with the oldest preserved parts not much older than around 400 BCE.[4][5] The original events related by the epic probably fall between the 9th and 8th centuries BCE.[5] The text probably reached its final form by the early Gupta period (c. 4th century CE).[6][7]

The Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as "the longest poem ever written".[8][9] Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), and long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa.[10][11] W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahābhārata in the context of world civilization to that of the Bible, the Quran, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the works of William Shakespeare.[12] Within the Indian tradition it is sometimes called the fifth Veda.[13]

Textual history and structure

Image
Modern depiction of Vyasa narrating the Mahābhārata to Ganesha at the Murudeshwara temple, Karnataka.

The epic is traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyāsa, who is also a major character in the epic. Vyāsa described it as being itihāsa (Sanskrit: इतिहास, meaning "history"). He also describes the Guru-shishya parampara, which traces all great teachers and their students of the Vedic times.

Vyasa is considered one of the seven Chiranjivis (long-lived, or immortals), who are still in existence according to Hindu tradition.

Vyasa is believed to be an expansion of the God Vishnu, who came in Dvapara Yuga to make all the Vedic knowledge from oral tradition available in written form...

The Vishnu Purana (Book 3, Ch 3) says:

In every third world age (Dvapara), Vishnu, in the person of Vyasa, in order to promote the good of mankind, divides the Veda, which is properly but one, into many portions. Observing the limited perseverance, energy and application of mortals, he makes the Veda fourfold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form which he assumes, in order to effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda-Vyasa. Of the different Vyasas in the present Manvantara and the branches which they have taught, you shall have an account. Twenty-eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivasvata Manvantara... and consequently, eight and twenty Vyasa's have passed away; by whom, in the respective periods, the Veda has been divided into four. The first... distribution was made by Svayambhu (Brahma) himself; in the second, the arranger of the Veda (Vyasa) was Prajapati... (and so on up to twenty-eight)...


Vyasa is traditionally known as the chronicler of this epic and also features as an important character in Mahābhārata, Vyasa asks Ganesha to assist him in writing the text. Ganesha imposes a precondition that he would do so only if Vyasa would narrate the story without a pause. Vyasa set a counter-condition that Ganesha understands the verses first before transcribing them. Thus Vyasa narrated the entire Mahābhārata and all the Upanishads and the 18 Puranas, while Lord Ganesha wrote...

Vyasa is also credited with the writing of the eighteen major Purāṇas, which are works of Indian literature that cover an encyclopedic range of topics covering various scriptures. His son Shuka narrates the Bhagavata Purana to Arjuna's grandson Parikshit...

There may have been more than one Vyasa, or the name Vyasa may have been used at times to give credibility to a number of ancient texts.

-- Vyasa, by Wikipedia


The first section of the Mahābhārata states that it was Ganesha who wrote down the text to Vyasa's dictation. Though this is regarded as an interpolation to the epic by the scholars. The "Critical Edition" doesn't include Ganesha at all.[14]

The epic employs the story within a story structure, otherwise known as frametales, popular in many Indian religious and non-religious works. It is first recited at Takshashila by the sage Vaiśampāyana,[15][16] a disciple of Vyāsa, to the King Janamejaya who was the great-grandson of the Pāṇḍava prince Arjuna. The story is then recited again by a professional storyteller named Ugraśrava Sauti, many years later, to an assemblage of sages performing the 12-year sacrifice for the king Saunaka Kulapati in the Naimiśa Forest.

Image
Sauti recites the slokas of the Mahabharata.

The text was described by some early 20th-century Indologists as unstructured and chaotic. Hermann Oldenberg supposed that the original poem must once have carried an immense "tragic force" but dismissed the full text as a "horrible chaos."[17] Moritz Winternitz (Geschichte der indischen Literatur 1909) considered that "only unpoetical theologists and clumsy scribes" could have lumped the parts of disparate origin into an unordered whole.[18]

Accretion and redaction

Research on the Mahābhārata has put an enormous effort into recognizing and dating layers within the text. Some elements of the present Mahābhārata can be traced back to Vedic times.[19] The background to the Mahābhārata suggests the origin of the epic occurs "after the very early Vedic period" and before "the first Indian 'empire' was to rise in the third century B.C." That this is "a date not too far removed from the 8th or 9th century B.C."[5][20] is likely. Mahābhārata started as an orally-transmitted tale of the charioteer bards.[21] It is generally agreed that "Unlike the Vedas, which have to be preserved letter-perfect, the epic was a popular work whose reciters would inevitably conform to changes in language and style,"[20] so the earliest 'surviving' components of this dynamic text are believed to be no older than the earliest 'external' references we have to the epic, which may include an allusion in Panini's 4th century BCE grammar Aṣṭādhyāyī 4:2:56.[5][20] It is estimated that the Sanskrit text probably reached something of a "final form" by the early Gupta period (about the 4th century CE).[20] Vishnu Sukthankar, editor of the first great critical edition of the Mahābhārata, commented: "It is useless to think of reconstructing a fluid text in an original shape, based on an archetype and a stemma codicum. What then is possible? Our objective can only be to reconstruct the oldest form of the text which it is possible to reach based on the manuscript material available."[22] That manuscript evidence is somewhat late, given its material composition and the climate of India, but it is very extensive.

I have a larger vision or fantasy of original Indian Buddhism as an ocean with many icebergs, each representing the local textual traditions...of the different parts of the Indian world. Those icebergs are mostly gone...We have the Pali canon...the partial Sanskrit canon...They had a common core but they had many different texts in and around that basic commonality... and... there's no hope of finding them mainly for a simple physical reason, the climate of...India proper is such that organic materials...never last for more than a few hundred years. There are really no really old manuscripts in India proper. You only get the ancient manuscripts from the borderlands of India, in this case Gandhara which has a more moderate climate.

-- One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas, by Richard Salomon


The Mahābhārata itself (1.1.61) distinguishes a core portion of 24,000 verses: the Bhārata proper, as opposed to additional secondary material, while the Aśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra (3.4.4) makes a similar distinction. At least three redactions of the text are commonly recognized: Jaya (Victory) with 8,800 verses attributed to Vyāsa, Bhārata with 24,000 verses as recited by Vaiśampāyana, and finally the Mahābhārata as recited by Ugraśrava Sauti with over 100,000 verses.[23][24] However, some scholars, such as John Brockington, argue that Jaya and Bharata refer to the same text, and ascribe the theory of Jaya with 8,800 verses to a misreading of a verse in Ādiparvan (1.1.81).[25] The redaction of this large body of text was carried out after formal principles, emphasizing the numbers 18[26] and 12. The addition of the latest parts may be dated by the absence of the Anuśāsana-Parva and the Virāta Parva from the "Spitzer manuscript".[27] The oldest surviving Sanskrit text dates to the Kushan Period (200 CE).[28]



re·dac·tion: the process of editing text for publication.
"what was left after the redaction would be virtually useless"
the censoring or obscuring of part of a text for legal or security purposes.
a version of a text, such as a new edition or an abridged version.
"the author himself never chose to establish a definitive redaction"


According to what one character says at Mbh. 1.1.50, there were three versions of the epic, beginning with Manu (1.1.27), Astika (1.3, sub-Parva 5), or Vasu (1.57), respectively. These versions would correspond to the addition of one and then another 'frame' settings of dialogues. The Vasu version would omit the frame settings and begin with the account of the birth of Vyasa. The astika version would add the sarpasattra and aśvamedha material from Brahmanical literature, introduce the name Mahābhārata, and identify Vyāsa as the work's author. The redactors of these additions were probably Pāñcarātrin scholars who according to Oberlies (1998) likely retained control over the text until its final redaction. Mention of the Huna in the Bhīṣma-Parva however appears to imply that this Parva may have been edited around the 4th century.[29]

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The snake sacrifice of Janamejaya

The Ādi-Parva includes the snake sacrifice (sarpasattra) of Janamejaya, explaining its motivation, detailing why all snakes in existence were intended to be destroyed, and why despite this, there are still snakes in existence. This sarpasattra material was often considered an independent tale added to a version of the Mahābhārata by "thematic attraction" (Minkowski 1991), and considered to have a particularly close connection to Vedic (Brahmana) literature. The Pañcavimśa Brahmana (at 25.15.3) enumerates the officiant priests of a sarpasattra among whom the names Dhṛtarāṣtra and Janamejaya, two main characters of the Mahābhārata's sarpasattra, as well as Takṣaka, the name of a snake in the Mahābhārata, occur.[30]

The Suparṇākhyāna, a late Vedic period poem considered to be among the "earliest traces of epic poetry in India," is an older, shorter precursor to the expanded legend of Garuda that is included in the Āstīka Parva, within the Ādi Parva of the Mahābhārata.[31][32]

The Adi Parva or The Book of the Beginning is the first of eighteen books of the Mahabharata. "Adi" (आदि, Ādi) is a Sanskrit word that means "first".

Adi Parva traditionally has 19 sub-books and 236 adhyayas (chapters). The critical edition of Adi Parva has 19 sub-books and 225 chapters.

Adi Parva describes how the epic came to be recited by Ugrasrava Sauti to the assembled rishis at the Naimisha Forest after first having been narrated at the sarpasatra of Janamejaya by Vaishampayana at Taxila. It includes an outline of contents from the eighteen books, along with the book's significance. The history of the Bhāratas and the Bhrigus are described. The main part of the work covers the birth and early life of the princes of the Kuru Kingdom and the persecution of the Pandavas by Dhritarashtra.

Structure & Chapters

The Adi Parva consists of 19 upa-parvas or sub-books (also referred to as little books). Each sub-book is also called a parva and is further subdivided into chapters, for a total of 236 chapters in Adi Parva. The following are the sub-parvas:[5]

1. Anukramanika Parva (Chapter: 1) Sauti meets the Rishis led by Shaunaka in Naimisha Forest. They express a desire to hear Mahabharata. He explains the stories of creation to them. He narrates the story of how the Mahabharata was written. This parva describes the significance of Mahabharata, claims comprehensive synthesis of all human knowledge, and why it must be studied.
2. Sangraha Parva (Chapter: 2) Story of Samantha Panchaka. Definition of Akshauhini in an army. Outline of contents of 18 books of Mahabharata.
3. Paushya Parva (Chapter: 3) Story of Sarama's curse on Janamejaya, of Aruni, Upamanyu and Veda (The disciples of Sage Dhaumya) and of Uttanka, Paushya and sage Veda.
4. Pauloma Parva (Chapters: 4–12) History of the Bhargava race of men. Story of Chyavana's birth.
5. Astika Parva (Chapters: 13–58) Story of the Churning of the Ocean. Theories on dharma, worldly bondage and release. Story of the Sarpa Satra including Janamejaya's vow to kill all snakes, step to annihilate them with a sacrificial fire, decision to apply Ahimsa (non-violence) to snakes and all life forms. Story of birth of Astika. Story of how Vaishampayana came to narrate the Mahabharata to Janamejaya.
6. Adivansavatarana Parva a.k.a. Anshavatarana Parva (Chapters: 59–64) History of Pandava and Kuru princes. Stories of Shantanu, Bhishma and Satyavati. Stories of Karna's birth, Lord Krishna's birth and of and Animandavya. Appeal to Brahma that the gods should reincarnate to save the chaos that earth has become.
7. Sambhava Parva (Chapters: 65–142) Theory of life on earth and of gods. Story of Dronacharya, Kripacharya and other sages. Story of Dushyanta and Shakuntala. Story of Bharata's birth. Sakuntala goes to Dushyanta with the boy. He first refuses to remember her and their marriage but later apologizes and accepts. Bharata becomes prince. Stories of Yayati, Devayani and Sharmishtha. Stories of Yadu, Puru and the Paurava race of men. The Pandava brothers retreat into the forest, chased by Dhritarashtra. The stories the Swayamvara of Kunti, marriage of Madri and marriage of Vidura. Attempts to reconcile the conflict between Kauravas and Pandavas.
8. Jatugriha Parva a.k.a. Jatugriha-daha Parva (Chapters: 143–153) Kanika counsels Dhritarashtra on how to rule a kingdom and on how deception is an effective tool for governance and war, against enemies and potential competition. Kanika narrates his symbolic tale about jackal, tiger, mouse, mongoose and deer and he advises that a weak ruler should ignore his own weaknesses and focus on other people's weakness and pretend to be friends while being cruel and destructive to others, particularly when the competition is good and stronger. Dhritarashtra schemes to build a home for Pandavas in the forest, from lacquer and other inflammable materials as a friendly gesture, but with plans to burn them alive on the darkest night. Kanika's theory is called wicked and evil by Vidura, a sage of true knowledge and the good, who is also the advisor and friend to Pandavas. Vidura and Pandavas plan escape by building a tunnel inside the inflammable house. The fire is lit and the Pandavas escape. Dhritarashtra falsely believes Pandavas are dead. Duryodhana is pleased and sets on ruling the kingdom.
9. Hidimva-vadha Parva (Chapters: 154–158) The story of the wanderings of Pandava brothers after the escape from the fire. Story of Bhima and the Rakshashi Hidimba. She falls in love with Bhima and refuses to help her brother. The story of the battle between Bhima and Hidimba's demon brother, Hidimbasur, showing the enormous strength of the giant brother Bhima. Bhima and Hidimba have a son named Ghatotkacha.
10. Vaka-vadha Parva a.k.a. Baka-vadha Parva (Chapters: 159–166) The life of Pandavas brothers in Ekachakra. Story about Bhima slaying another demon Bakasura, who has been terrorizing people of Ekachakra. Heroine of Mahabharata, Draupadi, is born in holy fire. Word spreads that the Pandavas may be alive.
11. Chaitraratha Parva (Chapters: 167–185) Pandavas set out for Panchala. Arjuna fights with a Gandharva. Stories of Tapati and the conflict between Vashistha and Vishwamitra. Stories of Kalmashapada, Parashara and Aurva. Dehumanization and persecution of Bhargava race of men.
12. Swayamvara Parva (Chapters: 186–194) The Pandavas arrive in Panchala. Draupadi's swayamvara. The Pandavas arrive at the swayamvara in disguise of Brahmanas. Arjuna excels in the swayamvara and wins Draupadi's heart and hand. Krishna recognizes the individuals in disguise as the Pandava brothers. The suitors object the marriage of Draupadi and Arjuna, a fight ensues. Bhima and Arjuna defeat all the suitors and then takes Draupadi to their cottage. Kunti thinking Draupadi as alms commands her to be shared by the five brothers. Dhrishtadyumna gets to know the true identity of Pandavas.
13. Vaivahika Parva (Chapters: 195–201) Drupada is delighted at discovering that the Pandavas are alive. The Pandavas come to Drupada's palace. The story of Draupadi's previous lives and Indra punished by Shiva. The marriage of Draupadi with the Pandavas.
14. Viduragamana Parva (Chapters: 202–209) Vidura's attempt to reconcile the evil Kaurava brothers and the good Pandava brothers. Various speeches by Karna, Bhishma, Drona and Vidura. Pandavas return to Hastinapur with the blessings of Krishna. The construction of the city Indraprastha.
15. Rajya-labha Parva (Chapters: 210–214) Story of Sunda and Upasunda and of Narada.
16. Arjuna-vanavasa Parva (Chapters: 215–220) Arjuna violates dharma. He accepts voluntary exile. Arjuna marries Ulupi and Chitrangada, and rescues Apsaras. Story highlights his special powers and competence. Arjuna and Krishna become close friends. Arjuna goes to Dwarka, lives with Krishna.
17. Subhadra-harana Parva (Chapters: 221–222) Arjuna falls in love with and takes away Subhadra, Krishna's sister. The upset Vrishnis prepare war with Arjuna, but finally desist.
18. Harana-harana Parva a.k.a. Harana-harika Parva (Chapter: 223) Arjuna returns from exile, with Subhadra. They marry. Their son Abhimanyu is born. Story of the Upapandavas, the five sons of Draupadi.
19. Khandava-Daha Parva (Chapters: 224–236) The reign of Yudhishthira. Krishna and Arjuna go to the banks of Yamuna, where they meet Agni, disguised as a Brahmin, who demands to consume the Khandava forest, to cure his digestive ailment. Stories of Swetaki, and Agni. Agni gives Arjuna the Gandiva bow and the ape-bannered chariot, while Krishna receives the discus. Agni starts consuming the forest when Indra and other deities obstruct. The fight of Krishna and Arjuna with celestials, their combined abilities, and their victory. Story of Aswasena (Son of Takshaka), Mandapala and the his four bird sons. Maya rescued by Arjuna.[6]

English Translations

Adi Parva and other books of Mahabharata are written in Sanskrit. Several translations of the Adi Parva are available in English....

The translations are not consistent in parts and vary with each translator's interpretations...

The total number of original verses depend on which Sanskrit source is used, and these do not equal the total number of translated verses in each chapter, in both Ganguli and Dutt translations. Mahabharata, like many ancient Sanskrit texts, was transmitted across generations verbally, a practice that was a source of corruption of its text, deletion of verses as well as the addition of extraneous verses over time. Some of these suspect verses have been identified by change in style and integrity of meter in the verses. The structure, prose, meter and style of translations vary within chapters between the translating authors.

Debroy, in his 2011 overview of Mahabharata, notes that updated critical edition of Adi Parva, with spurious and corrupted text removed, has 19 sub-books, 225 adhyayas (chapters) and 7,205 shlokas (verses).


Controversies

Adi Parva, and Mahabharata in general, has been studied for evidence of caste-based social stratification in ancient India, as well as evidence for a host of theories about Vedic times in India. Such studies have become controversial.

First, the date and authenticity of the verses in Adi Parva, as well as the entire Mahabharata, has been questioned. Klaus Klostermaier, in his review of scholarly studies of Mahabharata, notes the widely held view that original Mahabharata was different from currently circulating versions. For centuries, the Mahabharata's 1, 00, 000 verses—four times the entire Bible and nine times the Iliad and the Odyssey combined—were transmitted verbally across generations, without being written down. This memorization and verbal method of transfer is believed to be a source of text corruption, addition and deletion of verses. Klostermaier notes that the original version of Mahabharata was called Jaya and had about 7000 shlokas or about 7% of current length. Adi Parva, and rest of Mahabharata, underwent at least two major changes - the first change tripled the size of Jaya epic and renamed it as Bharata, while the second change quadrupled the already expanded version. Significant changes to older editions have been traced to the first millennium CE. There are significant differences in Sanskrit manuscripts of the Mahabharata found in different parts of India and manuscripts of the Mahabharata found in other Indian languages such as Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and others. Numerous spurious additions, interpolations and conflicting verses have been identified, many relating to history and social structure. Thus, it is unclear if the history or social structure of Vedic period or ancient India can be reliably traced from Adi Parva or Mahabharata.

Second, Adi Parva is part of an Epic fiction.
Writers, including those such as Shakespeare or Homer, take liberty in developing their characters and plots, they typically represent extremes and they do not truthfully record extant history. [b]Adi Parva has verses with a story of a river fish swallowing a man's semen and giving birth to a human baby after 9 months and many other myths and fictional tales. Adi Parva, like the works of Homer and Shakespeare, is not a record of history.


Third, Adi Parva and other parvas of Mahabharata have been argued, suggests Klaus Klostermaier, as a treatise of symbolism, where each chapter has three different layers of meaning in its verses. The reader is painted a series of pictures through words, presented opposing views to various socio-ethical and moral questions, then left to interpret it on astikadi, manvadi and auparicara levels; in other words, as mundane interesting fiction, or as ethical treatise, or thirdly as transcendental work that draws out the war between the higher and the lower self within each reader. To deduce history of ancient India is one of many discursive choices for the interpreter.

-- Adi Parva, by Wikipedia


The Suparṇākhyāna, also known as the Suparṇādhyāya (meaning "Chapter of the Bird"), is a short epic poem or cycle of ballads in Sanskrit about the divine bird Garuda, believed to date from the late Vedic period. Considered to be among the "earliest traces of epic poetry in India," the text only survives "in very bad condition," and remains "little studied."

The subject of the poem is "the legend of Kadrū, the snake-mother, and Vinatā, the bird-mother, and enmity between Garuda and the snakes." It relates the birth of Garuda and his elder brother Aruṇa; Kadru and Vinata's wager about the color of the tail of the divine white horse Uchchaihshravas; Garuda's efforts to obtain freedom for himself and his mother; and his theft of the divine soma from Indra, whose thunderbolt is unable to stop Garuda, but merely causes him to drop a feather. It was the basis for the later, expanded version of the story, which appears in the Āstīka Parva, within the Ādi Parva of the Mahābhārata.

The Suparṇākhyāna's date of composition is uncertain; its unnamed author attempted to imitate the style of the Rigveda, but scholars agree that it is a significantly later composition, possibly from the time of the early Upanishads. On metrical grounds, it has been placed closest to the Katha Upanishad. A date of c. 500 BCE has been proposed, but is unproven, and is not agreed upon by all scholars.


-- Suparṇākhyāna, by Wikipedia


Historical references

See also: Bhagavad Gita § Date and text

The earliest known references to the Mahābhārata and its core Bhārata date to the Aṣṭādhyāyī (sutra 6.2.38) of Pāṇini (fl. 4th century BCE) and in the Aśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra (3.4.4). This may mean the core 24,000 verses, known as the Bhārata, as well as an early version of the extended Mahābhārata, were composed by the 4th century BCE. A report by the Greek writer Dio Chrysostom (c. 40 – c. 120 CE) about Homer's poetry being sung even in India[33] seems to imply that the Iliad had been translated into Sanskrit. However, Indian scholars have, in general, take this as evidence for the existence of a Mahābhārata at this date, whose episodes Dio or his sources identify with the story of the Iliad.[34]

Several stories within the Mahābhārata took on separate identities of their own in Classical Sanskrit literature. For instance, Abhijñānaśākuntala by the renowned Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa (c. 400 CE), believed to have lived in the era of the Gupta dynasty, is based on a story that is the precursor to the Mahābhārata. Urubhaṅga, a Sanskrit play written by Bhāsa who is believed to have lived before Kālidāsa, is based on the slaying of Duryodhana by the splitting of his thighs by Bhīma.[35]

The copper-plate inscription of the Maharaja Sharvanatha (533–534 CE) from Khoh (Satna District, Madhya Pradesh) describes the Mahābhārata as a "collection of 100,000 verses" (śata-sahasri saṃhitā).[35]

The 18 parvas or books

The division into 18 parvas is as follows:

Parva / Title / Sub-parvas / Contents

1 / Adi Parva (The Book of the Beginning) / 1–19 / How the Mahābhārata came to be narrated by Sauti to the assembled rishis at Naimisharanya, after having been recited at the sarpasattra of Janamejaya by Vaisampayana at Takṣaśilā. The history and genealogy of the Bharata and Bhrigu races are recalled, as is the birth and early life of the Kuru princes (adi means first).

2 / Sabha Parva (The Book of the Assembly Hall) / 20–28 / Maya Danava erects the palace and court (sabha), at Indraprastha. Life at the court, Yudhishthira's Rajasuya Yajna, the game of dice, the disrobing of Pandava wife Draupadi and eventual exile of the Pandavas.

3 / Vana Parva also Aranyaka-Parva, Aranya-Parva (The Book of the Forest) / 29–44 / The twelve years of exile in the forest (aranya).

4 / Virata Parva (The Book of Virata) / 45–48 / The year spent incognito at the court of Virata.

5 / Udyoga Parva (The Book of the Effort) / 49–59 / Preparations for war and efforts to bring about peace between the Kaurava and the Pandava sides which eventually fail (udyoga means effort or work).

6 / Bhishma Parva (The Book of Bhishma) / 60–64 / The first part of the great battle, with Bhishma as commander for the Kaurava and his fall on the bed of arrows. (Includes the Bhagavad Gita in chapters 25–42.)[36][37]

7 / Drona Parva (The Book of Drona) / 65–72 / The battle continues, with Drona as commander. This is the major book of the war. Most of the great warriors on both sides are dead by the end of this book.

8 / Karna Parva (The Book of Karna) / 73 / The continuation of the battle with Karna as commander of the Kaurava forces.

9 / Shalya Parva (The Book of Shalya) / 74–77 / The last day of the battle, with Shalya as commander. Also told in detail, is the pilgrimage of Balarama to the fords of the river Saraswati and the mace fight between Bhima and Duryodhana which ends the war, since Bhima kills Duryodhana by smashing him on the thighs with a mace.

10 / Sauptika Parva (The Book of the Sleeping Warriors) / 78–80 /Ashvattama, Kripa and Kritavarma kill the remaining Pandava army in their sleep. Only 7 warriors remain on the Pandava side and 3 on the Kaurava side.

11 / Stri Parva (The Book of the Women) / 81–85 /Gandhari and the women (stri) of the Kauravas and Pandavas lament the dead and Gandhari cursing Krishna for the massive destruction and the extermination of the Kaurava.

12 / Shanti Parva (The Book of Peace) / 86–88 / The crowning of Yudhishthira as king of Hastinapura, and instructions from Bhishma for the newly anointed king on society, economics, and politics. This is the longest book of the Mahabharata. Kisari Mohan Ganguli considers this Parva as a later interpolation.'

13 / Anushasana Parva (The Book of the Instructions) / 89–90 / The final instructions (anushasana) from Bhishma.

14 / Ashvamedhika Parva (The Book of the Horse Sacrifice)[38] / 91–92 / The royal ceremony of the Ashvamedha (Horse sacrifice) conducted by Yudhishthira. The world conquest by Arjuna. Anita is told by Krishna to Arjuna.

15 / Ashramavasika Parva (The Book of the Hermitage) / 93–95 / The eventual deaths of Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, and Kunti in a forest fire when they are living in a hermitage in the Himalayas. Vidura predeceases them and Sanjaya on Dhritarashtra's bidding goes to live in the higher Himalayas.

16 / Mausala Parva (The Book of the Clubs) / 96 / The materialization of Gandhari's curse, i.e., the infighting between the Yadavas with maces (mausala) and the eventual destruction of the Yadavas.

17 / Mahaprasthanika Parva (The Book of the Great Journey) / 97 / The great journey of Yudhishthira, his brothers, and his wife Draupadi across the whole country and finally their ascent of the great Himalayas where each Pandava falls except for Yudhishthira.

18 / Svargarohana Parva (The Book of the Ascent to Heaven) / 98 / Yudhishthira's final test and the return of the Pandavas to the spiritual world (svarga).

khila / Harivamsa Parva (The Book of the Genealogy of Hari) / 99–100 / This is an addendum to the 18 books, and covers those parts of the life of Krishna which is not covered in the 18 parvas of the Mahabharata.


Historical context

The historicity of the Kurukshetra War is unclear. Many historians estimate the date of the Kurukshetra war to Iron Age India of the 10th century BCE.[39] The setting of the epic has a historical precedent in Iron Age (Vedic) India, where the Kuru kingdom was the center of political power during roughly 1200 to 800 BCE.[40] A dynastic conflict of the period could have been the inspiration for the Jaya, the foundation on which the Mahābhārata corpus was built, with a climactic battle, eventually coming to be viewed as an epochal event.

Puranic literature presents genealogical lists associated with the Mahābhārata narrative. The evidence of the Puranas is of two kinds. Of the first kind, there is the direct statement that there were 1015 (or 1050) years between the birth of Parikshit (Arjuna's grandson) and the accession of Mahapadma Nanda (400-329 BCE), which would yield an estimate of about 1400 BCE for the Bharata battle.[41] However, this would imply improbably long reigns on average for the kings listed in the genealogies.[42] Of the second kind is analyses of parallel genealogies in the Puranas between the times of Adhisimakrishna (Parikshit's great-grandson) and Mahapadma Nanda. Pargiter accordingly estimated 26 generations by averaging 10 different dynastic lists and, assuming 18 years for the average duration of a reign, arrived at an estimate of 850 BCE for Adhisimakrishna, and thus approximately 950 BCE for the Bharata battle.[43]

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Map of some Painted Grey Ware (PGW) sites.

B. B. Lal used the same approach with a more conservative assumption of the average reign to estimate a date of 836 BCE, and correlated this with archaeological evidence from Painted Grey Ware (PGW) sites, the association being strong between PGW artifacts and places mentioned in the epic.[44] John Keay confirms this and also gives 950 BCE for the Bharata battle.[45]

Attempts to date the events using methods of archaeoastronomy have produced, depending on which passages are chosen and how they are interpreted, estimates ranging from the late 4th to the mid-2nd millennium BCE.[46] The late 4th-millennium date has a precedent in the calculation of the Kali Yuga epoch, based on planetary conjunctions, by Aryabhata (6th century). Aryabhata's date of 18 February 3102 BCE for Mahābhārata war has become widespread in Indian tradition. Some sources mark this as the disappearance of Krishna from the earth.[47] The Aihole inscription of Pulikeshi II, dated to Saka 556 = 634 CE, claims that 3735 years have elapsed since the Bharata battle, putting the date of Mahābhārata war at 3137 BCE.[48][49] Another traditional school of astronomers and historians, represented by Vriddha-Garga, Varahamihira (author of the Brhatsamhita) and Kalhana (author of the Rajatarangini), place the Bharata war 653 years after the Kali Yuga epoch, corresponding to 2449 BCE.[50]

Characters

Main article: List of characters in Mahabharata

Synopsis

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Ganesha writes the Mahabharata upon Vyasa's dictation.

The core story of the work is that of a dynastic struggle for the throne of Hastinapura, the kingdom ruled by the Kuru clan. The two collateral branches of the family that participate in the struggle are the Kaurava and the Pandava. Although the Kaurava is the senior branch of the family, Duryodhana, the eldest Kaurava, is younger than Yudhishthira, the eldest Pandava. Both Duryodhana and Yudhishthira claim to be first in line to inherit the throne.

The struggle culminates in the great battle of Kurukshetra, in which the Pandavas are ultimately victorious. The battle produces complex conflicts of kinship and friendship, instances of family loyalty and duty taking precedence over what is right, as well as the converse.

The Mahābhārata itself ends with the death of Krishna, and the subsequent end of his dynasty and ascent of the Pandava brothers to heaven. It also marks the beginning of the Hindu age of Kali Yuga, the fourth and final age of humankind, in which great values and noble ideas have crumbled, and people are heading towards the complete dissolution of right action, morality, and virtue.

The older generations

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Shantanu woos Satyavati, the fisherwoman. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.

King Janamejaya's ancestor Shantanu, the king of Hastinapura, has a short-lived marriage with the goddess Ganga and has a son, Devavrata (later to be called Bhishma, a great warrior), who becomes the heir apparent. Many years later, when King Shantanu goes hunting, he sees Satyavati, the daughter of the chief of fisherman, and asks her father for her hand. Her father refuses to consent to the marriage unless Shantanu promises to make any future son of Satyavati the king upon his death. To resolve his father's dilemma, Devavrata agrees to relinquish his right to the throne. As the fisherman is not sure about the prince's children honoring the promise, Devavrata also takes a vow of lifelong celibacy to guarantee his father's promise.

Shantanu has two sons by Satyavati, Chitrāngada and Vichitravirya. Upon Shantanu's death, Chitrangada becomes king. He lives a very short uneventful life and dies. Vichitravirya, the younger son, rules Hastinapura. Meanwhile, the King of Kāśī arranges a swayamvara for his three daughters, neglecting to invite the royal family of Hastinapur. To arrange the marriage of young Vichitravirya, Bhishma attends the swayamvara of the three princesses Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika, uninvited, and proceeds to abduct them. Ambika and Ambalika consent to be married to Vichitravirya.

The oldest princess Amba, however, informs Bhishma that she wishes to marry the king of Shalva whom Bhishma defeated at their swayamvara. Bhishma lets her leave to marry the king of Shalva, but Shalva refuses to marry her, still smarting at his humiliation at the hands of Bhishma. Amba then returns to marry Bhishma but he refuses due to his vow of celibacy. Amba becomes enraged and becomes Bhishma's bitter enemy, holding him responsible for her plight. Later she is reborn to King Drupada as Shikhandi (or Shikhandini) and causes Bhishma's fall, with the help of Arjuna, in the battle of Kurukshetra.

The Pandava and Kaurava princes

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Draupadi with her five husbands – the Pandavas. The central figure is Yudhishthira; the two on the bottom are Bhima and Arjuna. Nakula and Sahadeva, the twins, are standing. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma, c. 1900.

When Vichitravirya dies young without any heirs, Satyavati asks her first son Vyasa to father children with the widows. The eldest, Ambika, shuts her eyes when she sees him, and so her son Dhritarashtra is born blind. Ambalika turns pale and bloodless upon seeing him, and thus her son Pandu is born pale and unhealthy (the term Pandu may also mean 'jaundiced'[51]). Due to the physical challenges of the first two children, Satyavati asks Vyasa to try once again. However, Ambika and Ambalika send their maid instead, to Vyasa's room. Vyasa fathers a third son, Vidura, by the maid. He is born healthy and grows up to be one of the wisest characters in the Mahabharata. He serves as Prime Minister (Mahamantri or Mahatma) to King Pandu and King Dhritarashtra.

When the princes grow up, Dhritarashtra is about to be crowned king by Bhishma when Vidura intervenes and uses his knowledge of politics to assert that a blind person cannot be king. This is because a blind man cannot control and protect his subjects. The throne is then given to Pandu because of Dhritarashtra's blindness. Pandu marries twice, to Kunti and Madri. Dhritarashtra marries Gandhari, a princess from Gandhara, who blindfolds herself for the rest of her life so that she may feel the pain that her husband feels. Her brother Shakuni is enraged by this and vows to take revenge on the Kuru family. One day, when Pandu is relaxing in the forest, he hears the sound of a wild animal. He shoots an arrow in the direction of the sound. However, the arrow hits the sage Kindama, who was engaged in a sexual act in the guise of a deer. He curses Pandu that if he engages in a sexual act, he will die. Pandu then retires to the forest along with his two wives, and his brother Dhritarashtra rules thereafter, despite his blindness.

Pandu's older queen Kunti, however, had been given a boon by Sage Durvasa that she could invoke any god using a special mantra. Kunti uses this boon to ask Dharma the god of justice, Vayu the god of the wind, and Indra the lord of the heavens for sons. She gives birth to three sons, Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna, through these gods. Kunti shares her mantra with the younger queen Madri, who bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva through the Ashwini twins. However, Pandu and Madri indulge in lovemaking, and Pandu dies. Madri commits suicide out of remorse. Kunti raises the five brothers, who are from then on usually referred to as the Pandava brothers.

Dhritarashtra has a hundred sons through Gandhari, all born after the birth of Yudhishthira. These are the Kaurava brothers, the eldest being Duryodhana, and the second Dushasana. Other Kaurava brothers were Vikarna and Sukarna. The rivalry and enmity between them and the Pandava brothers, from their youth and into manhood, leads to the Kurukshetra war.

Lakshagraha (the house of lac)

After the deaths of their mother (Madri) and father (Pandu), the Pandavas and their mother Kunti return to the palace of Hastinapur. Yudhishthira is made Crown Prince by Dhritarashtra, under considerable pressure from his courtiers. Dhritarashtra wanted his son Duryodhana to become king and lets his ambition get in the way of preserving justice.

Shakuni, Duryodhana, and Dushasana plot to get rid of the Pandavas. Shakuni calls the architect Purochana to build a palace out of flammable materials like lac and ghee. He then arranges for the Pandavas and the Queen Mother Kunti to stay there, intending to set it alight. However, the Pandavas are warned by their wise uncle, Vidura, who sends them a miner to dig a tunnel. They can escape to safety and go into hiding. During this time Bhima marries a demoness Hidimbi and has a son Ghatotkacha. Back in Hastinapur, the Pandavas and Kunti are presumed dead.[52]

Marriage to Draupadi

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Arjuna piercing the eye of the fish as depicted in Chennakesava Temple built by Hoysala Empire

Whilst they were in hiding the Pandavas learn of a swayamvara which is taking place for the hand of the Pāñcāla princess Draupadī. The Pandavas disguised as Brahmins come to witness the event. Meanwhile, Krishna who has already befriended Draupadi, tells her to look out for Arjuna (though now believed to be dead). The task was to string a mighty steel bow and shoot a target on the ceiling, which was the eye of a moving artificial fish while looking at its reflection in oil below. In popular versions, after all the princes fail, many being unable to lift the bow, Karna proceeds to the attempt but is interrupted by Draupadi who refuses to marry a suta (this has been excised from the Critical Edition of Mahabharata[53][54] as later interpolation[55]). After this the swayamvara is opened to the Brahmins leading Arjuna to win the contest and marry Draupadi. The Pandavas return home and inform their meditating mother that Arjuna has won a competition and to look at what they have brought back. Without looking, Kunti asks them to share whatever Arjuna has won amongst themselves, thinking it to be alms. Thus, Draupadi ends up being the wife of all five brothers.

Indraprastha

After the wedding, the Pandava brothers are invited back to Hastinapura. The Kuru family elders and relatives negotiate and broker a split of the kingdom, with the Pandavas obtaining and demanding only a wild forest inhabited by Takshaka, the king of snakes, and his family. Through hard work, the Pandavas can build a new glorious capital for the territory at Indraprastha.

Shortly after this, Arjuna elopes with and then marries Krishna's sister, Subhadra. Yudhishthira wishes to establish his position as king; he seeks Krishna's advice. Krishna advises him, and after due preparation and the elimination of some opposition, Yudhishthira carries out the rājasūya yagna ceremony; he is thus recognized as pre-eminent among kings.

The Pandavas have a new palace built for them, by Maya the Danava.[56] They invite their Kaurava cousins to Indraprastha. Duryodhana walks round the palace, and mistakes a glossy floor for water, and will not step in. After being told of his error, he then sees a pond and assumes it is not water and falls in. Bhima, Arjun, the twins and the servants laugh at him.[57] In popular adaptations, this insult is wrongly attributed to Draupadi, even though in the Sanskrit epic, it was the Pandavas (except Yudhishthira) who had insulted Duryodhana. Enraged by the insult, and jealous at seeing the wealth of the Pandavas, Duryodhana decides to host a dice-game at Shakuni's suggestion.

The dice game

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Draupadi humiliated

Shakuni, Duryodhana's uncle, now arranges a dice game, playing against Yudhishthira with loaded dice. In the dice game, Yudhishthira loses all his wealth, then his kingdom. Yudhishthira then gambles his brothers, himself, and finally his wife into servitude. The jubilant Kauravas insult the Pandavas in their helpless state and even try to disrobe Draupadi in front of the entire court, but Draupadi's disrobe is prevented by Krishna, who miraculously make her dress endless, therefore it couldn't be removed.

Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, and the other elders are aghast at the situation, but Duryodhana is adamant that there is no place for two crown princes in Hastinapura. Against his wishes Dhritarashtra orders for another dice game. The Pandavas are required to go into exile for 12 years, and in the 13th year, they must remain hidden. If they are discovered by the Kauravas in the 13th year of their exile, then they will be forced into exile for another 12 years.

Exile and return

The Pandavas spend thirteen years in exile; many adventures occur during this time. The Pandavas acquire many divine weapons, given by gods, during this period. They also prepare alliances for a possible future conflict. They spend their final year in disguise in the court of the king Virata, and they are discovered just after the end of the year.

At the end of their exile, they try to negotiate a return to Indraprastha with Krishna as their emissary. However, this negotiation fails, because Duryodhana objected that they were discovered in the 13th year of their exile and the return of their kingdom was not agreed upon. Then the Pandavas fought the Kauravas, claiming their rights over Indraprastha.

The battle at Kurukshetra

Main article: Kurukshetra War

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A scene from the Mahābhārata war, Angkor Wat: A black stone relief depicting several men wearing a crown and a dhoti, fighting with spears, swords, and bows. A chariot with half the horse out of the frame is seen in the middle.

The two sides summon vast armies to their help and line up at Kurukshetra for a war. The kingdoms of Panchala, Dwaraka, Kasi, Kekaya, Magadha, Matsya, Chedi, Pandyas, Telinga, and the Yadus of Mathura and some other clans like the Parama Kambojas were allied with the Pandavas. The allies of the Kauravas included the kings of Pragjyotisha, Anga, Kekaya, Sindhudesa (including Sindhus, Sauviras and Sivis), Mahishmati, Avanti in Madhyadesa, Madra, Gandhara, Bahlika people, Kambojas and many others. Before war being declared, Balarama had expressed his unhappiness at the developing conflict and leaves to go on pilgrimage; thus he does not take part in the battle itself. Krishna takes part in a non-combatant role, as charioteer for Arjuna.

Before the battle, Arjuna, noticing that the opposing army includes his cousins and relatives, including his grandfather Bhishma and his teacher Drona, has grave doubts about the fight. He falls into despair and refuses to fight. At this time, Krishna reminds him of his duty as a Kshatriya to fight for a righteous cause in the famous Bhagavad Gita section of the epic.

Though initially sticking to chivalrous notions of warfare, both sides soon adopt dishonorable tactics. At the end of the 18-day battle, only the Pandavas, Satyaki, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Kritavarma, Yuyutsu and Krishna survive. Yudhisthir becomes King of Hastinapur and Gandhari curses Krishna that the downfall of his clan is imminent.

The end of the Pandavas

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Gandhari, blindfolded, supporting Dhrtarashtra and following Kunti when Dhritarashtra became old and infirm and retired to the forest. A miniature painting from a 16th-century manuscript of part of the Razmnama, a Persian translation of the Mahabharata

After "seeing" the carnage, Gandhari, who had lost all her sons, curses Krishna to be a witness to a similar annihilation of his family, for though divine and capable of stopping the war, he had not done so. Krishna accepts the curse, which bears fruit 36 years later.

The Pandavas, who had ruled their kingdom meanwhile, decide to renounce everything. Clad in skins and rags they retire to the Himalaya and climb towards heaven in their bodily form. A stray dog travels with them. One by one the brothers and Draupadi fall on their way. As each one stumbles, Yudhishthira gives the rest the reason for their fall (Draupadi was partial to Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva were vain and proud of their looks, and Bhima and Arjuna were proud of their strength and archery skills, respectively). Only the virtuous Yudhishthira, who had tried everything to prevent the carnage, and the dog remain. The dog reveals himself to be the god Yama (also known as Yama Dharmaraja) and then takes him to the underworld where he sees his siblings and wife. After explaining the nature of the test, Yama takes Yudhishthira back to heaven and explains that it was necessary to expose him to the underworld because (Rajyante narakam dhruvam) any ruler has to visit the underworld at least once. Yama then assures him that his siblings and wife would join him in heaven after they had been exposed to the underworld for measures of time according to their vices.

Arjuna's grandson Parikshit rules after them and dies bitten by a snake. His furious son, Janamejaya, decides to perform a snake sacrifice (sarpasattra) to destroy the snakes. It is at this sacrifice that the tale of his ancestors is narrated to him.
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Part 2 of 2

The reunion

The Mahābhārata mentions that Karna, the Pandavas, Draupadi and Dhritarashtra's sons eventually ascended to svarga and "attained the state of the gods", and banded together – "serene and free from anger".[58]

Themes

Just war


The Mahābhārata offers one of the first instances of theorizing about dharmayuddha, "just war", illustrating many of the standards that would be debated later across the world. In the story, one of five brothers asks if the suffering caused by war can ever be justified. A long discussion ensues between the siblings, establishing criteria like proportionality (chariots cannot attack cavalry, only other chariots; no attacking people in distress), just means (no poisoned or barbed arrows), just cause (no attacking out of rage), and fair treatment of captives and the wounded.[59]

Translations, versions and derivative works

Translations


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Bhishma on his death-bed of arrows with the Pandavas and Krishna. Folio from the Razmnama (1761–1763), Persian translation of the Mahabharata, commissioned by Mughal emperor Akbar. The Pandavas are dressed in Persian armour and robes.[60]

A Persian translation of Mahabharata, titled Razmnameh, was produced at Akbar's orders, by Faizi and ʽAbd al-Qadir Badayuni in the 18th century.[61]

The first complete English translation was the Victorian prose version by Kisari Mohan Ganguli,[62] published between 1883 and 1896 (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers) and by M. N. Dutt (Motilal Banarsidass Publishers). Most critics consider the translation by Ganguli to be faithful to the original text. The complete text of Ganguli's translation is in the public domain and is available online.[63][64]

An early poetry translation by Romesh Chunder Dutt and published in 1898 condenses the main themes of the Mahābhārata into English verse.[65] A later poetic "transcreation" (author's description) of the full epic into English, done by the poet P. Lal, is complete, and in 2005 began being published by Writers Workshop, Calcutta. The P. Lal translation is a non-rhyming verse-by-verse rendering, and I the only edition in any language to include all slokas in all recensions of the work (not just those in the Critical Edition). The completion of the publishing project is scheduled for 2010.[needs update] Sixteen of the eighteen volumes are now available.

A project to translate the full epic into English prose, translated by various hands, began to appear in 2005 from the Clay Sanskrit Library, published by New York University Press. The translation is based not on the Critical Edition but on the version known to the commentator Nīlakaṇṭha. Currently available are 15 volumes of the projected 32-volume edition.

Indian economist Bibek Debroy has also begun an unabridged English translation in ten volumes. Volume 1: Adi Parva was published in March 2010.

Another English prose translation of the full epic, based on the Critical Edition, is in progress, published by University of Chicago Press. It was initiated by Indologist J. A. B. van Buitenen (books 1–5) and, following a 20-year hiatus caused by the death of van Buitenen is being continued by several scholars. James L. Fitzgerald translated book 11 and the first half of book 12. David Gitomer is translating book 6, Gary Tubb is translating book 7, Christopher Minkowski is translating book 8, Alf Hiltebeitel is translating books 9 and 10, Fitzgerald is translating the second half of book 12, Patrick Olivelle is translating book 13, Fred Smith is translating book 14, and Wendy Doniger is translating books 15-18.[66]

Many condensed versions, abridgments and novelistic prose retellings of the complete epic have been published in English, including works by Ramesh Menon, William Buck, R. K. Narayan, C. Rajagopalachari, K. M. Munshi, Krishna Dharma, Romesh C. Dutt, Bharadvaja Sarma, John D. Smith and Sharon Maas.

Critical Edition

Between 1919 and 1966, scholars at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, compared the various manuscripts of the epic from India and abroad and produced the Critical Edition of the Mahabharata, on 13,000 pages in 19 volumes, followed by the Harivamsha in another two volumes and six index volumes. This is the text that is usually used in current Mahābhārata studies for reference.[67] This work is sometimes called the "Pune" or "Poona" edition of the Mahabharata.

Regional versions

Many regional versions of the work developed over time, mostly differing only in minor details, or with verses or subsidiary stories being added. These include the Tamil street theatre, terukkuttu and kattaikkuttu, the plays of which use themes from the Tamil language versions of Mahabharata, focusing on Draupadi.[68]

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The Pandavas and Krishna in an act of the Javanese wayang wong performance

Outside the Indian subcontinent, in Indonesia, a version was developed in ancient Java as Kakawin Bhāratayuddha in the 11th century under the patronage of King Dharmawangsa (990–1016)[69] and later it spread to the neighboring island of Bali, which remains a Hindu majority island today. It has become the fertile source for Javanese literature, dance drama (wayang wong), and wayang shadow puppet performances. This Javanese version of the Mahābhārata differs slightly from the original Indian version. For example, Draupadi is only wed to Yudhishthira, not to all the Pandava brothers; this might demonstrate ancient Javanese opposition to polyandry.[citation needed] The author later added some female characters to be wed to the Pandavas, for example, Arjuna is described as having many wives and consorts next to Subhadra. Another difference is that Shikhandini does not change her sex and remains a woman, to be wed to Arjuna, and takes the role of a warrior princess during the war.[citation needed] Another twist is that Gandhari is described as an antagonistic character who hates the Pandavas: her hate is out of jealousy because, during Gandhari's swayamvara, she was in love with Pandu but was later wed to his blind elder brother instead, whom she did not love, so she blindfolded herself as a protest.[citation needed] Another notable difference is the inclusion of the Punakawans, the clown servants of the main characters in the storyline. These characters include Semar, Petruk, Gareng, and Bagong, who are much-loved by Indonesian audiences.[citation needed] There are also some spin-off episodes developed in ancient Java, such as Arjunawiwaha composed in the 11th century.

A Kawi version of the Mahabharata, of which eight of the eighteen parvas survive, is found on the Indonesian island of Bali. It has been translated into English by Dr. I. Gusti Putu Phalgunadi.[70]

Derivative literature

Bhasa, the 2nd- or 3rd-century CE Sanskrit playwright, wrote two plays on episodes in the Marabharata, Urubhanga (Broken Thigh), about the fight between Duryodhana and Bhima, while Madhyamavyayoga (The Middle One) set around Bhima and his son, Ghatotkacha. The first important play of 20th century was Andha Yug (The Blind Epoch), by Dharamvir Bharati, which came in 1955, found in Mahabharat, both an ideal source and expression of modern predicaments and discontent. Starting with Ebrahim Alkazi, it was staged by numerous directors. V. S. Khandekar's Marathi novel, Yayati (1960), and Girish Karnad's debut play Yayati (1961) are based on the story of King Yayati found in the Mahabharat.[71] Bengali writer and playwright, Buddhadeva Bose wrote three plays set in Mahabharat, Anamni Angana, Pratham Partha and Kalsandhya.[72] Pratibha Ray wrote an award winning novel entitled Yajnaseni from Draupadi's perspective in 1984. Later, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni wrote a similar novel entitled The Palace of Illusions: A Novel in 2008. Gujarati poet Chinu Modi has written long narrative poetry Bahuk based on character Bahuka.[73] Krishna Udayasankar, a Singapore-based Indian author, has written several novels which are modern-day retellings of the epic, most notably the Aryavarta Chronicles Series. Suman Pokhrel wrote a solo play based on Ray's novel by personalizing and taking Draupadi alone in the scene.

Amar Chitra Katha published a 1,260-page comic book version of the Mahabharata.[74]

In film and television

Image
Krishna as portrayed in Yakshagana from Karnataka which is based largely on stories of Mahabharata

In Indian cinema, several film versions of the epic have been made, dating back to 1920. The Mahābhārata was also reinterpreted by Shyam Benegal in Kalyug.[75] Prakash Jha directed 2010 film Raajneeti was partially inspired by the Mahabharata.[76] A 2013 animated adaptation holds the record for India's most expensive animated film.[77]

In 1988, B. R. Chopra created a television series named Mahabharat. It was directed by Ravi Chopra,[78] and was televised on India's national television (Doordarshan). The same year as Mahabharat was being shown on Doordarshan, that same company's other television show, Bharat Ek Khoj, also directed by Shyam Benegal, showed a 2-episode abbreviation of the Mahabharata, drawing from various interpretations of the work, be they sung, danced, or staged. In the Western world, a well-known presentation of the epic is Peter Brook's nine-hour play, which premiered in Avignon in 1985, and its five-hour movie version The Mahābhārata (1989).[79] In the late 2013 Mahabharat was televised on STAR Plus. It was produced by Swastik Productions Pvt.

Uncompleted projects on the Mahābhārata include one by Rajkumar Santoshi,[80] and a theatrical adaptation planned by Satyajit Ray.[81]

In folk culture

Every year in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, villagers perform the Pandav Lila, a ritual re-enactment of episodes from the Mahabharata through dancing, singing, and recitation. The lila is a cultural highlight of the year and is usually performed between November and February. Folk instruments of the region, dhol, damau and two long trumpets bhankore, accompany the action. The actors, who are amateurs not pr, professionals, often break into a spontaneous dance when they are "possessed" by the spirits of their characters.[82]

Jain version

Further information: Salakapurusa

Image
Depiction of wedding procession of Lord Neminatha. The enclosure shows the animals that are to be slaughtered for food for weddings. Overcome with Compassion for animals, Neminatha refused to marry and renounced his kingdom to become a Shramana

Jain versions of Mahābhārata can be found in the various Jain texts like Harivamsapurana (the story of Harivamsa) Trisastisalakapurusa Caritra (Hagiography of 63 Illustrious persons), Pandavacharitra (lives of Pandavas) and Pandavapurana (stories of Pandavas).[83] From the earlier canonical literature, Antakrddaaśāh (8th cannon) and Vrisnidasa (upangagama or secondary canon) contain the stories of Neminatha (22nd Tirthankara), Krishna and Balarama.[84] Prof. Padmanabh Jaini notes that, unlike in the Hindu Puranas, the names Baladeva and Vasudeva are not restricted to Balarama and Krishna in Jain Puranas. Instead, they serve as names of two distinct classes of mighty brothers, who appear nine times in each half of time cycles of the Jain cosmology and rule half the earth as half-chakravartins. Jaini traces the origin of this list of brothers to the Jinacharitra by Bhadrabahu swami (4th–3rd century BCE).[85] According to Jain cosmology Balarama, Krishna and Jarasandha are the ninth and the last set of Baladeva, Vasudeva, and Prativasudeva.[86] The main battle is not the Mahabharata, but the fight between Krishna and Jarasandha (who is killed by Krishna as Prativasudevas are killed by Vasudevas). Ultimately, the Pandavas and Balarama take renunciation as Jain monks and are reborn in heavens, while on the other hand Krishna and Jarasandha are reborn in hell.[87] In keeping with the law of karma, Krishna is reborn in hell for his exploits (sexual and violent) while Jarasandha for his evil ways. Prof. Jaini admits a possibility that perhaps because of his popularity, the Jain authors were keen to rehabilitate Krishna. The Jain texts predict that after his karmic term in the hell is over sometime during the next half time-cycle, Krishna will be reborn as a Jain Tirthankara and attain liberation.[86] Krishna and Balrama are shown as contemporaries and cousins of 22nd Tirthankara, Neminatha.[88] According to this story, Krishna arranged young Neminath's marriage with Rajemati, the daughter of Ugrasena, but Neminatha, empathizing with the animals which were to be slaughtered for the marriage feast, left the procession suddenly and renounced the world.[89][90]

Kuru family tree

This shows the line of royal and family succession, not necessarily the parentage. See the notes below for detail.

Image

Kurua
Anasawana
Parikshit(1)a
Janamejaya(1)a
Bheemasena(1)a
Pratisravasa
Pratipaa
Gangā Shāntanua Satyavati Pārāshara
Bhishma Chitrāngada Ambikā Vichitravirya Ambālikā Vyāsa
Dhritarāshtrab Gāndhāri Shakuni Surya Devaa Kunti Pāndub Mādri
Karnac Yudhishthirad Bhimad Arjunad Subhadrā Nakulad Sahadevad
Duryodhanae Dussalā Dushāsana (97 sons)
Abhimanyuf Uttarā
Parikshit Madravti
Janamejaya

Key to Symbols

• Male: blue border
• Female: red border
• Pandavas: green box
• Kauravas: yellow box

Notes

• a: Shantanu was a king of the Kuru dynasty or kingdom, and was some generations removed from any ancestor called Kuru. His marriage to Ganga preceded his marriage to Satyavati.
• b: Pandu and Dhritarashtra were fathered by Vyasa in the niyoga tradition after Vichitravirya's death. Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura were the sons of Vyasa with Ambika, Ambalika and a maid servant respectively.
• c: Karna was born to Kunti through her invocation of Surya, before her marriage to Pandu.
• d: Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva were acknowledged sons of Pandu but were begotten by the invocation by Kunti and Madri of various deities. They all married Draupadi (not shown in tree).
• e: Duryodhana and his siblings were born at the same time, and they were of the same generation as their Pandava cousins.
• f : Although the succession after the Pandavas was through the descendants of Arjuna and Subhadra, it was Yudhishthira and Draupadi who occupied the throne of Hastinapura after the great battle.


The birth order of siblings is correctly shown in the family tree (from left to right), except for Vyasa and Bhishma whose birth order is not described, and Vichitravirya and Chitrangada who were born after them. The fact that Ambika and Ambalika are sisters is not shown in the family tree. The birth of Duryodhana took place after the birth of Karna, Yudhishthira and Bhima, but before the birth of the remaining Pandava brothers.

Some siblings of the characters shown here have been left out for clarity; these include Chitrāngada, the eldest brother of Vichitravirya. Vidura, half-brother to Dhritarashtra and Pandu.

Cultural influence

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Yogic[91] and Vedantic philosophies, with examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being described as a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and a practical, self-contained guide to life.[92] In more modern times, Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and many others used the text to help inspire the Indian independence movement.[93][94]

It has also inspired several modern Hindi literature like Ramdhari Singh Dinkar's Rashmirathi which is a rendition of Mahabharata centered around Karna and his conflicts. It was written in 1952, and won the prestigious Jnanpith award in 1972.

See also

• Ramayana
• Hindu texts
• Kali Yuga
• Characters in the Mahabharata

References

1. "Mahabharata". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary,
2. "Mahabharata". Oxford Dictionaries Online.
3. Datta, Amaresh (1 January 2006). The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature (Volume Two) (Devraj to Jyoti). ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0.
4. Austin, Christopher R. (2019). Pradyumna: Lover, Magician, and Son of the Avatara. Oxford University Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-19-005411-3.
5. Brockington (1998, p. 26)
6. Pattanaik, Devdutt. "How did the 'Ramayana' and 'Mahabharata' come to be (and what has 'dharma' got to do with it)?". Scroll.in.
7. Van Buitenen; The Mahabharata – 1; The Book of the Beginning. Introduction (Authorship and Date)
8. James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 399. ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8.
9. T. R. S. Sharma; June Gaur; Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi, Inde). (2000). Ancient Indian Literature: An Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. p. 137. ISBN 978-81-260-0794-3.
10. Spodek, Howard. Richard Mason. The World's History. Pearson Education: 2006, New Jersey. 224, 0-13-177318-6
11. Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian. Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity, London: Penguin Books, 2005.
12. W. J. Johnson (1998). The Sauptikaparvan of the Mahabharata: The Massacre at Night. Oxford University Press. p. ix. ISBN 978-0-19-282361-8.
13. Fitzgerald, James (1985). "India's Fifth Veda: The Mahabharata's Presentation of Itself". Journal of South Asian Literature. 20 (1): 125–140.
14. Mahābhārata, Vol. 1, Part 2. Critical edition, p. 884.
15. Davis, Richard H. (2014). The "Bhagavad Gita": A Biography. Princeton University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-4008-5197-3.
16. Krishnan, Bal (1978). Kurukshetra: Political and Cultural History. B.R. Publishing Corporation. p. 50. ISBN 9788170180333.
17. Hermann Oldenberg, Das Mahabharata: seine Entstehung, sein Inhalt, seine Form, Göttingen, 1922,[page needed]
18. "The Mahabharata" at The Sampradaya Sun
19. A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1 by Maurice Winternitz
20. Buitenen (1973) pp. xxiv–xxv
21. Sharma, Ruchika. "The Mahabharata: How an oral narrative of the bards became a text of the Brahmins". Scroll.in.
22. Sukthankar (1933) "Prolegomena" p. lxxxvi. Emphasis is original.
23. Gupta & Ramachandran (1976), citing Mahabharata, Critical Edition, I, 56, 33
24. SP Gupta and KS Ramachandran (1976), p.3-4, citing Vaidya (1967), p.11
25. Brockington, J. L. (1998). The Sanskrit epics, Part 2. Volume 12. BRILL. p. 21. ISBN 978-90-04-10260-6.
26. 18 books, 18 chapters of the Bhagavadgita and the Narayaniya each, corresponding to the 18 days of the battle and the 18 armies (Mbh. 5.152.23)
27. The Spitzer Manuscript (Beitrage zur Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens), Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2004. It is one of the oldest Sanskrit manuscripts found on the Silk Road and part of the estate of Dr. Moritz Spitzer.
28. Schlingloff, Dieter (1969). "The Oldest Extant Parvan-List of the Mahābhārata". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 89 (2): 334–338. doi:10.2307/596517. JSTOR 596517.
29. "Vyasa, can you hear us now?". The Indian Express. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
30. J.A.B. van Buitenen, Mahābhārata, Volume 1, p.445, citing W. Caland, The Pañcaviṃśa Brāhmaṇa, p.640-2
31. Moriz Winternitz (1996). A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 291–292. ISBN 978-81-208-0264-3.
32. Jean Philippe Vogel (1995). Indian Serpent-lore: Or, The Nāgas in Hindu Legend and Art. Asian Educational Services. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978-81-206-1071-2.
33. Dio Chrysostom, 53.6-7, trans. H. Lamar Crosby, Loeb Classical Library, 1946, vol. 4, p. 363.
34. Christian Lassen, in his Indische Alterthumskunde, supposed that the reference is ultimate to Dhritarashtra's sorrows, the laments of Gandhari and Draupadi, and the valor of Arjuna and Suyodhana or Karna (cited approvingly in Max Duncker, The History of Antiquity (trans. Evelyn Abbott, London 1880), vol. 4, p. 81). This interpretation is endorsed in such standard references as Albrecht Weber's History of Indian Literature but has sometimes been repeated as fact instead of as interpretation.
35. Ghadyalpatil, Abhiram (10 October 2016). "Maharashtra builds up a case for providing quotas to Marathas". Livemint. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
36. "The Mahabharata, Book 6: Bhishma Parva: Bhagavat-Gita Parva: Section XXV (Bhagavad Gita Chapter I)". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
37. "The Mahabharata, Book 6: Bhishma Parva: Bhagavat-Gita Parva: Section XLII (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XVIII)". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
38. The Ashvamedhika-parva is also preserved in a separate version, the Jaimini-Bharata (Jaiminiya-Ashvamedha) where the frame dialogue is replaced, the narration being attributed to Jaimini, another disciple of Vyasa. This version contains far more devotional material (related to Krishna) than the standard epic and probably dates to the 12th century. It has some regional versions, the most popular being the Kannada one by Devapurada Annama Lakshmisha (16th century).The Mahabharata[citation needed]
39. In discussing the dating question, historian A. L. Basham says: "According to the most popular later tradition the Mahabharata War took place in 3102 BCE, which in the light of all evidence, is quite impossible. More reasonable is another tradition, placing it in the 15th century BCE, but this is also several centuries too early in the light of our archaeological knowledge. Probably the war took place around the beginning of the 9th century BCE; such a date seems to fit well with the scanty archaeological remains of the period, and there is some evidence in the Brahmana literature itself to show that it cannot have been much earlier." Basham, p. 40, citing HC Raychaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, pp.27ff.
40. M Witzel, Early Sanskritization: Origin and Development of the Kuru state, EJVS vol.1 no.4 (1995); also in B. Kölver (ed.), Recht, Staat und Verwaltung im klassischen Indien. The state, the Law, and Administration in Classical India, München, R. Oldenbourg, 1997, p.27-52
41. A.D. Pusalker, History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol I, Chapter XIV, p.273
42. FE Pargiter, Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, p.180. He shows estimates of the average as 47, 50, 31, and 35 for various versions of the lists.
43. Pargiter, op.cit. p.180-182
44. B. B. Lal, Mahabharata and Archaeology in Gupta and Ramachandran (1976), p.57-58
45. Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York City: Grove Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8021-3797-5.
46. Gupta and Ramachandran (1976), p.246, who summarize as follows: "Astronomical calculations favor 15th century BCE as the date of the war while the Puranic data place it in the 10th/9th century BCE. Archaeological evidence points towards the latter." (p.254)
47. "Lord Krishna lived for 125 years | India News - Times of India". The Times of India.
48. "5151 years of Gita". 19 January 2014.
49. Gupta and Ramachandran (1976), p.55; AD Pusalker, HCIP, Vol I, p.272
50. AD Pusalker, op.cit. p.272
51. "Sanskrit, Tamil and Pahlavi Dictionaries" (in German). Webapps.uni-koeln.de. 11 February 2003.
52. "Book 1: Adi Parva: Jatugriha Parva". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
53. VISHNU S. SUKTHANKAR (11 March 2018). "THE MAHABHARATHA". BHANDARKAR ORIENTAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE, POONA – via Internet Archive.
54. "The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute : Mahabharata Project". bori.ac.in.
55. M. A. Mehendale (1 January 2001). "Interpolations in the Mahabharata" – via Internet Archive.
56. "Book 2: Sabha Parva: Sabhakriya Parva". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
57. "Sabha parva". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
58. Rajagopalachari, Chakravarti (2005). "Yudhishthira's final trial". Mahabharata (45th ed.). Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. ISBN 978-81-7276-368-8.
59. Robinson, P.F. (2003). Just War in Comparative Perspective. Ashgate. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-7546-3587-1. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
60. "picture details". Plant Cultures. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
61. Gaṅgā Rām, Garg (1992). Encyclopaedia of the Hindu world, Volume 1. p. 129. ISBN 978-81-7022-376-4.
62. Several editions of the Kisari Mohan Ganguli translation of the Mahabharata incorrectly cite the publisher, Pratap Chandra Roy, as the translator and this error has been propagated into secondary citations. See the publisher's preface to the current Munshiram Manoharlal edition for an explanation.
63. The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli at the Internet Sacred Text Archive
64. P. Lal. "Kisari Mohan Ganguli and Pratap Chandra Roy". An Annotated Mahabharata Bibliography. Calcutta.
65. The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa translated by Romesh Chunder Dutt at the Online Library of Liberty.
66. Fitzgerald, James (2009). "Reading Suggestions for Getting Started". Brown.
67. Bhandarkar Institute, Pune Archived 19 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine—Virtual Pune
68. Srinivas, Smriti (2004) [2001]. Landscapes of Urban Memory. Orient Longman. p. 23. ISBN 978-81-250-2254-1. OCLC 46353272.
69. "The Javanization of the Mahābhārata, Chapter 15. Indic Transformation: The Sanskritization of Jawa and the Javanization of the Bharata".
70. "Indonesian Ramayana: The Uttarakanda by Dr. I Gusti Putu Phalgunadi: Sundeep Prakashan, New Delhi 9788175740532 Hardcover, First edition". abebooks.com. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
71. Don Rubin (1998). The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia. Taylor & Francis. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-415-05933-6.
72. The Mahabharata as Theatre Archived 14 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine by Pradip Bhattacharya, 13 June 2004.
73. Topiwala, Chandrakant (1990). "Bahuk". Gujarati Sahityakosh (Encyclopedia of Gujarati Literature) (in Gujarati). 2. Ahmedabad: Gujarati Sahitya Parishad. p. 394.
74. Pai, Anant (1998). Pai, Anant (ed.). Amar Chitra Katha Mahabharata. Kadam, Dilip (illus.). Mumbai: Amar Chitra Katha. p. 1200. ISBN 978-81-905990-4-7.
75. "What makes Shyam special". Hinduonnet.com. 17 January 2003. Archived from the original on 12 January 2011.
76. Kumar, Anuj (27 May 2010). "Fact of the matter". The Hindu.
77. "Mahabharat: Theatrical Trailer (Animated Film)". 19 November 2013.
78. Mahabharat at IMDb (1988–1990 TV series)
79. The Mahabharata at IMDb (1989 mini-series).
80. "In brief: Mahabharat will be most expensive Indian movie ever". 24 February 2003 – via http://www.theguardian.com.
81. C. J. Wallia (1996). "IndiaStar book review: Satyajit Ray by Surabhi Banerjee". Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
82. Sax, William Sturman (2002). Dancing the Self: Personhood and Performance in the Pāṇḍava Līlā of Garhwal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195139150.
83. Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1691-6. p. 351-52
84. Shah, Natubhai (1998). Jainism: The World of Conquerors. Volume I and II. Sussex: Sussex Academy Press. ISBN 978-1-898723-30-1. vol 1 pp. 14–15
85. Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1691-6. p. 377
86. Jaini, Padmanabh (1998). The Jaina Path of Purification. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1578-0. p.305
87. Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1691-6. p. 351
88. Roy, Ashim Kumar (1984). A history of the Jainas. New Delhi: Gitanjali Pub. House. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8364-1136-2. OCLC 11604851.
89. Helen, Johnson (2009) [1931]. Muni Samvegayashvijay Maharaj (ed.). Trisastiśalākāpurusacaritra of Hemacandra: The Jain Saga. Part II. Baroda: Oriental Institute. ISBN 978-81-908157-0-3. refer story of Neminatha
90. Devdutt Pattanaik (2 March 2017). "How different are the Jain Ramayana and Jain Mahabharata from Hindu narrations?". Devdutt. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
91. "Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita". Yoga.about.com. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
92. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; On The Bhagavad Gita; A New Translation and Commentary With Sanskrit Text Chapters 1 to 6, Preface p.9
93. Stevenson, Robert W., "Tilak and the Bhagavadgita's Doctrine of Karmayoga", in Minor, p. 44.
94. Jordens, J. T. F., "Gandhi and the Bhagavadgita", in Minor, p. 88.

Sources

• Badrinath, Chaturvedi. The Mahābhārata: An Inquiry in the Human Condition, New Delhi, Orient Longman (2006)
• Bandyopadhyaya, Jayantanuja (2008). Class and Religion in Ancient India. Anthem Press.
• Basham, A. L. (1954). The Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent Before The Coming of the Muslims. New York: Grove Press.
• Bhasin, R.V. "Mahabharata" published by National Publications, India, 2007.
• J. Brockington. The Sanskrit Epics, Leiden (1998).
• Buitenen, Johannes Adrianus Bernardus (1978). The Mahābhārata. 3 volumes (translation / publication incomplete due to his death). University of Chicago Press.
• Chaitanya, Krishna (K.K. Nair). The Mahabharata, A Literary Study, Clarion Books, New Delhi 1985.
• Gupta, S.P. and Ramachandran, K.S. (ed.). Mahabharata: myth and reality. Agam Prakashan, New Delhi 1976.
• Hiltebeitel, Alf. The Ritual of Battle, Krishna in the Mahabharata, SUNY Press, New York 1990.
• Hopkins, E. W. The Great Epic of India, New York (1901).
• Jyotirmayananda, Swami. Mysticism of the Mahabharata, Yoga Research Foundation, Miami 1993.
• Katz, Ruth Cecily Arjuna in the Mahabharata, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia 1989.
• Keay, John (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-3797-5.
• Majumdar, R. C. (general editor) (1951). The History and Culture of the Indian People: (Volume 1) The Vedic Age. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
• Lerner, Paule. Astrological Key in Mahabharata, David White (trans.) Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi 1988.
• Mallory, J. P (2005). In Search of the Indo-Europeans. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27616-1
• Mehta, M. The problem of the double introduction to the Mahabharata, JAOS 93 (1973), 547–550.
• Minkowski, C.Z. Janamehayas Sattra and Ritual Structure, JAOS 109 (1989), 410–420.
• Minkowski, C.Z. 'Snakes, Sattras and the Mahabharata', in: Essays on the Mahabharata, ed. A. Sharma, Leiden (1991), 384–400.
• Oldenberg, Hermann. Zur Geschichte der Altindischen Prosa, Berlin (1917)
• Oberlies, Th. 'The Counsels of the Seer Narada: Ritual on and under the surface of the Mahabharata', in: New methods in the research of epic (ed. H. L. C. Tristram), Freiburg (1998).
• Oldenberg, H. Das Mahabharata, Göttingen (1922).
• Pāṇini. Ashtādhyāyī. Book 4. Translated by Chandra Vasu. Benares, 1896. (in Sanskrit and English)
• Pargiter, F.E. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, London 1922. Repr. Motilal Banarsidass 1997.
• Sattar, Arshia (transl.) (1996). The Rāmāyaṇa by Vālmīki. Viking. p. 696. ISBN 978-0-14-029866-6.
• Sukthankar, Vishnu S. and Shrimant Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi (1933). The Mahabharata: for the first time critically edited. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.
• Sullivan, Bruce M. Seer of the Fifth Veda, Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa in the Mahabharata, Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi 1999.
• Sutton, Nicholas. Religious Doctrines in the Mahabharata, Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi 2000.
• Utgikar, N. B. The mention of the Mahābhārata in the Ashvalayana Grhya Sutra, Proceedings and Transactions of the All-India Oriental Conference, Poona (1919), vol. 2, Poona (1922), 46–61.
• Vaidya, R.V. A Study of Mahabharat; A Research, Poona, A.V.G. Prakashan, 1967
• Witzel, Michael, Epics, Khilas and Puranas: Continuities and Ruptures, Proceedings of the Third Dubrovnik International Conference on the Sanskrit Epics and Puranas, ed. P. Koskiallio, Zagreb (2005), 21–80.

External links

• Sacred-Texts: Hinduism – English translation of 18 parvas of Mahabharata
• harivamsham - mahaabhaarat khila parva – English translation of harivamsa Parva of Mahabharata
• Sanskrit etext of the Mahābhārata online (licensed and approved by BORI)
• All volumes in 12 PDF-files (Holybooks.com, 181 MB in total)
• Reading Suggestions, J. L. Fitzgerald, Das Professor of Sanskrit, Department of Classics, Brown University
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Ikshvaku
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/21

Image
Ikshvaku
Chanting Brahmins and King Ikshvaku proceed to heaven
Dynasty Ikshvaku
Father Vaivaswata Manu
Mother Shraddha
Religion Hinduism

In ancient India, Ikshvaku (Sanskrit; ikṣvāku,); one of the ten sons of Shraddhadeva Manu, was the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty, known as the "Suryavansha", and the kingdom of Kosala in ancient India.[1] According to the Vishnu Purana, he had a hundred sons,[2] among whom the eldest was Vikukshi. Another son of Ikshvaku's, named Nimi, founded the Kingdom of the Videhas.[3] Lord Rama and the sage Buddha belonged to the Suryavansha or Ikshvaku dynasty.[4]

Origin

From Kashyapa, through Aditi, Vivaswan was generated, and from Vivaswan came Shraddhadeva Manu, who was born from the womb of Sanjna. Shraddhadev's wife, Shraddha, gave birth to 10 sons, such as Ikshvaku and Nriga. According to the Vedas, Ikshvaku was the protector of the five territories of Panchajanah who were non-sacrificing pre-Aryan and non-Aryan people. The Atharvaveda and Brahmanas associate the Ikshvakus with the non-Aryan people, that is they are different from the Vedic Aryans who composed hymns of the four Vedas.[5][6] F. E. Pargiter has equated the Ikshvakus with the Dravidian peoples.[7]

See also

• Suryavansha
• Kshatriya
• Saket

References

Citations


1. Thapar 2013, p. 308-309.
2. John Garrett (1975). A Classical Dictionary of India. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distri. p. 259. GGKEY:YTLNG1DG7JN. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
3. Subodh Kapoor (2004). A Dictionary of Hinduism: Including Its Mythology, Religion, History, Literature, and Pantheon. New Delhi: Cosmo Publications. p. 171. ISBN 978-81-7755-874-6. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
4. Peter Scharf. Ramopakhyana - The Story of Rama in the Mahabharata: A Sanskrit Independent-Study Reader. Routledge, 2014. p. 559.
5. Indian History Congress. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Parts 1-2. pp. 32–33.
6. Ram Chandra Jain. Ethnology of Ancient Bhārata. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1970. p. 18.
7. Ram Chandra Jain. Ethnology of Ancient Bhārata. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1970. p. 21.

Sources

• Thapar, Romila (2013), The Past Before Us, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0-674-72651-2

External links

• Vishnu Purana Book 4 ch. 1 and 2, P-348 to 377
• THE VALMIKI RAMAYANA - IIT Madras
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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CHAP. XX. Of what concerns Women. Excerpt from A Code of Gentoo Laws, Or, Ordinations of the Pundits
From a Persian Translation, Made From the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language
by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed
1776

CHAP. XX. Of what concerns Women.

A Man, both Day and Night, must keep his Wife so much in Subjection, that she by no Means be Mistress of her own Actions: If the Wife have her own Free-Will, notwithstanding she be sprung from a superior Cast, she will yet behave amiss.

So long as a Woman remains unmarried, her Father shall take care of her; and so long as a Wife remains young, her Husband shall take care of her; and in her old Age, her Son shall take care of her; and if, before a Woman's Marriage, her Father should die, the Brother, or Brother's Son, or such other near Relations of the Father shall take care of her; if, after Marriage, her Husband should die, and the Wife has not brought forth a Son, the Brothers, and Brothers Sons, and such other near Relations of her Husband shall take care of her: If there are no Brothers, Brothers Sons, or such other near Relations of her Husband, the Brothers, or Sons of the Brothers of her Father shall take care of her: If there are none of those, the Magistrate shall take care of her; and in every Stage of Life, if the Persons who have been allotted to take care of a Woman do not take care of her, each in his respective Stage accordingly, the Magistrate shall fine them.

If a Husband be abject: and weak, he shall nevertheless endeavour to guard his Wife with Caution, that she may not be unchaste, and learn bad Habits.

If a Man, by Confinement and Threats, cannot guard his Wife, he shall give her a large Sum of Money, and make her Mistress of her Income and Expences, and appoint her to dress Victuals for the Dewtah (i. e.) the Deity.

A Woman is never satisfied with the Copulation of Man, no more than Fire is satisfied with burning Fuel, or the main Ocean with receiving the Rivers, or the Empire of Death with the dying of Men and Animals; in this Case therefore, a Woman is not to be relied on.

Women have Six Qualities; the First, an inordinate Desire for Jewels and fine Furniture, handsome Cloaths, and nice Victuals; the Second, immoderate Lust; the Third, violent Anger; the Fourth, deep Resentment (i. e.) no Person knows the Sentiments concealed in their Heart; the Fifth, another Person's Good appears Evil in their Eyes; the Sixth, they commit bad Actions.

If a Woman is pregnant, they must give her the Sadheh (the Sadheh is, to give a pregnant Woman, in the Ninth Month, Rice, Milk, and Sweetmeats, and other Eatables of the same Kind for her to eat, and to dress her in handsome Cloaths.

If a Husband is going a Journey, he must give his Wife enough to furnish her with Victuals and Cloaths, until the promised Period of his Return; if he goes without leaving such Provision, and his Wife is reduced to great Necessity for want of Victuals and Cloaths, then, if the Wife be naturally well principled, she yet becomes unchaste, for want of Victuals and Cloaths.

In every Family where there is a good Understanding between the Husband and Wife, and where the Wife is not unchaste, and the Husband also commits no bad Practices, it is an excellent Example.

The Creator formed Woman for this Purpose, viz. That Man might copulate with her, and that Children might be born from thence.

A Woman, who always acts according to her Husband's Pleasure, and speaks no ill of any Person, and who can herself do all such Things as are proper for a Woman, and who is of good Principles, and who produces a Son, and who rises from Sleep before her Husband, such a Woman is found only by much and many religious Works, and by a peculiarly happy Destiny, such a Woman, if any Man forsakes of his own accord, the Magistrate shall inflict upon that Man the Punishment of a Thief.

A Woman, who always abuses her Husband, shall be treated with good Advice, for the Space of One Year; if she does not amend with One Year's Advice, and does not leave off abusing her Husband, he shall no longer hold any Communication with her, nor keep her any longer near him, but shall provide her with Food and Cloaths.

A Woman, who dissipates or spoils her own Property, or who procures Abortion, or who has an Intention to murder her Husband, and is always quarrelling with every Body, and who eats before her Husband eats, such Woman shall be turned out of the House.

A Husband, at his own Pleasure, shall cease to copulate with his Wife who is barren, or who always brings forth Daughters.

If a Woman, after her monthly Courses, while her Husband continues in the House, conceiving her Husband to be a weak, low, and contemptible Object, goes no more to him, the Husband, informing People of this, shall turn her out of his House.

If a Woman, following her own Inclination, goes whithersoever she chooses, and does not regard the Words of her Master, such a Woman also shall be turned away.

A Woman, who is of a good Disposition, and who puts on her Jewels and Cloaths with Decorum, and is of good Principles, whenever the Husband is cheerful, the Wife also is cheerful, and if the Husband is sorrowful, the Wife also is sorrowful, and whenever the Husband undertakes a Journey, the Wife puts on a careless Dress, and lays aside her Jewels and other Ornaments, and abuses no Person, and will not expend a single Dam without her Husband's Consent, and has a Son, and takes proper Care of the Household Goods, and, at the Times of Worship, performs her Worship to the Deity in a proper Manner, and goes not out of the House, and is not unchaste, and makes no Quarrels or Disturbances, and has no greedy Passions, and is always employed in some good Work, and pays a proper Respect to all Persons, such is a good Woman.

A Woman shall never go out of the House without the Consent of her Husband, and shall always have some Cloaths upon her Bosom, and at Festival Times shall put on her choicest Dress and her Jewels, and shall never hold Discourse with a strange Man; but may converse with a Sinassee, a Hermit, or an old Man; and shall always dress in Cloaths that reach from below the Leg to above the Navel; and shall not suffer her Breasts to appear out of her Cloaths; and shall not laugh, without drawing her Veil before her Face; and shall act according to the Orders of her Husband; and shall pay a proper Respect to the Deity, her Husband's Father, the Spiritual Guide, and the Guests; and shall not eat until she has served them with Victuals (if it is Physick, she may take it before they eat) a Woman also shall never go to a Stranger's House, and shall not stand at the Door, and must never look out of a window.

Six Things are disgraceful to a Woman: 1st. To drink Wine and eat Conserves, or any such inebriating Things. 2d. To keep company with a Man of bad Principles. 3d. To remain separate from her Husband. 4th. To go to a Stranger's House without good Cause. 5th. To sleep in the Day- Time. 6th. To remain in a Stranger's House.

When a Woman, whose Husband is Absent on a Journey, has expended all the Money that he gave her, to support her in Victuals and Cloaths during his Absence, or if her Husband went on a Journey without leaving any Thing with her to support her Expences, she shall support herself by Painting, by Spinning, or some other such Employment.

If a Man goes on a Journey, his Wife shall not divert herself by Play, nor shall see any publick Show, nor shall laugh, nor shall dress herself in Jewels and fine Cloaths, nor shall see Dancing, nor hear Musick, nor shall sit in the Window, nor shall ride out, nor shall behold any Thing choice and rare; but shall fasten well the House-Door, and remain private; and shall not eat any dainty Victuals, and shall not blacken her Eyes with Eye-Powder, and shall not view her Face in a Mirror; she shall never exercise herself in any such agreeable Employment, during the Absence of her Husband.

It is proper for a Woman, after her Husband's Death, to burn herself in the Fire with his Corpse; every Woman, who thus burns herself, shall remain in Paradise with her Husband Three Crore and Fifty Lacks of Years, by Destiny; if she cannot burn, she must, in that Case, preserve an inviolable Chastity; if she remains always chaste, she goes to Paradise; and if she does not preserve her Chastity, she goes to Hell.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Ramchandra Pant Amatya
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/24/21

Image
Ramchandra Pant Amatya Bavdekar
Ramchandra Pant Amatya Painting made from earlier statue. Artist Swapnil Patil.
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svgAmatya of the Maratha Empire
In office: 1674–1689
Monarch Chhatrapati Shivaji I; Sambhaji
Preceded by: position established
Succeeded by: Bahiroji Pingale
Regent of the Maratha Empire
In office: 1689–1708
Monarch: Sambhaji; Rajaram; Shivaji II; Sambhaji II
Preceded by: Moreshvar Pingale
Succeeded by: Bahiroji Pingale
Personal details
Born: 1650, Kolwan (Pune District, Maharashtra)
Died: 1716, Panhala (Kolhapur District, Maharashtra)
Spouse(s): Janakibai

Ramchandra Neelkanth Bawadekar (1650–1716), also known as Ramchandra Pant Amatya, served on the Council of 8 (Ashta Pradhan) as the Finance Minister (Amatya) to Emperor (Chhatrapati) Shivaji dating from 1674 to 1680.[1] He then served as the Imperial Regent to four later emperors, namely Sambhaji, Rajaram, Shivaji II and Sambhaji II. He authored the Adnyapatra, a famous code of civil and military administration, and is renowned as one of the greatest civil administrators, diplomats and military strategists of the Maratha Empire.

Early life

Ramchandra Pant was born in a Deshastha Brahmin family in approximately 1650. He was the youngest son of Neelkanth Sondeo Bahutkar (more popularly known as Nilo Sondeo), who had risen from a local revenue collection post (Kulkarni) to the post of Minister in the court of Shivaji.

His family came from the village of Kolwan; near Kalyan Bhiwandi. Ramchandra Pant's grandfather Sonopant and uncle Abaji Sondeo were in the close circle of Shivaji. The Bahutkar family was closely associated with Samarth Ramdas, the spiritual guru of Shivaji. Samarth Ramdas is believed to be the one who named the newly born child as Ramchandra.

Early career

Before 1672, Ramchandra Pant was engaged in various clerical jobs in Shivaji's administration. In 1672, he and his elder brother Narayan were both promoted to the post of Revenue Minister (Mujumdar) by Shivaji. In 1674, at the coronation ceremony, the post of Mujumdar was renamed as Amatya and the title was solely bestowed upon Ramchandra Pant. He worked in this capacity until 1678. On his death bed, Shivaji named him as one among six pillars of the Maratha Empire that would save the kingdom in difficult times.

After Shivaji's death in 1680, Sambhaji became ruler of the Maratha Empire, and Ramchandra Pant continued with his administration in various posts. Among other duties, Ramchandra Pant was sent to Prince Akbar, Aurangzeb's rebel son, for negotiations and, in 1685, Sambhaji also deployed him as an envoy to Vijapur for certain sensitive talks.

Amatya of 5 Chhatrapaties

Ramchandra Pant Amatya was the only person (Amatya) who dedicatedly served The Maratha Swarajya under 5 Chhatrapati's in a row. When the Marathi empire was in trouble he used his wisdom, dedication to the throne and even force as needed to keep the empire and its Swarajya safe.

During the coronation of Shivaji, Ramchandra Pant Amatya was the youngest Pradhan of all the Asthapradhan's existing at that time. Thereafter, during the reign of Sambhaji, Rajaram, Maharani Tarabai and (Kolhapur's first ruler) Sambhaji Raje, Pant Amatya always held a prominent positions. As Riyasatkar(s) rightly said that ‘ever since the time of Shivaji Maharaj, Ramchandra Pant Amatya was the only person in the history of the Marathas who seems to have dedicatedly served the throne.’ Ramchandra Pant Amatya has laid down all the experiences encountered by him, while serving the throne in his book Rajniti (Adnyapatra). The said book is a testament to his dedication and service to the throne of Chatrapati's and Hindavi Swarajya.

The forefathers of Ramchandra Pant Amatya had close relations with the Bhosle Gharana even before the establishment of Swarajya. Before the coronation of Shivaji, Ramchandra Pant Amatya's father used to participate in various initiatives undertaken by Shivaji. Ramchandra Pant Amatya subsequently carried forward this (his father's) tradition with even more impact. Ramchandra Pant Amatya took the lead when it came to the protection of the Swarajya. Being impressed by his efforts, Shivaji included Ramchandra Pant as Amatya in his First Ashta Pradhan mandal i.e. Council of Ministers. This, in itself portrays the qualities that Ramchandra Pant Amatya possessed. During the coronation ceremony of Shivaji, Pant was included as Amatya. He must’ve been 22–23 years old then. Before the coronation, a Pradhan Mandal was appointed by Maharaj in the year 1662 which included Ramchandra Pant's father Neelkanth Sondev as Maharaj's Amatya. This legacy was carried forward, as after the death of Neelkanth Sondev his son Ramchandra Pant was appointed as Maharaj's Amatya.

According to the information provided by the Bakharkar(s), Ramchandra Pant Amatya was one of the very few people present when Shivaji was on his death bed at Raigad. Shivaji had named a few people who had the ability protect the Swarajya after his demise. Ramchandra Pant Amatya was one of them. During the Reign of Sambhaji, Ramchandra Pant Amatya was given an important position. (Period of 1680 to 1685)

Fight for Freedom

After the unfortunate demise of Sambhaji, the Maratha Empire was in great trouble. Aurangzeb had taken a vow to defeat the Maratha empire at any cost, and with that motive, he attacked many forts of the Marathas with a huge army. Sadness prevailed all over the Maratha Empire. In this situation, Ramchandra Pant Amatya stood up and acted with a lot of patience. This was the era of the freedom struggle of the Maratha empire. Ramchandra Pant Amatya did every thing he could to keep the royal family and the Maratha empire safe and endure the struggle of the troubled times. Ramchandra Pant Amatya, Santaji Ghorpade, Dhanaji Jadhav, Parshurampant Pant-Pratinidhi were the major contributors to the struggle for freedom.[citation needed]

Rajaram Maharaj's stay in Gingi ended in 1697. He returned to Maharashtra. However, Rajaram Maharaj died in 1700 when he was at Fort Sinhagad. The Maratha empire was in trouble again. Ramchandra Pant Amatya did everything he could to save the Maratha Empire from the trouble and he succeeded. This was no mean achievement. Ramchandra Pant had paid a visit to Rajaram Maharaj when he was on his death bed at Sinhagad fort. Pant had sensed the inevitable. He wrote letters to many Sardars and informed them of the dire situation and brought to their notice, the need to protect the Empire.

After the death of Rajaram Maharaj, Aurangzeb started attacking with even more force. He thought that now, he could easily defeat the Maratha empire as there was no King. He planned to take over the entire empire. But he was wrong. Ramchandra Pant, Dhanaji Jadhav, Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi along with thousands of soldiers loyal and dedicated to the throne resolved to defend their Empire. They fought with Aurangzeb for seven years continuously, that is from 1700 to 1707. Eventually, Aurangzeb admitted defeat and subsequently died in Ahmednagar. This struggle for 7 continuous years was a period with innumerable difficulties and troubles for the Marathas. The leadership of Maharani Tarabai and the wisdom of Ramchandra Pant had played a vital role in the protection of the Swarajya in these 7 years. Tarabai wanted her son Shivaji II on the Maratha throne but Ramchandra Pant wanted to wait for Prince Shahu to return. But he did not pursue it beyond a point. He decided to be loyal to the Kolhapur throne. Tararani knew about Ramchandra Pant's capabilities and qualities. In every time of peril, he stood behind the Maratha throne like a mountain. Tarabai has in a letter to his son Bhagwantrao acknowledged his greatness. She says, "Ramchandra Pant served the Maratha kingdom with great loyalty. He restored an almost finished Swarajya and made a great name for himself ".[citation needed]

It is said that Ramchandra Pant Amatya was behind the bloodless coup that led to Rajasbai's son Sambhaji being crowned as The Chatrapati in 1713-1714. He felt it necessary as the Kolhapur Kingdom was heading towards a different path. There seems to be no ulterior motive behind this coup. He crowned Sambhaji as the Chatrapati and soon went in the background. As Sambhaji was only 16–17 years old he would naturally look up to Ramchandra Pant Amatya for guidance. Shortly after Ramchandra Pant Amatya died. There is some confusion about the date of his death but most historians assume it to be somewhere in February 1716.[citation needed]

A Warrior and A Statesman

Ramchandra Pant Amatya was also a warrior as he was a statesman. He is known to lead many wars. Moghul historians mention that when Aurangzeb's grandson had invaded Panhala in 1693 Ramchandra Pant along with Pratinidhi launched a heavy attack on the Mughal forces. A Farsi historian notes that Ramchandra Pant was the head of Konkan army in 1699 and attacked them with all his might. His guns were blazing with all their might and a mighty war ensued.[citation needed]

A Portuguese Killedar has mentioned that on 22 February 1701 Ramchandra Pant along with 20,000 Maratha's attacked Dandya's Siddi Yakubkhan.

Adnyapatra

Image
Coat of Arms of Pant Amatya Gaganbavada

Ramchandra Pant Amatya is the writer of the First book on Politics in Maratha history "AdnyaPatra". This main topics refer to

1. The King and his duties ways of governance,
2. How revenue is important for the State
3. Importance of the Army and Importance of scholars and experts in all fields
4. Education of the Princes.
5. Importance of a Pradhan i.e. Prime Minister and his duties
6. Policies regarding foreigners i.e. British, French etc.
7. Policy regarding your judicatories
8. Importance of forts.
9. he who has the Navy rules the seas,
10. Policy regarding natural resources etc.

It is said that it outlines the theories and way of ruling of Shivaji. The book is said to be of such high stature that it can be compared to Kautilya's Arthashastra.

It is said that the book still holds relevance in today's time and can be a guide for a person in the administration of a state, such is the richness of his thoughts more than 300 years back.

Contribution to Maratha War of Independence

In 1689, at the time of Sambhaji's assassination by Aurangzeb, Ramchandra Pant was deployed at Fort Vishalgad. In consultation with Sambhaji's queen, Yesubai, who was located at Fort Raigad along with Rajaram and her son Shahu, he decided to send Rajaram to Fort Gingee (in current-day Tamil Nadu) to divide the battlefield. Subsequently, Rajaram was brought to Panhala fort and was secretly sent to Gingee. Before leaving for Gingee, Rajaram conferred on Ramchandra Pant the title of Imperial Regent (Hukumat Panah).

Thereafter, with the aid of generals Santaji Ghorpade, Dhanaji Jadhav, Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi, and Shankaraji Narayan Gandekar, Ramchandra Pant launched a great retaliatory war against the Mughal Empire.

Wartime strategies

• To encourage the local Maratha warriors to fight independently against the Mughals, Ramchandra Pant adopted a new policy to officially reward pieces of land (Vatans) in exchange for military service. Turn out the Mughals and own the land was the pronouncement. This mercenary policy went against Shivaji's will, but Ramchandra Pant saw no alternative given the changed circumstances.
• Independent Maratha warlords were encouraged to cross the Maharashtra border and to invade Mughal areas in response to Mughal invasion. Nemaji Shinde and Chimnaji Damodar were the first warlords to successfully respond to this strategy.
• Appealing to Mughal greed, Maratha forts were traded to the Mughals for large sums. Once the forts were well equipped by the Mughals, the forts were re-captured by Maratha forces.

These strategies proved to be extremely effective against the Mughal Empire.

Later career

In 1698, after Rajaram's return from Gingee, Ramchandra Pant voluntarily stepped down from the post of Imperial Regent.

In 1700, after Rajaram's death, Queen Tarabai once again delegated enormous wartime powers to Ramchandra Pant. Both of them continued to fight against the Mughal power in India. At the time of Aurangzeb's death in 1707, the Marathas had become extremely powerful and the Mughal Empire was on the verge of total devastation.

After Shahu's release from the Mughal camp, most of the Maratha generals defected from Tarabai and joined him. As a result, Tarabai was forced to leave the capital at Satara, fleeing to Panhala fort. Ramchandra Pant, however, strongly supported Tarabai at the time and worked as the Senior Minister for her son Shivaji II.

In 1714, Rajasbai instigated a coup against Tarabai and her son Shivaji II and installed her own son Sambhaji II on the Kolhapur throne. Modern-day scholars generally conclude that Ramchandra Pant was behind this conspiracy as he was appointed by Sambhaji II to the Imperial Regency immediately thereafter. It is speculated that Ramchandra Pant and his supporters were not satisfied with Tarabai's treatment of her peerage.

Later life

On the request of Sambhaji II, Ramchandra Pant wrote the Adnyapatra (also spelled Ajnapatra), a standard code of civil and military administration for the Maratha Empire. It can be compared to Kautilya's Arthashastra.

In 1716, Ramchandra Pant died at the age of 66. A monument dedicated to his life and valiant effort in fighting against the Mughal invaders is located at Panhala fort. His heirs still live near Fort Gaganbawada to this day — a gift to Ramchandra Pant for his great contribution to Maratha power.

Founder of Gaganbavada Jahagir

Image
Pant Amatya Wada at Gaganbavada

The descendants of Ramchandra Pant Amatya were awarded the Jahagir of Gagan Bavda, the hilly region on the hilltops of the Konkan and the Konkan area. This was the largest Jahagir in Kolhapur state with an area of 243 square miles. The Jahagir extended from Mutukeshwar near Kolhapur almost touching the Mumbai Goa highway of today. The area in Konkan was managed from here. More than a mere Jahagir, it was a Feudatory kingdom with its own revenue Department, Police Force, Judicial and Criminal Courts etc.

The Main Jahagir Offices were situated in Gagan Bavda where the police force, Revenue departments and Courts were situated in the Rajwada area.

The Jahagirdars of Bavda were given the title of Raja by Shahu along with 3 other Jaghirdars of Kolhapur namely Kagal (Ghatges), Vishalgad (Pratinidhis) and Kapashi (Ghorpades). The Bavda Jahagir though the biggest in area, was not the one with highest income due to people living in hilly area and scattered population. The Jahagirdar's of Bavda in spite of natural odds undertook many welfare schemes for the subjects in their area.

The Jahagir was abolished after independence and a privy purse was given to the Jahagirdar's until 1975.

The present descendants live in Tararbai Park, area of Kolhapur in Maharashtra state.

Geography of Bavda Jahagir (Sanstha Bavda):

Boundaries on the east, North and south of Bavda is the Kolhapur state. On the west, the Jahagir had a border with Ratnagiri district. Some of the towns in the Jahagir were also located outside the boundaries. The east west length is approx 40 miles and width approx 25 miles. The total area being 243 square miles. It was divided between Konkan Area and area on top of the Sahyadri Ghats. Most of the area is dense forests. The height of the konkan area from the sea level is 450 feet and the upper area height from the sea level is 200 feet. The Sahyadri mountain ranges reach up to a height of 3400 feet.

The forts of Gagangad and Shivgad were situated in Gagan Bavda Jahagir. In 1846, the old buildings on the Gagangad fort were demolished after which there was no habitation on the forts, until the time Gagangiri Maharaj built an Ashram on Gagangad fort.

The crops mainly cultivated are Sugarcane, rice, sunflower Maize etc. The fruits which are natural to the region are Jackfruit, Jambhul, karvanda etc.

Gaganbavada Fort

Gaganbavda fort was built by Raja Bhoj from around 1178 to 1209 A.D. The height of the fort from sea level is 2244 feet on The western Sahyadri Mountain ranges. The fort had buildings earlier which have demolished.

Gagan Bavda fort came into the Maratha's control in the year 1660. It was given to Ramchandra Pant Amatya's father Nilo Sondev. For some time, it was captured by the Adilshahi forces but came back into the Maratha's fold in 1689. After the Maghals held Sambhaji, it went in to their hands. Ramchandra Pant Amatya captured it and brought it under Swaraj in 1700 and which remained in The Bavda Jahagir till independence.

At the time Bavda Jahagir extended up to Malvan and Vijaydurg and had a cavalry of 25000.

References

1. Shivaji, the great Maratha, Volume 2, H. S. Sardesai, Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd, 2002, ISBN 81-7755-286-4, ISBN 978-81-7755-286-7

Bibliography

• Dahiya, Poonam Dalal (2017). ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL INDIA. McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 9789352606733.

External links

• ‘Marathi Riyasat’ (Marathi) by Govind Sakharam Sardesai
• 'The New History of Marathas' by Govind Sakharam Sardesai
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue May 25, 2021 6:54 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter Six: The Nation and Its Women: The Paradox of the Women's Question, Excerpt From The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories
by Partha Chatterjee
© 1993 by Princeton University Press

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Highlights:

I described earlier the way nationalism separated the domain of culture into two spheres—-the material and the spiritual. The claims of Western civilization were the most powerful in the material sphere. Science, technology, rational forms of economic organization, modern methods of statecraft—these had given the European countries the strength to subjugate the non-European people and to impose their dominance over the whole world. To overcome this domination, the colonized people had to learn those superior techniques of organizing material life and incorporate them within their own cultures. This was one aspect of the nationalist project of rationalizing and reforming the traditional culture of their people. But this could not mean the imitation of the West in every aspect of life, for then the very distinction between the West and the East would vanish—the self-identity of national culture would itself be threatened. In fact, as Indian nationalists in the late nineteenth century argued, not only was it undesirable to imitate the West in anything, other than the material aspects of life, it was even unnecessary to do so, because in the spiritual domain, the East was superior to the West. What was necessary was to cultivate the material techniques of modern Western civilization while retaining and strengthening the distinctive spiritual essence of the national culture. This completed the formulation of the nationalist project, and as an ideological justification for the selective appropriation of Western modernity, it continues to hold sway to this day.


The discourse of nationalism shows that the material/spiritual distinction was condensed into an analogous, but ideologically far more powerful, dichotomy: that between the outer and the inner. The material domain, argued nationalist writers, lies outside us—a mere external that influences us, conditions us, and forces us to adjust to it. Ultimately, it is unimportant. The spiritual, which lies within, is our true self; it is that which is genuinely essential. It followed that as long as India took care to retain the spiritual distinctiveness of its culture, it could make all the compromises and adjustments necessary to adapt itself to the requirements of a modern material world without losing its true identity. This was the key that nationalism supplied for resolving the ticklish problems posed by issues of social reform in the nineteenth century.

Applying the inner/outer distinction to the matter of concrete day-to-day living separates the social space into ghar and bahir, the home and the world. The world is the external, the domain of the material; the home represents one's inner spiritual self, one's true identity. The world is a treacherous terrain of the pursuit of material interests, where practical considerations reign supreme. It is also typically the domain of the male. The home in its essence must remain unaffected by the profane activities of the material world—and woman is its representation. And so one gets an identification of social roles by gender to correspond with the separation of the social space into ghar and bahir….

The world was where the European power had challenged the non-European peoples and, by virtue of its superior material culture, had subjugated them. But, the nationalists asserted, it had failed to colonize the inner, essential, identity of the East, which lay in its distinctive, and superior, spiritual culture. Here the East was undominated, sovereign, master of its own fate. For a colonized people, the world was a distressing constraint, forced upon it by the fact of its material weakness. It was a place of oppression and daily humiliation, a place where the norms of the colonizer had perforce to be accepted. It was also the place, as nationalists were soon to argue, where the battle would be waged for national independence. The subjugated must learn the modern sciences and arts of the material world from the West in order to match their strengths and ultimately overthrow the colonizer. But in the entire phase of the national struggle, the crucial need was to protect, preserve, and strengthen the inner core of the national culture, its spiritual essence. No encroachments by the colonizer must be allowed in that inner sanctum. In the world, imitation of and adaptation to Western norms was a necessity; at home, they were tantamount to annihilation of one's very identity…

It is striking how much of the literature on women in the nineteenth century concerns the threatened Westernization of Bengali women. This theme was taken up in virtually every form of written, oral, and visual communication—from the ponderous essays of nineteenth-century moralists, to novels, farces, skits and jingles, to the paintings of the patua (scroll painters)…. To ridicule the idea of a Bengali woman trying to imitate the ways of a memsaheb (and it was very much an idea, for it is hard to find historical evidence that even in the most Westernized families of Calcutta in the mid-nineteenth century there were actually any women who even remotely resembled these gross caricatures) was a sure recipe calculated to evoke raucous laughter and moral condemnation in both male and female audiences. It was, of course, a criticism of manners, of new items of clothing such as the blouse, the petticoat, and shoes (all, curiously, considered vulgar, although they clothed the body far better than the single length of sari that was customary for Bengali women, irrespective of wealth and social status, until the middle of the nineteenth century), of the use of Western cosmetics and jewelry, of the reading of novels, of needlework (considered a useless and expensive pastime), of riding in open carriages. What made the ridicule stronger was the constant suggestion that the Westernized woman was fond of useless luxury and cared little for the well-being of the home….

Yet it was clear that a mere restatement of the old norms of family life would not suffice; they were breaking down because of the inexorable force of circumstance. New norms were needed, which would be more appropriate to the external conditions of the modern world and yet not a mere imitation of the West.

What were the principles by which these new norms could be constructed?

Bhudeb supplies the characteristic nationalist answer.
In an essay entitled "Modesty," he talks of the natural and social principles that provide the basis for the feminine virtues. Modesty, or decorum in manner and conduct, he says, is a specifically human trait; it does not exist in animal nature. It is human aversion to the purely animal traits that gives rise to virtues such as modesty. In this aspect, human beings seek to cultivate in themselves, and in their civilization, spiritual or godlike qualities wholly opposed to the forms of behavior which prevail in animal nature. Further, within the human species, women cultivate and cherish these godlike qualities far more than men. Protected to a certain extent from the purely material pursuits of securing a livelihood in the external world, women express in their appearance and behavior the spiritual qualities that are characteristic of civilized and refined human society…

The point is then hammered home:


Those who laid down our religious codes discovered the inner spiritual quality which resides within even the most animal pursuits which humans must perform, and thus removed the animal qualities from those actions. This has not happened in Europe. Religion there is completely divorced from [material] life. Europeans do not feel inclined to regulate all aspects of their life by the norms of religion; they condemn it as clericalism.'... In the Arya system there is a preponderance of spiritualism, in the European system a preponderance of material pleasure. In the Arya system, the wife is a goddess. In the European system, she is a partner and companion….


The new woman defined in this way was subjected to a new patriarchy. In fact, the social order connecting the home and the world in which nationalists placed the new woman was contrasted not only with that of modern Western society; it was explicitly distinguished from the patriarchy of indigenous tradition, the same tradition that had been put on the dock by colonial interrogators. Sure enough, nationalism adopted several elements from tradition as marks of its native cultural identity, but this was now a "classicized" tradition—reformed, reconstructed, fortified against charges of barbarism and irrationality.

The new patriarchy was also sharply distinguished from the immediate social and cultural condition in which the majority of the people lived, for the "new" woman was quite the reverse of the "common" woman, who was coarse, vulgar, loud, quarrelsome, devoid of superior moral sense, sexually promiscuous, subjected to brutal physical oppression by males. Alongside the parody of the Westernized woman, this other construct is repeatedly emphasized in the literature of the nineteenth century through a host of lower-class female characters who make their appearance in the social milieu of the new middle class—maidservants, washer women, barbers, peddlers, procuresses, prostitutes. It was precisely this degenerate condition of women that nationalism claimed it would reform, and it was through these contrasts that the new woman of nationalist ideology was accorded a status of cultural superiority to the Westernized women of the wealthy parvenu families spawned by the colonial connection as well as to common women of the lower classes. Attainment by her own efforts of a superior national culture was the mark of woman's newly acquired freedom. This was the central ideological strength of the nationalist resolution of the women's question….

Formal education became not only acceptable but, in fact, a requirement for the new bhadramahila (respectable woman) when it was demonstrated that it was possible for a woman to acquire the cultural refinements afforded by modern education without jeopardizing her place at home, that is, without becoming a memsaheb… Indeed, the achievement was marked by claims of cultural superiority in several different aspects: superiority over the Western woman for whom, it was believed, education meant only the acquisition of material skills to compete with men in the outside world and hence a loss of feminine (spiritual) virtues; superiority over the preceding generation of women in their own homes who had been denied the opportunity of freedom by an oppressive and degenerate social tradition; and superiority over women of the lower classes who were culturally incapable of appreciating the virtues of freedom….

Recent historians of a liberal persuasion have often been somewhat embarrassed by the profuse evidence of women writers of the nineteenth century, including those at the forefront of the reform movements in middle-class homes, justifying the importance of the so-called feminine virtues. Radharani Lahiri, for instance, wrote in 1875: "Of all the subjects that women might learn, housework is the most important. . .. Whatever knowledge she may acquire, she cannot claim any reputation unless she is proficient in housework." Others spoke of the need for an educated woman to develop such womanly virtues as chastity, self-sacrifice, submission, devotion, kindness, patience, and the labors of love. The ideological point of view from which such protestations of "femininity" (and hence the acceptance of a new patriarchal order) were made inevitable was given precisely by the nationalist resolution of the problem…

Education then was meant to inculcate in women the virtues—the typically bourgeois virtues characteristic of the new social forms of "disciplining"—of orderliness, thrift, cleanliness, and a personal sense of responsibility, the practical skills of literacy, accounting, hygiene, and the ability to run the household according to the new physical and economic conditions set by the outside world. For this, she would also need to have some idea of the world outside the home, into which she could even venture as long as it did not threaten her femininity. It is this latter criterion, now invested with a characteristically nationalist content, that made possible the displacement of the boundaries of the home from the physical confines earlier defined by the rules of purdah to a more flexible, but nonetheless culturally determinate, domain set by the differences between socially approved male and female conduct. Once the essential femininity of women was fixed in terms of certain culturally visible spiritual qualities, they could go to schools, travel in public conveyances, watch public entertainment programs, and in time even take up employment outside the home. But the "spiritual" signs of her femininity were now clearly marked—in her dress, her eating habits, her social demeanor, her religiosity….

in this as in other aspects of her life, the spirituality of her character had also to be stressed in contrast with the innumerable ways men had to surrender to the pressures of the material world. The need to adjust to the new conditions outside the home had forced upon men a whole series of changes in their dress, food habits, religious observances, and social relations. Each of these capitulations now had to be compensated for by an assertion of spiritual purity on the part of women. They must not eat, drink, or smoke in the same way as men; they must continue the observance of religious rituals that men were finding difficult to carry out; they must maintain the cohesiveness of family life and solidarity with the kin to which men could not now devote much attention. The new patriarchy advocated by nationalism conferred upon women the honor of a new social responsibility, and by associating the task of female emancipation with the historical goal of sovereign nationhood, bound them to a new, and yet entirely legitimate, subordination.

As with all hegemonic forms of exercising dominance, this patriarchy combined coercive authority with the subtle force of persuasion. This was expressed most generally in the inverted ideological form of the relation of power between the sexes: the adulation of woman as goddess or as mother. Whatever its sources in the classical religions of India or in medieval religious practices, the specific ideological form in which we know the "Indian woman" construct in the modern literature and arts of India today is wholly and undeniably a product of the development of a dominant middle-class culture coeval with the era of nationalism. It served to emphasize with all the force of mythological inspiration what had in any case become a dominant characteristic of femininity in the new construct of "woman" standing as a sign for "nation," namely, the spiritual qualities of self-sacrifice, benevolence, devotion, religiosity, and so on. This spirituality did not, as we have seen, impede the chances of the woman moving out of the physical confines of the home; on the contrary, it facilitated it, making it possible for her to go into the world under conditions that would not threaten her femininity. In fact, the image of woman as goddess or mother served to erase her sexuality in the world outside the home.


-- The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories, by Partha Chatterjee


CHAPTER SIX: The Nation and Its Women

THE PARADOX OF THE WOMEN'S QUESTION


The "women's question" was a central issue in the most controversial debates over social reform in early and mid-nineteenth-century Bengal— the period of its so-called renaissance. Rammohan Roy's historical fame is largely built around his campaign against the practice of the immolation of widows, Vidyasagar's around his efforts to legalize widow remarriage and abolish Kulin polygamy; the Brahmo Samaj was split twice in the 1870s over questions of marriage laws and the "age of consent." What has perplexed historians is the rather sudden disappearance of such issues from the agenda of public debate toward the close of the century. From then onward, questions regarding the position of women in society do not arouse the same degree of public passion and acrimony as they did only a few decades before. The overwhelming issues now are directly political ones—concerning the politics of nationalism.

How are we to interpret this change? Ghulam Murshid states the problem in its most obvious, straightforward form.1 If one takes seriously, that is to say, in their liberal, rationalist and egalitarian content, the mid-nineteenth-century attempts in Bengal to "modernize" the condition of women, then what follows in the period of nationalism must be regarded as a clear retrogression. Modernization began in the first half of the nineteenth century because of the penetration of Western ideas. After some limited success, there was a perceptible decline in the reform movements as popular attitudes toward them hardened. The new politics of nationalism "glorified India's past and tended to defend everything traditional"; all attempts to change customs and life-styles began to be seen as the aping of Western manners and were thereby regarded with suspicion. Consequently, nationalism fostered a distinctly conservative attitude toward social beliefs and practices. The movement toward modernization was stalled by nationalist politics.

This critique of the social implications of nationalism follows from rather simple and linear historicist assumptions. Murshid not only accepts that the early attempts at social reform were impelled by the new nationalist and progressive ideas imported from Europe, he also presumes that the necessary historical culmination of such reforms in India ought to have been, as in the West, the full articulation of liberal values in social institutions and practices. From these assumptions, a critique of nationalist ideology and practices is inevitable, the same sort of critique as that of the colonialist historians who argue that Indian nationalism was nothing but a scramble for sharing political power with the colonial rulers; its mass following only the successful activization of traditional patron-client relationships; its internal debates the squabbles of parochial factions; and its ideology a garb for xenophobia and racial exclusiveness.

Clearly, the problem of the diminished importance of the women's question in the period of nationalism deserves a different answer from the one given by Murshid. Sumit Sarkar has argued that the limitations of nationalist ideology in pushing forward a campaign for liberal and egalitarian social change cannot be seen as a retrogression from an earlier radical reformist phase.2 Those limitations were in fact present in the earlier phase as well. The renaissance reformers, he shows, were highly selective in their acceptance of liberal ideas from Europe. Fundamental elements of social conservatism such as the maintenance of caste distinctions and patriarchal forms of authority in the family, acceptance of the sanctity of the šástra (scriptures), preference for symbolic rather than substantive changes in social practices—all these were conspicuous in the reform movements of the early and mid-nineteenth century.

Following from this, we could ask: How did the reformers select what they wanted? What, in other words, was the ideological sieve through which they put the newly imported ideas from Europe? If we can reconstruct this framework of the nationalist ideology, we will be in a far better position to locate where exactly the women's question fitted in with the claims of nationalism. We will find, if I may anticipate my argument in this chapter, that nationalism did in fact provide an answer to the new social and cultural problems concerning the position of women in "modern" society, and that this answer was posited not on an identity but on a difference with the perceived forms of cultural modernity in the West. I will argue, therefore, that the relative unimportance of the women's question in the last decades of the nineteenth century is to be explained not by the fact that it had been censored out of the reform agenda or overtaken by the more pressing and emotive issues of political struggle. The reason lies in nationalism's success in situating the "women's question" in an inner domain of sovereignty, far removed from the arena of political contest with the colonial state. This inner domain of national culture was constituted in the light of the discovery of "tradition."

THE WOMEN'S QUESTION IN "TRADITION"

Apart from the characterization of the political condition of India preceding the British conquest as a state of anarchy, lawlessness, and arbitrary despotism, a central element in the ideological justification of British colonial rule was the criticism of the "degenerate and barbaric" social customs of the Indian people, sanctioned, or so it was believed, by the religious tradition. Alongside the project of instituting orderly, lawful, and rational procedures of governance, therefore, colonialism also saw itself as performing a "civilizing mission." In identifying this tradition as "degenerate and barbaric," colonialist critics invariably repeated a long list of atrocities perpetrated on Indian women, not so much by men or certain classes of men, but by an entire body of scriptural canons and ritual practices that, they said, by rationalizing such atrocities within a complete framework of religious doctrine, made them appear to perpetrators and sufferers alike as the necessary marks of right conduct. By assuming a position of sympathy with the unfree and oppressed womanhood of India, the colonial mind was able to transform this figure of the Indian woman into a sign of the inherently oppressive and unfree nature of the entire cultural tradition of a country.

Take, for example, the following account by an early nineteenth-century British traveler in India:

at no period of life, in no condition of society, should a woman do any thing at her mere pleasure. Their fathers, their husbands, their sons, are verily called her protectors; but it is such protection! Day and night must women be held by their protectors in a state of absolute dependence. A woman, it is affirmed, is never fit for independence, or to be trusted with liberty . . . their deity has allotted to women a love of their bed, of their seat, and of ornaments, impure appetites, wrath, flexibility, desire of mischief and bad conduct. Though her husband be devoid of all good qualities, yet, such is the estimate they form of her moral discrimination and sensibilities, that they bind the wife to revere him as a god, and to submit to his corporeal chastisements, whenever he chooses to inflict them, by a cane or a rope, on the back parts. ... A state of dependence more strict, contemptuous, and humiliating, than that which is ordained for the weaker sex among the Hindoos, cannot easily be conceived; and to consummate the stigma, to fill up the cup of bitter waters assigned to woman, as if she deserved to be excluded from immortality as well as from justice, from hope as well as from enjoyment, it is ruled that a female has no business with the texts of the Veda—that having no knowledge of expiatory texts, and no evidence of law, sinful woman must be foul as falsehood itself, and incompetent to bear witness. To them the fountain of wisdom is sealed, the streams of knowledge are dried up; the springs of individual consolation, as promised in their religion, are guarded and barred against women in their hour of desolate sorrow and parching anguish; and cast out, as she is, upon the wilderness of bereavement and affliction, with her impoverished resources, her water may well be spent in the bottle; and, left as she is, will it be a matter of wonder that, in the moment of despair, she will embrace the burning pile and its scorching flames, instead of lengthening solitude and degradation, of dark and humiliating suffering and sorrow?3


An effervescent sympathy for the oppressed is combined in this breathless prose with a total moral condemnation of a tradition that was seen to produce and sanctify these barbarous customs. And of course it was suttee that came to provide the most clinching example in this rhetoric of condemnation—"the first and most criminal of their customs," as William Bentinck, the governor-general who legislated its abolition, described it. Indeed, the practical implication of the criticism of Indian tradition was necessarily a project of "civilizing" the Indian people: the entire edifice of colonialist discourse was fundamentally constituted around this project.

CHAP. XX. Of what concerns Women.

A Man, both Day and Night, must keep his Wife so much in Subjection, that she by no Means be Mistress of her own Actions: If the Wife have her own Free-Will, notwithstanding she be sprung from a superior Cast, she will yet behave amiss.

So long as a Woman remains unmarried, her Father shall take care of her; and so long as a Wife remains young, her Husband shall take care of her; and in her old Age, her Son shall take care of her; and if, before a Woman's Marriage, her Father should die, the Brother, or Brother's Son, or such other near Relations of the Father shall take care of her; if, after Marriage, her Husband should die, and the Wife has not brought forth a Son, the Brothers, and Brothers Sons, and such other near Relations of her Husband shall take care of her: If there are no Brothers, Brothers Sons, or such other near Relations of her Husband, the Brothers, or Sons of the Brothers of her Father shall take care of her: If there are none of those, the Magistrate shall take care of her; and in every Stage of Life, if the Persons who have been allotted to take care of a Woman do not take care of her, each in his respective Stage accordingly, the Magistrate shall fine them.

If a Husband be abject: and weak, he shall nevertheless endeavour to guard his Wife with Caution, that she may not be unchaste, and learn bad Habits.

If a Man, by Confinement and Threats, cannot guard his Wife, he shall give her a large Sum of Money, and make her Mistress of her Income and Expences, and appoint her to dress Victuals for the Dewtah (i. e.) the Deity.

A Woman is never satisfied with the Copulation of Man, no more than Fire is satisfied with burning Fuel, or the main Ocean with receiving the Rivers, or the Empire of Death with the dying of Men and Animals; in this Case therefore, a Woman is not to be relied on.

Women have Six Qualities; the First, an inordinate Desire for Jewels and fine Furniture, handsome Cloaths, and nice Victuals; the Second, immoderate Lust; the Third, violent Anger; the Fourth, deep Resentment (i. e.) no Person knows the Sentiments concealed in their Heart; the Fifth, another Person's Good appears Evil in their Eyes; the Sixth, they commit bad Actions.

If a Woman is pregnant, they must give her the Sadheh (the Sadheh is, to give a pregnant Woman, in the Ninth Month, Rice, Milk, and Sweetmeats, and other Eatables of the same Kind for her to eat, and to dress her in handsome Cloaths.

If a Husband is going a Journey, he must give his Wife enough to furnish her with Victuals and Cloaths, until the promised Period of his Return; if he goes without leaving such Provision, and his Wife is reduced to great Necessity for want of Victuals and Cloaths, then, if the Wife be naturally well principled, she yet becomes unchaste, for want of Victuals and Cloaths.

In every Family where there is a good Understanding between the Husband and Wife, and where the Wife is not unchaste, and the Husband also commits no bad Practices, it is an excellent Example.

The Creator formed Woman for this Purpose, viz. That Man might copulate with her, and that Children might be born from thence.

A Woman, who always acts according to her Husband's Pleasure, and speaks no ill of any Person, and who can herself do all such Things as are proper for a Woman, and who is of good Principles, and who produces a Son, and who rises from Sleep before her Husband, such a Woman is found only by much and many religious Works, and by a peculiarly happy Destiny, such a Woman, if any Man forsakes of his own accord, the Magistrate shall inflict upon that Man the Punishment of a Thief.

A Woman, who always abuses her Husband, shall be treated with good Advice, for the Space of One Year; if she does not amend with One Year's Advice, and does not leave off abusing her Husband, he shall no longer hold any Communication with her, nor keep her any longer near him, but shall provide her with Food and Cloaths.

A Woman, who dissipates or spoils her own Property, or who procures Abortion, or who has an Intention to murder her Husband, and is always quarrelling with every Body, and who eats before her Husband eats, such Woman shall be turned out of the House.

A Husband, at his own Pleasure, shall cease to copulate with his Wife who is barren, or who always brings forth Daughters.

If a Woman, after her monthly Courses, while her Husband continues in the House, conceiving her Husband to be a weak, low, and contemptible Object, goes no more to him, the Husband, informing People of this, shall turn her out of his House.

If a Woman, following her own Inclination, goes whithersoever she chooses, and does not regard the Words of her Master, such a Woman also shall be turned away.

A Woman, who is of a good Disposition, and who puts on her Jewels and Cloaths with Decorum, and is of good Principles, whenever the Husband is cheerful, the Wife also is cheerful, and if the Husband is sorrowful, the Wife also is sorrowful, and whenever the Husband undertakes a Journey, the Wife puts on a careless Dress, and lays aside her Jewels and other Ornaments, and abuses no Person, and will not expend a single Dam without her Husband's Consent, and has a Son, and takes proper Care of the Household Goods, and, at the Times of Worship, performs her Worship to the Deity in a proper Manner, and goes not out of the House, and is not unchaste, and makes no Quarrels or Disturbances, and has no greedy Passions, and is always employed in some good Work, and pays a proper Respect to all Persons, such is a good Woman.

A Woman shall never go out of the House without the Consent of her Husband, and shall always have some Cloaths upon her Bosom, and at Festival Times shall put on her choicest Dress and her Jewels, and shall never hold Discourse with a strange Man; but may converse with a Sinassee, a Hermit, or an old Man; and shall always dress in Cloaths that reach from below the Leg to above the Navel; and shall not suffer her Breasts to appear out of her Cloaths; and shall not laugh, without drawing her Veil before her Face; and shall act according to the Orders of her Husband; and shall pay a proper Respect to the Deity, her Husband's Father, the Spiritual Guide, and the Guests; and shall not eat until she has served them with Victuals (if it is Physick, she may take it before they eat) a Woman also shall never go to a Stranger's House, and shall not stand at the Door, and must never look out of a window.

Six Things are disgraceful to a Woman: 1st. To drink Wine and eat Conserves, or any such inebriating Things. 2d. To keep company with a Man of bad Principles. 3d. To remain separate from her Husband. 4th. To go to a Stranger's House without good Cause. 5th. To sleep in the Day- Time. 6th. To remain in a Stranger's House.

When a Woman, whose Husband is Absent on a Journey, has expended all the Money that he gave her, to support her in Victuals and Cloaths during his Absence, or if her Husband went on a Journey without leaving any Thing with her to support her Expences, she shall support herself by Painting, by Spinning, or some other such Employment.

If a Man goes on a Journey, his Wife shall not divert herself by Play, nor shall see any publick Show, nor shall laugh, nor shall dress herself in Jewels and fine Cloaths, nor shall see Dancing, nor hear Musick, nor shall sit in the Window, nor shall ride out, nor shall behold any Thing choice and rare; but shall fasten well the House-Door, and remain private; and shall not eat any dainty Victuals, and shall not blacken her Eyes with Eye-Powder, and shall not view her Face in a Mirror; she shall never exercise herself in any such agreeable Employment, during the Absence of her Husband.

It is proper for a Woman, after her Husband's Death, to burn herself in the Fire with his Corpse; every Woman, who thus burns herself, shall remain in Paradise with her Husband Three Crore and Fifty Lacks of Years, by Destiny; if she cannot burn, she must, in that Case, preserve an inviolable Chastity; if she remains always chaste, she goes to Paradise; and if she does not preserve her Chastity, she goes to Hell.


-- CHAP. XX. Of what concerns Women. Excerpt from A Code of Gentoo Laws, Or, Ordinations of the Pundits, From a Persian Translation, Made From the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, 1776


Of course, within the discourse thus constituted, there was much debate and controversy about the specific ways in which to carry out this project. The options ranged from proselytization by Christian missionaries to legislative and administrative action by the colonial state to a gradual spread of enlightened Western knowledge. Underlying each option was the liberal colonial idea that in the end, Indians themselves must come to believe in the unworthiness of their traditional customs and embrace the new forms of civilized and rational social order.

I spoke, in chapter 2, of some of the political strategies of this civilizing mission. What must be noted here is that the so-called women's question in the agenda of Indian social reform in the early nineteenth century was not so much about the specific condition of women within a specific set of social relations as it was about the political encounter between a colonial state and the supposed "tradition" of a conquered people—a tradition that, as Lata Mani has shown in her study of the abolition of satidaha (immolation of widows),4 was itself produced by colonialist discourse. It was colonialist discourse that, by assuming the hegemony of Brahmanical religious texts and the complete submission of all Hindus to the dictates of those texts, defined the tradition that was to be criticized and reformed. Indian nationalism, in demarcating a political position opposed to colonial rule, took up the women's question as a problem already constituted for it: namely, as a problem of Indian tradition.

THE WOMEN'S QUESTION IN NATIONALISM

I described earlier the way nationalism separated the domain of culture into two spheres—-the material and the spiritual. The claims of Western civilization were the most powerful in the material sphere. Science, technology, rational forms of economic organization, modern methods of statecraft—these had given the European countries the strength to subjugate the non-European people and to impose their dominance over the whole world. To overcome this domination, the colonized people had to learn those superior techniques of organizing material life and incorporate them within their own cultures. This was one aspect of the nationalist project of rationalizing and reforming the traditional culture of their people. But this could not mean the imitation of the West in every aspect of life, for then the very distinction between the West and the East would vanish—the self-identity of national culture would itself be threatened. In fact, as Indian nationalists in the late nineteenth century argued, not only was it undesirable to imitate the West in anything, other than the material aspects of life, it was even unnecessary to do so, because in the spiritual domain, the East was superior to the West. What was necessary was to cultivate the material techniques of modern Western civilization while retaining and strengthening the distinctive spiritual essence of the national culture. This completed the formulation of the nationalist project, and as an ideological justification for the selective appropriation of Western modernity, it continues to hold sway to this day.

The discourse of nationalism shows that the material/spiritual distinction was condensed into an analogous, but ideologically far more powerful, dichotomy: that between the outer and the inner. The material domain, argued nationalist writers, lies outside us—a mere external that influences us, conditions us, and forces us to adjust to it. Ultimately, it is unimportant. The spiritual, which lies within, is our true self; it is that which is genuinely essential. It followed that as long as India took care to retain the spiritual distinctiveness of its culture, it could make all the compromises and adjustments necessary to adapt itself to the requirements of a modern material world without losing its true identity. This was the key that nationalism supplied for resolving the ticklish problems posed by issues of social reform in the nineteenth century.

[b][size=110]Applying the inner/outer distinction to the matter of concrete day-to-day living separates the social space into ghar and bahir, the home and the world. The world is the external, the domain of the material; the home represents one's inner spiritual self, one's true identity. The world is a treacherous terrain of the pursuit of material interests, where practical considerations reign supreme. It is also typically the domain of the male. The home in its essence must remain unaffected by the profane activities of the material world—and woman is its representation. And so one gets an identification of social roles by gender to correspond with the separation of the social space into ghar and bahir.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 2

Thus far we have not obtained anything that is different from the typical conception of gender roles in traditional patriarchy. If we now find continuities in these social attitudes in the phase of social reform in the nineteenth century, we are tempted to label this, as indeed the liberal historiography of India has done, as "conservatism," a mere defense of traditional norms. But this would be a mistake. The colonial situation, and the ideological response of nationalism to the critique of Indian tradition, introduced an entirely new substance to these terms and effected their transformation. The material/spiritual dichotomy, to which the terms world and home corresponded, had acquired, as noted before, a very special significance in the nationalist mind. The world was where the European power had challenged the non-European peoples and, by virtue of its superior material culture, had subjugated them. But, the nationalists asserted, it had failed to colonize the inner, essential, identity of the East, which lay in its distinctive, and superior, spiritual culture. Here the East was undominated, sovereign, master of its own fate. For a colonized people, the world was a distressing constraint, forced upon it by the fact of its material weakness. It was a place of oppression and daily humiliation, a place where the norms of the colonizer had perforce to be accepted. It was also the place, as nationalists were soon to argue, where the battle would be waged for national independence. The subjugated must learn the modern sciences and arts of the material world from the West in order to match their strengths and ultimately overthrow the colonizer. But in the entire phase of the national struggle, the crucial need was to protect, pre-serve, and strengthen the inner core of the national culture, its spiritual essence. No encroachments by the colonizer must be allowed in that inner sanctum. In the world, imitation of and adaptation to Western norms was a necessity; at home, they were tantamount to annihilation of one's very identity.[/b][/size]



Once we match this new meaning of the home/world dichotomy with the identification of social roles by gender, we get the ideological framework within which nationalism answered the women's question. It would be a grave error to see in this, as liberals are apt to in their despair at the many marks of social conservatism in nationalist practice, a total rejection of the West. Quite the contrary: the nationalist paradigm in fact supplied an ideological principle of selection. It was not a dismissal of modernity but an attempt to make modernity consistent with the nationalist project.

DIFFERENCE AS A PRINCIPLE OF SELECTION

It is striking how much of the literature on women in the nineteenth century concerns the threatened Westernization of Bengali women. This theme was taken up in virtually every form of written, oral, and visual communication—from the ponderous essays of nineteenth-century moralists, to novels, farces, skits and jingles, to the paintings of the patua (scroll painters). Social parody was the most popular and effective medium of this ideological propagation. From Iswarchandra Gupta (1812-59) and the kabiyal (songsters) of the early nineteenth century to the celebrated pioneers of modern Bengali theater—Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-73), Dinabandhu Mitra, Jyotirindranath Tagore (1849-1925)7 Upendranath Das (1848-95), Amritalal Bose (1853-1929)—everyone picked up the theme. To ridicule the idea of a Bengali woman trying to imitate the ways of a memsaheb (and it was very much an idea, for it is hard to find historical evidence that even in the most Westernized families of Calcutta in the mid-nineteenth century there were actually any women who even remotely resembled these gross caricatures) was a sure recipe calculated to evoke raucous laughter and moral condemnation in both male and female audiences. It was, of course, a criticism of manners, of new items of clothing such as the blouse, the petticoat, and shoes (all, curiously, considered vulgar, although they clothed the body far better than the single length of sari that was customary for Bengali women, irrespective of wealth and social status, until the middle of the nineteenth century), of the use of Western cosmetics and jewelry, of the reading of novels, of needlework (considered a useless and expensive pastime), of riding in open carriages. What made the ridicule stronger was the constant suggestion that the Westernized woman was fond of useless luxury and cared little for the well-being of the home. One can hardly miss in all this a criticism—reproach mixed with envy—of the wealth and luxury of the new social elite emerging around the institutions of colonial administration and trade.

Take, for example, a character called "Mister Dhurandhar Pakrashi," whose educated wife constantly calls him a "fool" and a "rascal" (in English) and wants to become a "lady novelist" like Mary Correlli. This is how their daughter, Phulkumari, makes her entrance:

Phulkumari; Papa! Papa! I want to go to the races, please take me with you.

Dhurandhar: Finished with your tennis?

Phulkumari: Yes, now I want to go to the races. And you have to get me a new bicycle. 1 won't ride the one you got me last year. And my football is torn: you have to get me another one. And Papa, please buy me a self-driving car. And also a nice pony. And please fix an electric lamp in my drawing-room; I can't see very well in the gaslight.

Dhurandhar: Nothing else? How about asking the Banerjee Company to rebuild this house upside down, ceiling at the bottom and floor on top?

Phulkamari: How can that be, Papa? You can't give me an education and then expect me to have low tastes?5


Or take the following scene, which combines a parody of the pretensions to Westernized manners of the reformists with a comment on their utter impotence against the violence and contempt of the British. A group of enlightened men, accompanied by their educated wives, are meeting to discuss plans for "female emancipation" when they are interrupted by three English soldiers called—yes!—James, Frederick, and Peter. (Most of the scene is in English in the original.)

James: What is the matter? my dear—something cheering seems to take place here?

Unnata Babu: Cheering indeed, as ninety against twenty—a meeting for the Hindu female liberty.

James: A meeting for the Hindu female liberty? A nice thing indeed amidst poverty.

Frederick: Who sit there, both males and females together?

Peter: These seem to be the Hindu Heroes, met to unveil their wives' veiled nose.

Frederick: Nose alone won't do—if eyes and head be set to full liberty, Hindu ladies are sure to be the objects of curiosity.

Peter: Curiosity, nicety, and charity too.

Unnata Babu: This is offensive—this is offensive.

James: Nothing offensive—nothing offensive.

Unnata Babu: Go hence, ye foreigners. Why come Mere, ye vain intruders?

James: To dance, to sing and to feast—With our rising cousins of the East.


He takes Unnata Babu's wife by her hand, sings and dances with her, and then kisses her.

Unnata Babu [Catches James by the hand]: Leave her, leave her. She is my wife, my married wife.

James [Throws Unnata to the ground]:
O! thou nigger of butter and wax made,
Dared come, my hand to shake!
If Jupiter himself with his thunder-bolt in hand,
Comes to fight us, we will here him withstand.
[Takes out his sword]
Look, look, here is my sword.
Come, please, stain it with your blood.
[Frederick and Peter also take out their swords]
Strike him, strike the devil right and left,
We both better strike the rest.


The English soldiers make their exit with the following words to Unnata's wife:

James: . . . O! pretty poor lady! We good-bye,
Pray you—go, go forward—
Wait upon, and guard your husband,
A treacherous, bloody coward.6


The literature of parody and satire in the first half of the nineteenth century clearly contained much that was prompted by a straightforward defense of existing practices and outright rejection of the new. The nationalist paradigm had still not emerged in clear outline. In hindsight, this period—from Rammohan to Vidyasagar—appears, as one of great social turmoil and ideological confusion among the literati. And then a new discourse, drawing from various sources, began to form in the second half of the century—the discourse of nationalism.



In 1851, for instance, a prize essay on "Hindu female education" marshalled evidence that women's education was encouraged in ancient India and that it was not only not harmful but positively beneficial for women to be educated.7 It went into numerous practical considerations on how women from respectable families could learn to read and write without any harm to their caste or their honor. In 1870, however, a tract on the duties of wives was declaring that the old prejudices about women's education had virtually disappeared. "Now the times are such that most people believe that ... by educating women the condition of the country will improve and that there will be happiness, welfare and civilized manners in social life."8

The point of the new discussions was to define the social and moral principles for locating the position of women in the "modern" world of the nation. Take, for example one of the most clearly formulated tracts on the subject: Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay's Paribarik prabandba (Essays on the family), published in 1882. Bhudeb states the problem in his characteristic matter-of-fact style:

Because of the hankering for the external glitter and ostentation of the English way of life ... an upheaval is under way within our homes. The men learn English and become sahibs. The women do not learn English but nevertheless try to become bibis. In households which manage an income of a hundred rupees, the women no longer cook, sweep or make the bed . . . everything is done by servants and maids; [the women] only read books, sew carpets and play cards. What is the result? The house and furniture get untidy, the meals poor, the health of every member of the family is ruined; children are born weak and rickety, constantly plagued by illness—they die early.

Many reform movements are being conducted today; the education of women, in particular, is constantly talked about. But we rarely hear of those great arts in which women were once trained—a training which if it had still been in vogue would have enabled us to tide over this crisis caused by injudicious imitation. I suppose we will never hear of this training again.


The ganika and sometimes the rupajiva too, received free training in the various arts and

those who teach prostitutes, female slaves and actresses arts such as singing, playing on musical instruments, reading, dancing, acting, writing, painting, playing on instruments such as vina (lyre), pipe and drum, reading the thoughts of others, manufacture of scents and garlands, shampooing and the art of attracting and captivating the mind of others shall be endowed with maintenance from the state. They, the teachers shall train the sons of prostitutes to be chief actors (rangopajivan) on the stage. The wives of actors and others of similar profession who have been taught various languages and the use of signals (samjna) shall, along with their relatives be made use of in detecting the wicked and murdering and deluding foreign spies.34


In a sixth century Jain work we have an exhaustive list of the prostitute's attainments -- writing, arithmetic, the arts, singing, playing on musical instruments, drums, chess, dice, eightboard chess, instant verse-making, Prakrite and Apabhramsa poetry, proficiency in the science of perfume making, jewellery, dressing up, knowledge of the signs of good or bad men and women, horses, elephants, cooks, rams, umbrellas, rods, swords, jewels, gems which antidote poison, architecture, camps and canopies, phalanx arrangement, fighting, fencing, shooting arrows, ability to interpret omens, etc. Altogether seventy-two arts and sciences were to be mastered by her.35

It is clear that the prostitute especially the ganika, the most accomplished among them, offered men something which by the early centuries A.D. had become absolutely rare among the women of the gentry, viz, accomplishment. We read in the Manusamhita: "The sacrament of marriage is to a female what initiation with the sacred thread is to a male. Serving the husband is for the wife what residence in the preceptor's house is to the man and household duty is to the woman, what offering sacrifices is to the man."36 This series of neat equations deprive the woman of education, dooming her to household chores only, especially service of her husband and in-laws, but also thereby indirectly doom her to the loss of her husband's attention. With an unaccomplished wife at home, the man who cared for cultured female company went to the brothel for it. Manu belongs to the early centuries A.D.;37 a steady deterioration in the status of the woman and the Sudra followed his codification of the social norm and the brothel flourished because it catered to the cultured man-about-the-town's (nagaraka) tastes in women.

The ganika because of her youth, beauty, training and accomplishment belonged to a superior social status. With an extensive, elaborate, and apparently expensive education she could frequently name her price, which, as Buddhist texts testify was often prohibitive. She was patronized by the king who visited her sometimes, as also by wealthy merchants. Because of her high fees none but the most wealthy could approach her. She alone enjoyed a position where as long as her youth and beauty lasted she could not be exploited.

-- Prostitution in Ancient India, by Sukumari Bhattacharji


The problem is put here in the empirical terms of a positive sociology, a genre much favored by serious Bengali writers of Bhudeb's time. But the sense of crisis he expresses was very much a reality. Bhudeb is voicing the feelings of large sections of the newly emergent middle class of Bengal when he says that the very institutions of home and family were threatened under the peculiar conditions of colonial rule. A quite unprecedented external condition had been thrust upon us; we were forced to adjust to those conditions, for which a certain degree of imitation of alien ways was unavoidable. But could this wave of imitation be allowed to enter our homes? Would that not destroy our inner identity? Yet it was clear that a mere restatement of the old norms of family life would not suffice; they were breaking down because of the inexorable force of circumstance. New norms were needed, which would be more appropriate to the external conditions of the modern world and yet not a mere imitation of the West. What were the principles by which these new norms could be constructed?

Bhudeb supplies the characteristic nationalist answer. In an essay entitled "Modesty," he talks of the natural and social principles that provide the basis for the feminine virtues.10 Modesty, or decorum in manner and conduct, he says, is a specifically human trait; it does not exist in animal nature. It is human aversion to the purely animal traits that gives rise to virtues such as modesty. In this aspect, human beings seek to cultivate in themselves, and in their civilization, spiritual or godlike qualities wholly opposed to the forms of behavior which prevail in animal nature. Further, within the human species, women cultivate and cherish these godlike qualities far more than men. Protected to a certain extent from the purely material pursuits of securing a livelihood in the external world, women express in their appearance and behavior the spiritual qualities that are characteristic of civilized and refined human society.


The relevant dichotomies and analogies are all here. The material/spiritual dichotomy corresponds to animal/godlike qualities, which in turn corresponds to masculine/feminine virtues. Bhudeb then invests this ideological form with its specifically nationalist content:

In a society where men and women meet together, converse together at all times, eat and drink together, travel together, the manners of women are likely to be somewhat coarse, devoid of spiritual qualities and relatively prominent in animal traits. For this reason, I do not think the customs of such a society are free from all defect. Some argue that because of such close association with women, the characters of men acquire certain tender and spiritual qualities. Let me concede the point. But can the loss caused by coarseness and degeneration in the female character be compensated by the acquisition of a certain degree of tenderness in the male?


The point is then hammered home:

Those who laid down our religious codes discovered the inner spiritual quality which resides within even the most animal pursuits which humans must perform, and thus removed the animal qualities from those actions. This has not happened in Europe. Religion there is completely divorced from [material] life. Europeans do not feel inclined to regulate all aspects of their life by the norms of religion; they condemn it as clericalism.'. .. In the Arya system there is a preponderance of spiritualism, in the European system a preponderance of material pleasure. In the Arya system, the wife is a goddess. In the European system, she is a partner and companion.11


The new norm for organizing family life and determining the right conduct for women in the conditions of the modern world could now be deduced with ease. Adjustments would have to be made in the external world of material activity, and men would bear the brunt of this task. To the extent that the family was itself entangled in wider social relations, it too could not be insulated from the influence of changes in the outside world. Consequently, the organization and ways of life at home would also have to be changed. But the crucial requirement was to retain the inner spirituality of indigenous social life. The home was the principal site for expressing the spiritual quality of the national culture, and women must take the main responsibility for protecting and nurturing this quality. No matter what the changes in the external conditions of life for women, they must not lose their essentially spiritual (that is, feminine) virtues; they must not, in other words, become essentially Westernized. It followed, as a simple criterion for judging the desirability of reform, that the essential distinction between the social roles of men and women in terms of material and spiritual virtues must at all times be maintained. There would have to be a marked difference in the degree and manner of Westernization of women, as distinct from men, in the modern world of the nation.

A GENEALOGY OF THE RESOLUTION

This was the central principle by which nationalism resolved the women's question in terms of its own historical project. The details were not, of course, worked out immediately. In fact, from the middle of the nineteenth century right up to the present day, there have been many controversies about the precise application of the home/world, spiritual/material, feminine/masculine dichotomies in various matters concerning the everyday life of the "modern" woman—her dress, food, manners, education, her role in organizing life at home, her role outside the home. The concrete problems arose out of the rapidly changing situation, both external and internal, in which the new middle-class family found itself; the specific solutions were drawn from a variety of sources—a reconstructed "classical" tradition, modernized folk forms, the utilitarian logic of bureaucratic and industrial practices, the legal idea of equality in a liberal democratic state. The content of the resolution was neither predetermined nor unchanging, but its form had to be consistent with the system of dichotomies that shaped and contained the nationalist project.

The new woman defined in this way was subjected to a new patriarchy. In fact, the social order connecting the home and the world in which nationalists placed the new woman was contrasted not only with that of modern Western society; it was explicitly distinguished from the patriarchy of indigenous tradition, the same tradition that had been put on the dock by colonial interrogators. Sure enough, nationalism adopted several elements from tradition as marks of its native cultural identity, but this was now a "classicized" tradition—reformed, reconstructed, fortified against charges of barbarism and irrationality.

The new patriarchy was also sharply distinguished from the immediate social and cultural condition in which the majority of the people lived, for the "new" woman was quite the reverse of the "common" woman, who was coarse, vulgar, loud, quarrelsome, devoid of superior moral sense, sexually promiscuous, subjected to brutal physical oppression by males. Alongside the parody of the Westernized woman, this other construct is repeatedly emphasized in the literature of the nineteenth century through a host of lower-class female characters who make their appearance in the social milieu of the new middle class—maidservants, washer women, barbers, peddlers, procuresses, prostitutes. It was precisely this degenerate condition of women that nationalism claimed it would reform, and it was through these contrasts that the new woman of nationalist ideology was accorded a status of cultural superiority to the Westernized women of the wealthy parvenu families spawned by the colonial connection as well as to common women of the lower classes. Attainment by her own efforts of a superior national culture was the mark of woman's newly acquired freedom. This was the central ideological strength of the nationalist resolution of the women's question.

We can follow the form of this resolution in several specific aspects in which the life and condition of middle-class women have changed over the last one hundred years or so. Take the case of female education, that contentious subject that engaged so much of the attention of social reformers in the nineteenth century.12 Some of the early opposition to the opening of schools for women was backed by an appeal to tradition, which supposedly prohibited women from being introduced to bookish learning, but this argument hardly gained much support. The real threat was seen to lie in the fact that the early schools, and arrangements for teaching women at home, were organized by Christian missionaries; there was thus the fear of both proselytization and the exposure of women to harmful Western influences.13 The threat was removed when in the 1850s Indians themselves began to open schools for girls. The spread of formal education among middle-class women in Bengal in the second half of the nineteenth century was remarkable. From 95 girls' schools with a total attendance of 2,500 in 1863, the figures went up to 2,238 schools in 1890 with a total of more than 80,000 students.14 In the area of higher education, Chandramukhi Bose (1860-1944) and Kadambini Ganguli (1861-1923) were celebrated as examples of what Bengali women could achieve in formal learning: they took their bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Calcutta in 1883, before most British universities agreed to accept women on their examination rolls. Kadambini then went on to medical college and became the first professionally schooled woman doctor.

The development of an educative literature and teaching materials in the Bengali language undoubtedly made possible the quite general acceptance of formal education among middle-class women. The long debates of the nineteenth century on a proper "feminine curriculum" now seem to us somewhat quaint, but it is not difficult to identify the real point of concern. Much of the content of the modern school education was seen as important for the "new" woman, but to administer it in the English language was difficult in practical terms, irrelevant because the central place of the educated woman was still at home, and threatening because it might devalue and displace that central site where the social position of women was located. The problem was resolved through the efforts of the intelligentsia, which made it a fundamental task of the national project to create a modern language and literature suitable for a widening readership that would include newly educated women. Through textbooks, periodicals, and creative works, an important force that shaped the new literature of Bengal was the urge to make it accessible to women who could read only one language—their mother tongue.

Formal education became not only acceptable but, in fact, a requirement for the new bhadramahila (respectable woman) when it was demonstrated that it was possible for a woman to acquire the cultural refinements afforded by modern education without jeopardizing her place at home, that is, without becoming a memsaheb. Indeed, the nationalist construct of the new woman derived its ideological strength from making the goal of cultural refinement through education a personal challenge for every woman, thus opening up a domain where woman was an autonomous subject. This explains to a large extent the remarkable degree of enthusiasm among middle-class women themselves to acquire and use for themselves the benefits of formal learning. They set this goal for themselves in their personal lives and as the objects of their will: to achieve it was to achieve freedom.15 Indeed, the achievement was marked by claims of cultural superiority in several different aspects: superiority over the Western woman for whom, it was believed, education meant only the acquisition of material skills to compete with men in the outside world and hence a loss of feminine (spiritual) virtues; superiority over the preceding generation of women in their own homes who had been denied the opportunity of freedom by an oppressive and degenerate social tradition; and superiority over women of the lower classes who were culturally incapable of appreciating the virtues of freedom.

It is this particular nationalist construction of reform as a project of both emancipation and self-emancipation of women (and hence a project in which both men and women had to participate) that also explains why the early generation of educated women themselves so keenly propagated the nationalist idea of the "new woman." Recent historians of a liberal persuasion have often been somewhat embarrassed by the profuse evidence of women writers of the nineteenth century, including those at the forefront of the reform movements in middle-class homes, justifying the importance of the so-called feminine virtues. Radharani Lahiri, for instance, wrote in 1875: "Of all the subjects that women might learn, housework is the most important. . .. Whatever knowledge she may acquire, she cannot claim any reputation unless she is proficient in housework."16 Others spoke of the need for an educated woman to develop such womanly virtues as chastity, self-sacrifice, submission, devotion, kindness, patience, and the labors of love. The ideological point of view from which such protestations of "femininity" (and hence the acceptance of a new patriarchal order) were made inevitable was given precisely by the nationalist resolution of the problem, and Kundamala Debi, writing in 1870, expressed this well when she advised other women

If you have acquired real knowledge, then give no place in your heart to memsaheh-like behavior. That is not becoming in a Bengali housewife. See how an educated woman can do housework thoughtfully and systematically in a way unknown to an ignorant, uneducated woman. And see how if God had not appointed us to this place in the home, how unhappy a place the world would be.17


Education then was meant to inculcate in women the virtues—the typically bourgeois virtues characteristic of the new social forms of "disciplining"—of orderliness, thrift, cleanliness, and a personal sense of responsibility, the practical skills of literacy, accounting, hygiene, and the ability to run the household according to the new physical and economic conditions set by the outside world. For this, she would also need to have some idea of the world outside the home, into which she could even venture as long as it did not threaten her femininity. It is this latter criterion, now invested with a characteristically nationalist content, that made possible the displacement of the boundaries of the home from the physical confines earlier defined by the rules of purdah to a more flexible, but nonetheless culturally determinate, domain set by the differences between socially approved male and female conduct. Once the essential femininity of women was fixed in terms of certain culturally visible spiritual qualities, they could go to schools, travel in public conveyances, watch public entertainment programs, and in time even take up employment outside the home. But the "spiritual" signs of her femininity were now clearly marked—in her dress, her eating habits, her social demeanor, her religiosity.

The specific markers were obtained from diverse sources, and in terms of their origins, each had its specific history. The dress of the bhadramahila, for instance, went through a whole phase of experimentation before what was known as the brahmika sari (a form of wearing the sari in combination with blouse, petticoat, and shoes made fashionable in Brahmo households) became accepted as standard for middle-class women.18

Indian tastes in clothing underwent a massive change with the arrival of an alien people — the British — in the eighteenth century, marking the entry of cultural values and fashions of Victorian England. It is in the colonial period that the sari got fused with European articles like the blouse and the petticoat — now naturalised in Indian vocabulary to the extent that they barely sound foreign. The cut of the modern blouse bore a strong resemblance to the torso of the gown and the petticoats gave the sari a graceful fall and a formal appearance.

Saris in colonial-era Bengal used to be made of a single cloth of fine, semi-transparent muslin that was draped around the body with no garments underneath — an outfit well-suited to Bengal’s hot climate. While leaving the house, the women would ordinarily drape a shawl, which was sufficient in Bengal’s then relatively gender-segregated society. From the perspective of the colonisers, who saw ‘exposure’ or physicality as a marker of savagery — the sari worn like that by Bengali women, left them “practically unclad”. There are stories of Indian women not being permitted entry in clubs frequented by the British on account of their ‘indecent’ clothing.,,

Prior to the societal reforms in Bengal, where a serious need was felt for recasting women’s living conditions, Bengali women of the middle and upper classes were generally confined to the private sphere and did not appear in public. Then emerged the distinct Bhadramahila, or middle-class gentlewoman, who was to gain an education and even participate in the public sphere. Until this point, explains sociologist Vinay Bahl, only the prostitutes and women of labouring class were seen in public, and the Bhadramahila had to be physically distinguished from these. Her attire — her sari — also had to be ”civilised’ and made ‘suitable’ for coming in contact with unfamiliar men...

The urban wearing style is a post-1870s phenomenon, said to be popularised by Gyananda Nandini Debi, the wife of Satyendranath Tagore — brother of Rabindranath Tagore — who introduced with it the use of Victorian-style blouses, jackets, chemises and petticoats among circles of middle-class Bengali women. She is said to have arrived from Bombay “dressed in a civil and elegant attire” in imitation of Parsi women which was hailed as an “integral combination of indigenousness, decorum and modesty”. Her style was quickly adopted by the Brahmo Samaj women — which came to be known as Brahmika sari — and also gradually gained acceptance among Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh Brahmos as well as non-Brahmos.


-- Why the story of the sari is as complex as its pleats: A glance into the sari’s uneven origins, colonial-era influences and confluent meanings encourages wearers to go beyond its broadstroke projection as a ‘timeless’ marker of pan-Indian-womanhood., by Nandini Rathi


Here too the necessary differences were signified in terms of national identity, social emancipation, and cultural refinement—differences, that is to say, with the memsaheb, with women of earlier generations, and with women of the lower classes. Further, in this as in other aspects of her life, the spirituality of her character had also to be stressed in contrast with the innumerable ways men had to surrender to the pressures of the material world. The need to adjust to the new conditions outside the home had forced upon men a whole series of changes in their dress, food habits, religious observances, and social relations. Each of these capitulations now had to be compensated for by an assertion of spiritual purity on the part of women. They must not eat, drink, or smoke in the same way as men; they must continue the observance of religious rituals that men were finding difficult to carry out; they must maintain the cohesiveness of family life and solidarity with the kin to which men could not now devote much attention. The new patriarchy advocated by nationalism conferred upon women the honor of a new social responsibility, and by associating the task of female emancipation with the historical goal of sovereign nationhood, bound them to a new, and yet entirely legitimate, subordination.

As with all hegemonic forms of exercising dominance, this patriarchy combined coercive authority with the subtle force of persuasion. This was expressed most generally in the inverted ideological form of the relation of power between the sexes: the adulation of woman as goddess or as mother. Whatever its sources in the classical religions of India or in medieval religious practices, the specific ideological form in which we know the "Indian woman" construct in the modern literature and arts of India today is wholly and undeniably a product of the development of a dominant middle-class culture coeval with the era of nationalism. It served to emphasize with all the force of mythological inspiration what had in any case become a dominant characteristic of femininity in the new construct of "woman" standing as a sign for "nation," namely, the spiritual qualities of self-sacrifice, benevolence, devotion, religiosity, and so on. This spirituality did not, as we have seen, impede the chances of the woman moving out of the physical confines of the home; on the contrary, it facilitated it, making it possible for her to go into the world under conditions that would not threaten her femininity. In fact, the image of woman as goddess or mother served to erase her sexuality in the world outside the home.


There are many important implications of this construct. To take one example, consider an observation often made: the relative absence of gender discrimination in middle-class occupations in India, an area that has been at the center of demands for women's right's in the capitalist West. Without denying the possibility that there are many complexities that lie behind this rather superficial observation, it is certainly paradoxical that, whereas middle-class employment has been an area of bitter competition between cultural groups distinguished by caste, religion, language, and so on, in the entire period of nationalist and postcolonial politics in India, gender has never been an issue of public contention. Similarly, the new constitution of independent India gave women the vote without any major debate on the question and without there ever having been a movement for women's suffrage at any period of nationalist politics in India. The fact that everyone assumed that women would naturally have the vote indicates a complete transposition of the terms in which the old patriarchy of tradition was constituted. The fixing by nationalist ideology of masculine/feminine qualities in terms of the material/spiritual dichotomy does not make women who have entered professional occupations competitors to male job seekers, because in this construct there are no specific cultural signs that distinguish women from men in the material world.

In fact, the distinctions that often become significant are those that operate between women in the world outside the home. They can mark out women by their dress, eating habits (drinking/smoking), adherence to religious marks of feminine status, behavior toward men, and so on, and classify them as Westernized, traditional, low-class (or subtler variations on those distinctions)—all signifying a deviation from the acceptable norm. A woman identified as Westernized, for instance, would invite the ascription of all that the "normal" woman (mother/sister/wife/daughter) is not—brazen, avaricious, irreligious, sexually promiscuous—and this not only from males but also from women who see themselves as conforming to the legitimate norm, which is precisely an indicator of the hegemonic status of the ideological construct. An analogous set of distinctions would mark out the low-class or common woman from the normal. (Perhaps the most extreme object of contempt for the nationalist is the stereotype of the Anglo-Indian tnyas—Westernized and common at the same time.) Not surprisingly, deviation from the norm also carries with it the possibility of a variety of ambiguous meanings—signs of illegitimacy become the sanction for behavior not permitted for those who are "normal"—and these are the sorts of meaning exploited to the full by, for instance, the commercial media of film, advertising, and fashion. Here is one more instance of the displacement in nationalist ideology of the construct of woman as a sex object in Western patriarchy: the nationalist male thinks of his own wife/sister/daughter as "normal" precisely because she is not a "sex object," while those who could be "sex objects" are not "normal."

ELEMENTS OF A CRITIQUE OF THE RESOLUTION

1 end this chapter by pointing out another significant feature of the way in which nationalism sought to resolve the women's question in accordance with its historical project. This has to do with the one aspect of the question that was directly political, concerning relations with the state. Nationalism, as we have noticed before, located its own subjectivity in the spiritual domain of culture, where it considered itself superior to the West and hence undominated and sovereign. It could not permit an encroachment by the colonial power in that domain. This determined the characteristically nationalist response to proposals for effecting social reform through the legislative enactments of the colonial state. Unlike the early reformers from Rammohan to Vidyasagar, nationalists of the late nineteenth century were in general opposed to such proposals, for such a method of reform seemed to deny the ability of the nation to act for itself even in a domain where it was sovereign. In the specific case of reforming the lives of women, consequently, the nationalist position was firmly based on the premise that this was an area where the nation was acting on its own, outside the purview of the guidance and intervention of the colonial state.

We now get the full answer to the historical problem I raised at the beginning of this chapter. The reason why the issue of "female emancipation" seems to disappear from the public agenda of nationalist agitation in the late nineteenth century is not because it was overtaken by the more emotive issues concerning political power. Rather, the reason lies in the refusal of nationalism to make the women's question an issue of political negotiation with the colonial state. The simple historical fact is that the lives of middle-class women, coming from that demographic section that effectively constituted the "nation" in late colonial India, changed most rapidly precisely during the period of the nationalist movement—indeed, so rapidly that women from each generation in the last hundred years could say quite truthfully that their lives were strikingly different from those led by the preceding generation. These changes took place in the colonial period mostly outside the arena of political agitation, in a domain where the nation thought of itself as already free. It was after independence, when the nation had acquired political sovereignty, that it became legitimate to embody the idea of reform in legislative enactments about marriage rules, property rights, suffrage, equal pay, equality of opportunity, and so on. Now, of course, the women's question has once again become a political issue in the life of the nation-state.

Another problem on which we can now obtain a clearer perspective is that of the seeming absence of any autonomous struggle by women themselves for equality and freedom. We would be mistaken to look for evidence of such struggle in the public archives of political affairs, for unlike the women's movement in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe or America, the battle for the new idea of womanhood in the era of nationalism was waged in the home. We know from the evidence left behind in autobiographies, family histories, religious tracts, literature, theater, songs, paintings, and such other cultural artifacts, that it was the home that became the principal site of the struggle through which the hegemonic construct of the new nationalist patriarchy had to be normalized. This is the real history of the women's question whose terrain our genealogical investigation into the nationalist idea of "woman" has identified. The nationalist discourse we have heard so far is a discourse about women; women do not speak here. In the next chapter, we will explore the problem of enabling women in recent Indian history to speak for themselves.

The location of the state in the nationalist resolution of the women's question in the colonial period has yet another implication. For sections of the middle class that felt themselves culturally excluded from the formation of the nation and that then organized themselves as politically distinct groups, their relative exclusion from the new nation-state would act as a further means of displacement of the legitimate agency of reform. In the case of Muslims in Bengal, for instance, the formation of a new middle class was delayed, for reasons we need not go into here. Exactly the same sorts of ideological concerns typical of a nationalist response to issues of social reform in a colonial situation can be seen to operate among Muslims as well, with a difference in chronological time.19 Nationalist reforms do not, however, reach political fruition in the case of the Muslims in independent India, because to the extent that the dominant cultural formation among them considers the community excluded from the state, a new colonial relation is brought into being. The system of dichotomies of inner/outer, home/world, feminine/masculine are once again activated. Reforms that touch upon what is considered the inner essence of the identity of the community can be legitimately carried out only by the community itself, not by the state. It is instructive to note how little institutional change has been allowed in the civil life of Indian Muslims since independence and to compare the degree of change with that in Muslim countries where nationalist cultural reform was a part of the successful formation of an independent nation-state. The contrast is striking if one compares the position of middle-class Muslim women in West Bengal today with that of neighboring Bangladesh.

The continuance of a distinct cultural "problem" of the minorities is an index of the failure of the Indian nation to effectively include within its body the whole of the demographic mass that it claims to represent. The failure becomes evident when we note that the formation of a hegemonic "national culture" was necessarily built upon the privileging of an "essential tradition," which in turn was defined by a system of exclusions. Ideals of freedom, equality, and cultural refinement went hand in hand with a set of dichotomies that systematically excluded from the new life of the nation the vast masses of people whom the dominant elite would represent and lead, but who could never be culturally integrated with their leaders. Both colonial rulers and their nationalist opponents conspired to displace in the colonial world the original structure of meanings associated with Western liberal notions of right, freedom, equality, and so on. The inauguration of the national state in India could not mean a universalization of the bourgeois notion of "man."

Indeed, in setting up its new patriarchy as a hegemonic construct, nationalist discourse not only demarcated its cultural essence as distinct from that of the West but also from that of the mass of the people. It has generalized itself among the new middle class, admittedly a widening class and large enough in absolute numbers to be self-reproducing, but is situated at a great distance from the large mass of subordinate classes. My analysis of the nationalist construction of woman once again shows how, in the confrontation between colonialist and nationalist discourses, the dichotomies of spiritual/material, home/world, feminine/masculine, while enabling the production of a nationalist discourse which is different from that of colonialism, nonetheless remains trapped within its framework of false essentialisms.  
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue May 25, 2021 8:02 am

Why the story of the sari is as complex as its pleats: A glance into the sari’s uneven origins, colonial-era influences and confluent meanings encourages wearers to go beyond its broadstroke projection as a ‘timeless’ marker of pan-Indian-womanhood.
by Nandini Rathi
New Delhi
Updated: February 19, 2018 12:46:06 pm

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It is in the colonial period that the sari got fused with European articles like the blouse and the petticoat — now naturalised in Indian vocabulary to the extent that they barely sound foreign. Image courtesy Ayush Kejriwal/Instagram @designerayushkejriwal. Published with permission.

What women wear can be and has been the subject of intense debate and discussion in the world. Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee might have now apologised for his remark invoking shame on the women who cannot tie a sari, but that was not before he tied himself up in a knot with his off-the-cuff comment.

But there are as many nuances to this conversation as there are pleats in a sari, because describing something “authentically” Indian — be it food, custom, lifestyle or attire — is a sure fire way of sidelining at least some regions, social classes or ethnicities. Sari — a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth — has been draped in hundreds of styles over hundreds of years in the parts of Indian subcontinent, differently by different communities and social echelons, due to its immense adaptiveness and suitability to the land’s climate and aesthetics. A glance into the sari’s uneven origins, colonial-era influences and confluent meanings encourages wearers to go beyond its broadstroke projection as a ‘timeless’ marker of pan-Indian-womanhood and identify the historical forces that shaped the meanings associated with sari as we know it.

Ancestors of the single-piece drape

Both the dhoti and the sari owe their existence to common ancestors. “For a long time, the ancient Indian men and women just wore the antariya (lower garment) and uttariya (upper garment) — both rectangular pieces of cloth which were draped in various styles,” says fashion historian Toolika Gupta, adding, “So some parts in the country just kept that but as early as in the BCs while others — those which came in frequent contact with foreigners — started changing”.

An oft noted mention of sari comes from a sixteenth century Portuguese traveler to India. “The women wear white garments of very thin cotton or silk bright color, five yards long, one part of which is girt round their below and the other part on their shoulder across their breasts in such a way that one arm and shoulder remains uncovered,” the traveler noted.

Historically, the Indian subcontinent was never a wholesome whole, but a multitude of kingdoms and cultures with dressing customs that bore only loose correlations to one another. “There are parts of the country where people were not largely wearing the sari, for example in Rajasthan where there was the lehenga, choli and odhani — not the sari. Sari was largely worn in Bengal and all over south. But even here, in many cases, the upper part and the lower part are different,” explains Gupta. This is true of Kerala’s Mundu Veshti and Assam’s Mekhela chador, for instance.


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The lehenga, lehnga or langa (also known as a ghagra or gagra, chaniya, pavadai, or lacha) is a form of ankle-length skirt from the Indian subcontinent. Different patterns and styles of traditional embroidery are used to decorate the lehenga. Gota patti embroidery is often used for festivals and weddings. The lehenga is sometimes worn as the lower portion of a gagra choli or langa voni.

-- Lehenga, by Wikipedia


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A choli is a blouse or a bodice-like upper garment that is commonly cut short leaving the midriff bare, it is worn along with a sari in the Indian subcontinent. The choli is also part of the ghagra choli costume in the Indian subcontinent.

-- Choli, by Wikipedia


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A type of small sari worn over other clothing.

-- Odhani, by Wiktionary


“It’s difficult to ascertain historically the sari’s evolution as a single-piece drape, though in many parts of India (Kerala, 6 northeast states, Rajasthan and Gujarat) its possible preceding versions of two or three piece drapes continue to be worn,” writes Rta Kapur Chishti, author, “Saris – Tradition & Beyond”.

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Different documented draping styles in the Malabar region (modern day Kerala) up to the early decades of twentieth century. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Even the morality associated with sari-blouse is a relatively modern idea, with no fixed association established during ancient and medieval India. For instance, the rules of wearing a breast cloth in Kerala, until the 19th century, were considered a mark of respect to the upper caste. A Sanskrit manual, titled ‘The Guide to Religious Status and Duties of Women,’ written in present-day Kerala between 400 BC and 600 BC directs married women of a high social status to wear a bodice, women from the middle strata to not wear a bodice, but cover their breasts with the loose end of their sari, and women of lower status to leave their breasts uncovered. The practice was, in fact, being observed and enforced in Travancore until the arrival of the Christian missionaries in the 19th century, who brought with them what could be a combination of the concept of shame and the freedom to cover for all.

Sari in the colonial era

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The similarities between English and Indian clothing at one point: A Parsee Ladies’ stall at a bazaar held at Bombay, from The Graphic, 1889. Source: Columbia.edu

Indian tastes in clothing underwent a massive change with the arrival of an alien people — the British — in the eighteenth century, marking the entry of cultural values and fashions of Victorian England. It is in the colonial period that the sari got fused with European articles like the blouse and the petticoat — now naturalised in Indian vocabulary to the extent that they barely sound foreign. The cut of the modern blouse bore a strong resemblance to the torso of the gown and the petticoats gave the sari a graceful fall and a formal appearance.

Saris in colonial-era Bengal used to be made of a single cloth of fine, semi-transparent muslin that was draped around the body with no garments underneath — an outfit well-suited to Bengal’s hot climate. While leaving the house, the women would ordinarily drape a shawl, which was sufficient in Bengal’s then relatively gender-segregated society. From the perspective of the colonisers, who saw ‘exposure’ or physicality as a marker of savagery — the sari worn like that by Bengali women, left them “practically unclad”. There are stories of Indian women not being permitted entry in clubs frequented by the British on account of their ‘indecent’ clothing.
“For the British, Bengal was ‘all of India’ because that is where they came from,” Gupta explains.

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Portrait of three women, probably a mother and her two daughters in Eastern Bengal in the 1860s. Source: Wikimedia Commons. From the perspective of the colonisers, who saw ‘exposure’ or physicality as a marker of savagery — the sari worn like that by Bengali women, left them “practically unclad”.

Prior to the societal reforms in Bengal, where a serious need was felt for recasting women’s living conditions, Bengali women of the middle and upper classes were generally confined to the private sphere and did not appear in public. Then emerged the distinct Bhadramahila, or middle-class gentlewoman, who was to gain an education and even participate in the public sphere. Until this point, explains sociologist Vinay Bahl, only the prostitutes and women of labouring class were seen in public, and the Bhadramahila had to be physically distinguished from these. Her attire — her sari — also had to be ”civilised’ and made ‘suitable’ for coming in contact with unfamiliar men.

Sari and the nation: A pre-eminent hallmark of Indian women

“The problem of what to wear in 19th century [India] can best be defined as the problem of how much foreignness to allow into one’s clothes,” writes cultural anthropologist Emma Tarlo, author, ‘Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India’. Dressing the Indian woman appropriately became a colonial and a nationalist project in this period. Sociologist Himani Bannerji points out that while a minuscule among the upper classes started wearing gowns and saris were experimented with — saris won in the end. The ideal Indian woman absorbed the Western (Victorian) morality, without embracing Western fashion.

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A Parsee Girls School, Bombay (c. 1880s). Source: Columbia.edu

The urban wearing style is a post-1870s phenomenon, said to be popularised by Gyananda Nandini Debi, the wife of Satyendranath Tagore — brother of Rabindranath Tagore — who introduced with it the use of Victorian-style blouses, jackets, chemises and petticoats among circles of middle-class Bengali women. She is said to have arrived from Bombay “dressed in a civil and elegant attire” in imitation of Parsi women which was hailed as an “integral combination of indigenousness, decorum and modesty”. Her style was quickly adopted by the Brahmo Samaj women — which came to be known as Brahmika sari — and also gradually gained acceptance among Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh Brahmos as well as non-Brahmos.

“A basic theory in fashion is that if you have more money, you can experiment more with clothing. Then there are the “wannabes” — who desire to be like the elite but don’t have all the experimental fun,” says Gupta, adding that whether the Tagores of Bengal or the Parsis of Bombay, these were wealthy, elite classes who frequently interacted with the British. From them, the trend of wearing a particular kind of sari — with blouse and petticoat — spread downward.

The symbol of sari became further charged around 1905 under the ideological stipulations of the Swadeshi movement, which spurned European cloth and the imitation of their fashion. In this period, it got elevated from the diffuseness and regional variety of its historical origins to a distinct and precise sartorial national emblem. The identity of the Bhadramahila [Clothing of the Gentlewoman] began to get equated with the perception of ‘Indian woman,’ laced with the sanskriti-sabhyata flavours — the ‘moral force’ deemed missing in the West — which continued into the post-colonial era.

Making meaning with the sari

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Like all forms of dress, Sari and the way it is worn has been replete with different meanings through the course of history. In swathes of the newly independent nation, women wore Indian saris but with ‘foreign’ blouses and petticoats. In this line of thought, the dress was projected as the bulwark of ‘tradition’ and ‘Indianness’ against the corrupting, alien and Western influences. In the last three decades, it gradually got redubbed as ‘conservative’ vis-a-vis the ‘progressiveness’ and ‘modernity’ associated with donning the salwar-kameez and denim jeans.

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Shalwar kameez is a traditional combination dress worn by women, and in some regions by men, in South Asia, and Central Asia.

Shalwars are trousers which are atypically wide at the waist but which narrow to a cuffed bottom. They are held up by a drawstring or elastic belt, which causes them to become pleated around the waist. The trousers can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias. Shalwars have been traditionally worn in a wide region which includes Eastern Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic. The side seams are left open below the waist-line (the opening known as the chaak), which gives the wearer greater freedom of movement. The kameez is usually cut straight and flat; older kameez use traditional cuts; modern kameez are more likely to have European-inspired set-in sleeves. The kameez may have a European-style collar, a Mandarin collar, or it may be collarless; in the latter case, its design as a women's garment is similar to a kurta. The combination garment is sometimes called salwar kurta, salwar suit, or Punjabi suit.

The shalwar and kameez originated in South Asia after the arrival of Muslims in the north in the 13th century: at first worn by Muslim women, their use gradually spread, making them a regional style, especially in the historical Punjab region. The shalwar-kameez is a widely-worn, and national dress, of Pakistan. It is also widely worn by men in Afghanistan, and by women and some men in the Punjab region of India, from which it has been adopted by women throughout India, and more generally in South Asia.

When women wear the shalwar-kameez in some regions, they usually wear a long scarf or shawl called a dupatta around the head or neck. In South Asia, the dupatta is also employed as a form of modesty—although it is made of delicate material, it obscures the upper body's contours by passing over the shoulders. For Muslim women, the dupatta is a less stringent alternative to the chador or burqa (see hijab and purdah); for Sikh and Hindu women, the dupatta is useful when the head must be covered, as in a temple or the presence of elders. Everywhere in South Asia, modern versions of the attire have evolved; the shalwars are worn lower down on the waist, the kameez have shorter length, with higher splits, lower necklines and backlines, and with cropped sleeves or without sleeves.

-- Shalwar kameez, by Wikipedia


Newer still, is the way it has been revived and redefined by modern designers as a garment that is ‘cultured’ yet ‘highly fashionable,’ ‘chic,’ ‘sensual,’ ‘gone global’ and, hence, in sync with modern aspirations.

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Shohreh Aghdashloo [Avasarala: A diva, a queen, a legend -- The Expanse]
@SAghdashloo·
May 17, 2020
This exclusive photo is one of my favorites. It has never been published before. I hope you like it.
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#ScreamingFirehawks #TheExpanse


The storied journey of the sari is a long and continuous one and few experts doubt that it’s here to stay. “The sari is so deep rooted in our culture that it can never become obsolete but I think with changing times it is also changing,” says designer Masaba Gupta, adding that, “We’re going through an interesting phase in terms of fashion where tradition is getting contemporised, for example, saris can be worn with pants and different types of blouses such as a corset blouse. The beauty of this phase is that the sari is becoming more accessible to the younger generation”.

Changes in clothing throughout history have always been an adaptation to new styles. Instead of simply discarding earlier styles under new circumstances, people try to make sense of their new social, cultural and economic needs and then adapt to those needs as and when they find it necessary or useful to their daily existence. This is apparent even as one looks at the way urban, middle-class Indian women’s dressing preferences have evolved away from sari-only to include a number of other Indian and Western outfits in the last few decades. Simultaneously, the meanings of sari have also expanded to allow women to rationalise the competing spheres of tradition and modernity at once.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed May 26, 2021 1:08 am

Rajatarangini
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/25/21

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Approximate extent of the Kashmir region.

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The Kashmir region (Kashmir valley is left of the centre of the map - see enlargement)

Rajatarangini (Rājataraṃgiṇī, "The River of Kings") is a metrical legendary and historical chronicle of the north-western Indian subcontinent, particularly the kings of Kashmir. It was written in Sanskrit by Kashmiri historian Kalhana in the 12th century CE.[1] The work consists of 7826 verses, which are divided into eight books called Tarangas ("waves").

Kalhana (sometimes spelled Kalhan or Kalhan'a) (c. 12th century), a Kashmiri, was the author of Rajatarangini (River of Kings), an account of the history of Kashmir. He wrote the work in Sanskrit between 1148 and 1149.[1] All information regarding his life has to be deduced from his own writing, a major scholar of which is Mark Aurel Stein. Robin Donkin has argued that with the exception of Kalhana, "there are no [native Indian] literary works with a developed sense of chronology, or indeed much sense of place, before the thirteenth century".[2]

Kalhana was born to a Kashmiri minister, Chanpaka, who probably served king Harsa of the Lohara dynasty. It is possible that his birthplace was Parihaspore and his birth would have been very early in the 12th century. It is extremely likely that he was of the Hindu Brahmin caste, suggested in particular by his knowledge of Sanskrit. The introductory verses to each of the eight Books in his Rajatarangini are prefaced with prayers to Shiva, a Hindu deity. In common with many Hindus in Kashmir at that time, he was also sympathetic to Buddhism, and Buddhists tended to reciprocate this feeling towards Hindus.[3] Even in relatively modern times, Buddha's birthday has been a notable event for Kashmiri Brahmins and well before Kalhana's time Buddha had been accepted by Hindus as an avatar of Vishnu.[4]

Kalhana was familiar with earlier epics such as the Vikramankadevacharita of Bilhana, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, to all of which he alludes in his own writings.[5] However, his own writings did not employ what Stein has described as "the very redundant praise and flattery which by custom and literary tradition Indian authors feel obliged to bestow on their patrons". From this comes Stein's deduction that Kalhana was not a part of the circle surrounding Jayasimha, the ruling monarch at the time when he was writing the Rajatarangini.[6]

-- Kalhana, by Wikipedia


The Rajataringini provides the earliest source on Kashmir that can be labeled as a "historical" text on this region. Although inaccurate in its chronology, the book still provides an invaluable source of information about early Kashmir and its neighbors in the north western parts of the Indian subcontinent, and has been widely referenced by later historians and ethnographers.

Context

Little is known about the author Kalhana (c. 12th century CE), apart from what is written in the book. His father Champaka was the minister (Lord of the Gate) in the court of Harsha of Kashmir.

Kalhana was born to a Kashmiri minister, Chanpaka, who probably served king Harsa of the Lohara dynasty.

-- Kalhana, by Wikipedia


In the first Taranga (book) of Rajatarangini, Kalhana expresses his dissatisfaction with the earlier historical books, and presents his own views on how history ought to be written:[2]

• Verse 7. Fairness: That noble-minded author is alone worthy of praise whose word, like that of a judge, keeps free from love or hatred in relating the facts of the past.
• Verse 11. Cite earlier authors: The oldest extensive works containing the royal chronicles [of Kashmir] have become fragmentary in consequence of [the appearance of] Suvrata's composition, who condensed them in order that (their substance) might be easily remembered.
• Verse 12. Suvrata's poem, though it has obtained celebrity, does not show dexterity in the exposition of the subject-matter, as it is rendered troublesome [reading] by misplaced learning.
• Verse 13. Owing to a certain want of care, there is not a single part in Ksemendra's "List of Kings" (Nrpavali) free from mistakes, though it is the work of a poet.
• Verse 14. Eleven works of former scholars containing the chronicles of the kings, I have inspected, as well as the [Purana containing the] opinions of the sage Nila.
• Verse 15. By looking at the inscriptions recording the consecrations of temples and grants by former kings, at laudatory inscriptions and at written works, the trouble arising from many errors has been overcome.

Despite these stated principles, Kalhana's work is also full of legends and inconsistencies (see Historical reliability below).

List of kings

The kings of Kashmir described in the Rajatarangini are given below. Notes in parentheses refer to a book ("Taranga") and verse. Thus (IV.678) is Book IV verse 678. The summary is from J.C. Dutt's translation. Kalhana's work uses Kali and Laukika (or Saptarishi) calendar eras: the ascension year in CE, as given below, has been calculated by Dutt based on Kalhana's records.[3]

Book 1

Kalhana mentions that Gonanda I ascended the throne in 653 Kali calendar era. According to Jogesh Chander Dutt's calculation, this year corresponds to 2448 BCE.[3] The total reign of the following kings is mentioned as 1266 years.[4]

Ruler[4] / Notes

Gonanda I / Contemporary of Yudhishthira, a relative of Magadha's ruler Jarasindhu (I.59). He was killed by Balarama, the elder brother of Jarasandha's enemy Krishna.

In the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, Yudhishtira is the first among the five Pandava brothers. He was the son of the king Pandu of Kuru and his first wife, Kunti and was blessed to the couple by the god Dharma, who is often identified with the death god Yama. In the epic, Yudhishthira becomes the emperor of Indraprastha and later of Kuru Kingdom (Hastinapura).

-- Yudhishthira, by Wikipedia


Damodara I / Killed in a battle by Krishna's friends

Yashovati / Wife of Damodara. She was pregnant at the time of her husband's death, and Krishna helped her ascend the throne.

Gonanda II / Son of Yashovati and Damodara

35 kings (names lost) / A manuscript titled Ratnakar Purana supposedly contained these names, and was translated into Persian by the orders of the later Muslim ruler Zain-ul-Abidin. The purported original manuscript as well as its translation are now lost. A Muslim historian named Hassan is said to have obtained a copy of the translation, and the later Muslim historians provided a fabricated list of 35 names ending in -Khan.[5]

Ghiyas-ud-Din Zain-ul-Abidin, 25 November 1395 – 5 April 1470) was the eighth sultan of Kashmir. He was known by his subjects as Bod Shah (lit. 'Great King').

The first 35 years of his reign are described by Jonaraja in the Rajatarangini Dvitiya, while the subsequent years are described by his pupil, Srivara, in the Rajatarangini Tritiya.

-- Zain-ul-Abidin, by Wikipedia


Lava / --

Kusheshaya / Son of Lava

Khagendra / Son of Kusheshaya

Surendra / Son of Khagendra

Godhara / Belonged to a different family from Lava's dynasty (I.95)

Suvarna / Known for constructing a canal named Suvarnamani

Janaka / Unsuccessfully invaded Persia

Shachinara / Died childless

Ashoka / Great-grandson of Shakuni and son of Shachinara's first cousin. Built a great city called Srinagara (near but not same as the modern-day Srinagar). In his days, the mlechchhas (foreigners) overran the country, and he took sannyasa. According to Kalhana's account, this Ashoka would have ruled in the 2nd millennium BCE, and was a member of the dynasty founded by Godhara. Kalhana also states that this king had adopted the doctrine of Jina, constructed stupas and Shiva temples, and appeased Bhutesha (Shiva) to obtain his son Jalauka. Despite the discrepancies, multiple scholars identify Kalhana's Ashoka with the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who adopted Buddhism.[6] Although "Jina" is a term generally associated with Jainism, some ancient sources use it to refer to the Buddha.[7]

Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty [322-180 BCE], who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. A grandson of the dynasty's founder Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka promoted the spread of Buddhism across ancient Asia. Considered by many to be one of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire to reign over a realm stretching from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east. It covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra (in Magadha, present-day Patna), with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain.

Ashoka waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern Odisha), which he conquered in about 260 BCE. According to an interpretation of his Edicts, he converted to Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he had waged out of a desire for conquest and which reportedly directly resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations. He is remembered for the Ashoka pillars and edicts, for sending Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka and Central Asia, and for establishing monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.

The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the pillars, as well as boulders and cave walls, attributed to Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire who reigned from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. Ashoka used the expression Dhaṃma Lipi (Prakrit in the Brahmi script: [x] "Inscriptions of the Dharma") to describe his own Edicts. These inscriptions were dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and provide the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail Ashoka's view about dhamma, an earnest attempt to solve some of the problems that a complex society faced. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created.

These inscriptions proclaim Ashoka's adherence to the Buddhist philosophy which, as in Hinduism, is called dharma, "Law". The inscriptions show his efforts to develop the Buddhist dharma throughout his kingdom. Although Buddhism as well as Gautama Buddha are mentioned, the edicts focus on social and moral precepts rather than specific religious practices or the philosophical dimension of Buddhism. These were located in public places and were meant for people to read.

In these inscriptions, Ashoka refers to himself as "Beloved of the Gods" (Devanampiya). The identification of Devanampiya with Ashoka was confirmed by an inscription discovered in 1915 by C. Beadon, a British gold-mining engineer, at Maski, a village in Raichur district of Karnataka. Another minor rock edict, found at the village Gujarra in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh, also used the name of Ashoka together with his titles: "Devanampiya Piyadasi Asokaraja". The inscriptions found in the central and eastern part of India were written in Magadhi Prakrit using the Brahmi script, while Prakrit using the Kharoshthi script, Greek and Aramaic were used in the northwest. These edicts were deciphered by British archaeologist and historian James Prinsep.

The inscriptions revolve around a few recurring themes: Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism, the description of his efforts to spread Buddhism, his moral and religious precepts, and his social and animal welfare program. The edicts were based on Ashoka's ideas on administration and behaviour of people towards one another and religion.

Besides a few inscriptions in Greek and Aramaic (which were discovered only in the 20th century), the Edicts were mostly written in the Brahmi script and sometimes in the Kharoshthi script in the northwest, two Indian scripts which had both become extinct around the 5th century CE, and were yet undeciphered at the time the Edicts were discovered and investigated in the 19th century.

The first successful attempts at deciphering the ancient Brahmi script were made in 1836 by Norwegian scholar Christian Lassen, who used the bilingual Greek-Brahmi coins of Indo-Greek king Agathocles to correctly and securely identify several Brahmi letters. The task was then completed by James Prinsep, an archaeologist, philologist, and official of the East India Company, who was able to identify the rest of the Brahmi characters, with the help of Major Cunningham. In a series of results that he published in March 1838 Prinsep was able to translate the inscriptions on a large number of rock edicts found around India, and to provide, according to Richard Salomon, a "virtually perfect" rendering of the full Brahmi alphabet. The edicts in Brahmi script mentioned a King Devanampriya Piyadasi which Prinsep initially assumed was a Sri Lankan king. He was then able to associate this title with Ashoka on the basis of Pali script from Sri Lanka communicated to him by George Turnour.

The Kharoshthi script, written from right to left, and associated with Aramaic, was also deciphered by James Prinsep in parallel with Christian Lassen, using the bilingual Greek-Kharoshthi coinage of the Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian kings. "Within the incredibly brief space of three years (1834-37) the mystery of both the Kharoshthi and Brahmi scripts (were unlocked), the effect of which was instantly to remove the thick crust of oblivion which for many centuries had concealed the character and the language of the earliest epigraphs"....

Ashokan inscriptions in Prakrit precede by several centuries inscriptions in Sanskrit, probably owing to the great prestige which Ashokan inscriptions gave to the Prakrit language. Louis Renou called it "the great linguistical paradox of India" that the Sanskrit inscriptions appear later than Prakrit inscriptions, although Prakrit is considered as a descendant of the Sanskrit language.

Ashoka was probably the first Indian ruler to create stone inscriptions, and in doing so, he began an important Indian tradition of royal epigraphical inscriptions. The earliest known stone inscriptions in Sanskrit are in the Brahmi script from the first century BCE.[122] These early Sanskrit inscriptions include the Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) and Hathībada-Ghosundi (near Chittorgarh, Rajasthan) inscriptions. Other important inscriptions dated to the 1st century BCE, in relatively accurate classical Sanskrit and Brahmi script are the Yavanarajya inscription on a red sandstone slab and the long Naneghat inscription on the wall of a cave rest stop in the Western Ghats. Besides these few examples from the 1st century BCE, the bulk of early Sanskrit inscriptions were made from the 1st and 2nd-century CE by the Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps in Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), and the Western Satraps in Gujarat and Maharashtra. According to Salomon, the Scythian rulers of northern and western India while not the originators, were promoters of the use of Sanskrit language for inscriptions, and "their motivation in promoting Sanskrit was presumably a desire to establish themselves as legitimate Indian or at least Indianized rulers and to curry the favor of the educated Brahmanical elite".

The Brahmi script used in the Edicts of Ashoka, as well as the Prakrit language of these inscriptions was in popular use down through the Kushan period, and remained readable down to the 4th century CE during the Gupta period. After that time the script underwent significant evolutions which rendered the Ashokan inscriptions unreadable. This still means that Ashoka's Edicts were for everyone to see and understand for a period of nearly 700 years in India, suggesting that they remained significantly influential for a long time.

Questions of authorship

According to some scholars such as Christopher I. Beckwith, Ashoka, whose name only appears in the Minor Rock Edicts, should be differentiated from the ruler Piyadasi, or Devanampiya Piyadasi (i.e. "Beloved of the Gods Piyadasi", "Beloved of the Gods" being a fairly widespread title for "King"), who is named as the author of the Major Pillar Edicts and the Major Rock Edicts. Beckwith also highlights the fact that [neither] Buddhism nor the Buddha are mentioned in the Major Edicts, but only in the Minor Edicts. Further, the Buddhist notions described in the Minor Edicts (such as the Buddhist canonical writings in Minor Edict No.3 at Bairat, the mention of a Buddha of the past Kanakamuni Buddha in the Nigali Sagar Minor Pillar Edict) are more characteristic of the "Normative Buddhism" of the Saka-Kushan period around the 2nd century CE.

This inscriptional evidence may suggest that Piyadasi and Ashoka were two different rulers. According to Beckwith, Piyadasi was living in the 3rd century BCE, probably the son of Chandragupta Maurya known to the Greeks as Amitrochates, and only advocating for piety ("Dharma") in his Major Pillar Edicts and Major Rock Edicts, without ever mentioning Buddhism, the Buddha or the Samgha. Since he does mention a pilgrimage to Sambhodi (Bodh Gaya, in Major Rock Edict No.8) however, he may have adhered to an "early, pietistic, popular" form of Buddhism. Also, the geographical spread of his inscription shows that Piyadasi ruled a vast Empire, contiguous with the Seleucid Empire in the West.

On the contrary, for Beckwith, Ashoka himself was a later king of the 1st-2nd century CE, whose name only appears explicitly in the Minor Rock Edicts and allusively in the Minor Pillar Edicts, and who does mention the Buddha and the Samgha, explicitly promoting Buddhism. He may have been an unknown or possibly invented ruler named Devanampriya Asoka, with the intent of propagating a later, more institutional version of the Buddhist faith. His inscriptions cover a very different and much smaller geographical area, clustering in Central India. According to Beckwith, the inscriptions of this later Ashoka were typical of the later forms of "normative Buddhism", which are well attested from inscriptions and Gandhari manuscripts dated to the turn of the millennium, and around the time of the Kushan Empire. The quality of the inscriptions of this Ashoka is significantly lower than the quality of the inscriptions of the earlier Piyadasi.


However, many of Beckwith's methodologies and interpretations concerning early Buddhism, inscriptions, and archaeological sites have been criticized by other scholars, such as Johannes Bronkhorst and Osmund Bopearachchi.

-- Edicts of Ashoka, by Wikipedia


Beyond the Edicts of Ashoka, biographical information about him relies on legends written centuries later, such as the 2nd-century CE Ashokavadana ("Narrative of Ashoka", a part of the Divyavadana), and in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa ("Great Chronicle"). The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka. His Sanskrit name "Aśoka" means "painless, without sorrow" (the a privativum and śoka, "pain, distress"). In his edicts, he is referred to as Devānāmpriya (Pali Devānaṃpiya or "the Beloved of the Gods"), and Priyadarśin or Priyadarshi (Pali Piyadasī or "He who regards everyone with affection").

Devanampiya Piyadasi (i.e. "Beloved of the Gods Piyadasi", "Beloved of the Gods" being a fairly widespread title for "King").

-- Edicts of Ashoka, by Wikipedia


His fondness for a tree is the reason for his name being connected to the "Ashoka tree" or Polyalthia longifolia, and this is referenced in the Ashokavadana.

In The Outline of History (1920), H.G. Wells wrote, "Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Ashoka shines, and shines, almost alone, a star."

-- Ashoka, by Wikipedia


Jalauka (Jaloka) / A staunch Shaivite, who constructed several Shiva temples. He rid the country from the mlechchhas (foreigners, possibly Greco-Bactrians). Romila Thapar equates Jalauka to the Mauryan prince Kunala, arguing that "Jalauka" is an erroneous spelling caused by a typographical error in Brahmi script.[8]

Damodara II / Devout Shaivite. Built a new city called Damodarasuda, and a dam called Guddasetu.

Hushka, Jushka, and Kanishka[9] / Buddhist kings of Turashka origin (according to Kalhana). The third king is identified with Kanishka of the Kushan Empire.[10]

Abhimanyu I / A Shaivite during whose reigns Buddhists also flourished. Because of the rising Buddhist influence, people stopped following the Shaivite Nāga rites prescribed in the holy text Nila Purana. This angered the Nāgas, who heavily persecuted the Buddhists. To avoid this disorder, the king retired. A Brahmin named Chandradeva restored Shaivite rites by worshipping Shiva.


Gonanditya dynasty

The Gonanditya dynasty ruled Kashmir for 1002 years.[4]

Ruler / Reign[4] / Ascension year / Notes

Gonanda III / 35 years / 1182 BCE / Gonanda III founded a new dynasty. (I.191) He belonged to Rama's lineage, and restored the Nāga rites

Image

Rama, also known as Ramachandra, is a major deity in Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna, Parshurama, and Gautama Buddha. Jain Texts also mentioned Rama as the eighth balabhadra among the 63 salakapurusas. In Sikhism, Rama is mentioned as one of twenty four divine incarnations of Vishnu in the Chaubis Avtar in Dasam Granth. In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Being.

-- Rama, by Wikipedia


Vibhishana I / 53 years, 6 months / 1147 BCE / --

Indrajit / 35 years / 1094 BCE / --

Ravana / 30 years, 6 months / - / A Shivalinga attributed to Ravana could still be seen at the time of Kalhana.

Vibhishana II / 35 years, 6 months / 1058 BCE / --

Nara I (Kinnara) / 40 years, 9 months / 1023 BCE / His queen eloped with a Buddhist monk, so he destroyed the Buddhist monasteries and gave their land to the Brahmins. He tried to abduct a Nāga woman, who was the wife of a Brahmin. Because of this, the Nāga chief burnt down the king's city, and the king died in the fire.

Siddha / 60 years / 983 BCE / Siddha, the son of Nara, was saved from Nāga's fury, because he was away from the capital at the time. He was a religious king, and followed a near-ascetic lifestyle.

Utpalaksha / 30 years, 6 months / 923 BCE / Son of Siddha

Hiranyaksha / 37 years, 7 months / 893 BCE / Son of Utpalaksha

Hiranyakula / 60 years / 855 BCE / Son of Hiranyaksha

Vasukula (Mukula) / 60 years / 795 BCE / Son of Hiranyakula. During his reign, the Mlechchhas (possibly Hunas) overran Kashmir.

Mihirakula / 70 years / 735 BCE / Identified with the Huna ruler Mihirakula (6th century CE), although Kalhana does not mention him as a Huna, and places him nearly 1200 years earlier. According to historical evidence, Mihirakula's predecessor was Toramana. Kalhana mentions a king called Toramana, but places him much later, in Book 3.[11] According to Kalhana, Mihirakula was a cruel ruler who ordered killings of a large number of people, including children, women and elders. He invaded the Sinhala Kingdom, and replaced their king with a cruel man. As he passed through Chola, Karnata and other kingdoms on his way back to Kashmir, the rulers of these kingdoms fled their capitals and returned only after he had gone away. On his return to Kashmir, he ordered killings of 100 elephants, who had been startled by the cries of a fallen elephant. Once, Mihirakula dreamt that a particular stone could be moved only by a chaste woman. He put this to test: the women who were unable to move the stone were killed, along with their husbands, sons and brothers. He was supported by some immoral Brahmins. In his old age, the king committed self-immolation.

Vaka (Baka) / 63 years, 18 days / 665 BCE / A virtuous king, he was seduced and killed by a woman named Vatta, along with several of his sons and grandsons.

Kshitinanda / 30 years / 602 BCE / The only surviving child of Vaka

Vasunanda / 52 years, 2 months / 572 BCE / "Originator of the science of love"

Nara II / 60 years / 520 BCE / Son of Vasunanda

Aksha / 60 years / 460 BCE / Son of Nara II

Gopaditya / 60 years, 6 days / 400 BCE / Son of Aksha. Gave lands to Brahmins. Expelled several irreligious Brahmins who used to eat garlic (non-Sattvic diet); in their place, he brought others from foreign countries.

Gokarna / 57 years, 11 months / 340 BCE / Son of Gopaditya

Narendraditya I (Khingkhila) / 36 years, 3 months, 10 days / 282 BCE / Son of Gokarna

Yudhisthira I / 34 years, 5 months, 1 day / 246 BCE / Called "the blind" because of his small eyes. In later years of his reign, he started patronizing unwise persons, and the wise courtiers deserted him. He was deposed by rebellious ministers, and granted asylum by a neighboring king. His descendant Meghavahana later restored the dynasty's rule.


Book 2

No kings mentioned in this book have been traced in any other historical source.[11] These kings ruled Kashmir for 192 years.[4]

Ruler / Reign[4] / Ascension year / Notes

Pratapaditya I / 32 years / 167 BCE / Pratapaditya was a relative of a distant king named Vikrmaditya (II.6). This Vikramaditya is not same as the Vikramaditya of Ujjain, who is mentioned later as a patron of Matrigupta.

Jalauka / 32 years / 135 BCE / Son of Pratapaditya

Tungjina I / 36 years / 103 BCE / Shared the administration with his queen. The couple sheltered their citizens in the royal palace during a severe famine resulting from heavy frost. After his death, the queen committed sati. The couple died childless.

Vijaya / 8 years / 67 BCE / From a different dynasty than Tungjina.

Jayendra / 37 years / 59 BCE / Son of Vijaya: his "long arms reached to his knees". His flatters instigated him against his minister Sandhimati. The minister was persecuted, and ultimately imprisoned because of rumors that he would succeed the king. Sandhimati remained in prison for 10 years. In his old age, the childless king ordered killing of Sandhimati to prevent any chance of him becoming a king. He died after hearing about the false news of Sandhimati's death.

Sandhimati alias Aryaraja / 47 years / 22 BCE / Sandhimati was selected by the citizens as the new ruler. He ascended the throne reluctantly, at the request of his guru Ishana. He was a devout Shaivite, and his reign was marked by peace. He filled his court with rishis (sages), and spent his time in forest retreats. Therefore, his ministers replaced him with Meghavahana, a descendant of Yudhishthira I. He willingly gave up the throne.


Book 3: Restored Gonandiya dynasty

Main article: Gonanda dynasty (II)

Ruler / Reign[4] / Ascension year / Notes

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Meghavahana / 34 years / 25 CE / Meghavahana was the son of Yudhisthira I's great grandson, who had been granted asylum by Gopaditya, the king of Gandhara. Meghavahana had been selected the husband of a Vaishnavite princess at a Swayamvara in another kingdom. The ministers of Kashmir brought him to Kashmir after Sandhimati proved to be an unwilling king. Meghavahana banned animal slaughter and compensated those who earned their living through hunting. He patrnozed Brahmins, and set up a monastery. His queens built Buddhist viharas and monasteries. He subdued kings in regions as far as Sinhala Kingdom, forcing them to abandon animal slaughter.

Shreshtasena (Pravarasena I / Tungjina II) / 30 years / 59 CE / Son of Meghavahana

Hiranya / 30 years, 2 months / 89 CE / Son of Shreshtasena, assisted by his brother and co-regent Toramana. The king imprisoned Toramana, when the latter stuck royal coins in his own name. Toramana's son Pravarasena, who had been brought up in secrecy by his mother Anjana, freed him. Hiranya died childless. Several coins of a king named Toramana have been found in the Kashmir region. This king is identified by some with Huna ruler Toramana, although his successor Mihirakula is placed much earlier by Kalhana.[11]

Matrigupta / 4 years, 9 months, 1 day / 120 CE / According to Kalhana, the emperor Vikramditya (alias Harsha) of Ujjayini defeated the Shakas, and made his friend and poet Matrigupta the ruler of Kashmir. After Vikramaditya's death, Matrigupta abdicated the throne in favour of Pravarasena. According to D. C. Sircar, Kalhana has confused the legendary Vikramaditya of Ujjain with the Vardhana Emperor Harsha (c. 606-47 CE).[13] The latter is identified with Shiladitya mentioned in Xuanzang's account. However, according to M. A. Stein, Kalhana's Vikramaditya is another Shiladitya mentioned in Xuanzang's account: a king of Malwa around 580 CE.[14]

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Pravarasena II / 60 years / 125 CE / Historical evidence suggests that a king named Pravarasena ruled Kashmir in the 6th century CE.[11] According to Kalhana, Pravarasena subdued many other kings, in lands as far as Saurashtra. He restored the rule of Vikramaditya's son Pratapshila (alias Shiladitya), who had been expelled from Ujjain by his enemies. Pratapshila agreed to be a vassal of Pravarasena after initial resistance. He founded a city called Pravarapura, which is identified by later historians as the modern city of Srinagar on the basis topographical details.[15]

Yudhishthira II / 39 years, 8 months / 185 CE / Son of Pravarasena

Narendraditya I (Lakshmana) / 13 years / 206 CE / Son of Yudhishthira II and Padmavati

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Ranaditya I (Tungjina III) / 300 years / 219 CE / Younger brother of Narendraditya. His queen Ranarambha was an incarnation of Bhramaravasini. The Chola king Ratisena had found her among the waves, during an ocean worship ritual.

Vikramaditya / 42 years / 519 CE / Son of Ranaditya

Baladitya / 36 years, 8 months / 561 CE / Younger brother of Vikramaditya. He subdued several enemies. An astrologer prophesied that his son-in-law would succeed him as the king. To avoid this outcome, the king married his daughter Anangalekha to Durlabhavardhana, a handsome but non-royal man from Ashvaghama Kayastha caste.


Book 4: Karkota dynasty

See also: Karkota dynasty

Ruler / Reign[4] / Ascension year / Notes

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Durlabhavardhana (Prajnaditya) / 38 years / 598 CE / Born to Nāga Karkota (a deity), Durlabhavardhana was Baladitya's officer in charge of fodder. Baladitya married his daughter Anangalekha to him. As the royal son-in-law, he became known as a just and wise man, and was given the title "Prajnaditya" by the king. His wife Anangalekha became involved in an extra-marital affair with the minister Kharga. Despite catching them sleeping together, Durlabhavardhana forgave Khankha, and won over his loyalty. After Baladitya's death, Khankha crowned him the new king.

Durlabhaka (Pratapaditya II) / 60 years / 634 CE / Son of Durlabhavardhana and Anangalekha. He was adopted as a son by his maternal grandfather, and assumed the title Pratapaditya after the title of the grandfather's dynasty.

Chandrapida (Vajraditya I) / 8 years, 8 months / 684 CE / Son of Durlabhaka and Shrinarendraprabha.

Tarapida (Udayaditya) / 4 years, 24 days / 693 CE / Younger brother of Chandrapida.

Muktapida (Lalitaditya I) / 36 years, 7 months, 11 days / 697 CE / Younger brother of Chandrapida and Tarapida. According to the historical evidence, Lalitaditya Muktapida ruled during the 8th century. Kalhana states that Lalitaditya Muktapida conquered the tribes of the north and after defeating the Kambojas, he immediately faced the Tusharas. The Tusharas did not give a fight but fled to the mountain ranges leaving their horses in the battle field. Then Lalitaditiya meets the Bhauttas in Baltistan in western Tibet north of Kashmir, then the Daradas in Karakoram/Himalaya, the Valukambudhi and then he subdues Strirajya, the Uttar Kuru/Western China and the Pragjyotisha respectively (IV.165-175). According to some historians, Kalhana has highly exaggerated the military conquests of Muktapida.[17][18]

Kuvalayapida / 1 year, 15 days / 733 CE / Son of Lalitaditya and Kamaladevi. His short reign was marked by a succession struggle with his half-brother Vajraditya II. He abdicated the throne, and a became a hermit to seek peace.

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Vajraditya II (Bappiyaka / Vappiyaka / Lalitaditya II) / 7 years / 734 CE / Son of Lalitaditya and Chakramardika. He was a cruel and immoral person, who introduced the evil habits of mlechchhas to Kashmir.

Prithivyapida I / 4 years, 1 month / 741 CE / Son of Vajraditya II and Mangjarika. Deposed by his half-brother Sangramapida.

Sangramapida I / 7 days / 745 CE / Son of Vajraditya II and Massa. Deposed his half-brother to become the king, but died after a week.

Jayapida (Vinayaditya); Jajja / 31 years; 3 years / 745 CE / Youngest son of Vajradjtya II. He erected a monument at Prayaga, which existed at Kalhana's time. His wife Kalyanadevi was the daughter of Jayanta, the king Pundravardhana in Gauda region. Jayapida subdued five kings of Gauda, and made them vassals of his father-in-law. On his way back to Kashmir, he also defeated the king of Kanyakubja. While Jayapida was in Gauda, his brother-in-law usurped the throne in Kashmir. After three years of ruling Kashmir, Jajja was killed by Shrideva, a supporter of Jayapida. Jayapida became the king once again, and patronized scholars. He waged wars against Bhimasena of the East and Aramuri of Nepala. In both instances, he was first imprisoned by the enemy king, but managed to escape and defeated the enemy. During the last years of his reign, he imposed excessive taxes on advice of Kayasthas, and treated his subjects cruelly. He died because of a curse by a Brahmin.

Lalitapida / 12 years / 776 CE / Son of Jayapida and Durgi. He devoted his time to sensual pleasures, and neglected royal duties.

Sangramapida II (Prithivyapida II) / 7 years / 788 CE / Son of Jayapida and Kalyana.

Chippatajayapida (Brhspati / Vrihaspati) / 12 years / 795 CE / Son of Lalitapida and his concubine Jayadevi. The actual power was in hands of Jayadevi's brothers Padma, Utpalaka, Kalyana, Mamma and Dharmma.

Ajitapida / 37 years / 813 CE / Son of Lalitapida and Jayadevi, made the king by his maternal uncle Utpalaka. Dethroned by Utpalaka's rival Mamma and the latter's son Yashovarman.

Anangapida / 3 years / 849 CE / Son of Sangramapida II. Made king by Mamma and Yashovarman.

Utpalapida / 2 years / 852 CE / Son of Ajitapida. Made king by Sukhavarman, the son of Utpala. Deposed by the minister Shura.


Book 5

Ruler / Reign / Ascension year / Notes

Avantivarman / -- / 855 CE / Son of Sukhavarman. Made king by the minister Shura. Established the city of Avantipura

Shankaravarman / -- / 883 CE / According to Kalhana, this king "did not speak the language of the gods but used vulgar speech fit for drunkards, showed that he was descended from a family of spirit-distillers" (Stein's translation). This refers to the fact that the power had passed to the brothers of a queen, who was born in a family of spirit-distillers.

Gopalavarman / 2 years / 902 CE / Son of Shankaravarman; ruled with help of his mother Sugandha; Murdered

Sankata / 10 days / 904 CE / Brother of Gopalavarman, died soon after ascending the throne

Sugandha / 2 years / 904 CE / Became queen after the death of all male heirs. Deposed by Tantrin soldiers, who had earlier served as the royal bodyguards. Waged a war against the Tantrins with help of their rivals (known as Ekanga), but was defeated and killed.

Partha / -- / 906 CE / 10-year-old child of Nirjitavarman; placed on throne by the Tantrins

Nirjitavarman / -- / 921 CE / Half-brother of Avantivarman.

Chakravarman / -- / 922 CE / Purchased the throne from the Tantrins

Shuravarman I / 1 year / 933 CE / Purchased the throne from the Tantrins

Partha (2nd reign) / -- / 934 CE / Purchased the throne from the Tantrins

Chakravarman (2nd reign) / -- / 935 CE / Purchased the throne from the Tantrins

Shankaravardhana (or Shambhuvardhana) / -- / 935 CE / Purchased the throne from the Tantrins

Chakravarman (3rd reign) / -- / 936 CE / Defeated the Tantrins with help of Damara feudal lords. An unpopular king, he was killed.

Unmattavanti ("Mad Avanti") / -- / 937 CE / Son of Partha. Murdered his father, and starved his half-brothers to death.

Shuravarman II / -- / 939 CE / Son of Unmattavanti


Book 6

Ruler / Ascension year / Notes

Yashaskara-deva / 939 CE / Elected by a council of Brahmins

Varnata / 948 CE / --

Sangramadeva (Sanggrama I) / 948 CE / Murdered by the divira (clerk or writer) Parvagupta, who had become a regent-minister

Parvagupta / 948 CE / Strong but unpopular ruler

Kshemagupta / 950 CE / Son of Parvagupta and husband of Didda (a member of the Lohara dynasty). Didda and/or her relatives ran the administration.

Abhimanyu II / 958 CE / Ruled with his mother Didda as regent, aided by the minister Naravahana. Died young.

Nandigupta / 972 CE / Didda's grandson, deposed by her

Tribhuvanagupta / 973 CE / Didda's grandson, deposed by her

Bhimagupta / 975 CE / Didda's grandson, deposed by her

Didda / 980 CE / Wife of Kshemagupta. After a young son of Yashaskara, Pravaragupta, a Divira (clerk), became king. His son Kshemagupta married Didda, daughter of Simharaja of Lohara. After ruling indirectly and directly, Didda (980-1003 CE) placed Samgramaraja, son of her brother on the throne, starting the Lohara dynasty.


Book 7: First Lohara dynasty

Ruler / Reign[4] / Ascension year / Notes

Sangramaraja (Samgramaraja / Kshamapati) / -- / 1003 CE / Nephew of Didda. Ascended the throne after her death, beginning Lohara dynasty's rule over Kashmir

Hariraja / 22 days 1/ 028 CE / --

Ananta-deva / -- / 1028 CE / Abdicated the throne in favour of his son, but retained power through his minister Haladhara

Kalasha (Ranaditya II) / -- / 1063 CE / Rebelled against his parents, leading to the suicide of his father Ananta, followed by sati-suicide by his mother. His son Harsha revolted against him, and was imprisoned.

Utkarsha / 22 days / 1089 CE / Second son of Kalasha. His half-brother Vijaymalla rebelled against him, and got Harsha released from prison. Utkarsha was imprisoned and committed suicide

Image
Harsha / -- / died in 1101 CE / In his early years, he was a sagacious king, and a patron of art and literature. The later years of his reign were marked by unsuccessful military campaigns, resulting in excessive taxation and plundering of temples. Revolts by his generals Uchchala and Sussala (of Lohara family) ended his reign. His son Bhoja was killed, and Harsha himself was killed by Uchchala's men while hiding in a village.


Book 8: Second Lohara dynasty

Ruler[4] / Notes

Uchchala / Made his brother Sussala the ruler of Lohara. Murdered by Radda.

Radda (Shankharaja) / Usurped the throne, claiming to be a descendant of Yashaskara

Salhana / Uchchala's step-brother; became the king after Radda's death. The real power lay in the hands of a noble named Gargachandra. Salhana was deposed and imprisoned.

Sussala / Uchchala's brother; ascended throne with Gargachandra's support

Bhikshachara / Harsha's grandson, who had escaped Uchchala's revolt. Brought up by Naravarman, the king of Malava. Deposed Sussala.

Sussala (2nd reign) / Within 6 months of Bhikshachara's ascension, Sussala recovered his capital, leading to a civil war

Jayasimha (Sinha-deva) / Sussala's son. In the early years of his reign, the actual power was held by Sussala. Kalhana's account closes in the 22nd year of his reign.


Evaluation

Literary


Kalhana was an educated and sophisticated Sanskrit scholar, well-connected in the highest political circles. His writing is full of literary devices and allusions, concealed by his unique and elegant style.[19]

Historical reliability

Despite the value that historians have placed on Kalhana's work, there is little evidence of authenticity in the earlier books of Rajatarangini. For example, Ranaditya is given a reign of 300 years. Toramana is clearly the Huna king of that name, but his father Mihirakula is given a date 700 years earlier.[20] Even where the kings mentioned in the first three books are historically attested, Kalhana's account suffers from chronological errors.[21]

Kalhana's account starts to align with other historical evidence only by Book 4, which gives an account of the Karkota dynasty. But even this account is not fully reliable from a historical point of view. For example, Kalhana has highly exaggerated the military conquests of Lalitaditya Muktapida.[17][18]

Sequels

Rajatarangini by Jonaraja


During the reign of Zain-ul-Abidin, Jonaraja authored a sequel by the same name. Also known as Dvitiya Rajatarangini ("second Rajatarangini"), it gives an account of Kashmir from c. 1150 CE to 1459 CE.[22][23]

Jaina-Rajatarangini by Srivara

After Jonaraja's death in 1459, his disciple Srivara Pandita continued his work. He titled his work Jaina-Rajatarangini, and it is also known as Tritiya Rajatarangini ("third Rajatarangini"). It gives an account of Kashmir from 1459 CE to 1486 CE.[24]

Rajavalipataka by Prajyabhatta

Prajyabhatta's Rajavalipataka gives an account of Kashmir from 1486 to 1512.[24]

Chaturtha Rajatarangini by Suka

Suka extended Prajyabhatta's work, resulting in the Chaturtha Rajatarangini ("fourth Rajatarangini"). Suka's book ends with the arrival of Asaf Khan to Kashmir. A later interpolation also covers the arrival of the Mughal emperor Akbar and subsequent events.[25]

Translations

A Persian translation of Rajatarangini was commissioned by Zain-ul-Abidin, who ruled Kashmir in the 15th century CE.

Horace Hayman Wilson partially translated the work, and wrote an essay based on it, titled The Hindu History of Kashmir (published in Asiatic Researches Volume 15). Subsequent English translations of Kalhana's Rajatarangini include:

• Rajatarangini: The Saga of the Kings of Kashmir by Ranjit Sitaram Pandit (The Indian Press, Allahabad; 1935)
• Kings of Kashmira (1879) by Jogesh Chandra Dutt
• Kalhana's Rajatarangini: a chronicle of the kings of Kaśmir by Marc Aurel Stein

Translations in other languages include:

• Rajatarangini with Hindi commentary by Ramtej Shastri Pandey (Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan, 1985)
• Rajatarangini of Kalhana, edited by Vishwa Bandhu (1963–65); a later addition includes the texts of Jonaraja, Srivara and Suka (1966–67)
• Rajatarangini, Hindi translation by Pandit Gopi Krishna Shastri Dwivedi
• Histoire Des Rois Du Kachmir: Rajatarangini, French translation by M. Anthony Troyer
• Rajatarangini, Urdu translation by Pandit Thakar Acharchand Shahpuriah
• Rajatarangini, Telugu translation by Renduchintala Lakshmi Narasimha Sastry

Adaptations

Several books containing legendary stories from Rajatarangini have been compiled by various authors. These include:

• S.L. Sadhu's Tales from the Rajatarangini (1967)[26]
• Devika Rangachari's Stories from Rajatarangini: Tales of Kashmir (2001)
• Anant Pai's Amar Chitra Katha series:
o Chandrapeeda and other Tales of Kashmir (1984)
o The Legend of Lalitaditya: Retold from Kalhana's Rajatarangini (1999)

A television series based on Rajatarangini named Meeras was begun in 1986 in Doordarshan Srinagar.

References

1. "Rajatarangini" Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 17 December 2011.
2. Stein, M. A. (2007). Kalhana's Rajatarangini: A Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir. 1–3 (Reprint ed.). Srinagar, India: Saujanya Books. ISBN 81-8339-043-9.
3. Dutt 1879, pp. xix-xxiii.
4. Stein 1979, pp. 133-138.
5. Raina 2013, p. 260.
6. Guruge 1994, pp. 185-186.
7. Lahiri 2015, pp. 378-380.
8. Guruge 1994, p. 130.
9. Pandit, Ranjit Sitaram (1935). River Of Kings (rajatarangini). p. 23 I168-.
10. Pandit, Ranjit Sitaram (1935). River Of Kings (rajatarangini). p. 23 I168-.
11. Stein 1979, pp. 65.
12. Cribb, Joe. "Early Medieval Kashmir Coinage – A New Hoard and An Anomaly". Numismatic Digest volume 40 (2016).
13. D. C. Sircar (1969). Ancient Malwa And The Vikramaditya Tradition. Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 111. ISBN 978-8121503488. Archived from the original on 17 June 2016.
14. Stein 1979, pp. 66.
15. Stein 1989, pp. 439-441.
16. "The dynasty which he founded ruled for more than two centuries, from c. A.D. 625 to 855 (see Appendix I). Kalhaņa tells us little about Durlabha-vardhana except that he built a temple of Vishņu and granted two villages to Brāhmaṇas. (...) The mixed metal coins bearing the legend Sri Durlabha on the obverse and jayati Kidāra on the reverse, belong to this monarch ." Majumdar, R. C. (Editor) (1981). A Comprehensive History of India: pt. 1. A.D. 300-985. People's Publishing House. p. 30.
17. Chadurah 1991, p. 45.
18. Hasan 1959, pp. 54.
19. Kalhana - Makers of Indian Literature. IDE087 by Somnath Dhar Paperback (Edition: 1998)
20. A history of Sanskrit literature by Arthur Berriedale Keith, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1993; ISBN 81-208-0979-3, ISBN 978-81-208-0979-6
21. Stein 1979, pp. 69.
22. Sharma 2005, pp. 37.
23. Hasan 1959, pp. 2.
24. Hasan 1959, pp. 3.
25. Sharma 2005, pp. 38.
26. Machwe, Prabhakar, and Samyukta. 1969. Indian Literature 12 (2). Sahitya Akademi: 72–74.

Bibliography

• Dutt, Jogesh Chandra (1879). Kings of Káshmíra. Trübner & Co.
• Stein, Marc Aurel (1979) [1900]. "Chronological and Dynastic Tables of Kalhana's Record of Kasmir Kings". Kalhana's Rajatarangini: A Chronicle of the Kings of Kasmir. 1. Motilal Banarsidass.
• Sharma, Tej Ram (2005). Historiography: A History of Historical Writing. Concept.
• Hasan, Mohibbul (1959). Kashmir Under the Sultans. Aakar. ISBN 9788187879497.
• Guruge, Ananda (1994). "King Aśoka and Buddhism: historical and literary studies". In Nuradha Seneviratna (ed.). King Asoka and Buddhism: Historical and Literary Studies. Buddhist Publication Society. ISBN 978-955-24-0065-0.
• Chadurah, Haidar Malik (1991). History of Kashmir. Bhavna Prakashan.
• Stein, Marc Aurel (1989). Kalhana's Rajatarangini: a chronicle of the kings of Kasmir. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0370-1.
• Raina, Mohini Qasba (2013). Kashur The Kashmiri Speaking People. Partridge. ISBN 9781482899450.
• Lahiri, Nayanjot (2015). Ashoka in Ancient India. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-91525-1.
• Culture and Political History of Kashmir: Medieval Kashmir by Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai, 1994 ISBN 81-85880-31-X, 9788185880310

External links

• Rajatarangini of Kalhana - English translation by Jogesh Chunder Dutt
• Rajatarangini: The Saga of The Kings of Kasmir, English translation by Ranjit Sitaram Pandit
• Rajatarangini and the Making of India's Past, Webcast of a talk by Chitralekha Zutshi
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