Pulakeshi II is, but was not Indian

We give here the full text of an English translation of the Aihole Inscription (ಐಹೊಳೆ ಶಾಸನ), a stone inscription dated 634 CE, which documents among other things, the victory of Pulakeshi II (ಇಮ್ಮಡಿ ಪುಲಕೇಶಿ) the Chalukya over Harshavardhana of Kanauj. The text is reproduced as is from Epigraphia Indica, Vol. VI, and can also be accessed here.

The points we'd like to make on the basis of the inscription are as follows:

  1. There is no reference to any India or Bharata as a bigger political unit which any of the kingdoms mentioned in the Inscription are part of. The only thing larger than the Chalukya kingdom (as per the inscription), is the World itself which is described as "an island in the sea of Knowledge of Jinendra". So hierarchically, there's the World and then at the next level is the Chalukya kingdom directly, without having to "pass through" an India or Bharata.
  2. There is certain reference to spirituality, here in the form of Jainism (which is one of the great spiritual philosophies / movements of this part of the world).
  3. There is also a reference to the Bharata war (presumably the Kurukshetra war as described in the Mahabharata), but no reference of a politcal unit called Bharata having been formed thereafter, and in any case not including the Chalukya kingdom.
  4. On the basis of reference to spiritual unity (due to Jainism here) or cultural exchange (as exemplified by the fact that the inscription itself is in the Sanskrit language written in Kannada script, and by reference to Kalidasa and Bharavi here) between the Kannadiga kingdom of Chalukyas and the rest of India, it may not be concluded that there was a political unity. On the contrary, it may certainly be concluded that there was a certain political disunity and the urge of one kingdom to defeat another.
  5. Thus, it is correct to say that Pulakeshi II - or the thousands of other kings who have ruled Karnataka (and other Indian states today) are certainly Indian because India is one political unit today, but were not Indian during their respective times. That is, of course, because there was no political unit called India (or Bharata or by any other name) then.

Here's the full text:

(Verse.) Victorious is the holy Jinendra--he who is exempt from old age, death and birth--in the sea of whose knowledge the whole world is comprised like an island.

(V. 2.) And next, long victorious is the immeasurable, wide ocean of the Chalukya family, which is the birth-place of jewels of men that are ornaments of the diadem of the earth.

(V. 3.) And victorious for very long is Satyashraya, who in bestowing gifts and honours on the brave and on the learned, both together on either, observes not the rule of correspondency of number.

(V. 4.) When many members of that race, bent on conquest, applied to whom the title of Favourite of the Earth had at last become appropriate, had passed away,-

(V. 5.) There was, of the Chalukya lineage, the king named Jayasimha-vallabha, who in battle--where horses, footsoldiers and elephants, bewildered, fell down under the strokes of many hundreds of weapons, and where thousands of frightful headless trunks and of flashes of rays of swords were leaping to and fro--by his bravery made Fortune his own, even though she is suspected of fickleness.

(V. 6.) His son was be who was named Ranaraga, of divine dignity, the one master of the world, whose superhuman nature, (even) when he was asleep, people knew from the pre-eminence of his form.

(V. 7.) His son was Polekeshin, who, though endowed with the moon's Beauty, and though the favorite of Fortune, became the bridegroom of Vatapipuri.

(V. 8.) Whose path in the pursuit of the three objects of life the kings on earth even now are unable to follow; and bathed by whom with the water of the purificatory rite, when he performed the horse-sacrifice, the earth beamed with brightness.

(V. 9.) His son was Kirtivarman, the night of doom to the Nalas, Mauryas and Kadambas, whose mind, although his thoughts kept aloof from others' wives, was attracted by the Fortune of his adversary.

(V. 10.) Who, having secured the fortune of victory by his valour in war, being a scent-elephant of a king, of great strength, at once completely broke down the multitude of the broad kadamba trees--the Kadambas.

(V. 11.) When his desire was bent on the dominion of the lord of the gods, his younger brother Mangalesha became king, who by the sheets of dust of his army of horse, encamped on the shores of the eastern and western seas, stretched an awning over the quarters.

(V. 12.) Who in that house which was the battle-field took in marriage the damsel, the Fortune of the Katachchuris, having scattered the gathering gloom, (viz.) the array of elephants (of the adversary), with hundreds of bright-rayed lamps, (viz.) the swords (of his followers).

(V. 13) And again, when he was desirous of taking the island of Revati, his great army with many bright banners, which had ascended the ramparts, as it was reflected in the water of the sea appeared like Varuna's forces, quickly come there at once at his word (of command).

(V. 14.) When his elder brother's son, named Polekeshin, of a dignity like Nahusha's, was coveted by Fortune, and finding his uncle to be jealous of him thereat, had formed the resolution to wander abroad as an exile,-

(V. 15.) That Mangalesha, whose great strength became on all sides reduced by the application of the powers of good counsel and energy gathered by Him, abandoned, together with the effort to secure the kingdom for his own son, both that no mean kingdom of his and his life.

(V. 16.) Then, on the subversion of that rule encompassed by the darkness of enemies, the whole world grew light again, invaded as it were by the lustrous rays of His irresistible splendour. Or when was it that the sky ceased to be black like a swarm of bees with thundering clouds, in which flashes of lightning were dancing like banners, and the edges of which were crushed in the rushing wind?

(V. 17.) When, having found the opportunity, he who was named Appayika, and Govinda approached with their troops of elephants to conquer the country north of the Bhaimarathi, the one in battle through His armies came to know the taste of fear, while the other at once received the reward of the services rendered by him.

(V. 18.) When He was besieging Vanavasi, which for a girdle has the rows of hamsa birds that sport on the high waves of the Varada as their play-place, and which by its wealth rivalled the city of the gods, that fortress on land, having the surface of the earth all around covered with the great sea of his army, to the looker-on seemed at once converted into a fortress in the water.

(V. 19.) Although in former days they had acquired happiness by renouncing the seven sins, the Ganga and Alupa lords, being subdued by His dignity, were always intoxicated by drinking the nectar of close attendance upon him.

(V. 20.) In the Konkanas the impetuous waves of the forces directed by Him speedily swept away the rising wavelets of pools-the Mauryas.

(V. 21.) When, radiant like the destroyer of Pura, He besieged Puri, the Fortune of the western sea, with hundreds of ships in appearance like arrays of rutting elephants, the sky, dark-blue as a young lotus and covered with tiers of massive clouds, resembled the sea, and the sea was like the sky.

(V. 22.) Subdued by His splendour, the Latas, Malavas and Gurjaras became as it were teachers of how feudatories, subdued by force, ought to behave.

(V. 23.) Harsha, whose lotus-feet were arrayed with the rays of the jewels of the diadems of hosts of feudatories prosperous with unmeasured might, through Him had his mirth (harsha) melted away by fear, having become loathsome with his rows of lordly elephants fallen in battle.

(V. 24.) While He was ruling the earth with his broad armies, the neighbourhood of the Vindhya., by no means destitute of the lustre of the many sandbanks of the Reva, shone even more brightly by his great personal splendour, having to be avoided by his elephants because, as it seemed, they by their bulk rivalled the mountains.

(V. 25.) Almost equal to Indra, He by means of all the three powers, gathered by him according to rule, and by his noble birth and other excellent qualities, acquired the sovereignty over the three Maharashtrakas with their nine and ninety thousand villages.

(V. 26.) Through the excellencies of their householders prominent in the pursuit of the three objects of life, and having broken the pride of other rulers of the earth, the Kalingas with the Kosalas by His army were made to evince signs of fear.

(V. 27.) Hard pressed (pishta) by Him, Pishtapura became a fortress not difficult of access; wonderful (to relate), the ways of the Kali age to Him were quite inaccessible!

(V. 28.) Ravaged by Him, the water of Kunala--coloured with the blood of men killed with many weapons, and the land within it overspread with arrays of accoutred elephants--was like the cloud-covered sky in which the red evening-twilight has risen.

(V. 29.) With his sixfold forces, the hereditary troops and the rest, who raised spotless chowries, hundreds of flags, umbrellas, and darkness, and who churned the enemy elated with the sentiments of heroism and energy, He caused the splendour of the lord of the Pallavas, who had opposed the rise of his power, to be obscured by the dust of his army, and to vanish behind the walls of Kanchipura.

(V. 30.) When straightway He strove to conquer the Cholas, the Kaveri, who has the darting carps for her tremulous eyes, had her current obstructed by the causeway formed by his elephants whose rutting-juice was dripping down, and avoided the contact with the ocean.

(V. 31.) There He caused great prosperity to the Cholas, Keralas and Pandyas, he being the hot-rayed son to the hoar-frost--the army of the Pallavas.

(V. 32.) While He, Satyashraya, endowed with the powers of energy, mastery and good counsel,--having conquered all the quarters, having dismissed the kings full of honours, having done homage to gods and Brahmans, having entered the city of Vatapi--is ruling, like one city, this earth which has the dark-blue waters of the surging sea for its moat;

(V. 33.) (Now) when thirty (and) three thousand and five years besides, joined with seven hundred years, have passed since the Bharata war;

(V. 34.) And when fifty (and) six and five hundred years of the Saka kings also have gone by in the Kali age;

(V. 35.) This stone mansion of Jinendra, a mansion of every kind of greatness, has been caused to be built by the wise Ravikirti, who has obtained the highest favour of that Satyashraya whose rule is bounded by the three oceans.

(V. 36.) Of this eulogy and of this dwelling of the Jina revered in the three worlds, the wise Ravikirti himself is the author and also the founder.

(V. 37.) May that Ravikirti be victorious, who full of discernment has used the abode of the Jina, firmly built of stone, for a new treatment of his theme, and who thus by his poetic skill has attained to the fame of Kalidasa and of Bharavi!

Picture: The Chalukya Kingdom during the reign of Pulakeshi II. Source: Wikipedia.

26 comments:

Jockey said...

On the dot!

"(V. 32.) While He, Satyashraya, endowed with the powers of energy, mastery and good counsel,--having conquered all the quarters, having dismissed the kings full of honours, having done homage to gods and Brahmans, having entered the city of Vatapi--is ruling, like one city, this earth which has the dark-blue waters of the surging sea for its moat;"

This is an example of how Kannadiga kings looked up to the Vedas and held religion / spirituality in high praise even though there was no "India" in the picture anywhere. For the weak of intellect who cannot distinguish between India and spirituality, this should come as a lesson.

Phantom said...

Ola! the eulogy is perfect evidence that only common spiritual feeling existed not an iota of political unity.

The case was true when kings belonging to other dynasties ruled.

Anonymous said...

There were multiple kannadiga kings at a point in time hence it is obvious that they wanted to conquer each other. Based on that you will say, there was no unity between kannadigas and previously there was no state called Karnataka.

The final conclusion what you have given is known by every school kid of 5th standard.

Thanks for the information.

Jockey said...

Anonymous,

Did anybody say there was a Karnataka before 1956 here? No. Till now we have only said that this part of the world has been inhabited by Kannadigas from atleast a few thousand years, and our own great and valiant kings - Kannadigas - have ruled us, protected us and reared us for most of history. In our history, we Kannadigas have never bowed down to any higher authority other than God Himself ("Jinendra" as the article shows).

Now this is a lesson you or your friends haven't learnt even nearly two decades of schooling. The time is ripe now. Learn it.

And now, surprise! surprise! Yes, there was a Karnataka in history! It wasn't called a "state", sorry - it was a sovereign kingdom all the while.

The Mahabharata refers to Karnataka as a political unit (by the same word), Ashoka refers to it as a political unit (calling it as Banavasi), The Pallavas refer to it, the Cholas, the Cheras refer to it. We were known as one political unit. Not a spiritual unit or a vapor-unit. We were called as "Karnataka Bala", "Kuntala", etc. We were also known by other names too.

There is recorded history of an UNBROKEN LINEAGE OF KANNADIGA KINGS ruling over Karnataka for atleast 1659 years wherein it is clear that most of Karnataka was ruled by Kannadiga kings, that too mainly by 1 or at most 2 kingdoms at any given point of time. For more info, read, in chronological order:

0350-1000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Gangas

IN PARALLEL WITH

0345–0525 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadambas
0543–0753 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalukyas
0753–0982 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashtrakutas
0973-1189 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Chalukyas

AND THEN FOLLOWED BY

1026-1343 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoysala

AND THEN FOLLOWED BY

1336-1646 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vijayanagara_Empire

IN PARALLEL WITH

1399-1947 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Mysore

Now, take some homework and show me any state or country anywhere in the world which had a tighter political unity than Karnataka in history, and I'll offer to resign my argument.

Shankar said...

Jockey,

You forgot the Shatavahanas:

230 BC–220 AD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satavahana

Of course Wikipedia politics calls it an Andhra dynasty, but historical research shows that this was a Kannadiga dynasty ruled from "Kuntala".

SEE: http://controversialhistory.blogspot.com/2007/06/origin-of-satavahana-andhra-myth.html

or Google around to see how the attribution of Shatavahanas to "Andhra"s is a farce.

So the "unbroken lineage of Kannadiga kings" can be recalculated as period of at least 2009-(-230) = 2239 years!!!

" said...

For your kind information After the end of Vedic period,which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian Society...In the third century BCE, most of South Asia was united into the Maurya Empire by Chandragupta Maurya and flourished under Ashoka the Great.From the third century CE, the Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred to as ancient "India's Golden Age". Ofcourse after the Ashoka's Kingdom, there was no One India logically but physically it was united with What we call todays Bangla, Burma, Pak, Afghan....Empires in Southern India included those of the Chalukyas, the Cholas and the Vijayanagara Empire ruled themselves as a Independent rulers doesn't make sense to tell "There was no point of 1 Nation during that time".

Regards,
Aveen

Jockey said...

We've had the Ashoka discussion earlier on this blog. Check out the comments on this post: http://karnatique.blogspot.com/2009/05/mistake-which-both-gandhi-and-golwalkar.html

Pinka said...

Why these history things were not taught to us in school?
Why our own history was hidden from us?

I just can't understand.

Anonymous said...

We Kannadigas have been part of many countries in 4000+ years of our history. But always remained as Kannadigas. It is needless to say we are Kannadigas first and rest of the attributes come next without caring for any priority. Many of our friends and relatives (even our own brothers and sisters) have changed their countries and yet they have remained as Kannadigas and they can never ever change that Kannada tag. Kannadatana is eternal and rest of the things are temporary.

Dandapinda said...

The present 'India' was a conglomaration of Kingdoms and principalities. Until the British invaded and imposed the concept of nationhood there was no unity to even fight the British or French. I believe on this basis the states were demarcated/organized post Independence on linguistic basis.

We definitely need to go in for reforms and the political system needs to be bold for this. We need to create a political system where we are primarily governed by states and only national issues are taken by Center (Eg: Defence, Foreign Affairs). There need not be any apprehension of this harming the sovereignity of the country as the central governments will lose power.
A strong state is a strong center!

Anonymous said...

Article 370 should be given to all the states like J&K. This will solve many issues like uncontrolled migration, medium of education, outsiders getting into the mainstream.

Anonymous said...

Though most of India was under one control under Ashoka, it was not complete. As usual, (most of) Tamil Land was out of it. Even the territories of the empire were not voluntarily under it due to the similiarity in their sprituality. On the other hand, they were together because of the military (not even political) power of the the King/Emperor, otherwise they would not have disintegrated into smaller kingdoms after the decline of the Kings of the Mauryan Empire.

Sprituality can not be the sole binding force for a country. Otherwise, many neigbouring Muslim/Christian countries would have been together and Pakistan and Bangladesh would not have been separated.

On the other hand, no doubt, the same language (mother tongue) can be a stronger binding force for a country as found in examples like Bangladesh vs. Pakistan and Tamils vs. Sinhalese in Srilanka, etc.

However, it does not mean that we, the different language groups in India, can not live/stay together as a country. We can, provided all languages are treated as equals politically/officially and not one of these languages is treated as a superior language politically and officially.

At the same time, a recognition given to a language for its literary excellence should not be confused as a special treatment becuase it is nothing more than awarding a particular Indian for an achievement in some field, say, sports.

Regards to all

Anonymous said...

Dear All

I think most of you wish for a complete federal set-up with each state having its own constitution except for the most common matters like military.

On the other hand, Karnataka/Kannadigas always vote for National parties like Congress, BJP, etc. What an irony?

Jockey said...

Wait, wait. Nobody said each state needs to have its own constitution, but yes a federal system is best for India.

National parties like Congress / BJP get elected here because they can bribe voters the most. The day is not far when State parties will take over. And yeah, don't expect them to be clean. They need to bribe voters better than the National parties! The average Indian voter is a purchasable commodity, and only a purchasable commodity. He/she has no free-will, no understanding of what's good for him/her. He/she goes where the larger bribe is.

dandapinda said...

@ Anonymous

It is sad that our people have to vote for BJP/Congress but what choice do we have? The Only regional parties are Vatal Paksha, Raita Sangha. We cannot call the JD(S) a regional party as they themselves keep changing as per their whims and fancies. The Kannada Nadu party died instantly after the election with the lone winner shifting his base. The party floated by Champa hardly made its point!

Any chances of something like a Ka Ra Ve entering the fray? That would be the best thing to happen for Karnataka.

Ramesh Rao said...

Mr. Anonymous,

Federal system doesn't mean that we have different constitution for each state, but yes; devoid of central interference in each and every matter.

And Dandapinda has made a very good point here, Ka Ra Ve would be the best thing to happen for Karnataka.

Anonymous said...

What is the problem in having different constitution. US states have their own constitution. Similarly in India also each state has it's own laws and there is nothing wrong in extending that.

In a true federal setup states must collect all the taxes and pay a percentage of that to the union government.

Jockey said...

There is no problem except for the assumption that the Indian Constitution can't do justice to all the states. That's not necessary.

Anonymous said...

We should start thinking like European union. Every citizen will have to have dual citizenship one for the Indian Union and another for his/her state of domicile. Based on the years of stay and a language test of the concerned state he/she can change the citizenship. This will address the uncontrolled migration aspect which will be the major issue for the Indian union going forward as we are likely to create more Assams in the days to come.

Anonymous said...

It can not be true that the national parties bribe all or most of the average Kannnada voters (or any other voter in any other state) to such an extent that the voters vote for them simply for the money without any regard for themselves/their culture, language, etc. On the other hand, people in Karnataka vote for national parties becuase more number of/most of the Kannadigas, unlike the KARNATIQUE and few of its bloggers, associate themselves more with the Indian Nationalism and the Hindu Nationalism rather than the Karnataka itself and think, feel and treat Sanskrit (to some extent Hindi too) as a more important language than their own language Kannada, forgetting and ignoring the basic fact that Kannada is basically and essentially a Dravidian (South Indian) language despite the great (and deliberate) influence of Sanskrit on Kannada.

However, Indian Tamils are very clear on the language issue and they know where the line of demarcation lies between Indian Nationalism and their own identity as people of Tamil language. But, Tamils are accused of being fanatics (sometimes antinationals) even by the fellow South Indians. But, the truth is Indian Tamils are as Indian as any other Indian; at the same time, maintaining their own identity but not carried away by the pseudo H(I)ndian Nationalism.

Regards to all

Jai Veerupaksha said...

@Jockey,

Very well said..There are hardly any regions of the world that have remained under one linguistic political monarchies like we Kannadigas have been. Sadly, our very own history books don't present this picture.Instead, it took me many years after my School days (ICSE Board ) and the arrival of the Internet for me to realise the very same facts that you have so logically presented.

Kannadigas in addition to being so powerful also welcomed so many variants of the Hindu philosophies and also patronised other South Indian languages. The biggest patrons of Telugu were the Eastern Chalukyas and the Vijayanagara emperors...so much so that lots of literate Telugu folks would say that KrishnaDeva Raya was a Telugu guy himself, while how many of us make it a point to talk to our relatives/kids about these aspects.

India was never a single entity for ages but the fact of the matter is that Karnataka has remained one of the states that has contributed possibly the highest towards its spiritual diversity and unity as well. I'm sure that eventually it is from Karnataka that the true federal set up that is in the larger interests of India as well will emanate.

Jockey said...

Pinka,

I think Jai Veerupaksha answered your question somewhat, but here's my go at it: you weren't taught these things when you learnt history because your identity has not been considered important, and because the identity of others has been considered important. Simple.

dandapinda said...

@ Jai Veerupaksha,

You have touched a very good subject here. There is nothing disagreeable about what you have written here with regards to the syllabii being taught in school. The board which writes these text books have been eclictic to appease a section of the society and the benefit of which has been reaped by a certain party for a large part of the time post independence.

Well all said, historic studies cannot be 100% correct but whatever right we have should not be tampered. It hurts to see the identity of the people being destroyed slowly.

How many chapters will we read about Karnataka rulers in CBSE & ICSE syllabus? How many chapters can we find about Freedom fighters from Karnataka? We all clearly know how openly that wrong information is passed on to kids that 'Hindi' is our National Language. All we find is information about the great Gandhi and made to look great Nehru Family, the letters they wrote etc.

Where is Sangolli rayanna, Kittur Rani Chenamma, Shivapurada DvajarohaNa? Where are chapters about Sir MV, the greatest engineer India ever saw, Kempegowda, the man who built Bengaluru?

Leave aside these a city cannot even have the names of these great personalities to major places. Be it an airport or a slum, the name cannot be anything other than yes we all know it pretty well.

How can I expect a true federal setup from such National Parties?
Its just not a language issue here, there is a serious flaw with the constitutional setup and thanks to Banavasi Balaga, the evils of this system are being potrayed!

Thennavan (Southerner) said...

@dandapinda, @jockey, @veerupaksha and others

Most of the Kannadiga bloggers here contemplate a federal system for India with a due autonomy for states even without English as a communication language.

But, has any political party or even any organization like Vatal Paksha, Raita Sangha and Ka Ra Ve from Karnataka ever proposed a federal system? Such proposals will be taken seriously only when it comes from orgranizations, not individuals. On the other hand, DMK and DK (DMK's predecessor and a party founded by Thanthai Periyar, incidentally a Tamil Nadu based Kannadiga) from Tamil Nadu have been always proposing it ever since their inception to even today despite DMK's being part of the Central Government.

Mr. Veerupaksha has claimed that the true federal system would eventually emanate from Karnataka. No matter where it comes from as long as it is going to benefit all. But, it will never happen as long as simply a few individuals like you feel like this. It should come from organizations, more important, it should be combined with the similar voices from other states like Tamil Nadu where the people are already working towards it though unsuccessfully so far. Until the voice for federal system comes from many states, the individuals and the individual party/state will be mocked at, even dubbing them as fanatics,anti-nationals,jokers, etc.

There could be mutual inter-state problems like Kaveri. As long as we are going to be neighbours, we are going to have mutual problems but, they should not come in the way of larger interests like federal system.

Finally, a Tamilan/Tamilathi may be a Hindu; a Kannadiga may be a Hindu and a Hindiwala may be a Hindu but only a Hindiwala can be a Hindian, not Tamils or Kannadigas. As long as most of the Kannadigas can not differentiate between Hindu Nationalism and being a Kannadiga and think Sanskrit and Hindi are superior and more important languages than their own language Kannada, federal system in India is only a far-fetched dream.

Regards to all

Jai Veerupaksha said...

@ Thennavan,

Fully take your point. For the benefits of federal autonomy to fully percolate to every state in the country in a democratic set up, it can happen only awareness of the benefits of federal autonomy percolate and become deeply rooted in the manifesto of most political parties in India (like the way it is already in the manifesto of the DMK) across various states of our country.

maaysa said...

Good Article.

nanni!

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