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July 20, 2013
Conditions in Andhra before Satavahanas
Labels: Andhra history, Group 1 Mains Paper 2 Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 at 10:58 AM Posted by Saidul Naik
Aryanization of the Andhra Country and its Conditions in the Pre-Mauryan and Mauryan Periods:
Prior to satavahanas, during the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., northern India was under the settled government of the Sisunaga and Haryanka rulers- The two famous reformist faiths. Buddhism and Jainism came to be founded during the same period.
In Andhra, the Nagas who were of a non-Aryan stock were having their republican states. Some other semi-civilised races also in- habited the thick jungle regions to the south of the Vindhyas, known for a long time as Dandakaranya. It was during this period that the Aryans from the north were penetrating into this Dandaka area. The coming of the Aryans into Deccan was peaceful. The progress of the 'Aryanisation' is reflected in literature and legend.
It seems the Vedic Rishis, in quest of peace and loneliness, ventured to enter Dandaka forest to establish hermitages on the banks of rivers in the thick of the forests. The local inhabitants who were described by the Aryans as 'Asuras and Rakshasas' might have raided their settlements, destroying their sacrifices and interrupting their penance. The memory of these episodes is preserved in tradition regarding the advent of Agastya into the South. The Ramayana when purged of all exaggerations, interpolations and anachronisms, proves the central fact that Rama championed the cause of Aryan culture fighting against the Asuras, thus giving an impetus to the spread of Aryan ideals and institutions in the Deccan.
Regarding the origin of Andhras, Pundras, Sabaras, Pulindas and Mutibas, the Aitareya Brahmana treats them as descendants of Visvamitra's fifty sons condemned by his curse to live on the borders of the Aryan settlements. The Mahabharata regards them as created by Vasishtha from his divine cow to be enemies and opponents of Visvamitra. The Sabaras were degenarate people, according to Sankhyayana Srauta Sutra. What lies behind these legends is the separation of a section of the Aryan community from the main stock and their fusion with the non-Aryans, the Dasyus or Rakshasas or Nagas, the early inhabitants of Deccan. The Mahabharata and the Puranas refer to the Andhras, Sabaras and Pulindas as the tribes of Deccan. During the age of the Brahmanas, the Aryans pushed their conquests into the Deccan. Panini and Katyayanas references point out that they pushed further into, the south and even made contracts with the Pandya, Chola and Kerala peoples of Southern India.
The caste system accompanied the spread of Brahmanism from its stronghold in the Gangetic Doab into the Deccan and South India. The people, who refused Aryan practices, dwelled in caves and forests where they have kept up their primitive customs, habits and' languages to the present day.
Though we do not have definite information regarding the early history of the Aryan states that arose in the Deccan, it is evident that the imperialism of the Nandas and the Mauryas and the missionary activities of the northern Jain and Buddhist followers were the two forces that hastened the pace of the Aryanisation of the Deccan and South.
The concept of imperialism in India had its origin in the age of the Brahmanas. It aimed at political integration of the country under ekarat (sole monarch). Celebrating its achievements by rituals like Aswamedha became a custom. The Nandas and the Mauryas from Pataliputra confined the concept first to Northern India but later extended to the Deccan and South India. According to Puranas, Ugrasena Mahapadma Nanda established himself as ekarat by bringing the whole earth under his umbrella. Inscriptions directly or indirectly point out the Nanda and then the Mauryan rule over the Deccan.
The reference to the Nanda king in Kharavela's inscription (Hathi Gumpha) to his carrying away to Magadha a Jina statue as a trophy from Kalinga and the existence of Nanded (Nau Nanda Dehra) on the Godavari testify that a large portion of the Deccan formed part of the Nanda empire. Commercially also the South began to grow in importance for the sake of its diamond and gold mines, peart and chank fisheries and numerous opulent marts'. (Kautilya).
The low born and unpopular Nandas were overthrown by Chandragupta Maurya with Kautilya's assistance about 322 B.C. Jaina references in literature and epigraphs associating his name with Sravana Belgola in Mysore (Karnataka) may be accepted as proof of his acquisition of this part of the Peninsula as well.
During this period, the Kalingas and the Andhras were powerful forces to reckon with. According to Magasthenes, the Andhras possessed numerous villages, 30 fortified towns and an army of 1,00,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 1,000 elephants. It is well known that Kalinga was conquered by Asoka after a terrible war. No other conquest is attributed to this ruler. However the provenance of his Edicts prove that the country upto the river Pennar in South was included in his empire.
Asoka's missionary activities resulted in the establishment of the Chetyavada school of Buddhism at Amaravati. The prevalence of Asoka's edicts in the Deccan and South indicates the widespread literacy among the people.
With Asoka's death, the disruptive forces were let loose. The weakness of his successors, the insubordination of vassal sates, the disloyalty of ambitious ministers and the aggression of foreign foes led to the loss of overlordship of Magadha on the Deccan. The Satavahanas soon appeared on the scene in Deccan.