July 20, 2013

Conditions in Andhra before Satavahanas

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.


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