July 16, 2013

Early Andhra History-Sources of History of Andhras till 1565 AD

It  is  a  fact  that  we  have  no ancient  or  medieval  literature  created  in  Andhra  which  can be classified  as truly  historical.   So  it is  but natural  one  has to  depend  heavily  on  'Primary  source  material  of  incidental nature,  created    not  for   the  purpose    of  communicating  the history  of  contemporary  times  chronologically  set  forth,   but to record events and impressions for political, legal and religious purposes  like  the  epigraphs  of  medieval  times,  the  quasi- historical  literary  works and  so forth'.
Just like ancient Indian history, the history of the Andhras is  still  in  the  formative  stage.    Though  the  available  source material is vast, it is incomplete and at the same time diverse in  nature  and variety.    In the  last 70  years,  yeomen  service was rendered by eminent scholars and organisations in recovering  the records  of the  past with  sustained effort  and  in  reconstructing  the  history  of  the Andhras  with  judicious  nature. Of course, the work  is still  going on.
The source material for the writing of ancient and medieval Andhra history can conveniently be classified under
 (i)  archaeology  including  epigraphs  and  numismatics  apart  from  monuments  and  other  ancient  relics, 
(ii)  literature,   native  as  well as foreign,  and 
(iii)  foreign  notices.


  • Among  the  available archaeological source  materials, epigraphs   or  inscriptions are   more  copious   for  the   ancient   end medieval  Andhra   history.     With   Asokart   edicts,   our  authentic history  begins.     This  royal  sage's  rock  edicts  in  Brahmi   script at  Erragudi,  Rajulamandagiri,  Amaravati and  Kottam   in  Andhra reveal   the  extension  of  the  Mauryan  authority  and  its  administrative  system  over the Andhra  area.    Bhattiprolu relic casket inscriptions  datable   to  200  B.C.   reveal  the  fact  that  Buddhism spread  far  and  wide  in  our  province  in  that  remote  age.    The Prakrit   inscriptions   in   the   Kanheri,  Karle   and    Nasik   caves, Naganika's Nanaghat record,  Balasri's Nasik  inscription and Kharavela's Guntupalli records  help  us a lot for  the Satavahana history.
  • Among  the post-Satavahana dynasties of Andhradesa, the Ikshvakus   of    Vijayapuri   occupy   an  important  place.     Their Nagarjunakonda, Jaggayyapeta, Amaravati and  Ramireddipalle Ayaka   stone   pillar   inscriptions  constitute  the   sole   source   of information  for  the   political,   religious  and  social   conditions  of the  times.    The  Kondamudi copper  plate  grant gives  information about   the   Brihatphalayanas.    Most   of  the   inscriptions  of  the early   Pallavas,  Anandagotras,   Salankayanas, Vishnukundins, Matharas, Eastern  Gangas  and  the Eastern  Chalukyas are only copper   plate   grants.     These   records   gave   importance  to  the Sanskrit   language.    
  • The  Brahmi   script   underwent  transforma- tion  and  the  Telugu  script  emerged.  The  Telugu   language also found  a  place  in the inscriptions.   From  the  time  of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi,  the  number  of stone  inscriptions increased. Inspite  of some  drawbacks on the  part  of  all  these  inscriptions, these  are  the  records   which  form  the  most  authentic  sources for the  rulers,  their dynastic  succession, their  chronology, extent of  their   respective  kingdoms  and   the  economic,    social   and cultural  conditions  more   or  less  till 11th century   A.D.   The inscriptions  in  Brahmi   and  Vengi   characters  of  the  Hindu   and the   Buddhist  Andhras  who   migrated to  the   South-East  Asian regions   from  the  Kalinga   and  Andhra   coasts   indicate   that  they established only  our  cultural   traditions there.     For  the  medieval period   of  Andhra   history,  one  can   conveniently   depend   upon the  inscriptions   of  the  Chalukya-Cholas,  Kakatiyas,   Musunuris, Reddis   and   Vijayanagara    rulers  and  their   chieftains.
  • Though  not  to  the  extent   of  epigraphs,  numismatics  also helps  us for  our  history  reconstruction.     Coins   made  of  several metals   like  gold,   silver,  copper   or  other   base   metals   of   different  periods  are  available.     Of  the  available   coins   of  almost all  the   Satavahana    rulers,   the   number  of  potin   (coins   of   a mixed  character)  and  lead  coins is more.    These  coins  bearing the  figures  of  an  elephant,   a  horse,  a  camel  etc.  indicate  the probable  means  of  conveyance  commonly   used  in  that  period. The   ship-mast   coins   of   Yajnasri   Satakarni   reveal   the   brisk maritime  trade  of  the  Satavahana   period.    
  • From  the  gold  coins of  the   Roman   emperors   unearthed   in   some   parts  of  Andhra datable  to the Satavahana-lkshvaku  period,  it may  be concluded that  the   Romans   carried   on  commerce   with   Andhra  and  paid gold dinars.   Similarly  some gold coins  of the Eastern  Chalukyan rulers  Chalukya  Chandra  Saktivarma   I  and  Rajaraja   Narendra were  discovered  in  Burma.    
  • The  coins  of  the  Kakatiyas   were in Nandi-Nagari script while the Vijayanagara were in Nagari characters.    Coins  of different  metals  in different  denominations issued   in   different   periods   help   us   only   to   some   extent   in knowing   about   the   rulers,   about   the   extent  of   the   kingdom, and  about  the  religious  sentiments   of  the  age.
  • The  archaeological  finds   of  the   past   include stone   tools, pottery,    bricks,   megaliths,    Buddhist    structural    remains,    Jain relics,   constructions   of  temples,  forts  and   palaces,   sculptures and  paints.     A  careful  study  of  these  finds  throws   a  flood  of light   on   the   religious   beliefs,   the   social   life   and  the   artistic excellence   attained  by  the  Andhras   in  the  past.    They   reveal the  evolutionary   process   of  the  Telugu   culture.

  • The   literary   sources   for  ancient     and   medieval     Andhra history   may   be   divided   into  indigenous    and   foreign.      Early references  to  the  Andhras   were  found  in  indigenous  literature which  includes  sriti  and smriti  works  like the Aitareya  Brahmana, the  Epics, the  Puranas,  the  early    Buddhist and    Jain  works. Gunadhya's Brhatkatha, Hala's Gathasaptasati and Vatsyayana's Kamasutras  reflected  the  social  and  cultural  life  of  the  Sata- vahana   period.     Mention    was   made   to  the   details   of   the Rashtrakuta-Eastern Chalukya  conflicts  in   poet  Pampa's  Gade- yuddha and  Vikramarjuna  Vijaya,  both  Kannada  Kavyas,   His- torical  data  relating  to  the  Kakatiya,  Reddi  and  Vijayanagara times   was  obtained  from   the   Sanskrit   and   Telugu   literary works   dedicated  by   poets  and  scholars  to   their   royal  and princely   patrons.     
  • Purely   literary  works   and  quasi-historical kavyas like  Prataparudra Yasobhushanam, Siddheswara Chan- tramu, Somadevarajiyamu, Saluvabhyudayamu, Rayavachakamu, Rangarajacharitra and  others, after  being  purged  of  all  exag- gerations,  provided  some  solid  historical  information  relating to the  deeds of the  kings, princes  and potentates.   The Kalaj- nanas and Vamsavalis also  rendered help in the  reconstruction of history.
  • Apart  from  these  works,  some  glorified  popular  ballads like the 'Siege of Bobbili' and ballads relating to Sarvaya Papadu and  others  threw  light  on  the  courage,  heroism  and  reckless valour of the local heroes of different Andhra regions.   Another interesting    source  of    historical  information    relates  to    the 'Kaifiyats',   These  were  local  revenue  records  maintained  by village  karnams  during  the  medieval  and  later periods relating to  details  of  the  village  lands,  their  nature,  ownership,  and payable tax etc.   Changes in the political set up, revenue assessment and  life of  the  village  were  faithfully  recorded in these village annals which  are of  great value now as  sources of historical information.   Colonel Colin Mackenzie and sub- sequently  C.P.  Brown,  the  two  Britishers,   rendered  yeomen service  in  getting  these  records  collected and  copied.    These local  chronicles provided valuable  historical  material  especially from the age of the Vijayanagara Rayas to the British  period.
  • In  the  Indian  Muslim  historical writings   of  the  medieval period,  only  passing  references to  the  events  in  Andhra were made.     For  example.  Allauddin   Khilji's   invasions   of  Andnra were referred as part of his southern conquests in Amir Khusru's Persian  works  especially  in  his  Tarikh-i-Alai.    Isami  gave  an authentic description in his  'Fatuh-us-salatin'   in verse, of the circumstances   under which   the Andhras  revolted   against Mahammad  Bin Tughlak's authority and established independent kingdoms.     
  • Similarly  Barani,   Nizamuddin   and   Shams-i-Siraz Afif  in  their  chronicles  shed  some  side light on Andhra  deve- lopments  of  the  period.    Among  the  Nizam   Shahi  and  Adil Shahi dynastic historical accounts, Mohammed Khasim H. Ferishta's Tarik-i-Ferista, though not devoid of narrow sectarian loyalty   and   rabidly   violent   animosity   towards   the   Hindus, deserves mention for its references to his patrons Ahmadnagar and Bijapur  sultans  with  the  Vijayanagare  and  other  Andhra rulers.

Foreign  notices
  • The  earliest    reference  to    the  Andhradesa    in  foreign literature was found in the account of Magasthanes, the Greek ambassador in Maurya Chandragupta's  court.   Of the Greeco- Roman writings of the early centuries of Christian era, Pliny and Ptolemys'  accounts  and  the  ananymous  author's  the periplus of the  Erythrean  Sea'  shed  light  on  the  ports,  trade  routes, markets  and  various  items  of  trade,  of  Andhra  during those times.
  • Among  the  two  Chinese  travellers  who  visited  India  in the  5th  and  7th  centuries  A.D.,  Fahien,  though  did  not  visit the  south,  referred  in his  account  to  Andhra  Parvata  Vihara about which he heard.   The other Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang came  to  the  South and  toured the coastal  Andhra  as  well in the first half of the 7th century A.D.   He left us a vivid account of  the  religious  customs  and  ways  of  the  life  of  the  people. In   1293  A.D.,   Marcopolo,  an  Italian  traveller,   visited  Andhra and wrote an excellent account of what all he saw in Kakatiya kingdom.
  • Ibn   Batuta   a   Moroccan   Muslim  traveller   (14th  century A.D.), Abdur Razzak, the Persian ambassador, Nicolo-De-Conti, the  Italian traveller,  Nikitin, the  Russian merchant  (all  in the 15th century A.D.), Barbossa, Paes and Nuniz—all Portuguese (16th  century)  and  Barradas,  Rubino  and  other  foreigners (17th  century)   provided   much   useful   information,   in   their travel accounts,  reports  and correspondence,  about the  conditions  prevailing  here and their experiences.


1 comment:

Marutheeraja said...

" The Kotas of Dhanamjaya Gothra appear as the second among
the four important branches of Kshatriyas in Telugu land"
- page 174 'History of Andhra Country' 1000AD-1500AD by Yashoda Devi. Book published by Gyan Publishing House.
Ganna Bhupala Dantuluri was ruling a tract about Dharanikota about 1400 A.D. was of Kota lineage. Famous Telugu poet Srinatha wrote 'Dhananjaya Vijayam' and dedicated it to Dantuluri Gannabhupala. Mahamuni Kavya Kanta Ganapathi Shastry mentioned in his book that King Dantuluri Gannabhupala gave away his daughter Surambika to Ana Vema Reddy who ruled Addanki. This was mentioned to be the first marriage between Kshatriya and Reddy communities"
(Source worldlibrary. org)
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According to Wikipedia the country on the southern bank of Krishna river was ruled by these Dhanunja gotra kings as a defecto independent power for over 150 years beginning of the 12th century to the last quarter of the 13th century .
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Kota Chiefs had marital relations with Kakatiya kings.
Kota Hariseema Krishna was a Popular King among Kota Kings. Other kings were Bhima Raju, Keta Raju, Rudraraju, Dantuluri Gannabupaludu. Telugu poet Srinadhudu dedicated his literary work " Dhananjaya Vijayamu' to the King Dantuluri Gannabhupaludu. It was also seen that Telugu poet Mangalagiri Ananda Kavi dedicated his literary work " Vijayananda Vilasamu" to Datla Venkatrama Nrupudu ( Datla venkatrama Raju) of Kota lineage. Present Rajus / Dhananjaya Gotra Rajus of surnames Dantuluri ( Tuni Zamindars of this surname), Nallaparaju Zamindars, Datla, Dandu, Rudraraju, Bhupatiraju, Penmetsa andother surnames of Dhananjaya gotra Rajus are descendants of this dynasty.