Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Origins Of The Gupta Dynasty

There is controversy among scholars about the original homeland of the Guptas. Jaiswal has pointed out that the Guptas were originally inhabitants of Prayag (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh, in north India, as the vassal of the Nagas or Bharsivas. Thereafter they rose in prominence. Another scholar, Gayal supported the theory of Jaiswal, suggesting that the original home of the Guptas was Antarvedi , embracing the regions of Oudh and Prayag. These historians have derived their theory from several Gupta Dynasty coins found in those regions, and this study of numismatic evidences led to the theory that the Guptas were the original inhabitants of that region of northeastern India. However another historian of this time in Indian history, Ganguli, has offered a different view about the original Gupta homeland. According to him the Guptas homeland is further south, the Murshidabad region of Bengal, and not Magadha in Bihar. He based his theory on the statement of I-Tsing, who had visited India during 675 and 695 A.D. Fleet and other historians however criticize Ganguli's theory because Sri Gupta ruled during the end of the third century, but I-Tsing placed him at the end of the second century. Hence the theory of historians, who have provided their views based on the accounts of I-Tsing, are considered less valid than theories based on other sources such as coinage.
The extent of the Gupta Empire and when they ascended the throne after the lapse of the prolonged Dark Age, is a also subject of intense controversy among the scholars. Dr. R.C. Majumdar has pointed out that the picture of a stupa has been found in Nepal with the label "Mrigasthapana" Stupa of Varendri. This "Mrigasthapana" is the same as "Mrigashivana" of I-Tsing. As Sri Gupta built a temple in Mrigashivana and as the place was in Varendri, so historians have pointed out that Varendri might have been under the sway of the Guptas, when they ascended the throne. According to Dr.Ganguli, Bengal and parts of Bihar was also included in the Gupta Empire, when they were ruling from the seat of power...read+

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