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International Research Journal       ISSN-0975-3486        VOL. I * ISSUE—3&4       RNI : RAJBIL/2009/30097
                                        Research Paper—History
                              'WOMEN' AS DEPICTED IN THE
                             INSCRIPTIONS OF CHHATTISGARH


                                       *Dr. Naveen Gideon **Dr. Vandna Gupta
 Dec.-09—Jan.-2010

               *Professor of History, Govt. Arts & Commerce College Sagar
           ** Asstt. Professor of History, Govt. MKB Girls PG College Jabalpur

A B S T R A C T
   Chhattisgarh is a region surrounded by hills, forts and rivers. The culture and civilization of
   Chhattisgarh have developed its own distinct characterstics. There are several dynasties which have
   contributed in the development of culture of Chhattisgarh. The inscriptions of the dynasties are best
   evidences regarding its ancient culture. Various references of Sarabhapuriya, Panduvamsins,
   Somavamsins and other minor dynasties show that the ideal virtues of a woman was possesion of
   beauty, religious mind] devotion to husband and having sons. Some women also had religious free-
   dom. Marriages within the caste were a general rule although there were examples of inter caste
   marriages also.
   Anulom type of marriages involving marriage with the girl of lower caste is also known. Polygamy
   was a common among the kings as well as the high officials. Most of the inscriptions indicate the
   formation of joint family as a common practice. The custom of Sati was prevalent, although it was not
   obligatory. There are instances of ladies committing Sati as well as those who survived after the death
   of their husbands. The institution of Devdasis was prevalent in the Orissa region. Various grants were
   made on their names. Dancing girls were also appointed in the temples. The evidences drawn from
   various inscriptions of different dynasties have also been discussed in the this paper. So the present
   paper is mostly based on the inscriptional evidences gleaned from the different inscriptions of the
   dynasties belong to chhattisgarh region.

The region of Chhattisgarh, geographically                  its ancient culture when we come to the regime of
encomplassed with hills and forests all sides, is a com-    Sarabhapuriya dynasty which was followed, succes-
pact unit and is drained by many rivers. This peculiar      sively and some times simultaneously, by the
natural set up seems to have helped in developing its       Panaduvamsins of Mekala, Panduvamsins of Kosala,
culture and civilisation with its own distinct character-   Somavamsins of Kosala, Kalachuris of Ratanpur and
istics. In ancient times it seems to have been divided      some other minor dynasties.
into two parts. While some of its northern areas along      POSITION OF WOMEN
with adjacent portion of modern Orissa state formed              According to the description of Bahmani pls. of
the part of Kisala or Mahakosala and some portion of        the second year of the Panduvamsin king Udirnavaira,
Bastar district was included in Dandakaranya or             Bharatabala’s queen who was from Amaraja family of
Mahakantara. There are sufficient evidence regarding        Kosala country possessed pure and crystal like char-
                                                                                                           109
International Research Journal       ISSN-0975-3486         VOL. I * ISSUE—3 &4         RNI : RAJBIL/2009/30097
acter. She was famous for self restraint and self disci-     Avantisundari of the Chuhan9 lineage and there must
pline as well as for the performance of religious duties.    be many more examples of this type marriages.
Besides, she had obtained the highest status by vir-         POLYGAMY
tue of having grandsons and great grandsons.1 Ac-                  Polygamy, as the available evidence indicates, was
cording to the Koni stone inscription of K.Y. 900 of the     in vogue during the period of the inscriptions. The
kalachuri king Prithvideva, the lady Lakhma, wife of         king as well as officers were to have more than one
Mimbadeva, was the most virtuous woman. It is stated         wife. The Sheorinarayana inscription dated K.Y. 919 of
that in respect of love she was like Rati and in respect     the king Jajalladeva informs us about the three wives10
of righteous deeds she was Arundhati. She was reli-          of the prince Ullhanadeva. The Kharod tone inscrip-
gious minded and tried for the prosperity of the home.2      tion of K.Y. 933 tells us about the virtuous conduct of
Gunda Mahadevi, the Patta Mahadevi of the                    Ralha and Padma. Two wives11 of theKalachuri king
Nagavamsi king Dharavarsah, as described in                  Ratanadeva III. The composer to Ratanpur stone in-
Narayanapal stone inscription was the half body of           scription of the K.Y. 1207. of the Kalachuri king
her husband like Parvati of Siva, beautiful like Ganges      Prithvideva II had two wives12 Prabhaand Jamho.
and exceedingly devoted to her husband. She was              FAMILYLIFE
lovely like Arundhati, kind like Sarasvati goddess lib-            The joint family system was the practice of the
eral likeearth goddess and gave birth to many children       day. Almost all the grants recorded in the charters of
and offered protection to many who came to her.3 She         the kings of different dynasties were given for the in-
seems to have enjoyed the freedom in certain religious       crease of religious merits of the parents and of the
matters such as constructing temples and carrying            king himself. Though the grants were always given by
many other charitable works of her own accord e.g.           the king, queen and other members of the royal family
the queen Vasata, as described in the Sirpur Lakhman         independently sometimes, as the stray13 Sarabhapuriay
temple stone inscription of the time of Sivagupta,           pls. indicate, the children, elderly members of the fam-
Balarjuna, constructed the temple of Hari.4 Svetalladevi,    ily of the donor were also associated with him in mak-
wife of Vallabharaja, the feudatory chief of the Kalachuri   ing the grant. Besides parents, maternal uncle was also
king Prithvideva II, as mentioned in Ratanpur stone          respected. The undated Mallar pls. of the king
inscription of K.Y. 910 made many charitable works at        Sivagupta Balarjuna record the grant given to the mon-
different places of her own accord.5 As informed in          astery at Taradamsak-bhoga at the request of the ma-
Kuruspal inscription of Dharanamahadevi, the queen           ternal uncle Bhaskaravarman.14
donated a land6 situated near the place Kalemva, free              The Riddhapur 15 charter of the Nala king
from all encumberances and taxes, to the god                 Bhavadattavarman registers the grant given to the
Srikamesvara.                                                Brahmana named Dayarya and his eight sons. Men-
MARRIAGES                                                    tion of Kayastha Ratansimba’s grand father, father,
     The best example of this type of marriage is from       uncle as well as wife, son, daughter-in-law, two grand-
Nala epigraph. According to the Riddhapur pls. of            sons and one grand daughter in Ratanpur stone in-
Bhavadattavarman, the king had married the girl named        scription dated V.Y. 1207 of the kalachuri king
Achali Bhattarika who, as mentioned by Shukla, H.            Prithvideva II also speaks of the existence of the joint
was of the Vaisya7 caste. The Sirpur Lakshmana Temple        family system.16 The other example of the joint family
stone inscription of the time of Sivagupta                   is of Sarvadhikari Purushottama of the Kalachuri king
Balarjunainforms that Sivagupta’s mother Vasata was          Ratnadeva II. The Koni stone inscription of K.Y. 900
the daughter of the king Suryavarman of Magadha.8            of the king Prithvideva II supplies us the names of
The Brahmanas, generally, married within the castes          father and grand father of Purushottama and his four
but marriages of the anuloma type which involves the         sons who were well versed in tatemanship and were
marriage with the girl of lower caste were also known,       living with him.17 The grant registered in Amoda pls. of
Rajasekhara, a Brahmana of Yavavara family married           K.Y. 905 of the king Prithvideva Ii was given to three

110                   Á⁄U‚ø¸ ∞ŸÊÁ‹Á‚‚ ∞á«U ßflÒÀÿÈ∞‡ÊŸ

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  • 1. International Research Journal ISSN-0975-3486 VOL. I * ISSUE—3&4 RNI : RAJBIL/2009/30097 Research Paper—History 'WOMEN' AS DEPICTED IN THE INSCRIPTIONS OF CHHATTISGARH *Dr. Naveen Gideon **Dr. Vandna Gupta Dec.-09—Jan.-2010 *Professor of History, Govt. Arts & Commerce College Sagar ** Asstt. Professor of History, Govt. MKB Girls PG College Jabalpur A B S T R A C T Chhattisgarh is a region surrounded by hills, forts and rivers. The culture and civilization of Chhattisgarh have developed its own distinct characterstics. There are several dynasties which have contributed in the development of culture of Chhattisgarh. The inscriptions of the dynasties are best evidences regarding its ancient culture. Various references of Sarabhapuriya, Panduvamsins, Somavamsins and other minor dynasties show that the ideal virtues of a woman was possesion of beauty, religious mind] devotion to husband and having sons. Some women also had religious free- dom. Marriages within the caste were a general rule although there were examples of inter caste marriages also. Anulom type of marriages involving marriage with the girl of lower caste is also known. Polygamy was a common among the kings as well as the high officials. Most of the inscriptions indicate the formation of joint family as a common practice. The custom of Sati was prevalent, although it was not obligatory. There are instances of ladies committing Sati as well as those who survived after the death of their husbands. The institution of Devdasis was prevalent in the Orissa region. Various grants were made on their names. Dancing girls were also appointed in the temples. The evidences drawn from various inscriptions of different dynasties have also been discussed in the this paper. So the present paper is mostly based on the inscriptional evidences gleaned from the different inscriptions of the dynasties belong to chhattisgarh region. The region of Chhattisgarh, geographically its ancient culture when we come to the regime of encomplassed with hills and forests all sides, is a com- Sarabhapuriya dynasty which was followed, succes- pact unit and is drained by many rivers. This peculiar sively and some times simultaneously, by the natural set up seems to have helped in developing its Panaduvamsins of Mekala, Panduvamsins of Kosala, culture and civilisation with its own distinct character- Somavamsins of Kosala, Kalachuris of Ratanpur and istics. In ancient times it seems to have been divided some other minor dynasties. into two parts. While some of its northern areas along POSITION OF WOMEN with adjacent portion of modern Orissa state formed According to the description of Bahmani pls. of the part of Kisala or Mahakosala and some portion of the second year of the Panduvamsin king Udirnavaira, Bastar district was included in Dandakaranya or Bharatabala’s queen who was from Amaraja family of Mahakantara. There are sufficient evidence regarding Kosala country possessed pure and crystal like char- 109
  • 2. International Research Journal ISSN-0975-3486 VOL. I * ISSUE—3 &4 RNI : RAJBIL/2009/30097 acter. She was famous for self restraint and self disci- Avantisundari of the Chuhan9 lineage and there must pline as well as for the performance of religious duties. be many more examples of this type marriages. Besides, she had obtained the highest status by vir- POLYGAMY tue of having grandsons and great grandsons.1 Ac- Polygamy, as the available evidence indicates, was cording to the Koni stone inscription of K.Y. 900 of the in vogue during the period of the inscriptions. The kalachuri king Prithvideva, the lady Lakhma, wife of king as well as officers were to have more than one Mimbadeva, was the most virtuous woman. It is stated wife. The Sheorinarayana inscription dated K.Y. 919 of that in respect of love she was like Rati and in respect the king Jajalladeva informs us about the three wives10 of righteous deeds she was Arundhati. She was reli- of the prince Ullhanadeva. The Kharod tone inscrip- gious minded and tried for the prosperity of the home.2 tion of K.Y. 933 tells us about the virtuous conduct of Gunda Mahadevi, the Patta Mahadevi of the Ralha and Padma. Two wives11 of theKalachuri king Nagavamsi king Dharavarsah, as described in Ratanadeva III. The composer to Ratanpur stone in- Narayanapal stone inscription was the half body of scription of the K.Y. 1207. of the Kalachuri king her husband like Parvati of Siva, beautiful like Ganges Prithvideva II had two wives12 Prabhaand Jamho. and exceedingly devoted to her husband. She was FAMILYLIFE lovely like Arundhati, kind like Sarasvati goddess lib- The joint family system was the practice of the eral likeearth goddess and gave birth to many children day. Almost all the grants recorded in the charters of and offered protection to many who came to her.3 She the kings of different dynasties were given for the in- seems to have enjoyed the freedom in certain religious crease of religious merits of the parents and of the matters such as constructing temples and carrying king himself. Though the grants were always given by many other charitable works of her own accord e.g. the king, queen and other members of the royal family the queen Vasata, as described in the Sirpur Lakhman independently sometimes, as the stray13 Sarabhapuriay temple stone inscription of the time of Sivagupta, pls. indicate, the children, elderly members of the fam- Balarjuna, constructed the temple of Hari.4 Svetalladevi, ily of the donor were also associated with him in mak- wife of Vallabharaja, the feudatory chief of the Kalachuri ing the grant. Besides parents, maternal uncle was also king Prithvideva II, as mentioned in Ratanpur stone respected. The undated Mallar pls. of the king inscription of K.Y. 910 made many charitable works at Sivagupta Balarjuna record the grant given to the mon- different places of her own accord.5 As informed in astery at Taradamsak-bhoga at the request of the ma- Kuruspal inscription of Dharanamahadevi, the queen ternal uncle Bhaskaravarman.14 donated a land6 situated near the place Kalemva, free The Riddhapur 15 charter of the Nala king from all encumberances and taxes, to the god Bhavadattavarman registers the grant given to the Srikamesvara. Brahmana named Dayarya and his eight sons. Men- MARRIAGES tion of Kayastha Ratansimba’s grand father, father, The best example of this type of marriage is from uncle as well as wife, son, daughter-in-law, two grand- Nala epigraph. According to the Riddhapur pls. of sons and one grand daughter in Ratanpur stone in- Bhavadattavarman, the king had married the girl named scription dated V.Y. 1207 of the kalachuri king Achali Bhattarika who, as mentioned by Shukla, H. Prithvideva II also speaks of the existence of the joint was of the Vaisya7 caste. The Sirpur Lakshmana Temple family system.16 The other example of the joint family stone inscription of the time of Sivagupta is of Sarvadhikari Purushottama of the Kalachuri king Balarjunainforms that Sivagupta’s mother Vasata was Ratnadeva II. The Koni stone inscription of K.Y. 900 the daughter of the king Suryavarman of Magadha.8 of the king Prithvideva II supplies us the names of The Brahmanas, generally, married within the castes father and grand father of Purushottama and his four but marriages of the anuloma type which involves the sons who were well versed in tatemanship and were marriage with the girl of lower caste were also known, living with him.17 The grant registered in Amoda pls. of Rajasekhara, a Brahmana of Yavavara family married K.Y. 905 of the king Prithvideva Ii was given to three 110 Á⁄U‚ø¸ ∞ŸÊÁ‹Á‚‚ ∞á«U ßflÒÀÿÈ∞‡ÊŸ