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Friday, May 18, 2012


North Indian Inscriptions



       Another era, which is frequently met with in the inscriptions treated of here, is known as Kṛita. In fact, the name of this era was not recognised even long after Fleet published the first edition of this volume, although it contained two inscriptions1 dated according to it. While discussing the sense of the passage containing the date Kṛita year 480, he makes the following remarks: “It leaves kṛitēshu, ‘made, done, performed,’ as a superfluous and rather unmeaning word, unless we somewhat strain its meaning by giving it the sense of ‘fully completed (years)’. —In the sense of ‘(years) accomplished, i.e. expired’, kṛitēshu occurs in line 1 of the Byānā inscription of Vishṇuvardhana, of the year 428, No. 59 below, Plate xxxvi C. But though this use of it is unusual, it is justifiable there, as it is not accompanied by yātēshu, ‘having gone by’, or any similar word. My first inclination about the present passage was that kṛitēshu was used in the sense of ‘made, effected, established by’; and the three aksharas preceding it contained the name of the founder of the era. But Dr. R. G. Bhandarkar, with whom I discussed the passage, was of opinion that kṛita could not be used in such a sense; and I am not able to quote anything opposed to his opinion.”2 This clearly shows that Fleet was not sure of the meaning ‘made, effected, established by, accomplished’ which he had assigned to that word. But it was not even dreamt by any epigraphist or historian that kṛita was the name of Saṁvat-era, till 1913 when we discovered an inscription at Mandasōr dated 461.3 Up till that time scholars subscribed to the view of F. Kielhorn that the Saṁvat was “spoken of as either the Mālava or the Vikrama era.” We are not here concerned with the inscriptions which connect it with Vikrama and its variants in one way or another. Our Volume includes those which connect it with the Mālavas. But, let us, in the first place, see what Kielhorn actually says about the matter. “From about the 5th to the 9th century this era was by poets believed to be especially used by the princes and people of Mālava, while another era or other eras were known to be current in other parts of India. At the same time,considering that our earliest dates are actually from south-eastern Rājputāna and the parts of Mālava adjoining it, the employment of the word Mālava in connection with the era may be taken to point out fairly accurately the locality in which the era was first employed. What special circumstances may have given rise to its establishment, I am unable to determine at present.”4 The above statement, however, contains one slip, because he says that this era used by the princes and people of Mālava was current from about the 5th to the 9th century A.D. As a matter of fact, the last date cited by him in support of his conclusion is from the Mēnālgaḍh inscription5 and is Vikrama year 1226, describing it as Mālavēśagata-vatsara–“years elapsed of the Mālava (lord or lords)” according to Kielhorn’s translation.This shows that the Mālava era was known by this name up till the 12th century A.D., and not the 9th as supposed by him.

       The question that we have now to discuss is: how this era was associated with Mālava. Now, the Gyārāspur inscription has Mālava-Kālāch=chharadām shaṭtṛiṁ (ṭtriṁ) śat-saṁyutēshv=atītēshu | navasu śatēshu,6 that is, speaks of “936 years having elapsed according to the Mālava Era.” But what does Mālava-kāla or Mālava era mean? Let the inscriptions themselves speak about this matter. We will refer again to the Mēnālgaḍh inscription which has Mālavēśa-

1 CII., Vol. III, 1888, Nos. 17 and 59.
2 Ibid. p.73, note 1.
3 PRAS. W. C., 1912-13, pp. 58 and ff.
4 Ind. Ant., Vol XX, p. 404.
5 D. R. Bhandarkar, A List of the Inscriptions of Northern India, No. 346.
6 Ibid., No. 37.

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