No. 43─TWO GRANTS OF VARMANS OF VANGA
THE LATE DR. N. K. BHATTASALI, DACCA
A. Sāmantasār Plate of Harivarman
Nagendra Nath Vasu published a rather defective transcript of the reverse of the present plate
with a small and blurred half-tone reproduction and translation in Bengali and stated that Harivarman was a king of Vaṅga and had his capital at Vikramapura. The plate was originally in
the possession of the late Pandit Kāśīchandra Vidyāvāgīśa of the village of Sāmantasār, District
Faridpur, where it was seriously damaged by fire. Sāmantasār is a stronghold of the Brāhmaṇas
of the Vaidika class. The Vaidikas believe that their progenitors came to Bengal during the
reign of Sāmalavarman, king of Vaṅga. Vidyāvāgīśa fondly believed that the copper plate he
possessed was a grant of Sāmalavarman. But, as he could not decipher it himself, he gave it for
decipherment to Pandit Gurucharaṇa Vidyābhūshaṇa of the village, who took it to Calcutta and
handed it over to the Mahāmahōpādhyāya Haraprasād Śāstrī. Śāstrī in his turn made over
this fire-licked plate to N. N. Vasu who published it as narrated above.
The publication of the Belāva plate of Bhōjavarman of the same line of kings has now made
the correction of some obvious mistakes in Vasu’s reading possible. The most serious of his
errors is that he took the inscription to be dated in the 42nd regnal year of king Harivarman
although in fact it does not bear any date. But, for a long time, nothing could be done to check
Vasu’s reading as Vidyābhūshaṇa, to whom Vasu had handed back the plate after decipherment,
had passed away and all trace of the plate was lost. In 1920 I went to Sāmantasār and learnt that
the plate had not come back. However, in 1937 I succeeded in recovering it at Bālī near Calcutta
from the son of Vidyābhūsaṇa, who had given up his residence at Sāmantasār and made Bālī his
home. The plate has now been presented to the Dacca Museum.
The actual findplace of the plate is unknown. While at Sāmantasār in 1920, I learnt that
three copper-plate records had been found inside an earthen pot somewhere near Sāmantasār,
on the bank of the Meghnā, within the Zamindari of the Tagores of Calcutta in the Idilpur Pargana,
The Idilpur plate of Kēśavasēna, first published by Prinsep in JASB, 1838, was one of these
records. A plate of Śrīchandra noticed in my article on the Kēdārpur plate was another. The
third is the present plate of Harivarmadēva. The Vaidikas of Sāmantasār secured from the
finder and passed it on to Vidyāvāgīśa. Unfortunately, the thatched house in which the plate
was preserved, accidentally caught fire and damaged the plate seriously. The seal of the plate
got detached from it and was lost, and the obverse became practically unreadable.
The plate is a single sheet of copper measuring 93/16 inches by 10¼ inches. The obverse
contains 28 lines of writing while the reverse has 23 lines and a half. It had been licked by fire to
such an extent that not one out of the 28 lines of writing on the obverse can be made out with
precision. The metrical part ends in line 27, from the end of which the prose portion begins.
From this place onwards we are on surer grounds, but the name of Harivarman’s father still
remains doubtful. It is almost obliterated and can be read as Jāta on close examination. The
23 line of writing on the reverse, however, can be made out fairly accurately with the help of
the Belāva plate of Bhōjavarman.
 Vaṅger Jātīya Itihāsa. Vol. II, introduction, p. 111 ; cf. pp. 215-18.
 The inscription was first published by myself with the help of my teacher, the late Prof. B. B. Gōsvāmī,
in the Dacca Review, Vol. II, 1912. See also R. G. Basāk, Sāhitya, 1319 B.S., pp. 282-99, and above Vol. XII,
pp. 37 ff. ; R. D. Banerji, JASB, 1914, pp. 121-29 ; N. G. Majumdar, Inscriptions of Bengal, Vol. III, pp. 14 ff.
 Above, Vol. XVII, pp. 189-90.