NOTE ON THE DHULEV PLATE OF MAHARAJA BHETTI
No. 2—NOTE ON THE DHULEV PLATE OF MAHARAJA BHETTI
D. C. SIRCAR, OOTACAMUND
Professor V. V. Mirashi has edited the above inscription in the foregoing pages. We find
it difficult to agree with many of the Professor’s suggestions based on the evidence of the record
as interpreted by him. In the present note we are inclined to examine primarily a group of five
suggestions offered by Prof. Mirashi in this connection.
The first of these suggestions is that the era to which the date of the Dhulēv plate, viz., year
73, has to be referred “ marked the foundation of the kingdom by an ancestor of Bhētti ” who
issued the charter. According to the second suggestion, which is based on the first, the said ancestor
of the issuer of the plate was the latter’s grandfather who also bore the name Bhētti. The third
suggestions, based on the second is that Bhāṭika, the name of an era, the epoch of which falls in
623-24 or 624-25 A. C. and to which the Professor is inclined to refer the year 73 of the inscription
under review, is a later modification of the name of Bhētti who was the grandfather of the issuer
of the Dhulēv plate and founded the era in question. According to the fourth suggestion, which
seeks to justify the foundation of an era as laid down in the third, the dynasty, to which the founder
of the Bhāṭika era and his grandson who issued the Dhulēv plate belonged, ruled over “ a great
empire flourishing in Rajputana and the neighboring territory in the seventh century A. C.”
The fifth suggestion, apparently meant to defend the fourth, is that Rājasthān was outside the
sphere of influence of the great Harshavardhana (606-47 A.C.), and therefore the era used in the
Dhulēv plate cannot be the Harsha era of 606 A. D.
In our opinion, the first of the above group of five suggestions, which is really the basis of the
remaining four, rests on a misunderstanding of the evidence of the Dhulēv plate. Consequently
the other suggestions, based as they are on a shaky foundation, are even more unjustified. The
date portion of the Dhulēv plate in line 5 of the inscription reads ; rājya-pratimattā-vashaiḥ tṛisaptatibhiḥ Aśvayuja-saṁvvatsarēḥ which has been amended by Prof. Mirashi as rājya-pratipattivarshē trisaptatitamē Āśvayuja-saṁvatsarē. According to the Professor, “ the 73rd year when the
grant was made is said to have been reckoned from ‘ the acquisition of the kingdom ’ (rājyapratipatti) ”. He thinks, as noted above, that the era, to which the year has to be referred,
“ marked the foundation of the kingdom by an ancestor of Bhētti ”. Thus the “ acquisition of the
kingdom ” is referred to the founder of the royal family to which Mahārāja Bhētti, issuer of the
charter, belonged. In our opinion, the passage speaks of Mahārāja Bhētti’s accession to the throne
and has nothing to do with any of his ancestors.
As to the foundation of an era in ancient India, we have elsewhere shown how an early era
appears to have been nothing more than the regnal reckoning of an independent king (who was
not bound to use the regnal date of a suzerain) continued by his successors and how the years of
an era were often referred to exactly as regnal years. The Gupta era was founded by an ancestor of
Chandragupta II (376-414 A.C.). This is clear from the Mathura inscription of that monarch,
the date portion of which reads : Śrī-Chandraguptasya vijaya-rājya-saṁvatsarē paṁchamē 5 kāl-ānuvarttamāna-saṁvatsarē ēkashashṭhē (ºshashṭitamē) 61, “ in the year five ─5─ of the victorious
reign of the illustrious Chandragupta, in the year sixtyone ─61─ according to the era ”. Here
both the regnal year of the king and the year of the Gupta era are used side by side. But generally
the year of the regnal reckoning was omitted while the year of the era was used as if it were a regnal
year. Thus the Gadhwa inscription of the time of the same Gupta emperor has the date : śrī-
 Vikrama Volume, edited by R. K. Mookerjee, Gwalior, 1948, pp. 564-65.
 Cf. Select Inscriptions, p. 270 ; IHQ, Vol. XVIII, pp. 271-55.
 Bhandarkar’s List, No. 1261. See also śrī-Kumāraguptasy=ābhivarddhamāna-vijaya-rājya-saṁvatsarē shaṇṇavatē (vatitamē) (ibid., No. 1263), śrī-Kumāragupta-rājya-saṁvatsarē 98 (ibid., No. 1264), etc., etc. Note further
śrī-Śāntikaradēva-rājya-saṁvat 93 (ibid., No. 2042), etc.