power. About the beginning of the Christian era, however, they appear to have
risen to the rank of a political Saṁgha. This is indicated by the issue of their coins which
“are found in the Eastern Panjab, and all over the country between the Sutlej and the Jumna
rivers. Two large finds have been made at Sonpath, between Delhi and Karnal.”1 This coinage
ranges between 50 and 350 A.D. Like the Mālavas they style themselves Gaṇa on their money.
It is thus clear that they were a political Saṁgha and especially of the type of tribal oligarchy
when they struck these coins. This inference is established beyond all doubt by a stone inscription2 found at Bijayagaḍh near Bayānā in the Bharatpur District. It is true that it is only a
fragment of an inscription, but enough of it has been preserved to show that it is the record of a
personage who was Mahārāja and Mahāsēnāpati and also a leader (puraskṛita) of the Yaudhēya
Gaṇa. The title Mahārāja and the word Gaṇa show that in the year 371 A.D., the date of the
inscription, the Yaudhēyas were not only an oligarchy but also a rāja-śabd-ōpajīvin Saṁgha, every member of which styled himself a Rājan or Mahārāja.3 Further, the personage in question
was one of the Gaṇa-mukhyas or ‘heads of the Gaṇa’ as he has been designated puraskṛita, ‘a
leader’.4 Further still as he has also been designated Mahāsēnāpati, it means that he was a
leader of the Yaudhēya Gaṇa as the general of their forces. It was, however, shortly before
150 A.D. that the Yaudhēyas were in the heyday of their glory, for it is in the Junāgaḍh rock
inscription of Rudradāman dated in this year that they are described as assuming the epithet
of vīra in consequence of the prowess they displayed against all Kshatriyas and spoken of as
being mowed down by the Kshatrapa ruler. The Yaudhēyas still survive in the Panjab and
Sind. Cunningham has identified them with the Johiyas settled on the banks of the Sutlej,
which tract is consequently called Johiyā-bār. “They have become Musulmans and inhabit
the banks of the Indus from Bahawalpur and Multan to the Kohistān tāluka of the Karachi
district. Parts of Bahawalpur State and the Multan district are still called Johiyāwār. Rem-
nants of the tribe still inhabit the Kohistān tāluka of the Karachi district under their own chief
who is known as Johiyā-jo-Jām.”5 It seems when they were at the height of their power,
that is, slightly prior to 150 A.D., they overran Sindhu and Sauvīra and were settled down there
and that it was apparently in these provinces that Rudradāman came into collision with, and
inflicted a crushing defeat on them. In the time of Samudragupta, however, they appear to
have been confined to their original habitat between the Sutlej and the Jumna going as far
south as Bharatpur.
As regards the Madrakas, their country corresponds roughly to modern Sialkot and
surrounding region between the Ravi and Chenab rivers.6 Its capital was Śākala which has
been identified with Sialkot. The Madrakas are no doubt the same as Madras and denoted
rather a people and not a tribe as seems to be the case here. The latter, probably, were the
Jatrikas or Jāṭs who are described as Mlēchchhas in the Karṇa-Parvan (chs. xl and xliv) of the
Mahābhārata. The Ābhīras or Ahirs are spread as far east as Bengal and as far south as the
Khandesh District of Maharashtra. The correct location of the Ābhīra tribe during Samudragupta’s regime is thus a matter of some difficulty. The earliest epigraphic reference to this
tribe is contained in the Gundā inscription of Kshatrapa Rudrasiṁha dated Śaka 103, which
records the construction of a well by Sēnāpati Rudrabhūti, who was a son of Sēnāpati Bāpaka
and who is therein described as an Ābhīra by extraction.7 But this Bāpaka was a Sēnāpati, and
1 Cunningham, Coins of Ancient India, p. 76; CASIR., Vol. XIV, p. 140.
2 CII., Vol. III, 1888, No. 58.
3 Car. Lec., 1918, pp. 148 and 156.
4 Ibid., pp. 152-53.
5 R. D. Banerji, The Age of the Imperial Guptas, pp. 21-22.
6 H. C. Ray, JPASB., Vol. XVIII, pp. 257 ff.
7 Ep. Ind., Vol. XVI, p. 235.