father (No. 20 below). Another was Skandagupta known to us from many inscriptions and coins.
Perhaps a third was Purugupta, known from the Bhitarī and Nālandā seals (Nos. 46 and 45
below). We, however, know the name of only one queen of his, namely, Anantadēvī, mother of
Purugupta. Whether Skandagupta is identical with Purugupta is a point which we will discuss
when we treat of the former. Among the officers of his reign we have to take note, in the first
place, of Pṛithivīshēṇa, son of Śikharasvāmin who was Mantri-kumārāmātya to Chandragupta II.
Pṛithivīshēṇa like his father was at first Mantri-Kumārāmātya but afterwards became Mahā-balādhikṛita and was so in Gupta year 117 when inscription No. 21 below was engraved. The
Dāmōdarpur plates (Nos. 22 and 24 below) also speak of two or more of his officers. One was
Chirātadatta who was the Uparika or Governor of the Puṇḍravardhana Province (bhukti)
and the other was the Kumārāmātya Vētravarman who was put by the former in charge of the
City Court of Kōṭivarsha.
Ghaṭōtkachagupta and Skandagupta-Purugupta
Many scholars are of opinion that Kumāragupta began his reign peacefully and gloriously
but that it ended in disaster. There is, however, no evidence in support of this conclusion,
which is based on a wrong interpretation of certain passages in Skandagupta’s inscriptions.
This point we will discuss shortly, but, in the meanwhile, let us see who actually succeeded
Kumāragupta. The Tumain inscription of Kumāragupta (No, 20 below) speaks not only of
this Gupta sovereign but also of one Ghoṭōtkachagupta who apparently was his son and
governor of Airikiṇa (Ēraṇ) and gives Gupta year 116 as a date for both. In this connection
we have also to take note of the fact that a clay seal of Ghaṭōtkachagupta (No. 27 below) was
found at Basāḍh along with that of Gōvindagupata (No. 13 below). We have already seen that
Gōvindagupta was the name of Kumāragupta before he became irresistible and invulnerable
in his battles and was, for that reason, identified with god Kumāra and came thenceforth
to be styled Kumāragupta after that divinity. We have also seen that Vaiśālī, the old capital
of the Lichchhavis, was the seat of the Yuvarāja or Crown-Prince in the early Gupta period.
That was the reason why the seal of Gōvindagupta (=Kumāragupta) was discovered at
Basāḍh (=Vaiśālī). We can proceed one step further and say that as a seal of Ghaṭōtkachagupta also was found at Basāḍh, Ghaṭōtkachagupta seems similarly to have been raised to the
dignity of the Yuvarāja soon after Gupta year 116 when he was Governor of Airikiṇa and was,
for that reason, posted at Vaiśālī, the traditional seat of the Gupta Crown-Prince. The question
that now arises is whether he ever became a king. Unfortunately, no inscription referring
itself to his reign has yet come to light. Nevertheless, a coin of Ghaṭōtkachagupta from the St.
Petersberg collection is well-known. It is true that on the ground of the style and weight Allan
places it about the end of the fifth century A.D.1 Unfortunately, however, although he makes
this remark in the Introduction of his classical work, the actual Catalogue of Coins does not specify
the weight of the coin in question.2 And so far as we can see, the style does not differ essentially
from that of Skandagupta’s coins, as may be seen from a comparison of Plate XXIV, 3 with
Plate XIX. Besides, as the last date of Kumāragupta is Gupta year 136=454-55 A.D., which is
not far removed from ‘about the end of the fifth century A.D.’, we cannot say that on numismatic grounds a difference of even fifteen years is discernible between coins of two almost
contiguous members of the same royal family. That would be like an epigraphist detecting
with a palaeographic microscope a similar tiny little space of time between two inscriptions.
We may thus safely take it that Ghaṭōtkachagupta of the Tumain inscription, of the Basāḍh
1 Catalogue of the Coins of the Gupta Dynasty, Intro., p. liv.
2 Ibid., p. 149.