South Indian Inscriptions
No. 31-BONANGI COPPER-PLATE GRANT ; SAKA 1508
G. RAMADAS, JEYPORE
Sewell in his Lists of the Antiquarian Remains in the Presidency of Madras Vol. I, p. 13, gives the following note under Śṛiṅgavarapukōṭa :─
“ Bōnaṅgi ;─6 miles north-east of Śṛiṅgavarapukōṭa. A copper-plate grant in possession of Karikari Jāniki Rāmayya. It records a grant in Śaka 1508 (=A.D. 1586) to a Brahman by a local chief.”
Several times I tried to see it but failed. I found it noticed as No. 3 of Appendix A of the Annual Report on South Indian Epigraphy for 1937-38. On my request the Government Epigraphist lent me the excellent impressions of the said plate and I now edit the same from those impressions.
The language of the record is Telugu written in Telugu characters. The few peculiarities in the script will be shown in the foot-notes to the text. It is written on a single plate about 5¼″ by 3½″. The mode of writing peculiar to the copper-plate charters issued by the Nandapur Bhūpatis and their vassals. The first three lines of the record which give the date of the gift are written lengthwise on the obverse and the writing, which is breadthwise thereafter, then continues on the reverse of the plate. The donor’s name, the donees and the object of the gift are mentioned there. The concluding part of the record again runs on to the obverse.
The document begins with an invocation to Umāmahēśvara. It is dated Śaka 1508, Vyaya, Māg[h]a ba. 14, Monday. But the details do not correspond to any date in the month of Māgha in Vyaya. In the previous year (Pārthiva), however, they do work out correctly for Monday, 7th February A. D. 1586, the month being amānta.
The donor was Vijaya-Raṇa-siṁha Chaubaḷa-Mahāpātra Śrī-Soṭrāvu Vīra-Uddaṇḍa-Rāya. Raṇa-siṁha means a lion in fight ; Chaubaḷa-Mahāpātra seems to stand for the leader of the four sections of the army;1 Soṭrāvu appears to be a contraction of Chhōṭa (small) Rawoot (horseman), Rawoot being a title conferred on a person who performed a valiant deed. Gāṇadēva of Koṇḍavīḍu was made a Rawoot-rāya when he vanquished two Mahomedan warriors :
“ Rājā Gāṇa-mahīpatiḥ samudabhūt=tasmān=mahī-va[llabhād=bā]hubhyāṁ vi[ji]tau [Tu]rushka-nṛipatī tad=rautarāy=āhvayaḥ” (Ind. Ant., Vol. XX, p. 391, text ll. 19-20).
This Uddaṇḍa-Rāya was a minor warrior. Uddaṇḍa was his personal name. With his epithets expanded and re-arranged, his name mentioned in the record under review would read ‘ Chhōṭa-Rawoot-Rāya Vīra-Uddaṇḍa Chaubaḷa-Mahāpātra ’.
On pages 469-70 of Vol. III of the History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India by Briggs, a certain Rawoot-Rāya is referred to in the following terms :
“ Rawoot Row, a petty rājā in the command of a body of cavalry and infantry, and who was famed for his courage, had sometime before joined, and subsequently acted in concert with Ameenool-Mulk ; but being offended at some orders issued by him, Rawoot Row quitted the King’s camp without permission, and afterwards induced Hurrychundur to quit it also, and to unite with him in an attempt to establish Hurrychundur in the government of his ancestors at Cossimcota. The first display of open violence evinced by Rawoot Row was to collect a force of ten thousand infantry, with which he made night attacks on the King’s army, whose vengeance they escaped by taking shelter in the woods and fastnesses in that strong country. They were, however, pursued ; and in a skirmish which took place Rawoot Row lost his life by an arrow-wound.”
 Chau is a contraction for chaturaṅga, ratha,─gaja,─turaga,─padātayaḥ─chariots, elephants, horses and footmen. These are the four sections of an army. So Chaubaḷa Mahāpātra means ‘ the leader of the army composed of four sections’.