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Mewar as Focus of Guhila State (Part-XIX)

The Guhila state integrated many important jain personalities into socio-political and economic life of Mewar. — Prof. Nandini Kapur Sinha


From the late fourteenth and the early fifteenth century, the family of Navalakha Râmadeva of Ukeúa gotra (Osval) from Devakulapâaka seem to be the most important Jain family of Mewar politically. He functioned as the chief minister of Mewar in the reigns of Mahârãòâs Ksetrasirnha, Laksasimha and Mokal. He had two sons, Sajjana and Saranga. Sajjana succeeded his father to the post of chief ministership of Mewar during the reigns of Mahârâòâs Mokal and Kumbha. A Jain literary work Âvasyakabrhadvrtti composed in Devakulapâaka, refers to the reign of Rânâ Kumbha and his chief minister, Sâdhu Sri Sajjanapâla. The status of this family is evident from other contemporary sources such as Vijñapti-Lekhâ, dated AD 1374. It mentions the event of a great dikºâ mahotsava in Kareda in AD 1374, arranged by Râmadeva. Somasaubhâgya Kãvya refers to the visit of Somasundara Süri at Devakulapâaka who was received by Mahârâòâ Lãkhâ, Prince Cundâ and Minister Râmadeva. Vijñapti-Lekhã also mentions the installation of the icons of Acâryas Merunandan and Drona by Râmadeva’s wife Melâdevi at Devakulapâaka. The son-in-law of Râmadeva, Visal, came from the famous family of Sresthi Vatsarâj of Idar. Somasaubhâgya Kâvya is the source for an account of this family. It shows that a big temple named Manorathakalpadrum was built in Chittaur by this family. Visal’s wife Khimãi (Râmadeva’s daughter) and sons Dhir and Campaka figure in the inscriptions (AD 1437) of the Jain temple at Machind. Sajjana, the elder son of Rämadeva got a Satruñjaya Pata (stone-slab) and some icons installed in Devakulapãaka in AD 1434. An account of his younger brother Sarañga is found in an inscription (AD 1437) from the Adbhutnäthji temple of Nâgda. 

The other important office that the Jains came to occupy in Mewar was that of bhändâgârika (treasurer). Inscriptional references to the office begin in the fifteenth century. The Chittaur Inscription, dated AD 1448, was issued by a family of bhändaris serving Mahärânâ Kumbha. This family designates itself as in-charge of the royal treasury (bhändari/bhändâgârika). The record contains the genealogy of the family originating in Sâhakolâ and registers the construction of the temple of Santinätha by this family. 

The bhãndaris are listed as follows: Bhändâri Sri Velaka, Bhândâri Mudharâja, Bhãndâri Dhanarâja, Bhändâri Kurapâla, etc. They were followers of Kharataragaccha. Besides Úresthi Râmadeva, Devakulapâaka had a few more contemporary Jain sresthis as residents. Œreºthis Nimba, Kelha, Megh, Bhim, Kaak. Laksman Sirmha, Hisa, Dharma, etc., are the important names. Hisa and Dharma belonged to the famous Picoliyâ family of Devakulapâaka (founder, Devapâla). Inscriptional records refer to their installation projects and their patronage extended to Tapagaccha. 

Kumbha’s court reached out to these rich Jain families through Râmadeva Navalakha. Sreºthi Sarmghapati Dhârana Sâh of the Prâgvaa lineage from Rnakpur and Sarnghapati Sreºthi Gunarâja of Chittaur were the other two important Jain personalities in the royal court of the fifteenth-century Mewar. Both of them figure in Râòakpur Praúasti, dated AD 1439. The praúasti contains a genealogy of Sarmghapati Dhârana, his father, Kurapâla’s charitable deeds and more importantly the construction of temple of Sri Caturmukhayugâdiúvara at the instance of Rânâ Kumbha. Dhärana also dedicates the newly constructed temple of Sri Caturmukha in Rânã Kumbha’s name. It is significant that Samghapati Gunarâja was a favourite of the reigning king, Râna Kumbha. The long praœasti of the Guhila kings in this Jain record Shows that the influential Jains enjoyed extensive royal patronage. 

Samghapati Gunarâja and other Jain personalities such as Sarmghapati Ratna (Dhârana’s elder brother), son Sarmghapatis Lâºâ, Sâñja, Sona, Saliga, Samghapati Dhãralde, etc., also figure as prominent men in this record.  Mahâv)r Prasâd Praúasti refers to the family of Sreºthi Guòarâja. He led the sarmghayâtrâs to Úatruñjaya and Rewantak in AD 1400 and 1405 respectively. He is stated to have organized free-kitchens during famines. The Rânakpur Praúasti refers to his leadership of a samghayâtrâ at the instance of Soma Sundara Süri of the Brhad Tapagaccha after obtaining the necessary permission from the sultan of Gujarat. 

The family of Râval Úri Lãsana of Nadlai (Godwar) figures prominently in Mewar of the late fifteenth-early sixteenth centuries. Ram Vallabh Somani misses this important family from his list of Jain families. The Inscription dated AD 1500 from Âdinâtha temple (Nadlai), which refers to the origin of the Guhila kings as Sûryavarmúîya, records the praúasti of the ãciryas of Sandherâgaccha and the installation-project undertaken by the family of Râval Lâsana. The consecration of (the image of) Úri Adiúvara had to be performed in the Jain monastery called Sâyara which was brought to the city of Nandakulavati (Nadlai) in samvat 964. It is significant that Lãsana of Ukeúa lineage bears the title of râval. Thus, this record provides another instance of the incorporation of the wealthy Jains into the sãmanta hierarchy.

The above survey proves that a network of the local Jain families were gradually integrated into the political structure. The fact that Bhãndãri Sri Velaka’s father was referred to merely as sâhakolâ suggests that this was a process of gradual absorption as titles differed from generation to generation. This led to the growth of a network of Jain families close to the royal court. A concluding note to this study of Jain-Guhila relationship is our observation that the so-called, most non-violent social group, the Jains, were actively associated with the military enterprises of the Rajputs.

Other communities: The Tamtaradas and Kayasthas

The Chiravâ Inscription of the Reign of Mahãrâval Samarasirmha of AD 1273 is perhaps the most important record of a non-Rajput and a non-Jain family of Mewar which rose in status as the process of regional state formation proceeded. Besides the royal praœasti, this record is an eulogy and the genealogical list of the Tâmtarâda family originating from Nâgdâ. The family rendered invaluable services to the state both by functioning as talaraksakas (superintendents of police) of Nâgadrahapura (Nâgdâ) and Citrakûa as well as captains in the army. The inscription also records the construction and restoration of the temples of Yogeúvara (Siva) and Yogeúvari (Pârvati) and grants to the temples by the same family at Cirakûpa (Chiravâ), a village granted to them by Guhila King Padmasimha.

(to be continued....)

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