Karnataka history in Sanskrit Literature

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Samskrutha maha kaavyagalalli Karnaatakethihaasa – Karnataka history in Sanskrit Literature

Author:  Dr. Mallikurjuna Paraddi


In this essay, author has enumerated important works in Sanskrit literature that throw light on the history of India and in perticluar, the Karnataka region. Historical poems in Sanskrit are so full of mythological narration that A. B. Keith appears to be justifiable when he remarks as follows : ‘That in the whole of the great period of Sanskrit Literature, there is not even one writer, who can be seriously regarded as critical historian” (History of Sanskrit Literature, 144). Philosophical outlook of ancient Indians may be responsible for such a state of affairs i.e. to say that they attached more importance to achievements of individuals than to their personal life. Secondly, the authors were patronised by rulers and were after fame as poets. Such being the case, the author says it is rather difficult to expect them to be impartial and accurate in the narration of historical events. At the same time, one should not agree with the view that ancient Indian writers had no historical sense at all.

Following are three historical poems in Sanskrit that deal with Karnataka history.

(I) VikramankaDevaCharitam by Bilhana of Kashmir (Second half of 11 Century A.D.) deals in 18 cantos with the history of Chalukya Vikramaditya VI. Some of the events narrated in the poem are supported by inscriptional evidence.

(2) Madhuravijayam or ViraKamparayaCharitam by Gangadevi deals with the achievements iof Vijayanagar King Kampana or Harihar II (1362-1374).

(3) Saluvabhyudaya by Rajanatha Dindima (about 1480 A.D.) deals with the achievements of Saluva Narasimha of Vijayanagara dynasty who declared himself as independent King later in the era.

Author also lists other well known works in Sanskrit which throw light on the rulers of different dynasties across India.

1. NavaSaahasanka Charitha written by Parimala PadmaGupta during the early 11th century AD skecthes the history of Paramaara kings of Gujarat.

2. Kalhana’s Raja Tharangini gives the complete history of Kashmir till the time of the poet and is written in 12th century AD.

3. Jayaanakana’s Pruthviraja Vijaya gives history of Chouhan kings of Ajmer from 8th to 12th centuries specially focusing on Pruthvi Raj Chouhan. Written during 1191 – 1193 AD.

4. Hemachandra Soori’s Dwashraya Mahaa Kaavya written during 12th century gives history of Chalukya kings of Gujarat.

5.Someshwara deva’s Keerthi Koumudi gives life history of minister VastuPaala under the rule of Chalukya’s of Gurajat written the middle of 13th century.

6. AraSimha’s Sukrutha Sankeerthana also enumerates the Vasthupala’s life history.

7. BaalaChandraSuri Vasantha Vilasa also written on VastuPaala in the early 14th century.

8. Nayachandra Suri’s HammiraKavya written in 1494 gives the history of Chouhana Kings and expecially he life history of the King Hammira.

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