Term ko˛˛a in early Nepal epigraphy.
Deal with a problem of
significance and complexity
examinations of Indian Epigraphy
for reconstruction of a history
of classic Inda,
the author of
recently published monography " Indian
as one of major methods for examination of epigraphical
sources names a method of
comparative analysis, however, only, as a method of reconstruction of damaged
inscriptions. But, employment of the named method, alongside with the context
analysis of the texts can, apparently to facilitate, also, for more accurate
definition of a lot of important terms (for understanding features of
development of social and political structure of Indian society, for example),
on which inexact interpretation, quite often, a lot of historical surveys are
based. As an example of necessity of employment for the such method, in this
article will be presented
the analysis of the term
ko˛˛a use in
early Nepal Sanskrit
in my opinion, for understanding features of structure of
early Society of Indian subcontinent.
A. Bhattacharya, fairly evolving this term in her monograph 2, in its interpretation, however, follows traditional way. It is possible to translate this term, in her judgement, as "a fort, fortification", and, as an example, she refers to its similar interpretation of this term in V.V. Mirashi publication of a damaged inscription from the time of Pratiharas from X century (i.e., later, than all inscriptions, mentioned in her monograph 3). In the interpretation of mentioned term, also, she is based on judgement of known epigraphist D.R. Regmi, interpreting this term as the designation of fortified area on a high altitude or a ridge 4. In her judgement, the use of the indicated term, which synonym was the term durga, testifies that separate villages (!) already in an early history of Nepal were transformed to fortifications - "well protected areas", "into a cantonment areas" with housing for soldiers, stores for arms etc. (!) 5
The reason for our analysis of the indicated term, certainly, is not based on mentioned so free and incorrect, in my opinion, its interpretation. This important term is interesting because it meets in epigraphy of different periods of Indian history, in different parts of Indian subcontinent. For the first time it is mentioned in First Minor pillar edict of Ashoka, where it is offered to dispatch "decree" of king in everything, as is usually translated, "mountain areas" 6 (or forts and regions 7, ko˛a-vi°avesu). There is no reliance, that such translation of the term is correct, however of its other mentions in Ashokan inscriptions we have not.
According the "Indian Epigraphical Glossary", the term frequently meets in Indian epigraphy, down to the time of Vijayanagara. It is mentioned here in various combinations, in two major types of meaning: ko˛˛a-pÓla, ko˛a-pÓla, ko˛˛a-pati, ko˛-ÓdhikaraÝika, ko˛˛a-nigraha or ko˛˛a-nigrahin (in all - "the fort"), or ko˛aka, ko˛˛aka, ko˛˛am, ko˛˛a-vi°aya (interpreted by D.Ch.Sircar, as "district", including " around the fort"). In its interpretation he is based widely on habitual significance of this term in translations of Tamil inscriptions, in which correctness, also, there is an occasion to doubt.
The term ko˛˛a fairly often meets in early Nepal epigraphy 8. For the first time it meets in one of the early inscription of Vasantadeva (20.9-10 = V.20) 9 from 428 year in the formula concerning to conditions of the grant "according to the stable rules of ko˛˛a 10". Its such use in similar contexts most often meets in Nepal inscriptions 11 and requires special consideration. The analysis of the contents and place of the noted formula 12 in inscriptions, allows to state some judgments. Here, unconditionally, is spoken not about the fort, fortified area or place, but about certain "traditional rules" or "customs" 13 of ko˛˛a, their complex (therefore is spoken about "all" or "basic", ¨arŔra, rules), accordingly to which the grants were made out. Apparently, taking into account a usual conciseness of inscriptions and "conditions" of the grants in charters, this permanently repeating instruction was rather important for Nepal kings. These rules, which the kings followed, were hardly determined by them - in special cases (for example, in the case at decrease of traditional norms of duties) the inscriptions mention "rules established by king" (narapatikta-maryyÓda, see, for example Amshuvarman charter from year 31). In the other inscription (54.17 = V.58), quite probably, details about ko˛˛a norms is stated.
In the inscription of Shivadeva I, which date was not saved (54.17 = V.58), in a damaged line, is spoken: " and that of you, who is born in [appropriate] gotra, outside of ko˛˛a, can live at the other places; for necessary in activity those [lives outside of?] his own ko˛˛a... " 14. Even the damaged phrase allows to repute, that not the fort, but the local, non-state organization is referred to. In other Shivadeva I grant the same term is used twice in connection with boundary definition (54.18-24 = V.58 - ko˛˛asŔman, tatsŔmÓparik°ipte Şsmin ko˛˛e), probably, as a synonym for granted village. In other charter of Shivadeva I (60.11-12 = V.65) the term is used in connection with the prohibition from the king for "inhabitants Pheraŕ-ko˛˛a and others " to harm to the inhabitants of granted village, and the term ko˛˛a is represented itself as designation of territorial organization compared with village, rural community. In the charter of Dhruvadeva and Jishnugupta (100.9-10 = V.108), on the basis of the saved text it is possible to judge that here is spoken about transfer to a temple the TalaŃju-grÓma, becoming (or, literally, "made as") ko˛˛a (...... Ko˛˛aŕ-ktvÓ pratipÓditam). In the charter from 100 year (140.7. = V.146) are spoken about certain "place" (or "centre") of ko˛˛a (Ko˛˛a-sthÓnam). In the charters of Shivadeva II (136 = V.143) the term meets in the name of granted village - AvÓko˛˛Ó (136.7), in most often meeting context mentioned above, and in connection with boundary definition, where is spoken about dÓvÓ-ko˛˛a (136.17, probably, here it is possible to read the hole word as the name of village).
Based on examined cases, it is possible to approve, that the organizations named ko˛˛a had concrete territories, names (Pheraŕ-ko˛˛a, AvÓko˛˛Ó), rules, inhabitants, borders, which does not allow to consider this term as designation of "fort", but the local organisation. And even in a unique case in Licchavi's inscriptions, when, in the damaged text, probably, there is a organization named ko˛˛a "created" by the king mentioned, without delay, it can be interprete only as the change of the status of mentioned in the same place village (obtained the status of ko˛˛a, as a result of king grant), in complete correspondence to usual mentioned traditional norms.
It is possible to judge about significance of such changes of the village's status (which, taking into account permanently repeating the references on the rules of ko˛˛a, in many grants) only presumably. That the mention of the rules ko˛˛a more often attached with the prohibition of access into the territory of grants for the inter-rural organizations - " adhikaraÝas ", which major functions, apparently, were the tax and fines collection (i.e. fiscal and judicial functions), both these instructions can be linked. And therefore we can judge, that the limitation of "adhikaraÝas" authority in the rural communities 15 took place not only by the prohibition for them of access into the territory of grants, but also by the changes of village's status. And then, it is possible to read formula with the considered term most often mentioned in inscriptions as "according to the rules FOR ko˛˛a ", territorial organization, under the status independent from inter-rural "committees- adhikaraÝas ". Thus, the institute of "grants" completely relevant to tradition, had, probably, at the same time, rather pragmatical social and political idea - change of a social and political structure of society, removing local territorial organizations from under the authority of inter-communal "committees-adhikaraÝas".
The mentions of the various rules for grants are not rare in the early epigraphy in various places of Inda (for example, cÓturvedya-grÓma-maryyÓdÓ,"rules" or "customs" for [grants] of villages for the brahmanas, well versed in 4-th Vedas in Vakataka inscriptions, rules for "brahmadeya" or "agrahara" in inscriptions of Bagh kings). And these grants obviously lead to changes in a social and political structure of society, to appearance of new social organizations - brahmadeyas, agraharas become latter as the designations of quite concrete local organizations. And also it was possible to admit, that the practice of land-grants widely widespread in V-VI AD, alongside with others, had definite social and political idea, reflecting dynamics of mutul relations of a state authority with local organizations, important changes during formation of an Indian state.
Prepared with the funding of RUSSIAN FOND OF HUMANITIES (http://www.rfhu.ru/), Pr. No. 04-01-00111a by D.N. Lielukhine, Oriental Institute.
1 Salomon, R.Indian Epigraphy. Austin, 1998. It is
necessary to mark, that there are not so many publications in a historiography,
where discussed the general problems of systematisation of epigraphy, general
principles of examination of inscriptions etc. It is possible only to mark only
known books of D.Ch. Sircar (Sircar D.Ch. Indian Epigraphy. Delhi, 1965; Sircar
D.Ch. Indian epigraphical glossary. Delhi, 1966), which importance R. Salomon
fairly marks. The reason of such situation are obvious - complexity and
multistage work with epigraphy (decophering, translation, analysis, each of such
stages requires the high specialization), necessity of knowledge of numerous
types of scripts, languages (including their dialects) etc. Some researchs are
known, where the attempt is made to decide general problems of examination of
epigraphical texts on the basis of the analysis of the group of these sources,
first of all so-called. "Land-grants" (see, for example, Chhabra B.Ch.
Diplomatic of Sanskrit Copper-Plate Grants.
- in: Indian Archives, 1951, ╣ 5; Prakash, Om, Early Indian Land-Grants and
State Economy). The deficit of such common researchs, in my opinion, is one of
the important reasons for tolerance of a lot of stereotypes, existing in a
historiography from a beginning XX centuries, for example,
in research of a history of forming and evolution of social and political
structure of Indian Society and State, numerous examples of a familiarity in the
interpretation of epigraphy in concrete regional historical researches
(especially, indian) on which materials, quite often, the researces of other
scholars are based. One of such stereotypes, for example, which often discussed
in our papers - "centralized bureaucratic stateö in Ancient India. back
2 A. Bhattacharya, Nepalese Inscriptions in pre-Nevari eras: An annotated bibliography, Calcutta, 1994. back
3 The similar references to translations of the later texts and the interpretation of the special terminology, often meet in an Indian Historiography. back
4 Regmi D.R. Ancient Nepal. Calcutta, 1960, p.191. back
5 A. Bhattacharya, Nepalese Inscriptions in pre-Nevari eras., p. 74. back
6 It is impossible to understand why this "edict" is offered to dispatch only in "mountain areas". back
7 This interpretation looks better. It is possible to suppose, that here we have the intersting uncommon instance of duality, usual mentioned as pura-janapada, pura-rashtra etc. On the other hand it is better, from my mind, to interprete both these terms as having the similar meanings - different "regions". back
8 The question on a possibility of the uniform interpretation it (as, however any other terms) in sources of different time, from different locations - special and should be decided separately in each concrete case (this question, even in relation to the interpretation of the term ko˛˛a in the present examination is not put). back
9 At the number of an inscription we use a serial number of an inscription in our database (up to 164 numbers it is the same as the numbers in the list of A. Bhattacharya), in brackets we marks the numbers in publications (V = D.V are given. Vajracharya, Lichchhavi KÓl Ka Abhilekha (in Nepali), Kathmandu, 2003 Vir Era). back
10 susthita-ko˛˛a-[ma]ryyÓda§ back
11 sarvva-ko˛˛a-maryyÓd-opapannatvÓd - 54.8=V.58;
Ko˛˛amaryÓ(d-opapanno) - 55.9=V. 59;
Sarvako˛˛amaryyÓdopapanna - 62.7 (=V.67);
sarvako˛˛amaryyÓdÓ - 116.13(=V.124);
¨arŔra-ko˛˛-obhay-ÓnekamaryÓd-opapanna§ - 122.7(=V.129);
¨arŔrako˛˛amaryÓdopapanna§ - 127.6 (=V.133);
¨arŔrako˛˛amaryÓd-opapanna§ 128.6-7 (=V.134);
¨arŔrako˛˛amaryÓdo[papanna]§ - 132.5.(=V.139);
ko˛˛amaryÓdopapanna§ - 136.7.(=V.143).
Ko˛˛amaryÓdÓsmÓbhi§ prasÓdŔktÓ, 138.24 = V.145; 70.11-12 (= V.73), 71.14-15 (= V.74). back
12 To the mentioned cases is possible to join one more - in the charter of Jayadeva II from 137 year is spoken that the village is made as "the grant" accordingly to "the rules"of ko˛˛aback
13 maryÓdÓ, about correspondence of grants to other rules, not mentioned directly, the inscriptions speak similarly often. back
14 smad-gottrajÓ ye ko˛˛Ód bahir nyattra nivaseyus-te°Óŕ-kÓryya-prayojane svako˛˛Ó...... back
15 About what is spoken directly and often in inscriptions. back