Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858

9. Quellen in Regionalsprachen

von Alois Payer


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Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 9. Quellen in Regionalsprachen. -- Fassung vom 2008-04-24. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen09.htm          

Erstmals publiziert: 2008-04-22

Überarbeitungen: 2008-04-24 [Ergänzungen]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008

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0. Übersicht

1. Einleitung

Schriftliche Quellen in Regionalsprachen und mündliche Quellen (siehe Quellenkunde 10.) sind zwei Kategorien, die sich teilweise überschneiden, da die Träger mündlicher Queleln oft schriftliche Quellen als Gedächtnishilfe benutzen, bzw. ihre mündliche Überlieferung für ihre Nachfolger bzw. auf Wunsch Interessierter aufschreiben.

Wie wohl kein Zweiter hat Lieutnant-Colonel James Tod (1782 - 1835), "late political agent to the Western Rajput states", durch sein epochales Werk "Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan" die Bedeutung der Geschichtsquellen in Regionalsprachen in das Gesichtsfeld der europäischen Indieninteressierten gebracht:

"TOD, JAMES (1782-1835), British officer and Oriental scholar, was born on the 2oth of March 1782, and went to India as a cadet in the Bengal army in 1799. He commanded the escort attached to the resident with Sindia from 1812 to 1817. In the latter year he was in charge of the Intelligence Department which largely contributed to break up the confederacy of Maratha chiefs in the Pindari War, and was of great assistance in the campaign in Rajputana. In 1818 he was appointed political agent for the states of western Rajputana, where he conciliated the chieftains, settled their mutual feuds and collected materials for his Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (2 vols., 1829-1832). Another book of value, Travels in Western India (1839), was published posthumously. He returned from India in 1823, was promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1826, and died in London on the I7th of November 1835."

[Quelle: Encyclopaedia Britannica. -- 11th ed. -- Vol. 26. -- 1911. -- S. 1043f.]



Much disappointment has been felt in Europe at the sterility of the historic muse of Hindustan. When Sir William Jones first began to explore the vast mines of Sanskrit literature, great hopes were entertained that the history of the world would acquire considerable accessions from this source. The sanguine expectations that were then formed have not been realized ; and, as it usually happens, excitement has been succeeded by apathy and indifference. It is now generally regarded as an axiom, that India possesses no national history ; to which we may oppose the remark of a French Orientalist, who ingeniously asks, whence Abu-l Fazl obtained the materials for his outlines of ancient Hindu history ?1 Mr. Wilson has, indeed, done much to obviate this prejudice, by his translation of the Raja Tarangini, or History of Kashmir,2 which clearly demonstrates that regular historical composition was an art not unknown in Hindustan, and affords satisfactory ground for concluding that these productions were once less rare than at present, and that further exertion may bring more relics to light. Although the labours of Colebrooke, Wilkins, Wilson, and others of our own countrymen, emulated by [S. lvi] many learned men in France [viii] and Germany,1 have revealed to Europe some of the hidden lore of India ; still it is not pretended that we have done much more than pass the threshold of Indian science ; and we are consequently not competent to speak decisively of its extent or its character. Immense libraries, in various parts of India, are still intact, which have survived the devastations of the Islamite. The collections of Jaisalmer and Patan, for example, escaped the scrutiny of even the lynx-eyed Alau-d-din who conquered both these kingdoms, and who would have shown as little mercy to those literary treasures, as Omar displayed towards the Alexandrine library. Many other minor collections, consisting of thousands of volumes each, exist in Central and Western India, some of which are the private property of princes, and others belong to the Jain communities.2

1 M. Abel Rémusat, in his Mélanges Asialiques, makes many apposite and forcible remarks on this subject, which, without intention, convey a just reproof to the lukewarmness of our countrymen. The institution of the Royal Asiatic Society, especially that branch of it devoted to Oriental translations, may yet redeem this reproach.
2 Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. [The Rājatarangini of Kalhana has been translated by M. A. Stein, 2 vols., London, 1910.]
1 When the genius and erudition of such men as Schlegel are added to the zeal which characterizes that celebrated writer, what revolutions may we not yet expect from the cultivation of oriental literature ?

If we consider the political changes and convulsions which have happened in Hindustan since Mahmud's invasion, and the intolerant bigotry of many of his successors, we shall he able to account for the paucity of its national works on history, without being driven to the improbable conclusion, that the Hindus were [S. lvii]  ignorant of an art which has been cultivated in other countries from almost the earliest ages. Is it to be imagined that a nation so highly civilized as the Hindus, amongst whom the exact sciences flourished in perfection, by whom the fine arts [ix], architecture, sculpture, poetry, music, were not only cultivated, but taught and defined by the nicest and most elaborate rules, were totally unacquainted with the simple art of recording the events of their history, the characters of their princes, and the acts of their reigns ? Where such traces of mind exist, we can hardly believe that there was a want of competent recorders of events, which synchronical authorities tell us were worthy of commemoration. The cities of Hastinapur and Indraprastha, of Anhilwara and Somanatha, the triumphal columns of Delhi and Chitor, the shrines of Abu and Girnar, the cave-temples of Elephanta and Ellora, are so many attestations of the same fact; nor can we imagine that the age in which these works were erected was without an historian. Yet from the Mahabharata or Great War, to Alexander's invasion, and from that grand event to the era of Mahmud of Ghazni, scarcely a paragraph of pure native Hindu history (except as before stated) has hitherto been revealed to the curiosity of Western scholars. In the heroic history of Prithiraj, the last of the Hindu sovereigns of Delhi, written by his hard Chand, we find notices which authorize the inference that works similar to his own were then extant, relating to the period between Mahmud and Shihabu-d-din (a.d. 1000-1193) ; but these have disappeared.

2 Some copies of these Jain MSS. from Jaisalmer, which were written from five to eight centuries back, I presented to the Royal Asiatic Society. Of the vast numbers of these MS. books in the libraries of Patan and Jaisalmer, many are of the most remote antiquity, and in a character no longer understood by their possessors, or only by the supreme pontiff and his initiated librarians. There is one volume hold so sacred for its magical contents, that it is suspended by a chain in the temple of Chintaman, at the last-named capital in the desert, and is only taken down to have its covering renewed, or at the inauguration of a pontiff. Tradition assigns its authorship to Somaditya Suru Acharya, a pontiff of past days, before the Islamite had crossed the waters of the Indus, and whose diocese extended far beyond that stream. His magic mantle is also here preserved, and used on every now installation. The character is, doubtless, the nail-headed Pali ; and could we introduce the ingenious, indefatigable, and modest Mons. E. Burnouf, with his able coadjutor Dr. Lassen, into the temple, we might learn something of this Sibylline volume, without their incurring the risk of loss of sight, which befel the last individual, a female Yati of the Jains, who sacrilegiously endeavoured to acquire its contents. [For the temple library at Jaisalmer see IA, iv. 81 ff; for those at Udaipur, ibid. xiii. 31. J. Burgess visited the Patan library, described by the Author (WI, 232 ff.), and found a collection of palm-leaf MSS., carefully wrapped in cloth and deposited in large chests (BG, vii. 598).]

After eight centuries of galling subjection to conquerors totally ignorant of the classical language of the Hindus ; after almost every capital city had been repeatedly stormed and sacked by barbarous, bigoted, and exasperated foes ; it is too much to expect that the literature of the country should not have sustained, in common with other important interests, irretrievable losses. My own animadversions upon the defective condition of the annals of Rajwara have more than once been checked by a very just remark : "when our princes were in exile, driven from hold to hold, and compelled to dwell in the clefts of the mountains, often doubtful whether they would not be forced to [x] abandon the very meal preparing for them, was that a time to think of historical records ?"

Those who expect from a people like the Hindus a species of [S. lviii] composition of precisely the same character as the historical works of Greece and Rome, commit the very egregious error of overlooking the peculiarities which distinguish the natives of India from all other races, and which strongly discriminate their intellectual productions of every kind from those of the West. Their philosophy, their poetry, their architecture, are marked with traits of originality; and the same may be expected to pervade their history, which, like the arts enumerated, took a character from its intimate association with the religion of the people. It must be recollected, moreover, that until a more correct taste was imparted to the literature of England and of France, by the study of classical models, the chronicles of both these countries, and indeed of all the polished nations of Europe, were, at a much more recent date, as crude, as wild, and as barren as those of the early Rajputs.

In the absence of regular and legitimate historical records, there are, however, other native works (they may, indeed, be said to abound), which, in the hands of a skilful and patient investigator, would afford no despicable materials for the history of India.

The first of these are the Puranas and genealogical legends of the princes, which, obscured as they are by mythological details, allegory, and improbable circumstances, contain many facts that serve as beacons to direct the research of the historian. What Hume remarks of the annals and annalists of the Saxon Heptarchy, may be applied with equal truth to those of the Rajput Seven States:1 "they abound in names, but are extremely barren of events ; or they are related so much without circumstances and causes, that the most profound and eloquent writer must despair [xi] of rendering them either instructive or entertaining to the reader. The monks" (for which we may read "Brahmans"), " who lived remote from public affairs, considered the civil transactions as subservient to the ecclesiastical, and were strongly affected with credulity, with the love of wonder, and with a propensity to imposture."

1 Mewar, Marwar, Amber, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Kotah, and Bundi.

The heroic poems of India constitute another resource for history. Bards may be regarded as the primitive historians of mankind. Before fiction began to engross the attention of poets, or rather, before the province of history was dignified by a class of writers who made it a distinct department of literature, the [S. lix] functions of the bard were doubtless employed in recording real events and in commemorating real personages. In India Calliope has been worshipped by the bards from the days of Vyasa, the contemporary of Job, to the time of Benidasa, the present chronicler of Mewar. The poets are the chief, though not the sole, historians of Western India ; neither is there any deficiency of them, though they speak in a peculiar tongue, which requires to be translated into the sober language of probability. To compensate for their magniloquence and obscurity, their pen is free : the despotism of the Rajput princes does not extend to the poet's lay, which flows unconfined except by the shackles of the chand bhujanga, or 'serpentine stanza' ; no slight restraint, it must be confessed, upon the freedom of the historic muse. On the other hand, there is a sort of compact or understanding between the bard and the prince, a barter of "solid pudding against empty praise," whereby the fidelity of the poetic chronicle is somewhat impaired. This sale of "fame," as the bards term it, by the court-laureates and historiographers of Rajasthan, will continue until there shall arise in the community a class sufficiently enlightened and independent, to look for no other recompense for literary labour than public distinction.

Still, however, these chroniclers dare utter truths, sometimes most [xii] unpalatable to their masters. When offended, or actuated by a virtuous indignation against immorality, they are fearless of consequences ; and woe to the individual who provokes them ! Many a resolution has sunk under the lash of their satire, which has condemned to eternal ridicule names that might otherwise have escaped notoriety. The vish, or poison of the bard, is more dreaded by the Rajput than the steel of the foe.

The absence of all mystery or reserve with regard to public affairs in the Rajput principalities, in which every individual takes an interest, from the noble to the porter at the city-gates, is of great advantage to the chronicler of events. When matters of moment in the disorganized state of the country rendered it imperative to observe secrecy, the Rana of Mewar, being applied to on the necessity of concealing them, rejoined as follows : "this is Chaumukha-raj ;1 Eklinga the sovereign, I his vicegerent; in him I trust, and I have no secrets from my children." To this [S. lx]  publicity may be partly ascribed the inefficiency of every general alliance against common foes ; but it gives a kind of patriarchal character to the government, and inspires, if not loyalty and patriotism in their most exalted sense, feelings at least much akin to them.

1 'Government of four mouths,' alluding to the quadriform image of the tutelary divinity.

A material drawback upon the value of these bardic histories is, that they are confined almost exclusively to the martial exploits of their heroes, and to the rang-ran-bhum, or 'field of slaughter.' Writing for the amusement of a warlike race, the authors disregard civil matters and the arts and pursuits of peaceful life ; love and war are their favourite themes. Chand, the last of the great bards of India, tells us, indeed, in his preface, "that he will give rules for governing empires ; the laws of grammar and composition; lessons in diplomacy, home and foreign, etc." : and he fulfils his promise, by interspersing precepts on these points in various episodes throughout his work [xiii].

Again : the bard, although he is admitted to the knowledge of all the secret springs which direct each measure of the government, enters too deeply into the intrigues, as well as the levities, of the court, to be qualified to pronounce a sober judgment upon its acts.

Nevertheless, although open to all these objections, the works of the native bards afford many valuable data, in facts, incidents, religious opinions, and traits of manners ; many of which, being carelessly introduced, are thence to be regarded as the least suspicious kind of historical evidence In the heroic history of Prithiraj, by Chand, there occur many geographical as well as historical details, in the description of his sovereign's wars, of which the bard was an eye-witness, having been his friend, his herald, his ambassador, and finally discharging the melancholy office of accessory to his death, that he might save him from dishonour. The poetical histories of Chand were collected by the great Amra Singh of Mewar, a patron of literature, as well as a warrior and a legislator.1

1 [Only portions of the Chand-rāesa or Prithīrāj Rāesa have been translated (Smith, EHI, 387, note; IA, i. 269 ft, iii. 17 ff., xxxii. 167 f.]

Another species of historical records is found in the accounts given by the Brahmans of the endowments of the temples, their dilapidation and repairs, which furnish occasions for the introduction of historical and chronological  details. In the legends, [S. lxi] respecting places of pilgrimage and religious resort, profane events are blended with superstitious rites and ordinances, local ceremonies and customs.

The controversies of the Jains furnish, also, much historical information, especially with reference to Gujarat and Nahrwala, during the Chaulukya dynasty. From a close and attentive examination of the Jain records, which embody all that those ancient sectarians knew of science, many chasms in Hindu history might be filled up. The party-spirit of the rival sects of India was, doubtless, adverse to the purity of history ; and the very ground upon which the Brahmans built their ascendency was the ignorance of the people. There appears to have been in India [xiv|, as well as in Egypt in early times, a coalition between the hierarchy and the state, with the view of keeping the mass of the nation in darkness and subjugation.

These different records, works of a mixed historical and geographical character which I know to exist; raesas or poetical legends of princes, which are common ; local Puranas, religious comments, and traditionary couplets ;1 with authorities of a less dubious character, namely, inscriptions 'cut on the rock,' coins, copper-plate grants, containing charters of immunities, and expressing many singular features of civil government, constitute, as I have already observed, no despicable materials for the historian, who would, moreover, be assisted by the synchronisms which are capable of being established with ancient Pagan and later Muhammadan writers.

1 Some of these preserve the names of princes who invaded India between the time of Mahmud of Ghazni and Shihabu-d-din, who are not mentioned by Ferishta, the Muhammadan historian. The invasion of Ajmer and the capture of Bayana, the seat of the Yadu princes, were made known to us by this means.

From the earliest period of my official connexion with this interesting country, I applied myself to collect and explore its early historical records, with a view of throwing some light upon a people scarcely yet known in Europe and whose political connexion with England appeared to me to be capable of undergoing a material change, with benefit to both parties. It would be wearisome to the reader to be minutely informed of the process I adopted, to collect the scattered relics of Rajput history into the form and substance in which he now sees them. I began with the sacred genealogy from the Puranas ; examined the Mahabharata, [S. lxii] and the poems of Chand (a complete chronicle of his times); the voluminous historical poems of Jaisalmer, Marwar, and Mewar ;1 the histories of the Khichis, and those of the Hara princes [xv] of Kotah and Bundi, etc., by their respective bards. A portion of the materials compiled by Jai Singh of Amber or Jaipur (one of the greatest patrons of science amongst the modern Hindu princes), to illustrate the history of his race, fell into my hands. I have reason to believe that there existed more copious materials, which his profligate descendant, the late prince, in his division of the empire with a prostitute, may have disposed of on the partition of the library of the State, which was the finest collection in Rajasthan. Like some of the renowned princes of Timur's dynasty, Jai Singh kept a diary, termed Kalpadruma, in which he noted every event: a work written by such a man and at such an interesting juncture, would be a valuable acquisition to history. From the Datia prince I obtained a transcript of the journal of his ancestor, who served with such éclat amongst the great feudatories of Aurangzeb's army, and from which Scott made many extracts in his history of the Deccan.

1 Of Marwar, there were the Vijaya Vilas, the Surya Prakas, and Khyat, or legends, besides detached fragments of reigns. Of Mewar, there was the Khuman Raesa, a modern work formed from old materials which are lost, and commencing with the attack of Chitor by Mahmud, supposed to be the son of Kasim of Sind, in the very earliest ages of Muhammadanism : also the Jagat Vilas, the Raj-prakas, and the Jaya Vilas, all poems composed in the reigns of the princes whoso names they bear, but generally introducing succinctly the early parts of history. Besides these, there were fragments of the Jaipur family, from their archives ; and the Man Charitra, or history of Raja Man.

Colonel Tod and his Jain guru
[a.a.O., vol. III, Frontispiece]

For a period of ten years I was employed, with the aid of a learned Jain, in ransacking every work which could contribute any facts or incidents to the history of the Rajputs, or diffuse any light upon their manners and character. Extracts and versions of all such passages were made by my Jain assistant into the more familiar dialects (which are formed from the Sanskrit) of these tribes, in whose language my long residence amongst them enabled me to converse with facility. At much expense, and during many wearisome hours, to support which required no ordinary degree of enthusiasm, I endeavoured to possess myself not merely of their history, but of their religious notions, their familiar opinions, and their characteristic manners, by [S. lxiii] associating with their chiefs and bardic chroniclers, and by listening to their traditionary tales and allegorical poems. I might ultimately, as the circle of my [xvi] inquiries enlarged, have materially augmented my knowledge of these subjects ; but ill-health compelled me to relinquish this pleasing though toilsome pursuit, and forced me to revisit my native land just as I had obtained permission to look across the threshold of the Hindu Minerva ; whence, however, I brought some relics, the examination of which I now consign to other hands. The large collection of ancient Sanskrit and Bhakha MSS., which I conveyed to England, have been presented to the Royal Asiatic Society, in whose library they are deposited. The contents of many, still unexamined, may throw additional light on the history of ancient India. I claim only the merit of having brought them to the knowledge of European scholars ; but I may hope that this will furnish a stimulus to others to make similar exertions."

[Quelle: Tod, James <1782 - 1835>: Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan, or The central and western Rājput states of India / by James Tod, ed. with an introduction and notes by William Crooke [1848 - 1923]. -- London : Oxford University Press, 1920. -- 3 v. ; 19 cm. -- Vol I, S. lv - lxiii.]

Tod selbst hat wohl manchmal seine Quellen überschätzt, wie William Crooke (1848 - 1923), "late of the Indian Civil Service", der Herausgeber einer Neuausgabe der "Annals" bemerkt:

"In estimating the value of the local authorities on which the history is based, Tod reposed undue confidence in the epics and ballads composed by the poet Chānd and other tribal bards. It is believed that more than one of these poems have disappeared since his time, and these materials have been only in part edited and translated. The value to be placed on bardic literature is a question not free from difficulty. "On the faith of ancient songs, the uncertain but the only memorials of barbarism," says Gibbon, "they [Cassiodorus and Jornandes] deduced the first origin of the Goths." 1 The poet may occasionally record facts of value, but in his zeal for the honour of the tribe which he represents, he is tempted to exaggerate victories, to minimize defeats. This is a danger to which Indian poets are particularly exposed. Their trade is one of fulsome adulation, and in a state of society like that of the Rājputs, where tribal and personal rivalries nourish, the temptation to give a false colouring to history is great. In fact, bardic literature is often useful, not as evidence of occurrences in antiquity, but as an indication of the habits and beliefs current in the age of the writer. It exhibits the facts, not as they really occurred, but as the writer and his contemporaries supposed that they occurred. The mind of the poet, with all its prejudices, projects itself into the distant past. Good examples of the methods of the bards will appear in the attempt to connect the Rāthors with the dynasty of Kanauj, or to represent the Chauhāns as the founders of an empire in the Deccan.

1 Decline and Fall, ed. W. Smith, i. 376."

[Quelle: William Crooke. -- In: Tod, James <1782 - 1835>: Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan, or The central and western Rājput states of India / by James Tod, ed. with an introduction and notes by William Crooke [1848 - 1923]. -- London : Oxford University Press, 1920. -- 3 v. ; 19 cm. -- Vol I, S. xxx.]

Abb.: Lage von Mārwār (मारवाड़)
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]

James Tod beschreibt in "Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan" in der Einleitung zu den "Annals of Mārwār" (मारवाड़) anschaulich die Art Quellen, die in dieser Kategorie von historischen Quellen in Betracht kommen:


Let us begin with a statement of the author's authorities ;

  1. first, a genealogical roll of the Rāthors, furnished by a Yati, or Jain priest, from the temple of Narlai.2 This roll [S. 230]
    is about fifty feet in length, commencing, as usual, with a theogony, followed by the production of the 'first Rāthor from the spine (rahat) of Indra,'1 the nominal father being 'Yavanaswa, prince of Parlipur.' Of the topography of Parlipur, the Rāthors have no other notion than that it was in the north ; but in the declared race of their progenitor, a Yavan prince, of the Aswa or Asi tribe,2 we have a proof of the Scythic origin of this Rajput family.

    2 An ancient town in Marwar [about 80 miles S.E. of Jodhpur city].
    1 [A folk etymology, the name being derived from Rāshtrakūta, which may mean the chief, as opposed to the rank and file of the Ratta dynasty; but it has also been connected with Reddi, a Dravidian caste in S. India (BG, i. Part i. 119, Part ii. 22 note, 178, 383 ff.).]
    2 'One of the four tribes which overturned the Greek kingdom of Bactria. The ancient Hindu cosmographers claim the Aswa as a grand branch of their early family, and doubtless the Indo-Scythic people, from the Oxus to the Ganges, were one race.

    The chronicle proceeds with the foundation of Kanyakubja,3 or Kanauj, and the origin of Kama-dhwaja4 (vulgo Kamdhuj), the titular appellation of its princes, and concludes with the thirteen great Sakha, or ramifications of the Rāthors, and their Gotracharya, or genealogical creed.5

    From kubja (the spine) of the virgin (kanya) [referring to the legend of the hundred daughters of Kusanābha rendered crooked by Vāyu].
    4 Kama-dhwaja, 'the banner of Cupid.'
    5 Gotama Gotra, Mardwandani Sakha. Sukracharya Guru, Garapatya Agni, Pankhani Devi.

  2. Another roll, of considerable antiquity, commences in the fabulous age, with a long string of names, without facts ; its sole value consists in the esteem in which the tribe holds it. We may omit all that precedes Nain Pal, who, in the year S. 520 (a.d. 4706), conquered Kanauj, slaying its monarch Ajaipal; from which period the race was termed Kanaujia Rāthor. The genealogy proceeds to Jaichand, the last monarch of Kanauj ; relates the emigration of his nephew Siahji, or Sivaji, and his establishment [S. 931] in the desert (Maruwar), with a handful of his brethren (a wreck of the mighty kingdom of Kanauj) ; and terminates with the death of Raja Jaswant Singh in S. 1735 (a.d. 1679), describing every branch and scion, until we see them spreading over Maru [3].

    6 It is a singular fact, that there is no available date beyond the fourth century for any of the great Rajput families, all of whom are brought from the north. This was the period of one of the grand irruptions of the Getic races from Central Asia, who established kingdoms in the Panjab and on the Indus. Pal or Pali, the universal adjunct to every proper name, indicates the pastoral race of those invaders [?]. [The reason why the Rājput genealogies do not go back to an early date is that many of them were recruited from Gurjara and other foreign tribes. The tale of the origin of the Rāthors from Kanauj is a myth, as the dynasty of that place belonged to the Gahadvāla or Gaharwār clan. The object of the story was to affiliate the tribe to the heroic Jaichand (Smith, EHI, 386).]

    Genealogy ceases to be an uninteresting pursuit when it enables us to mark the progress of animal vegetation, from the germ to the complete development of the tree, until the land is overshadowed with its branches ; and bare as is the chronicle to the moralist or historian, it exhibits to the observer of the powers of the animal economy, data which the annals of no other people on earth can furnish. In a.d. 1193 we see the throne of Jaichand overturned ; his nephew, with a handful of retainers, taking service with a petty chieftain in the Indian desert. In less than four centuries we find the descendants of these exiles of the Ganges occupying nearly the whole of the desert; having founded three capitals, studded the land with the castles of its feudality, and bringing into the field fifty thousand men, ek bap ka beta, 'the sons of one father,' to combat the emperor of Delhi. What a contrast does their unnoticed growth present to that of the Islamite conquerors of Kanauj, of whom five dynasties passed away in ignorance of the renovated existence of the Rāthor, until the ambition of Sher Shah brought him into contact with the descendants of Siahji, whose valour caused him to exclaim "he had nearly lost the crown of India for a handful of barley," in allusion to the poverty of their land !
    What a sensation does it not excite when we know that a sentiment of kindred pervades every individual of this immense affiliated body, who can point out, in the great tree, the branch of his origin, whilst not one is too remote from the main stem to forget its pristine connexion with it ! The moral sympathies created by such a system pass unheeded by the chronicler, who must deem it futile to describe what all sensibly feel, and which renders his page, albeit little more than a string of names, one of paramount interest to the 'sons of Siahji.'
  3. The third authority is the Suraj Prakas (Surya Prakasa), composed by the bard Karnidhan, during the reign and by command of Raja Abhai Singh. This poetic history, comprised in 7500 stanzas, was copied from the original manuscript, and [S. 932] sent to me by Raja Man, in the year 1820.1 As usual, the Kavya (bard) commences with the origin of all things, tracing the Rāthors from the creation down to Sumitra ; from whence is a blank until he recommences with the name of Kamdhuj, which appears to have been the title assumed by Nain Pal, on his conquest of Kanauj. Although Karnidhan must have taken his facts from the [4] royal records, they correspond very well with the roll from Narlai. The bard is, however, in a great hurry to bring the founder of the Rāthors into Marwar, and slurs over the defeat and death of Jaichand. Nor does he dwell long on his descendants, though he enumerates them all, and points out the leading events until he reaches the reign of Jaswant Singh, grandfather of Abhai Singh, who "commanded the bard to write the Suraj Prakas."

    1 This manuscript is deposited in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society.
  4. The next authority is the Raj Rupak Akhyat, or 'the royal relations.' This work commences with a short account of the Suryavansa, from their cradle at Ajodhya ; then takes up Siahji's migration, and in the same strain as the preceding work, rapidly passes over all events until the death of Raja Jaswant; but it becomes a perfect chronicle of events during the minority of his successor Ajit, his eventful reign, and that of Abhai Singh, to the conclusion of the war against Sarbuland Khan, viceroy of Gujarat. Throwing aside the meagre historical introduction, it is professedly a chronicle of the events from S. 1735 (a.d. 1679) to S. 1787 (a.d. 1734), the period to which the Suraj Prakas is brought down.
  5. A portion of the Bijai Vilas, a poem of 100,000 couplets, also fell into my hands : it chiefly relates to the reign of the prince whose name it bears, Bijai Singh, the son of Bakhta Singh. It details the civil wars waged by Bijai Singh and his cousin Ram Singh (son of Abhai Singh), and the consequent introduction of the Mahrattas into Marwar.
  6. From a biographical work named simply Khyat, or 'Story,' I obtained that portion which relates to the lives of Raja Udai Singh, the friend of Akbar ; his son Raja Gaj, and grandson Jaswant Singh. These sketches exhibit in true colours the character of the Rāthors.
  7. Besides these, I caused to be drawn up by an intelligent man, who had passed his life in office at Jodhpur, a memoir of transactions from the death of Ajit Singh, in a.d. 1629, down to the treaty [S. 933] with the English Government in a.d. 1818. The ancestors of the narrator had filled offices of trust in the State, and he was a living chronicle both of the past and present.

From these sources, from conversations with the reigning sovereign, his nobles, his ambassadors, and subjects, materials were collected for this sketch of the Rāthors—barren, indeed, of events at first, but redundant of them as we advance.

A genealogical table of the Rāthors is added, showing the grand offsets, whose [5] descendants constitute the feudal frèrage of the present day. A glance at this table will show the claims of each house ; and in its present distracted condition, owing to civil broils, will enable the paramount power to mediate, when necessary, with impartiality, in the conflicting claims of the prince and his feudatories."

[Quelle: Tod, James <1782 - 1835>: Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan, or The central and western Rājput states of India / by James Tod, ed. with an introduction and notes by William Crooke [1848 - 1923]. -- London : Oxford University Press, 1920. -- 3 v. ; 19 cm. -- Vol II, S. 929 - 933.]

Im Folgenden kann nur exemplarisch auf einige Werke in einigen der Regionalsprachen hingewiesen werden.

2. Pañjābi (پنجابی,ਪੰਜਾਬੀ)

In Pañjābi gibt es als Heroendichtung die literarische Gattung des Var. Vars werden gesungen mit Instrumentalbegleitung von dem Streichinstrument Sāraṃgī (Sarangi) (सारंगी ,سرانگى ‎), einer Trommel und der kleinen, sanduhrförmigen Doppeltrommel Dhaḍ (धड़).

Muslimische Dichter führten die literarische Form der Kriegsdichtung Jaṅgnāmā ein.

Aufzählung der erhaltenen Werke beider Literaturgattungen:

Encyclopaedia of Indian literature / chief ed.: Amaresh Datta (ab Bd. 4: Mohan Lal). -  New Delhi : Sahitya Akademi, 1987 - 1994. -- 6 Bde. -- s.v. Heroic literature (Punjabi). -- S. 1570ff.

3. Rājasthānī (राजस्थानी) und Hindī (हिंदी)

Rājasthān ist das Land der Heldendichtung, deshalb gibt es in Rājasthāni eine unüberschaubare Zahl von Heroendichtung. In der Encyclopaedia of Indian literature wird dies so beschrieben:

"The expanse of heroic literature in Rajasthani is rather all pervading. It is the essence of the entire work written by the
  • charanas,
  • bhatas,
  • motisaras,
  • Rajputas,
  • Sewags,
  • etc.

during the early, medieval and pre-British modern periods. It reflects the complete social and cultural fabric of the Rajputs together with the political conditions of the age. The ideals for which they fought, the inborn dignity of their character, the practice of 'sati', their sacrifice for the cause of loyalty to the master, the little importance they gave to their lives to uphold the value! that remained steadfast in them, the bravery of the womenfolk when called upon to fight and lastly their patronage to art, knowledge and culture were the rare qualities which form part of the heroic and historical literature of the language."

[Quelle: Encyclopaedia of Indian literature / chief ed.: Amaresh Datta (ab Bd. 4: Mohan Lal). -  New Delhi : Sahitya Akademi, 1987 - 1994. -- 6 Bde. -- s.v. Heroic literature (Rajasthani). -- S. 1572f.]

Dieselbe Quelle klassifiziert den Inhalt der Heldendichtungen in:

  1. "eulogies of war-heroes,
  2. eulogies of munificiences,
  3. posthumous eulogies of bravery and generosity,
  4. eulogies of faithful wifes committing 'sati' with their dead husbands.
  5. description of battle scenes,
  6. desvription of the arms and weapons of the war-heroes,
  7. description of the heroes' horses and elephants,
  8.  spirited statements, challenges and actions of the heroes,
  9. descriptions of historical works, and other miscellaneous forms.

These descriptions are available in a veriety of metres of which the 'dohas', 'sorathas' and 'dingala gitas' form the major part."

[Quelle: Encyclopaedia of Indian literature / chief ed.: Amaresh Datta (ab Bd. 4: Mohan Lal). -  New Delhi : Sahitya Akademi, 1987 - 1994. -- 6 Bde. -- s.v. Heroic literature (Rajasthani). -- S. 1571.]

Daneben gibt es Prosawerke historischen Inhalts wie Khyāt's und Vāt's.

Charles James Lyall schreibt über die historische Literatur in Hindosthānī

"Our knowledge of the ancient metrical chronicles of Rajpūtānā is still very imperfect, and is chiefly derived from the monumental work of Colonel James Tod, called The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (published in 1820-1832), which is founded on them. It is in the nature of compositions of this character to be subjected to perpetual revision and recasting; they are the production of the family bards of the dynasties whose fortunes they record, and from generation to generation they are added to, and their language constantly modified to make it intelligible to the people of the time. Round an original nucleus of historical fact a rich growth of legend accumulates; later redactors endeavour to systematize and to assign dates, but the result is not often such as to inspire confidence; and the mass has more the character of ballad literature than of serious history. The materials used by Tod are nearly all still unprinted; his manuscripts are now deposited in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society in London; and one of the tasks which, on linguistic and historical grounds, should first be undertaken by the investigator of early Hindi literature is the examination and sifting, and the publication in their original form, of these important texts.

Omitting a few fragments of more ancient bards given by compilers of accounts of Hindi literature, the earliest author of whom any portion has as yet been published in the original text is Chand Bardāī, the court bard of Prithwī-Rāj, the last Hindu sovereign of Delhi. His poem, entitled Prithī-Rāj Rāsau (or Rāysā), is a vast chronicle in 69 books or cantos, comprising a general history of the period when he wrote. Of this a small portion has been printed, partly under the editorship of the late Mr John Beames and partly under that of Dr Rudolf Hoernle, by the Asiatic Society of Bengal; but the excessively difficult nature of the task prevented both scholars from making much progress.2 Chand, who came of a family of bards, was a native of Lahore, which had for nearly 170 years (since 1023) been under Muslim rule when he flourished, and the language of the poem exhibits a considerable leaven of Persian words. In its present form the work is a redaction made by Amar Singh of Mewar, about the beginning of the 17th century, and therefore more than 400 years after Chand's death, with his patron Prithwī-Rāj, in 1193. There is, therefore, considerable reason to doubt whether we have in it much of Chand's composition in its original shape; and the nature of the incidents described enhances  this doubt. The detailed dates contained in the Chronicle have been shown by Kabirāj Syāmal Dās3 to be in every case about ninety years astray. It tells of repeated conflicts between the hero Prithwī-Rāj and Sultan Shihābuddin, of Ghor (Muhammad Ghori), in which the latter always, except in the last great battle, comes off the worst, is taken prisoner and is released on payment of a ransom; these seem to be entirely unhistorical, our contemporary Persian authorities knowing of only one encounter (that of Tiraurī (Tirawari) near Thenesar, fought in 1191) in which the Sultan was defeated, and even then he escaped uncaptured to Lahore. The Mongols (Book XV.) are brought on the stage more than thirty years before they actually set foot in India, and are related to have been vanquished by the redoubtable Prithwī-Rāj. It is evident that such a record cannot possibly be, in its entirety, a contemporary chronicle; but nevertheless it appears to contain a considerable element which, from its language, may belong to Chand's own age, and represents the earliest surviving document in Hindī. "Though we may not possess the actual text of Chand, we have certainly in his writings some of the oldest known specimens of Gaudian literature, abounding in pure Apabhramśa Śaurasenī Prākrit forms" (Grierson).

2 A fresh critical edition of the text by Paṇḍit Mohan Lāl Vishṇu Lāḷ Paṇia at Benares, under the auspices of the Nāgarī Prachārinī Sabhā, had reached canto xxiv. in 1907.

It is very difficult now to form a just estimate of the poem as literature. The language, essentially transitional in character, consists largely of words which have long since died out of the vernacular speech. Even the most learned Hindus of the present day are unable to interpret it with confidence; and the meaning of the verses must be sought by investigating the processes by which Sanskrit and Prākrit forms have been transfigured in their progress into Hindi. Chand appears, on the whole, to exhibit the merits and defects of ballad chroniclers in general. There is much that is lively and spirited in his descriptions of fight or council ; and the characters of the Rājpūt warriors who surround his hero are often sketched in their utterances with skill and animation. The sound, however, frequently predominates over the sense; the narrative is carried on with the wearisome iteration and tedious, unfolding of familiar themes and images which characterize all such poetry in India; and his value, for us at least, is linguistic rather than literary.

Chand may be taken as the representative of a long line of successors, continued even to the present day in the Rājpūt states. Many of their compositions are still widely popular as ballad literature, but are known only in oral versions sung in Hindostan by professional singers. One of the most famous of these is the Alhā-khaṇḍ, reputed to be the work of a contemporary of Chand called Jagnik or Jagnāyak, of Mahobā in Bundelkhaṇḍ, who sang the praises of Rājā-Parmāl, a ruler whose wars with Prithwī-Rāj are recorded in the Mahobā-Khaṇḍ of Chand's work. Ālhā and Ūdal, the heroes of the poem, are famous warriors in popular legend, and the stories connected with them exist in an eastern recension, current in Bihār, as well as in the Bundelkhaṇḍī or western form which is best known. Two versions of the latter have been printed, having been taken down as recited by illiterate professional rhapsodists.

Another celebrated bard was Sārangdhar of Rantambhor, who flourished in 1363, and sang the praises of Hammīr Deo (Hamir Deo), the Chauhan chief of Rantambhor who fell in a heroic struggle against Sultan 'Alā'uddīn Khiljī in 1300. He wrote the Hammīr Kāvya and Hammīr Rāsau, of which an account is given by Tod;4 he was also a poet in Sanskrit, in which language he compiled, in 1363, the anthology called Sārngadhara-Paddhati.

Another work which may be mentioned (though much more modern) is the long chronicle entitled Chhattra-Prakās, or the history of Rājā Chhatarsāl, the Bundelā rājā of Pannā, who was killed, fighting on behalf of Prince Dārā-Shukoh, in the battle of Dholpur won by Aurangzeb in 1658. The author, Lāl Kabi, has given in this work a history of the valiant Bundelā nation which was rendered into English by Captain W. R. Pogson in 1828, and printed at Calcutta.

3 See J.A.S.B. (1886), pp. 6 sqq.
4 Annals and Antiquities, ii. 452 n. and 472 n.

Before passing to the more important branch of early [S. 485] Hindi literature, the works of the Bhagats, mention may be made here of a remarkable composition, a poem entitled the Padmāwat, the materials of which are derived from the heroic legends of Rajpūtānā, but which is not the work of a bard nor even of a Hindu. The author, Malik Muḥammad of Ja'is, in Oudh, was a venerated Muslim devotee, to whom the Hindu rājā of Ameṭhī was greatly attached. Malik Muḥammad wrote the Padmāwat in 1540, the year in which Shēr Shāh Sūr ousted Humāyān from the throne of Delhi. The poem is composed in the purest vernacular Awadhī, with no admixture of traditional Hindu learning, and is generally to be found written in the Persian character, though the metres and language are thoroughly Indian. It professes to tell the tale of Padmāwatī or Padminī, a princess celebrated for her beauty who was the wife of the Chauhān rājā of Chītor in Mewār. The historical Padminī's husband was named Bhīm Singh, but Malik Muḥammad calls him Ratan Sen; and the story turns upon the attempts of 'Alā'uddīn Khiljī, the sovereign of Delhi, to gain possession of her person. The tale of the siege of Chītor in 1303 by 'Alāuddīn, the heroic stand made by its defenders, who perished to the last man in fight with the Sultan's army, and the self-immolation of Padminī and the other women, the wives and daughters of the warriors, by the fiery death called johar, will be found related in Tod's Rajasthan, i. 262 sqq. Malik Muhammad takes great liberties with the history, and explains at the end of the poem that all is an allegory, and that the personages represent the human soul, Divine wisdom, Satan, delusion and other mystical characters.

Both on account of its interest as a true vernacular work, and as the composition of a Musalman who has taken the incidents of his morality from the legends of his country and not from an exotic source, the poem is memorable. It has often been lithographed, and is very popular; a translation has even been made into Sanskrit. A critical edition has been prepared by Dr G. A. Grierson and Paṇḍit Sudhākar Dwivedī."

[Quelle: Charles James Lyall <1845 - 1920>: Hindōstānī literature. -- In: Encyclopaedia Britannica. -- 11th ed. -- Vol. XIII. -- 1910. -- S. 484f.]

George Grierson, der geniale Linguist des Indian Civil Service, regte an, die Chroniken Rājasthāns und Gujarats zu erfassen und zu erschließen. Der folgende Bericht gibt einen guten Einblick in das Unternehmen:

"Preliminary Report on the Operation in Search of MSS. of Bardic Chronicles.

On the 13th of September, 1904, Sir (then Mr.) George Grierson addressed a letter to Lord Curzon on the eve of his departure from England, on the subject of the collection and publication of manuscripts of Bardic Chronicles lying neglected in many libraries of Rājputāna and Guzerat, on which Lord Curzon's Government put themselves in communication with the Asiatic Society of Bengal and placed Rs. 2,400 at their disposal for a preliminary survey of these chronicles. The ultimate object of Government was stated to be

  1. To search the libraries of Rājputāna and Guzerat for manuscripts of Bardic Chronicles :

  2. To have the manuscripts properly edited, collated and published in the form of Hindi texts, and

  3. To have them translated and annotated with the requisite historical introductions by competent scholars.

The Society in undertaking the work underrated its difficulties. Lord Curzon's Government thought that the preliminary survey would be finished in the course of a year or so, but the Society could not get a competent man for that survey in four years. In the first year they appointed Paṇḍit Śarat Chandra Shāstrī, a vernacular teacher of the Hindu School, for the work and had a lengthy correspondence with the Governments of Bengal and India for the transfer of his services to the Society. But when all was settled after a year's correspondence, the Paṇḍit applied to be relieved of the work. The first year thus passed without anything being done. Then another lengthy correspondence ensued with the Nāgarā Prachārinī Sabhā of Benares, which similarly bore no fruit. Then the Society appointed Major C. B. Baldock, 44th Merwara Infantry ; he wrote a letter to the Resident at Jodhpur, who sent him Munshi Deviprasad, Munsif of Jodhpur, to formulate a scheme for giving effect to the wishes of the Government of India. But before anything was done Major Baldock was transferred to Simla and consequently he had to give up the work. The late Mahāmahopadhyāya Paṇdit Sudhākar Dvivedī of Benares was then appointed to take charge of the work and remained in charge for a year. But when asked to submit his report for the year's work he wrote: "I see that you want me to supervise and direct the collection of manuscripts of Bardic Chronicles. I am very sorry that I have neither the time nor the energy to undertake this work. Should you at any time decide to publish any old books of Hindi I will be glad to edit them for the Society."

After four years had thus passed in fruitless negotiations, Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee in his Annual Address of 1908 declared that nothing was done. On assuming his office as President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Sir Thomas Holland asked me to submit a note on the subject of the search of Manuscripts of Bardic Chronicles. As the work was highly important and had remained undone, in submitting that note, I offered my services to the Society to carry out the Government scheme. And as after my retirement from Government Service as Principal of the Sanskrit College, Calcutta, I had already taken up several branches of original research in Sanskrit Literature and in oriental scholarship generally, on behalf of the Society [S. 2] and on my own behalf, I could hardly spare more than three months in the year for this new branch of research.

Since my appointment in April, 1909, I have made three tours in Rājputāna, visiting some of the capitals and ancient towns therein and in Guzerat. I have submitted four Progress Reports since 1909 to the Society, and I am now submitting a General Report of my work for the last four years.

In the first year I visited Jaipur, Jodhpur and Baroda. In the third year I visited Jaipur, Jodhpur and Bikanir, and in the fourth I visited Bharatpur, Bundi, Ujjain, Mandasore, Ajmere, Jodhpur and Billada.

Jaipur. I always received every encouragment from the Political Officer at Jaipur. The Prime Minister in the first year permitted me to visit those Ṭhākur Sāhebs who were interested in the ancient lore of their country. But in the second year on sending my card I was told that the Nawab was busy. I offered to come another time, but I was told that the Nawab was always busy and that there were no Bardic Chronicles in Jaipur.

Baroda. When I visited Baroda there was an All-India Literary Conference sitting there. I was introduced to the meeting, and the meeting appreciated the object of my visit. The Mahārāja granted me a private interview and assured me that his Dewan would give me every facility if I came there again in search for Bardic Chronicles. I saw there a collection of 45 Bardic songs concerning the Gaekwar Family kept in the library of the Education Department, Baroda.

Bharatpur. At Bharatpur I was introduced to the Librarian of the State Library and I read the entire list of Manuscripts deposited in that Library. It contains some Bardic works about Bharatpur. When I visited that capital the Court was busy about fixing the marriage of the young prince and it was the day preceding the Dussera. So they couldn't pay much attention to me, nor could I expect much from them at such a time.

Bundi. I had a very kind reception at Bundi. I examined the entire collection of Manuscripts in their library and copied the list which contained many Bardic works. About 70 years ago a powerful Cāran, Bārhaṭ Sūrajmal, wrote a lengthy work, "Vaṃsabhāskar," giving a history of the Hāḍā Chauhan family of Bundi and of all Rājput families that came in contact with them. This is everywhere regarded as a classical work of Bardic poetry. It has been published with a commentary at Jodhpur, but has remained unknown to modern scholarship. Its publication has very nearly killed Bardic activity at Bundi, because every bard I met with recited verses from the Vaṃsabhāskar. I enquired about old families of bards, but I was told that during the last 70 years their libraries have been dissipated. In fact I was shown a huge mass of loose pages of a collection of Bardic songs purchased from a Benia for two pice. But I had the good fortune at Bundi to be present at a tyāga, or distribution, of Rs. 1,000 to the Cārans and Bhāṭs outside Bundi, and their number was 146. The Society's Collection of MSS. contained two works in Sanskrit, namely Sūrjanacarita and Pītāmbararcarita, both of which relate to the founder of the State of Bundi, and the Bundi Durbar asked for copies of these works and they were furnished to them.

Bikanir. At Bikanir I met with every encouragement in 1911. The Mahārāja appointed his Home Member, Mr. Kāmtaprasād, B.A., to take charge of the work of collection of Bardic Manuscripts, who has commissioned men to carry out the work. But the last year was a very busy year with the Court of Bikanir. They had the Imperial Durbar first, the Mahārāja's Jubilee, and the Viceroy's visit. When in November, 1912, I offered to go to Bikanir I was told not to come as they would not be able to give me any help, and I was asked to come some other time.

In 1911 I had the good luck to examine the immense and the famous and historical collection of manuscripts at Bikanir which contained about 50 Bardic works [S. 3]  about Bikanir and about the Rahtores. Further, on the 6th June, I received from Mr. Kāmtaprasād, the officer in charge of the collection of Bardic manuscripts in Bikanir, a letter enclosing a list of 604 manuscripts he has collected. In that letter he requests me to mark out those works which are Bardic and he will get them copied and sent to the Society. He says hi his letter that the collection is very nearly complete so far as Bikanir State is concerned. I have marked out 304 works, copies of which will be valuable as Bardic works.

Jodhpur. At Jodhpur I received uniform kindness and encouragement. The late Mahārāja Sardar Singh granted me a private interview and his Prime Minister Rāo Bahādur Sukdevprasād, C.I.E., undertook to collect all the Bardic works and songs at Jodhpur at the cost of the State, and himself to supervise the work of collection. But the death of His Highness and the establishment of a Regency for a time put a stop to the work. On my visit, however, in 1911 Sir Pertāb assured me that the work would be continued as long as the Society required. He has placed the work in charge of Ṭhākur Gumān Singh Kīchī, now Rāo Bahādur, a man who takes a keen interest in everything regarding old Rājputāna and especially in its historical literature. Already about 200 MSS. have been collected and some of them copied out in duplicate one copy to be kept in the State and the other to be forwarded to the Asiatic Society of Bengal. In this way the Durbar have sent 47 works to the Society covering about 5,000 leaves. Some of the copies have been very carefully compared with the original and corrected. But the most valuable works are the indices prepared at the Historical Duftar in alphabetical order of the verses and of proper names of some Bardic works. The Historical Duftar has been found to understand its work thoroughly and anxious to help the Society in its arduous work. Before undertaking the collection of Bardic works the Historical Duftar had a collection of 56 works of Bardic interest. During the last two years they have copied 57 new works. So the copies at the Duftar now amount to 113 manuscripts. Besides they have collected 62 works from the State and have collected information of about 300 new works, all of Bardic interest. Half of the State of Marwar yet remains unexplored. But the Regent Sir Pratāb has assured me that he would continue the work as long as Government of India wanted. The example set by the Jodhpur Durbar is of the highest value for the collection of Bardic works. Unless the State and its people take a lively interest it would be very difficult for the Government of India to collect these scattered songs, the great majority of which exist only in oral tradition.

Ujjain and Mandasore. There is very little of Bardic work in Ujjain and Mandasore. But there are "Jagais" or Keepers of Genealoies who often do the work of bards. The officers of the Gwalior State took interest in my work and gave me all help I needed from them. I was told by them that the genealogies of the Jagais are received as evidence in the Civil Courts in the Native States in Malwa.

In every district where Hindus ruled, bards were encouraged and rewarded. In the Marhatta country the "Gandhālis" were the bards and they wrote "Pavādas." These are exactly like the ballads of the Scottish borders, a collection of stanzas of warlike verses. H. A. Acworth, Esq., translated a number of these in English, collected in original by Paṇḍit Sāligrām. Paṇḍit Sāligrām has made another collection and would be glad to make them over if he is remunerated for his labours. There are some unpublished Pavādas of the Gaekwar family lying at the office of Education Department of the State. But it is not known when they would be published.

In Kathiawar and Guzerat there are Rasas or bardic songs. Mr. Forbes published a translation of a limited number of these songs in his Rāsamālā. The Rāsa literature is very extensive and is likely to yield good results if searched out and published. [S. 4] The Jaina Yatis often write Rāsas and Ḍhāḍs much of which is purely Bardic. Much of Sijhai and Stavanas of the Jainas too are really Bardic. A collection of Ḍhāḍs have been published at Jodhpur, but their number is about 300 only. This is but a very small fraction of the Ḍhāḍ literature.

The Khyāts in Rājputāna written in the local dialects of the authors and in prose are real histories. Some of them were written  by highly cultured men of the time and holding high positions in the States. Nayan Siṃha whose Khyāt of Rājputāna is held in the highest respect was the Prime Minister of Jodhpur during the middle of the 17th century.

Vāts are historical anecdotes often written by men of good position in society. Some vāts have been collected but their number is very large.

Miscellaneous songs and verses by Bards. These are exceedingly interesting, if it is only known when, by whom and under what circumstances they were uttered. But the collection of these three items of information is a very difficult task and it is to the publication of these songs with proper commentaries that the efforts of the search should be chiefly directed.

During the four years I have been in charge I have tried to throw some light on some of the intricate problems of Bardic Literature:

  1. Who are the bards? Are they Bhāts and Cārans only ? My answer is that various castes wrote Bardic poetry. But Bhāts and Cārans made a living by their poetry alone. (See Appendix I).

  2. What is the language of the Bardic poetry?

  3. What is "Pingal" and what is "Dingal"? (Appendix II).

  4. In how many different ways were the bards remunerated and rewarded ? (Appendix III).

I have tried to throw some light on genealogies. I have compared Tod's catalogue of the 36 royal races of Rājputāna with a newly discovered genealogical work of the 36 Kshattriya races, and I find that what Tod called Scythic element among the Rājputs does not exist among the Kshattriyas (Appendix IV).

I have also tried to explain why the great work of Chand, the Prithvīrājrāsa, is regarded as genuine by some and as forgery by others, from materials obtained from the lineal descendants of Chand himself (Appendix V).

There are two more appendices attached to this Report ; one gives a short history of the family of Sardul Singh of Northern Sekhavati not adequately treated of in Tod's Rajasthan, and the other treats of the discovery of a very interesting sect of flame-worshippers at Bilāḍa in Marwar who have kept up a lamp burning since Samvat 1521= 1464 A.D.

In the other appendices I have tried to give lists of works which would be tedious to read in the body of the Report. [S. 5]


That a thorough and systematic search for Bardic manuscripts, their publication and translation would remove one of the greatest wants of the historical student, namely, the Hindu view of the great historical movements during the Mussalman and the early British rule, goes without saying. The manuscripts when collected will also bring to light an immense mass of exceedingly valuable first-hand information on Hindu life, in its widest sense, in Western India. The work cannot be properly done without the aid and co-operation of the various States concerned. The great majority of them do not understand the work. They are to be approached on the subject and the advantages explained to them. Those who are already taking interest should have to be constantly reminded of their kind undertaking in this respect, otherwise the work may lag behind. Under the circumstances it would be the duty of some one to go about visiting the Chiefs and nobles. If he has to go from Calcutta the cost of his tour will have to be paid. If he makes two tours, one in the autumn and the other in the spring, the tour charges will amount to Rs. 1,200 a year. He will be given an assistant knowing both English and Marwari-Hindi , costing about Rs. 600 a year. During the past few years, all the correspondence arid typing has been done by an assistant of mine paid out of my own pocket. But the work, if the suggestions of this preliminary report be accepted, would increase manifold and would fully justify the appointment of a whole-time assistant. Two travelling agents should be employed to go round the various Bardic centres in the mofussil collecting information, copying manuscripts and taking down songs. One would have to address himself to the higher classes and the other to the lower classes of bards. The remuneration would have to be Rs. 75 and Rs. 50. Including travelling allowance, the total cost of entertaining the services of these two officers would be about Rs. 2,000 a year.

The publication of Hindi texts will also be a costly undertaking. If Bardic and historical works (Khyāts and Vāts) are to be published, they should be accompanied with philological notes. Some people in Rājputāna may undertake the work without remuneration, if the cost of printing and publication be paid, but unpaid editorship can not be always relied upon and some arrangement will have to be made for remunerating editors.

The publication of the collection of miscellaneous songs is a more arduous business. Each song is to be accompanied by two commentaries, one historical and the other philological, and the editions of these songs, which form the great bulk of the Bardic Literature, should always bear remuneration unless noblemen of the "old light" like Ṭhākur Sāheb Bhūrsingji of Malsisar undertake the work as a labour of love. I think a provision of Rs. 5,000 a year should be made for the purpose of publishing texts with commentaries and translating them into English.

Putting down Rs. 200 as contingencies, the entire charge of this branch of work would be

  1. Tour charges .. .. .. .. Rs. 1200

  2. (b) Marwari and English-knowing clerk . . . . 600

  3. (c) Travelling agents and their travelling allowances . . 2,000

  4. (d) The cost of printing, publishing, editing and translating 5,000

  5. (e) Contingencies .. .. .. ..200

Total . . Rs. 9,000

[S. 6] The grant, as is usual in such cases, should be renewable at the end of five years. I do not think that it would be necessary to renew it many times, as private enterprise and patronage of the States would come in to supplement the efforts of Government.

In view of the interest which the Jodhpur and Bikanir Durbars are taking in the collection of Bardic works, the Government of India should, I think, continue the work and make the grant. The Jodhpur Durbar is budgeting Rs. 2,500 every year. The Bikanir Durbar is also spending about Rs. 1,500 a year. Other Governments may also be induced to spend similar sums. They are and will be spending money in the hope that the Government of India may continue the work, and collect and publish the best available materials for the history of India, which will be beneficial both to the Imperial Government and the States.

It would not be out of place to note here that I have received offers of co-operation from the Administrator of Junāgaḍa State who is ready to place the services of Mr. H. M. Bhāṭṭ, Professor of Philosophy, to help me in the work, and from an Italian scholar, L. P. Tessitori, who has made Indian vernaculars his special study and published Uvaesamālā, a Jaina Prākrita work by Dharmadāsa. These offers would be of no use unless the work is continued on a proper scale.

ASIATIC SOCIETY'S ROOMS, Calcutta, July 20, 1913.


[Quelle: Shastri, Hara Prasad <1853-1931>: Preliminary report on the operation in search of mss. of bardic chronicles . --Calcutta : Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1913. -- 51 S.  ; 34 cm. -- S. 1 - 6]

Einen guten Einblick in das große Gebiet der bardischen Literatur Rājasthāns gibt:

Abb.: Einbandtitel

Tessitori, L. P. (Luigi Pio) <1887 - 1919>: Bardic and historical survey of Rajputana : a descriptive catalogue of bardic and historical manuscripts. -- Calcutta : The Baptist Mission Press, 1917-1918. -- (Bibliotheca Indica : a collection of oriental Works : New Series ; 231)

Vorwort zu I.1:

"Under the general title of " Prose Chronicles," the present section of the Descriptive Catalogue of Bardic and Historical Manuscripts includes all kinds of works in prose, such as those meant by the Marwari terms khyāta, vāta, vigata, vaṃśāvaḷī, pīḍhīs and similar ones, all of which partake more or less of an historical character. Bardic poems and songs, as well as works on non-historical subjects, when found interspersed in the same manuscripts, have also been described, though much more cursorily. In quoting extracts, preference has often been given to passages containing dates, figures, names, etc., or supplying some new information.

The importance of this section of the Descriptive Catalogue is increased by the fact that the works described in it form the richest source of information available in connection with the mediaeval history of Rajputana, and one of the scopes of the present Catalogue is to collect and classify all such materials which to this day have mostly remained scattered and ignored so as to make identification and reference possible and easy. Almost the generality of these works being anonymous and titleless, the number under which they are registered in the present Catalogue will enable one easily to cite them in any work of historical research that may be compiled in future.

L. P. T.

Jodhpur, August 1915."

3.1. Candbardāī: Pṛthvīrāj rāso -- चंदबरदाई: पृथ्वीराज रासो

Pṛthvīrāj rāso ist ein Heldenepos über den Rājputen König Pṛthvīrāj Cauhān III. (पृथ्वीराज चौहान) (regierte 1178-1192), den letzten Hindu-König von Delhi, der 1192 in der zweiten Schlacht von Tarain (in der Nähe des heutigen Thānesar/थानेसर) vom Muhammad von Ghur (محمد شہاب الدین غوری) (1162 - 1206), dem Statthalter von Ghazni (Zentralafghanistan) (غزنة‎)  geschlagen wurde. Über die Verfasserschaft (ein oder mehrere Verfasser), die Zeit der Abfassung (12. Jhdt. oder 17. Jhdt.) sowie den historischen Wert (Tatsachen oder reine Fiktionen) sind heute die Meinungen gespalten. Die Verfasser der beiden folgenden Zitate nehmen einen Verfasser (Cand) im 12. Jahrhundert an.  Von dem Werk sind vier verschieden Versionen (mit 17000, 12000, 3500 bzw. 1300 Versen) erhalten.

"The work of Chand is a universal history of the period in which ho wrote. In the sixty-nine books, comprising one hundred thousand stanzas, relating to the exploits of Prithiraj, every noble family of Rajasthan will find some record of their ancestors. It is accordingly treasured amongst the archives of each race having any pretensions to the name of Rājput. From this he can trace his martial forefathers who ' drank of the wave of battle ' in the passes of Kirman when the ' cloud of war rolled from Himachal to the plains of Hindustan. The wars of Prithiraj, his alliances, his numerous and powerful tributaries, their abodes and pedigrees, make the works of Chand invaluable as historic and geographical memoranda, besides being treasures in mythology, manners, and the annals of the mind, To read this poet well is a sure road to honour, and my own Guru was allowed, even by the professional bards, to excel therein. As he read I rapidly translated about thirty thousand stanzas. Familiar with the dialects in which it is written, I have fancied that I seized occasionally the poet's spirit; but it were presumption to suppose that I embodied all his brilliancy, or fully comprehended the depth of his allusions. But I knew for whom he wrote. The most familiar of his images and sentiments I heard daily from the mouths of those around mo, the descendants of the men whoso deeds he rehearses. I was enabled thus to seize his meaning, where one more skilled in poetic lore might have failed, and to make my prosaic version of some value. [For Chand Bardāī see Grierson, Modern Literary History of Hindustan, 3f.]"

[Quelle: Tod, James <1782 - 1835>: Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan, or The central and western Rājput states of India / by James Tod, ed. with an introduction and notes by William Crooke [1848 - 1923]. -- London : Oxford University Press, 1920. -- 3 v. ; 19 cm. -- Vol I, S. 297f. Anm.]



Tradition says that Cānd Bardāi's family came from the East, that is, from the Māgadha country, a country famous for the excellence of its minstrels so far back as the time when the "Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa" was written. That Cānd came from Māgadha does not mean anything beyond the fact that he belonged to a hereditary minstrel family. There is another word which also means minstrel, and that is Bandi. Tradition says that the Bhāṭs are representatives of the Bandins. There is yet another tradition that the Ḍhulies, called Rāos in Jaipur, are the representatives of Māgadhas. Cānd came from the Māgadha country and his descendants claim to be Brāhmaṇas. Munshi Deviprasad calls the descendants of Cānd, Brahma Bhāṭs to distinguish them from the other Bhāṭs.

Cānd's title Bardāi means that he got a boon from a Devī that he should be a poet. The Devī is Jvālādevī. She derived her name from the place Jvālā, which was granted to Cānd by Pṛthvīrāj. Bardāi is perhaps wrong, it should be Bardiyā. Among the Pathans there is a clan called Bardāi. They claim to be descendants of Cānd, forcibly converted into Muhammadanism.

Cānd is said to have come to the court of Someśvar, the father of Pṛthvīrāj, at Ajmer and became a great favourite both of the Rājā and his son, the famous Pṛthvīrāj. On ascending the throne Pṛthvīrāj founded Nāgore and then Khāṭu, both in Marwar. He gave much landed property to Cānd at Nāgore, which the family still holds. On inheriting the kingdom of Delhi, Pṛthvīrāj  became involved in wars with Kanauj, the Rājā of which claimed the same inheritance.

Cānd became a constant companion of Pṛthvīrāj. It is said that in the Svayaṃvara at Kanauj, Pṛthvīrāj was not invited but Cānd, as a great poet, was invited and Pṛthvīrāj went there as a menial servant of Cānd and there performed the daring feat of carrying away the daughter of the King of Kanauj from the assembly. The Rājput tradition is that Cānd was his sole companion at Ghazni. It is said that after his defeat at Tilori, Pṛthvīrāj was made a captive and blinded. He was kept in a dark room at Ghazni, where Cānd visited him from time to time in the guise of a Fakir. Pṛthvīrāj and Cānd concocted a plan of killing Shahbuddin Ghori ; accordingly an assembly was convened to give Pṛthvīrāj , though blind, an opportunity to show his skill in archery. In that assembly Pṛthvīrāj amused the spectators with various feats, the last of which, however, ended fatally for Sahabuddin, for he struck a strong arrow in his forehead. Pṛthvīrāj and Cānd, who was close by, were instantly killed and their heads were placed in a copper box, which formed one of the steps by which the Faithful ascended the Ghazni mosque. The story is on the face of it unhistorical, because the Muhammadan historian says that Pṛthvīrāj was murdered in cold blood in the battle-field.

Cānd composed the Prthvīrājrāsau. The derivation of the word rāsā is extremely perplexing. Paṇḍit Vindhyeśvarī Prasād Dube of Benares thinks that it is Rāja Yaṣaḥ. In Prākrit j becomes y and the word would become "Rāya Yasaḥ" and later "Rāyāsā." The bards derive it either from rāsā or sport, or rāsā, that is, quarrel. A prolonged altercation is often called Rasa in Rājputāna. ''Kyā rāsā kurteho" is often remarked when a man is talking for a long time on one subject. There is among the Jainas a large number of works called Rās.1 Pṛthvīrāj-rāsa would mean the sports or adventures of Pṛthvīrāj. It is divided according to the custom of the Bhāṭs into Samayas, meaning periods, chapters recited at one sitting. Chhochu Bhāṭ, a [S. 26] predecessor or perhaps an elder contemporary, wrote his large work on the adventures of the Bagḍāvat brothers in Samayas. Several works written by Bhāṭs during the last 200 years about the Rājās of Jodhpur are also divided into Samayas.

1 My friend Mr. K. P. Jayoswal thinks that rasa is connected with the sense ' problem," 'mystery.' In Brajabhāṣā rahasya becomes rāsā.

According to the tradition current among the descendants of Cānd at Nagore, the extent of Cānd's original Prithwīrājrāsau was about 3 to 4 thousand Ślokas. Cānd did not live to complete the work. One of his sons completed it and wrote the last ten Samayas. According to this tradition the original of the Mahoba Samaya or chapter on the Wars on Mahoba runs thus :


[S. 29] It will be seen that this account of the Mahoba Samaya differs completely from the printed text of the same Samaya in the Benares edition of the Pṛthvīrājrāsau.

Cand's son Jhalla was a poet of considerable merit. He is said to have added much to the Prthvīrājrāsau of his father. It is said that all those portions in the printed text in which Cānd holds a discourse with his wife had been added by Jhalla, so that the name of his mother may be perpetuated. It is further said that the descendants of Jhalla went on adding to the Pṛthvīrājrāsau till the time of Akbar, who wanted to have a recital of the Pṛthvīrājrāsau before him. The printed text is very nearly the text that was recited before Akbar. There have been subsequent additions, but these additions are only known to a few. It is alleged that the completed work extends to a lakh and twenty-five thousand ślokas. The printed text is about 18,000.

The popularity of Pṛthvīrājrāsau in Rājputāna is very great. Every bard memorizes it and every Rājput is enraptured with its recital. The declaration by the late Mahāmahopādhyāya Sāmaldān that the recension of Pṛthvīrājrāsau as current in Rājputāna is a forgery created a profound sensation in the eighties of the last century ; and many came forward to refute him. People said that as Sāmaldān was not a Bhāṭ but a Cāraṇ and that he wanted to injure the Bhāṭs by deprecating their greatest work as a forgery. Paṇḍit Mohan LāL Vishen LāL Paṇḍeya of Mathura defended the authenticity of Pṛthvīrājrāsau and brought out an edition of it in collaboration with Babu Shyām Sunder Dās of Benares, to which he has appended a long introduction defending the work against all the attacks of Sāmaldān. This great controversy led me to take some interest in it and I tried hard to trace the original home of Cānd and his descendants. I traced the home at Nagore, and Nānurām Brahma Bhāṭ was introduced to me by Munshi Devīprasād Munsiff, who is regarded as an authority in all matters relating to Rājputāna, as a lineal descendant of Cānd. I have derived much information from Nānurām and he exhibited four Samayas of the original Pṛthvīrājrāsau to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, one of which, the Mahoba Samaya, is given above in extenso. From him I have received the following genealogical tree of Cānd's descendants. -- [S. 30]

Of the four sons of the poet one became a Mussalman and the descendants of another settled at Amjhera. Of the third we know nothing, the fourth was Jhalla Cānd, a worthy successor of Cānd in his poetic fame. Nānu Rām assures me that people talk of three sons of Cānd only without taking into account the fourth who became a Muhammadan.

Nānurām says that Jhalla's grandson Vīr Cānd wrote the Hammir Rāsā in honour of Hammir Rāi, who erected the impregnable fort of Ranthambor and carved out a small kingdom for himself, but was defeated and killed by Alauddin Khiliji.

Though the Cāraṇs consider Diṅgal Gīt as their own property—and most works in Diṅgal are written by them—Nānurām tells me that Hari Chandra, the son of Vīr Cānd, was the first inventor of Diṅgal Gīt. He wrote 24 gīts in this Bhāṣā and also compiled a Koṣa."

[Quelle: Shastri, Hara Prasad <1853-1931>: Preliminary report on the operation in search of mss. of bardic chronicles . --Calcutta : Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1913. -- 51 S.  ; 34 cm. -- S. 25 - 30.]

4. Marāṭhī (मराठी)

Zu den Pāvāḍā (Bardendichtungen) siehe http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen10.htm

Chroniken in Marāṭhī sind die Bakhar's. Das älteste und berühmteste dieser Werke ist das Śiva-chatrapati-caritra von Kṛṣṇajī Anant Sabhāsad (1697), eine Biographie Śivājī's (छत्रपती शिवाजीराजे भोसले)) (1627 - 1680). Sabhāsad stand im Dienste von Śivājī's Sohn Rājārām.

Eine Übersetzung von Sabhāsad's Werk ist:

Sen, Surendranath <1890-1962>:

Kṛṣṇajī Ananta Sabhāsada <17. Jhdt>: Śiva Chhatrapati : being a translation of Sabhāsad Bakhar with extracts from Chiṭṇīs and Śivadigvijya, with notes / by Surendranath Sen [1890 - 19629. -- Calcutta : Univ. of Calcutta, 1920. - XII, 272 S. ; 22 cm. -- (Extracts and documents relating to Maratha history ; 1)

Allein über Śivajī gibt es 12 Bakhars, die zwischen 1697 und 1850 geschrieben wurden. Es sind Paraphrasen oder Ausschmückungen von Sabhāsads Werk.

Bis 1990 wurden ca. 200 Bakhars gedruckt. Die meisten der Verfasser bleiben anonym.

Die Encycclopaedia of Indian literature klassifiziert Bakhars so:

"Biograpical Marathi Bakhar writing can broadly be divided into two classes.
  1. Bakhars pertaining to the family of Shivaji i.e. the Chatrapatis and
  2. Those relating to Peshavas and their lieutenants.

They can he further classified into five divisions as follows:—

  1. Biographical Bakhars dealing with the lives of such historical personages as Shivaji [छत्रपती शिवाजीराजे भोसले, 1627 - 1680], Sambhaji [धर्मवीर संभाजी राजे भोसले, 1657 – 1689], Rajaram [1670 - 1700], Shahu [1682 - 1749], Brahmendra Swami, Swami Ramdas. etc
  2. Autobiographical Bakhars bv Nana Phadnis (1742 - 1800) Malhar Ganesh, Bapu Kanho, Gangadhar Shastri Patwardhan (1775-1815) etc.
  3. Bakhars describing particular historical events viz. Bhausahebanchi Bakhar, Panipatachi Bakhar, Sashtichi Bakhar, Khardyachya Swarichi Bakhar, etc.
  4. Histories of important families viz. Bhosal Vamsha-Charita, Holkaranchi Kaifiyat, Harivamshachi Bakhar, Peshavyanchi Bakhar, Nagpurkar Bhosalyanchi Bakhar, etc.
  5. General: Skeleton chronologies known as Shakavalis, works relating to Maratha polity (Ajnyapatra, Rajaniti, etc) and traditional and mythological Bakhars such as Shri Samarthanchi Bakhar, Pandavachi Bakhar, Ramarajyachi Bakhar, etc.

About 200 Bakhar works have been printed so far. Some 50 of them possess excellent qualities. Innumerable minor works have remained and are likely to remain unpublished. If we set apart three or four Bakhars, (i.e., Sabhasad, 91 Kalmi and Ajnyapatra) all the remaining Bakhar literature appears to have been written in the Peshava period and particularly during the period 1760 and 1850.


All the same, as works of history the Bakhars have a limited value; they are more significant as early masterpieces of Marathi prose."

[Quelle:  Encyclopaedia of Indian literature / chief ed.: Amaresh Datta (ab Bd. 4: Mohan Lal). -  New Delhi : Sahitya Akademi, 1987 - 1994. -- 6 Bde. -- s.v. Bakhar (Marathi). -- S. 329f.]

5. Āhom (อาหม) und Asamīyā (অসমীয়া)

Būrañji's sind meist in Prosa geschriebene Chroniken, die an den Höfen der Ahom-Herrscher in Assam geschrieben wurden. Die Sprache ist vor allem Āhom, eine Thai-Sprache (Āhom Wörter werden von mir in moderner Thai-Schrift wiedergegeben, da die dem Thai ähnliche Āhom-Schrift in Windows noch nicht implementiert ist).

"Buranjis are a class of historical chronicles written in the Ahom  and Assamese languages. The first such Buranji was written on the instructions of the first Ahom king Sukaphaa [สุกาฟ้า] who established the Ahom kingdom in 1228. Many such manuscripts were written by scribes under the office of the Likhakar Barua, which are based on state papers, diplomatic correspondences, judicial proceedings, etc. Others were written by nobles or by people under their supervision, very often their identities are not revealed. Not only do these documents reveal the chronology of events, but they reflect the language, culture, society and the inner workings of the state machinery of the kingdom. They were written in "simple, lucid and unambiguous but expressive language with utmost brevity and least exaggeration." The tradition of writing Buranjis survived more than six hundred years well into the British period, till a few decades after the demise of the Ahom kingdom.

Literally, Buranji means "a store that teaches the ignorant" (in the Ahom language: bu ignorant person; ran teach; ji store). The Buranjis not only describe the Ahom kingdom, but also the neighbors (Kachari, Chutiya, and Tripura Buranjis) and those with whom the Ahom kingdom had diplomatic and military contacts (Padshah Buranji). They were written on the barks of the Sanchi tree or aloe wood. Though many such Buranjis have been collected, compiled and published, an unknown number of Buranjis are still in private hands.

During the reign of Rajeswar Singha, Kirti Chandra Borbarua had many Buranjis destroyed because he suspected they contained information on his lowly birth.

List of well known Buranjis
Assam Buranji
Harakanta Barua
Assam Buranji
Kasinath Tamuli Phukan
Asamar Padya Buranji
(Buranji of Assam in verse)
Ahom Buranji
Golap Chandra Barua
Changrung Phukanar Buranji
Deodhai Asam Buranji
Padshah Buranji
Purani Assam Buranji
Hemchandra Goswami
Satasari Assam Buranji
Tungkhungia Buranji
Srinath Duara Barbarua
  • Sarkar, J. N. (1992) The Buranjis: Ahom and Assamese in The Comprehensive History of Assam Vol II (ed H K Barpujari), Publication Board, Assam"

[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buranji. -- Zugriff am 2008-04-15]

Ausgabe eines Buranji in Ahom mit englischer Übersetzung:

Ahom-Buranji : (with parallel English translation) ; from the earliest time to the end of Ahom rule / transl. and ed. by Golap Chandra Barua. -- Calcutta, 1930. -- VI, 388 S. ; 22 cm.



The manuscript Ahom Buranji, in Ahom, was found in the possession of a Deodhai Pandit of Khalaighogra Mauza in the Sibsagar Subdivision in 1894, when I worked as Ahom Translator to the Assam Government under Mr. Gait (now Sir Edward Gait), the then Honorary Director of Ethnography in Assam. The Buranji was written on well-prepared oblong strips of Sachi bark. It was copied and translated with the help of some Deodhai Pandits appointed by Government to teach me Ahom and to assist me in translating the Ahom manuscripts. The English translation is mine.

The Buranji deals with events concerning the Ahoms only, from the earliest times to the end of their rule. This Buranji is almost complete but it gives a very meagre account of the reign of the great Ahom King, Rudra Simha—only the date's of his enthronement and death being given. This was perhaps due to the fact that the charge of writing Buranji changed hands. There is another Buranji in Ahom from the death of Gadadhar Simha to the reign of Lakhmi Simha wherein a full account of the reign of Rudra Simha is given. If the portion containing Rudra Simha's reign should have been incorporated in this Buranji, the record of Ahom reign would have been very complete.

The Buranji is divided into two parts. The first part which begins with and ends in first chapter, is called " Deo-Buranji" (History of heavenly bodies ; Deo = a God). The second part containing the remaining chapters is termed " Din-Buranji" (History of the earth ; Din=the earth). The Deo-Buranji gives an account of the state of the world before creation and also of creation, down to the descent of Khunlung and Khunlai from heaven to Mungrimungram with a host of heavenly beings called Tāis. The Din-Buranji deals with the extension of the rule of the Tāis and migration of Shukapha from his original home at Maulung to Mungdunshunkham (Assam—mung=country, dun = full, shun=garden, kham=gold, i.e., a country- full of gardens of gold), where his descendants gradually extended their rule all over the country now called Assam, excluding Surma Valley. The rise and fall of Ahom rule and the advent of the British in Assam are also dealt with in the second part.

The original Buranji was divided by the writer into six chapters only without any divisions or paragraphs. Each chapter was written in continuity from the beginning to the end with indiscriminate full stop sign "|". To bring it to the modern line, as advised by the Director of Public Instruction in Assam, Mr. Cunningham, I have separated the rule of each king with the rest by putting a heading over each reign, and marked paragraphs according to my discretion.

The account of events given in this Buranji tally with those given in other Ahom Buranjis as well as with the records left by Mahammadan writers. Sir Edward Gait got sufficient materials of Ahom rule from this Buranji for his "History of Assam".
This Buranji as well as other Ahom Buranjis (both in Ahom and in Assamese) which I have come across up till now supply very little information on many very important points regarding great personages, such as

  1. Lachit Barphukan,
  2. Ramani Gabharu,
  3. Khampeng Gabharu.
  4. Joymati-Kuari

and others : and also relating to religious reformers and poets, such as,

  1. Sankardev,
  2. Madhadev,
  3. Damodar Dev,
  4. Aniruddhva,
  5. Madhab Kandali,
  6. Ram Saraswati,
  7. Ananta Kandali,

and many others. Nowhere in any of the Buranjis, can we get accounts of the establishment of various Satras (religious institutes), such as

  1. Auniati,
  2. Dakhinpat,
  3. Garamur,
  4. Kuruabahi, etc.

In order to compile a complete Assam Buranji, a writer will have to collect informations on all the above points from Bangsabalis [= Vaṃśāvalī] (family histories) and other records, of which many have not been found out as yet.

This Buranji would not have come to light, had not the Director of Public Instruction, Assam, J. R. Cunningham, Esqr., M.A., C.I.E., taken the trouble of moving the Assam Government to sanction certain amount for the preparation and printing of it. My sincere thankfulness is due to the Director, as well as to the Assam Government for their interest on ancient historical works and for their benign contribution for the preservation of a Buranji, of a race that ruled Assam for a period of 600 years.

Jokhat, The 15th September, 1930
Golap Chandra Barua"

[Quelle: Ahom-Buranji : (with parallel English translation) ; from the earliest time to the end of Ahom rule / transl. and ed. by Golap Chandra Barua. -- Calcutta, 1930. -- VI, 388 S. ; 22 cm. -- S. iii.]

Ein Beispiel aus dieser Ausgabe (S. 148f.):

6. Tamiḻ (தமிழ்)

In Tamil gibt es die Literaturgattung Ulā, die teilweise quasi-historischen Charakter haben.

Govindan Thirumavalavan charakterisiert in seiner Dissertation Ulā-Literatur folgendermaßen:


'Ulā literature' which is quasi-historical in character may be considered as a more satisfactory source of History than any other genre in Tamil literature. They contain some of the most valuable references to contemporary historical events which admirably supplement our knowledge on these matters from other sources such as epigraphy.


Ancient literary works in Tamil are broadly classified into Pērilakkiyam, the Major works and Chiṛṛilakkiyam, the minor works. Classical works of the Saṅgam Age and the Twin Epics of Silappadikāram [சிலப்பதிகாரம்] and Maṇimēkalai [மணிமேகலை] come under the category of Major works. Literary works of the post Saṅgam Age such as Paḷḷu, Andādi, Kalambakam, Ulā, Paraṇi, Kōvai. Piḷḷait Tamiḻ and others are classified as the minor works. These minor works are called Prabandhās in Sanskrit. According to traditional account these Prabandhās are 96 in number.


The term Ulā is applied to one of the 96 Prabandhās. The word Ulā means a 'promenade' or 'going in State'. The Ulā poem generally gives a detailed description of the procession of the king or the Deity round the streets of the capital city and the reaction of 'eḻu paruva magaḷir', [S. 2] the women of seven different age groups, namely, Pētai, Petumbai. Maṅgai, Maṭantai, Arivai, Terivai and Pērilampeṇ, who become love-sick at the sight of the Hero.

Pāṭṭiyal works' in Tamil which belong to the 12th and 13th century A.D. are treatises in poetic composition which define the characteristic features of Prabandhās like the Ulās. They stipulate an age limit for the Hero. The Hero should be between 16 and 40 years. They divide the structure of Ulā poetry into two sections, the 'mudaṉlai', the Introductory section, and the 'piṉ eḻu nilai', the later seven sections. The first section describes the genealogy, accomplishment and munificancc of the hero. The second section describes the love that pervades the women of seven different age groups and their enamoured behaviour.


According to pāṭṭiyal works, the Hero of a Ulā poem should be an august personality. The Ulā poem should have either a king, or God or a man of virtue as its hero. Hence extant Ulā works may be broadly classified into two types namely, Ulas with kings or Leaders as their heroes and Ulas with Gods as their heroes. There are now 70 Ulā works available with us of which some are of historical importance and some have a mythical theme. Some of these Ulā works have been published with commentaries. Many of them still remain as manuscripts on palm leaves. Great credit is due to that indefatigable savant, U. V. Swaminatha Iyer, who has rescued most of the manuscripts from oblivion and possible destruction.

Of the 70 Ulā works extant today, four Ulās are of inestimable value pertaining to the history of the Chōl̲ās namely, the Vikkirama Chōḻaṉ Ulā, the Kulōttuṅgā Chōḻaṉ Ulā, and the Rāsarāsa Chōḻaṉ Ulā (together known as the Mūvar Ulā), all composed by the poet Oṭṭakūttar and the Saṅkara Chōḻaṉ Ulā by an anonymous poet. Even though the Date of Saṅkara Chōḻaṉ Ulā and the identity of its hero, Saṅkara Chōl̲ā, are points of dispute among scholars, Saṅkara Chōḻaṉ Ulā is tentatively taken as a work belonging to the Later-Chōl̲ā period. [S. 3]

Lest this endeavour should be too long, only the Vikkirama Chōḻaṉ Ulā, the Kulōttuṅgā Chōḻaṉ Ulā, the Rāsarāsa Chōḻaṉ Ulā, and the Saṅkara Chōḻaṉ Ulā are taken to constitute the main part of the enquiry. Hence. Ulā literature means, as far as this thesis goes, the literary works of Vikkirama Chōḻaṉ Ulā. Kulōttuṅgā Chōḻaṉ Ulā. Rāsarāsa Chōḻaṉ Ulā and Saṅkara Chōḻaṉ Ulā.


In literature, as in most other spheres, the Age of the Later-Chōlāas of Vijayālayā line constitutes the most creative epoch in South Indian History. The political, social, cultural and economic conditions of the Chōl̲ā reign were favourable for more copious flow of literary effort. With the broadening of the channels of literature, poets sought new literary genres to express their emotions and feelings, which gave birth to the varieties of Prabandhās like the Ulās. The Age of the Later Chōl̲ās of Vijayālayā line in general and that of the Chālukya Chōl̲ās of Kulōttuṅgā-I line in particular, may be considered as the Age of Ulā literature. These outstanding literary works were composed during the 12th and 13th centuries and are of immense value for the reconstruction of the history of the Chōḻās.

A new school of poets, the poet-laureates, adorned the Courts of the Chōl̲ā rulers. These Court-poets perpetuated the activities and achievements of their patrons, in enduring memorials in the form of panegyrics like Ulā, Paraṇi, Kōvai, or Piḷḷait Tamiḻ. One may be curious to know why the poets selected the Ulā form of literature for celebrating their patrons. What was the impetus which made these authors choose the Ulā form as a vehicle for their encomiums on their patrons?

The Chōl̲ā rulers made it a point to tour the length and breadth of the empire periodically to streamline the administration. Probably these royal tours gave the impetus or inclination, for the poets to compose Ulās on their heroes which described the supposed processions of the hero, who was imagined as going round the City on a stroll along [S. 4] with his officers, apparently in order to ascertain the condition of his subjects.


This work is limited to the study of the four Ulās, namely, Vikkirama Chōḻaṉ Ulā, Kulōttuṅgā Chōḻaṉ Ulā, Rāsarāsa Chōḻaṉ Ulā and Saṅkara Chōḻaṉ Ulā.

The Vikkirama Chōḻaṉ Ulā was first published in 1914 by the Madurai Tamiḻ Sangam in its journal, Sen Tamiḻ. In 1926, the three Ulās of Oṭṭakūttar were published by A.Gopala Iyer of Kalashetra, in one volume under the name Mūvar Ulā. The three Ulās of Oṭṭakūttar was published as Mūvar Ulā with an ancient commentary, together with the notes written by U. V. Swaminatha Iyer, by his grandson S. Kalyanasundara Iyer in 1946. The South India Saiva Siddhanta Works Publishing Society, Madras, published the three Ulās with commentaries written by Tirumalai Vēlukkavirāyar Saṅkup Pulavar in 1967.

The Saṅkara Chōḻaṉ Ulā was first published by Madurai Tamiḻ Saṅgam in its journal Sen Tamiḻ. The original palm leaf manuscript of this work were acquired by U. V. Swaminatha Iyer Library together with the notes jotted down by U. V. Swaminatha Iyer. This work was published in 1977 as Saṅkara (Rāsēndra)Chōḻaṉ Ulā with the commentary written by K. V. Jaganathan."

[Quelle: Thirumavalavan, G. (Govindan) <1940 - >: Political, social, and cultural history of the Chōl̲ās as gleaned from Ulā literature. -- Thiruvathipuram (Cheyyar) : Ezhilagam, 1991.  -- 244 p. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN: 8185703124 -- S. 1 - 4.]

Als Beispiel für Ulās das Kulōttuṅgā Chōḻaṉ Ulā, das Govindan Thirumavalavan so beschreibt:



The hero of this Ulā is Rjakesari Kulōttuṅga Chōḻā II who ruled the Chōḻā empire between A.D. 1133 and A.D. 1150. Kulōttuṅga-II must have been chosen as the heir apparent by his father Vikrama Chōḻā in A.D. 1133. He ascended the Chōḻā throne in A.D. 1135.


The Kulōttuṅga Chōḻaṉ Ulā is a long poem in Kaliveṇpā metres consisting of 387 kaṇṇis of 774 lines. The Ulā begins with an invocation and ends with an epilogue. The first 20 kaṇṇis list the accomplishments of the mythological and legendary ancestors of the Chōḻās. kaṇṇis 21 to 26 trace from Vijayālay, the genealogy of the Later-Chōḻā rulers who preceded Vikramachōḻā. Kaṇṇis 27 and 28 highlight the achievements of Vikrama Chōḻā, the father of the hero. Kaṇṇis 29 to 31 introduce the hero Kulōttuṅga and his mother who is said to have belonged the the Lunar race of Tuvarai.

Kaṇṇis 32 to 35 describe the coronation of the king. Kaṇṇis 36 to 37 describe his chief queen Buvaṉamuḻuduḍaiyāl. Kaṇṇi 38 refers to their worship of Lord Nataraja at Tillai. Kaṇṇi 39 mentions the removal of the idol of Govinḍarāja from the Courtyard of the Nataraja temple at Tillai. Kaṇṇis 40 to 58 provide us with an elaborate description of the renovation work done to the Chidambaram temple by the king.

In Kaṇṇi 59 the vasal kings are first informed about the Ulā. They are asked to assemble at Gaṅgāpuri, the capital city. Kaṇṇis 60 to 77 describe the king's bed room, his morning ambulation, his prayers, and dress. Kaṇṇis 80 to 82 portray the might of the royal elephant Ayirāpatam. In Kaṇṇis 83 to 100, the Ulā procession of the king is picturised. Kaṇṇis 101 to 122 describe how when the procession reached the streets lined with mansions, the women of [S. 18] the city assembled at vintage points to have a look at the hero. The name of the mother of Kulōttuṅga-II is mentioned as Vidukulanāyaki.

Kaṇṇis 123 to 387 constitute the 'piṉ eḻu nilai', the second section of the poem, wherein the course of conduct and the line of action of the women belonging to seven different stages namely, Pētai (kaṇṇis 123 to 140), Petumbai (kaṇṇis 141 to 177) Maṅgai (kaṇṇis 178 to 227) Maṭantai (kaṇṇis 228 to 268) Arivai (kaṇṇis 269 to 300) Terivai (kaṇṇis 301 to 340) and Pēriḻampen (kaṇṇis 341 to 387) are described.


Rājakēsari Kulōttuṅga Chōḻā-II became a full fledged ruler in A.D. 1135. His rule came to an end by A.D. 1150. The Kulōttuṅga Chōḻaṉ Ulā provides an elaborate account of the renovation work done by Kulōttuṅga-II to the city of Tillai. This work is mentioned for the first time in an inscription belonging to A.D. 1140. Records state that Kulōttuṅga-II celebrated a coronation in the city of Tillai in A.D. 1140. In Kulōttuṅga Chōḻaṉ Ulā, the poet describes the coronation of the king and his chief queen and their worship of Lord Nataraja of Tillai. He proceeds to describe the renovation work. Then Kulōttuṅga-II informs the vassal kings about the Ulā that was going to take place at the capital city of Gangāpuri and orders them to assemble at the capital to participate in the procession. This clearly indicates that the Kulōttuṅga Chōḻaṉ Ulā was composed only after the completion of the gilding of Tillai temple by Kulōttuṅga-II, which falls on A.D. 1140. Hence the date of composition could be placed sometime after A.D. 1140. Sethuraman places the date of the Kulōttuṅga Chōḻaṉ Ulā around A.D.I 140-41.

In Rāsarāsa Chōḻaṉ Ulā, the poet hails Rājarāja II, the hero of the poem and successor of Kulōttuṅga II, for cutting open a dam built across the river Kāvēri (by a hostile ruler) which obstructed the free flow of the water. In Periyapurāṇam, the author Sēkkiḻār, attributes [S. 19] this victory to Kulōttuṅga-II. It is known from inscriptions that both Kulōttuṅga II and his son Rājarāja-II had a joint rule from A.D. 1146 to A.D. 1150. Therefore the event might have been taken place during this period. This event is not mentioned in Kulōttuṅga Chōḻaṉ Ulā. Perhaps this event might have taken place after the Kulōttuṅga Chōḻaṉ Ulā was composed. Hence the date of composition of Kulōttuṅga Chōḻaṉ Ulā could be placed between A.D. 1140 and A.D. 1146."

[Quelle: Thirumavalavan, G. (Govindan) <1940 - >: Political, social, and cultural history of the Chōl̲ās as gleaned from Ulā literature. -- Thiruvathipuram (Cheyyar) : Ezhilagam, 1991.  -- 244 p. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN: 8185703124 -- S. 17 - 19.]

Als Beispiel einer anderen historischen Literaturgattung stehe das Kalingattupparani (Kalingattu Bharani) von Jayamkondar (Jayakondan). Jayamkondar war Holfpoet der Chōl̲a.  Kalingattupparani ist eine poetische Beschreibung der Invasion Kalinga`s durch Karunakara Todaiman, dem General von Kulothunga Chōḻā I. (முதலாம் குலோத்துங்க சோழன்) (erste Invasion: 1084 - 1090 n. Chr.). Es besteht aus ca. 600 Versen in 13 Cantos. Das Werk enthält wichtige Informationen zur Geschichte der Chola's.

Inhaltsangabe: Encyclopaedia of Indian literature / chief ed.: Amaresh Datta (ab Bd. 4: Mohan Lal). -  New Delhi : Sahitya Akademi, 1987 - 1994. -- 6 Bde. -- S. 1937f.

7. Weiterführende Ressourcen

Ein gutes Nachschlagewerk für Quellen in Regionalsprachen (bis zur Gegenwart) ist:

Abb.: Titelblatt

Encyclopaedia of Indian literature / chief ed.: Amaresh Datta (ab Bd. 4: Mohan Lal). -  New Delhi : Sahitya Akademi, 1987 - 1994. -- 6 Bde.

Zu: 10. Mündliche Quellen