MATERIAL: Copper Plate
TYPE: Manuscript
Inscription Translation: Notes about the Translation: square brackets [] mark words supplied to make the translation smoother rounded parentheses () mark uncertain readings or uncertain translations italics and parentheses mark paraphrased summaries of not wholly clear sections … ellipses mark illegible sections Translation: Victory! Om. Homage to Ganapati,[1] homage. (In the realm of) the glorious (Vaahuladeva) who is endowed with all the (titles) of a king such as “supreme lord.” In the year twelve hundred, forty, eight, or in figures: 1248, bright fortnight of the month Phalguna,[2] Wednesday, [i.e.] bright 3rd Wed . On the above date [designated] by the sequence of year, month, fortnight and day, here in this (region) of Pashchimapatyaka[3] … in the month of (Vaishakha[4]), bright fortnight, third quarter [of the moon] … [this] copperplate charter is (to be presented) … bountiful, devoted to the worship of gods, brahmans, elders and the Fire god. Steadfast in his undertakings like Arjuna[5], truth-speaking like Yudhishthira,[6] … like Shankara,[7] brilliant like the Sun, … like (Bali[8]) … … … like Meru,[9] … like the ocean, dedicated to manly honesty like Harishchandra,[10] comparable to (the peerless) … … (arose) in the lineage of Chahuana[11] the glorious emperor (Vaahuladeva), the son of the glorious (Kelhanadeva) (the next bit seems out of place here: it seems to be a partial identification of the recipient of the land as belonging to the Vatsa gotra and having three sages as pravara[12] but there is no name nor anything else expected in such a sentence) (the following sentence mentions royal servants and feudatories of the donor’s dynasty, but again I cannot see the context I would expect, such as an injunction that they should respect the donee’s rights to the land) (then we apparently go back to praising the king: there is a partially legible phrase that seems to say his feet are illuminated by the rays flashing from the gems in the crowns of kings bowing to him) (then we go on to a standard section of such grants which says the king realises the transitory nature of worldly things and is making a donation in hopes of accumulating transcendent merit; the legible words are:) … like a drop of water at the top of a blade of grass … fickle as a drop … comparable to a mountain river (youth or pleasure is usually said to rush away with the speed of one) … lightning … appearing and immediately perishing like the flame of a lamp. Recognising this, in order to open up the bar [of the gate] of heaven, … religious duty and self-interest … … having descended (for ablutions) to the lake that is the depository of all sacred sites,[13] … frequented by (geese or some other auspicious creatures, I suppose) … all sins (probably still talking about the lake, which would be said to be able to wash off sins) … in the Ganges … depth … (the ritual preparations of the donations go on:) … and having performed anointment by water … with the water of all sacred sites … with mantras … having bathed … darbha … kusha and water[14] … vessel … meeting [with a deity] … with the hands forming a hollow in [the gesture] of homage … praised it (probably the king praised the deity, possibly accompanied by music) (the following may be the king’s order or a generic injunction quoted from some scripture:) …having become purified, [let all of you] always bow … let a prepared gift be given to all the priests there are. (The name and description of the donation begins here. I can only make out “as follows”, then perhaps “named Pindumi(?)”, then “village” near the end of page 1) (the text probably continues with verso line 3 [as the top two lines seem to have been written subsequently]) … a pair of villages is to be given … (the rights of the recipient follow:) [exemption from?] share [of the produce], fees and tax in kind and in gold [payable to the king] … … including water and dry land, along with [the right to the produce of] trees such as madhuka [trees] … … thus whatever is produced in this village, all that … … … [holding] darbha …, kusha and water … was given to (Shri Gagana? son of Lashana?) of the … gotra having three [sages as] pravara … (I am not sure why darbha etc. are mentioned here again; the gotra of the recipient does not look like the Vatsa gotra mentioned on the first page) … as long as the Moon and Sun [remain] … … so long (presumably: shall the recipient enjoy this grant) along with [his] sons and grandsons. … our dynasty … royal servants … to be respected. (this seems to be an injunction that the grant should be maintained in the future) (Two complete lines follow that I cannot make sense of; there may be a lyrical verse invoking some god’s grace on subjects or on those who comply with this decree. All I can make out is “crocodiles and dolphins moving in waves” and “may [it/he/she] protect you”.) (The next portion contains stock verses imploring future rulers to respect this donation and threatening those who do not; I can only make out fragments among what seems to be gibberish:) The earth has been enjoyed by many kings… … … whoever owns the land at a particular time, it is he who owns [its] fruit at that time. … … … (king) … … deeds … … … shall be … … … his … again and again … … … The seizer of land is not purified by donating ten million cows, nor by (hundreds of) … … … king … land … … … … (in the kingdom of) Raghava … … I have never seen one who takes away what he himself has given … … … fruit … … in the palm of the hand … should respect [this] decree … (The bottom line of page 2 seems to say that this plate should be regarded as bona fide. I believe the text continues with the top two (partial) lines on this page, which seems to name some people, probably officials who authenticated the inscription in various ways:) … son of Divakara … … son of … … son of Saga (the end of the text is probably the left margin of this page, where “bona fide” is mentioned again, closing with what may be the name of the artisan who engraved the plate:) Shasahakka son of Nada.
ITEM ID: 4284

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Copperplate Land Grant

Century: 12th (1101-1200)

Copperplate land grant possibly from the Chahamana dynasty of NaddulaAbout.

This is a land grant probably from Western India (modern-day Rajasthan or the nearby areas of Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh), probably from the late 12th century. The name of the king who issued the plate appears to be Vaāhuladeva, but I cannot find any ruler with a similar name (and the name does not appear meaningful, though it may be in a vernacular language). He may have belonged to the Cāhamāna (also known in the modern form Chauhan) dynasty of Naḍḍūla (modern-day Nadol in Rajasthan): line 9 of the first page mentions the lineage of Cāhuāṇa (vernacular for Cāhamāna) and the father of the ruler (named at the end of line 9 and the beginning of line 10, again rather illegibly) seems to be Kelhaṇa. Kelhaṇa was certainly a ruler of the Naḍḍūla Cāhamāna family, who reigned from 1164 CE or earlier to 1179 or later. Thus our inscription (dated 1191 CE, add or take a year) may well have been issued by his immediate successor; however, the son and successor of Kelhaṇa was called Jayatsīha according to available genealogies. Jayatsīha issued an inscription in 1182 CE as crown prince, and another in 1194 as king, so it is not entirely impossible that our Vaāhuladeva (or whatever he was called) ruled for a brief period between Kelhaṇa and Jayatsīha.

Recto line 9 almost certainly has cāhuāṇanvaya, which must be a corrupt spelling of cāhamānānvaya, “the Cāhamāna (Chauhan) dynasty.” The king’s name definitely looks like vaāhuladeva in both Recto 1 and Recto 9, followed in Recto 9 by rāṇaka śrīkelhaṇadevasuta, “son of the chieftain Kelhaṇa.” The only Kelhaṇa I know of is the ruler of the Cāhamāna dynasty of Naḍḍūla, r. approx. 1164 to 1179 CE – he fits the context but he seems to have no son of a name similar to our ruler’s. It is somewhat strange that he should be referred to as a mere rāṇaka, “chieftain” or “kingling,” so there is a possibility that this Kelhaṇa belongs to an even smaller branch of the dynasty.

Back to the name of the king who issued this charter, the text says śrīmadvaāhuladeva. Since the script is careless and besides, has many wrongly formed letters as well as spelling mistakes, the name could be read in a number of alternative ways. Thus dva may instead be ddha or du or dū, or may be a mistake for plain d (with a sign denoting “no following vowel”); ā could be śrā or śśā; hu might be a very ugly ja or ḍa or a malformed ha, and la could well be ṇa (the rest of the characters are thankfully unambiguous). No permutation of these possibilities seems to make much more sense or sound much more like a reasonable name than Vaāhuladeva (śrīmad simply means “majestic, glorious, etc.”), except perhaps one rather wild conjecture. If we read dva as d plus no-vowel sign, hu as ha, and la as ṇa, then we are left with śrīmad āhaṇadeva, which may be a bad spelling of ālhaṇadeva, a name which is known to occur in the Cāhamāna dynasty – though Ālhaṇa was Kelhaṇa’s father not his son. There is a possibility that nonetheless Kelhaṇa did have a son called Ālhaṇa, who either ruled for a short while before Kelhaṇa’s known successor Jayatsīha, or was perhaps identical to Jayatsīha and used the name Ālhaṇa in his youth and changed it later to Jayatsīha.