A confederacy of Tamil kings

It was necessary to keep the Mauryas at bay

The Hathigumpha inscription, found in the Udayagiri caves near Bhubaneshwar, was noticed in 1825 by A. Stirling. The first reliable version of the record came from Dr. Bhagwanlal Indraji in 1885. The language in the inscription (2nd century BCE) is Prakrit, and the script is Brahmi. The inscription reads like an abridged biography of a Kalinga king called Kharavela, son of Mahameghavahana, of the Chedi dynasty. Chedis find mention in the Mahabharata, and Sisupala belonged to this dynasty. The inscription talks of Kharavela’s carefree youth, his attaining fatherhood and of his military conquests.

The inscription says that Kharavela broke the 113 year old Tamira confederacy, which was a source of danger to his country. Tamira is Damira, which means Dramida or Dravida, indicating Tamil Nadu.

So, what was this confederacy? To answer this question, we must go back a little in history. The Mauryas, ruled Kalinga before Kharavela, and they find mention in Sangam literature. Verse 175 in Purananuru talks of the parasols, banners and chariots of the Mauryas. Agananuru, verse 69 says that the Mauryas had cut paths in mountains for their chariots to pass. Verse 251 refers to the Mauryas as strangers (vamba moriyar). Verse 281 says ‘moriyar then thisai mathiram munniya varavirkku’ – the Mauryas who came with a desire to conquer the South. So, these are proofs of Mauryan military ambitions in Tamil Nadu.Read more

Source web page :The Hindu

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