Early Medieval India History (AD 750-1200)-After the decline of Gupta Dynasty, an era of political disintegration begun. There was no central power capable enough to unite Northern India. This period saw the trend sectionationalism and decentralization. Many regional Kingdom were formed in this era. Although Harsha was successful in uniting most parts of Northern India, but after his death many regional powers emerged.
Features of Early Medieval India
- Alongwith the rise of regional powers, the early medieval period of Indian history was marked by the feudal formations such as reversion to closed economy, proliferation of castes and regional identity in art, script and language.
- As regard the development in age and literature, Sanskrit continued to be used by the ruling class at the higher. administrative levels, though the language became verbose and ornate. In the tribal areas, the Brahamanas imposed various forms of Sanskrit on the existing Aryan and pre-Aryan dialects.
- The consequential interaction gave rise to regional languages. The migrating Brahamanas enriched the vocabulary of the regional languages.
- They also helped to develop and systematize local dialects into languages through the introduction of writing and eventually the composition of grammar based on Sanskrit.
- The emergence of regional languages was accompanied by that of regional scripts. From the 7th Century, regional variations became so pronounced that one had to learn several scripts to decipher them.
- The period witnessed the formation of regional cultural units such as Andhra, Assam, Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu etc.
- The Rajputs, who emerged as a result of the assimilation of local tribes and the absorption of the Hunas and other foreign elements into Brahmanical society in the 6th Century, cleared the grounds for the rise of Rajputana.
- Bengal was divided into two main units, Gauda (West Bengal) and Vanga (East Bengal), and later the whole region was named after Vanga.
- Apart from the regional formations other aspects of culture also acquired feudal character. In this period the Mahayajnas and Danas gave way to a practise known as Puja.
- With the puja was interlinked the doctrine of Bhakti or complete surrender of self of the individual to his God, which became a distinct feature of medieval religion, especially in South India from the 7th Century. Bhakti reflected in the complete dependence of the tenants or semi-serfs on the landowners in early medieval times.
- The puja and Bhakti also became integral ingredients of trantricism, which in the aboriginal, peripheral areas on account of the acculturation of the tribal people through large-scale religious land-grants.
- The theory of incarnation, though beginning from the earlier period, became very prominent during this period. The local Gods and Goddesses were identified as incarnation of Vishnu, Shiva and Durga.
Kannauj After Harsha
- Little is known of the kingdom of Kannauj after the death of Harsha. The political unity crumbled on Harsha’s death and the process of emergence of numerous centres of power started in different parts of North India leading to multi-state system.
- Chachnama, a work of rather late period written by Kazi Ismail, while narrating the history of Sindh, mentions four kings ruling at Kannauj. These four kings are Rasil Rai, Sayar, Sahiras and Rai Harachander, who ruled during a period of seventy years following the death of Harsha. After these obscure rulers, about AD 730, we find a famous monarch named Yashovarman ruling at Kannauj.
- He was the famous monarch, who ruled Kannauj about AD 730 and defeated many kings. His vast empire extended from North Bengal to the North-West Frontier Province.
- Some historians are of the opinion that a large portion of North-Western Frontier Provinces, Haryana and Punjab were included in Yashovarman’s empire. A large number of his coins have also been found in Punjab.
- He is supposed to have founded the city named Yashovarmapura (near modern Biharsharif in Bihar). His invasion of Gauda (Bengal) formed the subject matter of the Prakrit poem Gaudavaho by Vakpatiraja, Yashovarman’s court-poet.
- After Yashovarman’s Dynasty, three rulers, who as are popularly known Ayudhas rulers, ruled over Kannauj between the close of the 8th Century till the second decade of the 9th Century. It was during the rule of these Ayudhas rulers that the struggle for Kannauj seems to have begun.
Ayudha Rulers of Kannauj
Vajrayudha was the first king, who was defeated by Jayapida Vinayaditya of Kashmir. The next in the line was Indrayudha during whose reign, Dhruva Rashtrakuta invaded the Doab and defeated the Kannauj King. Indrayudha was also defeated by Dharmapala of Bengal who, instead of annexing this distant territory, deposed Indrayudha and seated his protege Chakrayudha to the throne of Kannauj. The Rashtrakuta ruler Govinda III defeated Dharmapala and Chakrayudha. However, finally the Nagabhata II Pratihara defeated Chakrayudha and usurped the throne of Kannauj.
Causes of the Conflict
- To acquire the supremacy over Kannauj, a symbol of prestige and power during the early medieval period.
- To get control over the rich resources of the Gangetic valley. To get control over Gujarat Malwa, whose nearness to the coast was very important for foreign trade.
- Lust for war booty, and important resource for maintaining a huge army. Desire to impress the smaller kingdoms with the sense of their power and demand respect.
Early Medieval India History (AD 750-1200) Early Medieval India History (AD 750-1200)