The Era of Heroism: The Splendour of Shashanka

Age of Glory

In the recent writings on Indian history, there are several episodes and events that have been given undue respect and importance. Several details that are not found in honest treatises of history have been presented to us and we are misguided and cheated; these also come in the way of our pursuit for the vision of truth. Almost all our history textbooks of today fall under this category of deceitful writing.

The Era of Resistance: The Valour and Splendour of the Pratiharas

Any Empire that firmly sustains for at least 220-250 years can be called a successful Empire. A protracted and vigorous rule over a geographical spread roughly equivalent to the size of four average states of today’s India was considered to be a powerful Empire. Using this yardstick, we find some royal dynasties in India such as the Mauryas, Guptas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Pratiharas and Vijayanagara. After the demise of the grand Gupta Era, several kings attempted to recreate the same grandeur.

The Last Days of Pulakeshi II

An emperor as powerful as Pulakeshi II had to face numerous struggles during his last days. His brother “Kubja” [Short] Vishnuvardhana would repeatedly rise in rebellion, Pulakeshi would quell it and forgive him—this seemed to have become the norm. However, what we notice in each such instance is simply Pulakeshi’s weakness. The younger brother fully exploited his sibling’s sentimentality. Pulikeshi had four children. He justifiably displayed greater affection towards his third son, Vikramaditya.

The Tradition of Kshatra in India: The Literary Scholarship of Indian Kings

The fact that Shiladitya Harshavardhana developed greater fondness towards Buddhism in his later years is evident from his own writings. Three Rupakas whose authorship can be attributed to Harshavardhana are extant. He has also written a few Stotras (loosely, “hymns”) and a collection of independent verses. His Rupakas, “Priyadarshika,” “Ratnavali,” and “Nagananda” continue to remain popular amid lay persons and scholars alike. “Priyadarshika” and “Ratnavali” belong to the “Natika” genre of “Drishyakavya” (dramatic poetry enacted on stage).

The Tradition of Kshatra in India: The Age of Empires

In the later part of the Gupta Era, we see the rise of Sthaneshwar, which is on the banks of the Ganga. It lies between Ambala and Delhi, near Kurukshetra. A great king who came from there was Harshavardhana. Like the Guptas, he too came from a family of vaiśyas. Harshavardhana’s father was Prabhakaravardhana and his brother was Rajyavardhana. Even when they were in quite a formidable position, their kingdom had threats; they faced pressure from various sides. One thing is true: every kingdom will have opposition from its own people.