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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Kingdoms of late Vedic India

Vanga (वंग) was an ancient kingdom and geopolitical division on the Ganges delta in the Indian subcontinent. The kingdom is one of the namesakes of the Bengal region.[1] It was located in southern Bengal, with the core region including present-day southern West Bengal (India) and southwestern Bangladesh. Vanga features prominently in the epics and tales of ancient India as well as in the history of Sri Lanka.


Jat clans

Mention by Panini

Vangaka (वाङ्गक) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [6]

Vangi (वाङ्गी) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [7]

Vanga (वंग) is a name of Country mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi under Gahadi (गहादि) (4.2.138) group. [8]

V. S. Agrawala[9] writes that Panini refers to Nagara (IV.2.142), e.g. Mahanagara and Navanagara as names of towns 'not in the north' but in the east. Mahanagara is to be identified with Mahasthana, the capital of north Bengal or Pundra and Navanagara with the Navadvipa, the capital of west Bengal or Vanga. In between Mahanagara and Navanagara lay Gauḍapura (VI.2.100), modern Gauḍa, an important town in route from Champa to Mahasthana and an important centre of guḍa manufacturing in the Pundra Country.

V S Agarwal [10] writes that Panini takes Bhakti to denote loyalty of the citizen to the State either a kingdom or a republic. The Kashika mentions, as examples of this kind of Bhakti or loyalty, 1. Angaka, 2. Vangaka, 3. Sauhmaka, 4. Paundraka, 5. Madraka, 6. Vrijika.


Ancestry of Bali

Bhagavata Purana provides us the ancestry of Bali. Bali (बलि) was a king in line of Anu son of Yayati as under:

YayatiAnuSabhanaraKalanaraJanamejayaMaha ShalaMahamanasTitikshaRushadrathaHomaSutapasBali

Bali had six sons Anga, Banga, Kalinga, Sambhu, Pundra and Odhra

In Mahabharata

Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.13.19), (II.19.7), (II.27.21),(II.31.11),(II.47.10), (II.48.15), (II.48.17), (3-255-7b), (VI.10.44), (VIII.17.2),

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 13 mentions Kshatriyas in support of Jarasandha. Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.13.19).[11].....king of Vanga, Pundra and the Kiratas, endowed with great strength, and who is known on earth by the names of Paundraka and Vasudeva hath also espoused the side of Jarasandha.

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 19 mentions that Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna attacked Girivraja to kill Jarasandha.Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.19.7). [12]....And, O Arjuna, it was here that in olden times the mighty monarchs of Anga, and Vanga and other countries, came to the abode of Gautama, and passed their days in joy and happiness.

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 27 mentions the countries subjugated by Bhimasena. Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.27.21).[13]....And the Pandava (Bhimasena) then subjugated in battle those strong and brave heroes of fierce prowess, viz., the heroic and mighty Vasudeva, the king of Pundra and king Mahaujah who reigned in Kausika-kachchha, and then attacked the king of Vanga.

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 31 mentions the Kshatriyas who brought tributes on Rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhisthira. Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.31.11).[14].....and Vasudeva the king of the Paundrakas, and the kings of Vanga and Kalinga; and Akarsha and Kuntala and the kings of the Malavas and the Andhrakas;....

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 47 mentions the Kings who brought tributes to Yudhishthira. Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.47.10)[15]....And the tribes Vairamas, Paradas, [Vanga]]s, with the Kitavas who lived upon crops that depended on water from the sky or of the river and also they who were born in regions on the sea-shore, in woodlands, or countries on the other side of the ocean waited at the gate, being refused permission to enter,....

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 48 describes Kings who presented tributes to Yudhishthira. Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.48.15)[16] and (II.48.17)[17].....and the Malavas, the Paundrakas, the Kukkuras, the Sakas, the Angas, the Vangas, the Pundras, the Shanavatyas, and the Gayas--these good and well-born Kshatriyas distributed into regular clans and trained to the use of arms, brought tribute unto king Yudhishthira by hundreds and thousands. And the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Magadhas, the Tamraliptas, the Supundrakas, the Dauvalikas, the Sagarakas, the Patrornas, the Saisavas, and innumerable Karnapravaranas, who presented themselves at the gate,....

Karna's conquests: Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 255 describes Karna's victory march and countries subjugated. ..... Then descending from the mountain and rushing to the east, he reduced the Angas (अङ्गा) (3-255-7b), and the Bangas (वङ्गा) (3-255-7b), and the Kalingas (कलिङ्गा) (3-255-7b), and the Mundikas (मुण्डिक) (Shundika) (शुण्डिक) (3-255-7b), and the Magadhas (मगध) (3-255-8a). the Karkakhandas (कर्कखण्ड) (3-255-8a); and also included with them the Avashiras (आवशीर) (3-255-8b), Yodhyas (योध्या) (3-255-8b), and the Ahikshatras (अहिक्षत्र) (3-255-8b).

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha. Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (VI.10.44). [18]....the Videhakas, the Magadhas, the Suhmas, the Vijayas, the Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Yakrilalomans; ....

Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 17 mentions warriors fighting against Dhrishtadyumna (brother of Draupadi). Vanga (वङ्ग) is mentioned in Mahabharata (VIII.17.2).[19].....Many foremost of combatants skilled in elephant-fight, belonging to the Easterners, the Southerners, the Angas, the Vangas, the Pundras, the Magadhas, the Tamraliptakas, the Mekalas, the Koshalas, the Madras, the Dasharnas, the Nishadas uniting with the Kalingas,....

Military Campaign of Karna: Mahabharata, Book 3, Chapter 252.... Then descending from the mountain and rushing to the east, he reduced the Angas, and the Bangas, and the Kalingas, and the Mandikas, and the Magadhas. the Karkakhandas; and also included with them the Avasiras, Yodhyas, and the Ahikshatras. Having (thus) conquered the eastern quarter Karna then presented himself before Batsa-bhumi.


Vanga was probably the center of the Gangaridai Empire mentioned by numerous Greco-Roman writers. Both Indian and Greco-Roman writers referred to the region's war elephants. In Indian history, Vanga is notable for its strong navy. There are numerous references to Vanga in [Mahabharata]], which is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of India. The other epic, the Ramayana, mentions the kingdom as an ally of Ayodhya. According to Sinhalese chronicles, Vanga is the ancestral home of Prince Vijaya, who colonized and founded a kingdom in the island of Lanka.

The Vanga Kingdom emerged in the lower Ganges delta during the Northern Black Polished Ware Period. It controlled many of the islands of the delta with its naval fleet and embarked on overseas exploration. Ancient Indian records refer to Vanga as a hub of sailors. In the 5th century BCE, the Vanga king Sihabahu's son prince Vijaya sailed across the Bay of Bengal and established a kingdom in what is now Sri Lanka.[20] The religious traditions of the kingdom included Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.

Vanga is recorded as an administrative unit in the Arthashastra written by Kautilya. It is described as a notable naval power by Kalidasa. There are also records of subdivisions within Vanga, including an area called "Upa Vanga" (Upper Vanga) which corresponds to Jessore and forested areas corresponding to the Sundarbans.[21]

The rulers of the Vanga kingdom remain mostly unknown. After the 2nd century BCE, the territory became part of successive Indian empires and Bengali kingdoms, including Mauryans, Guptas, Shashanka's reign, Khadgas, Palas, Chandras, Senas and Devas. The term Vangala was often used to refer to the territory. For example, an inscription of the South Indian Chola dynasty referred to the region as Vangaladesha during a war with the Chandra dynasty.[22] After the Muslim conquest of Bengal, the region was referred to as Bangalah, which may have evolved from Vangala. The names are the precursors of the modern terms Banga and Bangla.

वंग = बंग

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[23] ने लेख किया है .....वंग (AS, p.827) या 'बंग' बंगाल का प्राचीन नाम है। महाभारत में वंग नरेश पर पाण्डव भीम की चढ़ाई का उल्लेख है- 'उभौ बलभृतौ वीराबुभौतीव्रपराक्रमौ निजित्याजौ महाराज बंगराजमुपाद्रवत।'महाभारत, सभापर्व 30, 23. बंग निवासियों के युधिष्ठिर के राजसूय यज्ञ में कलिंग और मगध के लोगों के साथ आगमन का वर्णन महाभारत सभापर्व 52, 18 में इस प्रकार है- 'वंगाः कलिंगा मगधास्ताम्रलिप्ताः संपुड्रकाः दौवालिका: सागरकाः पत्रौर्णाः शैशवास्तथा।'

कालिदास ने रघु की दिग्विजय यात्रा के दौरान वंग निवासियों का युद्ध में परास्त होने का वर्णन किया है- 'वंगा नुत्खाव तरसा नेता नौसाधनोद्यतान् निचखान जयस्तंभान्गंगास्त्रोतोन्तरेषु सः।' अर्थात "रघु ने अनेक नौकाओं के साधन से संपन्न बंग निवासियों को बलात् विस्थापित करके गंगा के स्त्रोतो के बीच विजय स्तंभ गढ़वाये।"

महरौली के लौह स्तंभ पर 'चंद्र' नामक नरेश के अभिलेख में उसकी विजय का विस्तार बंग देश तक बताया गया है- 'स्योद्वर्तयत: प्रतीपमुरसा शत्रून् सवेत्यागतान, वंगेष्वाहववर्तिनोस भिलिखिता खड्गेनकीर्तिर्भजे...।' (नई खोजो के अनुसार इस अभिलेख का वंग शायद सिंध देश का एक भाग था।) प्राचीन काल में बंग सामान्य रूप से पूरे बंगाल का नाम था, किंतु कभी-कभी यह शब्द केवल पूर्वी बंगाल के लिए ही प्रयोग होता था।

'माधवचंचू' में बंग और गौड़ भिन्न प्रदेश माने गए हैं। सुह्य पश्चिमी-दक्षिणी बंगाल (राजधानी ताम्रलिप्ति) और समतट 'बंगाल की खाड़ी' के तटवर्ती प्रदेश का नाम था। 'राढ़' या 'राढ़ी' भी बंगाल का एक भाग ( बर्दवान कमिश्नरी) था।

'पुंड्र' गंगा की मुख्य धारा (ब्रह्मपुत्र-गंगा की संयुक्त धारा) के उत्तर में स्थित प्रदेश का नाम था। डाउसन (देखें क्लासिकल डिक्शनरी) के अनुसार प्राचीन काल में बंग भागीरथी के उत्तर में स्थित भाग का नाम था, जिसमें जैसोर और कृष्णनगर के ज़िले सम्मिलित थे। जैन साहित्य में बंग का कई स्थानों पर उल्लेख है। 'प्रज्ञापणा सूत्र' में बंग को अंग के साथ ही आर्यजनों का श्रेष्ठ स्थान बताया गया है।

जाट इतिहास

दलीप सिंह अहलावत[24] लेख करते हैं: विदर्भ देश पर यदुवंशी शशिबिन्दु का राज्य रहा। यह चक्रवर्ती सम्राट् था जो यदु के पुत्र करोक्षत्री की शाखा में यदु से सातवीं पीढ़ी में हुआ (देखो वंशावली)। इन वंशों तथा प्रदेशों का उल्लेख रामायण एवं महाभारत में है जो निम्न प्रकार से है -

सुग्रीव ने वानर सेना को सीता जी की खोज के लिये ऊपर लिखित देशों में भी जाने का आदेश दिया।

महाभारत सभापर्व पाण्डवों की दिग्विजय - उत्तर दिशा में अर्जुन ने अनेक देशों के साथ चोल देश (अध्याय 27) और उत्तर कुरुदेशों (अध्याय 28) को भी जीत लिया। पूर्व में भीमसेन ने विदेह (मिथिला) (अध्याय 29) और पांडर-पुण्ड्रक तथा वंग देशों को जीत लिया (अध्याय 30)। दक्षिण दिशा में सहदेव ने पाण्ड्य नरेश को जीत लिया। (अध्याय 31)।


  2. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Parishisht-I, s.n. व-4
  3. O.S.Tugania:Jat Samuday ke Pramukh Adhar Bindu,p.51,s.n. 1701
  4. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Ādhunik Jat Itihas, Agra, 1998, p. 267
  5. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Parishisht-I, s.n. ब-133
  6. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.450
  7. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.89
  8. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.509
  9. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.63-64
  10. V S Agarwal, India as Known to Panini,p.430
  11. वङ्ग पुण्ड्र किरातेषु राजा बलसमन्वितः, पौण्ड्रकॊ वासुदेवेति यॊ ऽसौ लॊकेषु विश्रुतः (II.13.19)
  12. अङ्गवङ्गादयश चैव राजानः सुमहाबलाः, गौतम कषयम अभ्येत्य रमन्ते सम पुरार्जुन (II.19.7)
  13. उभौ बलवृतौ वीराव उभौ तीव्रपराक्रमौ, निर्जित्याजौ महाराज वङ्ग राजम उपाथ्रवत (II.27.21)
  14. पौण्ड्रकॊ वासुदेवश च वङ्गः कालिङ्गकस तदा, आकर्षः कुन्तलश चैव वानवास्यान्ध्रकास तदा (II.31.11)
  15. ते वैरामाः पारदाश च वङ्गाश च कितवैः सह, विविधं बलिम आदाय रत्नानि विविधानि च (II.47.10)
  16. शौण्डिकाः कुक्कुराश चैव शकाश चैव विशां पते, अङ्गा वङ्गाश च पुण्ड्राश च शानवत्या गयास तदा (II.48.15)
  17. वङ्गाः कलिङ्ग पतयस ताम्रलिप्ताः सपुण्ड्रकाः, दुकूलं कौशिकं चैव पत्रॊर्णं परावरान अपि (II.48.17)
  18. विदेहका मागधाश च सुह्माश च विजयास तदा, अङ्गा वङ्गाः कलिङ्गाश च यकृललॊमान एव च (VI.10.44)
  19. पराच्याश च थाक्षिणात्याश च परवीरा गजयॊधिनः, अङ्गा वङ्गाश च पुण्ड्राश च मागधास ताम्रलिप्तकाः (VIII.17.2)
  20. Malaẏaśaṅkara Bhaṭṭācārya (2008). Glimpses of Buddhist Bengal. Indian Institute of Oriental Studies & Research. ISBN 978-81-901371-7-1.
  23. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.827
  24. जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठान्त-264