Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Introduction
First Edition 1980
Publisher: Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd, AB/9 Safdarjang Enclave, New Delhi-110064
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(Let there be success ! Let there be increase ! Let there be tranquillity !)(From Bijaygarh Pillar Inscription of Vishnuvardhana Virk. 428 Saka Era)
The History of India, as it is taught now in our schools, colleges and universities, leaves many questions unanswered. At almost every alternate step, we have to put a question mark, and these question marks start from the very beginning of the historical period. Were the Aryans, native to India, or did they come from outside ? If the latter, from where ? Who were the Nandas and Mauryas ? Why are they called the initiators of the Age of Sudra rulers ? What happened to the Ksaharatas and the republican tribes ? Why republicanism flourished only in the North Western portion of India ? Who was king ‘Chandra’ of Mehrauli Iron Pillar inscription ? Who were the Guptas ? Why do the Puranas not mention the kings of the Maurya/Gupta dynasty ? Who started our national eras, the Saka and the Vikram Samvatas ? Who were the rulers of Central and Eastern India before the Kushanas ? What happened to Vishnuvardhana of Mandsor and his successors or even predecessors ? Who was Vindhyashakti, the Kilakila Yavana 1 Why did Harsha Vardhana’s father, put on a white cloth on his body and a white head dress, while praying to the Sun-god, kneeling on the earth ? Why are the Abhiras termed as Mahasudra by the Sanskrit grammarians ? They were ruling in many parts of India with the Gujjars, and yet why they were hated by the Hindu society ? Who are the Jats, Gujjars, Ahirs and Rajputs ? Are they the ancient Kshatriyas of India or have they come from outside? The list of such vital questions is unending indeed; and we have not found the answers because we limit our search to India alone. We take Jambudvipa to be identical with India and search for the solutions here, where they are not to be found. The Puranas explicitly say that Bharatvarsa is only one (Varsa part or division) of Jambudvipa. They mention the Daksita Kurus (Southern Kurus) in the Haryana area, and they also mention the Utara Kurus (Northern Kurus) in the north of Meru Parvata (Pamir mountains). The Madras are in the Punjab, and there are also the Uttara Madras
(northern Madra) people. The Pakhtoons/Pashtoons are in the Kabul/Kandhar area right from the period of Rigveda; and yet the Assyrian king Sargon-I was fighting the “Uttara-Pashtoom” in their city of Purushakhanda in Cappadocia in third millennium B.C. We have a river called Kuril (sh) or Kur in the west of Caspian sea, and an area called Kourupedion (the land of Kourus) in the west of present Iraq, exactly like Kuruksetra (the land of Kurus) in India. All these facts, along with similar other facts and notices, pinpoint the fact that the lands of Uttara Kurus, Uttara Madras, Uttara Pashtoons, were in the region of Caspian and Black seas, both in their north, as well as south direction. That is vthy R.G. Harshe and K.P. Bhatnagar found that many names of the Vedic people, are from the region of ancient Iraq.1
Therefore, in the words of G.M. Bongard-Levit and B.Y. Stavisky, “it is here (in Central Asia) that the answers to many unsolved mysteries of the history and culture of the East should be sought”, 2 In a similar tone, A. K. Narain declared in the Presidential address of Indian History Congress (1968) Bhagalpur session
- “It is clear from our source material, archaeological as well as literary, that about all major movements ideas and people vitally affecting the history of Indian Union down to the thirteenth century (A.D.), are, in one way or another related to Central Asia. It is not an exaggeration to say that Central Asia holds the key to the solution of many of our historical problems. In my opinion, the history of the Indian Union, if it has to be written in the right perspective, should include, not only what happened in Pakistan, but also what happened in Afghanistan and Central Asia.”
I will go further and say that for a correct interpretation of our ancient history (and also medieval history) we have to study :the movements of ideas and people, their exploits and aims, from the wall of China to the Black sea in the west and Egypt and Sumer in the south/west.
The present work is the result of a search in that direction, with solid help from the ancient Indian literature. Many aspects of Indian history in general, and the identity of the Jats in particular,
1. See “Vedic Names in Assyrian Records” in Adyar Library Bulletin, May 1957, pp. 1-2, and The Trails of Vedic Civilisation in Middle East, 1961, pp. 165-176.
2. Kushan Studies in USSR, p. 29.
have become clearer as a result. In fact, the results are not only thought-provoking, they are at times astonishing. Almost every tribe of ancient Middle East (West Asia) and Central Asia, is represented among the present-day Jats in India, Whole tribes have individual histories, and significantly, they are called Guti/Guts/ Djati/ Jatoi /Gets/Jits or Juts. In the third millennium B.C. we find not only a people called Guti, as overlords of Sumer, Akkad and Lagash and Babylon, but we also find their country called Gutium. We find their first king, named Murut or Mamta, and the last king named Trigan who was overthrown by Uttu Khegal Warak from the present Virk clan of the Jats, the Varka of ancient Sumer/Iran, the Urukan or Hyrcan of Greek writers. Again, we find a people tailed Amuru by the Egyptians, and Amorites by historians The Cambridge Ancient History explains that the first letter ‘A’ is added in order to make pronunciation easier for the Semitic people; and so the name that remains is Muru/Mor, the Moore/More of Europe, the Mor/Maur of Indian Jats, and the Mauryas of Asoka fame. Significantly, the Egyptians have put [it on record that the people, Ainuru/Amorites, came from “The land of Djati”, the land of Guts, or Gutium, of the ancient Sumerians/Babylonians/Assyrians. Hence it was the Mor/Moor clan of the Jats, in 22nd century B.C. which attacked Egypt from the area of Lesser Zab and Ararat mountains. The Riar clan is remembered in the city of Riar and the Parsua and Treres are the Parsuval and Tarar of today.
Again we find the kingdom of Ven, on Lake Ven in Armenia in the tenth century B.C. They are the Benae of the later Greek writers, the Beniwal or Venhwal clan of the Jats in India, whose king, Raja Chakravarti Ben/Ven. (the Chakva Ben) is famous in Indian legends from the Punjab to Bengal, without rinding a place in the present-day history. Significantly, the Ven kings, took the title of “king of kings”, “king of the world”—titles which were later taken up by the Achaemenians of Iran. In addition, the Ven kings are called, “The king of the Biainas” and “king of the Naire”. These titles show that the Ven kingdom, included the Bains and Nara clan of the Jats. Again, the Ven kings, extended their power over the Manna/Mannai and the Dayeni/Dahi people. These Mannai, on the south of Lake Urumiya, are the Maan clan of the Jats, as CAH expressly says that Mannai was “the land of Man”. The Dayeni of the Assyrians, are the Dahae of the Greek
writers and Berossus, the “Dahi” (of “Dahinam Dahyunam” of Avesta) of the ancient Iran. These were the people who founded the “Parthian” empire, under king Arsaces, and ruled Iran for 480 years (256 B.C. to 224 A.D.). Again these were the Dahae of Alexander who were the first to attack the army of Porus in 326 B.C. as per McCrindle’s Invasion. Their country called Dabistan, still exists as Daghestan, a Soviet ASSR, with its administrative capital at Makachakala (Petrovsk), a port on the western Caspian sea. The change of ‘h’ into ‘gh’, or even ‘kh’ (and vice versa) in India and Central Asia, is the same as in Simha and Singh (lion), Videgha and Videba, Saramgha and Saranh, Veinakh and Venn, Vritragben and Vritranhana and so on.
Incidentally, the name Videgha Mathava of Satapatha Brahmana is curiously enough, similar, to a people now called Udeghe (cf Uddehika of Indian coins) in Eastern Siberia. The work entitled Soviet Union—A geographical survey gives the photograph of a Udegha person, who has long straight, thick nose, conical headdress, coloured trousers, and his gun, in place of old bow and spears. He is tall and well-built. The same authority speaks of Veinakh/Daghestan people and language group; and states, that these people are first mentioned in literary sources between 2000 and 1000 BCE , and “archaeological finds indicate that even between 5000 and 3000 EC related or at least similar ancient land-tilling and stock-breading cultures were developing all over the Caucasus”.
The Busae of the Greek writers are the Bassi Jats, the Mardai/ Amardi are the Mirdha Jats and the Khalybes of the Assyrians are the Kharab Jats, the Kharaparis of Allahabad Pillar Inscription, which names at least ten different Jat clans. The Asigarta of Iranian inscriptions, the Sagartians of Herodotus are the Asiagh Jats, just as the Sarangai of the Greek writers are the Saramgh Jats of today. The Madaiya of Iran, are the present Mada/Madhan Jats, the Mandas are the present Mand clan people. The clan of Toramana and Mihiragula is represented by the present Jauhl /Johl Jats; just as the clan of Vindhyashakti is represented today by the Kalkil Jats of UP. The Derbices, the destroyers of Cyrus the Great, are the modern Dabas, a part of the Dahiya clan. The Kiang-nu of the Chinese are the Kang Jats of today, just as the Hiung-nu of the Chinese are the Henga Jats of Mathura. The Chinese were right
in stating that the Hiung-nu were a part of the Yue-che (Guti) people, and that these Guti people had two main divisions, the Ta-Yue-che and the Siao-Yue-che, exactly corresponding to the Massagetae, and Thyssagetae of Herodotus, meaning the “Great Jats” and “The Little Jats” respectively.
Coming to the Kushanas, we find that the correct name is Kasuan, the present Kasvan Jats of Haryana and Rajasthan. The Kedarites are the Katariya Jats; the Khangas Jats are representatives of Kungkhas king of the so-called “white Hunas”, just as Puru clan of the Jats represents king Puru, a successor “of Kedar. The Gondal clan represents the “Go-nanda” dynasty of Kashmir, the Lohar jats are the descendants of the Lohar kings of Kashmir, just as the Lalli, the Sahi, the Balhara, the Bring, the Takhar, the Dhonchak, the Samil, the Kular, and so on represent the people mentioned in the Rajatarangini of Kalhana. Finally, the Ksaharata kings have their descendants in the Saharaut/Saharavat Jats; the Dharan/Gupta and Virk/Vishnuvardhan are named by their respective clans. I have taken Harsha’s clan as Virk, but Carlyle and Cunningham say that he belonged/to the Bains clan. On the social level, I have’ held that the latter Rajputs are but Jats and Gujjars, and as for the Gujjars and Ahirs, there are two clans among the Jats, named Gussar and Abara. Almost all the clans named in Kushana inscriptions are of the Jats, and the Puranas, the epics, the Brihadsamhita of Varahamihira, etc., have taken note of the majority of the Jat clans. The change of Jats/Gujjars into Rajputs started after the seventh century A.D. and was occasioned by the revival of orthodox Hinduism at the cost of egalitarian Buddhism. Those people, mostly headed by royal houses, who were formally converted by the Brahmanas by Agni stoma and other sacrifices, were called Rajaputra or new warrior class of Brahma-Ksatriyas, the latter term signifying only Brahmanised Ksatriyas. The supposed Brahmana origin of the Mewar and other Rajput houses, has to be understood in this context. It is aptly stated by Buddha Prakash that the priestly class did not command much respect in the republics of ancient Punjab. Similarly, R.C. Majumdar says that Brahmanical revival led to reorientation of the social fabric, on the one hand it made castes exclusive and rigid, and on the other a mushroom-growth
of new castes…”  Genealogies were framed for the new converts and they were connected in the ancient Solar and Lunar lines. The Malavas started claiming a status equal to Brahma-rishis, the Vakatakas were admitted as Brahmans, even though they were “Yavanas” whereas the Kadamba family claimed to be Brahmin as well as Kshatriya. A sample of the new genealogies and connections is given by the Kak (or Kakustha) rulers, who proclaimed that the old Iksavaku/Raghu line, was called by the name of Kak in the Kali Age.
An objection can be taken that mere similarity of name, or even identity of names, is no proof that they were Jats. This objection is met on the ground, that most of these people are in fact, called Djati or Guts or Yue-che (pronounced as Guti) whether little or great Yue-che, I am not bothered; what concerns me is that the fact that they are now found among the Jats, presupposes their being Jats from the beginning, unless the contrary is proved. It should be clearly understood that the Jats were never a proselytising religious society. Their customs, social, political and religious ideas, as described in the literature and Puranas, etc., are not only non-Indian, but in many instances they go against the accepted principles of orthodox Hinduism. Their polyandry, their dress of coat pants and boots, which they gave even to their gods, the horn of cornucopia on their coins, their offering of oblations while standing in boots and pants, or kneeling on earth with two white cloths on their head and body, their war habits, their pleasure in battle, their preoccupation with bravery and victory, their horse or stag-drawn waggons, their marriages with the widow of elder brother, and finally their complete disregard of the law of primogeniture—are some of the facts which point to their non-Indian and Central Asian origin. Significantly, they are called Asura, Sudra, Mleccha, Yavana, or Vrishala in the Puranas—again showing their non-Indian origin.
Even the similarity or identity of the names, is sufficient proof unless the contrary is proved. In the words of G. Rawlinson, “Yet still, identity of name, even alone, in an argument which requires to be met; and which, unless met by positive objections establishes a presumption in favour of the connexion of race.” 
- Corporate Life in Ancient India.
- The History of Herodotus, New York, 1880, Vol. IIIi, p. 152.
It should be remembered that the origin of the Scythians is claimed to be from one, Targita or Targitaus; and the Swedish name, its equivalent, is Skjuta; the Scythian-getae of ancient Greek writers; the people called “Garta” or Garta-sad, by the Vedas, The later Jarta is but a form of ‘Garta’, a people, whose king is named Rudra, who themselves are called Maruts, “the soldiers of Indra” in the Rig and Atharva Veda. “The horse sacrifice, prevalent among the Getic nations, is the solid proof of the fact that these people descended from the Scythians” the Sada of Veda, the Sakas of later Indian literature, the Scjuta of Sweden, Mahabharata is full the names of Jat clans. The Kankas, Lampakas Audhrans, Chinas, Sindhus, Jakhads, Jaglains, Lohans, Khatkals, Hansas, Halas, Tomars, Chauhans, Daradas, Tangals, Yaudheyas, Khaks, Bal-s, Sibis, Virks, Madras and so on, find place in that epic.
I would like to quote two instances from history which will go to prove my contention that while Jats are mentioned they were never noticed by historians. One is from Sunda inscription of Sinda chief Chavunda, which says that
- “just as Amravati looked ever beautiful with Indra, or Ayodhya with the descendant of Raghu, Mathura with Govinda, Ujjayani with Gutta, and Hastinapura with the son of Marut (Bhima); so also Erambarapura attain¬ed gracefulness with Sinda chief Chavunda”.
Now all other references are well understood, but no one has explained who were (or was) the Gutta (or Guttan), through whom the city of Ujjayani was so known.
The second instance is taken from The Travels of Huen Tsang in India by Thakur Prasad Sharma (Suresh). It is a Hindi translation of Huen Tsang’s travels and it mentions the story of Mihirakula-Baladitya of Magadha. Mihirakula says that he inherited ancestral kingdom and lost it and says to the mother of Baladitya, “A short time ago, I was the king of Jit country, now I am a prisoner under the sentence of death”. Now why does Mihirakula style himself as “king of Jit country”? What does it indicate? Further, Baladitya not only sends him back alive, but also married his younger daughter to Mihirakula. These facts are not mentioned by historians who give this story and base their story of defeat of Mihirakula by Baladitya, who is even raised to the status of a national hero! Huen Tsang clearly says that Baladitya of Magadha
was under the sovereignty of Mihirakula and after the attempted declaration of independence, was obliged to marry his daughter to his sovereign. Emperor, Mihirakula was succeeded at Pataliputra by his son, Ajitanjaya, as per Jain chronicles. Thus, Toramapa, Mihirakula and Ajitanjaya are the Hari (follower of Vaishanavism), Kara (follower of Shiva) and Ajit, respectively of AMMK! And it was during the reign of Ajit that the Indian empire of Johl (Jauvala) clan of the Jats disintegrated.
Now coming to the international field. It is noted that certain clans of the Jats are even today called Galat. In particular the Mundtor and Guliya clans are so-called. Do they have some connection with the Galataens of Greek writers, the Celt of history of Europe ? This is a point which calls for further research.
The Rig Veda itself has named many Jat clans. These have been discussed in the body of the text at appropriate places. The latter literature especially the Mahabharata is full of their stories. The Bhisma Parva (Chapter 9) alone, identifies about forty/fifty Jat clans.
My theory is that many clan names have been Sanskritised later, e.g., the Mura/Maur is mentioned as Mayuraka or Maurya; the Kashan is mentioned as Kashyapaghata; Bains is mentioned as Mahisha; the Machhal/Machhar is mentioned as Matsya, etc., etc. This has been done on account of the supposed similarity of clan names with some Prakrit words, e.g. Mor for peacock, Bains for buffallo, Chulik for palm of hand, Kasuan for tortoise, Machh for fish and so on. In fact, these clan names have no connection whatsoever with the birds or animals ascribed to them. All the clan names mean “royal, king, high, chief or top”.
I was gratified to find support for my view from the Mahabharata itself. In Sabha Parva (Chapter 31), the people and kings of various areas are mentioned as attending the sacrifice Raja-Suya of Yudhisthira. Verse 13 of Chapter 31 says, “Viratah Saha Putraischa Machella-Seha Maharathah”. Here the Matsya king, Virata (alongwith his son) is obviously called “Machella, the Great Charioteer”. This clearly shows that the name of the people was Machella (present Machhal or Machhar) and, for once, it was not Sanskritised into Matsya. Virata is the title of crowned kings of Uttara Kuru and Uttara Madra (Ait. Br. 38/3)
Anyway, I have proceeded with a belief in the theory that nothing can be so destroyed as to leave no trace at all. And my search has been quite rewarding. Now it is for the historians to answer the question, “Why practically all the ancient clan names are found among the Jats, and many times, only among the Jats ?
A question may arise that, if the Mauryas, Guptas, Vishnuvardhana, Kalkila (Vakatakas) were Jats and were ruling in the entire north India, then why their descendants are not found in eastern India, etc. ? The answer to this question is simple. The English and the Mughals ruled over India for centuries. How many descendants of the Mughals are found today ? Where are the descendants of the English? The answer lies in the fact that the rulers are always in a minority, be they dictators or democrats. The majority is simply ruled over, till a new dynasty comes. Moreover, the Jats were transformed into Rajputs, and Ksatriyas after the seventh century A.D. or so. Those who refused conversion by formal priests, came over the North West, their stronghold, where they could live as they desired. That is why there are numerous traditions among the Jats about their movements from Central India to Yamuna and the Ravi areas. Apart from similar or same clan names, the following are the other main points for identification of various kings. These considerations show whether a particular king was native to Indian soil or he had come as an immigrant/invader.
- (a) These people never followed the law of primogeniture, where the eldest son automatically succeeds his father. Right from the Mauryas up to Harsha, the successors were not the eldest sons of their fathers. A successor installed himself on the throne by personal merit alone. Asoka, and Skandagupta are the two glaring examples.
- (b) The caste system was not accepted, and we find emphasis on equality of all the subjects of a king. Chanakya prescribed death penalty for a Brahmana who covets the kingship. Asoka marries a Brahmana girl. Widow re-marriage was accepted as normal. The kings offer oblations while standing in boots and pants which is not an Indian tradition at all.
- (c) The dress of the kings and their armaments are also important. The Kushana and the Gupta kings used to
wear boot, pants and coats and adorned themselves with long swords of Central Asia. Harsha’s father, worshipped the Sun by kneeling on the ground, wearing two white pieces of cloth on his head and body in the Persian manner. The Sudreh (white shirt) and the Kushti (Avayanga) are distinctly mentioned.
- (d) The symbols on the coins are also very important. The Sun, the crescent Moon and the Cornucopia (Horn of Plenty) are Central Asian symbols, especially the last one. The goddess Ardoxo and Nana (ultimately transformed into Laxmi of India) also point to the same direction.
Therefore, in the words of Pargiter, “if any one maintains that these factual narrations are worthless, the burden rests on him to produce, not mere doubts and suppositions,, but substantial ‘grounds and reasons for his assertions”.
According to J.F. Hewitt, the word ‘Gut’, means ‘bull’. The Persian-English Dictionary defines Gut/Guta, as ‘Great’ or ‘grand’.. The Indian works define Jat as meaning ‘King’, Panini defines it as signifying a Samgha or union/federation. Jit and Gut are even today used by the Jats, as signifying “long hair”, indicating the fact that they used to keep hair and beards, like the present Sikh Jats. It is not for nothing that Deva Samhita calls the Jats as the first rulers over the earth, whose heroic exploits and glorious history, was deliberately kept concealed. Tall and strongly built, brave and industrious, smart and handsome, unostentatious and unsophisticated, self-willed and tough, the Jats, have a near physical homogeneity among themselves.  With their innate antagonism to oppression, the Jats have the principles of freedom and equality, the open country air and movements, in their very blood. Their toughness of body is symbolized in the proverb that says that, “Consider a Jat to be dead only when the thirteenth-day rites are over.”
A well known proverb says that “The Jat, like a wound, is better when bound”. These were clearly the result of social punishment meted out to them by the revived orthodoxy when the Jats refused formal conversion. But the traditional royal bent of mind of these people prevented them from recognizing anyone, especially the renegade new converts, as superiors. There are many proverbs which reflect their attitude of equality, even with
the actual kings. It were the Jats who gave shelter to Razia Begam—the first and last Muslim lady to rule over Delhi — knowing fully well the dire consequences. Again, when a Delhi prince was fleeing for his life, a jat farmer gave him food and shelter. In gratitude, the prince revealed his identity and asked for any reward that he could give to the Jat. As the anecdote goes the Jat replied, “I do not need anything from you; but in case you need anything from me, just mention it”. Again, a story goes, that a Jat was collecting water melons from his field and made two separate heaps, when Emperor Akbar, who saw this, asked for the reason. The Jat replied that the better fruits were being separated for being presented to Akbar, little knowing that he was talking to Akbar himself. Akbar then said, “the emperor has the choice of best fruits from Kabul and Samarkand; he will not accept your water melons”. At this, the self-respected Jat said in his typical way, “My wish is to offer the best that I have; if still Akbar does not accept, then let him...... his sister”. Greatly agitated, Akbar returned to Agra, and on the next day, when the Jat appeared with his water melons, he asked, “Well, Jat, what if I do not accept your presents ?” Fully realizing the situation, the Jat took a spot decision and said, “Your Highness, the same answer as yesterday”. It is not for the Jats to back out, at the expense of self-respect Again, a proverb says that, the Jat stood on his corn heap and said to the king’s .elephant drivers “will you sell those little donkeys ?.
I know, the preface is no place for anecdotes, but these are necessary for understanding the Jat character. He is a loyal subject if treated well, and threats have the opposite reaction on a Jat. When the Romans threatened Alarik, the Goth, in 410 A.D. with the vast multitudes of Roman population, and its wrath against him, he gave a typical Jat reply, “Thicker the hay, easier moved”.
In this work, I have limited the scope to the identification of various clans and their roots, and that too, up to the period of Arab invasions, i.e., prior to the tenth century AD. I have not dealt with their subsequent exploits, and it is not my purpose to write their full-fledged history. It will be noticed that many vital points are reflected in entirely different aspect; and many new ideas are raised, which, it is hoped, some historians may take up nd develop fully, the history of the Jats, has almost been totally
ignored. As Deguignes said about the *Hunas - they are a nations almost ignored by history, in a similar tone S. Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab, lamented in April, 1977 that the Punjabis have made history and repeatedly so, but nobody has written their history. With the exception of Y.P. Shastri and K.R. Qanungo, no other history worth the name has appeared about the Jats. With this study as the beginning, let us hope for better work and research in future. One such source of information will be the Uighur Colophons, and the results of Russian excavations, published in book form, as Kara-Tepe II and III, by V.A. Livshitz and V.G. Lukonin. I have not been able to lay my hands on these books, which are bound to give many parallel clans in Central Asia and India about 2000 years ago. If, at times, I seem to have been carried away by sentiment, then, it is hoped, this “pardonable partiality” will be excused.
Lastly, my thanks are due to Dr K.V. Sarnia, Acting Director, Y.V.R.I, Hoshiarpur for making available many reference books from his excellent collection, and to Mr S.L. Dogra, Librarian, V.Y.R.l, Hoshiarpur and Mr H.K. Sharma, Librarian, D.A.V. College, Jullnndur, for similar help and cooperation.
I also extend my thanks to Mr J.S. Dhillon, who has tirelessly worked with the typing and correction work, and to my fiiends and well wishers for their encouragement.
- Bhim Singh Dahiya, IRS: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study), First Edition 1980, Publisher: Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd, AB/9 Safdarjang Enclave, New Delhi-110064, p.xiii
- G.C. Dwivedi, JIH, 1970, p. 377