Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Preface

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Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Tej Ram Sharma

Concept Publishing Company Delhi, 1978

The full text of this chapter has been converted into Wiki format by Laxman Burdak



It may be pointed out at the outset that the inscriptions included in the list could not be arranged in chronological order as they were included during the work as and when noticed and found available. We did not like to disturb the order as arranged by J.F. Fleet in his Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. lll and further added to the list the other inscriptions which he could not include in his work due to their non-availability and non-publication at the time when he published his work. The criterion for the selection of the inscriptions and the seals has been the relevance with the Gupta history and the area supposed to be under the direct rule of the Guptas.

The present work, to some extent, is a break-away from the traditional type of research. This work follows the lines set in by F.T. Wainright and Dr. H.D. Sankalia in their works Archaeology and place-names and History and Studies in the Historical and Cultural Geography and Ethnography of Gujarat respectively.

Some people may ward off the idea in a name by saying merely "what is in a name?" But we find even now the people taking time to give a name to their child. They may even sometime talk about the justification of the name by the child which is expressed by a Sanskrit dictum yatha nama tatha gunah.

A person is identified by his name by the family members as well as by others. Man lives with his name in this life and even after death the name survives. There is a taboo about the secret name not to be disclosed or made known to others for fear of sorcery or black-magic or ill-effect by the spirits.

It may also be mentioned that some people may give the names to their children quite thoughtfully it may be after a god, a hero, a character from some fiction, while others may

xiv Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

imitate them without knowing or understanding any meaning or thought pregnant in the names.

It may be argued whether the names are connotative or not but who can refuse their cultural significance or their bearing on the cultural life of society. The bulk of a particular type of names may signify the preponderance of certain customs or predominance of some cults and traits in a society. We are primarily concerned with this factor in our study on the personal names in the Gupta inscriptions.

In the study of the geographical names we are not only concerned with their identification but also with their origin, cultural significance as well as the linguistic changes. The geographical names may represent the important personages, social beliefs in a society and its cultural habitat. The present work aims at the following objectives.

(i) To ascertain the historical facts proved by other evidence;

(ii) To correctly check up certain disputed readings in the inscriptions;

(iii) To correctly interpret some disputed passages in the inscriptions;

(iv) To accord a scientific tinge to already known material on the tribes as well as the place-names in the light of the new material published through a number of monographs on the subject.

The works on personal names are very few. In India a work of the type of Your Baby's name by Maxwell Nurnberg and Morris Rosenblum, has yet to be carried out, where the original history of English names has been worked out, statistics are given of its use by estimated number of people and ranked accordingly and the connotations given along with the citations from literature. The names for the boys and girls have also been classified separately.

The present study, originally a doctoral thesis accepted by the Banaras Hindu University in 1968, seeks to discuss separately different name-patterns with regard to personal names, names of tribes, places, rivers and mountains, though in a modest way. I owe special gratitude to Dr. V.S.Pathak of theGorakhpur University and Dr.L. Gopal of the Banaras Hindu University, who helped me through this work. I feel highly obliged to

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions xv

Dr.L. Gopal for writing a Foreword to this book. The award of a Research Fellowship by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi which enabled me to complete the dissertation, is very gratefully acknowledged.

Other scholars who helped me by way of valuable suggestions are :

Dr. A.K. Narain, Dr. H.D. Sankalia, Dr. D.C. Sircar, Dr. G. C. Pande, Dr. Romila Thapar, Dr A. M. Ghatage, Dr. M.A Mahendale, Dr. Mantrini Prasad, Dr. Parmanand Gupta, and Prof.N.K.S. Telang.

The courtesy of the Archaeological Survey of India in making available photographs reproduced in this book is gratefully acknowledged.

Lastly, but not the least, I express my sincere thanks to my wife Brij and daughter Richa who gladly spared me the time for giving the present shape to the work.


Department of History,

Himachal Pradesh University, Summer Hill, SIMLA-171005.

July 7, 1978

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