Taka

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Taka (टाक) is a kingdom mentioned by Hiuen-Tsang (631-643 A.D.). It is mentioned as situated towards east of Gandhara. Hiuen-Tasng Gives its name as Tekka, and the History of Sindh, Chach Nama, mentions it as Tak. Its capital was Shekilo (Sakala, modern Sialkot) and formerly King Mihiragula was ruling from this place. In seventh century A.D. Its people were not preeminently Buddhists, but worshiped the sun, too. Abhidhana Chintamani Says that Takka is the name of Vahika country (Punjab). [1] Alexander Cunningham[2] writes that in the time of Hwen Thsang She-kie-lo, or Sakala, was in ruins, and the chief town of the district was Tse-kia, or Chekia, which may also be read as Dhaka or Taka.

Variants

Jat clans

  • Tak (टाक)
  • Tank (टांक)
  • Dhaka (ढाका) - The word 'Dhaka' is a linguistic (Pali) variation of Taka. [3] [4]

Genealogy of Taka

Ram Sarup Joon[5] provides the Genealogy of Taka:

(Recognised by the Tartars as their ancestors)
	     Tak 
____________________________
|			|
Harjanda		Wansat
|			|
Bhajan		      Balam
|			|
Dorativa		Kapotram
||			| 
			|
Sura		      Anu
|                                                
Salni			Andhak
			Dhantry
|			|
Bhoj		     VirDatt
|			|
Rawak			Punvarsu
|			|
Devsidha		Kok
|			|
Vasdev		      Ugarsen
| 			|
Shri Krishna Devki and Kans

The Tanks

The Tanks must have come to India, Prior to fourth century A.D. i.e. with the Kushana. And with the Kushanas, they must have spread up to Bengal and Orissa, like the Manns and Kangs who spread into southern Maharashtra and the Deccan. In Orissa, the Tanks, had their rule in Orissa proper, Mayurbhanj, Singbhoom, Ganjam, and Balasore Districts. They are called by historians as “ Puri Kushans” or Kushanas of Puri (Orissa). Their coins have been found at Bhanjakia and Balasore (Chhota Nagpur) and these coins have the legend Tanka written in Brahmi script of the fourth century A.D. Allan suggested the reading Tanka as the name of a tribe “ [6] and others generally accepted the reading Tanka as correct. [7] Allan placed them in the third or early fourth century A.D., while V.A. Smith placed them in the fourth or fifth century A.D. ; R.D. Bannerji called them “ Puri Kushanas[8]

The kingdom of Taki

Alexander Cunningham[9] mentions about The kingdom of Taki. [p.148]: The kingdom which Hwen Thsang calls Tse-kia , or Taki (टाकी), embraced the whole of the plains of the Panjab from the Indus to the Bias, and from the foot of the mountains to the junction of the five rivers below Multan.1 The Chinese syllable tse is used by Hwen Thsang to represent the cerebral ṭ of the Sanskrit in the name of Danakakaṭa which is found in no less than five of the western cave inscriptions at Kanhari and Karli.2 In Hwen Thsang's travels this name is written To.no. kia-tse.kia, in which the last two syllables are transposed. It is the Danaka of Abu Rihan, which, as will be shown hereafter, is most probably the same as the old town of Dharani-kotta, on the Kistna river, adjoining the modern city of Amaravati. Tse-kia., therefore, represents Ṭāki, which would appear to have been the name of the capital as well as of the kingdom of the Panjab in the seventh century, just as Lahor has since been used to describe both the kingdom and the


1 See Maps Nos. V. and VI.

2 Dr. Stevenson read this name as the Pali form of the Greek Xenokrates, but in all the inscriptions at Kanhari and Karli it is clearly the name of a town or country.


[p.149]: capital of Ranjit Singh. The position of the capital will be discussed hereafter. It will be sufficient at present to note that it was within a few miles of the more ancient capital of She-kie-lo, which was long ago identified by Professor Lassen with the Sakala of the Mahabharata, and with the Sangala of Arrian.

Now the people of Sakala are called Madras, Arattas, Jarttikas, and Bahikas1 in the Mahabharata ; and in the Lexicon of Hemachandra the Bahikas are said to be the same as the Takkas (टक्का).2 Again, in the 'Raja Tarangini,' the district of Takkadesa is mentioned as a part of the kingdom of Gurjjara (or Gujrat, near the Chenab), which Raja Alakhana was obliged to cede to Kashmir between A.D. 883 and 901.3 From these statements it is clear that Sakala was the old capital of the powerful tribe of Takkas, whose country was named after themselves Takka-desa.4 The name of the new capital is not actually stated by Hwen Thsang, but I believe it to have been Taki, or Takkawar, which I would identify with the Tahora of the Pentingerian Tables by the mere softening of the guttural k to the aspirate h. In the latter authority Tahora is placed at 70 Roman miles, or 64⅓ English miles from Spatura, opposite Alexandria Bucefalos.

I will now turn to the early Muhammadan writers who have noticed Kashmir and Sindh, and who, therefore can scarcely have omitted all mention of so important a country as the Panjab, which lies


1 In the Mahabharata and Vishnu Purana the name is written Balhika ; but as they follow the Kulutas, it seems certain that the true reading is Bahika, as proposed by Lassen.

2 Lassen, ' Pentapot Indica,' p. 21. Bāhīkāshṭakkanāmāno.

3 'Raja Tarangini,' v. 150, Troyer; v. 155, Calcutta edit.

4 For the position of Sakala, or Taki, see Maps. Nos. V. and VI.


[p.150]: immediately between them. In A.D. 915, Masudi thus describes the Indus, according to Sir Henry Elliot's translation :1

" The Mihran of es-Sind comes from the well-known sources of the high land of es-Sind, from the country belonging to Kinnauj in the kingdom of Budah, and of Kashmir, el Kandahar, and et-Takin. The tributaries which rise in these countries run to el Multan, and from thence the united " river receives the name of Mihran."

In this passage Takin must certainly be intended for the hills of the Panjab. The Kabul river and the Indus both flow through Gandhara or el Kandahar ; the Jhelam comes from Kashmir ; and the Bias and Satlej flow through Jalandhar and Kahlur, which in the time of Hwen Thsang were subject to Kanoj. The only other tributaries of the Indus are the Chenab and the Ravi, which must therefore have flowed through the kingdom of Takin. The mention of Gandhara and Kanoj shows that Masudi does not refer to the actual sources of the rivers, but to the points in the lower ranges of hills, where they enter the plains. Takin therefore, in the time of Masudi, represented the lower hills and plains of the Panjab to the north of Multan, which was then in the possession of the Brahman kings of Kabul.

The name is read Ṫākin, <arabic>, by Sir Henry Elliot, and Tafan, <arabic>, by Gildemeister,2 in his extracts from Masudi. The first reading is supported by the strong authority of Abu Rihan and Rashid-ud-


1 Sir H. M. Elliot's ' Muhammadan Historians of India,' p. 56; and Prof. Dowson's edition, i. 21, where the name is read as Tafan. But Sprenger, in his translation of 'Masudi,' p. 193, gives Tafi, with Takan and Tafan as variants, and at p. 390, Takin.

2 ' De Rebus Indicis,' p. 161.


[p.151]: din, who agree in stating that the great snowy mountain of Kelarjik (or Larjk), which resembled Demavend by its cupola form, could be seen from the boundaries of Takishar and Lohawar.1 Elliot, in one passage, corrects Takishar to Kashmir ; but this alteration is quite inadmissible, as the mountain is specially noted to have been only 2 farsangs, or about 8 miles, distant from Kashmir. One might as well say that St. Paul's Cathedral is visible from Ludgate Hill and Windsor. The mountain here referred to is the great Dayamur, or Nanga Parbat, to the west of Kashmir, which is 26,629 feet in height ; and which I have myself seen repeatedly from Ramnagar, on the Chenab, a distance of 200 miles. In a second passage of the same author, Sir Henry calls the mountain Kalarchal,2 and the two places from which it can be seen be names Takas and Lohawar. This Takas, or Takishar, I take to be the same place as the Tsekia, or Taki of Hwen Thsang, and the Takin of Masudi.

The earliest Muhammadan author who mentions Taki is the merchant Suliman, who visited the east before A.D. 851, when his account was written. He describes Tafak, <arabic>, as not of very great extent, and its king as weak, and subject to the neighbouring princes ; but he adds that he possessed "the finest white women in all the Indies.3 As Tafak and Takin are almost the same in unpointed Persian characters, I have


1 Reinaud, ' Fragments Arabes,' p. 118. In Sir H. M. Elliot, p. 41, and in Dowson's edition of Elliot, i. 65, Takishar is altered to Kashmir.

2 Sir H. M. Elliot, p. 30 ; and Dowson's edition, i. 46. If this is the same as Ibn Batuta's Karachal, or " Black Mountain," the identification with Nanga Parbat, or the " Bare Mountain " is nearly certain, as " bareness " means " blackness," from want of snow.

3 Sir Henry Elliot, p. 49 ; and Dowson's edition, i. 4.


[p.152]: no hesitation in identifying Tafak with the Panjab, where the women, and especially those of the lower hills, are the " fairest," as well as the " finest," in India.

Ibn Khurdadba, who died in A.D. 912, mentions the king of Taffa1 as next in eminence to the Balhara. Lastly, Kazwini describes Taifand, which was taken by Mahmud of Ghazni in A.D. 1023, as a strong Indian fort, on the top of an inaccessible mountain.2 This account agrees with the actual hill of Sangala, which is almost inaccessible on three sides, and on the fourth is protected by a sheet of water.

All these slightly different names of Takin, Tafan, Tafak, Taffa, Takas, and Takishar, I take to be only various readings of the one original form of Taki, or Takin, which, when written without the diacritical points, may be read in several different ways. M. Reinaud gives another spelling as Taban, which, without the points, may be read in as many different ways as the other form of Tafan. I conclude, therefore, that the true form of the name of the country was Taki (टाकी), or Taka (टाका), as recorded by Hwen Thsang. The name of the capital was probably either Takin or Takkawar, of which the former agrees exactly with Kazwini's Taifand, and the latter with the Tahora of the Pentingerian Tables. I consider it almost certain that the name must have been derived from the tribe of Taks or Takkas, who were once the undisputed lords of the Panjab, and who still exist as a numerous agricultural race in the lower hills between the Jhelam and the Ravi.


1 Sir Henry Elliot, ' Muhammadan Historians of India,' p. 53. In Dowson's edition, i. 13, this name is written Tafan

2 Gildemeister, ' De Rebus Indicis,' p. 208.


[p.153]: Ṭākari characters: The former importance of this race is perhaps best shown by the fact that the old Nāgari characters, which are still in use throughout the whole country from Bamiyan to the banks of the Jumna, are named Ṭākari, most probably because this particular form was brought into use by the Taks or Takkas. I have found these characters in common use under the same name amongst the grain dealers to the west of the Indus, and to the east of the Satlej, as well as amongst the Brahmans of Kashmir and Kangra. It is used in the inscriptions, as well as upon the coins of Kashmir and Kangra ; it is seen on the Sati monuments of Mandi, and in the inscriptions of Pinjor ; and lastly, the only copy of the ' Raja Tarangini ' of Kashmir was preserved in the Takari characters. I have obtained copies of this alphabet from twenty-six different places between Peshawar and Simla. In several of these places the Takari is also called Munde and Lunde, but the meaning of these terms is unknown. The chief peculiarity of this alphabet is, that the vowels are never attached to the consonants, but are always written separately, with, of course, the single exception of the inherent short a. It is remarkable also that in this alphabet the initial letters of the cardinal numbers have almost exactly the same forms as the nine unit figures in present use.

Kingdom of Taki: In the seventh century the kingdom of Taki was divided into three provinces, namely, Taki in the north and west, Shorkot in the east, and Multan in the south. The province of Taki comprised the plains of the Panjab, lying between the Indus and the Bias, to the north of the Multan district, or the whole of the Chaj Doab, together with the upper portions of the


[p.154]:three Doabs of Sindh-Sagar, Richna, and Bari. The province of Shorhot comprised the middle portions of these Doabs, and the province of Multan their lower portions. It is probable, also, that the possessions of Multan may have extended some distance to the west of the Indus as well as to the east of the Satlej, as was the case in the time of Akbar.

Jat History

Ram Swarup Joon[10] writes about Tank or Tak: These people are said to have originated from Shergarh in Multan. They plundered the richly laden


History of the Jats, End of Page-104


camels of the army of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni for which Mahmud invaded them two years later and almost annihilated them.

Then they made Rath village their capital. That dynasty is included among 36 royal dynasties, according to Todd's Rajasthan the names of some of the rulers were Ratapat, Bahurpal, Sahajpal and Madanpal. They have 12 villages near Sonepat.

Dr. Kashi Prashad Jaiswal has mentioned, in his book India of the Dark Age that this gotra is branch of Bharshiva Nag. Their capital was Padmavati. They were called Tank.

Their ancestor was Raja Gaj Baktar.


B S Dahiya[11] writes: Tanks or Taks are mentioned by Col. Tod as one of the Thirty –six royal houses of Indian Kshatriyas, but he said about them that they have disappeared from history owing to their conversion to Islam in the Thirteenth Century. But this is not true because they have not disappeared completely as yet; it is true a large number of Tanks are now followers of Islam but there still exist many Tanks among the Hindu Jats also. [12]

A Tak kingdom is mentioned by Hiuen-Tsang (631-643 A.D.) It is mentioned by him as situated towards east of Gandhara. Hiuen-Tasng gives its name as Tekka, and the History of Sindh, Chach-Nama, mentions it as Tak. Its capital was Shekilo (Sakala, modern Sialkot) and formerly King Mihiragula was ruling from this place. In seventh century A.D. its people were not preeminently Buddhists, but worshiped the sun, too. Abhidhana Chintamani says that Takka is the name of Vahika country (Punjab). For what follows, we are indebted to Chandrashekhar Gupta for his article on Indian coins. [13] The Tanks must have come to India, Prior to fourth century A.D. i.e. with the Kushana. And with the Kushanas, they must have spread up to Bengal and Orissa, like the Manns and Kangs who spread into southern Maharashtra and the Deccan. In Orissa, the Tanks, had their rule in Orissa proper, Mayurbhanj, Singbhoom, Ganjam, and Balasore Districts. They are called by historians as “ Puri Kushans” or Kushanas of Puri (Orissa). Their coins have been found at Bhanjakia and Balasore (Chhota Nagpur) and these coins have the legend Tanka written in Brahmi script of the fourth century A.D. Allan suggested the reading Tanka as the name of a tribe “ [14] and others generally accepted the reading Tanka as correct. [15] Allan placed them in the third or early fourth century A.D., while V.A. Smith placed them in the fourth or fifth century A.D. ; R.D. Bannerji called them “ Puri Kushanas[16]

According to Dr Naval Viyogi, It seems from the aforesaid evidence of coins that some branch Tanka of Taka royal family owing to attack of Kushanas up to Magadha, reached Mayurbhanj, Singhbhumi, Ganjam and Balasore and established colonies there, where remains of their offshoot, the royal family of Dhavaldev is still existing at Dalbhumigarh near Kharagpur. [17]

The Dhauli hills located on the banks of the river Daya, 8 km south of Bhubaneswar in Orissa (India also supports this view. It gets name from Dhaulya clan of Jats. It is a hill with vast open space adjoining it, and has major Edicts of Ashoka engraved on a mass of rock, by the side of the road leading to the summit of the hill. Dhauli hill is presumed to be the area where Kalinga War was fought.

As for the proof that they were Jats, we invite attention to the fact that they still exist as such. Their association with the Kushanas (Kasvan Jats) further supports it. Their central Asian origin is proved by the fact that Niya Khrosthi documents from Central Asia refer to coin denomination as Tangumule. [18] Here the word Tanga is the same as Tanka, and Muli meant “Price” in Central Asia. [19]


Jain literature refers to the Tanks and the fact that they are termed “ Mlechhas” shows their foreign. The Jain works say that the Tanks were invincible (cf Chandragomin of Jats and Thucydies’ remarks for Gatae.) They were the inhabitants of Uttarapatha (N.W. India) and they traded with the Dakshinapatha (South Deccan) in valuable commodities like gold and ivory. [20]


To conclude, in the words of C.S. Gupta “ the legend Tanka has no other satisfactory explanation than this, viz. that these coins were struck by the tribe of the Tankana (Takka) in the name of their community like those of the Yaudheya and Malava. It appears that the name inscribed by these people on their coins, gradually came to denote the name of the coin [21] This is the origin of the Taka used even now for coins. The Coins of Mahmud Ghazni bears the Sanskrit legend : (अयं टंक महमूद पुरे घटे). Allaudin Khilji as well as Akbar, Later issued Takkas. The Rewa stone inscription of Malaya Simha, of 1193 A.D. shows that Khilji spent 1500 Takkas for constructing a water Tank, near Rewa. Rājatarangini says that king Ananta of Kashmir, issued Takkas. [22] Tank coins are mentioned in the South also [23] [24]

In popular Parlance, the Tank Sarohas are mentioned together (Like the Dahiya-Dabas and Siddhu - Brar combination) The Cities of Tonk, Sirohi are named after them. At one time, the entire Punjab was called Tank Desa. The reports of The Chinese pilgrims confirm this fact. Originally they were worshippers of the Snake-Garlanded form of Shiva. Hence they were called Nagas also. [25] [26]

H.A. Rose[27] writes that The Hindu Chhimbās are divided into two sub-castes, Tank and Rhilla. The following legend explains the origin of these two sub-castes :— At Pindlapur in the Deccan lived one Bamdeo, who one night entertained Krishna and Udhoji, but, as the latter was a leper, the villagers ejected them. They were in māyavi form, and at midnight both of them vanished, leaving Bāmdeo and his wife asleep. Udhoji hid in a shell (sipi), and when Bāmdeo went to wash clothes he found the shell and placed it in the sun. It produced the child Nāmdeo who was fostered by Bāmdeo's wife. Nāmdeo taught his son Tank, and Rhilla, his daughter's son, the arts of dyeing, printing and washing clothes. Mention of Tak - James Tod writes that This incidental mention of the race of Tak in Annals of Jaisalmer, and of its being in great consideration on the settlement of the Yadus in the Punjab, is very important. I have given a sketch of this tribe (Vol. I, p. 93), but since I wrote it, I have discovered the capital of the Tak, and on the very spot where I should have expected the site of Taxila, the capital of Taxiles, the friend of Alexander. In that sketch I hesitated not to say, that the name was not personal, but arose from his being the head of the Takshac or Naga tribe, which is confirmed. It is to Babar, or rather to his translator, that I am indebted for this discovery. In describing the limits of Banu, Babar thus mentions it : "And on the west is Desht, which is also called Bazar and Tak ;" to which the erudite translator adds, "Tak is said long to have been the capital of Damān." In Mr. Elphinstone's map, Bazar, which Baber makes identical with Tak, is a few miles north of the city of Attoc. There is no question that both the river and city were named after the race of Tak or Takshac, the Nagas, Nagavansi, or 'snake race', who spread over India. Indeed, I would assume that the name of Omphis, which young Taxiles had on his father's death, is Ophis, the Greek version of Tak, the 'serpent' The Taks appear to have been established in the same region at the earliest period. The Mahabharata describes the wars between Janamejaya and the Takshacs, to revenge on their king the death of his father Parikshita, emperor of Indraprastha, or Dehli.[28]


Rajatarangini[29] mentions that Bhagika, Sharadbhasi, Mummuni, Mungata, Kalasha and other men of the king's party harassed the enemies. Kamalaya, son of Lavaraja king of Takka, took the king's side in this war in 1121 AD. (VIII,p.93)


Rajatarangini[30] writes .... on death of Avantivarman all the members of the family of Utpala aspired to the throne. But Ratnavardhana the Royal guard raised Shankaravarmma, son of the late king, to the throne. The minister Karnapavinnāpa became envious, and raises Sukhavarmma the son of Suravarmma to the dignity of heir-apparent and so the king and the heir-apparent became enemies to each other, and consequently the kingdom was frequently disturbed by their quarrels. Shivashakti and other warriors refused offers of wealth, honor, &c, from the opposite party, and remained faithful to their master, and died for him. Honorable men never desert their party. After much trouble the king prevailed at last. He defeated Samaravarmma and others, on several occasions, and acquired great fame.

Having thus beaten and subjugated his own relatives,he made preparations for foreign conquests. Though the country was weak in population, he was able to set out with nine hundred thousand foot, three hundred elephants, and one hundred thousand horse. He, whose command had been ill obeyed in his own kingdom a short while before, now began to pass orders on kings.


[p.116]: His army was joined by the forces of tributary kings, and increased as he went on. On his approach the king of Darvabhisara fled in terror and there was no fighting. The Kashmirian army caught several lions and confined them in a fort, a sort of abode in which they had never lived before. The king then marched for the conquest of Gurjjara. Prithivi-chandra the king of Trigarta hid himself, but his son Bhuvanachandra, on whom the king of Kashmira had bestowed wealth before, came to pay homage. But when he saw the large army of Kashmira, he became afraid of being captured, and accordingly turned and fled. The king of Kashmira, whom the historians describe as a very handsome man, was regarded by other kings as Death. Shankaravarmma easily defeated Alakhāna king of Gurjjara who ceded Takka a part of his kingdom to his conqueror. The king of the Thakkiyaka family took service as guard under the king of Kashmira. The latter caused the kingdom of the Thakkiya king which had been usurped by the king of Bhoja to be restored to him. The king of the country which lay between Darat and Turushka, (as the Aryavarta lies between Himalaya and Vindhya,) Lalliya Shahi by name, who was among kings even as the sun is among stars, and was also lord over Alakhāna, did not submit to the king of Kashmira, on which the latter drove him out of his country.

See also

References

  1. B S Dahiya: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India,p. 274
  2. The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.180
  3. Bulletin of the Deccan Research Institute, Vol I (1939-40) p.192
  4. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, pp. 25,156
  5. History of the Jats/Chapter II,p. 22-28
  6. Ancient India, Plate XII, fig. 3
  7. Journal of Numismatic Society of India, 12, 1950 p.72
  8. Bhim Singh Dahiya:Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India, p. 274
  9. The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.148-154
  10. Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats/Chapter V, p. 104-105
  11. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India,p. 273-274
  12. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), p. 274
  13. Vishveshvaranand Indological Journal (Hoshiarpur, Pb.) Vol, XVI, pt. I. p.92 ff
  14. Ancient India, Plate XII, fig. 3
  15. Journal of Numismatic Society of India, 12, 1950 p.72
  16. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), p. 274
  17. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India,
  18. ibid., 16-1954 p. 220 f.n. 4
  19. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), p. 274
  20. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), p. 274
  21. Vishveshvaranand Indological Journal (Hoshiarpur, Pb.), Vol . XVI, pt. 1 p. 93
  22. Cunningham, Coins of Medieval India, p.34
  23. Journal of Numismatic Society of India, 30 , (1968) p.129
  24. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), p. 275
  25. Jayaswal’s views on Bhara-Sivas
  26. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), p. 275
  27. A glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province By H.A. Rose Vol II/B , p.166
  28. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, p.203 fn-4
  29. Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII,p.93
  30. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/Book V,pp. 115-116