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Resettling of the Learned Brahmanas of ancient Karad: An Epigraphical Analysis

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Duration: 0:21:09 | Added: 18 Jan 2022
Part of the International conference on Maharashtra in September 2021 - Rupali Mokashi, Ulhasnagar, Thane

Human migration is the movement of people from one place to another with the intention of settling permanently or temporarily at a new location. The migration of humans has been an outcome of different reasons.

Religion played a pivotal role in resettling of the learned Brahmanas in early medieval India. Learned Brahmanas formed a sacerdotal class having a repository of Vedic and sacrificial knowledge. As custodians of knowledge, their expertise was required in the society.
The class of learned Brahmanas is very clearly defined and extolled in the sacred texts. Patanjali quotes in Mahabhashya, ‘penance, study of the Vedas and birth in a pure race can make a Brahmana but he who is devoid of tapas and Vedic study is a Brahmana only for name sake.’ Manu advocates that a Brahmana should assiduously study the Vedas alone, for that is the highest dharma and everything else is inferior dharma.

Hence for the subsistence, pratigraha or receiving gifts from worthy persons was a permissible means of their livelihood. Simultaneously, various sacred texts acclaim donations to be given to the learned Brahmana, as that would place the donor in the celestial world. Offering dana has been eulogised as the principal aspect of the religious life during the Kali age. Various smriti texts reiterate that the gift of land was the most meritorious of all.

In the light of such textual testimonies, this paper will try to analyse the land grants received by the learned Brahmanas residing in ancient Karad and its manifold impacts, especially migration. A thorough check to the preceding land grants in Maharashtra will enable an appropriate historical perspective.

The Rashtrakuta and Shilahara inscriptions spanning over a period of four centuries, divulge various important aspects like the exact purpose, merit accrued thereof and geographical details of these donations. The duties and prerogatives of the donee Brahmanas will be studied at length. The antiquity of Karad will be given a thorough check. The land grants given to the Brahmanas initiated them to accept the add on role of the agriculturist. The subsequent change in the approach in the smriti literature will also be appropriately analysed.

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