Back of the Book
This book gives a chronological account of the history and culture of Andhra Pradesh from the earliest times till the advent of the East Indian Company into our country. Though there are many learned monographs on different dynasties of Ancient and Medieval Andhra, there is no book in English giving a connected account of these periods of history. The present work is intended to fill this gap in Andhra historiography. It is based on monographs in Telugu and English dealing with different facets of Ancient and Medieval Andhra History.
The work, though designed as a textbook to meet the requirements of candidates preparing for B. A. and M. A. degree and competitive examinations, would be quite useful to the general reader interested in historical studies.
P. Raghunadha Rao was formerly Professor and Head, Department of History, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. He took his M. A. and Ph. D. degrees from Banaras Hindu University and the Indian School of International Studies (now a part o Jawaharlal Nehru University), New Delhi, respectively. His doctoral dissertation was "India and Sikkim-1814-1906".
Prof. Rao is the author of India and Sikkim-1814-1970; Sikkim, the Story of its Integration with India; History of Modern Andhra Pradesh; Indian Heritage and Culture; Adhunika Andhradesha Charita (Telugu), and Bharatiya Sampradayaikata Mariyu Samskruti (Telugu.)
Preface to the First Edition
In recent years many learned monographs have been published throwing new light on different dynasties that ruled over Andhra. But there is no book in English covering in one volume the entire history of Andhra from the establishment of the Satavahana dynasty in C. 211 B. C. to the Asaf Jahi dynasty in A. D. 1724. The Present volume is written to fill in this gap and to meet the requirements of the B. A. and M. A. students of different universities of Andhra Pradesh who have offered Ancient and Medieval History of Andhra as one of their subjects of study. I hope the book will also meet the requirements of the candidates preparing or the competitive examinations and of the general readers interested in the subject.
It is with pleasure that I record my thanks to Shri S. K. Ghai, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Sterling Publishers Private Ltd., New Delhi, or the neat printing and prompt publication of the book.
Origin of Andhras
The Andhras are an ancient race who have played an illustrious role in the political and cultural development of India. They were referred to in the Aitraiya Brahmana, a part of the Rg. Veda, the oldest of the Vedas which belongs to c.1200-c.1000 B.C. According to it, the Andhras were a North Indian tribe expelled from the Aryan fold as they deviated from its culture and adopted the ways of the non-Aryan tribes. They were equated with non- Aryan tribes like Pulindas, Pundras and Sabaras.
There are interesting stories regarding their ex-communication from the Aryan fold. It is said that they incurred the displeasure of their sire, Viswamitra, when they refused to accept the adoption of Sunahsepha by the sage. As a result, Viswamitra, noted for his quick temper, cursed that his progeny would leave Aryavarta and go into exile towards the Vindhyas and the south. Another version is that the Andhras incurred the displeasure of the sage as they protested against human sacrifice. The Andhras are also mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, Manu Smriti and Bharata's Natya Sastra. Andhra was one of the kingdoms conquered by Sahadeva in connection with the Rajasuya ceremony of Yudhisthira. In the Mahabharata war, the Andhras fought on the side of the Kauravas.
Some scholars do not accept the North Indian origin of the Andhras. According to them, the Andhras are Telugus, a South Indian Dravidian tribe who migrated towards the north-north- west (Maharashtra) and north-east (Magadha or Bihar), but were forced to return to their original country. The theory fails to explain how and when the appellation Andhra was acquired by the Telugus.
Besides the above theories, there is a third hypothesis that the Andhras were a North Indian non-Aryan tribe which had assimilated Aryan culture. It was expelled from the north as it incurred the displeasure of the Aryans.
Andhra Basha, Telugu and Tenugu
The language of the Andhras is variously known as Andhra Basha, Telugu and Tenugu. These appellations are used synonymously. There are various conjectures about the derivation of these terms. Regarding the term Andhra there is a tradition which says that in the ancient times there was a king by name Agnimitra who lost his eyesight. He prayed to the Sun God to restore him his vision.
Surya, pleased with the prayer, restored the vision of Agnimitra and also taught him a new language. The language learnt by the Andha or blind man came to be known as Andhra Basha. Another derivation of the term is that it means a dark region, since, for the people of Aryavarta, the trans-Vindhyan region covered by thick forests is a dark region. Hence the people of that region and their language came to be known as Andhras and Andhra Basha, respectively.
Telugu is said to be derived from Trilinga, the country between three lingams, namely, Draksarama (East Godavari), Bhimakalesa or Kaleswaram (Karimnagar) and Srisailam (Kurnool). The derivation of Tenugu is Tene+agu, sweet like honey. Another derivation is Ten+nudugu, i.e., language of the south. Whatever may have been the real derivation, these three terms-Andhra Basha, Telugu and Tenugu-have been used for centuries to refer to the main language spoken by the inhabitants of Andhra Pradesh. But it must be noted that Telugu was unknown before the sixth century A.D.
However, nothing is known about the language spoken by the early Andhras as Aitraiya Brahmana gives no indication about it. At a later stage when they settled down in the region around the Vindhyas they spoke Paisachi, a Prakritic language. This fact shows that the Andhras did not forget their Aryan affiliation. Gradually, the Andhras merged with the more numerous local people and absorbed many elements of their languages and customs. In the course of many centuries, the present-day Telugu evolved. There are two schools of thought with respect to the affiliation of Telugu. One is the Dravidian School and the other is the Sanskrit school. The philologists of the first school include Bishop Caldwell, Vajjala China Sitarama Sastri and Ganti Jogi Somayaji. Caldwell's Comparative Grammar of Dravidian Languages, Vajjala's Vaiyakarana Parijatamu and Somayaji's Andhra Basha Vikasamu champion the Dravidian theory. The exponents of the Sanskrit theory include Chilakuru Narayana Rao, the author of History of Telugu Language.
Very little is known about the early history of the Andhras. The Puranas and the early Buddhist texts allude to the Andhra while describing the various tribes of India and their ruling dynasties. But they make no mention of any Andhra king who ruled before the establishment of the Satavahana dynasty. Some historians presume that in the pre-Mauryan age, the Andhras were a self- governing republican community. They, however, lost their independence and came under the control of the Mauryan ruler Chandragupta. According to Jain tradition, Chandragupta migrated to Mysore towards the end of his life. The Buddhist tradition recorded by the Tibetan historian, Taranatha, attributes the conquest of the Deccan and the South to Bindusara, the son of Chandragupta Maurya.
From these sources we can presume that Andhra was conquered by the Mauryans before the accession of Ashoka, since he had conquered only one kingdom, that is, Kalinga. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador in the Court of Chandragupta Maurya, makes an interesting reference to the Andhras in his book Indica. According to him the Andhras were independent and militarily very strong. They had thirty forts, one lakh infantry, 2,000 horses and 1,000 elephants.
One of the edicts of Ashoka is at Yerragudi in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. From this, it is evident that Andhra formed a part of the Mauryan empire. After the death of Ashoka, the Mauryan empire declined rapidly. Taking advantage of the confusion in North India, the Andhras asserted their independence under the Satavahana dynasty.
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