The study of the place- names is a recent development in the field of historical research. The book is a systematic study of the inscriptional place-names of Odisha from 736 AD to 1568 AD. The Author has made sincere attempt to identify and analysed the place- names in dynastic wise. Further, he has given attention to find spots of the inscription and the actual meaning of names. Again, all the institutional place names have been classified in different sections like Mandala, Desha, Visaya, Khanda, Village etc. A separate table of each political division of every dynasty has been given in all chapters. Moreover, place-names collected from the grants of all dynasties during the period are divided here on the basis of suffixes and prefixes. The prefix place-name again classified in different groups likes flora, fauna, geographical and physical features, social, economic and religion etc. The author draws his attention on outside place names reflected in the inscriptions.
This innovative and scholarly work should entice the spirit of today’s historians and researchers especially those who are interested in the history and culture of Odisha.
Dr. Nakul Seth (b.1972) did his Post Graduate Degree in History from G.M. (Auto) College, Sambalpur. He obtained first class first and was awarded medal. He has entered into the Odisha Education service from 1999 and worked in different Government colleges of Odisha. At present, he is teaching History in Panchayat Degree College (Govt.) Bargarh. His area of research is epigraphy, History of medieval Odisha, Political History, Historiography and History of Art and Architecture. Dr. Seth did his Ph.D. in the years 2015. He has contributed a large number of articles to both research and popular journals and participated in two dozens of national conference and seminar. Besides these, Dr. Seth successfully organized an Odisha History Congress and UGC National seminar on “Traditions, Fairs and Festivals of Western Odisha. Apart from these Dr. Seth is a popular teacher as well as an active and sincere administrator. He has successfully discharged the duty of principal-in-charge of the college twice in summer vacation. At present Dr. Seth is in-charge of +3 admissions, V.P. Athletic Association, OIC in U.G.C. matter and head of the research matter, Panchayat Degree College, Bargarh.
I am happy to present Dr. Nakul Seth’s book, “Inscriptional Place Names of Orissa (AD 736-1568)”, to the scholarly world. This is perhaps the first major attempt to deal with the place names of Orissan inscriptions. Dr. Seth has made a dynastic approach to the study and divided the chapters on dynastic lines. The period of study is also significant in the sense that it was during this period quite a good number of inscriptions have been edited and published, and they contain a rich database for the chosen topic. The author has very carefully collected the relevant data from the available inscriptions and thoroughly examined them. There are several cases where the inscriptional place names have not been properly identified. In some cases there are a lot of controversies regarding their identification. In all such cases, the author has taken extreme care in looking at things afresh. Wherever possible he has verified the relevant sources from Census Reports, Electoral Rolls and Revenue records.
The author has made a comprehensive attempt to examine all the territorial divisions, sub-divisions, towns, capital cities, villages, rivers, mountains, etc. He has followed the proper methodology to collect and group them under different heads and tried to identify them and interpret them. The analysis of place names forms an important dimension of research. Dr. Seth has taken care of separating the prefixes and suffixes from the proper names. The naming of places after flora, fauna, rivers, streams, mountains, epics, puranas, etc., as suggested by the author, appears to be convincing and the analysis seems to be more scientific and acceptable.
I hope it will serve as a useful reference book for the students and scholars working on the regional history of Odisha.
A critical study of the place-names of any country or state unfolds many facts of absorbing interest. Many otherwise unknown facts relating to so many aspects of the human life of even the remote past are revealed by a proper study and understanding of the place-names. These results will be much more authentic and reliable if the current place names are compared with their earlier counter parts and if the process of change is examined with utmost critical acumen. A good number of present place names are represented by their earlier forms in the inscriptions right from the early centuries of the Christian era. Since many place names are found in different forms in the inscriptions of different periods the process of evolution and change in the form of the place names can be clearly demonstrated. This is more so with the suffixes and prefixes of the place names. Therefore, in tracing the current place names back to their original forms, inscriptional evidences are indispensable and almost totally reliable. That is why in the present study we have taken inscription as the primary sources for the study.
The place names mentioned in the inscriptions of different dynasties of Odisha are a tool for the understanding of our culture, the topographical features of Odisha between AD-736- 1568 speaks of the history, geography, geology, botany, folklore, religion local belief, tradition and may other factors of our past. The toponymical study also serves as sources in examining the linguistic and psychological potentialities.
So a close study of the place-names of any country helps us in tracing out the cultural, commercial, social, political and economic history, and the otherwise unknown linguistic features of the language of that country. It also guides us in tracing the migration, expansion and contraction of the people and the topographical features of the country in question. Further, the beliefs, superstitions, aesthetic sense of the people and many other aspects of human life are reflected in the place-names.
Toponymy has received considerable attention throughout Europe, particularly in the last one hundred years. Among the pioneers in this field we might mention Forstemann in Germany, Rygh in Norway, Noreen in Sweden and Skeat in England and London in France. The interest spread to America also where substantial work has been done in the last eight and nine decades. Place-names institutions have been formed either independently by scholars or by the governments to foster research and standardise geographical names. “The English place name Society” established over 80 years ago, is the best known among them. The American “Name Society is another institution which can claim a valuable record of work. These have already to its credit over 80 volumes covering the place-names various regions of both countries. In 18th-19th centuries Western scholars began making serious attempts to study the place-names of their countries. Works like, “The Place-Names of the Isle of Wight”, “Place-Names of West Lothian” by Angus Macdonald, English place-names (an essay by Henry Bradly included in the Essays and studies by the members of the English Association) resulted from the deep study made by Western savants in the field of place-names research.
In 1949 place-names subject had received the attention of the UNESCO which set up an International Committees of Onomastic Sciences. Under its auspices an International Onamastic Centre was established at Louvain in Belgium. Nearly 50 linguistic areas are associated with this centre. The purpose of this Centre is to promote understanding and exchange of news among scholars of the subject. One of the outstanding achievements of the centre is the publication of the bulletin, which gives information on the works published in most countries of the world.
Coming to India there are scholars like Alexander Cunningham, B.C. law, Nandolal Dey, H.D. Sankalia, D.C. Sircar and S.J. Mangalam who have done work in the foregoing subject. H.D. Sankalia and S.J. Mangalam were first scholars who worked on place names mentioned in the inscriptions. Later on many more scholars like R.C. Hiremath, Sumati Muley, Malati Mahajan, S.K. Chatterji, A.K. Chaudhury, B.D. Chattopadhyaya, S.S. Ramachandra Murthy, K.V. Ramesh, M.D. Sampath, M.S. Pandey, and others have traced the different cultural aspects of Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. Like foreign countries, in India many place names institutions have been established like “Place Names Society of Gujarat,” at Baroda, “Place Names Society of India” at Mysore, etc.
So far no attempt has been made by scholars to make an exclusive study of the inscriptional place names (dynasty wise) in Orissa during this period. In the present work, sincere attempts have been made to identify and analyze the inscriptional place names of Odisha in between A.D. 736 to 1568. Further we have given attention to find spots of the inscription, the actual meaning of names. Again we have classified the institutional places in different section like desa, mandala, visaya and khanda and village dynasty-wise. A separate table of each political division of every dynasty has been given in all chapters. It is to be mentioned here that though we have accepted the identifications of some of the place-names by other scholars, many of the places have been identified freshly in accordance with their meaning and evidence from other sources and an attempt is made to locate all the places (old and newly identified) in the map of talukas and district with the help of the lists of towns and villages given in the district Census Hand Books of different districts and available maps. Moreover, place names collected from the grants of all dynasties in between the period AD 736 and 1568, are divided here on the basis of suffixes and prefixes. The rational behind the time frame is that we get systematic account of the place names of early Odisha from the inscriptions of various dynasties ruling over different parts of Odisha. The upper limit is because of the fact that the Bhauma-Karas commenced their rule from AD 736 and they had also used their dynastic era in their inscriptions. The era had also been used by a number of feudatories and contemporaries of the Bhauma-Karas. The justification for taking AD 1568 as the date for the lower limit of the study is because after this date the Afghans and Mughals occupied Odisha and we do not get ample epigraphic records to make a systematic study of the place names.
The prefixes place names have been classified in different groups like flora, fauna, social, economic, geographical and physical features and religions. An effort has made to interpret all the prefixes place names with the help of Sanskrit English Dictionary, Amarkosa, and Purnachandra Odia Bhasakosha, Despite the utmost care taken to have a proper interpretation of the place names some odd names have remained un-interpreted. Lastly I have also mentioned the place names which are outside Odisha but mentioned in the Odisha inscriptions. Usually these place names are reflected as donee hailed and resident village outside Odisha, It may be noted here that our study is restricted within inscriptional place names of Odisha, so I have no scope to discuss it in the present book. The rivers and mountains reflected in the inscriptions have been deal with in each chapter.
For the preparation of present work materials gather from the original sources like copper plates, stone inscriptions, temple wall inscriptions of different dynasties of Odisha. The inscription dealing with the grants of land or village mention in the boundary of the land granted or the administrative unit in which a particular village was situated. We have also referred various inscriptional books which have been edited by learned scholars. The data has been collected from Inscriptions of Orissa, Vol. I. Part-II (1958); Vol. II (Bhubaneswara, 1960) Vol. lll. Part-l (Bhubaneswara, 1960); Vol. III. Part-II (Bhubaneswara, 1961); Vol. IV. (Bhubaneswara, 1966); of S.N. Rajguru. We have consulted S. Tripathy books inscriptions of Orissa, Vol. I, (New Delhi, 1997); Inscriptions of Orissa, Vol. VI (Bhubaneswara, 1974), and Descriptive Topographical Catalogue of Orissan Inscriptions (New Delhi, 2010) and from her other articles. We have also other indigeneous sources like the regional works of B. Das, B. Mishra, K.C. Panigrahi, U. Subhudhi, J.K. Sahu, N.K. Sahu, S.R. Neema, B.K. Rath, P.K. Mishra, R. Subramanyum and others.
Besides this we have consulted with the works of A.M. Shastri the Inscriptions of Sarabhapuriyas Panduvamsins and Somavamsins, Part-I-II (Delhi, 1995); D.K. Ganguli “Historical Geography and Dynastic History of Orissa, (Culcutta 1975); M.M. Ganguli, Orissa and her Remains, Ancient and Mediaeval (Culcutta 1912); P. Acharya Study in Orissan History, Archaeology and Archives (Cuttack 1969) and others (mentioned in the Bibliography).
Moreover authentic data has been brought from the Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. III; (Delhi 1976) of R.D. Bhandarkar, and Carpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, III, (Delhi 1970) of J.F. Fleet. We have also collected data from the works of D.C. Sircar “Selected Inscriptions Bearing on Indian History and Civilization, Vol. I. (Delhi, 1991) and work of Hirala “Descriptive list of Inscriptions from C.P. and Berar, (Nagpur 1932) and others.
Apart from this, we have other source-materials which are definitely more authentic; they are various journals of different region of India. Journal like Archaeological Survey of India, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, District Gazetters, Epigraphia, Indica, Indian Antiquary, Andhra Historical Research Society, Asiatic Society of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Decan Research Institution, Indian Historical Quarterly, Orissa Historical Research Society, Orissa Historical Research Journal, Place Name Society of India and many more (mention in the Bibliography) have been consulted with for this study.
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