Sakas of Western India

Written by Alok Mohan on June 29, 2022. Posted in Uncategorized

Sakas of Western India

(a) Kashaharata Family (House of Nahapana)

Inscription Number 129: Nasik Cave Inscription of the time of mahapana
(c. 119-24 A.D)
(Saka) Year 41, 42, 45 ( = D 119, 120, 123)
Provenance: Nasik, Nasik district, Maharashtra. Immediately
below the inscription of Dakshamitra,, daughter of Kshahapata Kshatrapa, Nahapana and wife of Ushavadata, in the veranda of Cave number 10, over the door way of last cell.
Script Brahmi
Language: Prakrit.

Sakas belonged to Scythian Ethnic stock.(A mixture of European-related ancestry and an East Asian/Siberian ancestry)
The movement of Sakas into north-western India came to heels of their displacement from the plains of Syr Darya, by the Yueh Chi, a chinese tribe, in the 2nd century BCE.
Rather they were forced out of their homes and had no choice but to invade India from the north western border of present day China.
Sakas had accepted the indian social and cultural fabric & hindu way of life, though initially they were nomadic predatory tribes of China.
The sakas after establishing their royal houses in India, accepted Indian religions and local mode of living despite their technical involvement in realm of politics. Like hindu royalities, they called themselves with titles
Like Rajan, maharaja Raya maharaya etc.
Sakas therefore modelled their lives, according to the rules of indigenous polity.

D.C. Sircar Sel.Inss pp164, rejects the view that the Nahapana records are dated in the Vikram era.
and that. therefore. his reign is to be fixed in the closing years of the 1st century B.C. He believes,
the dates in these records in Saka era, and hence Nahapana’s reign falls in the years 119-24 A D.
This, he states, is proved by the resemblance of with those of Andnau records and the palaeography and
internal evidence of the inscriptions of Gautamiputra Satakami and Pulumevi. Inscriptions and coins prove
the contemporaneity of Satakarni with Nahapana and Ushavadata, and Ptolemy’s geography suggests the
authors (c. 140 D-) contemporaneity with Pulumavi and
Chashtana, grandfather of Rudradaman. The earlier
members of the house of Nahapana and Chashtana were
probably feudatories of the Kushanas the later members retained their feudatory title even after
they had assumed independence. That explains the simultaneous use of subordinate end independent titles,
e.g.Kshatrapa svamin, rajan etc.
In any case the
Kushanas were progressively losing hold over the outlying provinces, and western Kshatapas were steadily rising
to be an independent power and ultimately Rudradaman built up his patrimony into a powerful independent state.
Bhagwanlal Indra jee and Buhler.
Survey of Western India, IV, pp 102ff,
Sanart, Ep.Ind, VIII, pp.82ff, Number 12,
Sircar. sel inss., pp164-67.

1. From the Facsimile in Ep.Ind. VIII, Plate V, facing p82,
D.C. Sircar. Select Inss, I, pp. 164, n.3.
thinks that this record is a copy from an original on copper plates or sheets of cloth (karpasika patta).
Most of the ancient records such as royal grants, legal deeds etc were written, no doubt, on perishable material like cloth, palm leaves or birch bark, and hence have not survived. as appears to be the case of royal grants of Kashmir, referred to by Kalhana. But the language of the present record makes it abundantly clear that it
was drafted for the cave itself and a copy may have been placed in the record office
2. Senart: irini1
3. Read
4. Sircar: Senart takes Kusana, in the sense of a monthly stipend assigned to
every monk during a certain period of the year. and probably to be applied for his food.

1. Fleet identified the district head quarters of Kapurahara, with Kapura in tho old Baroda state and Chikhalapadra with Chikhalda 4 Km. ENE of Kapura, see Ind.Ant. 1910, pp-98. Kapura is also mentioned in the Pardi inscription
of Traikutaka Dahrasena,See Rapson Cat of Coins, p.1xiii, आहार district
2. Line 5 begins under र्सावित in line 4.
3. Line 6 begins under मूलकापूराहारे in the beginning of 1.4.
4. Sircar Sel-Inss, pp-165. n.9, thinks that the closing phases of this grant have been left out, and that lines
5-6 belong to a different charter since the donors are different. But the presumption is far-fetched. The
eagerness of the donor, to commemorate on earlier good deed is understandable. Line 5, which continues the sentence beginning in .1-4 is an inseparable part of the record So is the line 6.

1. अक्षयनीति = a permanent endowment = mod. Hindi tecrm, अक्षयनिधि
2. Bhandarkar Carmichael Lectures, 1921. pp-199-200,
thinks that Kusana was a silver denomination of Nahapana, named after the Kushanas. Kusana-mula,
therefore. signifies the value of the Kusanas.
90 karshapanas, the annual interest of 1000 k were equal to 80 Kusanas, each of the 20 monks requiring 4 kusanas, for the four months of the rainy season
Senart Ep.Ind VIII, pp83, rejects Bhagwan lal’s explanation of Kusana based on a comparison with the Vedic krisana and interprets it as a monthly stipend assigned to every monk during a certain period of the year and probably to be applied for food.Senarts logic is much too stretched. D C Sircar’s equation with र्कशान्न meaning poor or lean food, as consisting of coarse grains etc, taken as minor
meals as in the morning and afternoon, as as opposed to lunch and dinner the major meals.

1. According to Buhler and Senart (Ep-Ind, VIII, pp.83, श्रमक
is equivalent to a karshapana. The rate of interest being one percent the sum of 2000 Karshapanas would bring 20 Karshapanas per month and 240 Karshapanas per year, just enough to provide a cloth allowance of 12 k per annum to each of the twenty living
in the cave.
The rate of interest was very high in
ancient India. Ancient loan-givers, e g. Manu (VIII, 142) Yajnavalkya ( II, 38) Vishnu (VI, 2) sanction varying
monthly rates of interest from 2 to 5% according to the caste of the borrower.
Sreni was a confederation of small political as well as commercial organisations, while nikaya was a trade guild.
English Translation of the inscription
Success ! In the year 42 in the month Visakha, lshavadata (= Rishabbadatta) son of Dinika, son-in-law of
king Nahapana, the Kshaharata Kshatrapa, has bestowed this
cave on the samgha, generally he has also given a perpetual endowment.three thousand (3000) Karsnapanas, which for
the members of the Samgha of any sect and any origin dwelling
in this cave. will cover the expenses of clothing and ordinary
food and those karashapanas have been invested in guilds
dwelling in Govardhana (2000) in a waavers’ guild. intrest
one pratika (per month) for the hundred, (and) 1000 in another
weavers guild. interest three quarters of a karshapana per month, per hundred. And those Karshapanas, are not to be repaid. their intrest is only to be enjoyed. Out of them the two thousand (2000)- at one pratika par cent are he cloth money. Out of
them to every one of the twenty monks who live in this cave, a cloth money of twelve Karshapanas. The one thousand invested at the interest of three quarters of a karashapana, per cent. out of them,for covering the cost of simple ordinary food.
And at the village of Chikhalapadra in the Kapur district have bean given
eight thousand (8000) steme
of coconut trees and all this has been proclaimed in the City Corporation निगम सभा and has been registered in record office फलकवारे (Shed for record plates,
according to custom)
Again the donation previously made by
the same person (i.e. Ushovadata) in the year 41, on the fifteenth of the bright half of Karttika, has in tha year 45. on the fifteenth has been settled on the venerable goods and brahmanas. viz. 70000 Karshapanas, each thirty five making a suvarna, a capital (therefore of two thousand suvanas. ( This is registered) at the second office
according to custom.

Suvarna here is supposed to be the gold coin of the Kushanas (See Rapson Catalogue, pp clxxv)
It was probably of 124 grain standard. and was equal in value to 35 silver karshapanas of 40 grain standard of
Originally karshapanas was a coin weighing
1 karsha= 80 rattis 18= 146.4 grains
( A ratti = 1.83 grains).

The gold suvarna, the copper pana and
and kautilyas are of this standard.
The ordinary silver dharana or purana was usually of ,32 rotis = 58.56 grains.
Karshapanas are known to have been issued in copper, gold as well as in silver. and their value varied with time and place.
1. सिद्धम 11 वसे 50+2 वैसाख मासे राजो क्षहरातस क्षत्रपस
नहपानस जामातरा दीनीक पुत्रेन उषवदातेन संघस चातुदिसस ईमं लेण नियातितं दत्त चानेन अक्षय निवि काहापण सहर्सा

2. नित्रीणि 3000, संघस चातु दिसस ये इमसिम लेणे वसांतान
भविसंति चिवरिक कु ष न मू ले च एते च काहापणा प्रयुता
गोवधनं वाघवासु श्रेप्पिसू कोलीक निकाये 200, वृधि पडिक
शत अपर-कोलीक-निका .
3. ये वधि पायून पडिक शत एते च काहापणा (अ ) पडिदातवा
वधि भोजा एतो चिवरिक सहर्सानि बे ये पाडके सते एतो
मम लेणे वस वुघान भिखूनं वीस य एकीकस चिवरिक बारसक य सहर्स प्रयुतं पायुन पडिके शते अतो कुक्षण
4. मूल कापूराहारे च गामे चियलपद्रे ढ़तानि नाठि -गेरान मुल सहर्साणि अठ 800 एत च सर्व स्रावित निगम सभाय निबध
च फलकवारे चरित्रतो ति भूयोनेन दतं वसे 40+1 कातिक –
शुधे वनरस पुवाक वसे
5. पनरस नियुतं भगवता देवानं ब्राहमणानं च कार्षापण सहर्साणि सतरि प च त्रि शक सुवण कृता दिन सुवर्ण
सहर्सणं मुल्य
6. फलक वारे चरित्रतो ति

1. Indian Inscriptions Vol 1 by Dr M V D Mohan 
2. The sakas in India and their impact on Indian life & culture by Dr V M Mohan

Alok Mohan

The admin, Alok Mohan, is a graduate mechanical engineer & possess following post graduate specializations:- M Tech Mechanical Engineering Production Engineering Marine engineering Aeronautical Engineering Computer Sciences Software Engineering Specialization He has authored several articles/papers, which are published in various websites & books. Studium Press India Ltd has published one of his latest contributions “Standardization of Education” as a senior author in a book along with many other famous writers of international repute. Alok Mohan has held important positions in both Govt & Private organisations as a Senior professional & as an Engineer & possess close to four decades accomplished experience. As an aeronautical engineer, he ensured accident incident free flying. As leader of indian team during early 1990s, he had successfully ensured smooth induction of Chukar III PTA with Indian navy as well as conduct of operational training. As an aeronautical engineer, he was instrumental in establishing major aircraft maintenance & repair facilities. He is a QMS, EMS & HSE consultant. He provides consultancy to business organisations for implimentation of the requirements of ISO 45001 OH & S, ISO 14001 EMS & ISO 9001 QMS, AS 9100, AS9120 Aero Space Standards. He is a qualified ISO 9001 QMS, ISO 14001 EMS, ISO 45001 OH & S Lead Auditor (CQI/IRCA recognised certification courses) & HSE Consultant. He is a qualified Zed Master Trainer & Zed Assessor. He has thorough knowledge of six sigma quality concepts & has also been awarded industry 4, certificate from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Knowledge Hub Training Platform  He is a Trainer, a Counselor, an Advisor and a Competent professional of cross functional exposures. He has successfully implimented requirements of various international management system standards in several organizations. He is a dedicated technocrat with expertise in Quality Assurance & Quality Control, Facility Management, General Administration, Marketing, Security, Training, Administration etc. He is a graduate mechanical engineer with specialization in aeronautical engineering. He is always eager to be involved in imparting training, implementing new ideas and improving existing processes by utilizing his vast experience.