ancient indian history


The Kambojas

Kambojas are a tribal population who were skilled soldiers and were known for rearing a good breed of horses. Many Kamboja kingdoms were conquered by Arjun and Karna, while Kamboja fought from the Kauravas side in Mahabharata.

शनस्तु कियालोपादिमा क्षत्रियजातयः | विषलत्वं गता लोके ब्राह्मणादर्शनेन च ॥
पोण्डकावचौद्रविडा: काम्बोजा यवनाः शकाः । पारदा: पह्नवाश्चीता किराता दरदा शाः ॥

The Kämbojas were living in north India long, before the Yavanas came, The Vamsa Brahmana list includes the name of a Vedic teacher called Kamboja Aupamanyava. Yaska also refers to them as distinct from the Aryas. Though undoubtedly of the Aryan stock, they were at times considered to be outside the cultural limits of India. Their country was noted for many of the best kinds of skins, woollen blankets, blankets made of fur of animals etc. This fact, perhaps, led Yaska to derive their name from Kambala-bhojaḥ. The Artha Shastra calls them “people living by agricultural trade and professional lighting. They possibly had two sections, since the Mahabharata speaks of the Kambojas and the Paramakabmojas, just as the Mahaniddesa does of Yona and Paramayona. The Kāmbojias are grouped together with the Daradasal at one place, with the Sakas and the Yavanas at another, while the Parama-kambojas with the Lohas, and the Northern Rishikas. Thus it is clear that the Kambojas as also the Yavanas, had two distinct settlements in kafirstan. Balkh-Badakshan and the Pamirs.

शवतिर्गतिकर्मा कम्बोजेष्वेव भाष्यते ।
विका रमस्या र्येषु भाषन्ते शव इति ।
सह काम्बोज
जोहान् परमकाम्बोजान् ऋषिकान् उत्तरानपि ।

Dr. Rhys , Davids says that it was a country in the extreme north-west, of India, with Dväraka as its capital. Dvāraka, which is mentioned as the capital of the Kämbojas in the Petavatthu commentary, is the same place that is known in Persian as Darwas and is located in the north of Badakshan. The identity of Kamboja with the Pamir-Badakshan region has finally been established by Prof. Jayachandra Vidyalankara and Dr. Moti Chandra. Badakshan is the corrupted form of Sanskrit Dvyakshāyaṇa.
According to Pali Assalayana Sutta, the Yonas, Kambojas and other frontier peoples of the Uttarapatha region, had altogether a different social organisation, admitting only two social grades of masters and slaves, with no impossible barrier placed between them. The Bhuridatta Jataka expressly states that the Kambojas followed a crude religion of their own, contrary to accepted Ahimsa cult of the Indo-Aryans. tAsoka sent missionaries to the nations on the borders of his empire, viz., the Kambojas, the Yavanas etc., with the object of converting them to Buddhism. He celebrates their conversion to the true dharma in Rock Edict XIII; while Rock Edict V tells us that censors were created by Aśoka for the establishment of the law of piety, for the increase of the law, and for the welfare and happiness of the Kambojas, Gandhäras and others living on the western frontier of his dominions. Manu classifies the Yavanas and Kambojas as kshatriyas who became degraded as a result of disregard of the urificatory rites. The Mahabharata castigates the Yaunas, Kambojas. Gandhäras and Kiratas of the Uttarāpatha, together with the Barbaras, as people, who lived as criminal tribes with predatory habits like those of hunters and vultures, Madrakas also are described as an inferior people.

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