Monday, January 27, 2014

Kabul Shahis & Kapisa (3rd-9th C. AD)


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"The Shahi (Devanagari: शाही), Sahi, also called Shahiya dynasties ruled Kabulistan and the old province of Gandhara , from the decline of the Kushan Empire in the 3rd century to the early 9th century. The kingdom was known as "Kabul Shahi" (Kabul-shāhān or Ratbél-shāhān in Persian کابلشاهان یا رتبیل شاهان) between 565 and 879 AD when they had Kapisa and Kabul as their capitals, and later as Hindu Shahi. The Shahis of Kabul/Gandhara are generally divided into the two eras of the so-called Buddhist-Shahis and the so-called Hindu-Shahis, with the change-over thought to have occurred sometime around AD 870."…. Sehrai, Fidaullah (1979). Hund: The Forgotten City of Gandhara, p. 2.

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"Zunbil, also written as Zhunbil, was a dynasty south of the Hindu Kush in southern Afghanistan. They ruled from the early 7th century until the Islamic conquest of Afghanistan in 870 AD. The Zunbils are believed to be an offspring of the southern-Hephthalite rulers of Zabulistan and culturally connected to Greater India. The dynasty was related to the Kabul Shahis of the northeast in Kabul. "It follows from Huei-ch'ao's report that Barhatakin had two sons: one who ruled from after him in Kapisa-Gandhara and another who became king of Zabul…"The Zunbils of the early Islamic period and the Kabulshahs were almost certainly epigoni of the southern-Hephthalite rulers of Zabul."….. Andre Wink, Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Vol.1, (Brill, 1996)"

"Hsuen Tsang (c. 602–664), clearly describes the ruler of Kapisa/Kabul, whom he had personally met, as a devout Buddhist and a Kshatriya and not a Tu-kiue/Tu-kue (Turk). The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang knew well enough what a Turk was since he had come to Kabul through their country….The Shahi rulers of Kapisa/Kabul who ruled Afghanistan from the early 4th century till AD 870 were Hindu Kamboj Kshatriyas. The Shahis of Afghanistan were discovered in 1874 to be connected to the Kamboja "race" by E. Vesey Westmacott…..E. Vesey Westmacott, Bishan Singh, K. S. Dardi, et al. connect the Kabul Shahis to the ancient Indian Ksatriya clans of the Kambojas/Gandharas. George Scott Robertson writes that the Kators/Katirs of Kafiristan belong to the well known Siyaposh tribal group of the Kams, Kamoz and Kamtoz tribes. (The Kafirs of the Hindukush, 1896, pp 75–85;) But numerous scholars now also agree that the Siyaposh tribes of Hindukush are the modern representatives of the ancient Iranian cis-Hindukush Kambojas"….Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya History of Mediaeval Hindu India, 1979,

"The name (Katorman or Lagaturman) of the last king of the so-called first Shahi line of Kabul/Kapisa ….

"…Commenting on the rise of Shahi dynasty in Kabul/Kapisa, Charles Frederick Oldham observes: "Kabulistan must have passed through many vicissitudes during the troublous times which followed the overthrow of the great Persian empire by the Alexander. It no doubt fell for a time under the sway of foreign rulers (Yavanas, Kushanas, Hunas etc). The great mass of the population, however, remained Zoroastrian and Polytheists. And probably too, the Kshatriya chiefs from India retained great shadow of authority, and conquered Kabulistan when the opportunity arose."…..Charles Frederick Oldham The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, pp. 113-126,

" According to Sata-pañcāśaddesa-vibhaga of Saktisamgma Tantra, Book III, Ch VII, v 24–28 (a medieval era Tantra text), the Kambojas are said to be located to west of South-west Kashmir (Pir-pañcāla), to South of Bactria, and to east of Maha-Mlechcha-desa (Mohammadan countries i.e Khorasan/Iran). Likewise verse 42–44 of the same reference locates the medieval Huna-desa to the north of Maru-desa (Rajputana) and to the south of Kama-giri (Kama hills) (Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, 1971, p 100-102, 108, Dr D. C. Sircar). The Kama/kamma is the name of hilly territory of eastern Afghanistan, lying between Jalalabad and Khyber pass. Hence, the general location of Huna-desa may indeed have comprised south-western Punjab and parts of Southern and Central Afghanistan which territory again was same as the Zabulistan of Arab writers."….

"Barhatigin is said to be the founder of the dynasty which is said to have ruled for 60 generations until AD 870. This, if true, would take Barhatigin and the founding of the early Shahi dynasty back about 20x60=1200 years, i.e., to about the 4th century BC if we take the average generation of 20 years; and to the 7th century BC if an average generation is taken as 25 years. It is well nigh impossible that a single dynasty could have ruled for 1200 (or 1500) years at a stretch. Moreover, King Kanik (if Kanishaka) ruled (AD 78 – 101) not over Kabul but over Purushapura/Gandhara and his descendants could not have ruled for almost 900 years as a single dynasty over Kapisa/Kabul especially in a frontier region called the gateway of India. Pre Islamic Hindu and Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan is well established in the Shahi coinage from Kabul of this period."….

"Based on fragmentary evidence of coins, there was one king named Vrahitigin (Barhatigin?) who belonged to pre-Christian times as Alberuni's accounts would tend to establish. If Kanik is same as Kanishaka of Kushana race as is often claimed…It appears that from start of the 5th century till AD 793-94, the capital of the Kabul Shahis was Kapisa. As early as AD 424, the prince of Kapisa (Ki-pin of the Chinese) was known as Guna Varman. The name ending "Varman" is used after the name of a Ksahriya only.Thus the line of rulers whom Hiuen Tsang refers to in his chronicles appears to be an extension of the Ksatriya dynasty whom this Guna Varman of Ki-pin or Kapisa (AD 424) belonged. Thus this Ksatriya dynasty was already established prior to AD 424…."…..Ancient Indian History and Culture, 1974, p 149

"It appears more than likely that, rather than the Kushanas or Hunas or the Turks, the Shahi rulers of Kabul/Kapisa and Gandhara had a descent from the neighbouring warlike Ksatriya clans of the Kambojas known as Ashvakas , who in the 4th century BC, had offered stubborn and decisive resistance to Macedonian invader, Alexander, and later had helped Chandragupta Maurya found the Mauryan empire of India. They were the same bold and warlike people on whom king Asoka Maurya had thought it wise and expedient to bestow autonomous status and to whom he gave eminent place in his Rock Edicts V and XIII. They were fiercely independent warlike people who had never easily yielded to any foreign overlord. They were the people who, in the 5th century AD, had formed the very neighbours of the Bactrian Ephthalites of Oxus and whom Chandragupta II of Gupta dynasty had campaigned against and had obtained tribute from about the start of the 5th century AD……Dr V. A. Smith says that this epic verse is reminiscent of the times when the Hunas first came into contact with the Sassanian dynasty of Persia. And the Monghyr grant of king Devapala of the Pala dynasty of Bengal attests that the great king had led his war expedition (AD 810–850) into the northwest against the Hunas (in western Punjab) and then the Kambojas (in the Kabul/Gandhara valleys."….The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 125, Charles Frederick Olmsted.

" Sata-pañcāśaddesa-vibhaga of the medieval era Tantra book Saktisamgma Tantra locates Kambojas (Kabul Shahis?) to the west of southwest Kashmir (or Pir-pañcāla), to the south of Bactria and to the east of Maha-Mlechcha-desa (=Mohammadan countries i.e Khorasan/Iran) and likewise, locates the Hunas (Zabul Shahis?) to the south of Kama valley (or Jallalabad/Afghnaistan) and to the north of Marudesa (or Rajputana) towards western Punjab."

"Archeological sites of the period, including a major Hindu Shahi temple north of Kabul and a chapel in Ghazni, contain both the pre-dominant Hindu and Buddhist statuary, suggesting that there was a close interaction between the two religions. When the Chinese visitor Hsuan-tsang visited Kapisa (about 60 km north of modern Kabul) in the 7th century, the local ruler was a Kshatriya King Shahi Khingala. A Ganesha idol has been found near Gerdez that bears the name of this king, see Shahi Ganesha. Several 6th- or 7th-century AD Buddhist manuscripts were found from a stupa at Gilgit. One of the manuscripts reveals the name of a Shahi king Srideva Sahi Surendra Vikramaditya Nanda."….The Shahi Afghanistan and Punjab, 1973, pp 1, 45–46, 48, 80, Dr D. B. Pandey;

"In the wake of Muslim invasions of Kabul and Kapisa in second half of the 7th century (AD 664), the Kapisa/Kabul ruler called by Muslim writers Kabul Shah (Shahi of Kabul) made an appeal to the Ksatriyas of the Hind who had gathered there in large numbers for assistance and drove out the Muslim invaders as far as Bost. This king of Kapisa/Kabul who faced the Muslim invasion was undoubtedly a Ksatriya."…..The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 126, Charles Frederick Oldham

"In AD 645, when Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang was passing through the Uttarapatha, Udabhanda or Udabhandapura was the place of residence or secondary capital of emperor of Kapisa which then dominated over 10 neighboring states comprising Lampaka, Nagara, Gandhara and Varna (Bannu) and probably also Jaguda. About Gandhara, the pilgrim says that its capital was Purushapura; the royal family was extinct and country was subject to Kapisa; the towns and villages were desolate and the inhabitants were very few. It seems that under pressure from Arabs in the southwest and the Turks in the north, the kings of Kapisa had left their western possessions in the hands of their viceroys and made Udabhanda their principal seat of residence. The reason why Udabhandapura was selected in preference to Peshawar ais at present unknown but it is possible that the new city of Udabhanda was built by Kapisa rulers for strategic reasons……..In AD 671 Muslim armies seized Kabul and the capital was moved to Udabhandapura, where they became known as the Rajas of Hindustan."…..André Wink, Early Medieval India and the Expansion of Islam: 7th-11th Centuries, (Brill, 2002),

"In subsequent years, the Muslim armies returned with large reinforcements and Kabul was swept when the Shahi ruler agreed to pay tribute to the conquerors. For strategical reasons, the Shahis, who continued to offer stubborn resistance to Muslim onslaughts, finally moved their capital from Kapisa to Kabul in about AD 794. Kabul Shahis remained in Kabul until AD 879 when Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari, the founder of the Saffarid dynasty, conquered the city. Kabul Shahis had built a defensive wall all around the Kabul city to protect it against the army of Muslim Saffarids. The remains of these walls are still visible over the mountains which are located inside the Kabul city."….. Kohzad, Ahmad Ali, "Kabul Shāhāni Berahmanī", 1944, Kabul

"The first Hindu Shahi dynasty was founded in AD 870 by Kallar. Kallar is well documented to be a Brahmin. The kingdom was bounded on the north by the Hindu kingdom of Kashmir, on the east by Rajput kingdoms, on the south by the Muslim Emirates of Multan and Mansura, and on the west by the Abbasid Caliphate……According to the accounts recorded by Alberuni which are chiefly based on folklore, the last king of the first Shahi dynasty, Lagaturman (Katorman) was overthrown and imprisoned by his Brahmin vizier Kallar, thus resulting in the change-over of dynasty. The Hindu Shahi, a term used by history writer Al-Biruni to refer to the ruling Hindu dynasty that took over from the Turki Shahi and ruled the region during the period prior to Muslim conquests of the 10th and 11th centuries."….The Afghans, 2002, p 183, W. Vogelsang;


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….January 2014


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