Women in Deccan as gleaned through inscriptions: 200 BCE-1200 CE

Guest post from Rupali Mokashi.

My stint with ancient Indian epigraphy started seventeen years ago when I commenced my Doctoral Research on ‘The Position of Women in Deccan as gleaned through inscriptions: 200 BCE-1200 AD.’

The inscriptions were always a realm of the epigraphists. Though the epigraphic data was scientifically analyzed and developed steadily it was not adequately used to understand the women in ancient India. Both epigraphy and gender studies followed their independent courses.

Inscriptions preserved valuable data about women that is well stacked in the milieu of time and space. Mostly votive, administrative and eulogistic in nature they held diverse information not only on the contemporary society, polity but also on the prevalent religious observances and the active involvement of women therein. The votive epigraphs constituted a significantly tangible source for reconstructing the history of women in India. This research work has taken into consideration the contributions of more than ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED WOMEN referred in the inscriptions but lesser known to the world of scholars and laymen.

As the Recipient of the Justice K. T. Telang Research Fellowship awarded by the Asiatic Society of Mumbai for the research project on “Rekindling the History of Shilaharas of North Kokan as gleaned through the recent Epigraphical Revelations” (2013-2014).

The Shilaharas of North Kokan originated as a feudal clan of the Rashtrakutas during the reign of King Govinda III. Forty two donative Copper Plates and Rock edicts that were issued by various Śilāhāras Kings spanning a period from 843 AD – 1260 AD have been instrumental in understanding history of this dynasty. I have deciphered, compiled and analyzed the following recently discovered copper plates and rock edicts of this dynasty.

  1. Kalyan Copper Plates of King Chhittaraja (1019 AD)
  2. Panvel Copper Plate of King Chhittaraja (1025 AD)
  3. Thane Copper Plates of Mahakumara Keshideva (1120 AD)
  4. Panhale Copper Plate of King Mallikarjuna (1151 AD)
  5. Kiravalī Rock Edict of King Anantdeva III (1248 AD)

Further details and bibliography at Dr Mokashi’s blog.

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