Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Copper plates decoded reveal new info on Shilabhattarika


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Shilabhattarika

Mains level: NA

Central idea: The article talks about the discovery of new information on the celebrated ancient Sanskrit poetess Shilabhattarika through the decoding of copper plates by the Pune-based Bhandarkar Institute.

Who was Shilabhattarika?

  • Shilabhattarika was a 9th-century Sanskrit poet from India.
  • She lived near the Narmada River and the Vindhya mountains.
  • Her poetic skills were praised by medieval Sanskrit literary critics.
  • It is speculated that she may be the same as Shilamahadevi, the queen of 8th-century Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruv.
  • According to recent research, she was the daughter of Chalukya ruler Pulakeshin II.

Her literary works

  • Shilabhattarika is known to have written at least 46 poems on various topics, such as love, morality, politics, nature, beauty, the seasons, insects, anger, indignation, codes of conduct, and the characteristic features of various kinds of heroines.
  • Shilabhattarika is considered a leading figure of the Panchali literary style, which maintains “a balance between words and meaning”.
  • According to Rajashekhara, the Panchali style can be traced to the works of Shilabhattarika, and possibly in some of the works of the 7th-century poet Bana.
  • Sharangadhara-paddhati, a 14th-century anthology, praises her and three other female poets for their great poetic genius and erudition.
  • One of the most iconic songs of the noted Marathi poetess Shanta Shelke, “toch chandrama nabhat” (it is the same moon in the sky), draws inspiration from the verses of Shilabhattarika.

Key findings of the recent research

  • The research analyzed a copperplate charter consisting of 5 copper plates dating back to the reign of Badami Chalukyan ruler Vijayaditya (696-733 CE).
  • The plates were held together by a copper ring that bore the varaha (boar) seal, which is the trademark of the Badami Chalukyas.
  • The Sanskrit text inscribed in late-Brahmi script contained a total of 65 lines.
  • The charter revealed that King Vijayaditya Chalukya had donated the village of Chigateri to a scholar named Vishnu Sharma, based on the recommendation of Mahendravarma, Shilabhattarika’s son.
  • Shilabhattarika’s husband, Dadiga, was deputed as the governor of Kogali, while his elder brother Polavira succeeded their father Mokkara as the ruler of the Western Ganga dynasty, which acted as subordinates to the Chalukyas of Badami and fought against the Pallavas of Kanchi.
  • The plates also mentioned the names of Shilabhattarika’s father-in-law, Mokkara (or Mushkara), and his father, Durvinita, who was a proficient composer and had patronized Bharavi, the author of the classical epic Kiratarjuniya.


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