Inscription with term ‘Bharatiyanam’ found at Ghantasala village in Andhra Pradesh
The merchants might have gifted the umbrella to the Buddhist monks in Ghantasala village in Amaravati region, which was the epicentre of Buddhism in ancient times.
Published: 11th March 2023 08:06 AM | Last Updated: 11th March 2023 08:06 AM | A+A A-
TIRUPATI: The earliest epigraphical reference to ‘Bharatiyanam’, which denotes the name of area i.e., Bharat (India), was found in an inscription copied from Ghantasala village in Krishna district by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The inscription was engraved on a chatri (umbrella) and written in the Prakrit language and Brahmi characters of the first century CE. The inscription contained the text ‘Bharatiyanam Nagila sethisa putasa Nigokhadha sethisa putasa Bharata sethisa’.
ASI Director (Epigraphy) K Muniratnam Reddy said, “The inscription records the gift of an umbrella by Bharata, son of Nagokhada and grandson of Nagila, who belonged to the mercantile community of Bhartiya (India).” The merchants might have gifted the umbrella to the Buddhist monks in Ghantasala village in Amaravati region, which was the epicentre of Buddhism in ancient times.
“The inscription is a special one because, for the first time the term Bharatiyanam occurs as a community or a clan in it,” Muniratnam Reddy informed. Ghantasala, which was once a Buddhist site, was also a trade centre in the ancient times.
“Now, the umbrella gifted by Bharata mentioned the word ‘Bharatiyanam’ to mention the whereabouts of the donor,” Muniratnam Reddy said, adding, “Even in the inscriptions found from the third century referred India as ‘Jambudweep’ but the term Bharatiyanam and its use in the first century itself came to light through this inscription.
He added that the inscription is placed in Ghantasala museum store. Augmenting the ASI comment, retired history professor Satyamurthy opined that it is Bharatiiyaanam as the letter ‘ya’ is having the elongation. Aanam literally means area, but not the name of the merchant community. “Why because present Avanigadda located about 40 km from Ghantasala. Avanigadda is the corrupt form of yavana gadda (Roman settlement). Here aanama means piece of land occupied by Indian merchants whose genealogy is mentioned,” he opined.