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about the year 1350 A. D.; he certainly (if he ever existed, and if the dynasty lists are true) cannot have lived much before the commencement of the 14th century, i. e., before our English King Edward III.
Abul-Fazl gives a list of ten Pála Kings quoted by Mr. Westmacott; and they became extinct about the middle of the eleventh century thus leaving a space of 250 years to be accounted for. Hence it need not necessarily be determined that Dharma Rájá was a member of the great family of Pála Kings. Buchanan suggests that he may have represented. the remains of a family which survived the wreck of the dynasty, to save a portion of the kingdom which remained unconquered, by the successors of Adi Súra in Rangpur; and the fact is not rendered less improbable when we consider the history of the Hádi Siddha. We know that the Pála kings were, when we first meet them, Buddhists and that subsequently some branches of the family changed their religion to some onc or other of the many varying sects of Hindúism. If then Dharma Pála ruled in a country in which such a holy man was arch-priest, it is rather a confirmation than otherwise of this theory. I myself think it certain that Dharma Pála was a member, or descendant of the great Pála family, for Dr. Buchanan gives an illustration of an image found in his city, which contains the typical Pála emblem of an elephant borne down by a lion. (Fig. 2.)
We thus I think can be certain of the following facts,-that early in the 14th century a king named Dharma Pála ruled over a small tract of country near the Karatoyá river in the present districts of Rangpur and Jalpaiguri. That this Dharma Pála was a member of the great Pála family which once ruled over northern Bamga. That in his territory there was a saint of considerable sanctity, then living, who professed tenets borrowed possibly from Nipál. And that close to his capital city there lived in a fortified stronghold a powerful chief named Mánik Chandra, who was married to a lady called Mayaná. It may be gathered from local tradition that Mayaná was an ambitious and designing woman, and that she acknowledged the saint above-named as her spiritual instructor.
Between the king and the chief, according to local tradition, a war arose, which ended in the defeat and disappearance of the former, and triumph of the latter, in a great battle fought on the banks of the river Hángrigosha. The battle-field is still shown, a mile or so to the north of Dharmapur.
After this victory, Mánik Chandra took up his residence at Dharına. pur, while the Lady Mayaná remained at her old home Mayanú Matir kot
probably to be near her old Guru, the ruins of whose home are still shown in the neighbourhood.
The further particulars regarding Mánik Chandra will be gathered from the annexed poem. Who he was we cannot tell, we must be content with knowing that he was a neighbouring chief of Dharma Pála and his conqueror.
He appears to have governed at first with vigour and success. read of rustic wealth and security, and light taxation. system is worth noticing, it was a peculiarly elastic and simple land tax.* The land in those days was little more than a wild forest, and the soil poor and barely cultivated. The sparse prajás scraped with their flimsy ploughs the surface of the sandy soil immediately round their homestead and struggled lazily for bare existence. I suspect that, even in king Mánik's time, life and property were not over secure, and under these circumstances it was necessary that the taxes should be light. Each plough-owner was therefore required to pay for each plough in his homestead thirty káoṛís per mensem. Under the light taxation which may be inferred from this absurd exaggeration of the text, the prajás were necessarily happy and contented, until Mánik Chandra did what was in Rangpur the most unpopular thing a zamíndár could do. He engaged a Bangálí Díván. I have in my previous paper enlarged on the hatred of the Rangpurí peasantry for a genuine freshly imported native of the south, and I need not dwell upon it here. Suffice it to say that the new Díván fully bore out the character of his nation, for he immediately doubled the land-tax. The result was a rising of the peasants, and according to their account, the mysterious death of the king shortly afterwards from the effects of Rangpur fever. He left no living child, but his wife Mayaná was subsequently confined of a posthumous one. The child was not born till eighteen months after Mánik's death, and ill-natured people might feel inclined to consider Mánik Chandra's claim to the title of father not proved; but the poem chivalrously comes to the rescue of Mayaná's reputation, and makes her pass through a long series of puerile adventures (the old tale of Orpheus and Eurydiké with the characters reversed), and finally obtain from Gorakshanáth, and his attendant gods, the boon of having a son of such perfect vigour and
* The same system prevails to the present day in parts of Nipál, where the demand for land is not so great as it is in the more settled British territory. A plough is there, however, only considered as equivalent to eight bigas, the average rent for a plough of land being considerably below that current on this side of the frontier.
One buḍi of In the light
+ The text says 13 buḍis of káoris. A buḍi is five gandas or twenty. káoris = a pice. 14 pice a month 4 ánás, 6 pie, per year per plough. soil of Rangpur, one plough can easily cultivate fiftcen bigas or five acres of land, so that the annual land-tax was, according to the text, less than 33 pics por biga, or than a ponny farthing per acre.
virtue that it would take at least twenty-five months to fashion him. As a matter of special grace he was presented to her with seven months of his growth already accomplished, so that he was in fact born only eighteen months after his conception.*
During Mayaná's pregnancy she became satí for her dead husband, and mounted the pyre with his corpse. I need hardly say that the flames refused to touch her, although the relations of her late husband did their best to aid them, by thrusting her more and more into the flames with long poles.†
Mayaná after passing through various adventures survives them all, and in due time gives birth to a son, who is called Gopí Chandra. It is he who is really the hero of the poem, and not his putative father who gives it his name. All references to the latter end before the 154th verse, and the remaining 550 narrate the fortunes of his son.
Apparently from the birth of her child, Mayaná deserted Mayaná matír koţ and went to dwell in Dharmapur. She was a clever woman and managed to keep up without great difficulty the high rates of land revenue, which had caused the death of her husband. When Gopí Chandra was nine years old, it was time for him to be married, and so Mayaná looked round for a suitable match.
Raja' Hari's' Chandra.
At the present day, seven or eight miles south of the ruins of Dharmapur, in the tháná of Darvání, there is a village called Char Chará. § Here there is a large mound of earth called Harís Chandra Rájár Páț, i. c., the seat of king Harís Chandra.
Buchanan described it as a circular mound of earth about 40 feet in diameter. "In searching for materials to build a pig-stye, the heap was opened by an indigo-planter, and a building of stones was discovered. The
* The Yogís of course see nothing extraordinary in this ludicrous idea. They say the events occurred in the Satya Yuga, when all things were possible. I asked a Yogí once why the child was presented to Mayaná already seven months developed, and he explained that it was "to prevent excessive scandal," which might have occurred if the child had been born twenty-five months after his father's death!! This is straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel with a vengeance.
The description of this rito in the poem is curious enough: whether such conduct on the part of the relations was common in the performance of it I do not know. I have been unable to identify Chánd the merchant, who figures in this part of the poem with any other legend.
I gather this from the last verse of the poem, from which it is evident that it was not till Gopí Chandra's return that the land revenue was reduced to its formor level. ९ चर चरा, it is a short distanco due east of the better known रामगञ्ज टुपामारि Rámganj Tupámári.
upper parts of this, consisting of many long stones, were removed, when a friend of more science in antiquities, recommended the planter to abstain from further depredations. In its present state the lower part only of the building remains and is a cavity of about 13 feet square at the mouth, and 8 at the bottom. The sides are lined with squared stones, which form a deep stair on each side, and the walls are exceedingly thick. My description will be more easily understood by consulting the plan (fig. 3). I have no doubt that this is a tomb."
Since Buchanan's time it has been still further desecrated, and, now, little remains beyond the mound of earth and the name.
Harís Chandra had two daughters Aduná and Paduná.* These he gave in marriage to Gopí Chandra with a hundred maid-servants to wait upon them. By his eighteenth year Gopí Chandra had no child. It had been foretold to Mayaná that at that age he would die unless he became a Sannyásí. So he prepared, much against his will, to go forth wandering in the forests with the Háḍi Siddha. His two wives Aduná and Paduná tried hard to persuade him to stay, and their arguments form, in my opinion, by far the best portion of the poem (vv. 243-302). They contain many touches of true poetry.
This flight of fancy, however, almost immediately leads us into the most unnatural-the profoundest bathos. The king tempted by his wives, in order to put the correctness of his mother's words to the test, makes her pass through the ordeal of boiling oil. Although the king has strength of mind to keep his mother in boiling oil for nine days, it is gratifying to learn that he really was a tender and affectionate son; for when he found at the expiration of that time that his mother had been boiled to death, he began to weep. Mayaná of course was really not dead, she had only changed herself into a grain of mustard seed, and soon reappeared in her proper form. After the usual preparations, the king sets out on his journey with the Háḍi Siddha. His minor adventures need not be recorded here. He passed through many trials as preparations for his future, and finally in an evil moment promised to let the Háḍi have twelve káoṛís wherewith to buy gánjá. When he would have given it, he found that the store from which he intended to take it had been spirited away. Thereupon, rather
* In Buchanan, Hudna and Pudna.
+ Buchanan says that Gopí Chandra had a hundred wives, but I can find no trace of this in any modern legend. The maid-servants may have been concubines, but not wives. They are the hundred damsels mentioned in verse 242. They are it is true called queens in verse 410,—but that is only part of the gross and pucrile exaggeration displayed there, Aduná and Paduná being still kept separate.
V. 241. The term Sannyásí should be noticed. It is the ordinary term for a Saiva mendicant, Vairágí usually representing a Vaishņava one.
than break his promise, he told his companion to pawn him for the money. The Háḍi took him at his word to the bázár, where all the women fell in love with him, which gives rise to an amusing scene. However they could not afford the twelve káoṛís demanded; so the Háḍi finally took him to the house of a harlot named Hírá.
Hi'ra' the Harlot.
According to popular tradition, Hírá is said to have lived at "Kholá Kuțá a village in the west of the Dinajpur District." This place I have been unable to identify. Mr. Westmacott, who has most kindly taken much trouble in assisting me on this point, suggests that the place may be Kholá Háți, a village in the east of that District, where the Dinájpur and Rangpur road crosses the river Karatoyá. There were lately extensive ruins to its north, but they have been excavated by the Northern Bengal Railway people for ballast. This theory is not at all so improbable as it might seem at first sight, for every tradition leads us to believe that Hírá's residence was near the Karatoyá. Dinajpur is to the west of Rangpur, and if the original belief was that Kholá Kuṭá (? Kholá Háți) was to the west in Dinajpur" the change for "in" to "of" need not surprise us. The locality of Hírá's house is not mentioned in the poem, but a reference to v. 658 will show that it probably was Kholá Háți.
Hírá, of course, fell in love with the king, and, being a woman of property, easily found it in her power to borrow the twelve lcáorís from a neighbouring banker. The banker drew up the deed of transfer, conveying Gopí Chandra to the harlot's sole use and possession for a period of twelve years, and she then and there paid over the money, and took delivery. The procedure of the sale is worth noticing (vv. 537-546).
After obtaining possession of the king, Hírá had him bathed and adorned in gorgeous apparel; she then sent for him and tried to tempt him, but though she exerted all her fascinations, and the king was almost yielding, she failed ignominiously, Gopí Chandra piously remembering his mother's parting words.* Indignant at her repulse the harlot went to the other extreme, and put him to perform the meanest and vilest offices of her household. The king was continually ill-used, and beaten, and one of his hardest daily labours, was carrying twelve bhúngi loads of water from the Karatoyá to her house,
On the last day of the twelve years he went to draw water as usual,but his strength failed him and he fell into the river.
* Gopi Chandra is much lauded for his continence, but, as it appears that the Hádi before leaving him made him a neuter, there is really little ground for credit.