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  • Aashi Shah

The Allahabad Pillar Inscription

The Allahabad Pillar inscription of Samudragupta holds great historical significance as it provides valuable insights into the political society of the Imperial Guptas. It is also known as the “Allahabad Prasasti”. The Pillar is inscribed in ornamental and literary Sanskrit, befitting the elite class of that time. The pillar was originally erected by Ashoka at Kaushambi but was relocated to Allahabad. The inscription's location in Allahabad, at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, adds to its significance. Allahabad (now known as Prayagraj) has been a sacred site in Hinduism for centuries. The inscription's presence in this region symbolizes the cultural synthesis and coexistence of multiple religious traditions in ancient India.

Samudragupta’s court poet and minister, Harisena composed the inscription on the pillar. According to his inscription, Samudragupta defeated 9 kings in the north and 12 kings in the south as well as made all the Atavika nations (meaning forest nations) tributary states. More than 5 frontier states accepted his lordship over them. He also had strong and reliable relations with the Ceylonese monarchy and the South-East Asian countries. As testified by a seal of Samudragupta bearing a horse attested to him performing the Ashvamedha Yajna. It is said that Harisena described him as a ‘hero of 100 wars’. Harisena also described him as ‘Kaviraja’ which may indicate that he was a patron of arts, specifically poetry and music. His love for music is shown in one of his coins where he is seen playing a Veena. Samudragupta was also given the name of Vikramanka. It means Vikramaditya which loosely translates into ‘the one who is brave and has the radiance of the sun’. This indicates that he was valorous and brave which lent a hand in expanding the Gupta Empire.

In conclusion, the Allahabad Pillar Inscription holds immense historical, cultural, and religious significance. It stands as a testament to the Mauryan’s glory and India's rich heritage. It is a monument of great importance and deserves to be preserved for the generations to come.


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