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Deep rivers

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Kannan M.
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Jennifer Clare

Occasional Papers

Uttaramērūr revisited

Texte intégral

  • 1 Uttaramērūr, Legends, History, Monuments, by François Gros and R. Nagaswamy with the Pañcavaradakṣ (...)

1Uttaramērūr, or Uttaramallūr, is a name familiar to all scholars acquainted with the history of South India, and especially to Prof. K. A. N. Sastri's readers. The impression may even be prevalent that there is nothing more to say about this interesting village and its two famous inscriptions on the village-assembly, the sabhā, its constitution, functions and electoral rules. The text of the two Parāntaka's inscriptions is quoted or referred to everywhere, and there is no study of South Indian institutions which is not based on these records. As a matter of fact, it is not on this point that we may expect to throw new light from a fresh visit to Uttaramērūr. We should rather invite historians to go anywhere else in quest of a better comparative appraisement. However a fresh study of the village and its monuments’ inscriptional or legendary records, has disclosed a few interesting details, which have been briefly exposed already in a short monograph.1 It is not yet as comprehensive on this fascinating village as we may dream of it being, and we shall therefore invite our readers to revisit Uttaramērūr again, and be satisfied if our attempt represents one more landmark on the path towards a deeper study of “local” indology.

  • 2 Journal of South Indian Association, Presidential address, 1938; reprinted in Ancient India and So (...)
  • 3 In Commemorative Essays presented to Sir R. G. Bhandarkar, Poona, dated 1917, pp. 223-236.
  • 4 Corporate Life in Ancient India, second ed., Calcutta, 1922 (preface dated 1920); pp. 176-177; the (...)
  • 5 For example, the works of K. P. Jayaswal (Hindu Polity, Calcutta 1924) Altekar (see below) etc. Se (...)
  • 6 A History of Village communities in Western India, O.U.P. 1927, pp, 22-25 and 123.

2It is thanks to epigraphy that Uttaramērūr suddenly became famous again at the end of the last century: the publication of two Parāntaka's inscriptions in 1904 by V. Venkayya, after an initial announcement in 1898, was the first of a long list of studies on village administration and political life centred on these two documents. It was echoed as soon as 1908 by S. Krishnasvami Aiyangar2 who went on exploiting the lithic records of Uttaramērūr throughout his life and in his teaching, up until his Evolution of Hindu Administrative Institutions in South India (Madras, 1931) where he republished Venkayya's article. He was quoted by another epigraphist, H. Krishna Shastri who, in a paper on The fiscal Administration under the Early Colas3 also dealt with village assemblies and, although aware of their diversity (sabhā, ūrār, nakarattār, nāṭṭār are quoted), spoke almost exclusively about the Sabhā. This would soon create a confusion which was doomed to be misleading to the utmost extent in the subsequent literature. No sooner than 1920-22, R. C. Majumdar incorporates in the second edition of his Corporate Life in Ancient India some additional data from South Indian inscriptions and enlarges the portion dealing with village institutions of southern India. Amongst others, Uttaramērūr inscriptions are quoted in order to "most strikingly illustrate the ultrademocratic character of these village corporations", as the method of electing members that "may be fairly compared with all that we know about the republican states of ancient and modern world".4 The book has become a classic, and classical too is the connotation of Uttaramērūr with the theories of village communities and assemblies. It is not our purpose to trace back the development of the myth of ancient village republics and of so-called “corporate life in ancient India”, but only to point out that, once integrated into the general theories about local administration, the sabhā of Uttaramērūr was bound to loose its specific contours and to become commonplace in a sequence which starts with the vedic sabhā, continues with Buddhist saṃgha and so on.5 Last, but not least, A. S. Altekar has somehow extended the rules of Uttaramērūr sabhā to a general pattern for "orthodox" village councils of the "Dravidian south" in "striking contrast" with the village communities in Western India.6

  • 7 Journal of the Madras University, Vol. III no 1, dec. 1930, p. 35 n. 1. He added a warning which i (...)

3Prof. K. A. N. Sastri, when inaugurating his professorship of Indian History and Archaeology at Madras University, protested against such generalizations reminding us that Uttaramērūr sabhā was only one of several local bodies, and, further, characteristic only of a caturvedimaṅgalam, and that even in brahmadeya villages another body, the ūrōm, appears to act with the sabhā.7

  • 8 Journal of Indian History vol. XI part II, August 1932, Appendix I, pp. 1-28.
  • 9 K. A. N. Sastri, Studies in Cōḻa History and Administration, Univ. of Madras, 1932.
  • 10 A. Appadorai, Economic Conditions in Southern India (1000-1500 A. D.), 2 vols. Madras University H (...)
  • 11 A. S. Altekar, The Rāṣṭrakūṭas and their times, Poona, 1934, p. 198.
  • 12 For example, State and Government in Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass, Banaras, 1949, pp. 176-17 (...)
  • 13 Work quoted, 3rd ed. F. K. L. Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta, 1969, p. 157-158.
  • 14 For example, Lallanji Gopal, Origin of village panchayat in Northern India in Proceedings of the T (...)

4He was, in fact, intending to revisit Uttaramērūr and to give us a more detailed and relevant account of its epigraphic records. While S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar attempted to improve the reading of Venkayya in publishing once more the two inscriptions of Parāntaka,8 Prof. Sastri, more wisely, improved the interpretation given so far, wittily denouncing Venkayya’s somewhat melodramatic presentation. More importantly, he scrutinized the inter-relations of the various political forces in the village through the inscriptions, and endeavoured to picture the relations of the sabhā with other local bodies, ūr, nāṭu, various temple trustees, religious or secular boards.9 At the same time he sponsored another similar attempt made on a wider basis: the enquiry of A. Appadorai on Economic conditions in Southern India (1000-1500 A. D.), where we find a clear statement of the different types of local organisation, and a precise description of the caturvedimaṅgalam which underlines once again the fact that the system of local committees presented by Uttaramērūr was prevalent only in this type of village, and not over the whole of South India.10 The impact of these statements on other scholars may be illustrated by the fact that Altekar, who kept to his previous views in his Rāṣṭrakūṭās,11 introduced some more balanced considerations in his later publications, especially in mentioning the ūr together with the Sabhā.12 A similar attitude is shown in the corrections introduced by R. C. Majumdar in the third edition of his Corporate Life in Ancient India.13 Morever, if it is still commonly accepted that evidence about certain types of village assemblies is better examined through South Indian inscriptions than through their North Indian counterparts,14 Uttaramērūr is no longer considered as representing all of them and its specific individuality has therefore been restored.

  • 15 K. V. S. Aiyer. Three Lectures, Kannada Research Office, Dharwar, 1941, p. 24. See also his Histor (...)
  • 16 Epigraphia Indica, XXII, No 32, 1935, pp. 206-207.
  • 17 A note on the composition of sabhā at Uttaramērūr, in D. R. Bhandarkar volume, Indian Research Ins (...)
  • 18 For example, G. S. Dikshit, Local Self-Government in Mediaeval Karnataka, Dharwar, 1964, p. 68 and (...)
  • 19 By K. V. Ramesh, Dharwar, 1970, v. ch. VII.

5This does not mean, however, that all the problems have been solved, and, in fact, in Uttaramērūr the crucial question of the links between ūr and sabhā is not so clear. In Uttaramērūr inscriptions it is almost impossible to make any distinction between the two as the members of the sabhā call themselves, in the same recorded decision, and almost indifferently, “we of the sabhā” (mahāsabhaiyōm) or "we of the ūr" (ūrōm). It is through the analogy with other places where the differences are more marked, that we may guess that the ūr may not be absolutely coeval and coextensive with the sabhā. We agree in general with the fundamental intuition of Prof. K. A. N. Sastri that the ūr might have been the earlier, and the sabhā superimposed on it in the case of a brahminical settlement, although this thesis has been challenged by K. V. S. Aiyer. But to identify the ūr with grāma "the constituted assembly of the village'' and sabhā with jāti "the assembly of the Brahmins"15 does not solve the question of their interrelations, nor explain why they are so confused and mixed together at Uttaramērūr, unless we consider that the Uttaramērūr population was purely brahminical, or that the sabhā has no brahminical exclusivism, which K. V. S. Aiyer strongly denies. He has, in fact, presented with such emphasis the conformity of this sabhā decisions with the injunctions of the Dharmaśāstra, and the brahminical purity of the sabhā in all caturvedimaṅgalam, that we may agree with him that in Uttaramērūr the sabhā was sufficiently supreme, at least during the early period of the settlement, sometimes to speak for the village in its entirety. However, there is also a tendency among scholars to consider that sooner or later, the sabhā lost its brahminical exclusivism. Prof. Sastri felt that this had happened in Uttaramērūr itself by the end of the 10th century,16 and V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar has even tried to conclude from an examination of the various standing committees of the sabhā that it was in fact "a cosmopolitan body".17 But his arguments are not quite convincing and we must leave this vexed question open. Perhaps it might be settled through further comparative studies, as already suggested, but we confess that in Karnataka, for example, the very same problem exists between ūru and mahājana, which is also a rather confused issue;18 the latest research work on History of South Kanara19 unfortunately sheds no new light on this point.

  • 20 From now onwards we refer to our monograph quoted in footnote no. 1, where the reader will find fu (...)
  • 21 For example, Varuṇa cintāmaṇi by Kanakacapai Pillai, Madras, 1901 (in tamil) pp. 343s.
  • 22 F. Gros and R. Nagaswamy work quoted p. 15s.

6If in Uttaramērūr epigraphs the brahminical aspect is conspicuously predominant, is it still possible to sketch out the other elements of the population? Apart from occasional references to merchants, shepherds, weavers, oil-mongers or to the army, we seldom hear of the Veḷḷāḷa or agriculturists. They are mentioned in a few inscriptions of Pārtivēntravarmaṉ or Rājarāja I, or indirectly attested to by some proper names such as Kiḻān. Although we may assume that these farmers formed the largest non-brahminical community, evidence of their presence is very scanty. A bold social anthropologist might take a hint from a visit to the Siva temple of Tiruppulivanam, the north-eastern hamlet of Uttaramērūr. Its huge monumental structures, spread over an area of no less than four acres, tell us, even more than epigraphs, how, from Kulōttuṅka onwards, this temple flourished while the sabhā of Uttaramērūr became less important.20 While no record is engraved on the walls of the previous abode of the sabhā, the so-called Vaikunta Perumal temple, after 1215 A. D., we follow the history of Uttaramērūr under the feudatories of the last Cōḻa, and under Vijayanakar dynasties, mainly through the records of Tiruppulivanam, where the leadership of the village slowly but clearly shifted. Is it mere guesswork to say that the Veḷlāḷa of Uttaramērūr might have played a part in this evolution? Before discarding this hypothesis, the reader should remember, first, that it is Tiruppulivanam and not Uttaramērūr which is included in the list of the 79 nāṭu of Toṇṭaimaṇṭalam among which the Veḷḷāḷa are distributed at least from the time of Kulōttuṅka21 and, second, that a short chronicle, by a recent and anonymous local "historian" of Uttaramērūr, stresses a latent antagonism between the agrahāram and the Veḷḷāḷa as a main feature of Uttaramērūr history, another one being the progressive decay of the brahminical settlement.22 There may be some sense to these views, even if the sabhā survived up to 1434 A. D., and if the temple of Tiruppulivanam remained under the supervision of śivabrāhmaṇa. Thus, apart from the official records of the sabhā, we have several traces of the other political or social forces which were also shaping the history of Uttaramērūr.

  • 23 Work quoted ch. II, p. 1 and 2.

7Among, for example, the various religious trends of the village it is important to emphasize that inscriptions reveal a fairly good balance between the various creeds: when the village is prosperous, all the temples seem to have benefited from various donors, under Pārtivēntravarmaṉ and Rajendra I. But it is also interesting to notice the striking contrast between the two puranic records on the origin of Uttaramērūr which we have collected. According to the Sanskrit Pañcavaradakṣetramāhātmya, it is a Vaishnava kṣetra founded by the Pānṭava from the North, but according to another version, in Tamil, the site was shown to eleven Tamils from the South by Murugan, or Subrahmanya. This shorter account enumerates the twelve original lots (kaṭṭaḷai) of which four are found in inscriptions. Unfortunately it is difficult to proceed further with this confrontation because no version is dated, nor do we know precisely to which community they owe their origin.23

8We are back on safer ground when trying to locate the place where the Uttaramērūr assembly used to meet. Any open space or any hall, attached or not to a temple, may serve the purpose. But our contention is that in Uttaramērūr there was a specific sabhā-maṇḍapa which stood where the Vaikuṇṭha Perumāḷ temple has now been erected; this is supported by epigraphical and archaeological evidences.

  • 24 Sketches of Ancient Dekhan, Vol. 1L, Coimbatore, 1967, p. 243. Italics ours.

9We read in several inscriptions that the mahāsabhā met "in the big hall" (periya maṇḍakattile, S.I.I. VI 345)" in the big hall of our city" (nammūr periya maṇḍapattey, ib. VI 297)," on a platform in front of the big hall of our city" (emmūr pērambalattu mumpil teṟṟiyile, ib. VI 362) or “in the inner hall of the assembly” (mahāsabhaiyile uḷmaṇḍakattiley, ib. VI 283). Clearly, this is not any common hall, but the one specifically designed for the sabhā. In Uttaramērūr there is only one edifice which satisfies this requirement, the so-called Vaikuṇṭha Perumāḷ temple. Two of its earliest inscriptions give it the very designation of “maṇḍapa”. The first, engraved on the adhiṣṭhāna of the Vaikuṇṭha Perumāḷ, bears the signature of the engraver who introduces himself as "the ācārya of this maṇḍapa" (immaṇḍapattinukkācāriyaṉ, ib. VI 356). Some years later, it is decided that the sales of lands belonging to those who do not pay their taxes "will be engraved on the stone of the maṇḍapa" (maṇḍakattu kallile eḻuttu..., ib. VI 344) and such records are engraved only on the base of the Vaikuṇṭha Perumāḷ. K. V. S. Aiyer has unfortunately missed the most important point when dealing with the same inscription. He translates "...have the transactions engraved on stone in the maṇḍapa of the temple"24 thus introducing here a "temple" which does not exist, neither in the text, nor, in fact, as a monument. There was originally no temple at all, but only a sabhā-maṇḍapa. Nowhere, in early inscriptions, is this edifice referred to as a "temple" (kōyil, gṛha or viṇṇagar), but we do find a donation for the regular cult of a Vishnu image in this maṇḍapa, as early as the 4th year of Pārtivēndravarman (emmūr periyamaṇḍakattu perumāṉaṭikaḷai arccikkum, S.1.1. Ill 170); beyond any doubt, the Vaikuṇṭha Perumāḷ monument was originally only a sabhā-maṇḍapa in which an image of Vishnu was installed, probably a stucco figure. In the inscriptions, it is only in the 21st year of Kulōttuṅga I that we suddenly find the name “emmūr naḍuvir rājanārāyaṇa viṇṇagar” for the same place (ib. VI 349). It is clear that this refers to the present structure of the Vaikuṇṭha Perumāḷ, rebuilt on the impressive basement of the previous maṇḍapa, under Kulōttuṅga I, and called naḍuvir kōyil (central temple) from its location in the centre of the village, or rājanārāyaṇa viṇṇakar, from a title of Kulōttuṅga I. It is no wonder if, instead of a new maṇḍapa, only a not very impressive temple was erected: the sabhā is no more the centre of village political life, and Tiruppulivanam has already become prominent. Up to that point, almost all the decisions of the sabhā were engraved on the base of its maṇḍapa, nearly 70 records, mostly dealing with the sabhā activities; from the time of Kulōttuṅga I, barely half a dozen inscriptions were engraved, after the erection of the new structure which was not designed to have an important political function any longer.

10If we now look at the architecture of the existing monument, the conclusions drawn from epigraphy are confirmed. Obviously the platform and the temple are not contemporaneous nor constructed to fit together. The platform is huge but severe and rectilinear; it does not correspond to the base of a temple, but rather to the base of a maṇḍapa. From its dimensions we may even infer the height of this maṇḍapa, and see that its designation as ''the big hall" (periya maṇḍapa) was quite justified. But probably the superstructure was a mixture of brick and mortar which ought eventually to be renovated. The present temple, much smaller and less impressive than the platform is only a later construction, and enshrines an image of Vishnu seated with his consorts, which may be assigned to the 12th century, i.e. the period of construction of the temple, which is probably responsible for its present denomination.

  • 25 Le Mayamata, traité Sanskrit darchitecture ed. by Bruno Dagens, Publications de l'lnstitut França (...)

11Further, it seems that some theoretical considerations also corroborate our identification. Śilpaśāstra like Mayamata assign the brahmasthāna, i.e. the centre of the village, to the sabhāmaṇḍapa, and this expression is often used in inscriptions for the place where assemblies meet. These texts allot the same place to a Vishnu temple. But this does not mean, as the Tamil edition of the Mayamata understood it to mean, that the sabhāmaṇḍapa is erected inside the temple. The very next words can even be interpreted to exclude such a confusion; among the 3x3 = 9 boxes of the brahmasthāna, the outer north-east are suitable for the sabhā, and the outer north-west and south-west for the Vishnu temple, any construction on the central five remaining places being most inauspicious.25 However, there is no objection to enshrining a Vishnu image in a maṇḍapā, and, in Uttaramērūr itself, we have other examples of a regular cult to an image enshrined in a maṇḍapa, no wonder either if it is Vishnu who is associated with the exercise of the Dharma by the assembly. As we find in many other villages either a central temple (naḍuviṟkōyil) or, also in the centre of the village, a construction dedicated to Visnu Govardhana, it is suggested that a further enquiry should be conducted in such cases to see whether any similar connection may exist between a central shrine and the assembly hall. But it remains doubtful whether, on the ground of such occurrence, it is legitimate to suggest that the Mahavishnu of Govardhana who received donations in Uttaramērūr under Pārtivēndravarman (S.I.I. III 157) or Kampavarmaṉ (ib. VI 288), may be identified with the Perumāṉaṭikaḷ enshrined in the Sabhāmaṇḍapa rather than, perhaps, with one of the mūrti of the temple of Sundaravaradaperumāḷ (like in A.R.E. 176 of 1923), unless that was the name of some other temple.

  • 26 As an illustration of this commonplace see Percy Brown, Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu pe (...)
  • 27 Cf. S.I.I, VI 362 on collection of fines under Kannaradeva, and Epigraphia Indica vol. XXII no. 32 (...)

12One last point must be clarified. When we speak of the temple and the maṇḍapa in the centre of Uttaramērūr, we deal with the functions of these edifices, and not with a problem of the evolution of architecture. The question of the maṇḍapa -type of temples which might have evolved from a certain type of cave-temples is an altogether different one. It has often been noticed that the structure of some temples in Aihole, such as the Lad-Khan, the gauḍar-guḍi or the Kontiguḍi, seems to have evolved from a maṇḍapa-like structure which recalls the arrangement of the cave 3 in Badami. Many felt that this pattern was originally a secular one, for civic use, and that the religious edifice evolved from the village meeting hall.26 A reference to Aihole in our study of the sabhā maṇḍapa of Uttaramērūr could thus easily be misunderstood: in Uttaramērūr we can claim that it is now fairly well established on historical grounds that a religious edifice has succeeded a secular one which was a maṇḍapa enshrining an image of a god for which no architectural cella distinct from the maṇḍapā can be attested to (but this argument remains a silentio). This does not mean that the same process had occurred before in Aihole. We agree with what Mrs. O. Divakaram has written to us in friendly rejoinder: the religious character of the Lad Khan is clearly indicated, from its inception, by the frame of the door which follows a rather well known pattern, or by the nagaraja on the central inside ceiling, etc... and it seems quite possible that what we have here is the survival of a local tradition of maṇḍapa-temples with no separate garbhagṛha nor superstructure, and supported by pillars rather than by walls. We unhesitatingly grant her that frequently found porches and benches may perhaps have had some educational function in the temples, but that, in any case, the 500 Mahājana of Aihole would have needed a much larger hall to accommodate their meetings. This is attested to by Uttaramērūr itself, where the sabhā-maṇḍapa must have been quite impressive, even though, under exceptional circumstances, the meetings of the sabhā took place somewhere else, probably for the benefit of a wider, and perhaps more cosmopolitan, audience for some matters of special interest.27 In a word, what happened in the case of the sabhā maṇḍapa of Uttaramērūr cannot be considered as a solution to the problem of the evolution of the temple architecture in Aihole.

  • 28 F. Gros and R. Nagaswamy, work quoted, ch. V with a diagram drawn by R. Nagaswamy. K. V. S. Aiyer (...)

13As we have seen, the location of the sabhā maṇḍapa and/or a Vishnu temple in the centre of the village was in conformity with the prescriptions of the vāstuśāstra, but this observation can be extended much further. In Uttaramērūr all the main temples are located in the directions assigned by the vāstuśāstra: the Siva temple is in the north-east of the village and an inscription says even more properly: "in the direction of Īśa" (Īśana tiśai S.I.I. VI 356); in the west we find, side by side, a Vishnu temple and a Subrahmaṇya temple; the shrine of Durga is in north, and in the north-east we find that of the Saptamātā. The temples of both Jyeṣṭhā and Śāstā have now disappeared, but we know from the inscriptions (S.I.I, III 167 and 169) that they were located in south. All these directions follow agamic precepts. Many topographic details given in the epigraphs are also technical terms of the vāstuśāstra: the village had two peripheral roads called maṅgala vīthi, and three main roads called nārācam which run east-west, as prescribed, for example, by the Kāmikāgama (XXI 2). It has even been possible, by putting together the theoretical indications of the vāstuśāstra and the measures given for the plots of land donated in inscriptions, to draw an ideal diagram of the ancient village in order to illustrate the extremely rational planning of the original caturvedimaṅgalam. It is indeed impressive to see how easily the inscriptions still give a sense of that ancient geometry where nothing seems to have been at random. The twelve cēri bear the twelve names of Bhagavan Narayana; the roads (vadi) are named according to the titles of a Pallava king, in all probability the founder of the village, Nantivarman Pallavamalla; the channels (vāykkāl) are named for gods. Each of these features can be found separately in quite a number of other brahmadeya villages, and their toponyms are often similar; but nowhere, perhaps, would it be possible to collect enough epigraphic material to complete such pictures to the extent of making possible a tentative reconstruction, not to scale, perhaps, but proving beyond doubt the existence of intentional town-planning28 conform to the norms of āgama and Śilpaśāstra. In this respect, Uttaramērūr is, as K. V. S. Aiyer called it, “an ancient ideal village”.

  • 29 An interesting inscription from Uttaramērūr, in Seminar on Inscriptions, 1966 (ed.) by R. Nagaswam (...)
  • 30 F. Gros and R. Nagaswamy, work quoted pp. 70-80 and Sanskrit appendix where the relevant chapter o (...)

14This restitution is, of course, conjectural and owed to epigraphy. But the temple of Sundaravarada perumāḷ stands even today as another exemplary testimony to the precision with which Uttaramērūr proceedings comply with textual prescriptions. Ganapati Sthapati had already shown how "the Uttaramērūr Vimana is an Ashtanga Vimana created for the Navamoorthi worship of the Vaikanasa cult"29 and how the architect of the temple was guided by the Marīci Saṃhitā, a Vaikhānasāgama. He confines his demonstration to the architectural structure and ornamentation, but we found that it could be extended to the iconography of the temple. All the wooden sculptures, and all the wall paintings in each shrine on each storey of the temple, and even the stone sculptures of the sopāna bhitti of the first tala, can be identified and described through the text of the Marīci Saṃhitā which they follow strictly, with only a few accidental discrepancies.30

15A temple built and adorned according to a Vaikhānasāgama, a village laid out according to the vāstuśāstra, around a sabhā maṇḍapa, a social and administrative life ruled according to the dharmaśāstra, and with its own history inscribed on its walls in nearly two hundred epigraphs from the eighth to the fifteenth century: this is how Uttaramērūr welcomes its visitors, to say nothing of its modern aspects, which are also quite attractive. But the fate of Uttaramērūr, from the discovery of the rules of its sabhā to our last visit, seems to have an amazing propensity to be turned into an ideal entity, a general pattern ready to be entered as an exemplary demonstration amongst the givens in the commonplaces of history. That is why it remains necessary, in order to keep a true picture of it alive and up to date to visit Uttaramērūr again and again.

16Our study of Uttaramērūr is the latest but will not be the last. Already we know that it can be technically improved on some points: more accurately detailed descriptions of the monuments, more attempts to date or decipher some lithic records, more delicate analysis of inscriptions to improve our reconstruction of the layout of the village, and, with the help of archaeologists and geographers, to make it more real. We know that it could be completed through more investigations of its past, through enquiries into recent records and through an anthropological study of the modern village. But we also know that it would be necessary to extend the same type of research to some other villages. Not so many places offer the same kind of rich and varied data, and there is a risk too of repetition which will quickly make village monographs look dull and perhaps brainless as some of them are. However, such a study will almost always be rewarded by some original discovery, a monument, a family of chieftains, a religious institution, a social conflict, etc. Let us hope that more increasingly learned guides will be there to conduct us on a comprehensive tour of South Indian villages.

17Originally published in English, in Prof. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri 80th Birthday Felicitation Volume, Madras, 1971. This homage to Prof. Sastri is a by-product of a joint venture in Uttaramērūr along with R. Nagaswamy, M. D. Sampath and N. R. Bhatt. The first output was Uttaramērūr, Legends, History, Monuments, by François Gros and R. Nagaswamy with the Pañcavaradakṣetra māhātmya, edited by K. Srinivasacharya. Publications de l’Institut Français d’Indologie no. 39, Pondichéry 1970. Recently, Dr. Nagaswamy has issued two monographs, in Tamil and English, on the subject.

Notes

1 Uttaramērūr, Legends, History, Monuments, by François Gros and R. Nagaswamy with the Pañcavaradakṣetra māhātmya, edited by K. Srinivasacharya. Publications de l’Institut Français d’Indologie no. 39, Pondichéry, 1970.

2 Journal of South Indian Association, Presidential address, 1938; reprinted in Ancient India and South Indian History and Culture, Vol. I, Poona, 1941, pp. 592-704.

3 In Commemorative Essays presented to Sir R. G. Bhandarkar, Poona, dated 1917, pp. 223-236.

4 Corporate Life in Ancient India, second ed., Calcutta, 1922 (preface dated 1920); pp. 176-177; the later of Parāntaka's inscription is quoted pp. 170-176.

5 For example, the works of K. P. Jayaswal (Hindu Polity, Calcutta 1924) Altekar (see below) etc. See also U. N. Ghoshal Studies in Indian History and Culture, 2d rev. ed. Orient Longmans, 1965 (ch. VIII).

6 A History of Village communities in Western India, O.U.P. 1927, pp, 22-25 and 123.

7 Journal of the Madras University, Vol. III no 1, dec. 1930, p. 35 n. 1. He added a warning which is still as relevant then as now: “We hear now-a-days a great deal too much of things Dravidian and things Aryan; it is to be wished that persons who talk with such assurance on these difficult matters make clear to themselves as well as to others by what methods and with what criteria they effect this distinction.” (ibid. pp. 35-36).

8 Journal of Indian History vol. XI part II, August 1932, Appendix I, pp. 1-28.

9 K. A. N. Sastri, Studies in Cōḻa History and Administration, Univ. of Madras, 1932.

10 A. Appadorai, Economic Conditions in Southern India (1000-1500 A. D.), 2 vols. Madras University Historical series, 1936. See Vol. I, pp, 138-155.

11 A. S. Altekar, The Rāṣṭrakūṭas and their times, Poona, 1934, p. 198.

12 For example, State and Government in Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass, Banaras, 1949, pp. 176-177.

13 Work quoted, 3rd ed. F. K. L. Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta, 1969, p. 157-158.

14 For example, Lallanji Gopal, Origin of village panchayat in Northern India in Proceedings of the Twenty-sixth International Congress of Orientalists, vol. Ill, part II, pp. 609-620, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1970.

15 K. V. S. Aiyer. Three Lectures, Kannada Research Office, Dharwar, 1941, p. 24. See also his Historical sketches of Ancient Dekkan, vol. II and III, Coimbatore, 1967 and 1969.

16 Epigraphia Indica, XXII, No 32, 1935, pp. 206-207.

17 A note on the composition of sabhā at Uttaramērūr, in D. R. Bhandarkar volume, Indian Research Institute, Calcutta, 1940, pp. 59-61.

18 For example, G. S. Dikshit, Local Self-Government in Mediaeval Karnataka, Dharwar, 1964, p. 68 and ch. V.

19 By K. V. Ramesh, Dharwar, 1970, v. ch. VII.

20 From now onwards we refer to our monograph quoted in footnote no. 1, where the reader will find further details and references. See François Gros and R. Nagaswamy, work quoted p. 28 and p. 56.

21 For example, Varuṇa cintāmaṇi by Kanakacapai Pillai, Madras, 1901 (in tamil) pp. 343s.

22 F. Gros and R. Nagaswamy work quoted p. 15s.

23 Work quoted ch. II, p. 1 and 2.

24 Sketches of Ancient Dekhan, Vol. 1L, Coimbatore, 1967, p. 243. Italics ours.

25 Le Mayamata, traité Sanskrit darchitecture ed. by Bruno Dagens, Publications de l'lnstitut Français d'Indologie, 1970, p. 130, v. 73b-75a of ch. IX.

26 As an illustration of this commonplace see Percy Brown, Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu periods), Bombay, 5th ed., 1965, 52ss.

27 Cf. S.I.I, VI 362 on collection of fines under Kannaradeva, and Epigraphia Indica vol. XXII no. 32, 1935, pp. 206-207. The second reference has been quoted by Prof. K. A. N. Sastri to support the idea of the breach of the brahmanical exclusivism of the sabhā; we point out here that this was also an exceptional meeting, out of the sabhāmaṇḍapa.

28 F. Gros and R. Nagaswamy, work quoted, ch. V with a diagram drawn by R. Nagaswamy. K. V. S. Aiyer had already noticed how some inscriptions could give us a glimpse of the layout of the village, and how it was regularly planned (Sketches, vol. II, p. 241 and 261).

29 An interesting inscription from Uttaramērūr, in Seminar on Inscriptions, 1966 (ed.) by R. Nagaswamy, Madras, 1968, p. 187.

30 F. Gros and R. Nagaswamy, work quoted pp. 70-80 and Sanskrit appendix where the relevant chapter of the Marīci saṃhitā is tentatively critically edited.

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