- Kamboja colonists of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon or Lanka) is a
tropicalisland nation off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent, about 31 kilometres (18.5 mi) south of India.
Sanskritmeans island ("Tapu"). ["Pre-Aryan and Pre-dravidian in India", pp. 101-103, Dr S Levi] Many ancient Indian Sanskrit and Palitexts refer to this island as Sinhala or Simhaladvipa. The Araband the Purtugese traders corrupted the name to Seilan, Ceylon, Ceilão, etc. In English, the name is written as Sinhalese or Singhalese.
The Sinhala also refers to about 74% of the population speaking the
Sinhala languagewhich belongs to the Indo-Aryan family and is closely allied to Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit.
The earliest colonists of Sri Lanka migrated from northern India but controversy exists as to the provenance of these early colonists; the traditions contain evidence for both the northwestern and the northeastern parts of the Indo-Gangetic plain. The first
colonists probably hailed from the Saurashtra in Gujarat. Their ancestors are believed to have migrated earlier from Sinhapura of upper Indusnear Kamboja/ Gandhararegion to the Saurashtra peninsula in Gujarat via lower Indus. Before arriving in Sri Lanka, these earliest known colonists called at Soparaka on the west coast of India and landed in Sri Lanka at Tambapanni, near Puttalam on the day of Parinibhana ("decease") of the Buddha (542 BCE "or 486 BCE"). Scholars write: "Several early Brahmi Inscriptions of Ceylon refer to a community of people called Kambojaswho lived in various parts of Ceylon [Sinhalese and Other Island Languages in South Asia, 1979, p 15, M.W.S. de Silva, Sinhalese language; A Concise History of Ceylon: From the Earliest Times to the Arrival of the of the Potuguese in 1505, 1961, p 25, Cyril Wace Nicholas, Senarat Paranavitana - Sri Lanka.] and Sihalavatthu, a Palitext of the fourth century refer to a Kambojagama in Rohana, south-east of the island" [The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia, 2003, p 206, Himanshu Prabha Ray - Social Science; Ships and the Development of Maritime Technology on the Indian Ocean, 2002, p 108, Ruth Barnes, David Parkin - Technology & Engineering.] . Nandadeva Wijesekera observes: " "It is believed that the people who arrived in Lanka from time to time came from the region of Ancient Kamboja. These people could have belonged to Induscenter..... The relics of that culture may be bathing ponds and drainage system at Anuradhapuracity. The symbols and signs (like Swastika) found in Caves, pottery and coins may have been introduced by these yet unknown arrivals" (from Kamboja)" [Heritage of Sri Lanka, 1984, p 14, Nandadeva Wijesekera - Sri Lanka.] [Cf: Proceedings of the Pakistan History Conference, 1968, p 14/15, Pakistan Historical Society - Pakistan.] .
Ancient Kamboja: The hub of international trade
Ancient Kambojas were originally located in the trans-Hindukush region in
Pamirs and Badakshan. Later, sections of them crossed Hindukushand occupied Kabul, Kunarand Swat valleys north of river Kabolin Cis-Hindukush area ( Paropamisade). With time, the trans-Hindukush section of the Kambojas became known as Parama-Kambojas while cis-Hindukush settlements became known as Kamboja. ["Geographical Data in the Early Puranas, A Critical Study", 1972, pp. 167-168, Dr M. R. Singh; see also "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, pp. 117-157, Dr J. L. Kamboj; "The Kambojas Through the Ages", 2005, p. 59, S Kirpal Singh, Mahabharata II.27.20.25] Important caravan routes such as the well known Uttarapatha Caravan route (from Bahlika-Kamboja to Pataliputra-Tamralipitika) and the Kamboja Dvaravati Caravan route (from Kamboja to Dwaraka in Surashtra) originated from Kamboja/Gandhara/Bahlika region which connected these communities to eastern and western parts of ancient India. The third important route originating from Kamboja is referred to by Sanskrit poet Kalidasain his Raghuvamsaand it ran from Pamir/Badakshan to Trigarta, Rampur-Bushahar, Kinnara, Nepaland to Kamarupa/ Assam. ["Raghuvamsa" 4.60-75] After reaching the west or east coast of India, the merchants from Gandhara, Bahlika, Kamboja, and Kashmira were connected by sea routes to important places like Persian Gulf, southern India, Sri Lanka, Burmaand the Far East ( Suvarnabhumi). The ancient Buddhisttext Petavathu, (Commentary) also attests that ancient Kamboja was located on one of the great caravan routes, and there was a road direct from Dvaraka to Kamboja. [ "Petavatthu" Commentary (P.T.S.), p. 23; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 250, Dr J. L. Kamboj; "Dictionary of Pali Proper Names: Pali-English", p. 526, George Peiris Malalasekera; Proceedings and Transactions of the All-India Oriental Conference, 1966, p 122, Oriental philology; India, a Nation, 1983, p 77, Vasudeva Sharana Agrawala; Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India, 1977, pp vii, 94 Dr Moti Chandra - Trade routes; Encyclopaedia Indica: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh., 1999, p 537, Shyam Singh Shashi - History); B.C. Law Volume, 1945, p 218, Indian Research Institute, Devadatta Ramakrishna Bhandarkar, Indian Research Institute - Dr B. C. Law. See also [http://www.metta.lk/pali-utils/Pali-Proper-Names/kamboja.htm] ] . A land trade route of Romepassed through Parthia (Khorasan), and then the territory of Kamboja, Kapisa and Gandhara [Gujarat as the Arabs Knew it: A Study in Historical Geography, 1969, p 17, Vengalil A. Janaki- Gujarat, India Historical geography.] . Besides, a northern route lay through Central Asian Oasis of Khokhand, Bokhara and Meru to Hamdan in Iran where it birfucate into two one leading to soutt-west Iranand the other to the Black Seain the north-west. Other routes leading to Siberiain the north and to China("China Silk Route") in the northeast also joined at Kamboja/Bahlika region. Thus, the Kamboja/Kapisa indeed formed the hub of international trade. This is the reason why some ancient references, besides styling the Kambojas as warlike people (nation-in arms), also attest the Kambojas as a community of traders [Arthashastra, 11.1.04; Brhatsamhita 5.35ab; Mahabharata 7.23.42.] .
Kambojas: The documented traders
Ancient Sanskrit texts like
Kautiliya's Arthashastra, Brhat Samhita, Mahabharataand Ramayanaattest that, besides being formidable warriors ("Shastr-opajivins"; "nation-in-arms"), the ancient Kambojas were also noted as "excellent traders", agriculturists and cattle-culturists ("varta-opajivins"; "traders and agriculturists").
Kautilya's Arthashastra lists the Kambojas with Saurashtras and says that same form of politico-economic constitutions (varta-shastr.opajivin) obtained in these two ancient martial republics. It attests both of them to be living by warfare, trade, agricultureand cattle-culture. [i.e. Kambhoja. Sauraastra.ksatriya.shreny.adayo vartta.shastra.upajivinah || 11.1.04 ||"]
* The Brhat Samhita of
Varaha Mihiraalso attests that the Kambojas were a "shastra-vartta" nation i.e. living by warfare, trade, agriculture and cattle-culture. [i.e. Panchala Kalinga Shurasenah Kamboja Udra Kirata shastra-varttah" || 5.35ab || ]
* Mahabharata also verifies that the Kambojas lived by warfare and varta when it styles the Kambojas to be "as terrible as Yama" (the god of death) in warfare and "as rich as
Kubera" (the god of treasure)...("which obviously impies their mercantile aspect"). [i.e. "Kambojah.................yama vaishravan.opamah...|| MBH 7.23.42 ||"]
hipping communities from the northwest
"The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea" makes mention of several sea ports, beginning with
Barbaricumat the mouth of river Indus, followed by Barygaza (Bharukachcha, modern (Bhroach), Soparaka ( Sopara), Calliena (Kalyan), and Muziris ( Kerala), all located along the west coast of India southwards. Besides these more important seaports, there were also lesser ports like Sindan, Dvaravati, Cambay( Khambat), Kamboika ( Kambojika– a landlocked port) and the Gandhar (near Bharukachcha). The important international ports of Barbaricum, Bharukachcha, Dvaravati, and Soparaka were easily accessible to traders from the northwest for international trade and the merchants from Kamboja, Gandhara, Kashmira, Sindhu, Sauvira, and Saurashtra used to sail from these ports on the country's western coast. Huge trade ships carrying merchandise from Kamboja, Gandhara, Kashmira, Sindhu, Sovira, and Saurashtra are said to have been launching from these ports directly to southern India, Sri Lanka, south Myanmarand Suvarnabhumi. [http://www.vri.dhamma.org/newsletters/nl9712.html] The ports of Gandhara and Kamboika in southeast Saurashtra probably also served as residential headquarters for the traders from Gandhara and Kamboja.
Early Buddhist literary sources from north India refer to the northerners, including the Kambojas, Kashmiras, and Gandharas, as being involved in trade in horses. [Vinaya Pitaka, III, 6; Játaka, Vol II, 287, Fausboll.]
There is a Buddhistic reference to a trader and "Arhant" named Bahya who was a native of Bharukachcha (modern Bhroach) in southeast Sauarashta/Gujarat. [Apadana, (P.T.S.), Vol II, p. 476] He engaged in trade, voyaging in a sea ship. Seven times he sailed down the river Indus and across the sea and returned safely home. On the eighth occasion, while on his way to Suvarnabhumi, his ship was wrecked, and he floated ashore on a plank, reaching land near Soparaka. [See: Entry "Bahya" in "Online Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names"; [http://www.metta.lk/pali-utils/Pali-Proper-Names/baahiya.htm] also see: "Dictionary of Pali Proper Names", Vol I, G. P. Malalasekera] This ancient Buddhist evidence verifies that the trade ships plied regularly between the upper Indus countries of Kamboja, Gandhara, Kashmira group and the seaports of Bharukachcha and Soparaka and also from Bharukachcha/Soparaka to Sri Lanka, Suvarnabhumi, and probably further to the Far East.
Jatakas also attest that there was a regular trade between Bharukaccha, Soparaka and Suvarnabhumi. [See e.g. Jataka, Ed. Fausboll, III.188.] Buddhist Jatakas also amply attest that there was a regular trade between Bharukaccha, Soparaka and Suvarnabhumi. [See e.g. Jataka, Ed. Fausboll, III.188] [Cf: "Many a Jataka tale mentions traders travelling across the seas from Bharukachcha to Suvarnabhumi, touching at a part in Ceylon on the way. These incidents indicate that western sea-route was well known and often used during these early times. It is therefore reasonable that Vijaya too used this route on his way to Sinhala.. " (See Quote in: "Early History of Education in Ceylon: From Earliest Times to Mahāsena", 1969, p. 33, U. D. Jayasekera]
Evidence exists that horse merchants from Kamboj were in active trade with eastern, southern, and western India, and as far as Ceylon. This trade had been going as late as the medieval ages. King Devapala (810-850 CE) of
Bengal, King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysaladynasty (1106 - 1152 CE) of Mysore, and King Vallabhadeva of Pandya kingdom (12th century CE) located in extreme southern tip of India, had powerful fleets of Kamboja horses in their cavalry.
According to "History of Ceylon", plenty of evidence exists there that the Kambojas who inhabited a region bordering the upper
Indus, had at one time, established themselves in a country near Sind(and Kathiawar) [Indian Antiquary, 1893, p 171, J. F. Fleet; Indo-Greek Numismatics, 1970, p 14, Richard Bertram Whitehead.] from where, accompanied by Yavanas, they finally reached Ceylon in pre-Christian times [History of Ceylon, 1959, p 91, Ceylon University, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, Hem Chandra Ray, K. M. De Silva - Sri Lanka.] .
Dr. Don Martino observes: The traders from north-west Kamboja had been conducting trade in horses with Sri Lanka following west coast of India since remote antiquity ["Epigraphia Zeylanka", Vol II, No 13, p. 76.] .
Dr. E. Muller also writes: "...(with time) the Kambojas had adopted the
Mussalmancreed and used to trade all along the west coast of India from Persian Gulf down to Ceylon and probably further-east...". ["Journal of Royal Asiatic Society", XV, 1915, p. 171, E. Muller, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland; Pracina Kamboja, Jana aura Janapada =: "Ancient Kamboja, people and country", 1981, Dr Jiya Lal Kamboj, Dr Satyavrat Shastri]
'The diffusion of Indian Civilization and its "great tradition" to the extreme south of the peninsula occurred in the earliest stages not by land but by sea... In the half millennium before
Christthere was sea traffic between the coasts of Gujarat and Sind, and Ceylon, which laid the basis for the development of civilization in that island... The earliest attractions of the far southern coasts were pearls and gems, which brought merchants, and ultimately the script, religions and the dynastic traditions... Hiun Tsangrefers to the international trading activities of the Simhalas and several early Brahmi inscriptions in Ceylon mention the Kamboja merchants in Sinhala'. [Extracts taken from: "The Beginnings of Civilization in South India", "Journal of Asian Studies", Vol. 29, No. 3 (May, 1970), pp. 603-616, Clarence Maloney)]
There is also mention of a merchant from Bharukaccha arriving in Ceylon in the court of a king named Candragupta. ["Early History of Education in Ceylon: from earliest times to Mahasena", 1969, p. 33, U. D. Jayasekara]
Kambojas in Sri Lanka
Inscriptional, archaeological and literary evidence exists which sufficiently proves that the
merchantclass from Kambojas, Yonas and some other communities of the northwest had reached Sri Lanka and settled there centuries before the Christianera.
inscriptions from Koravakgala at Situlpahuwa in the Hambantota district contain the word "Kaboja"' (Sanskrit: "Kamboja"). [ (1) 'Gamika-Kabojhaha lene' ; 'Gamika-Siaa-putra gamika-Kabojhaha lene'; (2) 'Cam ika-Siua-putra gamika-Kambojhaha jhitaya upasika-Sumanaya lene.'; (3) 'gamika Kabojhaha ca sava-satasoyesamage pati'; (4) 'gamika Kabojhaha ca sava-satasoyesamage pati' See: Archaeological Survey of Ceylon, Inscription Register No 1049, 1050] Another epigraphic inscription found from Kaduruvava in Kurunagala District attest the existence of one 'Kamboja Sangha' ("Gote-Kabojhyana"). [ 'Gota-Kabojhi(ya] na parumaka-Gopalaha bariya upasika-Citaya lepe iagaio' : Archaeological Survey of Ceylon, Inscription Register No 316] There is yet another important cave inscription located in Bovattagala in Anuradhapurawhich attests one 'Grand Trade Guild of the Kambojas' ("Kabojhya Mahapugyana"). [ 'Kabojhiya-mahapugiyana Manapadaiane agataanagat-catu-disa-agaia' :Archaeological Survey of Ceylon, Inscription Register No 1118] A Mediaeval era Inscription found from Polonnaruva in 1887 near Vishnu Templerelates to "Maharaja Kalinglankeshwara Bahu Veer-raja Nissanka-Malla Aprati Malla Chakravarati" who caused one Charity House to be constructed and named after him as "Nissankamalla-Daan-Griha". The southern gate of this Charity House is named as "Kamboja Vasala". ["Journal of Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society", Vol X, No 34, 1887, pp. 64-67] And lastly, an inscription relating to king Kirti-Nissanka Malla (1187-96) was found in 1884 AD at Ruvanveli Dagva in Anuradhapura ["Epigraphia Zeylanica", Vol II, Parts I & II., pp. 70-80; Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe; "Journal of Royal Asiatic Society", Vol VII, 187, p. 353f] which refers to a group of people called "Kambodjin" whom the scholars have linked to the Kamboja group which had embraced Muslimfaith during mediaeval age. ["Epigraphia Zeylanica", Vol II, Parts I & II., pp. 70-80; Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe; "Journal of Royal Asiatic Society", XV., p. 174, E Muller; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, pp. 354-55, Dr J. L. Kamboj]
Brahmiinscriptions attest that a 'Great Trade Corporation of the Kambojiyas' ("Kabojhiya-mahapugiyana") and a 'Sangha of the Kambojyas' ("Gota-Kabojhi(ya] na") were located in Sri Lanka. These inscriptions additionally make reference to republican titles or appellations like Praumaka ("chief of the Sanghas") and Gamika ("Gamini" or "Gramini", the village councilor, the chieftain) of the Kambojiyas. Specialists have determined that Kabojhiya, Kabojha or Kambodjin are corrupted forms of Sanskrit Kamboja or Persian Kambaujiya/ Kambujiya. Similarly, "Gamika/Gamini" is a corruption of the Sanskrit "Gramini" or "Gramaneya" and "Parumaka" is a corruption of the Sanskrit "Pramukha". ["History of Ceylon", Vol I, part I, p. 88, Dr S. Paranavitana; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 342, Dr J. L. Kamboj; "The Kambojas Through the Ages", 2005, pp. 172-173, Kirpal Singh]
For ancient inscriptions of Sri Lanka and the Kambojas, see: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Kamboja_Colonists_of_Sri_Lanka#Kamboja_Colonists_in_Sri-Lanka]
Scholars believe that these inscriptions date back to the third or second century BCE or earlier. ["History of Ceylon", Vol I, part I, pp. 88-92, Dr S. Parnavitana] ["Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, pp. 343-344, Dr J. L. Kamboja] ["The Beginnings of Civilization in South India", "Journal of Asian Studies", Vol. 29, No. 3 (May, 1970), pp. 603-616, Clarence Maloney)] ["The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia" (Cambridge World Archaeology) 2003, p. 206, Himanshu Prabha Ray, Norman Yoffee, Susan Alcock,
Tom Dillehay, Stephen Shennan, and Carla Sinopoli (14 August, 2003) - Cambridge University Press] [See also: "Ships and the Development of Maritime Technology on the Indian Ocean", 2002, pp. 108-109, David Parkin and Ruth Barnes] Scholars also say that the Kamboja of ancient Sinhalese inscriptions can not be indicative of the Kambujaof Indo-China since the later came into existence about 1000 years after the date of these inscriptions. ["History of Ceylon", Vol I, Part 1, p. 88, Dr S Paranavitana]
* There is a Buddhist reference to one "Kamboja-gama" i.e. a village named Kamboja in the
Rohana provinceof Anuradhapura. The Pali text "Sihalavatthu" of about the fourth century CE attests that a group of people called the Kambojas were living in Rohana on the island of Tambapanni i.e. "Sri Lanka" . ["A Concise History of Ceylon: From Earliest time to the Arrival of the Portuguese in 1505". Published 1961, p. 25, Dr Cyril Wace Nicholas, Dr Senarat Parnavitana, Ceylon University Press] [See: "Ships and the Development of Maritime Technology on the Indian Ocean", 2002, pp. 108-109, David Parkin and Ruth Barnes] [ "The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia" (Cambridge World Archaeology), Cambridge University Press, (14 August 2003), pp. 205-06, Himanshu Prabha Ray, Norman Yoffee, Susan Alcock, Tom Dillehay, Stephen Shennan, and Carla Sinopoli Cambridge University Press] [See also: "A Concise History of Ceylon: From the Earliest Times to the Arrival of the Portuguese in 1505", Edition 1961, p. 25, Cyril Wace Nicholas, Senarat Paranavitana.] 'In the past, the story goes, in the island of Tambapanni, (also) called the isleof Lanka, where the (three) Jewels were established, a certain elder by the name of Maleyyadeva, famous for the excellence of his supernatural power and knowledge, lived in Rohana province supported by (alms given in) the village of "Kamboja' " ["Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities", Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions, Steven Collins....See APPENDIX 4, %Selections from the Story of the Elder Máleyya" i.e. Maleyyadevattheravatthu]
* Buddhist text "Sasanvamsa" attests one
BhikshuTamalinda thera, son of Kamboja, living in ancient Sinhala. [Sasanavamsa, (Pali Text Series), p. 40] ["Some Kshatriya Tribes of Ancient India", p. 249, Dr B. C. Law] It also attests that Kamboja king Srihamsya came from Kamboja, took possession of the city of Ratanapura in south-west Sinhala and slaughtered about three thousand Bhikshus. [Sasanavamsa, (Pali Text Series), pp. 40, 100] ["Some Kshatriya Tribes of Ancient India", p. 250, Dr B. C. Law]
* According to Chinese Buddhist records, Guna Varman, grandson of the king of
Kabol, arrived in China by way of Ceylon and Javain AD 424 and made his way to Capital of the Sung Dynasty of China. ["Journal of Royal Asiatic Society", April 1903, p. 369, M. Anesaki] This ancient evidence abundantly shows that there were Hindu kings in Kabol more than two centuries before Hiuen Tsangarrived in about 631 AD when he also found a Kshatriyaking upon Kabol throne. ["The Sun and the Serpent", 1904, p. 125, Charles Fredrick Oldham] See link: [http://books.google.com/books?id=-IUAAAAAMAAJ&vid=OCLC04208864&dq=Kamoj+Kambojas&jtp=125] . This ancient evidence powerfully proves that Kabol, the land of the Kambojaswas in direct intercourse with not only the Ceylon but also with Malaya/Java, and further beyond with Indochina. Moreover, -Varman, the part of the name of Guna, a Kshatriya prince of Kabol conclusively establishes that the Kambuja Varman kings of Kambodia were indeed from north-west Kamboja.
Ravana, pre-historic king of Sri Lanka and the adversary of Ramais stated to have been a fan of raga Kambhoji. Per Tamil tradition, Ravana had once played this raga to praise god Siva. [Ancient Tamil traditions say that Ravana, king of Sinhala was once cursed by god Shiva's bull Nandi. Being enraged, Ravana wanted to uproot Mount Kailasa, the abode of Shiva. But Shiva just pressed the Mount with the right thumb of his right leg. Ravana got stuck. Narada came and advised Ravana to praise Shiva to extricate himself of the situation. Without any musical instruments, Ravana is said to have used his body and the nerves as the musical strings and sang a song in the raga Kamboji to praise Lord Siva] This south Indian tradition, though apparently rooted in mythologystill seems to hold a clue that the Kambojas colonists had influenced the cultural and social lives of the ancient Sinhalese.
* Ravana is also said to have in his stable the horses from north-western countries including Indus Valley, Aratta, Kamboja and Valhika etc. [Weber 1871: p. 29f.; "Journal of the American Oriental Society", Vol. 122, No. 2, "Indic and Iranian Studies in Honor of Stanley Insler on His Sixty-Fifth Birthday" (April- June, 2002), pp. 361-373, Asko Parpola] See link: [http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Aratta%2C+Kamboja%2C+and+Valhika+&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Search] . The above literary evidence again seems to verify ancient links of northwest Kambojas with Sri Lanka.
Iranian records speak of an embassyfrom Sri Lankan king to Iranian emperor Anusharwan (ruled 531 AD-578 AD). Sri Lankan king is reported to have sent the Persian emperor ten elephants, two hundred thousand pierces of teakwood and seven pearl divers. This again verifies the political and commercial intercourse of the northwest with Sri Lanka.
* Sir James Fergussan observes that "the region of
Kabol( Kamboj), Taxila(Gandhar) and Kashmirhad been, since ancient times, the center of snake worship which is evident from the wood and stone carvings found in this region". [ Adiparava of Mahabharata refers to one Naga king, Takshaka of Takshasila (Gandhara), who had killed king Parikshit, the descendant of the Pandavas. Prikshata's son Janmejya revenged his father's death by invading Takshasila and killing all the Naga worshipper in Takshasila] Dr Fergussan further writes that "snake-worship has also been practiced in ancient Sri Lanka. There are also ancient inscriptions in Sri Lanka which attest the presence of Kambojas in the island. One of the city-gate of Polonnaruva was named as "Kamboja-vassala". Evidence exists that there was a Naga-temple in Polonnaruva. Besides, the archaeological remains of ancient Naga-temples have been found in other places in Sri Lanka also. Therefore, it is probable that the Kambojas who had founded Kambuja colonyin Mekong had reached Indo-china via Sri Lanka". [See: "History of Indian and Eastern Architecture", pp. 665-666, James Fergusson; See also: "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, pp. 361-62, Dr J. L. Kamboj]
* The most famous and only known locale for
lapis lazulisince ancient times was in Badakshan in north Afghanistanwhich has been mined for over 6000 years. The Badakshan province undoubtedly formed a part of ancient Kamboja (See: Kamboja Location). Archeological finds of lapis lazuli (of Badakshan type) from Sri Lanka conclusively connect it to Badakshan in Afghanistan, the home of lapis lazuli. Numerous coins, beads and the intaglios belonging to Bactria/Afghanistan have also been discovered in Sri Lanka. Apart from lapis lazuli, coins and intaglios, the contacts between Sri Lanka and the Kamboja/Gandhara/Bactria region are further revealed by other articles of archaeological evidence from recent excavations at various sites. A fragment of a Gandhara Buddha statue in schist, (yet unpublished), was unearthed from the excavations at Jetavanarama in Anuradhapura. All these archaeological finds conclusively establish a very close relationship between Sri Lanka and the north-west communities, especially, the Kambojans/Gandharans of Afghanistan/ Central Asia.
Yavanas in Sri Lanka
That the Kamboja colonists did make it to Sri Lanka is also proved from the fact that the
Yavanas or Yonas, their close neighbors in the north-west, are also attested to have founded a colony in Sri Lanka centuries before Christian era. If the Yavanas could make it to Sri Lanka, then their immediate neighbors the Kambojas could do it too. [ "As both Panini and the Buddhist texts refer to the Yonas in association with the Kambojas, it is thought possible that they too could have come to Ceylon like the Yonas...." (See ref: "History of Ceylon", 1973, p. 89, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray; cf: "The Ceylon Journal of the Humanities" - p. 85, Peradeniya University of Ceylon, Peradeniya Campus University of Sri Lanka)] The Yavana presence in Sri Lanka is proved by the following evidences: Mahavamsatradition asserts that King Pandukabhaya (ruled 337 BCE-305 BCE) built his capital city Anuradhapura in the 4th century BCE. This city had gates, suburbs, streets, places of worship and a separate place for the "Yonas" and the house for Great Sacrifice; all these he laid out near the west gate. [ Chapter X/90 Trans: Wilhelm Geiger] Mahavamsa also attests that "Yona Mahadhammarakkhita" came to Sri Lanka with thirty thousand Yona monks to particiapate in the foundation ceremony of Great Stupa at Anuradhapura. [ Mahavamas: "From Kashmira came Uttina with 280,000 Bhikshus, from Pallavabhoga (Persia/Parthia according to Geiger) came Mahadeva with 460,000 Bhikshus and from Alasanda, the city of the Yonas, came the thera (elder) "Yona Mahadhammarakkhita" with thirty thousand bhikkhus to participate in the foundation ceremony of the Maha Thupa ("Great stupa") at Anuradhapura" (Mahavamsa, 12.37-39)] There are still more Buddhist references testifying to the Yona presence in Sri Lanka. ["Mahavamsa" xii.5; "Dipavamsa".viii.9; Samantapasadika, (P.T.B.)..I.67]
The above evidence amply proves that the Yavanas had reached Sri Lanka centuries before Christian era---probably first as traders and later as Buddhist missionaries. It also indicates that other nations like Persia, [Scholars identify Pallavabhogga with Persia (See e.g.: Mahavanas Trans: p. 194, n. 2, W. Geiger]
Kashmira/Kamboja etc were also similarly interacting with the Sinhalese. The above several evidences -- inscriptional and literary, incontrovertibly prove that both the Kambojas and Yonas were actively intercoursing with Sri Lanka. As seen from above, this intercourse was both missionary as well as commercial. ['The diffusion of Indian Civilization and its "great tradition" to the extreme south of the peninsulaoccurred in the earliest stages not by land but by sea......In the half millennium before Christ there was sea traffic between the coasts of Gujarat and Sind, and Ceylon, which laid the basis for the development of civilization in that island...... The earliest attractions of the far southern coasts were pearls and gems, which brought merchants, and ultimately the script, religions and the dynastic traditions..... Hiun Tsangrefers to the international trading activities of the Simhalas and several early Brahmi inscriptions in Ceylon mention the Kamboja merchants in Sinhala' (Extracts taken from: "The Beginnings of Civilization in South India", "Journal of Asian Studies", Vol. 29, No. 3 (May, 1970), pp. 603-616, Clarence Maloney)] [See also: "On the Yonas and Kambojas in Ceylon and the homeland of the Sinhalese in Western India" (Gerasimov, AB,. Mudrecy i filosofy Drevne)..."Indo-Iranian Journal", Publisher: Springer Netherlands, ISSN 0019-7246 (Paper) 1572-8536 (Online), DOI: 10.1007/BF00183522, Issue: Volume 19, Numbers 3-4 Date: August 1977, pp. 301-322 [http://www.springerlink.com/index/K3842P062132R334.pdf] ]
Ancestral home of the Sinhalese
Mahavamsa[ Mahavamsa 6.34] attests that the ancestors of the Sinhalese came from Sihapura ("Sinhapura") located in Lala Rattha (="Lata Rashtra"). PrinceSihabahu had left his maternal grand father's kingdom in "Vanga" and founded a Sihapura in Lata Rashtra. He married Sihasivali and there were born Vijaya and Sumitta and thirty more sons to her. With time, Sihabahu consecrated Vijaya as prince-regent, but due to some misdemeanor of prince Vijaya, the king had to banish him and his 700 followers from Sinhapura. Story says that the king had caused their heads to be shaved ("aradh-mundak") before putting them on a ship and driving them away into the sea. The exiles sailed past Bharukachcha and Soparaka and finally landed at Tambapanni (Ceylon) near "Puttalam". [See: A Concise History of Ceylon: From the Earliest Times to the Arrival of the Portuguese in 1505, Edition 1961, p. 25, Cyril Wace Nicholas, Senarat Paranavitana] on the day of "Parinibhana" (decease) of the Buddha (542 BCE or 486 BCE). The exiles permanently settled on the island, married local wives and established their kingdom which, in succeeding generations, assumed the name as Sinhala, "said to have been named after Sinhapura", the ancestral city of the exiles. Read full story at: [http://www.zencomp.com/greatwisdom/ebud/mahavamsa/chap006.html]
Critical review of Vijaya legend
The Vijaya story is obviously mythical and therefore, untenable at its face value. However, some valuable information can be garnered. According to Mahavamsa,
Vangaprincess, the mother of Sihabahu was kidnapped when she was on way from "Vanga to Magadha". Divested of fantastic elements, the story indicates that the wild kidnapper must have been living somewhere around Vanga, Kalingaand Magadha. Hence the Lala and Sihapura of prince Sihabahu must also be located some where near Magadha, Kalinga and Vanga. "Chulavamsa" does attest one Sinhapura located between Vanga and Kalinga. [See: Chulavamsa.LIX.46): Tilokasundarí, consort of Vijayabahu I., was born in Síhapura (Cv.lix.46). It was to the north of Kalinga. The south eastern district of Chutia Nagpur, to the west of Bengal, is still called Singhabhum. Chullvamsa.Trans.I.213, n.1] It has been suggested to identify modern "Singur" of Bengal with "Sinhapura" and "Lala" with modern "Radha" (=western Bengal). 12th century Kalingavamsi king of Sri Lanka had announced that he came from same Sinhapura where earlier prince Vijaya had come from. ["Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal", VI, p. 604] All this evidence seems to connect the Sinhalese to the east coast of India. But if we accept that Vijaya and his party started their sea journey from some seaport of Bengal, then it would be difficult to explain as to how the exiles had passed, on their way to Sri Lanka, through Soparaka located on west cost of India. The suggestion that Sihabahu, the son of a lion (beast), had traveled all the way from east coast to west coast to found a kingdom of Sihnhapura in Gujarat is simply naive and also not validated from Mahavamsa details. Moreover, no ancient evidence exists of a direct caravan route or else a direct communication between Gujarat and Bengal in those early times. ["History of Ceylon", 1973, p. 92, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray] "Since the Vanga princess was kidnapped on her way from Vanga to Magadha, the kidnapper's place of residence and therefore, the birth-place of king Sihabahu i.e. the Sihapura referred to in the Mahavamas lies somewhere close to Vanga or Magadha and not in the far off Gujarat about 1500 miles away". This simply does not sound probable. The gist of the argument is this: "There are glaring contradictions in Mahavamsa traditions. The geographical names which find place in the text do not help us in reaching a definitive decision as to the origin of the Sinhalese even though the evidence is far more weighted in favor of the western coast of India". The authorities such as Wilhelm Geiger, H. W. Codrington, Chatterji, Mendis, A. L. Bhasham, S. Parnavitana, K. M. De Silva, J. L. Kamboj etc assert that the early settlers of Sri Lanka came from the north-west part of India, while others like Muller, Majumdar, Siddhartha, Sabidullah etc hold that north-eastern India was the home of the earliest colonists. ["Early History of Education in Ceylon: From Earliest Times to Mahāsena", 1969, p. 31, U. D. Jayasekera]
Perhaps, the best and balanced view is presented by "
Encyclopedia Britannica" when it asserts on Vijaya's arrival in Sri Lanka as follows: "Their landing in Sri Lanka at Tambapanni, near Puttalam, would indicate their arrival from western India. Some early tribal names occurring in Sri Lanka also suggest connections with north-western India and the Indus region. While considerable evidence points to western India as the home of the first immigrants, it seems probable that a subsequent wave arrived from the east around Bengal and Orissa" ". ["Encyclopedia Britannica", Online: See: "History, Colonization and the spread of Buddhism: Indo-Aryan settlement"; See also: "A Concise History of Ceylon: From the Earliest Times to the Arrival of the Portuguese in 1505", Edition 1961, p. 25, Cyril Wace Nicholas, Senarat Paranavitana] [More Evidence in Favor of Northwest:
Phoneticsshows that ancient Sinhalese is more allied to western language than eastern. (Epigraphia Zeylanica, II, p. 115, W. Geiger). The change from 'v' to 'b' and 'y' to 'j' is speciality of eastern Indian languages which is not found in Sinhalese and the western Indian language. The change of 's' to 'h' which is a speciality of western languages is found in the Sinhalese language.
* The comparative
linguisticsshow that the language of ancient Sinhalese is more akin to western India. Comparative study of the languages of ancient Sinhalese inscriptions and that of the edicts of king Ashokawith regard to phonetics and word formation seem to connect the Sinhalese language more to the language used in Mansehra and Shabazgarhi edicts of king Ashoka located in north-west frontier province of Pakistan(Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, pp. 345-46).
* Ancient Sinhalese used Goyam (Godhumt) for rice. Rice is not the staple diet in the northwest. This indicates that the Sinhalese colonists came from northwest where Goyam (wheat) was staple diet. In Ceylon where rice was plenty, the colonists started using Goyam for the rice too which seems again to connect them to the northwest.
* Vijaya's twin brother Sumitta, who was left behind at Sinhapura after Vijaya was exiled was married to a princess from Madradesa (Madda) which country was located between Ravi and
Chenabin northern Punjab. And the Madras are closely connected with the Kambojas as is evident from Vamsa Brahmanina of Samaveda(Vamsa Brahamana 1.18-19). If Sihabahu belonged to Bengal, then it is more difficult to explain the matrimonial alliance of prince Sumitta with the princess of Madradesa.
* On some tradition current during his times, the Chinese
pilgrim Hiun Tsangwrote that the ship on which sister of Vijaya was sent to exile landed in Persia. Her descendants founded a kingdom which came to known as Strirajya. Mahavamsa also states that ship on which the women exiles were boarded landed in the island called Mahiladipaka. Marco Polowho traveled in north-west of India attests one "Purushadvipa" and one "Mahiladvipa" in his writings. All these evidences again point out that the ancestors of the Sinhalese had been connected with the west coast rather than the east coast of India]
Location of Sinhapura
* There is an epic reference ("MBH II.27.20") to one "Simhapura" kingdom located on upper Indus which shared borders with Kashmira, Trigartas, Daravas, Abisari, Urasa, Balhikas Daradas and Kambojas. [:Tatah Kashmirakan viraan ksatriyaan ksatriya rsabhah
:vyajayat Lohitamshaiva mandalair dasabhih saha ||17|
:tatas Trigartan kaunteyo Darvankoka nadasca
:ksatriya bahavo rajann upavartanta sarvasah ||18|
:Abhisarimtatoramyam vijigye kurunandanah
:Uraga avasinamsaiva rocamanamraneajayat ||19|
:tatah Sinhapuran ramyan chitrayudhasurakshitam
:pramathadbalamasthaya pakashasanirahave || 20 |
:tatah Suhmamshcha Sumalashcha kirtti pandavarshabhah
:sahitah sarvasainyena pramathatkurunandanah || 21 |
:tatah paramavikranto Bahlikankurunandanah
:mahata parimardena vashe chakre durasadan || 22 |
:grihitva tu balan saram phalgu chotsrijya pandavah
:Daradansaha Kambojairajayatpakashasanih || 23 |
:(Mahabharata II.27.20-23)] See trans: [http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m02/m02026.htm] .
* Seventh century Chinese pilgrim
Hiun Tsangalso attests one Simhapura ("Sang-ho-pu-lo") on the east bank of river Indus about 115 miles east of Taxila, thus localizing it in the upper doab of Jhelum/ Chenab. [ Hiun Tsang, Buddhist Records of the Western World, Vol. I. Trans. Samuel Beal, 1906, pp. 142-150] See the link: [http://www.mssu.edu/projectsouthasia/HISTORY/PRIMARYDOCS/FOREIGN_VIEWS/CHINESE/XuanZang/BookIII.htm]
* Buddhist Chetiya Jataka also locates one "Sihapura" in the west. [Jataka III, p. 275]
Scholars locate this Sinhapura in south of Udiyana kingdom in what today is called the
Salt Rangein north-west Panjab. [History and Culture of Indian People, Struggle of Empire, p. 33; Classical Age, p. 132] However Aurel Stein identifies Sinhapura with Lyfurti in the Ciandhala valley southeast of Kashmir. [Sinhala, as a personal name prevalent in Gandhara/Kamboja region is attested from two Kharoshthi inscriptions belonging to 2nd c BCE -- one inscribed on a pitcher found from Stupain Takshasila contains names of two brothers as Sihila (Sinhila) and Sinharakshita, while the second inscribed on a base-relief in Loryan Tang refers to Sihalaka (Sinhalaka) and Sinhamitra (Kharoshthi Insc., pp. 87, 110, Dr. Konow). Sihila is obviously corrupted form of Sinhala. Earlier, it was a personal name but with time, it became class representative. It is therefore supposable that in the place of origin of the Sinhalas, name Sinhala may also have been used as personal name] [ Dr S Paranavitana writes: "The location of Simhapura of Sinhalese traditions is given by Hiuen-Tsang as being situated to the south of Taxila....The location of original Sinhalese in this location is supported by the fact that the only known occurrences in the Indian epigraphy of the personal name Simhala (in a slightly modified form) is furnished by two Kharosthi inscriptions of the first or second century of the Christian era, one engraved on a vase found in a stupa at Taxila, and other on a bas-relief from Loryan Tangar. The first inscription records the establishment of a stupa in honor of all Buddhas by two brothers one of whom is mentioned as Simharaksita. The second records a gift of Simhamitra, the companion (or rather the pupil) of Sihilaka (Simhalaka). Sihila is interesting as the intermediate form through which the Tamil Illam originated from Simhala. The name was at first a personal one, and was later extended in use to denote a people. The word should have continued in use as a personal name in the region where the Sinhalese first lived, even after they, or a section cf them, had migrated to other regions........ The exact location of Simhapura is furnished by Hiuen-Tsang who visited it in seventh century AD. According to the Chinese pilgrim, the western borders of the kingdom of Simhapura was on the river Indusand the city itself was situated about 700 Li (117 miles) to the south-east of Taxila" (History of Ceylon, 1959, p 89/90, Hem Chandra Ray, Nicholas Attygalle, K. M. De Silva, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, University of Ceylon, S. U. Kodikara)] .
There is one place called Sihor near
Gulfof Cambayin Kathiawad. ["Simhapura, from which the original Sinhalese came to Ceylon, is said in the Mahavamsa to have been in the country of lala i.e Lata. If Lata be taken to correspond to Gujerat, the Sinhapura in that region may be represented by the modern Sihor in Kathiawad." (History of Ceylon, 1973, p. 91, K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray). See also: A Concise History of Ceylon: From the Earliest Times to the Arrival of the Portuguese in 1505, edition 1961, p. 25, Cyril Wace Nicholas, Senarat Paranavitana] It had been a capital of the Gohil Rajputs in the 17th century. The Charter of Maitrakaking Dhruvasena I (525 AD-545 AD) addresses.this place as Sinhapura. [Epigraphica Indica, XVII, p. 110] [A stream of Aryan speakers started from Sinhapura (Lata)-- 'Sihore' and Soparaka in west coast. These Sinhalas or people of 'lion clan' probably brought Aryan language into the island ("The Cambridge History of India India", Vol I, Ancient India, 1968, p. 549, E. J. Rapson)] There is also an ancient place name 'Hingur' located 40 miles east from the apex of delta of the Indus which may also carry a relic of ancient Sinhapura of the Sinhalese traditions ("Hingur < Singur < Singhpur < Sinhapur" or alternatively " Hingur" <" Singur" <" Sinhanagar" <" Sinhapura"). [ Cunningham mentions 'Hingur' as an ancient place name located 40 miles east from the apex of Indus delta ("Ancient Geography of India", map facing p. 248, A. Cunningham; "The Land of Letters", 1977, p. 44, Joseph Thangarajah Xavier]
deltaregion of the Indus is still called Lar. According to Sir H. Elliot, Lar in former times was identical with Gujarat and it originally "extended continuously over the coast from the western part of the Indus Delta to beyond Bombay". [see: Historians, I. p. 378] During Ptolemy's times, the course of river Indus lied quite bit to the east and it emptied into the Rann of Kachch which was an open sea then. Those sailing from upper Indus via water-route reached direct to the Lara, Lala or Lata-desa. The Sinhapura of Sinhalese traditions was also located somewhere in this region. Scholars say that 'Hingur' could also well be a corrupted version of Sinhapura. ["History of Ceylon", 1959, p. 91, Hem Chandra Ray, K. M. De Silva, Simon Gregory Perera; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 351, Dr J. L. Kamboj. Change from 'S' to 'h' is a speciality of the north-western languages and it has also been noticed in the ancient Sinhalese language (Dr Kamboj)]
earching for Vanga in northwest
*Scholars have observed a very significant fact that the verse which describes the capture of Sinhapura by
Arjunais followed by another giving a list of the peoples among whom, according to the manuscripts of the epic Mahabharata, written in Telugu, Malayalamand Grantha characters, were the Vankas or Vangas. ["History of Ceylon", 1973, p. 89, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 348, Dr J. L. Kamboj; "Kambojas Through the Ages", 2005, p. 174, Kirpal Singh; cf: "Early History of Education in Ceylon: From Earliest Times to Mahāsena", 1969, p. 34, U. D. Jayasekera; "The Ceylon Journal of the Humanities", 1990, p. 86, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, University of Sri Lanka, Peradeniya Campus] According to these manuscripts, Arjuna encountered "Kashmiras, Lohitas, Trigartas, Daravas, Kokonadas Abisaris, Urgas (Urasa = Hazara), Sinhapuras, Vankas (Vanga), Suhmas, Sumalas, Balhikas, Daradas and Kambojas", before launching into the Transoxianaterritories of the Lohas, Parama Kambojasand the Rishikas. Since Arjuna's Digvijaya campaign relates only to the kingdoms of the Uttarapathadivision, therefore, all these people must belong to the north-west. Thus, we get a very significant epic evidence of a Vanka or Vanga principality, during epic period, in close vicinity of Sinhapura and Kamboja. ["History of Ceylon", 1973, p. 89, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 348, Dr J. L. Kamboj; "Kambojas Through the Ages", 2005, p. 174, Kirpal Singh.]
*In addition, Buddhist text, "Vaisantra Jataka", also refers to one "Vanga Parvata". [Jataka Trans Vol VI., p. 225; "History of Ceylon", 1973, p. 89, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 348; The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p. 174, S Kirpal Singh] where a prince of the Sivi country in the Punjab was banished. Since Sivis, (Rig Vedic Sivas)---the "Sibois" of the classical writings, belonged to the
Jhangregion, below the junction of Jhelum and Chenab, therefore, the "Vanga Parvata" of the "Vaisantra Jataka" as well as ancient "Vanga kingdom" of the epic must have been located somewhere in the north-west, and in all probability in the north of Punjab. This very invaluable evidence seems to resolve the issue of Vanga located near Sinhapura and Kamboja in the northwest since these names occur one after the other in Arjuna's war campaign "against the tribes of northwest". [See refs: "History of Ceylon", 1973, p. 89, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 348, Dr J. L. Kamboj; "The Kambojas Through the Ages", 2005, p. 175, S Kirpal Singh] [Dr S Paranavitana writes: The great Epic in its account of the conquests of the northern regions by Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers, gives a list of countries and the people which submitted to the hero in the course of his campaign. In this list, the Kambojas are included in a group of peoples and regions coming after the mention of Simhapura. And according to the Mahavamsa tradition, the Simhapura was the original home of the Sinhalese. This association of the Simhapura with the Kambojas makes it possible that people of this stock arrived in Ceylon in the company of Sinhalese. Moreover, it also furnishes the evidence to conclude that the Simhapura of the Sinhalese was in north-west region of Aryavarta. A very significant is that the verse which describes the capture of Simhapura is followed by another giving a list of people among whom, according to the manuscripts of the epic written in Telugu, Malayalam and Grantha characters, were the Vankas or Vangas. There is thus evidence for the existence of a Vanga country in the close vicinity of Simhapura in the north-west of Aryavarta. The Vassantra Jataka also refers to a Vanka-Pabbata to which a prince of Sivi country in the Punjab was banished. This settles the problem created by the mention of Vanga and Simhapura in the Vijayan legend of the Mahavama (History of Ceylon, 1959, p 89/90, Hem Chandra Ray, Nicholas Attygalle, K. M. De Silva, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, University of Ceylon, S. U. Kodikara).]
In a nutshell
It is very likely that the Vanga of the Sinhalese tradition initially was this Vanga of northwest India. As the centuries rolled by, Sri Lanka saw newer waves of immigration from east coast of India. The paradigm got shifted and the facts got mixed up with myths. As a result, in the oral traditions of the Sinhalese, the Vanga of north-west Punjab was unconsciously replaced with the Vanga of eastern India. With passage of time, more names like Kalinga and Magadha also were added in the oral tradition relating to earliest colonists. ["The transfer of names and people like this is not unique in Indian history. Mallavas (Mallois) were initially located in Punjab during Alexander's invasion but later, they founded an establishment in Madhya-Pradesh in
Vindhyamountains" ("History of Ceylon", 1973, pp. 89-90, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 348, Dr J. L. Kamboj;" The Kambojas Through the Ages", 2005, p. 175, S Kirpal Singh; "Cambridge History of India", Vol I, p. 375). It is therefore, possible that a section of Vangas, in remote antiquity lived in north-west as neighbors to Kambojas/ Gandharas] [Dr S.. Paranavitan writes: "If the Sinhalese, when they migrated to this island brought the memories of territory named Vanga which played part in totemic stories connected with their origin, that name could easily have been confused with that of Vanga, well known in subsequent time when geographical details became blurred, and the existence of a Vanga other than that in eastern India was completely forgotten. Later, Kalinha and Magadha were in the elaboration of details of the Mahavamsa story. Such shifting of names from one region to naother is not a rare phenomenon in Indian History. For example, the Malavas who were living in the Panjab when Alexander invaded India and were later found in the Vindhyan plateau "(History of Ceylon, 1959, p 89, Hem Chandra Ray, Nicholas Attygalle, K. M. De Silva, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, University of Ceylon, S. U. Kodikara)] . By the time these traditions were reduced to writing in 6th century AD, after about 1000 years of the event by Buddhist monkMahanama thero, (the brother of the Sri-Lankan King Dhatusena), the actual picture got very much mutated. It is undeniable that the oral accounts are always prone to alterations and additions. Therefore, oral tradition about Vijaya and his followers is also likely to have been altered and tuned to reflect the new historical, political and social realities which prevailed in India and Sri Lanka around that time (i.e. 6th century AD). [Cf: Dr E. J. Thomas' observations: "The Mahavamsa continued to receive additions regarding the HISTORY of Ceylon, down to a much later period" (Ref: "The Life of Buddha as Legend and History", 2000, p. xxiii, Dr Edward Joseph Thomas)] Or else, the later revisions of Mahavamsa may have been subject to alterations and interpolations by the later monks under political influence from the ruling dynasties of later generations. This is the reason we see glaring contradictions in the geographical setting of the Sihabahu/Vijay story as incorporated in the Mahavamsa (Chapter VI). Moreover, the actual story is too fantastic to be trusted at its face value. "The absence of references to the northeastern states or its people in the most ancient epigraphic inscriptions of Sri Lanka (the earliest known records of the island) is a powerful indication that the immigrants from northeast India were the later players in the game".
Royal vs merchant lineage
Though Mahavamsa states that the ancestors of Sinhalese i.e. Vijay and his followers belonged to royal
lineage, but ancient Brahmi inscriptions of Sri Lanka imply that the earlier Sinhalese settlers most likely belonged to the merchant lineage. In the Amarakosha, [(verses 11.6.42; 111.9.78)] a Sarthavaha is described as the leader of merchants who have invested an equal amount of capital and carried on trade with outside markets and is traveling in a caravan. It is likely that Vijay, the ancestor of the Sinhalese was the earliest one such "Sarthavaha" from Sinhapura of Gujarat or the Sinhapura of the Kamboja/Gandhara in Northwest India. Mahavamsa story about Vijay may actually refer to his commercial voyageto Sri Lanka for trade with the Daemedas/Tamils in Sri Lanka and then permanently settling there with his 700 merchant associates. The Daemeda/Tamil groups were already settled there with whom the trade was routinely carried on from the north-west following a well known Kamboja Dvaravati Caravan route and thence-after, via west-coast sea-route starting from Bharukachcha (Bhroach) in Gujarat. The north-west coast of Sinhala was famous for its fine variety of pearls (motis) and it is still known as Motimannar. The south-east coast was also known for its precious stones. The merchants from northwest Kamboja/Gandhara had an allurement for these specific products. The reference to Gamika/Gamini (Sanskrit Gramini) obviously connects the earliest colonists to a mercantile class. Gramini was not a royal title but was frequently used by the chiefs of trade corporations or some other Sanghas in northwest India. This indicates that earlier colonists were from traders groups. The occurrence of title like Parumaka (pramukha) in ancient Sinhalese inscriptions with reference to the Kambojas also points in the same direction. Pramukha was a title assumed by the aristocracyin ancient India.
Gramaneyas vs Sinhalese
It has been pointed out that the republican Gramaneyas referred to in the Sabhaparva of Mahabharata [:gananutsava sanketanvyajayatpurusharshabha.:Sindhukulashrita ye cha Gramaneya mahabalah.|| 8 ||.:(MBH 2/32/9.] may have been the ancestors of Sinhalese. ["History of Ceylon", Vol I, Part 1, p. 91, Dr S. Parnavitana; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p. 320, Dr J. L. Kamboj] The original home of the Gramaneyas seems to have been the Sinhapura of Gandhara/Kamboja, but the people shifted to lower Indus and then, after defeat by
Pandava Nakula, moved to Saurashtra Peninsula, centuries before common era. There they seem to have founded a principalityand a city which they named Sinhapura probably to commemorate their past connections with Sinhapura of upper Indus valley. In all probability, Vijaya and his 700 followers, the earliest known Aryanspeakers of the island either belonged to the 'Sihore' (Sinhapura) of Kathiawador else to Hingur (Sinhapura) east off the Indus delta from where they had sailed to Sri Lanka and settled there as colonists. Thus, it is argued by scholars that the name "Simhapura", the eponymous of the Sinhalese, may have been carried into Sri Lanka (via Gujarat) by these Gramaneyas, which is believed by some scholars to be a section of north-west Gandharas/Kambojas. ["Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, p. 320, Dr J. L. Kamboj; cf: "History of Ceylon", Vol I, Part 1, p. 91, Dr S. Parnavitana] [ According to Dr Hema Chandra Ray, K. M. De Silva et all also, there is evidence that the Kambojas who inhabited a region bordering upper Indus, had at one time established themselves in a country near Sind. The authors have also furnished references to the southwards migration of the Kambojas to a country near Sind (See: "History of Ceylon", 1959, p. 93, Hem Chandra Ray, K. M. De Silva, Simon Gregory Perera)] Epic name Gramaneya is attested as Gramini in Panini's Ashtadhyayi. Gramini as a royal title is not referred to in ancient Buddhist or Brahmanicalliterature. Panini attests Gramini as "a republican constitution" prevalent among some Pugas (= Sanghas) of northwest. Panini specifically connects term Gramini with the Puga. [Pugannyo graminipurvat; See: Panini's "Ashtadhyayi", V.3.112] "The Pugas derived their name after their leader or Gramini". [See: "India as Known to Panini", pp. 439-40, Dr V. S. Aggarwala, for full treatment] The Gramini type Pugas or Sanghas were mostly common in upper Indus in the area now known as Afghanistan and northwest frontiers of Pakistan i.e. the land of Kambojas and Gandharas. Relics of Gramini type Pugas are still seen in some clans of the modern Afghans. [Ref: "India as Known to Panini", p. 440, Dr Aggarwala] It is of great importance to note that ancient inscriptions of Sri Lanka powerfully attest both the Puga ("Kabojhya Maha-pugyana") as well as Gote (or Goshate = Sangha) of the Kambojas ("Gota-Kabojhi(ya] na"). The title Gamini used by ancient rulers of Sri Lanka is also attested for Kambojas ("Gamika Kabojhaha") in the ancient Sinhalese inscriptions. [Gamika/Gamini is Sinhalese form of Sanskrit Gramini or Gramaneya] The Sinhalese therefore, may have been Gramaneyas, and in general, the Kamboja colonists themselves.
inhala vs Kamboja relationship
Mahavamas attests that the earliest colonists of the island (Vijaya and his 700 followers) "had gotten their heads shaved" (aradh-mundak= "wearing short hair style") before boarding the ship. Scholars see in this reference a social custom of supporting short-cut hair among the ancestors of the Sinhalas. ["History of Ceylon", Vol I, Part 1, p. 92, Dr S Paranavitana; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, pp. 351-53, Dr J. L. Kamboj] Based on this social custom of the Sinhalese, Dr S. Paranavitana sees close relations of the Sinhalese with the northwest Kambojas and says that the Sinhalese had copied their short-hair style from their close allies, the Kambojas. [ Dr Pranavitana writes: 'If the shaven-headed Kambojas, as we have seen above, were close allies of the ancient Sinhalas, then the Sinhalas must have also copied the short-hair style of the latter; and like the
puraniclegend of king Sagara vs the Sakas, Yavanas, and Kambojas, a story was invented by the original inhabitants of the island that the short hair style of the new colonists was due to the punishment they had received at the hands of king Sihabahu of Sinhapura' (See: "History of Ceylon", Vol I, Part 1, p. 92, Dr S. Paranavitana; "History of Ceylon", 1973, 92, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, pp. 351-53, Dr J. L. Kamboj]
Sinhala is not attested as a tribal name. The appellation was applied to the Aryan speaking colonists of Sri Lanka in commemoration of their past connections with Sinhapura. Curiously enough, there are over 1200 ancient inscriptions in Sri Lanka belonging to 3rd century and downwards but not a single one has any reference to the name Sinhala. Prof Parnavitana's argument that if the Sinhalas were the dominant group in the island, it was not necessary to mention their Sinhala identity in the inscriptions, does not sound very logical and convincing. It is pure pleading. The first ever reference to Sinhala occurs in 4th c AD text
Dipavamsa. This shows that the Sinhala appellation for the Aryan speaking population of the island is of much later origin. But who were these original colonists and what tribes did they belong to? Unfortunately, neither Mahavamsa nor Dipavamsa, nor any ancient inscriptions of Sri Lanka furnishes any definitive clue on the ethnic identity of the Sinhalese. According to scholars, the custom of supporting short-hair style among the earliest colonists seems to connect them to the Kamboja, Yavanaor the Sakagroup since only this ancient group is known to have supported short hair styles as is evidenced by numerous Puranas". [Dr Pranavitana writes: "The expression half shave does not mean shaven over half of the head, but that their hair was cropped short. This was normal social custom of these people just as it is among many people in the west today and copying of westerners among civilized people of Asia as well. The Indians who normally wore long hair (or else supported a top knot)) must have invented a story of Sagara degrading these tribes by having their head shaven or half shaven to show their disapproval of the custom" ("History of Ceylon", Vol I, Part 1, p. 92, Dr S. Paranavitana)] [ (Harivamsa 14.1-19) Vayu Purana (88.127-43); Brahma Purana (8.35-51); Brahamanda Purana (3.63.123-141); Shiva Purana (7.61.23); Vishnu Purana (5.3.15-21), Padama Purana (6.21.16-33)] Short hair style among the Kambojas and Yavanas is also attested by Mahabharata. [MBH 7.119.23; 6.56.7-9] as well as by "Ganapatha" on Panini's rule II.1.72. [ Rule II.1.72: "Kamboja-mundah, Yavana-mundah"]
(1) Could the ancient Sinhalese be
Sakaswho, once, were a very powerful people in the northwest? But neither ancient inscriptions nor any literary texts attest the Saka colonists in Sri Lanka.
(2) Could they be Yavanas who, like the Kambojas, also supported short-hair style? The Yavana settlement in Pandukabhyaya in Anuradhapura is attested by several Buddhist texts. [Mahavamsa xii.5; Dipavamsa.viii.9; Samantapasadika, (P.T.B.)..I.67; See also: History of Ceylon, Vol I, Part 1, pp. 88-92, Dr S Paranavitana] But it has to be remembered that both Sakas and the Yavanas spoke a language which was quite different from the Aryan language of the Sinhalese. Moreover, there is no reference to both these people in the earliest written records i.e. the inscriptions of the island. Hence neither Sakas nor the Yavanas could claim to be the ancestors of the Sinhalese.
(3) This naturally leaves only the Kambojas in the field. (a) "The Kambojas were such a tribe, a section of whom are known to have been Sanskrit speakers. (b) The Kamboja also had a social custom of supporting short hair styles; they also observed a republican constitution like the Pugas, Gotes, Sanghas, Shrenis etc. (c) They also find several references in ancient Brahmi inscriptions, whereas, no reference, whatsoever, is found for the Sinhalas. (d) There are also references to their Gamika (Gamini or Gramini) and Parumaka (Pramukha) appellation or epithets. (e) It appears that these people called themselves Kambojas but the original inhabitants of the island addressed them as Sinhalas by virtue of their former connections with Sinhapura" (Dr J. L. Kamboj). As the centuries rolled by, the name Sinhala started to be applied to the island as well as to the language these people spoke. "An inscription found from Tonigala in Anuradhapura has a place name called "Tavarakkha"(=Dvaraka) and a city named Dvaraka is mentioned in connection with the Kambojas". ["History of Geography of Ancient India", p. 63, Dr B. C. Law] It has been pointed out that the earliest colonists had carried this name into the island in memoriam of their past connections with that city. ["History of Ceylon", 1973, p. 93, Dr K. M. De Silva, Hem Chandra Ray; "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, Dr Jya Lal, Dr Satyavrat Shstri; cf: "Early History of Education in Ceylon: From Earliest Times to Mahasena", 1969, p. 34, U. D. Jayasekera]
Therefore, considering all the pros and cons, it seems very likely that the earliest colonists of Sri Lanka may have been the Kambojas. The prevalence of title Gramini (Prakrit Gamini, Gamika) among the Kambojas seems to connect them with the Gramaneyas of the lower Indus valley and the Graminis of the upper Indus valley. The Pugas of Panini were a kind of Samghas which Gramini constitution applied to. The Puga of the Kambojas is powerfully attested in ancient Sinhalese inscriptions. Parumaka (Pramukha) another title similar to Gamini is also attested for the Kambojas in Sri Lanka ("Gota-Kabojhi(ya] na parumaka-Gopalaha"). The Gramaneya clan appears to have originally migrated from Sinhapura which adjoined the Kamboja/Gandhara. Probably, they were an earlier offsoot from the Kambojas. This is because only the Kambojas as Aryan community is attested in Sri Lanka. The Kambojas are known to have followed republican form of governing constitution in northern India, [Kautiliya Arthashastra, 11.1.1-4; Mahabharata, 7.91.39; Ashoka's Rock Edict XII, V etc'] hence their republican constitutions such as Puga and Gote (Sangha) and their republican titles such as Gamika/Gamini (Gramini) and the Parumaka (Pramukha) are exclusively attested in ancient Sinhalese inscriptions. The foregoing discussion therefore, seems to connect the Sinhalese with the Gramaneyas and the latter with the Kambojas.
Books, journals and magazines
* History of Ceylon, Vol I, Part 1, Dr S Paranavitana,
* Sinhalayo - 1970, S. (Senarat) Paranavitana,
* "A Concise History of Ceylon: From Earliest time to the Arrival of the Portuguese in 1505", 1961, Cyril Wace Nicholas, Senarat Parnavitana,
* "History of Ceylon", 1959, pp. 88-91, Hem Chandra Ray, K. M. De Silva, Simon Gregory Perera,
* "Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country", 1981, Dr J. L. Kamboj,
* "The Kambojas Through the Ages", 2005, S Kirpal Singh
* "Ships and the Development of Maritime Technology on the Indian Ocean", edited by David Parkin, Ruth Barnes, 2002, pp. 108-109: [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0700712356&id=98XJWoz9AnUC&pg=PA108&lpg=PA108&dq=Kamboja+Kaboja&sig=30BiTG2oeO5sHBaJWA9B7ztXdSM ]
* "The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia" (Cambridge World Archaeology), Himanshu Prabha Ray, Norman Yoffee, Susan Alcock,
Tom Dillehay, Stephen Shennan, and Carla Sinopoli ( 14 August 2003) - Cambridge University Press
* "Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities", Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions, Steven Collins....See APPENDIX 4, Selections from the Story of the Elder Máleyya i.e. Máleyyadevattheravatthu).
*"A Concise History of Ceylon: From the Earliest Times to the Arrival of the Portuguese in 1505" (Edition 1961), byCyril Wace Nicholas, Senarat Paranavitana - 1961
* "The Beginnings of Civilization in South India", "Journal of Asian Studies", Vol. 29, No. 3 (May, 1970), pp. 603-616, Clarence Maloney.
* "History of Indian and Eastern Architecture", Sir James Fergusson
* "A Grammar of the Sinhalese Language", pp. vii-xii, Wilhelm Geiger
* "Khroshthi Inscriptions", Dr Sten Konow
* "Buddhist records of Western World", Samuel Beal.
* "Ancient Geography of India", A Cunningham
* "Historical Geography of Ancient India", Dr B. C. Law
* "Epigraphia Zeylanica", Vo II, No 13
* "Journal of Royal Asiatic Society", VII
* "Journal of Royal Asiatic Society", XV
* "Ancient Inscriptions of Ceylon",
* "Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal", (N.S.), VI, p .604
* "Indian Historical Quarterly", IX, pp. 742-50
* "Mahavamsa" Online Translation (Geiger): [http://www.zencomp.com/greatwisdom/ebud/mahavamsa/index.htm]
* Anuradhapura period: [http://infctr.tripod.com/anuradhapura_period.htm]
* [http://www.infolanka.com/org/srilanka/hist/hist18.html The People of the Lion: Ethnic Identity, Ideology and Historical Revisionism in Contemporary Sri Lanka ]
* [http://www.lankalibrary.com/books/sinhala_history.htm Sri Lanka: A Short History of Sinhala Language]
* [http://indiaculture.net/talk/messages/128/9177.html?1145209554 Ancient Kambojas in Saurashtra/Gujarat & Sri Lanka]
History of Sri Lanka
Migration of Kambojas
Kambojas and Kambodia
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.