- Ballal Sena
Ballal Sen (
Bangla: বল্লাল সেন) (c 1160-1178 AD) was the second ruler of the Sen dynasty of Bengal. Son and successor of Vijay Sen, Ballal Sen is known from the extant Kuljigranthas to have introduced social reforms in Bengal, especially the system of Kulinism.
epigraphs of the time of Ballal Sen (Naihati copper plate and Sanokhar Image Inscription) have so far been discovered. They do not contain any record of Ballal Sen's victory. He, however, had some military achievements to his credit. It is stated in the "Adbhutsagar" that he was engaged in warfare with the king of Gauda who is identified with Govindapala of the Pala dynasty. This information is also corroborated by the "Ballalcharita" of Anandabhatta which was composed in 1510 AD. It is likely that Ballal Sen might have given the final blow to the Palas in Magadha. It is stated in the "Adbhutsagar" that during the reign of his father Vijay Sen, Ballal Sen conquered Mithila. It is not unlikely that Ballal Sen accompanied his father Vijay Sen in his campaign in Mithila. However, the annexation of Mithila to the Sen empire cannot be properly ascertained and the successors of Nanyadev, against whom Vijay Sen fought, ruled Mithila for a long time.
It is believed that Ballal Sen with a view to reorganising the social system introduced the system of Kulinism. Knowledge regarding the early history of Kulinism is based on the texts known as "Kulgranthas" or "Kuljishastras". Indeed these texts, composed five or six centuries after Ballal Sen's reign, are 'full of irregularities and contain many conflicting ideas'. So the authenticity of the information furnished by the texts can be questioned. Moreover none of the Sen epigraphic records refer to Kulinism. It is known that Kulinism was the strongest force among the Bengali Brahmins in the 18th and 19th centuries AD. Hence it is quite probable, as held by many scholars, that the advocates of Kulinism tried to give a historical basis to it and hence claimed its origin from the time of the Hindu king, Ballal Sen.
It is evident from the Sen epigraphs and tradition that Ballal Sen was a great scholar and renowned author. He wrote the "Dansagar" in 1168 and started writing the "Adbhutsagar" in 1169, but could not finish it. Like his father, he was also a worshipper of Shiva. He assumed the epithet of "Ariraj-Nihshanka-Shankar" along with other imperial titles. He married Ramdevi, the Chalukya princess. This marriage refers to the contact of the Sens with their ancestral homeland. It is learnt from the "Adbhutsagar" that in his old age Ballal Sen left the responsibility of the government to his son
Lakshman Senand spent his last days, along with his wife, in retirement on the bank of the Ganges at a locality near Triveni. He had a successful reign of about 18 years.
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