THE LAST REGNAL YEAR OF PARĀNTAKA I

          Among the early coḹas starting with Vijayālaya, Parāntaka I had the highest regnal year. (Kulottuṅga I was from Cālukya race) His date of accession is determined  by Sri N.Sethuraman as December 27th, 906 – April 3rd, 907 CE. (Early cholas, pg pg 7). His final regnal year seems to be a matter of discussion. His records with 46th regnal year were found from Tirukkaṇḍiyūr(SII V, No570), Tiruccōṙṙuttuṙai (Ins 135 of 1931). None of his record with 47th regnal year is found so far. Only one record with the regnal year 48th is found from Vadamaladinne, Puṅganūr (Ins 200 of ARE 1931). The record is in Kannaḍa and reads that “Madura Goṇḍa Go-Parakesari Nālvattaṇṭāge” which means the 48th Regnal year of Madhurai koṇḍa kopparakesarī who is easily identified with Parāntaka I and the date could be 954-955 CE.

          The question is Rāṣṭrakūṭa king Kṛṣṇa III invaded the Toṇḍai Maṇḍalam during 949 CE and killed Mūvaḍi Rājāditya, son and selected successor of Parāntaka I. His records from his 5th regnal year (Siddhaliṅga Maṭham) i.e from 944 CE is found from Toṇḍai Maṇḍalam. Though the Coḹa records are also found till the 41st regnal year of Parāntaka I i.e 947-48 CE. No record is found after the regnal year except this Puṅganūr record. Hence there is a serious question of considering this record as his last regnal year.

          Sri. A.S.Ramanatha Iyer has argued (EI XXV pp35 ff) by a process of elimination that Parāntaka I lost his life in war in the south fighting against Vīra Pāṇḍya “Who took the head of Coḹa and that this happened in 953-54 CE. He supposes that the regnal year in the Vanamaladinne record is due to the fact “That the recent news of the death of the Coḹa king had not percolated so far north, at the time that record was incised (P 38).

          Sri. K.A Nilakantha Sastri (The Colas, Page 139) further discussed the above claim and suggested that “It may with equal propriety be suggested that the record is valuable testimony to the continued resistance of the people of the locality to Kṛṣṇa’s intrusion and to their loyalty to Parāntaka who was still alive and ruling.

          Both the arguments seem to be partially correct. But the claim of Iyer stating that Parāntaka was beheaded by Vīrapaṇḍya who was honoured with the title “Coḹan Talai koṇḍa Pāṇḍya” seems to be not correct. Because, If he would have beheaded Parāntaka, he might have announced his name as “Parāntakaṉ talai koṇḍa” as we have seen in the case if Āditya Karikāla and Pārthivendrādi varmā who claimed “Vīrapāṇḍiyan talai koṇḍa”. But Vīra Pāṇḍya just claimed that “Coḹan Talai koṇḍa”. Hence it would be no wrong in concluding that the Coḹa beheaded by Vīrapāṇḍya is not Parāntaka, but some other prince of the Coḹa race. Sri. Venkataramayya (EI XXVIII Pg 90) identified him with Uttamaśīli, son of Parāntaka I. But there is no clear direct evidence to claim this.

          The Claim of K.A.Nilakantha Sastri’s claim also partially correct, the locals were resisting the intrusion of Kṛṣṇa III.

          Here the unanswered question is, whether Parāntaka was alive during his 48th regnal year or not.

          I suggest that Parāntaka seems to be dead after his 46th regal year and hence not a single record with 47th regnal year is found even in Coḹa maṇḍalam. The people of Vadamaladinne, didn’t knew his death and the king that was ruling. Since they thought Parāntaka is alive and he was ruling, they incised this record.

          Hence the ruling period of Parāntaka could be concluded as 906-07 CE to 952-53 CE making 46th regnal year as his final regnal year.

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