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Click here to go to the main page of History of Karnataka.

Durvinita was succeeded by his son Mushkara (BC.535-585 A. D.), during whose rule his younger brother Polavira acted as the Viceroy of a province. Mushkara was followed by Srivikrama ( C. 585-635 A. D.) and Bhuvikarma (C.635-679 A. D.). The latter fought protracted war against the Pallavas who were defeated at Vilande and snatched a valuable necklace, Ugrodaya, from the Pallava ruler.

He actively assisted the Chalukya ruler Vikramaditya I in his wars against the Pallavas and enabled him to recover his capital, Badami. Bhuvikarma was succeeded by his younger brother Shivamara I (C.679-725 A. D.), who was followed by his grandson Sripurusha (C.725-788 A.D.), who fought against the Pallavas with distinction and collaborated with the Chalukya Vikramaditya II. However, he had to bear the brunt of the Rashtrakuta invasions under the leadership of Krishna I. In fact, a number of encounters took place between the two armies, and Sripurusha was even forced to shift his capital to Manne for a while. He was ably assisted in war and administration by his son Siyagella. Despite his military preoccupation, Sripurusha must have looked well after his Kingdom, and in fact, it carried the title of Srirajya or wealthy Kingdom.

Sripurusha's son and successor, Shivamara II (C.788-816 A. D.) was unlucky to face the full fury of the Rashtrakuta aggression. Twice he was routed by the Rashtrakutas-once by Dhruva and again by Govinda III- and was taken prisoner. Parts of Gangavadi were incorporated into the Rashtrakuta empire. His successor, Rajamalla I (C.817-853 A. D) too fought against the Rashtrakutas; but it was during the reign of his successor, Nitimarga Ereganga (C.853-869 A. D) that the relation between the two dynasties was normalised.

The Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha I gave his daughter Chandrabalabbe in marriage to Nitimarga's son Butuga I. Nitimarga was succeeded by Rajamalla II (C. 870-907 A. D), who was followed by Ereyappa Nitimarga II (C.907-919 A. D), after whom Narasimhadeva (C.919-925 A. D) ruled. His successor was Rajamalla III (C.925-935 A. D) who was overthrown by his ambitious brother Butuga II (C.935-960 A. D). He had the advantage of being the brother-in-law of the powerful Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna III. This alliance proved disastrous to the Chola ruler Parantaka I, who was comprehensively routed at Takkolam (C.949 A. D). Butuga II thus earned a remarkable military laurel for his dynasty by lending his sword to his Rashtrakuta ally.

Butuga's successor was Maruladeva (C. 960-963 A. D) and he was succeeded by Marasimha III (C. 963-974 A. D), who remained an active ally of the Rashtrakutas. When the latter suffered from the attacks of the Northern enemies, Marasimha rushed to their assistance. He also took up the cause of Indra IV, although the Rashtrakuta dynasty had already been pulled down by the Chalukya feudatory, Taila II. The death of Marasimha was a prelude to the decline and fall of the Ganga Kingdom. The rule of Rajamalla IV (C. 974-985 A. D) which began with a discordant note of a civil war, was noted only for the distinguished services of the minister Chavundaraya, who in fact wielded the real political authority. Rajamalla's brother Rakkasa Ganga (C.985-1024 A. D), despite his formidable name, ended up as a feudatory of the Cholas, and with it, the political sovereignty of the Gangas was lost.

The Ganga administration was built on the bed-rock of tradition. The ideal of Kingship was one based on the eternal foundation of Dharma, the rulers called themselves 'Dharma-maharajas' and the custodians of social order. The ancient texts like the treatise of Manu or of Kautilya or the Sukraniti were regarded as authorities on administration. The power of the King, was, in effect tempered by the ideals of Dharma which he was called upon to respect, as much as by the traditions, customs, usages and other moral forces. Many reputed thinkers and Savants like Simhanandi, Pujyapada, Vijayakirti, Pushpadanta and others must have had great moral influence on the Ganga rulers, and checked any tendency towards Royal absolutism. The Rajadharma consisted in protecting the good, punishing the wicked, preserving the social order and in exerting, on the whole, for the promotion of the material and spiritual well-being of the people.

The King was assisted in administration by the Yuvaraja, who, however tended to grow powerful when the ruler lacked vigour and enterprise. Sometimes, the Yuvarajas acted as provincial governors. Some of the Ganga queens also exercised considerable influence in administration, gave grants, participated in public functions and even dared to go to the battlefield. The King was also assisted by a Council of Ministers which consisted of Sarvadhikari or the Prime Minister, the Sandhivigrahi or the Minister for war and peace, the Dandanayaka, the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Srikaranadhikari or the minister of Finance and Revenue, Manemagatine or Manevergade who was the Steward of the Royal household, and Hiriyabhandari who was in charge of accounts and keeping of records. Sometimes, the Purohita too found a place in the Council of Ministers, and he advised the King in matters of religion. There were also officials like Rajasutradhari or the King's Personal Secretary, Rahasyadhikari or the Private Secretary, Nidikara or the Treasurer and so on.

The Kingdom was divided into provinces or Nadus, Vishayas or districts and Khetas which resembled taluks. The Village administration was the responsibility of the Gauda, the Senabhova and the Mahajana Assembly, the latter providing it a strong democratic element. The revenue administration was based on proper measurement and classification of lands, which were taxed on the principles laid down by the Smritis. There were also many professional taxes which swelled the coffers of the State. The collection of taxes, which was made both in cash and in kind, was basically a local responsibility. The Gangas organized their armies efficiently and due care was bestowed on the problems of transport, supplies and intelligence. Forts were developed and the Beda forces were drafted into service in times of need. The administration of justice was mostly a matter of local concern, with provision for appeal to the King. Ordeals were resorted to in trials, but the punishments were generally mild.

to be continued...


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