By Dr Ganeshilal Varma
THE term Kali bhujangas (snakes of the Kali age) has been used in early medieval India for the Muslim invaders. Skand Purana (I-14-14) describes them as Mukta kachcha sikha-vihin i.e. those who do not tuck the hem of their lower garments and those who have no lock of hair on their head. By their terrorist activities they cause Naga bhay or the fear of snakes of Kali. They attacked by surprise and at odd times, generally in the night, they defeated yajnas and terthas. They were iconoclasts. Moreover whenever they plundered cities and villages, they carried away people including women and children to slavery camps.
These Kali bhujangas or the forces of destruction had expanded by the change of religion to Kamboj (Pamir-Badaksha region), Lampaks (Lamghan region), Tushars (Tukhars) Dardas (Dardistan), Paradas, Sogdians, etc. and had embraced Islam. Skand Purana (Part I P. 228) Devi Bhagwat [v32, 7(ii)] mentions the increase in the strength of these demons. In the 7th century a.d. their envoys were coming and going into Aryavarta. Bana Bhatta in Harsha Charita informs us that Mohammedans had settled in large numbers in coastal and border regions.
Since the Indians were aware about the menace of these people they evolved a policy to end this menace and to safeguard the prosperity of their country. This was known as Garud shakti. In a Parmar copper plate we find ?the flying figure of Garud holding a snake in its left claw?. This was a representation of Garud shakti for the liberation of the country from the clutches of Kali bhujangas (H.C. Roy, Dynastic history of North India, Vol. II, pp. 844)
Valour is the first essential element of Garud shakti. Vira-charita paddhati is the thread that runs through Bhavabhuti to Jayanak. ?Cast not a doleful look but live like a hero? was a message of Garud Purana. Example of Princess Vidula'sson is given, who was defeated in Sindh, but his mother (Vidula) inspired him with Siniha-Vikram. She advised him to wait in hill-regions, gather strength, secure allies, till the ruler of Sindh was trapped in some calamity.
In fact, a literary renaissance is available in Kshatriyas and the people of those times. An ordinary Kshatriya was given the title of Prince (Rajputra). They were expected to act as Rajputs and were to follow Veer vrata.
Valour is the first essential element of Garud shakti. Vira-charita paddhati is the thread that runs through Bhavabhuti to Jayanak.
The Pratiharan vidhi or giving battle to the enemy in his own state has been associated with the Pratihar rulers, the earliest Rajputs. This policy proved to be the panacea for exterminating the invaders. If the Mandsor inscription of Yashodharman (6th century a.d.), is to be believed, the country was at that time ruined by Pakshaniti (factition politics). The earth was afflicted by the kings who manifested pride, who were cruel, through want of proper training, who from delusion transgressed path of good conduct and were destitute of virtuous delight? (Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarun (Vol III, pp. 146). During this adverse situation, Gurjar Pratihars emerged as the door-keepers of the nation. Hailing from Ujjain at first, they carried on ceaseless fight against Tajiks and Turuskas and battled with them in the Pamir region. They established their military camps in Kashmir, Gujrawala (Frontier Provinces). The grateful generations acknowledged their great contribution. It was accepted that Pratihars, especially Mihirbhoj converted the age of vice into the age of virtue. These kings were endowed with 36 qualities. And the region (Kshetra), where the earlier Pratihars ruled was sanctified in literature especially Puranas as the Punya Avantika bhand (Sanctified Ujjain region)
When later Pratihars proved weak and Ghazanvies made repeated raids in Antarvedi, Punjab and Gujarat, the newly emergent ruling dynasties?Chandels, Solankis, Parmars and others who were trained under the nationalist school of Pratihars?rose to the occasion. In the Purana literature we find praise for Yashovarmand, and Pramati Dhang. They were brave sagacious and patriotic. Chandellas understood the importance of Sahujas who were a bulwark against the Kali bhujangas. Consequently, they helped the Sahiyas in the struggle.
Vishnudharmottas Purana pleads for ?Mandal? policy (confederation or alliances) to uproot Mohammedans (Malechchah Sanchha dite Desh Sa tad uchyate vrapah)?Vishnudharmottas II CXLV-7-13). The work urges the growth of power (Pratapvridhi); for only then parachakrabhaya (the terror caused by aliens) could be removed. The rulers had been advised to use deceptive military tactics (mayajal and indrajal) i.e. to pay back in the same coins to the Mohammedans.
Garudniti was evolved, as the necessity of times. The Chahmans however added another point by following grahana-moksha (capturing and releasing the enemy) policy with fateful consequences.
Jayanika, the author of Prithviraj Vijay, says that Chauhans believed in the concept of rajatvam, which meant the purification of Aryavarta from Mohammedans or Kali bhujangas. Vigrah Ray performed this duty as is evidenced by Delhi pillar inscription.
Prithviraj III also justified his titles by destroying Mohammedan powers. But he followed a policy of grahna and moksha, even with regard to Kali bhujangas. Skandpuran had warned the rulers ?not to dis-regard even a weak, insignificant enemy? and Garud had clearly stated: ?he who rests confident after having made a reconciliation with the enemy is sure to fall one day like a man who reposes on a top of tree? (G.P.I. 114-48.)