Monday, November 27, 2006

Matriliny in Andhra Pradesh

The otherday, I visited Nagarjunakonda. Some people have speculated that matrilineal system was in vogue in old Andhra society. Generally, Satavahanas, were speculated being matrilineal because of their names. Many Satavahana king names have affixes that sound like "son of (female name)". I bought a book, Nagarjunakonda, compiled by Archaeological Survey of India. The book was completely silent about any matrilineal traditions. But I found a few interesting facts in the book.

- Goutamiputra (son of Goutami), Vasishtiputra(son of Vasishti), Mathariputra(son of Mathari), Haritiputra (son of Hariti) were used multiple times and by Satavahana, Ikshvaku(looks like Sanskritization) and Abhira kings.
- But there was no correlation between mother's names of individual rulers and these titles. For example (kings belonging to Ikshvaku dynasty);
* Vasishtiputra Ehuvala Chantamula's mother's name was Bhattidevi
* Vasishtiputra Rudrapurushadatta's (Ehuvala's son) mother's name was Vammabhatta
* Haritiputra Virapurushadatta's (Ehuvala's son) mother's name was Kapanashri

From those examples we can clearly see that not only there is no connection with mother and the title but sons of the same father also do not inherit the similar titles(or first names). If we masculinise those names then we can make an interesting observation.

Vasishti -> Vasishta; Goutami-> Goutama; Hariti -> Harita; Mathari -> Mathara

And Vasishta, Goutama, Harita and Mathara were sages or law givers. These also represent Brahmin Gotra names. I think in old days it was a practice for the kings to take up the gotra of their Brahmin guru.

So these names have nothing to do with matriliny. Probably, that must be some weird way of representing their gotras as gotra represent descendancy from that particular sage.


Lavanya said...


Is it not possible that the mothers could have come from the brahminical gotras. Eg - Haritiputra was the son of Hariti, a woman from the Harita gothra clan -- so indeed these people cud be a matrilineal culture?? Hope you will find more info on this please. Apparently gotras became patrilineal during the puranic period (500 to 1300 CE) and before that they were matrilineal: - so the Satavahans / Ikhshvakus being older than the puranic period wud have followed the matronymic system.

Overall, a very intersting blog. It was a pleasure to read. Thanks much.

Lavanya said...

The satavahanas were closely related to the brahmins -