Agartala, Oct. 29: History has always been an embattled zone with historians, archaeologists and other allied experts almost always proffering conflicting interpretations of the past.
This has come to the fore yet again with Tripura’s leading numismatist and expert on state’s history Jawhar Acharjee observing that the 11 gold coins found in the Brahmakunda riverbed by some labourers on September 27 actually belong to the Kharg dynasty rulers of erstwhile Eastern Bengal (present Bangladesh), who had ruled the Bikrampur-Dhaka and neighbouring areas between the 6th and 8th centuries, unlike the earlier claim that they date back to the reign of Kushan King Kanishka (127-151AD).
Acharjee, who runs Northeast’s lone private museum — Rajendra Kirtishala — in an annexe attached to his home at Jaynagar in Agartala, has authored several books on Tripura’s history and culture, including the latest Bilupta Samatat O Harikel Rajyer Itihas ebong Sanskriti (History and culture of the extinct Samatat and Harikel kingdom). Speaking on the gold coins recovered from the labourers who were working for a contractor drawing sand from the riverbed, Acharjee said actually 18 coins had been found but the police could recover only 11, which are now preserved in the state museum.
“I have studied the coins deeply with my four-decade-old experience and expertise and am convinced that the coins belong to the Kharg dynasty rulers,” said Acharjee. He said the coins have inscriptions such as “Sri” and “Sri Sri” without the full name of the issuer.
“There are extremely minute inscriptions on one coin which could not be deciphered; all the kings have their images with bows and arrows in hand inscribed on the front while on the other side there is a female image which may indicate influence of tantrik Buddhism on the Kharg kings — Khargodyam, Jata Kharga, Deba Kharga and Balabhatta — between 665 and 823AD,” said Acharjee, adding that he believed that the coins had been issued latest by 665AD by Kharg kings.
Regarding the implications of the new found coins on Tripura’s history, Acharjee said till the recorded arrival of the Manikya kings, the plainland areas of Tripura formed parts of the extinct Samatat, Kharg, Harikel and Raat dynasties of Eastern Bengal, bordering western Tripura. “These coins bear resemblance to those issued by Kushana and Gupta kings; they are not pre-Christian coins but were issued in the seventh century,” said Acharjee.
He said he himself had discovered a copper plate inscription associated with the Samatat dynasty from the Killa area of Udaipur and ancient Chinese travellers It Sing and Seng Chi, who travelled in Tripura during the reign of the Guptas, had found the Kharg and Harikel kings ruling this part of Bengal, bordering Tripura.