Harshacharita (socio-cultural Study)

by Mrs. Nandita Sarmah | 2014 | 67,792 words

This essay represents a Socio-Cultural study of the Harshacharita which is a Sanskrit poem (kavya) as well as a Historical book from the 7th century written by Banabhatta. Officially classified as a Gadyakavya, the author (Bana Bhatta) based his Harshacharita on the life of the Gupta emperor Harshavardhana. This study researches the knowledge refle...


Although, I am a student of Sanskrit, history always attracted me since my early ages. At that time the descriptions of the royal palaces, the life-styles and the activities of the prince and princess, of benevolent king-which I had encountered in story books and in some history books took me often into another world of imagination. The Harṣacarita is not only a gadyakāvya, but may be treated as a historical book. When I had to read Harṣacarita in M.A. course, my childhood fascination came alive again. Naturally, I opted for the Harṣacarita while I had to choose among the few available options for doing some research leading to Ph.D. Again, as the Harṣacarita is flooded with plenty of historical, social, political, cultural descriptions along with vivid pictorial descriptions of nature, so, the sociocultural study on this gadyakāvya will definitely add some additional knowledge regarding the Indian society in the 7th century A.D. This work is an attempt to extract and classify some of the relevant information scattered in the long compound sentences flowed-out from the genius of Bāṇabhaṭṭa.

In preparing the present work is mainly based on various available original literary books viz., ‘Harṣacarita of Bāṇabhaṭṭa’edited by Mahamahopādhyāya P. V. Kane, Matilal Banarasidass, Delhi and ‘Harṣacarita of Bāṇabhaṭṭa’ edited with the Saṅketa Sanskrit Commentary of Saṅkara Kavi and Hindi translation by Prof. Jagannāth Pāṭhaka, Sāhityācārya, the Chaukhamba Vidyabhavan, Varanasi-1, 3rd edition, 1972 and ‘Bāṇa’s Kādambarī’ (of Bāṇabhaṭṭa, Pūrvabhāga) with ‘Tattvaprakāśikā’ Sanskrit Commentary edited by Late M. R. Kale, published by Motilal Banarasidass, 4th edition, 1968.

Nandita Sarmah

Date: 31-03-2014

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