UPSC : The Pala Empire and Senas of Bengal UPSC Notes | EduRev
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- After the death of Yasovarman, there commenced a tripartite struggle for supremacy between three great powers; the Gurjara Pratiharas, the Palas and the Rashtrakutas and the ambition was always the occupation of the imperial city of Kanauj.
The Pala Empire
- Gopala, founder of the Pala dynasty, reigned in the third quarter of the 8th century A.D. and was succeeded by his son Dharmapala.
- The kingdom of the Palas now comprised Gauda, Vanga, Radha and Magadha.
- Dharmapala, which was the most powerful king of the dynasty, tried to establish an empire in north India. This involved him in war with the Pratiharas of Malwa and the Rashtrakutas of Deccan, who tried to expand their kingdom.
- Devapala, which succeeded his father Dharmapala, intended establish an empire and led expeditions against many states. He defeated the king of Gurjara and reached Kamboja country. He conquered prayagjyotisa (Assam) and Utkala and curbed the pride of the king of Dravida.
- Devapala was succeeded by Vigrahapala. He was a weak king and abdicated the throne after a short reign of three or four years.
- His son and successor, Narayanapala ruled for more than half a century. But he was a man of pacific and religious disposition.
- After the death of Naryanapala, his son Rajyapala ascended the throne. He was also a weak ruler. His two successors Gopala II and Vigrahapala, were equally weak and the result was that the Pala Kingdom became confined ta part of Bengal.
- After the death of Vigraha Pala, Mahipala I became the king. He was a brave soldier and was soon able restore the lost position of the Pala dynasty.
- He is, therefore, called the second founder of the Pala Kingdom.
- It was during his reign that Rajendra Chola of Kanchi attacked Bengal but the Southern adventurer had ultimately treated back.
- After the death of Mahipala, there was a succession of rulers, Nayapala, Vigrahapala III, Mahipala II, Surpala II, Rampala and Madhavapala were not strong as Devapala and Mahipala.
- The rule of the Pala dynasty came to end about the middle of the 12th century A.D.
The Senas of Bengal
- The Senas of Bengal called themselves Kshatriya, Brahma-Kshatriya, and Karnata-Kshatriya, and were originally inhabitants of Dakshinapatha.
- Vijayasena, which ascended the throne in A.D. 1095, conquered Vanga, defeating Bhojavarman and were arrested Ganda from the last Pala king Madanapala.
- Vijayasena was succeeded by his son Ballalsena in 1158 A.D. He conquered Mithila and a portion of East Bihar.
- In 1187 A.D. he was succeeded by Lakshmanasena, who defeated Jayachandra of the Gahadwala dynasty and conquered Prayagjyotisa.
- He was a noted general, but in later part of his reign when he became stricken with age, Muhammad-bin-Bhakhtyar Khalji by a sudden raid captured Nadia, where Lakshmana sena lived.
- The latter retired Vikrampura where he ruled till 1205 A.D. His son Visvarupasena succeeded him the throne.
- After the conquest of Nadia, Muhammad-bin-Bhakhtyar Khalji conquered North Bengal and Muslim rule was established in Radha and Ganda.
- About the middle of the 13th century, the Senas were overthrown by the Deva dynasty reigning in Saman-tata the east of the Brahmaputra.
The genealogy of the Sena dynasty given by R.D. Banerjee is:
- A branch of the Pratiharas, founded by the son of the Brahmana Harichandra by his Kshatriya wife, ruled in the Jodhpur State, Rajasthan, which was situated in Gurjarati, also known as Gurjara.
- Another branch of the family, the members of which seem to have been descendants of Harichandra by his Brahmana wife, founded a kingdom in Malwa, the capital of which was Ujjain, in the first half of the 8th century.
- The earliest known king of this branch was Nagabhatta I, where fame by repulsing an attack of the Arabs of Sindh.
- The next important king, his grand-nephew vatsaraja, is known to have been ruling in 783 A.D. He extended his kingdom upto Jodhpur, which proves that Gurjarati was included in his kingdom.
- He defeated Dharmapala, the Pala ruler of Bengal, but himself suffered a reverse at the hands of the Rashtrakuta Dhruva III.
- His son and successor, Nagabhatta II, was defeated and deprived of his throne of Malwa by the Rashtrakuta Govinda III, and he there after established himself in Gurjarati. Later he took Kanauj from Chakrayudha and shifted his capital there.
- The greatest king of this dynasty was Bhoja who had succeeded his father Ramabhadra in or about 836 A.D. He had some initial success and was master of both kanauj and Kalanjara.
- He was, however, defeated by Devapala and fared better against the Rashtrakutas. He secured the aid of the powerful Chedi rulers of Gorakhpur and probably also of the Gahilot king. Assisted by these powerful chiefs, Bhoja had probably great difficulty in inflicting a crushing defeat upon the war like king that sat upon the throne of Dharmapala and Devapala.
- He defeated Krishna II, probably on the bank of Narmada, and occupied Malwa. He then advanced towards Gujarat and occupied the territory around Khetaka. But although this was recovered by Krishna II, Bhoja maintained his supremacy over the whole of the Kathiawar Peninsula.
- A sanguinary battle was fought between Bhoja and Krishna II at Ujjayini which was long remembered by posterity. But it led to decisive result, and Malwa remained in the hands of the Pratiharas.
- Bhoja died about 885 A.D., leaving a consolidated empire this son and successor Mahendrapala.
- Under Mahendrapala, Magadha and at least a considerable portion of North Bengal were added to the Pratihara empire.
- Mahendrapala was succeeded by his two sons, Bhoja II and Mahipala. Although Mahipala may be credited with retrieving his fortunes at a large extent, there can be question that the prestige of the Pratiharas sustained a serious blow.
- The history of the Pratihara kings after Mahipala is somewhat obscure. But it seems that he was succeeded by his three sons, Mahendrapala II (945 A.D.), Devapala (948 A.D.), and Vijayapala (960 A.D.).