A FOURTH CENTURY GUPTA SEAL FROM LAHORE (QUESTION)
MAHARAJA MAHESVARANAGA SON OF NAGA BHATTA
SOLD BY BAHADUR SHAH OF MOCHI GATE LAHORE
The story narrated by J.K. Fleet, recorder of Gupta Inscriptions goes like this. Yes, sixteen hundred years ago, there was Gupta period King by name of Maharaja Mahesvaranaga son of Naga Bhatta. There was a copper seal made by him. It was 1 1/4 inches high, 1/16 inches thick, oval shape of 1 7/8 inches by 1 5/8 inches, with a weight of 2 1/4 ozs, and it was unique in many ways. Obviously it had a cow on it, sitting on a straight line upturned at ends, with a hooded snake (No head to this snake, perhaps a stick of some mythological source) on its lower end and the name of the Raja as we know it. But the strangest part is that it had a CRESCENT on it. A crescent, a rising moon, the sign of Islamic civilization. In Hinduism we have the celebration of AMAVASYA and PURNIMA and I wonder if a coin legend is named after same. But if it was sixteen hundred years old, where did the Islam came from? The 1600 years conjecture is due to paleographical evidence only. That means the evidence of the writing and as it is Sanskrit, the presumed period of that writing. The writing is rather rough and not very calligraphic or beautiful in its flow. I think we can go further than that.
In 418-419 AH Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi issued a silver dirham at Lahore, at that time named as MAHMUDPUR. It had both languages on it. Islamic represented by Arabic and Hinduism represented by Sanskrit. We hear of Raja Jaipal ruling Lahore who was of BHATTI origin. Even today a gate of Lahore is named after Bhattis, namely Bhatti Gate, Lahore. Here we are told of a Raja by the name of NAGA BHATTA, a missing link in the history of Lahore.
The story of antique dealer Bahadur Shah is well known to us. He was the only person in Lahore dealing in antiques at that time. He had no penchant for getting things from elsewhere. His sources were Lahore itself. When General Cunningham bought this SEAL from him, and did not record its source, it is established that the source of the Seal was Lahore itself. A Bhatti Maharajah of Lahore is no coincidence. It is very well possible. In 1888 it was not possible to gather other evidence, but in the present times, more reliable dating can be given to the Seal. For us it is the earliest record of a Maharajah from Lahore itself., To confuse his use of the name NAGA as with the semi divine race of Nagas, who lived according to legend under the earth, is a mere speculation. Naga is a symbol of respect for Hindus and named after a snake is no confusion for divinity. The name of this Raja appears nowhere else. For us it is a rare break through of knowledge about Lahore.