Madra or Madraka is the name of an ancient region and its inhabitants, located in the north-west division of the ancient Indian sub-continent.

Uttaramadra division

Aitareya Brahmana makes first reference to the Madras as Uttaramadras i.e northern Madras and locates them in the trans-Himalayan region as neighbors to the Uttara Kurus. The Uttara Madras, like the Uttara Kurus, are stated to follow the republican constitution. The Uttara Madra country of Aitareya Brahmana is often identified with Bahlika (Bactria).

Madra divisions

As the name "Uttara Madras" itself shows, there was yet another Madra group also, which obviously was living to the south of the Uttara Madras (northern Madras). These southern Madras were an offshoot from the Uttaramadras, a bulk of whom, probably under nomadic pressure from north, migrated southwards and settled in Punjab [ cf: History and Archaeology of India's Contacts with Other Countries, from Earliest Times to 300 B.C. 1976, p 120,Shashi Asthana; Glimpses of Ancient Panjab – 1966, p 31, Buddha Prakash; Geographical Data in the Early Purāṇas: A Critical Study – 1972, p 154, Dr M. R. Singh; cf: "The Madras were the descendants of Uttara-madras who lived beyond the Himalayas in the neighborhood of the Kambojas, possibly in Bahlika region. Owing to climatological or political reasons, a bulk of the Madra people advanced southwards and settled in Punjab, where Sakala also known as Bahikagrama, was their principal settlement (Foreign Elements in Ancient Indian Society, 2nd Century BC to 7th Century AD, 1938, p 15, Uma Prasad]

The post-Vedic, pre-Buddhist Brahmanical literature is overflowing with the names of tribes. The most powerful among them, commanding the greatest respect, in the Madhyadesha (Middle country) was the Kuru-Panchala which incorporated the two families of Kuru and Puru (and the earlier Bharatas) and of which the Panchalas was a confederation of lesser-known tribes. They occupied the Upper Doab and the Kurukshetra region. In the Prachya or east, the clans of Kasi, Kosala and Magadha predominated. In the north-west or Uttarapatha division, the Kamboja, Gandhara, and the Madra clans were the most important.

Panini's Madras

Panini documents the Madra janapada as a part of modern Punjab country with capital at Sakala or Sagala, modern Sialkot. Panini mentions two divisions of the Madras in Panjab or Vahika country i.e. the Purva ("Eastern") Madras and the Apara ("Western") Madras. The Purva-Madra extended from the Ravi to Chenab and the Apara-Madra from Chenab to the Jhelum. Thus, it appears probable that the Madras of Panjab had cultural interaction with Bahlika (Bactria) country, the land of the Uttara Madras. Some verses in the Mahabharata allude to this connection of the Madras with the Uttara Madras.

Madra was Bahika country

Madra was a part of the Bahika or Vahika country. Some hold that Madra was Vahika country. [Some Kshatriya Tribes of Ancient India, p 215, Dr Law.] They held the central parts of Punjab — the region lying between river Chenab and Ravi. [Early History of India, p 286, V. A. Smith; op cit. p 215, Dr B. C. Law.] In epic period, they occupied the district of Sialkot. [Cambridge History of India, Ancient India, pp 549-50] Panini does not offer derivation of Bahika but Katyayana derives it from "Bahis" 'outer edge' with the suffix "ikak". [Katyayana's Vartika, IV.1.85.5.] This agrees with Mahabharata description of Bahika as the country of five rivers but was where Dharma was weak ("dharma-bahya"), devoid of religion ("nashta-dharma") and impure ("aśuchi"). [Mahabharata]

Karna Parva of Mahabharata derives name Bahika from the names of two Pishachas or demons named "Bahi" and "Hika" ("Bahi + hika = Bahika") living in river Vipasa (Beas). The Bahikas or Vahikas i.e the people of Punjab are the offspring of those two Pishacas. They are not creatures created by Prajapati. [ Also 'Vahik' simply means cultivator or one that ploughs the fields which is true for this fertile region.

:pancha nadyo vahantyeta yatra nihsritya parvatat | :Aratta nama bahikA na teshvaryo dvyaha.n vaset ||41|
:bahishcha nama hikashcha vipashayam pishachakau | :tayorapatyam bAhikA naishA srishtih prajapateh ||42|


"There where the five rivers flow just after issuing from the mountains, there among the Aratta-Vahikas, no respectable person should dwell even for two days. There are two Pishacas named Vahi and Hika in the river Vipasa. The Vahikas are the offspring of those two Pishacas. They are not creatures created by the Prajapati" (Mahabharata 8.44.41-42).]

Variants of Madra

Variants of Madra are also found as Madrak, Madraka, Bhadra, Bhadraka. [madra = bhadra, sutra II.3.73 and V.4.67.] It has been pointed out that Bhadras were located on Ghaggar near north-eastern border of Bikaner.

Mahabharata references

The Mahabharata refers to a king Vyusitashva of the Puru family whose wife Bhadra bore seven sons--, four Madras and three Salvas. [Mahabharata I, Ch 43.] This tradition indicates that Salvas and Madras belonged to common stock and there were seven branches of one tribe. But "Kasika" and "Vaijayanti" refer to only six branches of the Salvas (and Madras) viz., Udumbras, Tilakhala, Bhulinga, Sardanda, Yugandhara and Madrakara [Ancient People of the Punjab, pp 74-75, Prof J. Przyluski; Geographical Data in Early Puranas, A Critical Study, 1972, p 153, Dr M. R. Singh.] . The above list apparently does not include all the branches of the Salvas and the Madras. Though there is no ancient reference to four branches of the Madras, Dr M. R. Singh has however suggested them to have been as "Uttamabhadra, Sravanabhadra, Prabhadra and the Bhadra or Madra" themselves. [Geographical Data in Early Puranas, 1972, p 154, Dr M. R. Singh. ] ("Variants of Madra are also found as Bhadra, Madraka, Bhadraka" and that Bhadraka and Madraka are transferable). [madra = bhadra, Panini's sutra II.3.73 and V.4.67; Ancient People of Punjab, p 51ff, Prof J Przyluski; Geographical Data in Early Puranas, A Critical Study, 1972, p 153, Dr M. R. Singh.] "Prabhadraka" as an attribute has been used for the Parama-Kambojas section who had sided with the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war against the Kauravas. [Mahabharata verses 7.23.42-44.

:Yuktaih Parama. Kambojairjavanairhemamalibhih. :bhishayanto dvishatsainyan yama vaishravanopamah.||42|
:prabhadrakastu Kambojah shatsahasranyudayudhah. :nanavarnairhayashreshthairhemachitrarathadhvajah. ||43|
:sharavratairvidhunvantah shatrunvitatakarmukah. :samanamrityavo bhutva dhrishtadyumnan samanvayuh.||44|
: ("Mahabharata, Gorakhpore Recension").

The "Uttamabhadras" lived in Punjab, the "Bhadrakas" in modern Bhadra and "Sravanabhadras" are believed to have migrated from Kanyuakubja and settled in Malwa. [Ethnic Settlements in Ancient India, p 25.] Uttamabhadras originally were people of Balkh who had entered India in Vedic times. In Vedic times, they were closely related to Kurus and the Purus. In Kurukshetra war, we also find Madras associated with the Kurus. [ Mahabharata 6.61.12; 4.71.14; 4.74.19; 8.7.15; 8.56.70] King Shalya had taken part in the Mahabharata war, on behalf of the Kauravas.

Madri, the wife of Pandu king of Hastinapur and the mother of Pandava-putras Nakula and Sahadeva, was a Madra princess daughter of the king of Madra. Madri has also been referred to as Bahliki i.e princess of Bahlika janapada/tribe and king Salya has been referred to as Bahlika-pungava i.e foremost among the Bahlikas. Madri has also been referred to as Bahliki i.e princess of Bahlika janapada/tribe and king Salya has been referred to as Bahlika-pungava i.e foremost among the Bahlikas. Epic also refers to king Ashvapati of Madra, the beloved of the Paura Janapadas, who was father of Savitri. King Vyusitashva was a descendent of Puru a famous king of Rigvedic times. [Geographical Data in Early Puranas, A Critical Study, 1972, p 155, Dr M. R. Singh.]

These references obviously connect the Vahika Madras to Bahlika i.e Bactria Madras i.e the Vedic Uttara-Madras or Uttamabhadras, which is known to have been the earliest settlement of the Madra people. It is also seen from the above references that initially Mahabharata had really high opinion of the Madras. But later, this view was changed since there are several later epic references where the Madras have been severely downgraded. Every possible ill word has been spoken against them.

In "Karna Parva" of Mahabharata, Karna specifically directs his wrath against Shalya who was from Madra, and ridicules the region he was from. Karna calls the Madra men and women as "scum" of humanity. ["....The caste observances were so slack in the frontiers that the Brahmanical literature began to look upon the Madra, Gandhara and Kamboja peoples as loose-lived and barbaric. As compared to the rigid four-class social system of Madhyadesa, these tribes of the frontiers followed two social classes and further there was permissible vertical mobility.... The women were treated equal to men and there was no taboo of social mixing among the two sexes. Both sexes ate meat, drank strong liquor and there would be mixed public dancing in a state of undress. Such way of life was positively obscene to the eastern Brahmin eyes. The custom of bride price among the Madras (instead of dowry) appeared degrading to the easterners. Nevertheless, the beauty, the loving nature and utter fidelity of the women of the north-west including Madra, Bahlika remained proverbial (e.g: "Immortal Love Legend of Savitri & Satyavan. Savitri was the daughter of Asvapati, king of Madra tribe"). A warrior's widow in these regions would even immolate herself with her husband's corpse. The horrifying custom of Sati was completely unknown in the east until as late as 6th century AD.........Compared to the above feeling of the easterners towards the westerners, there are, unfortunately, no surviving records which tell us as to just what the westerners thought of the snobishly exclusive and yet rather countrified accolytes of the east; but it is known that the more enterprising low-caste youths from the east could travel to the west, acquire the brahmin's bag of tricks and ultimately pass themselves off as brahmins. No attention was paid by their learned frontier teachers to caste limits upon occupation.." ("See: Mobile Men: Limits to Social Change in Urban Punjab - 1976, p 3, Satish Saberwal; The Culture and Civilization of Ancient India in Historical Outline, p 119, D. D. Kosambi". See the link: [ -] ). Obviously, it were such Brahmins who had later passed judgements as above on the non-puritanic way of lives of the frontier westerners. ] See link [] .

"Adi Parava" of Mahabharata says that Madra princes had attended Draupadi's self-choice (Swayamvara) ceremony along with the other princes of neighbouring kingdoms from northwest. Thus prince Shalya, the king of Madra Kingdom, with his son, the heroic Rukmangada, Rukmaratha, Somadatta (king of Bahlika Kingdom) of the Kuru race with his three sons - Bhuri, Bhurisrava, and Sala and Sudakshina Kamboja the arch-bowman ("dridhadhanva") of the Puru race [ As per Mahabharata translation by Ganguli, the epic styles Sudakshina Kamboj as belonging to the Kuru/Puru race. This reference, if true, apparently connects the tribal Kambojas with broader Puru/Kuru race. Thus, the Kambojas may appear to have been an off-shoot from the Kurus/Purus and later-on, under an eponymous chieftain called Kamboja, they had established for themselves a distinct royal family, separate from the Kurus. There is indeed an evidence to this chieftain (called Kamboja) in the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata (MBH 12.167.76). See link: [] ] [The Gorakhpore recension of Mahabharata styles Sudakshina Kamboj as of Puru race, but the Poona Critical Edition styles him as of Kuru race. But this does not make any difference since the Kurus and Purus are ethnically connected and come from the same original racial stock.] had particiapated in the Draupidi swayamvara [See 1.185-13-15 Gorakhpore recension; See also:Madrarajastatha Shalyah sahaputro maharathah | :Rukmangadena virena tatha Rukmarathena cha ||13|
:kauravyah Somadattashcha putrashchasya maharathah | :samavetastrayah shura BhurirBhurishravah Shalah ||14|
:sudakshinashcha Kambojo dridhadhanva cha pauravah | :Brihadbalah suSheNashcha shibiraushInarastathA ||15||. : (Mahabharata 1.185-13-15).
] See Ganguli's Trans: [] .

Karna had fought with and vanquished the Madrakas, Kekayas, Kambojas, Avantis, Gandharas, Matsyas, Trigartas, Tanganas, Sakas, Panchalas, Videhas, Kulindas, Kasi, Kosalas, Suhma, Anga, Vanga, Nishada, Kalinga Taralas, Asmakas, Rishikas, Mlechchas and forest dwellers etc. [Mahabharata 8.8.18-20.]

Madra king Shalya, came with an Akshouhini of troops to join the army of Pandavas, since youngest Pandavas, the twins Nakula and Sahadeva, were his nephews. It is stated that his troops marched slowly on every day from Madra (Punjab province of Pakistan) to "Upaplavya" (somewhare in the boarder of Rajasthan and Hariyana), the Matsya city, where the Pandavas were camped. When his army reached Kurujangala (the kingdom of the Pandavas, the modern-day Hariyana), Duryodhana's men shrewedly intercepted the army. Without revealing their identity, they received Shalya and his men, made tents for them and refreshed them with all the comforts. By the time the truth surfaced, Shalya had already become indebted to battle for Duryodhana's sake. Madra army had battled along with other armies of north-west including the Trigartas, the Kekeyas, the Gandharas, "the Kambojas, the Yavanas, the Shakas, Tusharas, Khasas and Daradas (all these latter six armies had fought under General Sudakshina Kamboja") [ The Nations of India at the Battle Between the Pandavas and Kauravas, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1908, pp 313, 331, Dr F. E. Pargiter, (Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland).] , the Sindhus, the Sauviras, the Amvasthas etc. King Shalya was the last Generalismo of the Kaurava army and was slain by Yudhisthira on the last day of the Kurukshetra war.

rimad Bhagavatam and the Madras

Bhagvatam Purana attests that the prince of Madra along with princes from Matsya, Usinara, Kosala, Vidharbha, Kuru, Srnjaya, Kamboja, Kekaya, Kunti, Anarta, Kerala was present at "Samanta-pancaka" at the occasion of the solar eclipse. [:Tatragataste dadrśuh suhrt-sambandhino nrpān:Matsyośīnara-kauśalya-vidarbha-kuru-srnjayān:Kamboja kaikayān madrān kuntīn ānarta-keralān:Anyāmś caivātma-paksīyān parāmś ca śataśo nrpa:Nandādīn suhrdo gopān gopīś cotkanthitāś ciram(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.82.12-13):Trans::The Yadavas saw that many of the kings who had arrived were old friends and relatives— the Matsyas, Uśīnaras, Kosalas, Vidarbhas, Kurus, Srnjayas, Kambojas, Kaikayas, Madras, Kuntis and the kings of Ānarta and Kerala. They also saw many hundreds of other kings, both allies and adversaries. In addition, my dear King Parīkṣit, they saw their dear friends Nanda Mahārāja and the cowherd men and women, who had been suffering in anxiety for so long. ] []

Valmiki Ramayana on the Madras

"Kishkindha Kanda" of Valmiki Ramayana says that Sugriva had sent his persons to search Sita in various lands of the Uttarapatha including the Madras. Thus, Sugriva directs his detectives to search Sita in the countries of the Mlecchas, the Pulindas, the Shurashenas, the Prasthalas, the Bharatas, the Kurus, the Madrakas, the Kambojas, the Yavanas along with the countries of the Shakas and the Paradas and also the Himalayas. [ :tatra mlecchan Pulindan cha Shurasenan tathaiva cha
:prasthalan Bharatan caiva Kurum cha saha Madrakaih ||4-43-11|
:Kamboja Yavanaan caiva Shakan pattanani cha
:anviikshya Paradan caiva himavantam vicinvatha ||4-43-12|
: (Ramayana 4.43.11-12).

Kautilya Arthashasta on the Madras

Fourth century BCE Arthashastra of Kautiliya refers to the Madras as following republican constitution. It refers to Licchivika, Vrjika, Mallaka, Madraka, Kukura, Kuru, and Panchala etc and labels them as "Raja-shabd-opajivin" class (i.e living by the title of Raja) while referring to the Kshatriya Shrenis ("warrior-bands") of the Kambojas and Surashtras it styles them as "varta-shastr-opajivin" class (i.e. living by the profession of arms and varta). [ :Kambhoja. Surastra.ksatriya.shreny.aadayovartta.shastra.upajiivinan ||4|
:Licchivika. Vrjika.Mallaka. Madraka.Kukura. Kuru.Panchala.aadayo raaja.sabda.upajiivinah||5|
: (Arthashastra 11.1.4-5)Trans:

:The corporations of warriors (Kshattriya-sreni) of Kambhojas, and Surashtras, and other countries live by agriculture, trade and wielding weapons. The corporations of Lichchhivika, Vrijika, Mallaka, Madraka, Kukura, Kuru, Panchala and others live by the title of a Raja. (See: Kautiliya’s Arthashastra, 1966, para 378, p 407, Book Xi, Chapter 1, Dr Shamasatry).] [] .

Madras in Puranic literature

Vishnu Purana mentions the Madra along with Arama, Parasika and others. [Second Anka, Ch 3.17.] In Matsya Purana, the Madras find mention with Gandharas, Yavanas and others. [Matsya Purana Ch 114.41.] In the same Purana, a reference is also made to king Asvapati of Sakala in the country of Madra. [op cit. Ch 208, S1.5.]

Matrimonial customs of the Madras

Mahabharata attests that it was a custom among the Madras to give their daughters in marriage on taking a fee (shulka). This was their family custom. Pandu, the Kuru prince had also to pay fee for marrying Madri, the princess from Madra. [Mahabharata, Adiparava, Ch 113]

Madra princesses were favored

The beauty of Madra women, like those others from the northwest including the Kamboja, Uttarakuru was proverbial. Buddhist literature calls Madra-Desha as the store-house of beautiful ladies ("maddaratham nama itthagaro") [Ref: Theragatha Athahkatha Vol II, p 142: Like-wise, Buddhist Sanskrit Vinaya Text (Caitya-pradaksina-gatha), also especially notes the Kamboja for its beautiful maidens] [See: Glimpses of Ancient Panjab, 1966, p 32, Buddha Prakash; Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927, p 209, Asiatic Society of Bengal; Foreign Trade and Commerce in Ancient India, 2003, p 73, Prakash Chandra Prasad; Political and Social Movements in Ancient Panjab (from the Vedic Age Upto [sic] the Maurya Period), 1964, p 112; Janapada State in Ancient India , 1973, p 61, Sudāmā Miśra.] . The Madra women are characterized as "white" in the Mahabharata (VIII) [Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927, p 209, Asiatic Society of Bengal.] . Buddhist Jatakas bear ample tesimony that Madra princesses were sought after in marriage by the great Kshatriya houses of northern and western India. "Sumangala-Vilasini" attests that the wife of a Chakravarti comes either from Uttarakuru or from Madda (Madra) and Uttaramadra. [Sumagala Vilasini (P.T.S.), II.626.] Bhadra, wife of Kalpana of Pippali Manavaka was a beautiful maiden from Madra. Pabhavati, a beautiful princess of Madra was married to prince Kusa, son of Okkaka, of Ikshvaku royal family of Benares. [Jataka (Cowel) Vol V, pp 146-147; Mahavastu Avadana.] Even a prince of royal house of Kalinga in the far east sought the hand of a princess of Madra country as is attested by "Kalinga Bodhi Jataka". [Jataka (Cowel) Vol V, pp 144-45.] "Chandata Jataka" also attests that the royal houses of Madra and Benares were allied with each other through matrimony. According to Mahavamsa, on the death of Sihabahu of Sinhapura ("Lala Rattha = Lata Rashtra = Latadesa = Gujarat"), his son Summita became king of Lata. He married a Madra princess by whom he had three sons. [Mahavamsa, Trans Geiger, p 62.] Khema, one of the three queens of Bimbisara (reign 544-491 BCE), the ruler of the Magadha from the Haryanka dynasty was also a princess from the Madra clan. And of course, princess Madri, daughter of king Shalya of Madra was also married to Pandu, the Kuru prince of Hastinapur. [Mahabharata, Adiparava, Ch 113]

Uttaramadra-Uttarakuru-Parama Kamboja connections

"Vamsa Brahamana" [See: Vamsa Brahmana verse 1.18-19] of the Sama Veda refers to one Rsi "Madragara Shaungayani" as the teacher of Aupamanyava Kamboja. As the name itself suggests, and as the scholars have rightly stated, Rsi Madragara Shaungayani belonged to Madra tribe [Dr Zimmer, Dr Keith & Macdonnel, Dr B. C. Law, Dr M. R. Singh etc.] . Dr Keith and Dr Macdonnel, the authors of Vedic Index, as also Dr H Zimmer and numerous other scholars postulate a possible connection between the Madras i.e. the Uttaramadras and the "Trans-Hindukush" Kambojas [Quoted in Vedic Index, p II, p 123; See also: The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 291; India in the Time of Patanjali, 1957, p 73, Dr Baij Nath Puri; India as Known to Pānini: A Study of the Cultural Material in the Ashtādhyāyī, 1953, p 49, Vasudeva Sharana Agrawala; Ancient India and South Indian History & Culture ...: Papers on Indian History and Culture, 1941, p 87; Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927, p 208, (Asiatic Society of Bengal); Foreign Elements in Ancient Indian Society, 2nd Century BC to 7th Century AD, 1938, p 15, Uma Prasad; The Maha-Bodhi, p 495, Maha Bodhi Society, Calcutta; Geographical Data in the Early Purāṇas: A Critical Study, 1972, p 65, Dr M. R. Singh; Kashmir Affairs, India. Directorate of Public Relations; Some Ksatriya Tribes of Ancient India – 1975, p 231, Dr B. C Law; Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1923, p 258 (Asiatic Society of Bengal); Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p202-03, Dr J. L. Kamboj; The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 25, S Kirpal Singh; Vedic Index of Names and Subjects, Vol I, Varanasi, 1962, Hindi Trans: Ram Kumar Rai, p 154.] . Dr Jain also observes: "Kamboja Aupamanyava, pupil of Madragara, is mentioned in the Vamsa Brahmana. This points to a possible relationship of the Madras or more probably of the Uttaramasdras with the Kambojas, who probably had Indian as well as Iranian affinities" [ Ethnology of Ancient Bhārata, 1970, p 108, Dr Ram Chandra Jain.] . Since both these people were a very close neighbors in the north-western part of ancient India, such connections were but natural. [Some Kshatriya Tribes of Ancient India, p 232, Dr B. C. Law; Vedic Index, I, p 84-85, 138; India as Known to Panini, 1953, p 50, Dr V. S. Aggarwal; Geographical Data in Early Puranas, a Critical Study, pp 65, 164, Dr M. R. Singh, Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, pp 202-03, Dr J. L. Kamboj; The Maha-Bodhi, p 495, Maha Bodhi Society, Calcutta.] According to Dr Jean Przylusky, the Bahlika (Balkh) was a settlement of the Madras who were known as "Bahlika-Uttaramadras". [The Udumbras, Journal Asiatique, 1926, p 11, Jean Przylusky; See also: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p 50, Dr Aggarwala.] .

In his "Harsha-Carita", Sanskrit scholar Bana Bhatta, the court poet of king Harsha Vardhana of Thanesar makes reference to the horses from Kamboja. And the Commentator on Harsha-Carita in his commentary reveals to us that KAMBOJAH BAHLIKA DESAJAH, i.e the Kambojas belonged to/originated from "Bahlika-desa" (Bactria in north Afghanistan) [Quoted by H. W. Bailey in "Ancient Kamboja, Iran and Islam", 1971, p 66.] . Furthermore, "The Yasastilaka", a Jaina work, one of the best known champus in Sanskrit, composed by Somadeva Suri (959 A. D.) too identifies ancient Kamboja with Bahlika-desa [ See: Somadeva's Yasastilaka II; See also: Yasastilaka and Indian Culture or Somadeva's Yasastilaka and Aspects of Jainism & Indian Culture, 1949, p 512, K. K. Handiqui, Published by Jaina Samskrti Samrakshaka Sangha.] . This ancient evidence indicates that Bahlika (Bactria) (the land of Madras i.e the Uttaramadras) or its eastern parts may have formed parts of ancient Kamboja, and that both these people were a close neighbors and possibly of an allied stock. According to Nanimadhab Chaudhuri, the Kambojas who were settled to the north-west of the Indus were connected with the Madras and they were probably a branch of the Uttaramadras ["....The Kambojas were settled to the north-west of the Indus and were possibly connected with the Madras. They are mentioned by Yaska according to whom their speech differed from the Aryans and they were probably a branch of the Uttaramadras" (The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 291, Dr Nanimadhab Chaudhuri.] .

"Atharvaveda-Parisita" also juxtaposes the Kambojas with the Bahlikas (i.e .."Madras"..) [(i.e. Kamboja-Bahlika...See: Athavaveda-Par, 57.2.5; cf Persica-9, 1980, p 106, Dr Michael Witzel; See also: [] .] .

"Mahabharata" also closely allies the Bahlikas and the Kambojas and further places them in alliance with Transoxiana Sakas [ :"Shakah Kambojabahlika Yavanah Paradastatha" : (MBH 7.98.13)

:"Kritavarma tu sahitah Kambojavarbahlikaih ". : (MBH 6.75.17; See also verse 2.27.23-23 etc).] .

"Valmiki Ramayana" also mentions the Kamboja and the Bahlika in the same breath [ :Kambhoja.vishhaye jatair Bahlikaishcha hayottamaih. : (Ramayana I.6.22).] .

"Aitareya Brahmana" refers to the nations of Uttarapatha (northwest) and mentions the Uttaramadras and Uttarakurus as the tribes following a "vairajiya" (kingless) constitution. The same text also tells us that these nations lay beyond the Himalaya (i.e "Parena himavantam") [ Aitareya Brahmana VIII.14.] where "Himalaya" here is said to refer to Pamirs/Hindukush ranges [Kumarasambhava I, 1; See also: Geographical Data in Ancient Purana, 1972, p 65, Dr M. R. Singh; Dr V. S. Aggarwala, thinks that Himalaya in Aitareya refers to Pamirs and he therefore locates the Uttarakurus on north of Pamirs: see: India as Known to Panini, p 61.] . It has been pointed out that the list of the northwestern nations referred to in the Aitreya Brahmana is illustrative only and, by no means, exhaustive since it does not mention other clans of the Trans-Himalayans like the Kambojas (i.e. Parama Kambojas)/Rishikas etc who also had followed kingless (republican) constitution and also were located beyond Himalayan [Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 266, Dr J. L. Kamboj; cf: Hindu Polity, A Constitutional History of India in Hindu Times, 1978, p 78, Dr K. P. Jayaswal etc.] . "It is also possible that the Kambojas may have been considered a part of the Uttaramadras/or the Uttarakurus and therefore, not mentioned separately in the Aitareya Brahmana list".

The foregoing discussion suggests that in the remote antiquity (Vedic age), a settlement of the Madras was located in Bahlika (Bactria)--the western parts of the Oxus country. These Madras were, in fact, the Uttaramadras of the Aitareya Brahmana (VIII/14) [ In accordance with the above quoted refs of Dr J. Przyluski, Dr A. B. Keith, Dr I. A. Macdonnel, Dr V. S. Aggarwal, Dr M.R. Singh, Dr J. L. Kamboj etc .] . This also indicates that there was a very close affinity between the Uttaramadras, Uttarakurus and the Parama Kambojas--- all lying beyond the Himavantan i.e beyond Pamirs/Hindukush ranges. However, in 4th c BC, this Bahlika/Bactria came under Yavana/Greek political control and thus the land started to be referenced as "Bahlika-Yavana" in some of ancient Sanskrit texts [Brahamanda Purana, Upodghatppada 16.18; Purana, Vol V, No 2, July 1963, pp 355-359, Dr V. S. Aggarwala; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 133, Dr J. L.Kamboj.] .

Origin of Madras: traditional accounts

According to another traditional account preserved in the Puranas and Mahabharata etc, king Yayati, the great grandson of "Prurvasa Aila" had five sons viz.: "Yadu, Turvasa, Anu, Druhyu and Puru". Pruravasa Aila was, in turn, the grandson of "Vaivasta Manu", the mythological ancestor of all royal families of the Indian traditions. The Lunar line of Kshatriya families of Indian traditions are believed to have originated from this "Pruravasa Aila".

These Puranic accounts indicate that the Madras, Usinaras and Kekayas were the direct descendants of Yayati's son "Anu" [ See: Bhagvatam Purana, 23.1-4.] [] .

Other scholars maintain that the Madras and other clans like Angas, Kalingas, Sauviras, Kambojas, Sindhus and the Gandharas were offshoots of the Anu tribe of the Rigveda [] .

Researchers like Dr J. L. Kamboj, on the other hand, infer that the Kambojas, Gandharas and some other tribes of northwest (including the Madras) may have descended from the Druhyu tribe of the Rigveda. [Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 23, Dr J. L. Kamboj]

Broadly speaking, these ancient traditions indicate that Anu was the author of Anu clan (Anavas), Yadu of the Yadava clan, Turvasa of the Yavana and Turushaka clans, Puru of the Paurava/Kaurava clans and Druhyu of the clans like the Gandharas and other frontier clans of the north-west like Kambojas, Madras etc.

However, "it is very difficult to speak with confidence about these traditional accounts".

Maukharis descent from the Madras?

The Maukhari dynasty which ruled in the 5th century CE in the neighborhood of Gaya (Bihar) claims their descent from king Asvapati of Sakala of Madra country of central Punjab in northwest India. Their name is also referred to by Panini in his Ashtadhyayi. There is a seal belonging to Maukhari family of the Mauryan period. An inscription dated 239 CE found in Kotah state refers to a military General from Maukhari family. There are four inscriptions engraved on stone "yupas" which show indicates there were many Maukhari families in Rajasthan in 3rd century CE. [History and Culture of Indian People, The Classical Age, p 67, (Ed) Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar; Ancient India, 2003, p 597, Dr V. D. Mahajan.] It is therefore possible that the Maukharis were a clan of the Madras; and like the Kambojas, they may also have been migrating and widely spreading over northern India.

Madras pay taxes to the Guptas

The Madras and several other republics of northern and north-western India including the Arjunayans, Sivis, Malavas, Kunindas, Kulutas, Audumbras, Kambojas, Yaudheyas etc were vanquished, subjugated or else destroyed by the Gupta rulers (4th century CE). There is evidence of Madras paying taxes to Gupta king Samudragupta, as we learn from the fact that latter's imperious commands were fully gratified by the Madras and others giving all kinds of taxes and obeying his orders and coming to perform obeisance. [Corpus Inscripionum Indicarum, Vol III, p 14, Gupta Inscripions, Texts and Translations]

Madra and the Pala dynasty of Bengal

It appears that the kingdom of Madra continued till the 9th century when we find the Madras as the allies of Dharmapala (770-810) of the Pala Dynasty of Bengal who, with the connivance of the Madras and other northern powers, had dethroned Indraraja of Kanauja and placed Chakrayudha on the throne. [ Early History of India, p 308, Dr V. A. Smith; Some Kshatriya Tribes of Ancient India, p 229, Dr B. C. Law.] It is also held by some that Dharmapala had seized the lands of Bhoja, Matsya, Madra, Kuru, Yadu, Yavana, Avanti, Gandhara, and Kira. It is interesting to note that there is no mention of the Kambojas in the above list of the north-west kingdoms, but it seems that the term Gandhara itself included the Kamboja as well. This is because little later, king Devapala (810—850), son of Dharmapala, had an encounter with the Hunas in north and then with the Kambojas in the north-west as is amply attested by the "Monghyr Charter" of Devapala. [Kambojesu cha yasya vajiyuvbhih…kaantashichran dikhanitah verse 11:, see Epigraphia Indica Vol XVII., p 296; Ancient Kamboja People and the Country, 1981, p 311.] . Benjamin Walker writes: "Like their neighbours the Kambojas, the Madra people also migrated through the Gangetic plain towards Bengal, and we find them in the ninth century as allies of the Pala kings of Bengal (Vol I, p 59)". [ The Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism, Vol II, 1968, p 2, Benjamin Walker.] .

Madras vs Medes

Many scholars also identify the Medes ("Madai") as a branch of the Madra tribes [See: Aryan Invasion Debate, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, Dr Koenraad Elst; Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927, p 205, Sqq., Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927; Iran League Quarterly, XIX (1948—1949), 50; Haryana: Studies in History and Politics -1976, p 31, edited by J. N. Singh Yadav; Literary History of Ancient India in Relation to Its Racial and Linguistic Affiliations, 1952, p 11, Dr Chandra Chakraberty; Political and Social Movements in Ancient Panjab (from the Vedic Age Upto [sic] the Maurya Period) 1964, p 108, Dr Buddha Prakash; Glimpses of Ancient Panjab – 1966, p 32, Buddha Prakash; Evolution of Heroic Tradition in Ancient Panjab – 1971, p 53, Dr Buddha Prakash; Saṃskr̥ta Dig-vijaya, 1985, p 19, Dr Suniti Kumar Chatterji; Revue de l'histoire des religions, 1940, p 89, Paul Alphandéry; The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, pp 131, 185, 214, 730, 885, 185; Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History -2005, p 338, Laurie L. Patton, Edwin Bryant; Journal of the Asiatic Society – 1961, p 131, Asiatic Society (Calcutta, India), Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal; In Quest of World-culture: Suniti Kumar Chatterji, 1977, [65, Surajit Das Gupta; Early History of Rajasthan -1978, p 38, Dinesh Chandra Shukla, Dineśa Candra Śukla; Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927, p 208, Asiatic Society of Bengal; Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1925, p 250ff (Medes and Madras); Journal of the Asiatic Society – 1961, p 129, Asiatic Society (Calcutta, India), Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal;The Indo-European Homeland, The Rigveda, A Historical Analysis, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, Chapter 6,7, Shrikant G. Talageri [] . It is notable that Madha/Madhe and Mande are the clan names among the modern Kambojs of north-India, which may imply some remote affinity with the Madras/Medes.] , while some identify Media (Medes) with Uttaramadra referenced in the Aitreya Brahamana [The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 131; Literary History of Ancient India in Relation to Its Racial and Linguistic Affiliations, 1952, p 11, Dr Chandra Chakraberty.] . Similarly, the Persian Achamenedae are also believed to be an offshoot from the Scythianised Kuru-Kamboja hordes, who outpoured from Kambysene of ancient Armenia [Dr Chandra Chakravarty regards the Kambojas as a branch of the "Scythian Kambysene" from ancient Armenia (See: Literary History of Ancient India in Relation to Its Racial and Linguistic Affiliations, 1952, p 165,149, 37). Dr Chakravarty further regards the Achaemenids as outcome of the Scythian "Kuru-Kamboja" mixture with the Alpine Puru-Khattis ("Parsa Xsayatia")). The Kambysene Scythians (Kuru-Kambojas), mixed with other Caspian Sakas, invaded Persia several centuries prior to Christian era and got mixed with the Alpine Parsa Xsayathya (Puru-Khattis) settled in Susa, thus giving rise to the well known Achaemenidae (See: Racial History of India, p 158; Literary History of Ancient India in Relation to Its Racial and Linguistic Affiliations, 1952, p 11/37/148, 165; Paradise of Gods, 1966, p 330, prof Qamarud Din Ahmed). But according to other view, the Kambojas probably moved from Bactria to north-west Iran and then to its south-west under circumstances and time-frame still unknown to history.] [Dr Michael Witzel wrote somewhere: 'The Old Persian -s-(as in < "asa" 'horse') <*śś <śv śś with Saka -śś-, while the rest of Iranian has -sp- ("aspa") and Vedic has -śv- ("Aśva"). This feature and others (cf. further grammatical features in Witzel 1989, Ch 10) may point to an ultimately "north-eastern" (Bactria?) rather than north-western (Urartu/Median) origin of the Old Persian and thus to a "track of immigration from the North-east via Media to the Persis", somewhat like Nichols' (1997-98) 'southern trajectory'. A North-eastern origin would be close to the location of the Vedic Parśu.] [If the Madras were Medes as some modern scholars have suggested, then the Achaemenidae/Parśus may have been an off-shoot from the Bahlika-Kambojas or vice-versa. Seeing close connections of the Kambojas (Parama-Kambojas), the Madras (Bahlika-Madras or Uttaramadras) and the Kurus (Uttarakurus) which tribes were all located in/around Oxus in Central Asia in remote antiquity, it can be thought that the Kurus, the Kambojas and the Parśus were a related people. This may also prove as to why the great kings of Achaemenid Parśu dynasty have used names like Kurush (Greek Cyrus) and Kambujiya or perhaps Kambaujiya (Greek Cambyses) as their personal names. (See Cambyses, Kamboja, Kamboj, Kamboja Kingdom and Kambojas).] [James Hope Moulton writes: “The names Kuru and Kamboja are of disputed etymology, but there is no reason whatever to doubt their being Aryan. I do not think there has been any suggestion more attractive than that made long ago by Spiegel (Altpers. Keilinsch.'-, 96) that they attach themselves to Sanskrit Kura and Kamboja, originally Aryan heroes of the fable, whose names were naturally revived in a royal house. Spiegel thinks that the myths about Cyrus may have originated in confusion between the historical and the mythical heroes. (Kamboja is a geographical name, and so is Kuru often: hence their appearance in Iranian similarly to-day as Kur and Kamoj)" (Early Zoroastrianism , 2005, Page 45, James Hope Moulton - Kessinger Publishing). ] .

Madras at present

Madras at present are found in Madrak, Madrayana or Maderna gotra Jats in western Rajasthan in India. Parasram Maderna is a famous political leader from Marwar region. People belonging to Bhati gotra associate themselves with both Ghazni and Sialkot and for this reason the Bhati gotra is accepted as a branch of Madrak.


ee also

*Parama Kambojas

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