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Govindachandra


Govindachandra last known king of chandra dynasty ruled for about 25 years between 1020 and 1045 AD. Govindachandra was the son of Ladahachandra and Saubhagyadevi. The name of Govindachandra, king of Vangaladesha, was long known from the Tirumulai inscription of Chola Dynasty of South India. He is also referred to in the medical treatise called Shabdapradipa. Two inscribed images of his 12th and 23rd regnal years confirmed his existence as a king of southeast Bengal. His connection with the Chandra dynasty is clearly established on the basis of Mainamati copperplate. In his copperplates reference is made to his vast learning and virtuousness, and hope is expressed that Brahma may bestow welfare, Visnu sustain his body and Indra kill his enemies. Soon after his accession he had to face the invasions of Chola king Rajendra Chola and Kalchuri king Karna. They defeated Govindachandra. These two foreign invasions seriously impaired the strength of Govindachandra and ultimately the power and pomp of the Chandras ended.

Govindachandra, like his father, followed a policy of religious toleration. Though he himself is mentioned as a devout Buddhist, he had a leaning towards Brahmanical religion or other forms of worship.

Scholars have tried to identify Gopichandra or Govichandra of popular ballads, current in Bangladesh and other parts of India, with Govindachandra of the Chandra dynasty. But it is difficult to fix the date of these ballads (Govindachandrer gan, Manikchandrer gan, Mainamatir gan etc). All the versions of the ballad, in general, relate the same story of a king of Bengal, named Gopichandra or Govichandra, who accepted the life of an ascetic giving up his kingship. The genealogy of Govichandra as given in different versions of the ballad, is however, not similar. Majority of them give Manikchandra as the name of the father of Govindachandra and Mainamati as that of his mother. Mainamati was the daughter of Tilakachandra, ruler of Meherkul, which has been located by some scholars in the district of Rangpur. Some have also indicated the existence of Meherkul near about Mainamati (in Chandpur district). But the presence of the name of Mainamati in Comilla strongly suggests that the kingdom of Tilakachandra and Govindachandra are to be located in that district. However, except the similarity of name, there is nothing, which can suggest the identity of the two Govindachandras. [Aksadul Alam]

Bibliography AM Chowdhury, Dynastic History of Bengal, Dhaka, 1967; RC Majumdar, History of Ancient Bengal, Calcutta, 1971.