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Vallalasena


Vallalasena (c 1160-1178 AD) was the second ruler of the sena dynasty of Bengal. Son and successor of vijayasena, Vallalasena is known from the extant Kulajigranthas to have introduced social reforms in Bengal, especially the system of kulinism.

Two epigraphs of the time of Vallalasena (Naihati copper plate and Sanokhar Image Inscription) have so far been discovered. They do not contain any record of his victory. He, however, had some military achievements to his credit. It is stated in the Adbhutasagara that he was engaged in warfare with the king of Gauda who is identified with Govindapala of the Pala dynasty. This information is also corroborated by the Vallalacharita of Anandabhatta which was composed in 1510 AD. It is likely that Vallalasena might have given the final blow to the Palas in Magadha. It is stated in the Adbhutasagara that during the lifetime of his father, Vallalasena conquered Mithila. It is not unlikely that Vallalasena accompanied his father Vijayasena in his campaign in Mithila. However, the annexation of Mithila to the Sena Empire cannot be properly ascertained and the successors of Nanyadeva, against whom Vijayasena fought, ruled Mithila for a long time.

It is believed that Vallalasena with a view to reorganising the social system introduced the system of Kulinism. Knowledge regarding the early history of Kulinism is based on the texts known as Kulagranthas or Kulajishastras. Indeed these texts, composed five or six centuries after Vallalasena's reign, are 'full of irregularities and contain many conflicting ideas'. So the authenticity of the information furnished by the texts can be questioned. Moreover none of the Sena epigraphic records refer to Kulinism. It is known that Kulinism was the strongest force among the Bengali Brahmins in the 18th and 19th centuries AD. Hence it is quite probable, as held by many scholars, that the advocates of Kulinism tried to give a historical basis to it and hence claimed its origin from the time of the Hindu king, Vallalasena.

It is evident from the Sena epigraphs and tradition that Vallalasena was a great scholar and renowned author. He wrote the Danasagara in 1168 and started writing the Adbhutasagara in 1169, but could not finish it. Like his father, he was also a worshipper of Shiva. He assumed the epithet of Ariraja-Nihshanka-Shankara along with other imperial titles. He married Ramadevi, the Chalukya princess. This marriage refers to the contact of the Senas with their ancestral homeland. It is learnt from the Adbhutasagara that in his old age Vallalasena left the responsibility of the government to his son Laksmanasena and spent his last days, along with his wife, in retirement on the bank of the Ganges at a locality near Triveni. He had a successful reign of about 18 years. [Chitta Ranjan Misra]