Laksmana Samvat

Laksmana Samvat (La Sam in its abbreviated form) an era found in a few inscriptions discovered in north Bihar, and Rakhal Das Bandopadhyaya is the main exponent of the theory that the era started to be counted from 1119-20 AD. and it commemorates the accession of Laksmanasena, the Sena king. There is no evidence of the use of this era in its early years and the earliest date that we have in this era is the year 51, in a Bodh-Gaya inscription of Asokachalla. In this and all other inscriptions dated in this era the word Sam is always prefixed with atita-rajye. The exponent of the theory explained the appearance of this prefix as denoting the year counted from the commencement of the era, but the reign of Laksmanasena was a thing of the past. The opponents to this theory, headed by RCMajumdar, have argued that the era was counted from the destruction of his kingdom and the words atita-rajye denotes that the era was reckoned by the people of Bihar from the destruction of the kingdom of Laksmanasena in the beginning of the thirteenth century.'

It the era, however, has nothing to do with the Senas of Bengal. One serious objection against the association of this era with Laksmanasena's accession is that not a single authentic document has so far been discovered within the limits of the Sena kingdom. Moreover, all official Sena evidences so far discovered are dated in the regnal years of the respective kings, including those of Laksmanasena himself and also those of his sons. The exponents of the theory have never explained the era which they are inclined to associate with the name of Laksmanasena took such a firm root not in his own country, but in north Bihar. Applying Fleet's dictum that 'any era may be introduced in a country in which it was not founded, but no era can have been founded in a country in which it was never used', we must refrain from associating Laksmana Samvat with the Sena king of that name. It remains an unsolved problem in the history of eastern India. [AM Chowdhury]

Bibliography Rakhal Das Bandopadhyaya, Bangalar Itihas, Calcutta, 1321 BS.,Vol.I, p.284ff.; RC Majumdar, History of Bengal, Vol.I, Dacca, 1943, p.233-238; Abdul Momin Chowdhury, Dynastic History of Bengal, Dacca, 1967, p.212-215.