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From Bhauma to Vārāha: The Shifting Lineage Identity of the Kāmarūpa Rulers in Northeast India, 7th–12th Century

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Author: Jae-Eun Shin1
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  • 1 Research Collaborator, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo
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Abstract

To show how a frontier power of pre-modern South Asia defined its history and identity in different ways in changing political contexts, this article presents an analysis of the unusual asura lineage of three lesser-known dynasties between the seventh and twelfth centuries in succession: the Varmans, the Mlecchas and the Pālas, who sequentially all ruled Kāmarūpa, a historical region located in the present state of Assam. Examination of three distinct phases of genealogical claims enables us to understand the ways in which the peripheral rulers negotiated with dominant supra-regional discourses, challenged political tradition of their predecessors, and carved out their own space in a new world of regional sovereignty.

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