Maharathi was one of the titles that adorned the feudal rulers during the Satavahana period. Other feudal titles used were Mahagramikas, Mahabhojas, Mahasenapathis, Mahatalvaras etc.. The word Maharathi is perhaps derived from the word Rathikas who were a specific geographic group of people in the present day Maharashtra. The Rathikas infact find mention in Ashokan inscriptions along with another group of people called the Bhojakas. This suggests that the Maharathi title predates the Satavahana period.
The coinage of the Maharathis can be divided into three groups. Those issued in the pre Satavahana period, those issued during the Satavahana period and those issued after the Satavahana rule ended.
Dr Shailen Bhandare has published in his thesis a hitherto unknown Maharathi issue bearing the legend Maharathisa Chulavarunisa. The coin is unifaced bearing a lion motif on the obverse. It is of copper metal which is peculiar as Maharathi issues are of lead usually. He paleographically attributed it to around 100 AD which is perhaps during the reign of the Satavahana ruler Vasistiputra Siri Pulumavi. This coin was found in a region belonging to the present state of Telangana. Based on the postulated period of around 100 AD, this Maharathi issue likely belongs to the second group mentioned above.
The authors now present an unpublished coin of a new ruler under the same Maharathi family.
The coin is of copper (or its alloy) and weighs 7.28 g. Obverse shows a maned lion to the right with a small vertical line, a circle and an arrow head symbol on its back. A wavy line with dots is seen below the lion. Brahmi legend around in clockwise direction from 10 O Clock position reads as “..RaThiSaPuSaVaRu NaSa”. Reverse shows a Tree in railing flanked by Nandipada and Triangle standard on the sides. A wavy line with dots is seen below.
By reconstructing the missing part of the legend, the entire legend would read as below :
The name of the ruler on the coin is “PusaVaruna”. This is the Prakrit form with the equivalent Samskrit rendition likely to be “PushyaVarna”. This new ruler adds to the lesser known rulers of this Maharathi family from Telangana.
1. Thesis on Satahavana History and Coinage(www.academia.edu) by Dr
2. COINS by P.L. Gupta
This article was published in Nanyadarshini (KNS) 2017 Bulletin