The identification of the Guptas as Kshatriyas though has been supported by facts, the controversy whether the term "Gupta" was a family surname or a full name is still unresolved. This is so because the name of the first king was Sri Gupta, where the term "Gupta" seemed to be a title, but the second Gupta did not use the title like that. Hence, here lies enough dubiousness about the term "Gupta". However the expression "Gupta" had been systematically used by all the Gupta rulers from Chandragupta I onwards, which had led to the acceptance of the term 'Imperial Gupta dynasty'.
There is a keen controversy among the scholars about the original homeland of the Guptas. K.P Jaiswal has pointed out that the Guptas were originally inhabitants of Prayag (Allahabad), as the feudatories of the Nagas or Bharsivas.Thereafter they rose in prominence. Dr. Gayal also supported the theory of Jaiswal, suggesting that the original home of the Guptas was Antarvedi in eastern U.P, embracing the regions of Oudh and Prayag. These historians have derived their theory based on the fact that several coins belonging to the Gupta Dynasty have been found in those regions and the study of those numismatics evidences lead to the conclusion that the Guptas were the original inhabitants of that region. However Dr. D.C Ganguli has provided a different view about the original homeland of the Guptas. According to him the Guptas were inhabitants of the Murshidabad region of Bengal and not of Magadha in Bihar. He based his theory on the statement of I -Tsing, who had visited India during 675 and 695 A.D. Fleet and other historians however criticise the above theory because of the fact that Sri Gupta ruled during the end of the third century, but I-Tsing placed him at the end of the second century. Hence the theory of historians, who have provided their views based on the accounts of I-Tsing, can be refuted without much difficulty.
Not only the ancestry and homeland of the Guptas, the extent of the Gupta Empire, when they ascended the throne after the lapse of the prolonged Dark Age, is a also subject of intense controversy among the scholars. Dr. R.C. Majumdar has pointed out that the picture of a stupa has been found in Nepal with the label "Mrigasthapana" Stupa of Varendri. This "Mrigasthapana" is the same as "Mrigashivana" of I-Tsing. As Sri Gupta built a temple in Mrigashivana and as the place was in Varendri, so historians have pointed out that Varendri might have been under the sway of the Guptas, when they ascended the throne. According to Dr.Ganguli, Bengal and parts of Bihar was also included in the Gupta Empire, when they were ruling from the seat of power.
From these theories, several conflicting opinions about the original homeland and the Empire of the Guptas are available. According to Allan and some other scholars, the Guptas were originally concentrated in the region of Magadha and from there they extended their sway upto Bengal. According to other groups, the original homeland of the Guptas was Varendri or the Varendra Bhumi in Bengal, wherefrom they extended their Empire upto Magadha. Whatever the theory is, the Imperial fabric of the Guptas initiated the Golden Age in history of ancient India and with passage of time they became the sole authority of entire Northern India.
(Last Updated on : 03-05-2012)
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