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The Harshacharita (Sanskrit: हर्षचरित, Harṣacarita) (The deeds of Harṣa), is the biography of Indian Emperor Harsha by Banabhatta, also known as Bana, who was a Sanskrit writer of 7th century in India. He was the 'Asthana Kavi', meaning 'Court Poet', of King Harsha. The Harsha Charita was the first composition of Bana and can be treated as the beginning of writing of historical poetic works in Sanskrit language.

The Harsha Charita ranks as the first historical biography in Sanskrit although it is written in a florid and fanciful style. Bana's detailed and vivid descriptions of rural India's natural environment as well as the extraordinary industry of the Indian people exudes the vitality of life at that time. Since he received the patronage of the emperor Harsha, his descriptions of his patron are not an unbiased appraisal and presents the emperor's actions in an overly favorable light.[1]


The Harṣacarita, written in ornate poetic prose,[2] narrates the biography of the emperor Harsha in eight ucchvāsas (chapters). In the first two ucchvāsas, Bana gives an account of his ancestry and his early life.


The only commentary available is the Sanketa written by Shankara, a scholar from Kashmir. It seems that Ruyyaka also wrote a commentary known as the Harṣacaritavārtika, which has not yet been found.

The work was translated into English by Edward Byles Cowell and Frederick William Thomas in 1897.[3]


  1. ^ Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York: Grove Press. pp. 161–162. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0. 
  2. ^ Basham, A. L. (1981) [1954]. The wonder that was India, Calcutta: Rupa & Co., p.433
  3. ^ Rapson, E. J. (April 1898). "The Harṣa-carita of Bāṇa by E. B. Cowell; F. W. Thomas". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland: 448–451. 
  • Cowell, E. B. and F. W. Thomas (1897). The Harṣa-Carita of Bāṇa (English translation), London: Royal Asiatic Society, pp.vii-xiv.
  • Ashok Kaushik. Harsh Charit by Bann Bhatt (in Hindi), Diamond Pocket Books, Delhi
  • Basham, A. L. (1981) [1954]. The Wonder That was India, Calcutta: Rupa & Co., pp. 448–51.

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