Abhira tribe

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The Ābhīras were a people mentioned in ancient Indian epics and scriptures as early as the Vedas.[1] Maharshi Patanjali in Mahabhasya describes Abhiras as an enemy of the Aryans.[2] A historical people of the same name are mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.


Sunil Kumar Bhattacharya states that the Abhiras are mentioned in the first-century work of classical antiquity, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. Bhattacharya considers the Abhiras of old to be a race rather than a tribe.[3] Scholars such as Ramaprasad Chanda state that the Abhiras were Indo-Aryan peoples.[4] The Puranic Abhiras occupied the territories of Herat; they are invariably juxtaposed with the Kalatoyakas and Haritas, the peoples of Afghanistan.[5]

There is no certainty regarding the occupational status of the Abhiras, with ancient texts sometimes referring to them as pastoral and cowherders but at other times as robber tribes.[6]

Along with the Vrishnis, the Satvatas and the Yadavas, the Abhiras were followers of the Vedas, who worshipped Krishna, the head and preceptor of these tribes.[7]

The Abhira- Ahir connection[edit]

The term Abhira is called as Ahir in modern times.[8]

According to Sir Gangaram Garg- Abhira people have their descendants in the form of modern Ahir caste and the term Ahir is the Prakrit form of the Sanskrit term Abhira. [9]

In the view of Sunil Kumar Bhattacharya- The term Ahir, Ahar or Gaoli are current form of the term Abhira.[10]

Shalomim Y. Halahawi expressed his opinion that Ancient Abhira are different from Ancient Yadava and the term was initially used for describing cowherds bur later it included Yaduvanshis and Nandvanshis too by its corrupt form Ahir.[11]

Many other thinkers have suppoerted this view.[12][13][14]

However, the few have the opinion that Ahirs do not appear to be the true representatives of the ancient Abhiras.[15]

Rule of the Konkan[edit]

From 203 to 270 the Abhiras ruled over the whole of the Deccan Plateau as a paramount power. The Abhiras were the immediate successors of the Satavahanas.[16] Abhira rule started about 203 CE following the end of Yajnasri Satakarni's reign and Abhira Isvarasena's accession took place in Saka 151 or 229 CE. Sakasena was the first Abhira king. His inscriptions from Konkan and coins from Andhra Pradesh suggest that he ruled over the major part of the Satavahana empire.

Abhiras of Rajputana[edit]

In Samudragupta's time (c. 350), the Abhiras lived in Rajputana and Malava on the western frontier of the Gupta empire. Historian Dineshchandra Sircar thinks of Abhiravan between Herat and Kandahar.[17] Their occupation of Rajasthan also at later date is evident from the Jodhpur inscription of Samvat 918 that the Abhira people of the area were a terror to their neighbours, because of their violent demeanour.[17][18] Abhiras of Rajputana were sturdy and regarded as Mlecchas, and carried on anti Brahmancial activities. As a result, life and property became unsafe. Pargiter points to the Pauranic tradition that the Yadavas, while retreating northwards after the Kurukshetra War from their western home in Dwarka and Gujarat, were attacked and broken up by the rude Abhiras of Rajasthan.[19]

The Abhiras did not stop in Rajasthan; some of their clans moved south and west reaching Saurastra and Maharashtra and taking service under the Satavahana dynasty and the Western Satraps.[20] Also founded a kingdom in the northern part of the Maratha country, and an inscription of the ninth year of the Abhira king Ishwarsena.[21][22]


  1. ^ Dhume, Anant Ramkrishna Sinai (1986). The Cultural History of Goa from 10000 B.C.-1352 A.D. Ramesh Anant S. Dhume. p. 158. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Malik, Aditya (1990). "The Puskara Mahatmya: A Short Report". In Bakker, Hans. The History of Sacred Places in India As Reflected in Traditional Literature. Leiden: BRILL and the International Association of Sanskrit Studies. p. 200. ISBN 978-9-00409-318-8. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Bhattacharya, Sunil Kumar (1996). Krishna — Cult In Indian Art. M.D. Publications. p. 126. ISBN 9788175330016. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Ramaprasad Chanda; Varendra Research Society (1969). The Indo-Aryan races: a study of the origin of Indo-Aryan people and institutions. Indian Studies: Past & Present. p. 55. 
  5. ^ Sudāmā Miśra (1973). Janapada state in ancient India. Bhāratīya Vidyā Prakāśana. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
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  7. ^ Radhakrishnan, S. (2007). Identity And Ethos. Orient Paperbacks. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-8-12220-455-1. 
  8. ^ Matlock, Gene (1 November 2000). "Jesus and Moses Are Buried in India, Birthplace of Abraham and the Hebrews!". iUniverse. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-59512-771-9 – via Google Books. 
  9. ^ Garg, Gaṅgā Rām (8 June 1992). "Encyclopaedia of the Hindu World". Concept Publishing Company. p. 113. ISBN 978-8-17022-374-0 – via Google Books. 
  10. ^ Bhattacharya, Sunil Kumar (8 June 1996). "Krishna-cult in Indian Art". M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. p. 126. ISBN 978-8-17533-001-6 – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ Halahawi, Shalomim Y. (1 October 2007). "The Way! the Prophetic Messianic Voice to the Path of the Edenic Kingdom Redemption". Lulu.com. p. 315. ISBN 978-1-43030-816-4 – via Google Books. 
  12. ^ Soni, Lok Nath (8 June 2017). "The Cattle and the Stick: An Ethnographic Profile of the Raut of Chhattisgarh". Anthropological Survey of India, Government of India, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Department of Culture. p. 11. ISBN 978-8-18557-957-3 – via Google Books. 
  13. ^ Mishra, Girish; Pandey, Braj Kumar (8 June 1996). "Sociology and Economics of Casteism in India: A Study of Bihar". Pragati Publications. p. 78. ISBN 978-8-17307-036-5 – via Google Books. 
  14. ^ "Gonds of the Central Indian Highlands Vol II". Concept Publishing Company. p. 568 – via Google Books. 
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  16. ^ Numismatic Society of India (1991). The journal of the Numismatic Society of India. 53. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Tej Ram Sharma (1 January 1989). A political history of the imperial Guptas: from Gupta to Skandagupta. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-81-7022-251-4. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  18. ^ A political history of the imperial Guptas: from Gupta to Skandagupta By Tej Ram Sharma
  19. ^ Kailash Chand Jain (1972). Ancient cities and towns of Rajasthan: a study of culture and civilization. Motilal Banarsidass. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  20. ^ Haryana: studies in history and culture. Kurukshetra University. 1968. p. 44. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  21. ^ Sunil Kumar Bhattacharya (1 January 1996). Krishna-cult in Indian art. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-81-7533-001-6. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  22. ^ Ramesh Chandra Majumdar; Anant Sadashiv Altekar (1967). Vakataka – Gupta Age Circa 200–550 AD. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 143–. ISBN 978-81-208-0026-7. Retrieved 20 June 2011.