of regions, the regional context of at least the
process alone can supply an index of the cultural dynamics of the area. The
same dynamics may be sited in the chronological stages of the growth of
regional languages. Sanskrit remained as the official language, but what was
typical of a region found the language of the area to be its best vehicle. This
yearning went to the extent of even regionalising the epics.
The Pratiharas were a branch of the famous Gurjaras—one of those nomadic
Central Asian tribes that poured into India along with the Hunas following
the disintegration of the Gupta empire. The Rashtrakuta records confirm the
Gurjara stock of the Pratiharas and Arab writers like Abu Zaid and al-Masudi
allude to their fights with the Gurjaras of the north. The most important
testimony is that of the Kanarese poet Pampa who calls Mahipala
‘Gurjararaja’. The name was derived from one of the kings of the line
holding the office of pratihara (a high dignity), in the Rashtrakuta court.
Nagabhatta I The Pratiharas came into prominence in the middle of the
eighth century AD when their ruler Nagabhatta I defended western India from
the invasion of the Arabs and carried his arms up to Broach. He was able to
leave to his successors a powerful principality comprising Malwa and parts of
Rajputana and Gujarat. Nagabhatta I was succeeded by his brother’s sons,
Kakustha and Devaraja, both of whom were non-entities.