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Books > Art and Architecture > History > Antiquities of Chamba State - An Old and Rare Book (Vol-II)
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Antiquities of Chamba State - An Old and Rare Book (Vol-II)
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Preface

It is now more than forty-five years since the monumental work entitled ANTIQUITIES OF CHAMBA STATE, Part I (Inscriptions of the Pre-Muhammadan Series. Its veteran author, Dr. J. PH. Vogel, the then Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Northern Circle, had intended to publish the whole material in two parts, the first, as has been indicated above, dealing with the Pre-Muhammadan period, and the second covering the rest, namely, the Muhammadan and Post-Muhammadan periods. After having completed the first part, he had already started on the second, but had to leave it unaccomplished owing to his departure from India to Holland. Then set in the Great War which made any further progress with the work impossible. However, Dr. Vogel has all along been anxious to see that the work commenced by him is somehow or other finished, and to that end he had been negotiating with the Director General of Archaeology in India. And it was as a result thereof that I was entrusted with the task of writing the second part of the ANTIQUITIES OF CHAMBA STATE dealing with the inscriptions of and later periods. It has been a matter of great pride to me that I have been personally associated with the learned Professor, Dr. J. PH. Vogel, having worked under him for some years in the rooms of the Kern Institute at Leyden, Holland.

Dr. Vogel, as stated above, had commenced working on the present volume. When in the summer of 1938 Rao Bahadur K. N. Dikshit, the then Director General of Archaeology in India, and myself visited Chamba in order to take of the mate rial to be worked, we found inter alia Dr. Vogel’s own manuscripts, comprising well nigh three hundred pages, preserved in the Bhuri Singh Museum there. These were later on sent to the office of the Director General of Archaeology in India, New Delhi, and were subsequently placed at my disposal.

These manuscripts concern only the copper-plate charters which from the of this volume. They contain transcripts, in some cases complete and in the other partial, explanatory notes here, translations of parts of few inscriptions, identification of some of the places mentioned in the grants, and notes touching the plan of the work as envisaged by Dr. Vogel. All this material, it gives me pleasure to record, stood me in good stead; it afforded me both guidance and assistance in carrying out the allotted task more or less according to the plan visualized by Dr. Vogel himself.

The Bhuri Singh Museum at Chamba had in its possession also impressions of the great many of the copper-plate inscriptions dealt with here, which were likewise sent to the office of the Director General of Archaeology in India, New Delhi. A similar collection of impressions In the office of the Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Frontier (then Northern) Circle, Lahore (now in Pakistan) which in like manner was made available. The two collections supplemented each other, though some few gaps still remained to be filled.

When the whole of the existing material was thus assembled in the office of the Director General of the existing material was thus assembled in the office of the Director General OF Archaeology in India, New Delhi, two post-graduates, namely Mr. S. K. Dikshit, M. A., and Mr. Krishna Deva, M.A., availed themselves of the opportunity of studying it. Besides checking it, they added some notes of their own.

It was early in the year 1939 that I was formally called upon to undertake the task and to visit Chmba in that connection. Mr. Krishna Deva was then deputed to accompany me for rendering assistance in the work.

A personal visit to Chamba was essential for various reasons. The eighty odd copper-plate charters of here are substantially couched in the Bhasha or the local dialect called Chambyali in a from which, in consonance with the nature of the subject-matter, necessarily differs from the common parlance and abounds in obscure expressions and abstruse terms, and, on top of that, is more or less obsolete at present. Such hard nuts could be cracked only with help locally available. Secondly, it was possible readily to identify places, rivers, mountains and so forth, that are mentioned in the records, likewise by personal enquiries. Thirdly, if any of the original documents were required either for examination or for comparison, they were easy of access only within the State. Besides, there was a possibility of discovering additional epigraphs.

Speaking of additional discoveries, it may be pointed out that three of the copperplate inscriptions dealt with here, namely Nos. 33, 81 and 82, have not been noticed by Dr. Vogel. Nor do the two collections of impressions referred to above include any impressions of them. They thus appear to be subsequent acquisitions. The first of them, that is No. 33, pertains to Balabhadra, while the remaining two, Nos. 81 and 82, belong to Srisimha. It is of course, quite likely that Dr. Vogel was aware of the existence of these last two, but that he considered them to be of too later a date be included in his collection. There is, however, one consideration that militates against such a supposition. The last copper-plate charter by him is said to be dated V.S. 1941, which is not included here. The two records in (Nos. 81 and 82) are earlier than that by one quarter of a century. On the other hand, it can be said, at least of the last record (No.82), that, build as it is in the right wall of the main entrance leading to the to the temple of Lakshmi-Narayana and other divinities, it is so prominently situated that it can hardly escape notice, even of a casual visitor there.

As indicated above, estampages of some of the copper-plate charters were still wanting. Since necessary facilities were to be had in Chamba for taking the required inked impressions of such records, we had to be content only with their photographs which were prepared by Mr. Mangat Rai Mehta, then attached to the office of the Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Frontier Circle, Lahore.

During my stay in Chamba, which lasted for two months, much spadework was done: fresh transcripts prepared, elucidative notes taken and rough translation drawn up, all this with the help so generously lent by the Rajaguru, Pandit Thakur Das, who had formerly assisted Dr. Vogel in like manner, and to whose ability and worthiness Dr. Vogel has paid a well-deserved tribute of praise while acknowledging his assistance. In fact, he is admittedly the only person alive in the Chamba State wno can understand and interpret the language of the old documents edited here; and it is a matter of deep gratification that his services have still been available.

Before closing this note, I which to record my grateful acknowledgments for the help received from different quarters in the production of this work. First of all, my sincere thanks are due to Professor Dr. J. PH. Vogel and the late Rao Bahadur K. N. Dikshit, both of whow from time favoured me with various useful suggestions and encouraging remarks while the work was under preparation. Next, I wish to express my gratitude to the them Council of Administration, Chamba State, consisting of Col. H. S. Strong, C. I. E., the President, Dewan Bahadur Madho Ram, the Minister, and Sahib Har Govind, the Judicial Member, who readily and willingly provided me with all facilities in connection with my study of the inscriptions during my stay in Chamba and also evinced keen interest therein.

To the Rajaguru, Pandi Thakur Das, I am greatly indebted for his ungrudging help which has proved most valuable and indispensable for a proper treatment of the records concerned. Further, I am thankful to Mr. Jaiwant Ram, B.A., B.T., the then Head Master, State High School , Chamba, and Curator, Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba, who likewise lent me a helping hand in solving some of the knotty textual problems.

Last but not least, I have to acknowledge equally the assistance received from Mr. Krishna Deva, M.A., now a Superintendent in the Department. His collaboration at that stage has helped in expediting the work.

Completion of the task fills me with joy, amply compensating for the pains has cost me: Klesah phalena hi punarnavatam vidhatte!

Introduction

The total number of copper-plate inscriptions that are included in this work is eighty-two. The first of them is of them is dated V. S. 1387, AND THE LAST v. s. 1915. They pertain to twelve successive rulers, from Vairisimhavarman to Srimha, as detailed below:-

1Vairisimhavarman1
2-5Bhotavarman4
6-8Samgramavarman3
9-10Anandavarman2
11-19Ganesavarman9
20-26Pratapasimha7
27-69Balabhadra43
70-76Prithvisimha7
77Satrusimha1
78Umedastimha1
79-80Rajasimha2
81-82Srisimha2
It will be seen that literally more than half of the total number of three charters belong to Balabhadra alone. This striking disproportion testifies to the excessively generous dispositions of the prince, of which we shall by and by have more evidence.

Common Features of All Plates

Some characteristics are common to all the copper-plate charters discovered in the Chamba State and are peculiar to them inasmuch as they are not commonly met with in similar contemporary documents found elsewhere in India. They may be summed up as follows: (1) Every charter consists of a single sheet of copper, though the size varies greatly. (2) Each plate is provided with a handle to its proper right. The thus puts on the appearance of a takhti or a wooden board used by school children. In some cases this handle has broken away, partly or altogether. Again, some of the handles have a hole pierced in the centre through which may be passed a cord by means of which the plate could be hung on to a peg in a safe corner-that is what the owners of the plates probably used to do. (3) Every one of the plates is invariably en engraved only on one side. The predilection for such an arrangement is very much in evidence on certain plates, where the text runs on into excepting the handle, while the size of letters in its concluding portion is gradually diminished into the bargain. A typical example of this kind is supplied by the inscription No. 32, though No. 23 beats it in respect of congestion. (4) Almost every plate has a seal engraved usually in the top left corner in the shape of a rosette or some other ornamental design. The space in its centre is occupied by a legend invariably in Nagari characters, containing the name of the king to whom the deed concerned pertains. In a few instances the seal is replaced by the word sahi likewise characters. The significance of this has been discussed below.

Lithic Records The stone inscriptions sealt with in this volume do not compare favourably-neither in quantity nor in quality-with the copper-plate records. Their number amounts to twenty-one. The most outstanding of the lithic record is the Chabutra stone inscription of V. S. 1717. It is the precise in it that vests it with importance, which has been duly considered elsewhere. The nineteen short epigraphs of the Vajresvari temple are mere labls giving names of the artisans, except one which is dated and informs us that the (reparation) work was started on the given date.

Miscellaneous Inscriptions

The short inscription appearing on the massive bell suspended from the ceiling of the mandapa of the Chamunda temple stands out by itself, as it cannot be included in either of the preceding two classes. It is dated, givens the names of the dedicator and the manufacturer of the bell, and mentions its weight and cost.

Palaeography Out inscriptions represents two distinct characters: Devanagari and Devasesha. The use of the former is restricted mostly to the legends appearing on the seals of the copper-plate charters. Later on, however, Devanagari alone is employed in such records. The earliest of this kind in Chamba is Umedasimha’s grant of V. S. 1805 (No. 78).

Devasesha refers to a later development of the Sarada alphabet. Dr. Vogel has made an exhaustive study of the subject and has aeeived at definite conclusions which may, with advantage, be recapitulated hare. The evolutions of the scripts in question is, in brief this: Brahmi-Western Gupta-Kutila-Sarada-Devasesha -Takari. Kutila, of which Sarada is be the immediate descendant, continued up to the of the end of the 8th or the beginning of the 9th century A. D. which thus becomes the epoch of Sarada. The script continues undergoing slow but sure changes until, by the beginning of the 13th century A. D., its appearance is sufficiently altered to justify a separate desingnation. That is then Devasesha. Dr. Vogel has pointed out that scholars like Buhler applied the tern Sarada even to this later phase of the character, though distinguishing it as ‘later Sarada, but that a specisl name was desirable. Although the term Devasesha is but little know outside Chamba, yet it has been adopted for the sake of convenience.

Dr. Vogel was concerned mainly with the Sarada characters. He has fully described the formation of each individual latter. In doing so, he has drawn attention to the peculiarities of Devasesha as well, illustrating the points by referring to the two inscriptions written in that alphabet, facsimiles of which had ny then been published, namely the spurious Sai copper-plate inscription of Vidagdhavarman and copper-plate grant of Bahadur Singh of Kullu. These records belong to the 16th century A. D.

The inscriptions edited here are fairly numerous and range in data from the early part of the 14th century to the middle of the 19th century. As such, they afford us ample scope for studying the peculiarities of the character and its gradual development in the course of over five hundred years with greater precision.

Before proceeding with a detailed examination of this nature, I may point out that the original naiheads or wedges of Kutila, which turned into small horizontal strokes in Sarada, in turn, developed into top Strokes in Devasesha and lend it a distinctive appearance, Devanagari as we know, represents the climax of this process. In Devasesha some letters, like gh, th, n, p, m, sh, and s, still appear with an open top, while in Devanagari they are provided with a top stroke.

Initial Vowels

"In Devasesha initial a and a preserve essentially the same shape as in Srada, but the top is closed by means of a top stroke as in Devanagari, and the wedge at the foot of the vertical sometimeds becomes a triangular loop." To be exact, the foregoing remark applies to a only (1). The length is denoted by a book instead of a triangular loop at the foot (2). Examples of the latter are comparatively rare. The triangular loop of a may be taken as a regular feature of the sign. The instances, as in No. 72, line 12, are only ephemeral. Examples of a may be seen in almost every inscription, while those of a are met with in No. 14, line 3; No. 22, line 8; No. 37, line 14, etc. The from of a in No. 1, line 5, is rather unusual.

Initial I has retained its original shape, which consists dots and a curve below (3). For examples, see No. 12, lines 7 and 10; and No. 37, line 10 where it occurs thrice. In certain cases, the two dots are replaced by two small circles (4), instances of which may be seen in No. 5, lines 15 and 16; No. 8, line 15. The sign of i in No. 1, line 16, appears irregular inasmuch as it is inclined toward the right. The sign in No. 76, lines 8 and 10, exhibit the mark of medial o instead of two dots or circles, though the same inscription in lines 7 and 8 shows the first sign as well. The sign with the superscribed medial stroke instead of two dots or circles appcars also in No.67, lines 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, etc. Thus, this constitutes a regular variety of the initial i.

The sign of initial I is of rare occurrence, but it presents a very interesting phase in its development. Discrussing its from in Sarada, Dr. Vogel observes that "the upper and lower dots of ancient sign, which consisted of four dots, have been converted into a vertical stroke with a wedge on each end." This is exemplified by the Saraharr prasati, where it occurs only once (5). In Devasesha its development is remarkable and quite consistent with the peculiarities already noticed. In the case of initial a, we observed how the wedge at the foot of the vertical becomes a triangular loop. We have also observed that a wedge at the top of letters in general becomes a horizontal topstroke. This process has taken place in the case of initial I, with the result that the vertical stroke with a wedge on each end has assumed the from of the letter ra, (6). In the disposal of the two dots also, the writers of Devasesha have introduced a modification: they have removed them from the flanking position and placed them on the top. Thus the form of the letter appears as (7). Instances of this may be seen in No. 38, lines 8 and 10; No. 39, line 11.

The sign of initial u has not differed much in shape from its original (8). The observation made by Dr. Vogel concerning this good: "The upward stroke differentiates the u from t. In the later inscriptions the two aksharas are often hard to distinguish." The upward tendency of the stroke (9) is, in some instances, carried to the extreme, so that it curls over the body of the latter. See, for instance, in No. 1, lines 11, 13, (10) and 17. Instances of the normal sign are abundant.

**Contents and Sample Pages**





















Antiquities of Chamba State - An Old and Rare Book (Vol-II)

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Edition:
1999
Language:
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11.00 X 8.50 inch
Pages:
213 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
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Preface

It is now more than forty-five years since the monumental work entitled ANTIQUITIES OF CHAMBA STATE, Part I (Inscriptions of the Pre-Muhammadan Series. Its veteran author, Dr. J. PH. Vogel, the then Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Northern Circle, had intended to publish the whole material in two parts, the first, as has been indicated above, dealing with the Pre-Muhammadan period, and the second covering the rest, namely, the Muhammadan and Post-Muhammadan periods. After having completed the first part, he had already started on the second, but had to leave it unaccomplished owing to his departure from India to Holland. Then set in the Great War which made any further progress with the work impossible. However, Dr. Vogel has all along been anxious to see that the work commenced by him is somehow or other finished, and to that end he had been negotiating with the Director General of Archaeology in India. And it was as a result thereof that I was entrusted with the task of writing the second part of the ANTIQUITIES OF CHAMBA STATE dealing with the inscriptions of and later periods. It has been a matter of great pride to me that I have been personally associated with the learned Professor, Dr. J. PH. Vogel, having worked under him for some years in the rooms of the Kern Institute at Leyden, Holland.

Dr. Vogel, as stated above, had commenced working on the present volume. When in the summer of 1938 Rao Bahadur K. N. Dikshit, the then Director General of Archaeology in India, and myself visited Chamba in order to take of the mate rial to be worked, we found inter alia Dr. Vogel’s own manuscripts, comprising well nigh three hundred pages, preserved in the Bhuri Singh Museum there. These were later on sent to the office of the Director General of Archaeology in India, New Delhi, and were subsequently placed at my disposal.

These manuscripts concern only the copper-plate charters which from the of this volume. They contain transcripts, in some cases complete and in the other partial, explanatory notes here, translations of parts of few inscriptions, identification of some of the places mentioned in the grants, and notes touching the plan of the work as envisaged by Dr. Vogel. All this material, it gives me pleasure to record, stood me in good stead; it afforded me both guidance and assistance in carrying out the allotted task more or less according to the plan visualized by Dr. Vogel himself.

The Bhuri Singh Museum at Chamba had in its possession also impressions of the great many of the copper-plate inscriptions dealt with here, which were likewise sent to the office of the Director General of Archaeology in India, New Delhi. A similar collection of impressions In the office of the Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Frontier (then Northern) Circle, Lahore (now in Pakistan) which in like manner was made available. The two collections supplemented each other, though some few gaps still remained to be filled.

When the whole of the existing material was thus assembled in the office of the Director General of the existing material was thus assembled in the office of the Director General OF Archaeology in India, New Delhi, two post-graduates, namely Mr. S. K. Dikshit, M. A., and Mr. Krishna Deva, M.A., availed themselves of the opportunity of studying it. Besides checking it, they added some notes of their own.

It was early in the year 1939 that I was formally called upon to undertake the task and to visit Chmba in that connection. Mr. Krishna Deva was then deputed to accompany me for rendering assistance in the work.

A personal visit to Chamba was essential for various reasons. The eighty odd copper-plate charters of here are substantially couched in the Bhasha or the local dialect called Chambyali in a from which, in consonance with the nature of the subject-matter, necessarily differs from the common parlance and abounds in obscure expressions and abstruse terms, and, on top of that, is more or less obsolete at present. Such hard nuts could be cracked only with help locally available. Secondly, it was possible readily to identify places, rivers, mountains and so forth, that are mentioned in the records, likewise by personal enquiries. Thirdly, if any of the original documents were required either for examination or for comparison, they were easy of access only within the State. Besides, there was a possibility of discovering additional epigraphs.

Speaking of additional discoveries, it may be pointed out that three of the copperplate inscriptions dealt with here, namely Nos. 33, 81 and 82, have not been noticed by Dr. Vogel. Nor do the two collections of impressions referred to above include any impressions of them. They thus appear to be subsequent acquisitions. The first of them, that is No. 33, pertains to Balabhadra, while the remaining two, Nos. 81 and 82, belong to Srisimha. It is of course, quite likely that Dr. Vogel was aware of the existence of these last two, but that he considered them to be of too later a date be included in his collection. There is, however, one consideration that militates against such a supposition. The last copper-plate charter by him is said to be dated V.S. 1941, which is not included here. The two records in (Nos. 81 and 82) are earlier than that by one quarter of a century. On the other hand, it can be said, at least of the last record (No.82), that, build as it is in the right wall of the main entrance leading to the to the temple of Lakshmi-Narayana and other divinities, it is so prominently situated that it can hardly escape notice, even of a casual visitor there.

As indicated above, estampages of some of the copper-plate charters were still wanting. Since necessary facilities were to be had in Chamba for taking the required inked impressions of such records, we had to be content only with their photographs which were prepared by Mr. Mangat Rai Mehta, then attached to the office of the Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Frontier Circle, Lahore.

During my stay in Chamba, which lasted for two months, much spadework was done: fresh transcripts prepared, elucidative notes taken and rough translation drawn up, all this with the help so generously lent by the Rajaguru, Pandit Thakur Das, who had formerly assisted Dr. Vogel in like manner, and to whose ability and worthiness Dr. Vogel has paid a well-deserved tribute of praise while acknowledging his assistance. In fact, he is admittedly the only person alive in the Chamba State wno can understand and interpret the language of the old documents edited here; and it is a matter of deep gratification that his services have still been available.

Before closing this note, I which to record my grateful acknowledgments for the help received from different quarters in the production of this work. First of all, my sincere thanks are due to Professor Dr. J. PH. Vogel and the late Rao Bahadur K. N. Dikshit, both of whow from time favoured me with various useful suggestions and encouraging remarks while the work was under preparation. Next, I wish to express my gratitude to the them Council of Administration, Chamba State, consisting of Col. H. S. Strong, C. I. E., the President, Dewan Bahadur Madho Ram, the Minister, and Sahib Har Govind, the Judicial Member, who readily and willingly provided me with all facilities in connection with my study of the inscriptions during my stay in Chamba and also evinced keen interest therein.

To the Rajaguru, Pandi Thakur Das, I am greatly indebted for his ungrudging help which has proved most valuable and indispensable for a proper treatment of the records concerned. Further, I am thankful to Mr. Jaiwant Ram, B.A., B.T., the then Head Master, State High School , Chamba, and Curator, Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba, who likewise lent me a helping hand in solving some of the knotty textual problems.

Last but not least, I have to acknowledge equally the assistance received from Mr. Krishna Deva, M.A., now a Superintendent in the Department. His collaboration at that stage has helped in expediting the work.

Completion of the task fills me with joy, amply compensating for the pains has cost me: Klesah phalena hi punarnavatam vidhatte!

Introduction

The total number of copper-plate inscriptions that are included in this work is eighty-two. The first of them is of them is dated V. S. 1387, AND THE LAST v. s. 1915. They pertain to twelve successive rulers, from Vairisimhavarman to Srimha, as detailed below:-

1Vairisimhavarman1
2-5Bhotavarman4
6-8Samgramavarman3
9-10Anandavarman2
11-19Ganesavarman9
20-26Pratapasimha7
27-69Balabhadra43
70-76Prithvisimha7
77Satrusimha1
78Umedastimha1
79-80Rajasimha2
81-82Srisimha2
It will be seen that literally more than half of the total number of three charters belong to Balabhadra alone. This striking disproportion testifies to the excessively generous dispositions of the prince, of which we shall by and by have more evidence.

Common Features of All Plates

Some characteristics are common to all the copper-plate charters discovered in the Chamba State and are peculiar to them inasmuch as they are not commonly met with in similar contemporary documents found elsewhere in India. They may be summed up as follows: (1) Every charter consists of a single sheet of copper, though the size varies greatly. (2) Each plate is provided with a handle to its proper right. The thus puts on the appearance of a takhti or a wooden board used by school children. In some cases this handle has broken away, partly or altogether. Again, some of the handles have a hole pierced in the centre through which may be passed a cord by means of which the plate could be hung on to a peg in a safe corner-that is what the owners of the plates probably used to do. (3) Every one of the plates is invariably en engraved only on one side. The predilection for such an arrangement is very much in evidence on certain plates, where the text runs on into excepting the handle, while the size of letters in its concluding portion is gradually diminished into the bargain. A typical example of this kind is supplied by the inscription No. 32, though No. 23 beats it in respect of congestion. (4) Almost every plate has a seal engraved usually in the top left corner in the shape of a rosette or some other ornamental design. The space in its centre is occupied by a legend invariably in Nagari characters, containing the name of the king to whom the deed concerned pertains. In a few instances the seal is replaced by the word sahi likewise characters. The significance of this has been discussed below.

Lithic Records The stone inscriptions sealt with in this volume do not compare favourably-neither in quantity nor in quality-with the copper-plate records. Their number amounts to twenty-one. The most outstanding of the lithic record is the Chabutra stone inscription of V. S. 1717. It is the precise in it that vests it with importance, which has been duly considered elsewhere. The nineteen short epigraphs of the Vajresvari temple are mere labls giving names of the artisans, except one which is dated and informs us that the (reparation) work was started on the given date.

Miscellaneous Inscriptions

The short inscription appearing on the massive bell suspended from the ceiling of the mandapa of the Chamunda temple stands out by itself, as it cannot be included in either of the preceding two classes. It is dated, givens the names of the dedicator and the manufacturer of the bell, and mentions its weight and cost.

Palaeography Out inscriptions represents two distinct characters: Devanagari and Devasesha. The use of the former is restricted mostly to the legends appearing on the seals of the copper-plate charters. Later on, however, Devanagari alone is employed in such records. The earliest of this kind in Chamba is Umedasimha’s grant of V. S. 1805 (No. 78).

Devasesha refers to a later development of the Sarada alphabet. Dr. Vogel has made an exhaustive study of the subject and has aeeived at definite conclusions which may, with advantage, be recapitulated hare. The evolutions of the scripts in question is, in brief this: Brahmi-Western Gupta-Kutila-Sarada-Devasesha -Takari. Kutila, of which Sarada is be the immediate descendant, continued up to the of the end of the 8th or the beginning of the 9th century A. D. which thus becomes the epoch of Sarada. The script continues undergoing slow but sure changes until, by the beginning of the 13th century A. D., its appearance is sufficiently altered to justify a separate desingnation. That is then Devasesha. Dr. Vogel has pointed out that scholars like Buhler applied the tern Sarada even to this later phase of the character, though distinguishing it as ‘later Sarada, but that a specisl name was desirable. Although the term Devasesha is but little know outside Chamba, yet it has been adopted for the sake of convenience.

Dr. Vogel was concerned mainly with the Sarada characters. He has fully described the formation of each individual latter. In doing so, he has drawn attention to the peculiarities of Devasesha as well, illustrating the points by referring to the two inscriptions written in that alphabet, facsimiles of which had ny then been published, namely the spurious Sai copper-plate inscription of Vidagdhavarman and copper-plate grant of Bahadur Singh of Kullu. These records belong to the 16th century A. D.

The inscriptions edited here are fairly numerous and range in data from the early part of the 14th century to the middle of the 19th century. As such, they afford us ample scope for studying the peculiarities of the character and its gradual development in the course of over five hundred years with greater precision.

Before proceeding with a detailed examination of this nature, I may point out that the original naiheads or wedges of Kutila, which turned into small horizontal strokes in Sarada, in turn, developed into top Strokes in Devasesha and lend it a distinctive appearance, Devanagari as we know, represents the climax of this process. In Devasesha some letters, like gh, th, n, p, m, sh, and s, still appear with an open top, while in Devanagari they are provided with a top stroke.

Initial Vowels

"In Devasesha initial a and a preserve essentially the same shape as in Srada, but the top is closed by means of a top stroke as in Devanagari, and the wedge at the foot of the vertical sometimeds becomes a triangular loop." To be exact, the foregoing remark applies to a only (1). The length is denoted by a book instead of a triangular loop at the foot (2). Examples of the latter are comparatively rare. The triangular loop of a may be taken as a regular feature of the sign. The instances, as in No. 72, line 12, are only ephemeral. Examples of a may be seen in almost every inscription, while those of a are met with in No. 14, line 3; No. 22, line 8; No. 37, line 14, etc. The from of a in No. 1, line 5, is rather unusual.

Initial I has retained its original shape, which consists dots and a curve below (3). For examples, see No. 12, lines 7 and 10; and No. 37, line 10 where it occurs thrice. In certain cases, the two dots are replaced by two small circles (4), instances of which may be seen in No. 5, lines 15 and 16; No. 8, line 15. The sign of i in No. 1, line 16, appears irregular inasmuch as it is inclined toward the right. The sign in No. 76, lines 8 and 10, exhibit the mark of medial o instead of two dots or circles, though the same inscription in lines 7 and 8 shows the first sign as well. The sign with the superscribed medial stroke instead of two dots or circles appcars also in No.67, lines 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, etc. Thus, this constitutes a regular variety of the initial i.

The sign of initial I is of rare occurrence, but it presents a very interesting phase in its development. Discrussing its from in Sarada, Dr. Vogel observes that "the upper and lower dots of ancient sign, which consisted of four dots, have been converted into a vertical stroke with a wedge on each end." This is exemplified by the Saraharr prasati, where it occurs only once (5). In Devasesha its development is remarkable and quite consistent with the peculiarities already noticed. In the case of initial a, we observed how the wedge at the foot of the vertical becomes a triangular loop. We have also observed that a wedge at the top of letters in general becomes a horizontal topstroke. This process has taken place in the case of initial I, with the result that the vertical stroke with a wedge on each end has assumed the from of the letter ra, (6). In the disposal of the two dots also, the writers of Devasesha have introduced a modification: they have removed them from the flanking position and placed them on the top. Thus the form of the letter appears as (7). Instances of this may be seen in No. 38, lines 8 and 10; No. 39, line 11.

The sign of initial u has not differed much in shape from its original (8). The observation made by Dr. Vogel concerning this good: "The upward stroke differentiates the u from t. In the later inscriptions the two aksharas are often hard to distinguish." The upward tendency of the stroke (9) is, in some instances, carried to the extreme, so that it curls over the body of the latter. See, for instance, in No. 1, lines 11, 13, (10) and 17. Instances of the normal sign are abundant.

**Contents and Sample Pages**





















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