The perusal of a drama named Ascharyachudamani by Saktibhadra, rent to me by Mr. K.V. Subrahmanya Aiyar, Assistant Superintendent for Epigraphy, and its similarity with the thirteen Trivandrum plays led me to study the authorship of the latter, which have been hitherto ascribed to Bhasa, known as one of the oldest and most renowned playwrights of India. The present paper is the result of that study, which demolishes the structure fondly built by the distinguished discoverer and editor of these plays and his followers.
It is a painful task to destroy the cherished theory of another, but it appeared to me that the misleading arguments hitherto advanced in favour of Bhasa's authorship required exposition, and I regret this could not be done without giving prominence to the destructive method, which is generally unpleasant. I admit the value of the contributions which various scholars have made towards the solution of this very difficult problem and I do not claim that my thesis finally settles the question. I have merely hinted at the source of these plays with the hope that it will evoke a further analysis of the situation, leading to the discovery of the real author.
I am extremely grateful to Sir John Marshall, Kt., C.I.E., M.A., Litt. D., F.S.A., Director General of archeology in India, whose keen interest for augmenting the cause of Oriental learning and kind appreciation of my humble labours have induced him to publish this thesis as a memoir in the Archeological series. I am no less indebted to Dr. Sten Konow of Kristiania (OSLO) and to my life-long friend Rai Bahadur Hiralal of the Central Provinces, both of whom read over my paper and offered valuable criticism which enabled me to revise a part of it so as to strengthen the arguments put forward by me.
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