Corpus volumes of inscriptions of dynasties or kings, who had ruled India, have been published from time to time by the Archaeological Survey of India. A similar volume of the inscriptions of the Kushanas rulers of India was a desideratum. After my volumes on 'The Sakas in India,' and 'The Kushanas Numismatics,' assessment of material for the inscriptions of the Kushanas, was started from 1985 onwards. My stay with our son and his family in America from May 1988 to March 1989, proved useful to sift and analyse the vast material. Dear Nigamesh has always been helpful in the furtherance of my studies. He has been sending me books published in America and other foreign countries and has been generous to assist financially in the publication of my works. I never have to worry and am, therefore, carefree to write, enrich and enlarge our cultural heritage.
Initially, it was not expected that the number of inscriptions of the Kushanas will be 217. In course of the past seven years, the list of these inscriptions, prepared in the beginning, continued to be added and enlarged especially with the discovery of more inscriptions. Mathura is a veritable store house of Kushanas inscriptions. Addition of such inscriptions is a delight. Even after the publication of this corpus volume, future discoveries shall follow and will necessitate revision of this illustrated volume Finding the number of inscriptions to be large, the present volume has been titled as 'The Dated Kush59a Inscriptions.' As a corollary to the title, it must be followed by a volume on "The Undated Kushanas Inscriptions.' Material for the same is already being collected.
To draw a line, to separate the dated and the undated inscriptions, is easy. In case of undated inscriptions dependence on palaeography becomes imperative. But is palaeography an exact evidence? The method adopted for the writing of inscriptions, was to hand-write the matter to be incised in stone or metal. The writer, as evidenced by inscriptions, was called a lipika. The stone engraver or the Jankaka followed the form and shape of each letter and incised the stone with letters shaped and fashioned by the lipika The hand writing of the lipika, was followed by the stone-engraver who being normally not an expert with the alphabet or the writing, followed the shape, the form and the design given to him. This happens even this day, while incising a stone with any writing be it in Negari, Roman, Persian, etc. Therefore, amongst the dated Kushana inscriptions, we come across a variety of shapes and forms of Brahmi letters of the Kushana period. Characters of serial 17 and many more inscriptions do not conform to the so called formally pronounced Kushana Brahmi letters.
Hand writing changes from person to person. Difference in hand writing of two individuals is normal. According to certain scholars writing in a particular period and its form and the shape of letters in that particular period, with slight variations, apparently presented a particularized shape of letters; such a shape and form of letters has been taken to be a water tight compartment. These compartments have been labelled as Aaokan Braluni or Kharoshti, Sake period Brahmi, Kushana period Braluni and Gupta period Brehmietc. On the contrary, in nature, it is impossible to have such water-tight compartments. The education, the place of education, the extent of knowledge and the depth of wisdom of a lipika or any human being differs from person to person and from lipika to lipika. Any generalization for this very reason, therefore, is never safe, and consequently dependence on palaeography as an evidence has to be avoided. As such, to sift the undated Kushana inscriptions out of the vast hoard of Bratuni inscriptions will be an attempt enmeshed in arduous effort. Unbiased approach, non ambiguous sifting of the material, honest attempts. non-preconceived and non bigoted analysis, which is required, will help to bring forth this second volume also.
While deciphering these dated inscriptions, I have come across readings which are unsuitable and untenable to the context. These reading have been avoided. Where ever possible and within the reach of my limited experience, these have been changed and new readings substituted. For any possible and plausible mistakes in the readings, I own these as my responsibility and earnestly invite suggestions at my below given address to help me to include these in a future edition of this book.
The dated Kushana inscriptions have been sorted out on the basis of the date, mention of the name of a particular Kushana ruler, or some corroborative evidence. A difficulty is presented by the use of one or more than one era by the Kushana rulers. Prevalence of more than one aka era has been cogently proved in my galcas in India.
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