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Inscriptions of the Western Gangas (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: HAT511
Author: K. V. Ramesh
Publisher: Indian Council Of Historical Research, MOTILAL BANARSIDASS PUBLISHERS PVT. LTD.
Language: English
Edition: 1984
Pages: 741 (B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 11.5x9 inch
Weight 2.54 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

Almost all the stone and copper- plate inscriptions of the Western Gangas of Talakadu, with the exception of a few very badly damaged or worn out or unintelligible records. have been included in this corpus.

The Western Gangas and the Kadambas of Banavasi founded, almost coevally, in the middle or second half of the 4th century A.D., the first two sovereign kingdoms of Karnataka. By virtue of their location in between the Tamilian and Karnataka powers, the Gangas served as an effective buffer state and their inscriptions provide enough data on the close contacts they had established with the powers, people and cultures both to the north and the south. Also, in view of the fact that their inscriptions range in date from the 5th to the 11th century A.D., they serve as excellent source material for the study of the continuous transformation of an important segment of the country from the ancient to medieval values, be it political, cultural, social, religious, economic, linguistic or paleographical. It is hoped that the publication of all the Western Ganga Inscriptions in one volume will enable historians and interested Indologists to tap this epigraphical source material, belonging to the most creative era of Indian History more fully and effectively.

About the Author

Dr. K. V. Ramesh (b. 1935) joined the Epigraphy Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1956 and has ever since been engaged in epigraphical and historical research. Besides contributing a large number of re- search papers for various seminars and journals, he has authored four books in English, A history of South Kanara', 'Jaina Literature in Tamil', 'Chalukyas of Vatapi' and 'Indian Epigraphy, Vol. I and three more books in Kannada in addition to the present corpus. He is preparing two more corpuses for the I.C.H.R. containing the inscriptions of the Vaidumbas, Banas, Nolambas and Alupas.

He visited Bulgaria in 1982 on Cultural Exchange and Japan in 1983 as an invitee to the XXXI International Conference on Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa. He is presently serving as Director (Epigraphy) in the Archaeological Survey of India and is one of the Founder Members and a former Secretary and Executive Editor of the Epigraphical Society of India. He is also one of the Vice-Presidents of the Place Names Society of India.

Dr. Ramesh, who has the advantage of knowing, besides Sanskrit, all the South Indian languages, is currently the Editor of the Epigraphic Indica in his capacity as Director (Epigraphy).


Considered from the points of the material on which they are engraved, the periods to which they belong, their script, calligraphy, paleography, languages, format, diction and contents, the genuine and near-genuine¹ inscriptions of the Western Gangas of Tālakādu fall into three main categories, namely: 1. This seemingly ambiguous adjective is deliberately employed here in order to lay stress on the serious problems faced by epigraphists in their task of deciding upon the genuine- ness or otherwise of a given Western Ganga charter, particularly of the early period. It must be pointed out here, in all fairness to the Western Gangas, that the approach of the epigraphists and historians alike to the copper-plate records of the Western Gangas has all along been circumscribed because of the influence on their thinking of a serious controversy generated by John Faithfull Fleet on the one hand and Lewis Rice on the other in regard to the Western Ganga charters which were then being brought to light. by the latter. While, unlike as assumed by Rice, not all the Western Ganga copper plate inscriptions are genuine, it should also be conceded in the same breath that the other- wise pragmatic and careful Fleet was too drastic in condemning outright most of them as forgeries or spurious. In subsequent years veteran epigraphists of the calibre of R. Narasimhachar, N. Lakshminarayana Rao, R.S. Panchamukhi and G. S. Gai took pains to study those controversial charters from different angles and have pronounced, as and when chances presented themselves, their considered judgement that many of those charters, branded by Fleet as spurious, do pass muster even though they may betray serious errors of omission and commission. Because of the very nature of their production, which will be adverted to here and there in the introduction above, it is inevitable and certainly desirable that each such Western Ganga charter is studied first in the context of other available contemporaneous charters of that and other dynasties and then, out of context, on its own individual merit and then only an attempt made to decide upon its genuineness or spuriousness. And when all is said and done, in the case of at least some of the Western Ganga charters, even though they may have acquitted themselves fairly creditably in all the acid tests employed by the epigraphists, a speck of doubt does continue to linger in the corner of our mind, perhaps more because of an intuitive feeling than because of any other consideration. Such records deserve to be utilised for lifting evidence, preferably of corroborative nature, but with an abiding sense of caution created by the awareness that they are at hest only near-genuine', if not spurious, records.

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