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Annual Report Of The Archaeological Survey Of India For The Years 1930 To 1934 (Set of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: NBZ686
Author: C.L. Fabri
Language: English
Edition: 2003
Pages: 562 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00 X 9.00 inch
Weight 830 gm
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Book Description
As a novice In the Archeological Survey of India, the present Editor had many difficulties to face; and he would have been unable to accomplish his task but for the great and varied assistance he has had the' privilege of receiving from Mr J. F. BLAKISTON, the Director General of Archeology in India. His advice in matters relating to Departmental routine have been of substantial aid to me; he was good enough to revise in its entirety the first two (and most important) Sections of this volume and to suggest many improvements, especially in the wording of the text; he helped to arrange the plates; and he always considered sympathetically any proposal for the improvement and speeding up of the publication. I wish to express here my sincere gratitude to him for all he has done to make my task easier. Mr K. N. DIKSHIT, Deputy Director General, has also helped me a great deal in matters relating to routine work; and he revised several portions of the Section 'Exploration' as well as the whole Section 'Epigraphy' and the chapter 'Personnel'. My sincere thanks are due to him for much friendly advice and numerous corrections. To the other Officers in the Department not only thanks are due for their kind assistance whenever I turned to them for additional information, but also a word of apology for the wholesale abbreviation of their contributions, sometimes resulting in the re-writing of their entire text.

As far as Conservation is concerned, the present text is about one-fourth of that submitted by the Officers; and hardly will a sentence be found that remained unaltered. The principle here followed was that Conservation must be cut down and more space must be left for Exploration and Research. The replacement of a few missing stones here or there, the erection of a concrete beam to support a collapsing roof, and the like, are of the utmost importance among the activities of the Department; but they belong to the everyday routine of all similar institutions in any country, and have very little if any interest for scholars, research workers and lovers of antiquity for whom, after all, the Report is mainly intended. Much more space, therefore, has been allotted for Exploration and Research. Here too I have had to use the blue pencil and re-write many a sentence; nevertheless, on the whole, this Section, as it stands now, IS about two-thirds of the original contributions.

Similar generous treatment was possible in the matter of the illustrations, especially since I hit on the fortunate idea, which the Director General approved, of having the blocks printed on both sides of the paper. The latter is some- what heavier and superior to that used in former volumes, and the result is a great deal of saving without impairing the quality of the plates.

The rest of the Sections (Museums, Treasure-trove, Miscellaneous Notes, and Departmental Routine Notes) have again been considerably curtailed. To mention only one instance, there was before me a Museum report which I have cut E2 although, I believe, I succeeded in Brevity and lucidity are not necessary down to about one-fifth of the original, summing up all that was essential in it sarily contradictory terms.

It was my wish to always use diacritical marks when transliterating Indian and other non-English names and words, except of course, the geographical names now current in English usage. The Director General's instructions, how- ever, were that diacritical marks are unnecessary in such texts as e.g., Conservation; the scientific transcription, therefore, is mainly restricted to the Sections Exploration, Epigraphy and Museums; although usually I give the correct form whenever a word occurs for the first time in the text. This is a half-hearted solution, for I am a firm believer in the constant use of diacritic marks; although, evidently, there are arguments pro and contra.

There are several new features in this volume which Readers will easily discover. Two of them may be mentioned here. One is a Glossary of Technical Terms, the necessity of which is proved by the fact that several technical terms used by certain officers in the Department were unknown to others! I believe, however, that such a Glossary will be found especially useful by Western readers who may know much about the past of India, may be even scholars in Sanskrit and Pali, yet they will be baffled by such simple Anglo- Indian or Hindustani words of the present day as puce (recto: pakka). The other new feature is the Index: a work involving no mean labor, but of paramount importance for a bulky scientific publication. It has always been the intention of the Director General, I understand, that each Report should be provided with an Index; and I am glad to say that I was enthusiastically encouraged when I suggested adding for the first time an Index to any single Report published by the Department.

I wish to add a word of apology at the end of this Preface for any defects or imperfections in this volume. Readers will kindly bear in mind that the time at my disposal was so short that almost every line published in this volume has been written in extreme hurry; that portions of the text and the plates have been sent in batches to the Press to secure speedy printing, so that the first fifty pages and 24 plates were already printed when I had not yet even as much as glanced into Section IV! I must, consequently, crave for indulgence.

My sincere thanks are due to the Manager, Government of India Press, Calcutta, and to the Officer in Charge, Photo-litho. -Office, Survey of India, Calcutta, for the whole-hearted co-operation I had received from them in speedily bringing out this much belated book.

The appearance of this volume in a form different from that of its predecessor needs a word of explanation, For some years past the Annual Reports of the Archeological Survey of India had fallen in arrears for one reason or the other. In the Autumn of 1934 the arrears amounted to as much as four years, and the Government of India decided that the best method of solving the problem was to bring out a consolidated report covering the work of the four years from 1930 to 1934, and to assign the editorial work to a special officer.

The selection of an officer for this task was not an easy matter, particularly as the cadre of the Department had been much diminished as a result of retrenchment and retirements. Fortunately, there was available in India a scholar from Europe, admirably fitted for the work, and the choice of the Government fell on him. This was Dr C. L. F ABRT, a Hungarian, who had been Secretary to the Editorial Board and Co-editor of the Annual Bibliography of Indian Archeology, published by the Kern Institute, Leyden, seven volumes of which he had been helping to prepare and see through the press. Thanks to his appointment on special duty for a period of eight months from January 1935, the Archeological Department has been able to bring the chronicle of its activities up to date.

If in many of the Introductions to previous Reports the Editors could justly claim that the year under report had been one "of steady progress", un- fortunately this cannot be said for the four years dealt with in the present Re- port. Although there are a number of discoveries of no mean importance embodied in this volume, the year 1931 marks the beginning of an era of heavy cuts in the grants, of severe financial stress and a general decline in the activities of this Department. All the branches of the Archeological Survey have suffered under the serious handicap of lack of money; excavations had to be reduced to the minimum; conservation has been confined to the most urgent repairs only; and, worst of all, the Department has been forced to "axe" a number of posts. (See chapter 'Personnel' under Section IX.) In addition to these calamities came the loss through retirement of some of the senior most officers of the Survey, whose ripe experience and expert knowledge could hardly be replaced by the younger members of the staff promoted in their places.

Nevertheless, the two Parts of the present volume will give evidence of constant and careful activity, and of several important discoveries made during the few excavations that could be carried on.

So far as Conservation is concerned, the three thousand and odd monuments protected under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act have been attended to as much as the reduced funds permitted; every year several hundred monuments underwent minor repairs, and Readers will find in the Section deal- ing with 'Conservation' an account of some of the major schemes of conservation executed. The archeological gardens attached to some of the important ancient monuments were maintained and, wherever possible, even improved.

Systematic excavations had to be stopped in 1932 at Mohenjo-Daro, the most important of the chalcolithic sites in the Indus region; and this will be sincerely regretted by all scholars interested in prehistory. The brilliant results obtained at that place up to the end of 1931, revealing a hitherto unknown high urban civilization, have raised worldwide attention, and it is fervently hoped that in the future funds will be forthcoming to resume the spadework from the point where it had to be abandoned. Excavations at Harappa, the other chalcolithic city, were continued, necessarily on a much reduced scale, throughout the period 1930-1934, and revealed among others a very interesting portion of the town, aptly called by Mr VATS 'The Workmen's Quarters'. In 1930-31 Mr MAJUMDAR completed a reconnaissance survey in Sind started several years ago; the results of this tour are of paramount interest inasmuch as it is now quite evident that there are many more sites belonging to the same cultural epoch as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa awaiting the excavator's spade. One of these, found in the heart of the Punjab, is described by Mr VATS.

Further excavations at Nagarjunakonda a have not yielded finds of special importance, though some of the reliefs found during the four years under review are again of the same high artistic quality as the sculptures found previously at that ancient Buddhist site.

'I ‘he operations at another Buddhist site, viz., Paharpur in Bengal, the ancient monastery of Somapura, were brought to a successful conclusion during the period under review. Here a monastery of really enormous dimensions, and built according to a splendidly conceived plan, has been entirely laid bare, and Readers will find a detailed description of the results, with a fine site-plan, in the present volume. Included with it is a report by Mr DIKSHIT on the excavation at Satyapir Bhita, an adjoining mound, where a Temple of Tara, with many minor structures erected around it, has been discovered.

Excavations have also been carried on at the ancient Buddhist seat of learning, Nalanda, where three more sites have been attacked with very satisfactory results. Among the minor finds uncovered among these ruins was a hoard of hundreds of bronze images representing Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and divinities of the Northern Buddhist pantheon, of ~eat interest for the study of medieval Indian art. These bronzes have been fully illustrated in the plates accompanying this volume, and a description will be found under the heading 'Museums'. Reference may be made here of a somewhat similar find of bronze images made at Kurkihar which Readers will find discussed under Section 'Treasure Trove'. The importance of these two finds cannot be exaggerated, especially in view of the fact that a number of these images are provided with inscriptions, some of which are dated.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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