The Corpus of Eastern Kharosti and Kharosti-Brahmi Inscriptions is divided into three parts, eight chapters, and three appendices. Part I deals with Eastern Kharosti and Kharosti-Brahmi records found in lower West Bengal. Part II deals with Kharosti-Brahmi and associated Kharosti records from other parts of the Indian subcontinent. Part III deals with relevant records in South-east Asia.
B.N. Mukherjee was Carmichael Professor of Ancient Indian History and Culture
at the University of Calcutta. He was connected with several academic bodies and
held responsible positions. He published several books and contributed extensively
indifferent learned journals in India and abroad. He made a major breakthrough
in palaeographical research by successfully deciphering the so-called shell script of
ancient India. In 1992, he was conferred with Padmashri by the Government of India
in recognition of his outstanding expertise in numismatics.
The Present Work, Corpus of Eastern Kharosti and Kharosti-Brahmi Inscriptions, has
been prepared by the undersigned as a National Fellow in History. The
Fellowship was awarded by the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi
for the years 2000-2002. I am grateful to the authorities of the Council.
I am indeed indebted to Mr Ashok Jain for his supporting nature and giving
this arduous work in the form of a book, besides, I am obliged to Mr Arun Kander
for the making of palaeographic charts and plates.
The corpus of Eastern Kharosti and Kharosti-Brahmi Inscriptions prepared by us is
somewhat different in treatment from that generally followed in case of
preparing a Corpus of Indian inscription. Therefore, the reasons for the
difference should be explained in the very beginning of our Corpus.
In a Corpus of Indian inscriptions a long introduction, often divided into
several sections, is followed by separate articles on inscriptions concerned (each
including information and discussions on the epigraph in question, its reading
and translation). For examples, we can refer to the volumes published in the
series entitled Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum.
We have thought it prudent to divide our work into three parts, eight chapters,
and three appendices.
The first part deals with the Eastern Kharosti and Kharosti-Brahmi records
found in lower West Bengal, which in the period concerned (c. First - early fifth
centuries AD) formed the major part of ancient Vanga, We have also tried in
chap. I to solve the problems-controversies about the name, origin, and the
period of use of Kharosti chap. II (the first chapter of the second part) describes
the detection of the Eastern Kharosti script, its characteristics, discovery of a
mixed script, consisting Kharosti and Brahmi letters (named by us as Kharosti-
Brahmi)," classification of the inscriptions, etc. Chap. III deals with a group or
groups of persons, hailing from the north-western part of the Indian
subcontinent. These people introduced the Kharosti script in ancient Vanga
and probably formulated the use of Kharosti-Brahmi, Corpus of Eastern Kharosti
and Kharosti-Brahmi inscriptions of lower West Bangal (in ancient Vanga)
appears in the fourth chapter. As the inscriptions are very short in length, it has
been considered unnecessary to treat each of them in a separate article. We
have described, read and translated them in a tabular form, furnishing all pieces
of necessary data. The history of ancient Vanga (from c. First century or little
earlier period to c. Early fifth century AD) is reconstructed in Chapter V.
Chapter VI is concerned with the Kharosu-Brahmi inscriptions from other
parts of the Indian subcontinent and "Associated" Kharosti epigraphs (found within the geographical limits of eastern India, whether bearing the characteristics
of Eastern Kharosti or not). These "Associated" Kharosti epigaphs have been
found in eastern India, which includes inter alia lower West Bengal, the main area of
Eastern Kharosti. For these reasons we have taken these records as "Associated"
We have tried to indicate the main area or sub-area of the provenance of an
inscription by the number given to it. The inscriptions of lower West Bengal (in
ancient Vanga), the main area of use of eastern Kharosti and Kharosti-Brahmi, are
allotted ordinary serial numbers. But in cases of epigraphs from other parts of eastern
India not only a separate serial order is followed, but also their provenances are
alluded to in the numbers themselves. Thus, an inscription from Bihar is marked by
the letter "B" appearing after its serial number. Abbreviated references to the main
areas of discoveries are given while numbering the records from the north-west (NW)
or from South-East Asia (SEA). Thus, we have numbers like "lNW, IT(SEA)," etc.
Different orders of serial numbers are followed for different main areas.
Since the number of inscriptions from each main area or sub-area other than
West Bengal is insignificant (especially in comparison, with the number of the West
Bengal records), each of them is discussed in a short section (even though not in a
separate article). However, if a site has yielded more than ten inscriptions, some
earlier discoveries are noticed in short sections and the data about the rest are
furnished in tabular forms. Moreover, an inscription from such a site has in its
number a second figure inserted after the reference to the area or sub-area. This has
been in order to record the total number of epigraphs found there. Thus while an
inscription from Bihar is numbered "2B," an epigraph from the site of Chunar (where
numerous records have been unearthed) is indicated by the number "7U.P.5."
Part III deals mainly with the Kharosti and Kharosti-Brahmi inscriptions
discovered in South-East Asia (chap. VIII). An epilogue is given in the last (after
chap. VIII). Three important topics related to our subjects are discussed in three
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