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Epigraphia Indica - Vol-I, 1892 (An Old and Rare Book)

Epigraphia Indica - Vol-I, 1892 (An Old and Rare Book)
Item Code: NAY332
Author: Jas. Burgess
Language: English
Edition: 1983
Pages: 486 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details: 11.00 X 9.00 inch
weight of the book: 1.12 kg
The Epigraphia Indica originated in a proposal, submitted to the Government of India in February 1887, for the printing of a Record to include not only translations of inscriptions=-Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, and other- but lists of them and other miscellaneous antiquarian information, including such materials as had been published for the Archeological Survey of Western India in the Ji4elJlomnda issued by the Bombay Government from time to time between 1874 and 1t; ~5. Our the 17th October following, information was asked by Government and submitted, giving details for a quarterly issue of fascicule. After further correspondence the publication was sanctioned, and the first part was published in October 1888. After the third part, however, owing primarily to unavoidable delays by the press, it was found impossible to keep the publication up to the quarterly date, and the volume has consequently extended over a longer term than was contemplated; this however is really of little consequence. The materials other than inscription sent to me during the first year, were of little general and permanent interest, while the partial breaking up of the surveys, and my leaving India in 1889, prevented any special effort on behalf of the subsidiary features of the original prospectus. Hence the work has come to be devoted entirely to paleography, which was, indeed, from the first its main purpose.

Indian inscriptions-more so even than those of any other country-are the real archives of the annals of its ancient history, the contemporaneous witnesses of the eve!1t~ and of the men whose deeds they hand down; and their authenticity renders them most valuable for the historian and deserving of careful record. They supply important data bearing on the chronology, geography, religious systems, affiliations of families and dynasties, taxes, land tenures, magistrates, customs, manners, organization of societies, language, and systems of writing of ancient times. Hence the great need for collecting and publishing them with the best translations and comments that modern scholarship can supply. The early pioneers of Indian research fully recognized this, and men like Wilkins, Colin Mackenzie, Colebrook, Babington, Drs. Mill and Stevenson, Wathena, W. Elliot, and J. Burgess, laid the foundation of, and made important contributions to, Indian paleographic study. So early 88 1835, M. Jacque of Paris projected a Corpus Inscription, and made arrangements to include in it the collections formed by Colonel Coli, Mackenzie; but an early death prevented this young French Orientals from realizing his purpose. The Bombay Temple Commission, in 1851, recalled attention to the inscriptions, and, ill 1856, they reported on "the extreme "desirableness of the publication, under the auspices of Government, of face" similes or copies, with decipherments and translations." The report added that" the publication of such a Corpus inscriptional appeared to be an object "of such importance in an antiquarian and historical point of view (for it " would embrace the most important documentation of Indian history), that it well "merited the combined attention of Government, of learned societies, and of "individual orient lists." This project also remained unfulfilled, and it was not till 1877 that Major-General (now General Sir) A. Cunningham, C.S.I., issued the first volume of his Corpus Inscription Indecorum, the object of which was "to bring together in a few handy and accessible volumes all the " inscriptions of India which now lie scattered about in the Journals of our II different Asiatic Societies." This volume (in demy quarto) contained the Asoka inscriptions on twenty-six lithographed plates of reductions, made by a native draftsman, from the impressions available. The second volume has not appeared; but the third, containing the inscriptions of the early Gupta kings and their successors, was prepared by Mr. J. F. Fleet, C.I.E., Bo.C.S., and published in 1887 in a large super-royal quarto volume,-the plates being photo-lithographic reductions from mechanical impressions taken from the originals, and the whole edited with Mr. F-let’s usual care and scholarship.

To attempt collecting the ancient and medieval inscriptions of India, however, in separate volumes, arranged by dynasties or even periods, would necessitate indefinite delays and would still be imperfect; and therefore it seems altogether better to publish them as they are found in the fascicule of the Epigraphia Indica, and trust to the index of the volume to facilitate references. This volume is thus to be regarded as properly one of the series of the Corpus Inscription Indecorum, and practically may stand as the fourth volume of that publication.

The contents of this volume speak for themselves. The newly discovered twelfth Asoka edict from Shahbazgarhi, the great Siya inscription found by me in the Lalitpur District, the new inscription of Torarnana Shaha, the ancient Hirahadagalli copper-plate grant, the complete text of the Lakkha Mail gal inscription, and the important series of Jaina inscriptions found by Dr. Fuhrer in the excavations at Mathura,-are only part of the important fresh contributions to epigraphy included in it. Facsimiles of the more important inscriptions are also given.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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