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THE ASIATIC SOCIETY.
N0. 45-September, 1835.
I.——Account of the Inscriptions upon two sets of Copper Plates, found in the Western part of Gujerdt. By W. H. Wnrnnzv, Esq. Persian Secretary to the Bombay Government.
[In aletter to the Secretary of the Asiatic Societyi]
Several years since, I procured two sets of copper inscribed plates, one of which had been discovered by some laborers employed in digging the foundations of a house at Danduca, in the Peninsula of Gujerdt; and the other in a. similar manner, at Bbavanagar, in the same province : the inscriptions being, however, in a character unknown to the learned on this side of India, I found it impossible at that time to decypher them.
Encouraged, however, by the very interesting discoveries brought to public notice in your valuable Journal, as connected with the hitherto unknown character of the inscriptions on the Allahabad pillar, and the recent success of the Reverend Mr. STEVENSON, I again endeavoured to decypher the two inscriptions, in which I derived much assistance from the alphabet given in your number for March, 1834; and having observed a repetition of the same letters in many parts of the inscription, I concluded these were the titles preceding the names of the kings of the dynasty, to which the prince making the grant belonged.
In consequence, I found from your key the words Ra'ja (J"‘E ), and looking for Mafia’, I discovered that the (H) of the inscription was m, instead of sh, which the alphabet given in the Journal would have made it. The title Parameswara next struck me, and led to the discovery of Parma Makesvara, and gave me a clue to the (Z1) p, of the character used ; I had previously made out Svasti, of the com
mencement ; but it was long before I could understand the vowel mark 1', (3-) which I took for anuswara; after these, and a few other letters had been ascertained, the first of the inscriptions was easily decyphered, with the aid of a learned pandit.
The second was more defaced, and after the greatest trouble, apart of it still remained unintelligible, the letters having become obliterated by the efl'ects of time and damp.
They are both grants of lands to priests; the first is about fifteen hundred years old; and the date of the second, some hundred years subsequent.
Thinking that an account of these inscriptions, and of the character in which they are written, may be interesting to some of your readers, and throw some additional light on the ancient history of the west of India, I have ventured to trouble you with the accompanying paper, for insertion in your Journal.
A translation of the inscription A is transmitted, and the substance of the other will be given in the accompanying observations. W. H. W.
The character in which these grants are written, is evidently derived from the more ancient one which is found in the caves of Kaneri, of Carli, and Verula (Ellora), on this side of India; it also resembles that of the cave inscription decyphered by Mr. Wrnxms in the first volume of the Ksiatic Researches.
With the view of facilitating the future researches of antiquarians, who may meet with the same description of writing, a comparative alphabet of this character and devamigarf, (No. 1.) and a fac-simile of one of the inscriptions, interlined with the modern devanrigarf, (N o 2.) are annexed*.
One original character, being that found in the caves, appears to have first existed throughout the western parts of India, that is in the Dakllan, Konkan, Gujerzit, and perhaps more generally. It seems to have undergone gradual changes, until about two centuries subseqnent to the aeras of VlCRA'MADlTYA and SALlVA'HANA, an alphabet nearly similar, or identical with that at present noticed, would appear to have been introduced. In order to shew that there is considerable ground for
* See Plates XL. and XLI. We have separated the modern Sanscrit interlineation, which permitted of being set up in type, giving figured references to the lines of the more ancient Nagari lithographed in Plate XL. We have also ventured to omit the 3rd and 4th pages of the lithographed Alphabet, containing the compound consonants with their several vowel marks, as these combination: will be obvious to those who know the letters, and have the necessary examples before them in the inscription itself.—En.