Page images
[blocks in formation]

I.-Note on An Inscribed Copper Axehead from Orissa.

By His Honour Sir Edward Albert Gait, K.C.S.I., C.I.E. On the occasion of a recent visit to Balasore Maulavi Abdus Samad, one of the Deputy Collectors stationed there, told me, in the course of conversation, that his ancestors were Brāhmans descended from Pōtesvara Bhaṭṭa. This Pandit obtained a grant of land from Rājā Purushōttama Deva, who is believed to have ruled in Orissa from 1466 to 1496 A.D.1 The grant was resumed by the Nawab of Bengal from Pōtesvara's descendant Sarveśvara. The latter went to Delhi and appealed to Aurangzeb, who gave him back his estates on condition that he became a Muhammadan. He accordingly embraced the Muhammadan religion, and his descendants have remained Muhammadans up to the present time, though they still retain many Hindu practices and 1 Epigraphical evidence for years 1466-67 A. D.-1496 A. D. has been found. J. A. S. B., Vol. 62, I, p. 90.

The rule of this king extended over a large part of the Telugu country. A grant of his in Telugu has been recovered, and he is described in all his inscri;• tions as the lord of Gulbarga. See E. I., XIII, p. 155; J. A. S. B., Vol. 62, I, p. 88 ff.

intermarry only with certain families which, like themselves, are of Hindu origin.

On my asking the Maulavi if he had any record of the grant of land made to his ancestor by Raja Purushottama Deva, I learnt that it was inscribed on a copper plate which is still in the possession of the family. The Maulavi afterwards sent me this plate for examination. It proves to be of exceptional interest, as it is identical in shape with some of the unfinished copper are heads which I mentioned in the address delivered by me to the Research Society in February 1917. It would thus appear that after these copper implements had been displaced as such by implements of iron they still continued to be made for other purposes, just as the still earlier stone implements, now popularly believed to be thunderbolts, are thought by ignorant villagers in many parts of India and elsewhere to possess medicinal efficacy; and, in the Darjeeling hills at least, they are still manufactured surreptitiously for the use of the village quack. Among other instances of the survival of primitive appliances may be mentioned the custom still prevalent amongst various Dravidian tribes of obtaining fire by friction in connexion with certain religious ceremonies, the use by the village midwife of a piece of sell or bamboo for severing the umbilical cord, and the presentation to the bride of a piece of burnished brass as a mirror in the marriage ceremony of certain Bengal castes.

When the large copper axes figured opposite page 386 of the J.B.O.R.S. for 1916 were found, some of the local people suggested that they were intended to be used for inscriptions. As no such use of copper implements had previously come to light this suggestion was rejected in favour of the view that they were battle-axes, to be carried on ceremonial occasions if not in actual warfare. Now that this instance of an inscription on an axe-head has been discovered, the local explanation of the use to which the Mayurbhanj axe-heads were to be put deserves further consideration.

A copy of the inscription with its translation is appended.



Sri-Jaya-Durgāyai namah Bira Śrī Gajapati GaüḍeśvaraNabakōti-Karnata Kalabargeśvara Śrī Purushottama Dēva Mahārājāmkara Pōtesvara Bhaṭimku Dāna Śāsana Paṭṭā. 25 amka Mesha di 10 A. Sōma-Bara grahaṇa-kale Gamga-garbbe Purushottamapura Sasana Bhumi chaudasa a htöttara Bă 1408 ti dāna delum. E Bhumi yavat chandrärke putra-pautrādiPurushānukrame bhōga karuthiba Jalagama-nik shepa-sahita bhūmi delum.


Yavat chandraścha Suryascha yavat tishṭhati medinî tāvat dattā mayā hi-eshā sasyayuktā Basundhara. Sva dattam paradattām bā brahma-bṛittim haret yah Shashṭhi-barsha-sahasrāṇi bishṭhāyām jāyate krimih.

Sri Madana Gopala Śaraṇam mama.

[a letter or initial, conch shell, sword and dagger.]


Bow down to Śrī-Jaya-Durga. Deed of gift by B(V)ira Śri Gajapati Sri Purushottama Deva Mahārāja, Lord of Gauda, Lord of Navakoti-Karṇāta and Kalabarga (Gulbarga)* to Pōtesvara Bhaṭṭa. On Monday, the 10th day of Mesha, on A (māvāsyā), in the 25th anka† (year of my reign), on the bed of the Ganges, at the time of eclipse, I grant Purushottoma puraśāsana 1408 Bāțis of land. You will enjoy the land with your sons, grandsons and so on from generation to generation, so long as the Sun and the Moon exist. I grant the land with a libation and delivery of document.


So long the Sun, the Moon and the Earth endure, I grant this land with the crops thereon. One who resumes the grant made to the Brahmans either by himself or by others, is born as a worm in the nightsoil for sixty thousand years.

Save me Śri Madana-Gopāla.

* See E. I., XIII, p. 55. In some records the word is spelt as kalubariga. + On the curious anka system of dating see J. A. S. B., 62, part 1, p. 88; E.I. XIII, 156.

II.—Hāthigumpha Inscription revised

from the Rock.

By K. P. Jayaswal.

Since the publication of the inscription in this Journal (Vol. III. 425 ff) two passages in it seem to have been considered most important: the passage containing the name of the king of Magadha and that giving the date. The new reading and interpretation of those passages involved such great issues as requiring revision of the chapter of Indian history for the period cir. 200-150 B.C. I therefore decided to make a direct study of the passages on the original rock; and I applied to His Honour Sir Edward Gait, Lieutenant-Governor of Bihar and Orissa, for official help without which the rock is practically inaccessible. His Honour, who has been ever ready to further the cause of the recovery of Indian history, kindly granted the request. His name will always be associated with the elucidation of this important record, as it is due to his interest that we now possess the facts which this record had to tell on the history of this country. Mr. H. Panday, Assistant Superintendent, Archæological Survey, Eastern Circle, was directed to render necessary assistance on the spot. Once face to face with the chiselled history, I not only verified the two important passages-the object of the visit, but revised the reading of the whole record. This was completed in seven days.

Before giving the results I must thankfully acknowledge the assistance and co-operation of Mr. Panday who not only cheerfully accepted to forgo his Pooja vacation and helped my work with technical impressions and casts but also kept me company in the task of reading and re-reading the faded and difficult lines at different angles of light and shade, every day from 8-30 A.M. to 8-30 г.M. My object has been to reach finality, as far as possible,

« PreviousContinue »