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Note by the Hon'ble Babu Gopabandhu Das, M.A., B. L.
The copper-plate was in the house of Haladhar Sārangi who died about a year ago leaving one adopted son, Govind Sārangi. The family has been living for generations in Kumuranga Sasan, a village near Banpur in the Puri District and some five miles from the Balugan station on the Puri section of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway. In Orissa a Brahman village originally set up by a king, or queen, or some distinguished minister and made a gift to a Brahman, is called a Śāsana, the Brahman who receives the gift being called the Panigrahi. From the name therefore it appears that Kumurang is a royal gift, but whether it is identical with the village named in the copper-plate is doubtful. There is evidence that the plate has been in possession of the same family for some more than 64 years. In 1854 it was in the hands of Haladhar's father, Dasarath Sarangi who obtained the title of Kavichandra from a local chief in recognition of his merit as a poet. Some Sanskrit and Oriya poems are known to have been composed by Das'aratha Sārangi.
According to some people the plate was buried under ground in village Mansinghpur, but when and by whom it was recovered is not known and cannot be ascertained. Mansinghpur is a deserted village some seven miles away from Kumurang, the ruins being situated within four hills on the four sides. On the north is the village of Gotpalli and a hill, on the west is the Tengalmundia (mundia means hillock), on the south is the Golari hill-an important one in the Puri District-and on the east are the Kulai and Hadakhai Mundia. The Sarangi family possesses lands in this Mauza of Mānsinghpur and it is very likely that they originally lived in this village, and it may therefore be identical with the village of the charter. How the village came to be deserted is not known, and unless the boundaries of the present Mansinghpur correspond with those of the village mentioned in the charter, it is not safe to form any con
clusion. Be that as it may, the Sarangi family have a genealogy which mentions some of the donees of the grant. This genealogy is found in an old palm leaf manuscript of the Valmikiya Rāmāyaṇa Sundarakāṇḍa.
1. Iswara Deb Sarma-Sarbadeb Sarma (issueless).
2. Damodar Deb Sarma
3. Bisweswar Deb Sarma.
4. Gokulananda Deb Sarma.
5. Sankar Deb Sarma.
6. Kalicharan Deb Sarma.
7. Baman Deb Sarma.
8. Sitikantha Deb Sarma.
9. Debananda Deb Sarma. 10. Birbhadra Deb Sarma. 11. Srinibas Deb Sarma. 12. Ramchandra Deb Sarma. 13. Biswambhar Deb Sarma,
14. Gopal Deb Sarma.
15. Krishna Deb Sarma.
16. Govind Deb Sarma. 17. Sudarsan Deb Sarma.
18. Gadadhar Deb Sarma.
19. Dasarathi Kavichandra Deb Sarma."
20. Haladhar Deb Sarma.
21. Govind Deb Sarma (Adopted).
The present owner is the twenty-first in descent from Iswara Deb Sarma, who is one of the donees.
I am told many inscribed copper-plates are to be found on the Banpur side. That they are not made known by the people is due to their fear that they will be deprived of these. That this fear is not imaginary may be gathered from the following. It is said that during Mr. Tailer's settlement of Khurda many copper-plates were produced before the settlement magistrate which were never returned to their owners. This is corroborated by the following extract from the note on a copper-plate published by Mr. Rangalal Banerji, Deputy Collector of Cuttack,
in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. XLVI, part I, 1877
"The document was found by me in an old box in the Record office along with a number of old deeds of grants in the Devanagari, Persian, Bengali, Marhati and Oriya characters. There were the remnants of a vast variety of such documents filed by the original holders before the Collector, Mr. Kerr, in 1810 when the province was settled for the first time. No proper register was kept regarding these important records and there was nothing to show by whom they had been filed."
The sense of loss and consequent pain which was felt by people who were deprived of their copper-plates-in many cases the only documents which entitled them to their holdings —may easily be imagined. It is little wonder that the descendants of these people guard their charters with so much care and are unwilling to part with them or even to show them to outsiders.
IX.-The Panchobh Copper-plate of
By J. N. Sikdar, M.A., and Amareswar Thakur, M.A. (I)
This inscription, which is published here for the first time, was discovered in the village of Panchobh, situated about five or six miles to the west of Laheria Sarai, the chief town of the Darbhanga District in the Province of Bihar and Orissa. It was found by a peasant some 10 or 12 inches below the surface of the earth, while he was levelling the ground for the purpose of cultivation. The spot where it was unearthed and its surroundings are still full of mounds covered with brick-ruins which bear traces of an ancient site. After its discovery, the plate remained in the possession of the cultivator till recently it has been brought over here by Mr. J. N. Sikdar for the purpose of depositing it in the Patna Museum.1
The inscription contains 30 lines of writing-29 full lines and one line only 4 inches long, incised on one side of a thick copper-plate measuring about 15 inches long and 13 inches broad. The writing space covers an area of about 14" x 10". The surface of the plate is quite smooth and the edges are neither fashioned thicker nor raised into rims to protect the writing. With the exception of a few letters which have been partially damaged by corrosion, the inscription is in a state of excellent preservation and may be read with certainty almost throughout. The engraving has been done with great care and does not, as usual, show here and there marks of the engraver's working tool. The size of the letters is about 1" throughout, with the exception of those occurring in lines 2
1 We offer our best thanks to Mr. E. H. C. Walsh, former President of the Patna Museum Committee, and Mr. D. N. Sen, Principal, B. N. College, for their kind help and encouragement.