« PreviousContinue »
appears regularly in the organ of that Society. Several wellknown European authorities including Professor Ridgeway, Dr. Rivers, Mr. Crooke, and Mr. S. C. Hill have promised to contribute papers to our Journal, while Sir George Grierson and Mr. Vincent Smith have already done so. The March number of last year contained a discussion by Sir George Grierson of Principal Jackson's identification of the Magadha Pura of the Mahabharata and the same gifted writer has just sent us an admirable account of the Pārijāta Haraṇa with the text and a metrical translation. In the September number Mr. Vincent Smith has entered into a controversy with Dr. Spooner on the subject of his identification of the temple depicted on the terra-cotta plaque found by him at Kumrāhār as the Bōdh Gaya shrine, and Dr. Spooner's rejoinder is printed in the same number. Discussions like this are of great value, as it is only by such means that the truth can finally be arrived at. For the same reason Dr. Spooner will no doubt welcome Mr. Jayaswal's criticism of his theory of the Persian origin of the Emperor Chandra Gupta and his minister, which will enable him, either to modify his theory, if he finds the weight of argument against him, or to strengthen it by answering the criticisms to which it has been exposed.
But this is a digression. The Pārijāta Haraṇa, to which I have just referred, is an old Maithili drama by Umāpati Upadhyaya who flourished at the beginning of the fourteenth century; and it is one of a number of works written by learned men of Mithila at a time when, in India generally, Sanskritic literature had suffered an eclipse, owing to the subversion of Hindu kingdoms by the Muhammadans. In this, as in other dramas of Mithila, the male characters when speaking prose use Sanskrit, and the female, Saurasēni Prākrit, but all the songs are in the Maithili dialect of the Bihārī language. The translation will bring home to those, including myself, who cannot read the original, the literary merits of this forgotten bard, while the
*Since this was written an exhaustive Memoir on Randfurlie Knox has been received from Mr. Hill, which is included in the present number of the Journal,
admirable rhythm and diction of the metrical parts make one regret that the writer has not previously exercised his talents in this direction. It is to be hoped that Sir George Grierson's valuable paper will cause others to study this interesting mediæval literature and to follow his example in rescuing from oblivion similar writings of bygone days. I might mention, as a special stimulus to the junior members of my own service, that Sir George obtained his first copy of this drama when he was Subdivisional Officer of Madhubāni.
Two other excellent literary papers which have appeared during the year in our Journal are those by Mahamahopadhyāya Pandit Hara Prasad Shastri on the age of the great poet Kalidasa and on the chronology and character of his works. After a careful study of all the evidence available, the Pandit has come to the conclusion that Kalidasa flourished in the latter part of the fifth and the early part of the sixth century His conclusions have been called into question by Mr. B. C. Mazumdar. The grounds of that gentleman's criticism and the Pandit's reply thereto will be found in the September number of our Journal.
In the domain of Archæology the most valuable contribution is that by Dr. Spooner on temple types in Tirhut. It was published in our June number and is enriched by many most interesting illustrations. This paper was read before a large and appreciative audience in the hall of the Patna College last February, and I hope that the reception accorded to it will encourage the learned Doctor to favour us with another paper at no distant date.
The March number of the Journal contains a paper by our versatile Secretary, Babu Sarat Chandra Roy, on the prehistoric stone implements found in the Ranchi district. As is well known, such implements are found throughout the hilly portion of our province. A description has already been given by the Rev. P. O. Bodding of a number of stone implements found by him in the Santal Parganas. * Babu
J. A. S. B. lxxx., Pt. III, No. 1, and lxxxiii., Pt. III, No. 2. The subject has also been dealt with by Mr. W. H. P. Driver and others.
Sarat Chandra Roy has collected nearly a hundred celts in the Ranchi district in the course of about eighteen months, and these have been presented by him to the Provincial Museum, together with a few from Manbhum sent to him by the Hon. and Rev. Dr. Campbell. A small collection from the Santal Parganas made by Rev. Mr. Bodding for the Hon. Mr. Walsh has also been presented by the latter gentleman to the Museum. Efforts will be made to secure a representative collection of these implements from all the tracts where they are to be found; and when this has been done, material will be available for a critical discussion of the relics of the Stone Age in Bihār and Orissā. Sarat Babu opines that the celts found in Ranchi are of a more archaic type than those of the Santal Parganas and Manbhum, but it is impossible to draw definite conclusions until many more specimens have been examined than are at present available. Personally I should be inclined to doubt if there could have been any marked cultural difference between the people who lived in Ranchi during the Stone Age and those who lived in the adjoining districts.
It is curious that in Chōtā Nagpur, as in so many other parts of the world where these celts are found, the people call them thunderbolts and believe that they have fallen from the sky. They also attribute to them curative properties, and regard the water in which a celt has been washed, or containing scrapings from it, as a specific in various diseases. The precise diseases for which they are thought to be a cure vary from place to place. In Ranchi the treatment is believed to be efficacious for rheumatism, lung affections and certain fevers, while here and elsewhere it is resorted to in cases of difficult childbirth. In Darjeeling the possession of a "thunderbolt" is regarded as such an essential part of the medicine man's equipment, that
• Dr. Campbell tells me that in Manbhum the prehistorio beads of rock crystal which are found in various parts of Chōtā Nagpur are also believed to possess curative properties, and that water in which such a bead has been ! washed is regarded as an infallible care for dysentery.
their manufacture for this purpose is surreptitiously carried on; and stones shaped as celts are often produced which are made of such soft material that it seems certain they could never have been intended for use as implements.
Sarat Babu has found stone implements associated with remains of the Copper Age to such an extent that he concludes that their regular use "continued well on into the Copper Age and even into the Iron Age". This is not at all impossible, but it must be remembered that the ceremonial use of articles often continues long after it has been discontinued in ordinary life The Indian midwife still severs the umbilical cord with a piece of sharp bamboo, or with a shell, rather than a knife; the mirror given to a Hindu bride is of burnished brass or copper; and the fire for certain religious ceremonies is kindled by friction and not by means of a match. In the same way the custom of burying stone celts with a corpse may have survived long after they had ceased to be in daily use as implements.
The subject of Epigraphy is represented by no less than seven papers on thirteen copper-plates, all but one of which bear record of grants of land made by Orissa Chieftains. In the March number Mr. B. C. Mazumdar describes a copper-plate land grant which was recently dug up by a cultivator about 14 miles northeast of the capital of the Feudatory State of Sonpur. The inscription is written on three plates, measuring roughly 8" by 4′′ and strung together on a ring, the ends of which are secured by a lump of copper bearing, as the seal of the grantor, the figure of a goddess seated on a lotus and flanked by elephants with uplifted trunks. The king making the grant was Mahāśiva Gupta, Yayati, and his capital was at Sonpur. The inscription is not dated, but Dr. Fleet attributes the Trikalinga Guptas, of whom this king is one, to the eleventh century A. D.
In the June number Mr. Mazumdar describes another set of three copper-plates which were dug up at Binkā in the Sōnpur State about fifteen years ago. The inscription on these plates records a grant of land by Ranabhañja Deva, "Chief of Baud " and son of Satrubhañja Deva, of whom a similar charter has
already been published. * The seal bears the figure of a bull. Mr. Mazumdar thinks that the grantor ruled about the end of the twelfth century.
A third land grant (dealt with by the same gentleman in the September number) obtained from a Khond cultivator of the Baud State, is also recorded on three plates, and its date is assigned tentatively to 1475 A.D. The donor, Kanakabhañja, is also called the ruler of Baud, but Mr. Mazumdār thinks that he was not related to Ranabhañja, the donor of the grant just mentioned, for the following reasons. Kanakabhañja is described as a member of the Kasyapa gotra, whereas Raṇabhañja, like the Bhanjas of Mayurbhanj, claimed decent from Virabhadra, who was hatched out of the egg of a pea-hen; from the account given of Kanaka's lineage, it would seem that the family was founded by his grandfather Solanabhañja; lastly, the emblem on his seal is not a bull but a lotus. However that may be, both families are long since extinct, and the present rulers of Mayurbhanj and Baud have no connection with them.
Finally, in the December number, Mr. Mazumdar describes a fourth charter (also recorded on three copper-plates) which, like the others, was sent to him by the Mahārājā of Sōnpur. It was dug up in that State in the village of Kumurukela which is one of the two villages forming the subject-matter of the grant. The donor was Rājā Śatrubhañja, a descendant of Raṇabhañja mentioned above, and apparently a feudatory of the Kimidi Bhañjas. Mr. Mazumdar places him in the first half of the fourteenth century.
Mahāmahopadhyāya Pandit Hara Prasad Śhāstri has given an account in the December issue of seven copper-plates which were sent me by the Feudatory Chief of Dhenkanal. All of these are single plates inscribed on both sides. Four of them were dug up on the banks of the Brāhmaṇi river. The other three had become objects of worship in a local temple.
* Ep. Ind. XI. 98. Two other grants by Raṇabhañja Deva have been pub. lished by Mr. R. D. Banerji in Epigraphia Indica, Vol. XII, pp. 321-328. A third by the same ruler remains to be deciphered.