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Sir C. MALET, at page 384, vol. vi. As. Res. speaks of Hindoo symbols in Bombay, does he thereby refer to the characters of the inscription P It is not impossible indeed thatthey may be of a numerical or astronomical character, as hidden to our knowledge as are the Egyptian hieroglyphics, for the square, triangle, circle, mercury, are to be frequently met with in the characterNo. 1.
My brother in passing Benares sent a specimen of the character No. 1, to the secretary of the Hindoo College there; but that oflicer was unable to give any assistance in deciphering it. Lieut. B. from Benares says, “ I have made every inquiry regarding the inscription, No. l, on the pillar, a specimen of which I took with me from Allahabad ,- but neither the head pundit of the Patsala here, nor any others to whom I have shewn it, are able to decipher it, or to tell me of what character it is composed.”
It is very evident that the inscription, No. l. is of exactly the same kind as that shewn in Plates X. XI. XII. XIII. and XIV. of the 7th volume As. Res. p. l80, as existing on the Delhi pillar, the translation of which will not Itfust be considered as hopeless ; but of No. 2, to which the Gya inscription is so near an approximation, Dr. MILL, Mr. Csoua DE Ktiatis, or any other Sanscrit scholar, will most probably be kind enough to supply the translation.
The Devanagari character, No. 3, has been also copied andis sent herewith, but it is by no means so neatly engraven on the stone as the other characters, nor is it in many places at all legible, although as an assistance in the operation we threw common red soorkee or brick-dust into the hollows which compose the letters, and then wiped off the particles that rested on the projections,qbetween them, with a wet or rather a damp piece of cloth, which rendered the letters more distinctly visible.
This third inscription, No. 3, occupies the greatest part of the surface of the stone, and lies above the Persian. It is supposed to have been written by various persons, who in paying visits to the pillar from distant countries, left impressions of their names and actions upon the face of it. This is the native idea on the subject, but the point may be set to rest upon the character being translated. I have not made much inquiry about the legibility of the last mentioned character, as the native account took away from the interest that it would have otherwise occasioned: the letters are badly cut, and in many places almost illegible. This character, No. 3, contains some dates which I have marked : one of the year Samvat 1562, which as this is 1890 of the same era of Vikramajit, must have been written 328 years since; another of Samvat 1663, or 327 years ; another 1515, or 368 years ; another Samvat 1639, 261 years; another
1640, or 250 years; another 1762, or 128 years; another 1863, or 27 years ; another Samvat 1638, or 252 years since.
On examining all the 18 volumes of the As. Res. I am happy to say I have found, or at least partly found a key to the character No. 2, in the transcript and interpretation of an ancient inscription at Gya, by Dr. WILKINS, vol. I. page 279. This will evidently serve as a guide, by which nearly half of the letters can be made out, as is evident on inspection; and it may therefore be assumed as likely that Dr. WILKINS at home, or any Sanscrit scholar in this country, has in his possession means of reading and translating the whole of this at present unknown inscription, No. 2 ; which from what the Doctor says as applied to the Gya inscription will probably prove to be composed of fine Sanscrit, andtobe more than 1800 years old. It may indeed have a still greater age, because some of the letters of the character No. 2 appear of a more illegible na
ture than those of the Gya sculpture, although manifestly of the same
description. It must therefore have been engraven upon the column long before the two Persian lines before spoken of, which bear a date no farther back than 228 years, or A. H. 1014.
In the description of the Ellora Caves, in the 6th volume As. Res. no specimens of the inscription are given, but on reference to the fac sirniles of some of these in the 5th volume, I find that a few letters correspond with No. 2.
There is also I think a resemblance to the character No. 2, on apillar at Buddal, which has been translated by Dr. WILKINS in the 1st volume As. Res. page 131, and a still greater similarity strikes me in the Monghir inscription, also translated by the same learned scholar in that volume.
I have thought it necessary to send a copy of part of the Gya inscription, which has been translated, together with the modern character written beneath it, as given by Dr. WILKINS in page 178, in order that it maybe compared with the inscription No. 2, of this pillar. It seems to me to be exactly the same character, but perhaps less antique. Mr. HARINGTON says, the pundits at Benares could not read the Gyainscription, but Dr. WILKINS has read it. Mr. HARINGTON observes, that am). ther inscription of one line only exists there, of a different character, and unintelligible. Perhaps this may be similar to N 0. 1, and it would be interesting to ascertain the fact through the aid of some of the correspondents of the Journal. Query. Has it any connection with the Greek character, to which No. 1 bears some similitude, in the Greek letters Av 0- 6 AH‘ some of which are mentioned by Mr. STIRLING, at page 312, As. Res. volume XV. viz. the “ ou, sigma, lambdu, chi, delta, epsilon, and
a something closely resembling a figure of the digamma*." The Khandgfr inscription appears to resemble the Allahabad character exactly in my opinion.
Dr. W. says of this inscription No. 2, “ The character is undoubtedly the most ancient of any that have hitherto come under my inspection ;—it is not only dissimilar to that which is now in use, but even very materially diflerent from that we find in inscriptions of eighteen hundred
years ago; but though the writing be not modern, the language is pure Sanscrit, written in a long verse called Sardoola vikririta,
and consists of four pauses of nineteen syllables each, in this form,"— (which the Doctor gives)—they appear to be feet consisting of a molassas, a pyrrhic, a trochee, a tribrach, a molassas, a bacchias, and an iambus. The Doctor states that the metre was no small help in deciphering the words, and this will probably be found to be the casein the Allahabad inscription, as the letters composing the character, are chiefly equidistant from one another, without the appearance of stops. I have strong reason for thinking No. 2 to be verse, because several lines end with the same letter, which appears indicative of rhyme. It is probably of a mythological character. See also p. 357, recording the translation of a partly similar inscription found at the fort of Tanna.
The character at page 500 of this volume (xv. As. Res.) is not far different from the one line of inscription, No. 5, copied, as it appears, on the stone, viz. at right angles to the rest of the character, for both bear a peculiarly square appearance. See Alphabet of the same at p. 506, furnished by Mr. H. H. WILSON, from which this also may perhaps be
decipheredt. In the As. Res. vol. vi. page 447, Captain Joan Macxanzm
sends a copy of the inscription found by him at Ceylon on ablock of stonemuch corroded by time, but which hemade out bytracing chunam, or lime water on the hollow characters indented in the rock, which rendered them legible on the dark ground of the stone. I think it would be a. better plan in a similar case to pass a cloth or brush damped in limewater, rapidly over the general surface of the stone, for when the lime dries white, every dark letter will appear distinctly contrasted with the white surface, because the letters themselves are not to be wetted, but only their projecting interstices.
The Ceylon inscription is probably old Sanscrit also, as it resembles No. 2 in some of the letters.
* See note at the end of this paper.—En. 1~ See Plate vi. at the right hand near the bottom.
In the inscriptionatMahabalipuram*, As. Res. volume v. p. 75 to 80, a very few letters correspond with those in No. 2. Captain Wuronn, p. 135, says he was shewn a Sanscrit book containing many ancient alphabets, qr. at Benares?
Captain Cour: MCKENZIE states that there are unknown inscriptions on the pagoda at Perweettun, page 314, volume iii. Page 167, et seq. contain two translations, by Dr. Wrnxrns, of inscriptions from the Vindhya Mountains, but no specimens. Page 383 of ditto, is an inscription in the Malaga language engraven upon a silver plate, which was found in a cave near Islamabad by John Shore, Esq. (now Lord Teignmoutb) but no pecimen appears, which is to be regretted.
Volume iii. page 39. contains a specimen and translation, by Sir WILLIAM JONES, of a Sanscrit inscription from the Carnatic, not much like No. 2.
Mr. Comnnooxn says at page 401, that Mr. WILKINS ascertained the date and scope of a Sanscrit inscription at Cintra in Portugal: see page 422, also, where the Canara language is stated to be mixed with Sanscrit in an inscription found in the Upper-Carnatic, some of the stanzas being supposed to be Pracrit; also that the junction of the three languages, Telinga, Mahratta and Canara, takes place some where about Beder. It is strange that a few of the natives here should say that No. 1, is Mahratta, and some that it must be Carnatic writing.
Page 224. “ The ancient Canara has gone so much into disuse, that it was with difliculty I could get people to read it. An Alphabet will be yet communicated, as several books and ancient inscriptions are written in this character.” Page 398 et seq.
The No. for August, 1833, of the As. Soc. Journal, shews in pages, 387 et seq., several characters of the KAH GYUR similar to N o. 2; see also vol. i. Journal Asiatic Society, page 276, where some Tibetan characters assimilate with it.
I have thus endeavoured to afford as much information as was in my power on the subject of the Allahabad pillar and inscription, and wish it could have been more satisfactory or ample; but I trust my endeavours will be considered in a favourable light, should the opinions I have expressed differ from those of others who must be so much better acquainted with the subject than I am.
A specimen of the stone accompanies.
' See note by Capt. Tnovnu : the Mahabalipur inscription is in the same character nearly as No. 2, and was of great use in deciphering it.--En.
II.—Noto on Inscription No. 1 of the Allahabad Column. By James Prinsep, Sec. &c.
When I requested the author of the preceding description to undertake the task, which he has so faithfully and carefully executed, I had but little anticipation of the valuable historical information that would reward the labour of transcribing the almost illegible inscriptions covering the surface of the Allahabad lath. Aware indeed that the only accurate data we possessed for adjusting the chronology of Indian princes were those derived from ancient monuments of stone ; inscriptions on rocks and caves ; or grants of land engraven on copper-plates, discovered accidentally in various parts of the country ;—I could not see the highly curious column lying at Allahabad, falling to rapid decay, without wishing to preserve a complete copy of its several inscriptions: for the specimen of them, published in the seventh volume of the Researches, comprised but two or three lines ; and was professedly intended to give only an idea of the different characters of the three (or, with the Persian, four) inscriptions. It is indeed greatly to be regretted that the task was not accomplished twenty or thirty years ago; for the ravages of time, or rather climate, have probably in that short period committed greater injuries on its surface, than during an equal number of centuries antecedent :—“ The line in the printed specimen, near the Persian name Abdullah, is no longer to be seen on the stone,” says Lieut. BURT. The horizontal position of the pillar allows the rain to settle in the cavities of the letters, and soak into the stone itself, and this action alternating with the fierce heat to which it is exposed from the sun's rays,has caused the outer surface of the stone to split and peel off in many places. Lying half buried in the ground also, the saltpetre, or other salt with which the soil is impregnated, must have had its share in the ruin of the prostrate monument. Many of the sandstone buildings in Benares, and indeed all over the country, exhibit the influence of this destructive agent; atthe height of a few feet fromthe ground their surface is seen to peel off in thin fiakes*, while the higher parts remain sharp and uninjured for ages. The Moghul emperor JEHANGIR was contented to engrave his name and proud descent in a belt through the middle of the most ancient inscription ;—-the English would rightly deprecate such profanation, but their own passive neglect has proved in a few short years even more destructive than the barbarous act of the Muhammedan despot.
" The efiect may be produced by the crystallization of the deliquescent salt lodged on the stone at that height, and marked by a zone of damp; the heat of the day would evaporate the moisture, and cause the salt to crystallize, which would split the stone just as the freezing of water in cold climates produces the same injury to buildings.