What Is India News Service
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Indian Analyst


North Indian Inscriptions



    As can be seen from the preface to Prof. Sten Konow’s edition of the Kharoshṭhī Inscriptions,[1] more than thirty years ago arrangements were concluded for the preparation of a volume of early Brāhmī and Kharoshṭhī Inscriptions in CII. The joint editorship of this volume was entrusted to Professors Lüders (Brāhmī inscriptions) and Rapson (Kharoshṭhī inscriptions). In 1922, however, Prof. Rapson relinquished his post on account of other engagements, and Prof. Konow took over the charge and succeeded in bringing out the volume referred to above on Kharoshṭhī inscriptions in about six years.

  The task of Prof. Lüders was more comprehensive, as the number of early Brāhmī inscriptions was comparatively greater than the number of Kharoshṭhī inscriptions. Moreover Prof. Lüders could not devote his whole time to this work as he was preoccupied with many other problems of Indology, though for the last twenty years of his life he tried his best to fulfil the responsibility he undertook. Shortly before his lamented death on 7th May 1943, when he was already seriously ill, he requested Prof. E. Waldschmidt to continue his work on Brāhmī inscriptions and bring his unfinished task to an end. After the death of Prof. Lüders, Mrs. Lüders handed over the unfinished manuscript of the work on Brāhmī inscriptions and other similar manuscripts on different subjects to Prof. Waldschmidt. As Prof. Waldschmidt was then in the military service, all this manuscript material was put into trunks and kept securely in a safe in the Berlin Academy, of which Prof. Lüders was a prominent member and head of the Oriental Commission. Later, these trunks, together with other precious material in the Berlin Academy, were brought for security purposes into a mine at Bernburg. After the war, in the summer of 1945[2] the trunks were plundered and their contents scattered, with the result that some of this valuable material was lost in the confusion. What remained was collected by an official of the Berlin Academy and was again entrusted to the charge of Prof. Waldschmidt.

   After putting this material into proper order and on inspecting it, Prof. Waldschmidt noticed that in the material before him there was nearly nothing from the second group of Brahmi inscriptions which is styled as “Southern Inscriptions” in Prof. Lüders’ List and which begins with the number 962. Evidently Prof. Lüders intended to publish the Northern and Southern Brahmi Inscriptions separately in two volumes, and it was obvious that he first worked only on the northern inscriptions. Even the manuscript of Prof. Lüders on Northern inscriptions was not complete when it came to the hands of Prof. Waldschmidt, and there were many lacunae which needed to be filled in. It is difficult to decide whether these lacunae were already there as Prof. Lüders had not worked out these parts or whether they were results of the plundering and mishandling of the trucks. It seems, however, certain that Prof. Lüders had not written the introduction to his intended volume treating the questions relating to the different eras and other points of general interest. Similarly the treatment on language of the different groups of inscriptions as also the various indices were missing in the manuscript. The bulk of the manuscript as it then existed dealt with the Mathura and Bharhut inscriptions besides some other smaller groups and separate inscriptions of major importance. Hence Prof. Waldschmidt proposed in 1947 to the then Director General of Archaeology to publish the material in different fascicles, beginning with the Bharhut

[1]CII, Vol. 2, Part I, Calcutta 1929.
[2]Shortly before the end of the war Mrs. Lüders had suddenly died on 13th of March 1945.

Home Page

Archives | Links | Search
About Us | Feedback | Guestbook

© 2006 Copyright What Is India Publishers (P) Ltd. All Rights Reserved.