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Thursday, September 10 , 2014


The Indian Analyst


 

South Indian Inscriptions


 

EPIGRAPHIA INDICA

BILAIGARH PLATES OF KALACHURI PRATAPAMALLA ;
YEAR 969

(1 Plate)

L. P. PANDEYA, RAIGARH, AND P. B. DESAI, OOTACAMUND

The credit of the discovery of their copper plate document, the existence of which was known as early as 1940, goes to Pandit L. P. Pandeya, Honorary Secretary of the Mahakosala Historical Society. It was in the possession of Dewan Hardayal Singh, Zamindar of Bilaigarh[5] in the Raipur District, Madhya Pradesh. Through the kindness of Mr. R. N. Banerjee, Commissioner, Chhattisgarh Division, it was obtained on loan from the owner and sent to the then Government Epigraphist for India, for examination, in November 1942. Subsequently, at the advice of Dr. B. Ch. Chhabra, Government Epigraphist for India, who accorded his kind permission and other facilities, Mr. Desai, a member of his office, was also provided with an opportunity of studying the epigraph. Thus as a result of joint co-operation the inscription is edited here for the first time.

            It is a set of two copper plates held together by a ring with seal. The plates measure roughly from 10 to 10½ inches in length and 6¾ inches in breadth. A hole with a diameter of about half an inch is bored towards the centre of the top of each plate for the ring to pass through. The plates are engraved on the inner sides only and a margin of about an inch is left out towards the left. The size of the letters on the first plate is bigger than that on the second, the average being roughly 1/5 and 1/7 of an inch respectively. As a result of this the first plate has accommodated 16 lines and the second 22 lines. The seal is circular measuring about 2¾ inches in diameter. It is partly damaged and obliterated towards the left. Its upper portion contain crudely carved figures of a seated goddess, viz., Lakshmī, in the middle and two elephants with jars in their upturned trunks on either side. In the lower portion is incised the figure of a dagger placed across pointing towards the right. In the intervening space is engraved in Nāgarī characters the partly damaged legend Srī (Śrī). .Pratāpamalladēva. In respect of this seal and many other points which will be discussed presently, the present plates bear close resemblance with the Pēṇḍrābandh plates of the same king, already published in this journal.[6]

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[1] The daṇḍa is superfluous.
[2] The subscript of this akshara looks like the subscript dh or v. compare, for instance, ndha in line 23 and rvva in the following line.
[3] The words yadā and tadā are more commonly used for yathā and tathā of this verse.
[4] This punctuation in the original is made up of a spiral followed by a wavy line.
[5] This is the first set of Bilaigarh plates. According to the official sources, the plates were originally unearthed while ploughing his filed by one Rāmnāth, son of Gōpi Kahra, a resident of the village Paoni, about 3 miles from Bilaigarh. They were handed over to the agent of the Zamindar of Bilaigarh, who passed them on to his master. The information gathered by Mr. Pandeya reveals that two more sets of copper plates were discovered in the village Paoni in September 1940. One of these, which fell into the hands of a sādhu, was subsequently recovered by the said Zamindar. This set was received in the office of the Government Epigraphist for India in 1945. This is styled the second set of Bilaigarh plates for the convenience of description. It belongs to Pṛithvīḍēva II and is dated 896 of the Chēdi era. The second set from Bilaigarh is being published in this journal. These plates are now deposited in the Central Museum, Nāgpur.
[6] Above, Vol. XXIII, pp. 1 ff.

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