South Indian Inscriptions
INSCRIPTIONS OF THE FEUDATORIES OF THE MAIN BRANCH
Nos. 20-21 : PLATES XX AND XXI
...THESE two inscriptions were discovered by General Cunningham in 1883-84. He published his reading of the larger of them, together with facsimiles of both, in his Reports of the Archaeological Survey of India, Vol. XXI, pp. 97 f. They were next edited with facsimiles and a translation by Dr. Fleet in the Corpus Inscriptionusm Indicarum, Vol. III, pp. 233 f. They are edited here from the same facsimiles.
...The inscriptions are on a loose slab which was found lying on the ground outside the fort of Kuṭhārā near the village Nachnē-kī-talāī, about seven miles north-west of Jasō, the chief town of the former Jasō State, now included in Madhya Pradesh. Inscription No. 20 in incomplete and is engraved on one of the sides of the slab, while inscription No. 21 which is complete is on the face of it. The former inscription was left incomplete probably because that side of the stone was found too rough. The inscription was therefore commenced again and finished on what is now the front side of the slab.
...The writing of No. 20 covers a space of about 1’ 93/4” broad by 71/2” high; that of No. 21,
about 1’ 9” broad by 1’ 1” high. In the centre of the larger inscription there is the figure
of a wheel which Jayaswal took to be a characteristic symbol of the Vākāṭakas. The characters belong to the box-headed variety of the southern alphabets. There has been a
great difference of opinion about the age of these inscriptions, which, as stated below, refer
themselves to the reign of the Vākāṭaka Mahārāja Pṛithivīshēṇa. Dr. Fleet did not examine
this question. Perhaps there was no need to do so as there was only one Vākāṭaka king
of the name Pṛithivīshēṇa known when he edited these records. He naturally assigned
them to Pṛithivīshēṇa I, mentioned in the grants of Pravarasēna II1. The Bālāghāṭ plates
which were discovered later have brought to notice another king of that name, viz.,
Pṛithivīshēṇa II, who was the fourth lineal descendant of Pṛithivīshēṇa I. Since then
scholars have been sharply divided on the question of the identity of the Pṛithivīshēṇa
during whose reign the present records were incised. Some of them such as Dr.
Sukthankar2, Dr. Jayaswal3 and Prof. H.C .Raychaudhuri4 thought that he was the first
king of that name. Rao Bahadur K.N. Dikshit, however, pointed out that the characters
of the Nachnā and Ganj inscriptions were later in date than those of the Poonā plates of
Prabhāvatīguptā5. He therefore identified the Pṛithivīshēṇa of these inscriptions with
Pṛithivīshēṇa II of the Bālāghāṭ plates. The same opinion has been expressed by Prof.
Jouveau-Dubreuil6 and Dr. R.C. Majumdar7. Recently Dr. D.C. Sircar has reopened the
question by pointing out that ‘the palaeographical peculiarities of the Nachnā and Ganj
inscriptions are undoubtedly earlier than those of even the Bāsim plates of Vindyaśakti II,
a grandson of Pravarasēna I8’. He has drawn pointed attention to the triangular form of
1 C.I.I., Vol. III, p. 233.