South Indian Inscriptions
INSCRIPTIONS OF THE MAIN BRANCH
NO. 1 : PLATE I
...DĒOṬEK is now a small village, about 50 miles south-east of Nāgpur. It has an old temple in a dilapidated condition and a large inscribed slab. The place was visited by Cunningham’s assistant, Beglar, in the year 1873-74. He has described the temple and the inscribed slab in Cunningham’s Archaeological Survey Reports, Vol. VII, pp. 123-25. From the pencil impressions Beglar took at the time, Cunningham published an eye-copy of the two inscriptions on the slab and his transcript of their texts, without any translation or interpretation, in the Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. I (First Edition), pp. 28-29. Though the inscriptions are very important, none noticed them until I drew attention to them at the Mysore session of the All-India Oriental Conference held in December 1935. They have been edited with facsimiles by me in the Proceedings and TransacTions1 of the Conference.
...I visited Dēoṭek in October 1935 and took estampages which showed some better readings than Cunningham’s eye-copy. On the other hand, some letters which Cunningham read in the last line of the earlier record have since then disappeared, evidently owing to the peeling off of the surface of the slab, which had for a long time been used as a seat by village boys and cowherds while tending cattle. As described by Beglar2the inscribed slab is an oblong trapezoid of rough-grained, quartzy sandstone, worn smooth in places by the feet of villagers, it being situated in the thick shade of a magnificent tamarind tree, on the side of the village road, and thus offering a capital resting place and seat; the stone is nine feet long, three and a half feet broad at one end, and two feet ten inches at the other, with straight sides; it bears two distinct inscriptions’. The stone has since been removed to the Central Museum, Nāgpur.
The earlier of the two inscriptions is inscribed lengthwise and is in four lines. It
occupies 1’ 10” of the breadth of the stone, leaving the lower portion of about 1’ 6” uninscribed.
The characters are of the early Brāhmī alphabet, resembling, in many cases, those of the
Girnār edicts of Aśōka. The language is early Prakrit as in the Girnār edicts. At least
the first three lines of this inscription seem to have originally extended to the right-hand
edge of the slab; for, traces of isolated letters in the first line, which are in no way connected
with the second inscription, can still be marked on the original stone. Besides, the sense of
the first two lines, which are fairly legible, appears to be incomplete in the absence of their
right-hand half 3. It would again be strange if the engraver, selecting a large slab nine feet
long and commencing to incise it lengthwise, had ended his lines about the middle of it,
leaving out nearly a half at the right end. For these reasons I cannot accept Beglar’s view
that ‘the second inscription was cut evidently with some regard for the prior inscription,
1 P.T.A.I.O.C., 1935, pp. 63 f.