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No. 16 : PLATE XVI

...THIS plate belongs to a set of about five copper-plates which was discovered a few years ago by some contractors while digging for manganese at Mansar near Rāmṭēk, about 28 miles from Nāgpur. The contractors divided the plates among themselves. After some of them had left the province, the news of the discovery reached Mr. G. P. Dick, Barrister-at-Law of Nagpur, who could consequently recover only one of the plates. It was in his possession until his departure for England. Subsequently, it seems to have been lost. Dr. Hiralal, to whom impressions and photographs of the plate were sent soon after it was discovered, gave a short account of it in his Inscriptions in C.P. and Berar (second edition), pp. 4-5. As the plate was unpublished, I requested Dr. Hiralal to send its ink impressions to me. He complied with my request, but the impressions were lost in transit. He subsequently sent me its photographs, from which I edited it with facsimiles in the Nagpur University Journal, No. III, pp. 20-21. I edit it here from the same facsimiles.

As shown below, the present plate records a Vākāṭaka grant. A Vākāṭaka copperplate inscription generally consists of five plates. Of them, the first two contain the genealogy of the donor, commencing from his ancestor Pravarasena I. On the third plate are generally given the particulars about the grant-the occasion on which it was made, the name, gotra etc. of the donee, the name of the village, its boundaries, etc. The fourth plate enumerates the conditions of the grant and the immunities allowed to the donee. This is followed by the usual benedictive and imprecatory verses, the regnal year when the grant was made and the names of the writer and the Dutaka, which occupy the fifth plate. The present plate, which contains an enumeration of the immunities, is therefore, the fourth or penultimate plate of its set. The photographs sent by Dr. Hiralal measure 5.6” by 3.1” about 1.3” from the proper right end of them there is a round hole, 0.3” in diameter, for the ring which must have originally held the plates together. As the scale of the photographs is not known, it is not possible to state the exact dimensions of the original plate. Judged by the photographs which have considerably faded, the plate seems to have been in a good state of preservation, only two or three letters in the last two lines being slightly damaged by rust. There are five lines on either side. The fifth line on the first side is somewhat shorter than the rest as there was no sufficient space for more letters in the lower proper left corner.

...TheCharacters are of the box-headed variety of the southern alphabets and closely resemble those of the other grants of Pravarasēna II. The only peculiarities worth noticing are that (i) the medial au, which is generally bipartite in Vākāṭaka records, is shown by two curves in pautra, line 7, the curve on the right hand being wrongly made to turn to the left ; (ii) the sign for the medial ī (long) is a curling curve generally turning to the left (cf. kshīra-, line 4), but in bhuñjītaḥ (for bhuñjataḥ) in lines 7-8, it turns to the right ; (iii) the signs for the jihvāmūliya and upadhmānīya occur in lines 4 and 8 respectively. The language is Sanskrit, and the extant portion is wholly in prose. As will be seen from the transcript given below, the record has been written very incorrectly and carelessly. Absence of sandhis, omission of the visarga, the use of n for ṇ and of incorrect grammatical forms like kūryyāt and kārayitā are some of the glaring mistakes. Similar mistakes are, however, noticed in all Vākāṭaka grants. The scribe has omitted some words at the end of line 1 and several more after atm-ānugrahāya in line 3 as shown below in the notes to the transcribed text.

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