On 19th January 1881 I received an order from the Government of Madras appointing me to serve on special duty in connection with the Archaeological Survey of Southern India, and, in a subsequent order, my duties were defined, I was entrusted with the preparation of Lists of all the known inscriptions and monumental antiquities in the Madras Presidency, in order to prepare the way for a detailed survey. With these instructions to guide me I set to work to collect the information from the several Districts, issuing a circular appealing for help to a large number of officials and private gentlemen both European and Native. 7,500 of these were circulated, and much correspondence naturally ensued. The work in hand, moreover, entailed a very considerable amount of reading, for I was compelled to study volume by volume all the books which I could find in the Presidency town in which reference would be likely to be made to Southern Indian archaeology and antiquities. A large number of works bearing on the subject I have been unable to procure, but, besides many others, I have gone through all the sets of scientific journals published since A.D. 1785 which seemed likely to bear on the subject, including the numerous volumes of the Asiatic Researches, the Journals of the Royal Asiatic Society, those of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, and of the Madras Journal of Literature and Science, as well as the whole of the issues of the “Indian Antiquary."
The object which I placed before myself from the commenoement of the work was not only to produce lists of antiquities in each District for the use of the Archaeological Surveyor, but to furnish general information for the guidance of manyresidents in Southern India who might be as yet uninterested in the subject, with the view of enabling them, if their tastes so lead them, to join in the work of historical research; and I have been buoyed up by the hope that the Lists and Tables which form the main portion of Volume II, (and which the Madras Government did not call upon me to compile,) will be found of considerable utility in the gradual work of history-making, by enabling many to become fellow-workers who would otherwise, from the labor required in studying the subject, never be induced to pay any attention to it. This extra work has led to some delay, but I think it will be found to be of service in the end. For instance ;-if Volume I stood alone, and there were noting ready to hand to guide him, an official, riding through a village where the existence of an undeciphered stone inscription is mentioned, might be induced to Iook for it, and, if found, to report the fact to the Archaeological Surveyor; he might even go so far as to have it read and report the date and the name of the sovereign entered therein, but he would probably do little else. Having no books to refer to, he would not take the trouble to inquire to what dynasty the king belonged, whether the date tallied with other inscriptions of the same reign throughout the Presidency, or whether there happened to be in this inscription any peculiarity requiring special notice,-in short, whether the inscription was a very valuable one, or only valuable as being another of a number confirming the same facts. If, however, he has ready to hand a set of tables which will at a glance enable him to see approximately the year A.D. corresponding to the native date given, and show him who the sovereign was whose name he reads in the inscription, when he lived, to what family he belonged, and whether this inscription confirms or contradicts other known inscriptions of that date, I think it stands to reason that he will take a greater interest in the subject. And the interest will increase as he goes on, till eventually his researches may prove of very great value to the future historian of Southern India.
With this object in view I commenced by preparing Chronological Tables in order to enable an approximate date A.D. to be given for all native dates mentioned in inscriptions. These are only roughly given. Extreme accuracy can only be obtained by very troublesome calculations. I earnestly hope that Government will see fit shortly to have these calculations made and the results published in clear tables, so that at a glance the English day of the week, the month, and the year A.D. may be known for every Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam date mentioned m inscriptions, One thing at least is certain ;-it will be impossible to obtain an accurate history of the country till this is done.
My next care was to draw up Genealogical Tables and Lists of all the known dynasties and great families of Southern India from the earliest times. These are merely tentative in most instances, became the subject is yet in its infancy. But I have attempted to give the latest information regarding them from the best authorities. I lay no claim to any originality. These tables are, for the most part, merely compiled from the published works of well-known writers; but being collected together they will, I hope, be useful to eginners. The remaining Lists contain as many of the dated inscriptions in the Presidency as I could collect, arranged-(1) chronologically for the use of epigraphists and the students of general history; and (2) in order of succession of the sovereigns of different dynasties for guidance as regards the history of the principal reigning houses.
To guard against error it is necessary that I should make it thoroughly understood that the information given herein must not be considered either as conclusive, or even as necessarily accurate. All I could pretend to do in the limited time at my disposal was to record as carefully as possible all that my informants told me; and as the latter may have made many mistakes, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of all the statements made in these volumes. Far more has been discarded than admitted, as I was certain of error in many cases, and sceptical as to asserted facts in many more. The Lists must be considered as provisional and tentative, not final. The work of antiquarian research in Southern India will best be carried out, therefore, if workers will take nothing for granted, but in each case will test the accuracy of the statements made in this volume by examination on the spot. By perpetual corrections, additions and alterations, the Lists may, in the course of years, be rendered perfect; at present they must merely be considered as forming a basis on which to work. In addition to errors in the description of antiquarian remains it will probably be found that in many cases the distances and directions of the places mentioned are inaccurately given. For this information I have been almost solely indebted to Tahsildars of taluks, and Clerks in their offices, whose ideas of distance and the points of the compass are often very vague, and who are, I am sorry to say, often very careless. In every instance I have searched on the Ordnance Map for the place mentioned and, when found, have given the information accurately; but where I have failed to find the place I am not, personally responsible for my entries. If residents in the Districts will take the trouble to send notices of errors in this respect to the Archaeological Surveyor they will greatly assist his work as well as prepare the way for more accurate lists in time to come.
Appendix A, containing archaeological notes made during a personal tour in the Palnad country of the Kistna District, I preferred, on careful consideration, to print separately, because it partakes of a different character to that of the general lists, the greater portion of which is prepared merely on hearsay.
The much-vexed question of Orthography must receive some notice here. First, then, I must, explain that my chief guide in this direction has been a hard-and-fast Order of Government directing me to base my orthography on the principles of the present Government system. In order to ensure uniformity the Madras Government has published Lists, to which it has desired all officers strictly to adhere, fixing the spelling of all the most important places in the Presidency. These Lists retain the popular spelling in the case of places whose names may be considered as now forming part of the English language, while transliterating with more or less accuracy a number of names of taluks, rivers, and less known places. This Iast list might, I think, be much improved, but as it stands I am bound by it. In the case of all names not entered in the Government Lists I have given an exact transliteration according to a table annexed to this preface. The advantage of this is obvious. Residents in the south, for instance, may desire information regarding a place in the Telugu country, and unless they are able in their correspondence to write in correct Telugu the name of the village in question, great confusion may arise, for the written names may be quite unintelligible to Telugu-speaking people. One example, taken at random, will suffice. The village of Galichinnayyapalem, in the Nandyal Taluk of the Kurnool District, is, in the Ordnance Map, written Golchinpollam. But if any one, desirous of information regarding the inscription there, were to request the Tahsildar of the taluk to try and get him a copy of it, naming the place, I fear he would stand very little chance of having his curiosity satisfied. For this reason, in every instance where a popularly spelt or erroneously transliterated name appears, copied from the Government Lists, I have added in brackets the correct transliteration of the native name; and, while copying the letters of the name as given in the Government Lists, I have, in order to help the reader, frequently added the diacritical marks significative of the proper vernacular characters. Thus;-the Zemindari of Karvetinagaram, which, in the Government List, is spelt Karvetnagar, I have printed as Karvetnagar," retaining the Government spelling, while adding the proper diacritical marks for the" e " and" t."
In some cases I felt a considerable difficulty, such as in the spelling of the name" Chola" (Sanskrit Chola, Telugu Chola or Choda, Tamil Sora). Here I have kept to the Sanskrit as being the best known, and least likely to lead to confusion, the original Sora being little known to English readers. But in quotations from inscriptions I have always kept to the original orthography properly transliterated, it being quite as erroneous to represent a Tamil writer as speaking of Chola as it would be to represent him using the word Chola or Choda, the letter being quite different from I am perfectly aware that in some other cases my orthography may be held to be objectionable. Thus ;-1 write the name of the sovereigns of ancient Madura, Pandiyan-not Pandya, the former being the accurate original vernacular spelling, the latter a Sanskritik perversion. (Dr. Burnell's South-Indian Palaeography, Introd., p.x, Note 2.) No mistake is likely to be made here by readers, and it is as well to have the original spelling.
In one or two other instances I have allowed myself a slight liberty where native pronunciation differs from native spelling. Thus the distinguishing name-termination Ravu spelt popularly " Rao " or “Row," I have spelt Rau,-preserving the universal pronunciation, while at the same time pointing out by the accented a the difference between this and the vowel au. The word is never pronounced ra-vu but ra-u.
One or two other explanations are necessary. Speaking of inscriptions, the expression "private grant" may possibly not be clearly understood at first sight. I mean by it to express a grant of money or lands to an institution by persons other than sovereigns or chiefs. In the latter case the names of the donors are always given. In the former, the name being useless for historical purpose , and brevity being an object, I simply call the gift a "private grant" or "private donation," meaning a gift by private persons.
The loose method of expressing corresponding dates in these lists must be specially noted that no confusion may arise in consequence of it. A year of the Salivahana Saka Era corresponds roughly with nine months of one and three of the next following year A.D., the Saka years beginning in the month of March or April. For the sake of brevity I have entered against each Saka year only the A.D. year of which it contains three-quarters. Thus, for instance, the year S.S. 1514 as mentioned in one of these documents, corresponds to three-quarters of A.D. 1592 and one-quarter of 1593. I write simply “S.S. 1514 (A.D. 1592)." If, however, on consulting the original inscription it is found that one of the three last months of the native year, S.S. 1514, be mentioned, it will follow that (approximately) the English date will be in the first three months of 1593. I say" approximately" because, as a fact, some days vary in each year, and unless very careful and intricate calculations are made, absolute accuracy is impossible. It must never be forgotten that almost every document mentions, not the current Saka year, but the one that has passed. The tables at the end of Volume II have been specially drawn up in accordance with this habit, after the example of Prinsep.
I would express my deep obligations to a number of gentlemen in the Presidency who have given me most ready and kindly help in my work, especially noting the names of Mr. J. F. Fleet of the Bombay Civil Service, the Rev. T. Foulkes of Bangalore, and Mr. Lewis Rice, Director of Public Instruction in the State of Maisur, gentlemen from whom, as being outside the Madras Presidency, I had no right to expect aid, but who never failed to help me with advice and information whenever appealed to; and, in conclusion I would record my acknowledgments of the services of my young fellow-laborer, S. M. Natesa Sastri, whose industry and zealous co-operation have most materially contributed to the completion of the work.
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