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Palaeography of Orissa

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Item Code: NAW106
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Author: S. K. Acharya
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 9788124603062
Pages: 340
Other Details 11.50 X 9.00 inch
Weight 1.35 kg
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Book Description
About the Book
The book studies the palaeography of Orissa from the third to the seventeenth century AD. It focuses on the evolution of the regional script of Orissa from the Brahmi script to the advent of the modern Oriya script through various intermediate stages. Analyzing several hundreds of copper plate and stone inscriptions and with reproductions from facsimiles of many original inscriptions, the author delves into the palaeographical peculiarities of the scripts prevalent in different sub-regional/regional kingdoms of ancient and medieval Orissa. He followed the dominant stylistic nomenclatures for studying the scripts and emphasized on the importance of the geo-political forces in determining the writing style of a sub-region/region. The view that the process of 'palaeographical segmentation ran parallel with linguistic segmentation' has been successfully tested in Orissan context. The advent of the proto-regional and regional script of Orissa has been studied in the backdrop of this process. Besides, an attempt has been made to resolve the prolonged debate on the parentage of the modern Oriya script. It has been argued that political changes and ideologies of the ruling class were some of the determining factors in the growth and development of Oriya language and script.

The work will be useful to scholars and students of history, culture, language and literature for understanding the growth and development of languages and scripts in interaction with the political milieu and cultural growth of a region.

About the Author
Dr. Subrata Kumar Acharya (b. 1962) is a scholar of Indian epigraphy and palaeography who has published research papers in prestigious journals in India. He has authored Numerals in Orissan Inscriptions (Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla, 2002) and his work Symbols and Syllables: Under-standing the Origin and Development of the Brahmi Numerals is shortly going to press.

I Deem it a privilege to be asked to write a foreword to Dr. Subrata Kumar Acharya's magnum opus Palaeography of Orissa. It is only rarely that such a lucidly written research work on such a technical subject gets written and published. I can say with confidence that I am yet to come across such a thorough and comprehensive treatment of the history of palaeographical developments in a given region of the subcontinent. In 10 well-planned chapters (Chapters 2 to 11) Dr. Acharya has unfolded various stages of the evolution and development of Early, Middle and Modern Orissan scripts beginning from the Imperial Mauryan Brahmi Script. Special as well as regular features of successive intermediate stages of Later Brahmi., Middle Kaliriga Script, Box-headed characters of South Kosala, the Tosali, Utkala and Kongoda scripts, the Kutila script, the Orissan Proto-Nagari script, the Mixed Kalinga writing and the Proto-Oriya script are all competently discussed; the author has taken care to provide palaeographical charts wherever necessary to strengthen the line of his presentation. A welcome feature of this laudable academic venture is that Dr. Acharya has succeeded in blending authentic political history with the palaeographical history of Orissa.

I have no doubt that this meticulously researched, well documented book, which is highly technical and lucid too, will be received and read with great interest by the world of Indologists. But what I would like to mention particularly is that the researchers of the younger generation ought to adopt Dr. Acharya's methodology as role model for preparing similar monographs for other palaeographical segments of our country.

I congratulate Dr. Subrata Kumar Acharya for this rare accomplishment.

This is a thoroughly revised version of my thesis which was approved for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Sambalpur University in 1992. The theme of this study first engaged my attention in the mid-1980s and the major part of the work was done in the late 1980s of the last century. Earlier I had studied the Palaeography of Orissa from the third century BC to the twelfth century AD. But later I extended the scope of my study up to the seventeenth century. The present study tries to trace the evolution of the regional script of Orissa from the Brahma script to the advent of the modern Oriya script through various intermediate stages. For this purpose several hundreds of copper-plate and stone inscriptions have been examined.

In writing the palaeography of Orissa I have tried to establish the evolutionary character of the Oriya script. The Brahmi script has been indisputably acknowledged as the parent of most of the regional scripts of India including the Oriya. While selecting nomenclatures for the scripts prevalent in the different sub-regional kingdoms of>ancient Orissa, I have followed the dominant stylistic peculiarities which distinguishes one style from the other, although they were all offshoots of the Brahmi. The box-headed, the acute-angled, the Kutila script, etc., which are some of the well-known writing styles prevalent in broader palaeographical zones made their flow into different sub-regional kingdoms and sufficiently reinforced their existing local styles. It has been, therefore, emphasized that the geo-political forces are the major determinants for shaping the writing style of a given region/sub-region. In the subsequent course of scriptal development, palaeographical segmentation ran parallel with linguistic segmentation. The advent of the proto-regional and regional script of Orissa is studied in the backdrop of this process. The seventeen palaeographical charts appended to this book trace the historical evolution of the scripts used in the epigraphic records of Orissa. The text should, therefore, be studied in conjunction with these charts. The letter-forms have been reproduced from the facsimiles of the original inscriptions published in different journals. Estampages of a majority of Oriya inscriptions have been consulted either in the office of the Director (Epigraphy), Mysore or in the collection of late Dr. K.B. Tripathi. Legends on coins, seals, sealings, terracotta objects, etc., which are not inscriptions in real sense have not been taken into consideration. While the work was in progress many new districts were formed, but whenever there is reference to a district, it should be understood as an undivided district. Photographs of some select inscriptions have been included in each chapter in order to acquaint the readers with the prevalent characters.

In the preparation of this book, I have received help and guidance of Dr. S.N. Rajaguru, Dr. S.C. Behera and Dr. S.C. Panda. I owe my special obligations to all of them. My thanks are also due to Prof. E.C.L. Duning Caspers (Institute Kern, Leiden) and Prof. R.N. Mishra (Jiwaji University, Gwalior) who examined my thesis and offered valuable suggestions. I am indebted to Dr. K.B. Tripathi who was kind enough to lend me the photocopies of the estampages of some of the Oriya inscriptions, which I consulted in this work with great profit. I am happy to acknowledge the financial help I received from the ICHR for publication of this work and the cooperation I received from the authorities of the National Library, Kolkata, the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, the Office of the Director (Epigraphy), Mysore, the Orissa State Museum, Bhubaneswar and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla. My special thanks are due to the Director (Epigraphy), Mysore, for supplying the photographs of a majority of inscriptions included in this book. I am beholden to Dr. K.V. Ramesh who has been so kind to write a foreword to this work. I feel it my duty to thank the publishers, M/s D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd., New Delhi, who did their best to being out the book as nicely as possible. And finally, I would wish to thank my wife Geeta for constant encouragement.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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