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THE ORIGIN OP THE BENGALI SCRIPT

THE ORIGIN
OF THE

BENGALI SCRIPT

BY

R. D.

BANERJI, M.A.

PUBLISHED BY THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA
1919

PRINTED BY ATULCHANDRA BHATTACHARYYA


AT THE CALCUTTA UNIVERSITY PRESS, SENATE HOUSE, CALCUTTA.

To

my

Teachers
of

Indian Palaeography

The Late

Dr.

Theodor Bloch, Ph.D.,


and

Mahamahopadhyaya Hara Prasad


M.A., C.I.E.

Sastri,

PREFACE
This essay on the origin of the Bengali Script was
written by me in my mother tongue at the
Sundara Trivedl,
suggestion of the late Acharya Ramendra
who to my great regret
Principal of the Ripon College,
originally

not lived to see

has

its

publication.

Principal Trivedi

intended to publish this essay in the Journal of the Bangiya


Sahitya Parisad, of which learned Society he was the

At

Secretary and one of the founders.

the suggestion of

the Hon'ble Justice Sir Asutosa


it

Sastra-Vachaspati,

Mukhopadhyaya, Sarasvati,
was translated into English and

submitted with Principal Trivedi's consent for the University


of Calcutta Jubilee Research Prize

me

in 1913.

The

by the University
Hon'ble

which was awarded to

publication of this
of

work was undertaken

Calcutta at the direction of the

Justice Sir Asutosa

Mukhopadhyaya, Sarasvati,

Sastra-Vachaspati, Kt., C.S.I., M.A., D.L., Ph.D., D.Sc.,


etc.,

then Vice-Chancellor of the University.


am indebted to my teacher the venerable Pandit

Mahamahopadhyaya Hara Prasada Sastri, M.A., C.I.E.,


formerly Principal of the Government Sanskrit College,
Calcutta, and now President of the Asiatic Society of
Bengal, and Dr. D. B. Spooner, B.A., Ph.D., F.A.S.B.,
formerly
Circle,

logy

Superintendent,

and now Officiating

in India, for

many

ArchsBological Survey,

Director General

corrections

of

Eastern
Archaeo-

and valuable sugges-

Mr. Surendranath Kumar has helped me


greatly by translating portions of works in German and
French for my use. My pupil Prof. Kalidas Nag, M.A., of

tions.

My

friend

the Scottish Churches College, Calcutta,

has revised the

Vlii

PREFACE

type-written manuscript twice and has corrected

My

proofs.

Extra

thanks are due to

Sj.

many

of the

Hemchandra GosvamT,

Assistant

Commissioner, Gauhati, Assam, for


pointing out the modern Bengali inscription recording the
dedication of the image of Amratakesvara at

Kamakhya

To my

near Gauhati in Assam.

friend

Pandit Vasanta

Ranjana Raya Vidvadvallabha Kavirafijana, the Custodian


of the manuscript collection of the Bariglya Sahitya Parisad, I

owe a deep debt


complete
Script

Mr. Raya has enabled me

of gratitude.

to

the history of the development of the Bengali

by

collecting transitional

and

final

forms from the

manuscript of Canrjidasa's Krsna Klrttana, discovered by him


in Bankura, a task which I could never have succeeded in
completing without his
of

the

Asiatic

aid.

Society

of

am

indebted to the Council

Bengal and the

Executive

Committee of the Banglya Sahitya Parisad for permission


to photograph and reproduce certain pages of a manuscript
of the Bodhieharyavatara of

Santideva, written in

V. E., and of the Krsna-Klrttana of Candldasa.


POONA,
20th Auau*t, 1919.

~)

1492

CONTENTS
PACK

CHAPTER

I.

CHAPTER

II.

Introduction

...

...

...

The Northern Indian Alphabets (B.C.


350

A.D. 600)

...

...
A. The Older Maurya Alphabet
B. Varieties of the Older Maurya Alphabet

...

C.

The Younger Maurya Alphabet

D. Kusaua Inscriptions

...

...
...

E. The so-called Gupta Alphabet of the 4th


and 5th Centuries A.D.

CHAPTER

III.

The Eastern Alphabet, 550-1100 A.D.

CHAPTER IV. The Final Development

of the Alphabet

11

18

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
I.

Fragmentary Inscription on the Image of Buddha,


Rajgir, Patna.

II.

III.

Fragmentary Kusana Inscription, Rajgir, Patna.


Inscription of the time of Mahendrapala,

Ramgaya,

Gaya.
IV.

V.

Dinajpur Pillar Inscription

Bodhicharyavatara (Ms.

Ga

Saka 888 (?).


8067) Fol. 65 Obv.

Collection of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

Ibid, Fol. 179, Rev.

Prapitamahesvara
V. S. 1299.
Krishnakirttana

Bangiya
IX.
X.

The

Umga

Kamakhya

Temple

Inscription,

Fol. 179, Rev.

Gaya

Collection of the

Sahitya Parisad.
Hill Inscription of Bhairavendra.
Hill Inscription of

Saka 1666.

Pramatha Sinha

CHAPTER

INTRODUCTION
A,

The arrangement.

In an essay on the origin and development of the


Bengali script, one must necessarily follow the steps of the
late

Hof rath Dr. Georg

the father of the science

Biihler,

Though BurnelPs work on the

of Indian Palaeography.

subject was published long ago, the accuracy of the


narrative and the scientific arrangement of Biihler's work

have made

his claim to the title indisputable.

His Indische

was published in 1896, as a part of the


Grundriss der indo-arischen Philologie nnd Af tertumskunde ,

Palaeographie

organised by that indefatigable publisher, Dr. Karl J.


Triibner of Strassburg.
The work, as a matter of
course,

ment

was short and concise, and dealt with the developIndian alphabets up to the 12th century A. D.

of

The development

of the

A. D.,

described in this work.

is

clearly

period, lack

of

alphabets, from B. C. 350 to 600

materials

whole, and not according to

made during
to take

its

after

learned

varieties.

The

the last sixteen years have rendered

is

mainly that of

that

author to

Northern alphabet as a

the

up that work now.

these pages

the

obliged

consider the development of

But

discoveries
it

possible

The arrangement followed in


Dr. Buhler's from the dawn
century A. D., but is
In latter

of the historical period to the 6th

different with regard to the subsequent periods.


periods,

more attention

has

been

paid

to

specimens

from North-Eastern India, and the latest discoveries added


to the list of epigraphs, have been analysed.
Thus, the
inscriptions on the railing-pillars at

placed in their

proper position

in

Bodh-Gaya have been

the chronological order

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

according to the

new

light thrown on them.

period, the addition of a

now

owing

possible,

new

to the

of

variety

In the Gupta

the alphabet

remains of

of the

discoveries

is

ancient Indian civilisation in the deserts of Central Asia.

Fresh discoveries have also made

it

possible

to

the

trace

displacement of the Eastern variety of the


Northern alphabet by the Western one, in the 5th and 6th
centuries A. D., and to determine the exact epoch of the

gradual

final

displacement.

Finally,

new

materials have facilitated

the determination of the type specimens of each variety, in

each

particular

century,

with

nearer

approach

to

accuracy.

From

the

7th

century onward,

impossible to follow the

has

it

in

been

found

Dr. Biihler's work,

arrangement
development of the Eastern variety from 600-1100
A. D. has not been clearly shown there. In the following
as the

North-Eastern inscriptions of
7th centuries A.D. have been separately

pages, the alphabets of the

the 6th

and

analysed. In the 8th century,

we

find three different varieties

Northern India, or more strictly four,


we count the alphabet of Afghanistan, which is as yet but

of the alphabet in
if

known. The Western and Afghanistan varieties were


developed from the old Western variety, while the Central
little

and Eastern varieties were evolved out of the old Eastern.

The Eastern

variety lost

receded

ground and

eastwards.

Western boundary

its

The development,

of the
gradually
Eastera alphabet only, has been followed in these pages.
It has become possible to show, that proto-Bengali forms
were evolved in the North-East, long before the invasion

of Northern India, by the Nagari alphabet of the SouthWest, and that Nagarl has had very little influence upon
the development of

the

Bengali

script.

The chronology

of the Pala dynasty of Bengal, and specially their relations

with

the

Gurjjara-Pratiharas

have

been

settled

from

INTRODUCTION.

synchronisms, and a detailed discussion of the subject


l
will be found in my monograph on the Palas of Bengal
It is evident that Narayanapala preceded MahendrapSla
and Magadha, specially the Western portion of it was
included for sometime in the Empire of the GurjjaraThe establishment of this sequence is of the
Pratiharas.

utmost importance, as it enables us to treat the analysis


of Pala records, which are dated in the majority of cases
in regnal years,

With

with more confidence.

the introduction

of

the

Nagari

in the

script

10th century, the Western limit of the use of the Eastern


In the llth century,
alphabet was still further reduced.
we find that, there is very little similarity between the

The
alphabet used in Benares and that used in Gaya.
of
the
has
been
we
find
aud
changes
progress
very rapid,
proto-Bengali alphabet in the llth century
A.D. In the 12th century, we find further changes, which
make the formation of the modern Bengali alphabet
the complete

almost complete. The final development of certain letters,


such as i, ca and Tia, are not noticeable until after the

Muhammadan
13th and

conquest.

The dearth

14th centuries

A.D.,

of records

both

of

manuscript

the

and

epigraphic, makes it impossible to follow the development of these letters in this period.
The shock of the

Muhammedan
which

it

literature,

centuries

made only

conquest paralysed Eastern India, from


never recovered entirely.
The blow stunned

in

fresh impetus
his

followers.

development

growth during the first two


conquest, and a partial revival was

prevented
after the

the

its

15th century.

The

revival received a

from the Neo-Vaisnavism of Caitanya and

With
of the

the

paralysis

alphabet

also

of

literature,

stopped.

Memoirs of.the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. V,

the

Very few
Ft. III.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

changes have, indeed, been made in the Eastern alphabet


from the 12th century A.D. down to the nineteenth.

Such changes, as are noticeable, were made during the


15th and 16th centuries, and have been illustrated by the
alphabet used in two Mss. written in Bengali
(1) Santideva's Bodhicaryavatara,

Samvat 1492 (1435

Vikrama
Mahamahoby
in

copied

discovered

A.D.),

padhyaya Haraprasada f astri, C. I. E., in Nepal and


purchased by him for the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

The complete colophon of this ms. has


(No. G. 8067.)
been
already
published
by me in my monograph on
1

Saptagrama.
(2) Candldasa's

Krsna-Ktrttana,

new

work

dis-

covered by Pandit Vasantarafijana Raya, Vidvadvallabha,


the Keeper of the ms. collection of the Vangiya-SahityaParisad.
it

Though the

material

impossible to assign the

ms

is

paper, the

to

makes

script

any date later than the

14th century A.D.

The completely developed alphabet has not changed


at all during

the

17th and 18th centuries A.D.

In the

19th century, the vernacular


and classical literature
received a fresh impetus, as the result of the contact with
the West, but the alphabet

ceased to change.

Its

forms

were stereotyped by the introduction of the printing press,


and it is not likely that in future it will change its forms
in each century.

B.

From
till

its

The limits of the use of the Eastern Variety.


the

beginning of the Empire of the Mauryas


the Imperial Guptas, Allahabad and

the downfall of

immediate

limit of

the

neighbourhood

use

J.

of

the

formed

Gupta alphabet.

A. S. B. (N. S.)i Vol. V, p. 263.

the

western

The western

PLATE

I.

Fragmentary Inscription on
image of Budha-RajgirPatna(l. M.)
No. N. S. 2.

INTRODUCTION.
the most important one,

was the only

as this

limit

is

limit

which changed its position. Upon the formation


Western variety in the North-Eastern alphabet,
In the 8th
eastwards.
limit gradually receded

of a
this

Western

we

boundary of the

formed the eastern

Benares

century,

variety, but

in the

beginning of the llth century,

find that the limit has receded further

In the

East.

12th century, both varieties were being used in Magadha,


as is shown by the Govindapur Stone Inscription of the

$aka year 105y/ and the Bodh-Gaya Inscription of JayacAfter the Muhammadan conquest, the Western

candra. 2

gradually spread itself over the whole of South


Bihar or Magadha, and the use of the Eastern variety was
The
confined to the western limits of Bengal proper.

variety

use

of the Eastern

till

the 14th century,

lasted in

however,

variety,

when we

Magadha

find it in votive inscriptions,

on flag-stone? in the court-yard of the Great Temple at


3
Bodh-Gaya, and in a new inscription discovered by

Mr. Lai Bihari Lai Singh, Deputy Superintendent of


The Q&y&-Prapitamahesvara
Bihar.
Police,
temple
inscription of

Bhairavendra

V.
4

S.

1257 and the


S.

(V.

Umga

1496 = 1439

NSgarl had entirely displaced

the

Hill inscription of

A.D.

show

Eastern

that

variety in

Magadha.
In the
northern

north
limit.

the

snowy

mountains

But

in

the

north-east

formed
the

alphabet was adopted in Assam,

Kamauli

grant

*
s

Epigraphia Indica, Vol.

Memoirs, A.

S. B., Vol.

II, p.

V,

pi.

Cunningham's Archaeological
Nos.
J.

&

Bengali

where not only


Vaidyadeva, but also in

Bengali characters

inscriptions,
1

of

have

been

the

in

the

other

exclusively

333.

xxxv.

Survey Reports, Vol.

2.

S. B. (N. S.), Vol. II, p. 29.

I,

PI.

II,

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

6
used.

In the Assam

Saka year

1107 = 1185

A.D.

Vallabhadeva

of

plates

we

of

find archaisms,

lurked in the backwoods of civilisation.

the

which

In the east the

Bengali script was also being used in Sylhet, where similar


archaisms are to be met with in the Sylhet grants of

Kesavadeva

and

Isanadeva. 3

In

the

south

the

We find the
Bengali script was used throughout Orissa.
proto-Bengali script in the Anauta Vasudeva temple
inscription of Bhatta Bhavadeva at Bhuvanesvara, and
the

modern Bengali alphabet

Kings Nrsirhhadeva II
The modern cursive Odiya
Bengali after
Assamese.

in the grants of the

and

Nrsimhadeva

Gariga
IV. 5

was developed out of the


the 14th century A. D. like the modern
script

Epigraphia Indica, Vol. V,

Proceedings, A. S. B., 1880, p. 148.

Ibid, p. 152.

J.

Ibid, 1895, Pt.

A. S. B., 1896, Pt.


I, p.

I,

136.

p. 183.

p. 235.

CHAPTER

II

The Northern Indian Alphabets

(B.C.

35O A.D. 600).

The Older Maurya Alphabet.

A.

Leaving aside the various theories about the origin of


the ancient Indian alphabet, we turn to examine it as
has been found to exist at the beginning of the historical
It is sufficient for the purpose of the present
period.
it

that Dr. Biihler recognised the antiquity of the


" The existence of so
Indian Alphabet in Asoka's time.

article

and of so very numerous cursive forms,


had had a long history

local varieties,

many

proves, in

case, that writing

any

and the alphabet was then

in Asoka's time

a state of

in

script

The alphabet is also recognised to be " a


framed by learned Brahmans for writing Sanskrit." 2

The

earliest

transition/'

Indian

grounds

palseographical
letters

those
the

used
of

in

incising

Asoka's

Stupa at

clan.

over

to

that
this

Piprawa

The

contained

(Sarira)

of

Virudhaka, King

3
*

proved on

Brahmi

of

found

himself,

of

the

Sakyas,

the

stupa

who

was

were

Biihler's Indian Palaeography (Eng. Ed.), p. 7.


Ibid, p. 17.
J.

R. A.

J.

E. A.

S.,

S.,

1898, p. 388.

1905, p. 680.

and

akya
raised

slain

of Kosala, during the life-time of

in

one

to

according

Buddha

than

older

vases

another, those of his kinsmen of the

relics

are

record

It has been surmised that

the

forms

the

on the

record

It can be

1898.

inscriptions.

authority the relic

according

in

the

is

inscription

Piprawa vase discovered

by

Buddha

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

8
himself.

must

tion

Consequently the date of the Piprawa inscriplie either in the 5th or


the 4th centuries B.C.

Palseographical evidence fully

the archaic forms of the

Persian

which

sigloi,

went

the general use in

of

Asoka's time, are found to have been used in

An

tion.

of the

analysis,

characters of

would be out of place here, as


to

Eastern

the

variety

of

it

the

inscrip-

this inscription,

does not properly

the

on the

found

alphabet

out

conclusion

this

supports

rah mi

Maurya

belong

alphabet.

It

serves to indicate the upper limit of the use of the alphabet

The lower

of this period.
at

200 B. C.

The

has been fixed by Biihler

limit

found

seals,

Cunningham

by

at

Patna, which according to Biihler belong to the period


when Brahmi was written boushophedon (ySovo-rpo^TrSov),
were really seal-matrices,
like
the Rohtasgadh Rock

Sasauka. 3

seal-matrix of the Makasamanfadhipati

B.

In

Varieties of the Older

1896,

Maurya

admitted

Biihler

the

distinct varieties of this alphabet, viz

the Northern

(i)

to be

the pillar-edicts

Kalsi,

Nigliva, Paderia and


at

Bairat,

at

found

Sahasram, the

(ii)

of

two

in the

rock-edicts

of

at

Matbia,

Radhia,

minor

the

inscriptions

caves and Sanci and Sarnath pillars


the Southern

existence

Allahabad,

Rampurwa,

Alphabet.

rock-edicts

Barabar

the

to be found in the-rock

edicts

at

Giruar, Dhauli and Jaugada and the minor rock-edicts at

Siddapura.
Biihler already
this period, in
1

noticed the

the Northern

existence of

Maurya

varieties, at

alphabet.

Indian Palaeography (Eng. Ed.), p. 33.


Cunningham's Arch. Survey Report, Vol. XV, Pi.
Fleet's

Gupta

Inscriptions, p. 383, PI.

xliii

B.

"Even

III.

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.


the

The

homogeneous.

northern

the

in

writings

are not

versions

edicts of Allahabad,

pillar

Nigliva, Paderia, Radhia

Unmpurwa form

and

quite

Alathia,

very
only occasionally minute
differences can be traced, and the edicts of Bairab No. I,
connected

closel}'

and

Barabar

Sahasram,

which

set, in

not differ much.

Sanci, do

little further off stands the Dhauli separate edicts (where


Edict VII has been written by a different hand from

the

Delhi-Mirat

the

rest),

Queen's

edict,

peculiar

and

altogether

rock-edict of Kalsi,

with

the

different

separate edicts), agree.

Very

the writing of the

letters

on the coins of

possible to speak

is

it

Perhaps,

a North-Western variety of

of

da.

angular
is

some

it,

the Allahabad

Pautaleon (but also some in the Jaugada

Agathocles and
also

show

these

as

and

edicts

the

older

Maurya

alphabet/'

Thus

Biihler distinguishes three different

the Northern

in

geographical
follows

be

may

they

classified

as

The

(a)

According to their

Maurya alphabet.

distribution,

sub-varieties

North-Eastern

found

in

the

Allahabad,

Radhia, Mathia, Rampurwa, Nigliva, Paderia and the


Sarnath pillar
edicts.
The Earthen seals found at

Patna 2

(seal

matrices

Namdaya and
Cunningham
period
(b)

at

bearing

the

inverted inscriptions

Agapala'sa) as

well

as

Bodh-Gaya

that

found

(Mokhalinam} belong

by

to this

The North-Central

found

the

in

rock-edicts

at

Bairab and Sahasram, the pillar-edicts at Safici and Delhi

and the cave-inscriptions at Barabar.

:!

Ibid, p. 34.

Cunningham's A

reli-i'ological

Cunningham's Mahaboclhi,

PI.

Survey Rep,,

XXIV,

p.

1.

Vol.

XV,

PI. III. 1, 2.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

10
(c)

The North-Western

of the Kalsi rock-edicts

represented by the characters

and the

on

letters

the

coins

of

the Greek kings Agathocles and Pantaleon.

In

this

paper we are concerned

with the North-

only

Eastern variety, of the older Maurya-alphabet, and such


inscriptions of the Northern Central variety as are to be

found

in

the older

North-Eastern

India.

Maurya alphabet would

detailed description of

also be out of place here,

it is not yet possible to


improve upon Dr. Biihler's
admirable description of it.
Consequently, one has to
remain content, simply with the noting of the peculiarities

as

of the alphabet as found in different

Among,

inscriptions.

vowel signs the only letter to be noted is the initial I which


has been found in one of the inscriptions on the railings
around the great temple at Bodh-Gaya, where Buhler
reads Idagimitasa for Imdagimitasa read

But

in reality,

by Cunningham.

the characters of this inscription belong to

the younger Maurya alphabet, as shown by Bloch. Among


the consonants the form of kha found in one of the inscriptions at Bodh-Gaya, 2 with a triangle as its base, should -be
noted, but this

Maurya

alphabet.

inscriptions

of

marks on the

this

pillars

The only
period,

instance of
is

to be

of Buddha's

enclosure at Bodh-Gaya.

the younger
na, among the
to

belongs

also,

inscription

found in the mason's

walk,

inside the temple

Cha with two loops, one on each

side of a vertical straight line,

instead of a circle

divided

two unequal parts, have also been found among the


mason's marks on the pillar-bases of Buddha's walk. The

into

usual form otja,

Other

letters

is

do not

the Northern form with a loop or a dot.


call for special

the test letters ya, la, sa and ha


of ya is essentially the Northern
1
*

attention

may

be

but forms of

noted.

The form

one, which Buhler

Mahabodhi,

PI.

X, Nos. 9 and

Ibid, PI. X,

No.

6.

10.

calls

11

THE NORTHEEN INDIAN ALPHABETS.


the " notched

ya"

One important

exception

The form

of la

to be

is

is

generally

cursive.

in the extremely

found,

cursive form, used in the Jaugatja separate edicts, which

same

essentially the

found

to be

Eastern

in the

4th and

is

variety of

5th

centuries
Gupta alphabet
The position of the Jaugada edict is somewhat
The edicts of Dhauli and Jaugacja, though relepeculiar.
the

of

the Early

A.D.

Southern variety of the older Maurya


an
stand in
intermediate position.
"The

the

to

gated

alphabet,

Southern variety

and

is

most strongly expressed


less

Siddapura edicts,

clearly

in the

Girnar

Dhauli and

the

in

by differences in the signs for n, a, I'll a,


the medial i, and the ligatures with ra" 1

edicts

Jaugada

ja, ma, ra, sa,

Most probably,

the cursive forms of In and la, found in the


edicts, were imported from Northern
be seen later on.
In the North-Eastern

Jaugada separate
India,

as

will

variety, the usual

form of ha

is

also cursive.

The extremely

cursive form of this letter, in the


is

Jaugada separate
2
peculiar and an importation from the North.

statement

corroborated

is

different cursive
1

in the

last eight

letters are
(/)

ca.

of a slightly

Allahabad separate

edicts, line

The Younger Maurya Alphabet.

columns, of Plate

represent the younger

The

by the discovery

in the

This

word mahamata.

C.

The

form

edicts,

II of Biihler's tables,

Brahmi alphabet

of Northern India.

taken from six series of inscriptions

The Nagarjuni

cave-inscriptions

of

Dasaratha,

200 B.C.
(ii)

The

inscriptions

on the

Toranas,

and cross-bars of the Bharhut Stupa,


1

Ind. Palroo.

ca.

railing-pillars

150 B.C.

(Eng. Ed.), p. 34.

Burgess, Stupa of AmarSvatI,

p. 125.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

12

(m) The cave

Pabhosa

inscriptions at

in

United

the

Provinces, ci. 150 B.C.

The

(iv)

oldest

discovered by Dr.

from

inscriptions

A.

during the

Fiihrer

Kankali Til a, but the most ancient

Parkham.

excavations at

This inscription

Museum
to the

belong

incised

is

on the base
the

Most probably
younger Maurya alphabet.
Mathura

at

The Hathigumpha

(v)

from the

inscription

a mutilated image of Yaksa, at present in


gical

These

Mathura was discovered by Cunningham

of

district

Mathura.

from the oldest inscriptions

taken

letters are principally

Archaeolo-

its

characters

Kharavela of

of

inscription

at
of

Kaliriga, ca. 160 B. C.


(vi)
ca.

The

Among
of

Nanaghat

the

of

inscriptions

Andhras,

150 B. C.
these,

only

the

Nagarjun! cave-inscriptions
to the North Eastern

Dasaratha can be said to belong

one

During subsequent years


has been added to the above list

variety.

other

group

(vii]

The

inscriptions on

the great temple at

the

railing-pillars

The

Bodh-Gaya.

late

around

Theodor

Dr.

Bloch drew attention to the fact that "the older

part

of

Bodh-Gaya railing was put up in the middle of the


2nd century B. C., about 100 years after the time of

the

Asoka". 2

The

cave-inscriptions of

DaSaratha are about

half a century older than those on the

railing

pillars

at

Bodh-Gaya. The following points are worth noting on the


alphabet of the cave inscriptions
(1) the form of la closely resembles, that of
:

extremely cursive one, found


(see ante p. 14)
1

Ai-cli.
*

the

the Jaugacja separate edicts

Cunningham, A.

Museum

in

S. R.,

Vol.

XX,

p. 41, PI.

VI.

at

Mathura, 1910, p. 83, C. I.


Annual Rep. Arch. Siirve yof India, 1908-9,

p. 147.

Vogel, Cat. of

ro
oo

CO

CL
00
'(0

o:

c
o

c
(D

E
DO
03

LL

18

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.


form of lingual sa

(2) Ihe

peculiar and resembles

is

in the Kalsi edicts, probably,

the form found

sa found
precursor of the looped lingual
in the 4th or 5th centuries A.D. ;
(3)

ha

the form of

of the Siddapura edicts

is

it

was the

in Eastern India

and resembles that

primitive

2
;

an advance the upper hook


(4) the form of sa shows
has been lengthened to form a slightly slanting second
horizontal line.

The form
of

II

Plate

The
at

of

on

inscriptions

Bodh-Gaya

work does not

Biihler's

the

Column XVII

letters in

the remaining

of

call for

remarks.

and cross-bars

railing-pillars

exhibit further changes, though they were

incised only about fifty years after Dasaratha's time

()

a shows

first letter

II, Col.

various

is

of

decidedly
I.); the other form

inscriptions

resembles

that

(PI. II, Col.

used

XXI,

noble

the

the

in

to be

is

VIII,

of

In the word Amoghas


the
southern appearance 1 (e.g. PI.

two forms.

found

in

the

Knrangi and

lady

Hathigumpha

inscriptions

1);

ka has invariably the dagger-shaped form which


was current up to the end of the 6th century A.D. and
(b)

was formed

by the elongation

the

Maurya

older

of

ka

cf.

form,

the

vertical
in

line of

Tabapanaka*

Knrangiye'^ , Sakapntrasa* , Cetika*

kha occurs once only, in Bodhirakhitasa* where


resembles the form used in the oldest inscription in
(c)

it

Mathura

(PI. II, Col.

XX,

difference between these

form as found

in

there

10);

two forms,

the

is

very

slight

the Eastern variety

Bodh-Gaya

inscription,

being

slightly longer than that of the Western variety;


1

2
s

Buhler's Indian Palaeography,

Cunningham's Mahabodhi,
Ibid, PI. X, 10.

PI.

p. 36.

Ibid, PI.

X,

47, 910.

2.

Ibid, PI.

X,

3.

X,

Ibid, PI.

X,

9, 10.

Ibid, PI.

X,

3.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

14
(d)

where

times

occurs several

ga

has two varieties

it

and (2) the angular as in


occurs

also

(e) ff/ia

PI.

name

the

in

Knraiigi*

(1) cursive as in PI. X, p. 4

X, 6-7

once

only

in

Amoghasa'-

its

appearance shows great change, though it resembles one of


the forms used in the Kalsi edicts (PI. II, Col. 3-12); it is,

on the whole, different from the form to be found in the


North-Eastern variety of the early Maurya alphabet;

(f) ca occurs twice in Cetika,* but its form does not


show much difference from that of the older Maurya one
;

two forms of ja are to be found


resembles the ja
(?) one form

(g)

tions:

Col.

X,

15, while (ii)

the

form

other

these inscrip-

in

in Biihler's PI. II,

is

the usual older

Maurya one with a dot in place of the central loop ;


(h} ta resembles the southern form in Biihler's
Col. VII, 23
(')

and the usual form of

da occurs

of

in all

the

later

Brahml

resembles

the

angular form

inscriptions;

Bodh-Gaya

of the

II,

discovered on

inscriptions

the pillars, copings and cross-bars of the

and

PI.

older

alphabet (Biihler PI. II, Col. V-VI, 23);


Bodhirakhitasa
(/) dJia occurs once only in

railing,

Maurya
there

is

no change in the form of this letter from the 3rd century


B.C. till the 10th or llth century A. D.
;

() na also occurs
Gaya and its base

in all of the inscriptions

from Bodh-

shows no

at

line

curvature

all,

proving that these inscriptions cannot be placed later than


the 2nd century B. C. ;

shows a greater degree of change; in all cases


occurrence, it shows two well-formed right angles, at

(/) jia

of

its

lower

its

extremeties;

Jivaputraye,
1

Ibid, PI.
Ibid, PI.

X,
X,

cf.

Tabapanaka&a,

Sakaputra&a,

Pajavatiye, Jivaputraye and Posada

47, 910.
2.

Ibid, PI. X, 9, 10.

Ibid, PI.

Ibid, PI. X, 9.

X,

3.

Ibid, PI. X, 10.

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.

15

(m) the form of ba shows no change;

two forms

(n)

tions

(1)

circle over

it,

of

ma with

ma have been found

two forms of pa

(0)

also

(p] ra

is

is

a triangle at

to

be

is

to be

found

the

to be

first

always represented by a curved line

the place of the circle

base in

its

two forms of the dental

(?)

ound on the coping

va shows the formation of a triangle at

(q)

and the second form, that with the


found in pillar-inscriptions 4

inscriptions only,

curve below,

inscrip-

as in Mitrasa

it,

are

the notched one, which

is

these

ma with

as in Amoghasa 1 and (2}

the lower part and a right angle over

form

in

a circle at the lower part and a semi-

are

sa

on one of the inscribed cross-bars, we

be found

to

a slight curve to
the left, attached to the lower extremity of the lower hook,
cf. sa in Amoghasa ;
the other form is the usual older

Maurya

one, where

in

some

find

cases, the

lower hook, marks a slight modification


(*) Tia

been

has

found

once in

only

the

recently discovered by the late Dr. Bloch, where

a ligature. The form of this


is

extremely cursive and

peculiar to the eastern

Northern India
(t]

letter

letter, in the

shows

variety

inscription
it

occurs in

word BraJimamitra 5
hooked foim

this

the

of

is

to

older

alphabets with a

in

the

first

word

in

downward elongation

Ibid, PI. X, 2.
Ibid, PI. X,
8

910.

Annual Rep. Arch. Survey

new
rafto,

the Bharhut and the Pabhosa


of

the

left

line.

is

alphabets of

inscription has supplied a

be found in

and resembles the form

the

The newly discovered


na which

that

of

elongation
;

3
4

Ibid, PI.

of India,

X,

910.

X,4 7
190809, p. 247.

Ibid, PI.

vertical

OEIGIN OE THE 6ENGALI SCPIPt.

16

No

which can safely be assigned to the


been found anywhere in

inscription,

1st century B. C. or A. D., has

except at Sarnath. The records


which can be assigned to the 1st century B. C. are very

North-Eastern

few

India,

number

in

Inscription on the upper side of the lower horizontal

(')

bar of the stone-railing

surrounding the old stupa in the


*.
The second half of the

south chapel of the main shrine


is

inscription only,

of earlier date, the

half

first

belonging

to the second century A. D. (not the 3rd or 4th as Messrs.

Konow and
assign

it

Marshall imagine). The date of the second half

not been

has

also

to the

Jia,

is

impossible

The shortening

2nd century B. C.

pa and

verticals in

It

given.

correctly

as well as the curvature in

of the

base

the

must be assigned

line of na, indicates that the record

to

to the 1st

century B. C.
(it)

"When

stone railing

clearing the

became

visible

a short votive inscription on


of the

erection

B.C/'
can

be

Here

railing

chapel,

above the

the

to

top of a

the

floor

one of the stones, places the


or

the

before

also the second part of the

referred

consists of the

in

south

first

1st

century

B.C.

only
This part

railing

around a

inscriptions

(No. Ill)

century

inscription

word "Parigahetavam".

(Hi) Inscriptions on the pillars of

votive stupa. 3

The

first

of

probably belongs to the 2nd

these

century

B.C.

The probable
The second

Salnjateyikaye thabho.
has
been very badly preserved.
inscription (No. IV)

reading

is

Sihaye

fac-simile shows
1.

...niya

Sonade (va).

Annual Report
p. 96,

The

of the Archaeological

Survey of India, 1906

No. IV.

Ibid, 1904-5, p. 68, PI.

Ibid, PI.

XXXII, Nos.

XXXII, No. IX.


Ill and IV, p. 102.

07,

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.


Thablio

&.

17

dana

"
Sonadeva (Svarnadeva) of .........
with the word "Danam
Inscription No. II which ends

"The

of

pillar-gift

thahho undoubtedly belongs to the


of the 3rd century B. C.
Inscription on a rail stone

(iv)

Bhariniye Saham Yateyika

Maurya

early

cross bar)

(?

period

the gift of Yateyika with

(ye)

This inscription also belongs to the 1st century


B.C., as indicated by the form of medial i and the short-

Bharini.

ening of the verticals in ya.


(v)

Inscription of the

incised on the pillar

of

king

Asvaghogia,

the year

40.

Asoka ............... "" ...............

chatari'se
Savachhare
Asvaghoshasya
Certaiu words
hematapakhe prathame clivase dasame."*
have
above
been
the
read
record,
by Dr. Venis
following

rparigeyhe

as follows

rajfia

3
Sutithage 4, 200, 9.

date

hold that this

should

be

Fleet and

Drs.
referred

Vikrama era and arrive at 111-151 A. D. as

Venis

the Malava-

to

the

date

of

If Drs. Fleet and Venis be correct,* then it


Asvaghosa.
o
shall have to be admitted that, Kaniska, Huviska and

Vasudeva reigned in the

latter

half

the

of

and

second

third centuries A.D., because in a treatise on Palaeography,


it

is

impossible

inscriptions,
fta/iapa/ia

to

admit,

came before those

that

group of Kusana

the

of A'svaghom, the Ksatrapas

and SodUsa, and the archaic inscriptions

from

Mathura.
(vi)

Fragmentary

ASvagho a
1.

inscriptions

of

the

Rajiut

A sv ag hot a

(syd) .........

Ibid, 1906-7, p. 95, No. II, PI.

Ep. Ind. Vol., VIII,

J.

R. A.

S.,

P. 171.

1912, pp. 701-707.

XXX.

time

of

ORIGIN OE THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

18
2.

Upnla he ma (mtapakhe

The

principal characteristics of the

from Sarnath are


total

(i)

?)

above inscriptions

absence of any difference from

forms of

the

the characters of the 1st and 2nd centuries B. C. found

North-Western India
(it)

in

consequently we

the

find

shortening

general

vertical lines, angularisation of curved strokes,

and

in

of

the

case of medial vowel signs, cursiveness of the angular forms


of the older

Maurya Brahml.
D. Kusana Inscriptions.

Under the above

the

title

Ihe

of

inscriptions

Kusana Kings, Kaniska, Huviska and Vasudeva

whose inscriptions are generally


Ab- present two theories are

considered, the dates in

taken to be

dates. 2

Saka

used

current about the dates

Kusana kings mentioned


That the dates

(i)

be referred to the
lished

great

are to be

in

the

inscriptions

of

the

above.
the

Ku:ana incriptions should


Malava-Vikrama era which was estabin

by Kaniska in the year 57

of this theory hold that

the

B. C.

inscriptions

The expounders
of

the

Satraps

and

Sodasa

Ranjuvula fall after those of Kaniska,


Huviska and Vasudeva in the chronological order. This
fact cannot, for a moment, be considered to be true, in a
paper on Palaeography.
(ii)

be

That the dates

referred

Kaniska

to

the

in the

Saka

Kusana

era,

the year 78 A.D.

inscriptions

should

which was founded by


In the following

pages I
have adopted this theory, which was started by Oldenberg
1

in

Ep. Ind., Vol., VIII., p. 172.


Buhler's Indian Palaeography
Ant., Vol.

XXXVII,

(Eng.

p. 25.

Ed.),

p.

40

and

Ind.

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.

19

and Fergusson, adopted by Biihler and Rapson, defended


by myself and finally accepted by Mr. V. A. Smith. The
inscriptions

A.D.) are
this

point

ment

of

Ku

the

of

ana period (1st and 2nd centuries


in North-Western India.
On

more abundant
Biihler says

Brahmi

inscriptions

of

" The next


step in the develop-

Northern India

from the time of the Kusana kings Kaniska,


first

among whom

older

Sakas in the

Huviska and Vasuska-Vasudeva, the

made an end
Eastern

by the

illustrated

is

of

the

and Southern

the

names

98

(according

of

aka era of A.D.

the

of

The

Punjab.

with

inscriptions

kings which run from the years 4 to

these
to

rule

the usually accepted


or

7 7 -IS,

of

the

4th century of the

the

of

opinions,

era)
very numerous in Mathura and its
neighbourhood, and are found also in Eastern Rajputana
and in the Central India Agency (Saiici)." 1

Selukid

are

In subsequent years a number of inscriptions have


in
North-Eastern India, which can
discovered

been

without doubt be referred to this particular period

() the Bodh-Gaya Fragmentary


diamond throne (vajrasana) 2

inscription

on

the

inscription

of

the

the

(ii)

Sarnath

3rd year of Kaniska


(iii)

Image

Umbrella-staff
3
;

the inscription on the base

of

the

dedicated in the 3rd year of Kaniska

(iv) the inscription at

the

image of the 3rd year of Kaniska

Ibid.

Cunningham's Mahabodhi,

p. 58.

Epi. Ind., Vol. VIII, p. 17Q,


Ibid, p. 179.

Ibid.

back of the
5

Bodhisattva
4

Bodhisattva

20

ORIGIN 0V THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

on

(v) inscription

the

pedestal

of

an

of

image

Bodhisattva from Sahet Mahet (the ancient !?ravasti)

Museum,

Mahet;

now

umbrella-staff,

probably found in the ruins

on

inscription

(vii)

an

on

inscription

(vi)

Indian

the

in

of

an

of

pedestal

the

Sahet

image

of

Bodhisattva found at Sahet Mahet; 3

fragmentary inscription on a

fragment of a
sculpture discovered at Rajagrha (Rajgir), in the Patna
(viii)

District;

on

fragmentary inscription

(ix)

the

pedestal

of

an

5
image discovered at Rajagrha;

The
distinct

records

of

the

and separate

1st

century

fall

into

two

The Eastern variety of the North-Indian Alphabet

I.

Kusana period, earlier


of
enumerated above belong to
the

A.D.

classes.

stated,

that

variety.
this

All the inscriptions

class.

Six years ago,

inscription No. VIII belongs

to the class

the
Epigraphs known as inscriptions written in
Northern-Ksatrapa alphabet, but now I agree with Dr.
"
Vogel in calling them by the new name
Early Kusana."
is
No.
I.
far
the oldest inscription of the
by
Inscription
of

Kusana

period,

India.

It

which
Gaya.

is
6

discovered up to date, in North-Eastern


was incised on the edge of a slab of stone,
at present lying under the Bodhi tree, at BodhIt

was

in

very

bad state of

preservation

Arch. Survey, Rep., Vol. I, p. 339 f. J R.A.S., N.S., Vol. V,


J. A. S. B., 1898, p. 274 and Ep. Iiicl., Vol. VIII, p. 179.
;

Epi. Ind., Vol. IX, p. 290.

Annual Rep. Arch. Survey

of India, 1908-9, p. 133.

Ind., Ant., Vol.

p. 49.

Annual Rep. Arch. Survey of

XXXVIII,

Cunningham's Mahabodhi,

India, 1905-6, pp. 105-6.

PI.

X,

ii;

XIII and XIV.

p.

192

LLJ

<
_J
Q.

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.

and has since suffered much from the weather.

at that time

When

examined the stone in 1906, I found that the


fragmentary inscription, was almost illegible. The use of
the

broad-backed

pa, and the ma


in

triangular

ana period.

corner

opposite

the verticals in

of

which the lower part is invariably


form, show that the inscription belongs

Ku

to the early

the shortening

sa,

in

Yet, the doubtful ya

the inscription, which

of

is

in the

archaic

in

form, proved that the record must be referred to a period


slightly earlier than those, in which the later, fully

developed tripartite form of ya

is

found to be used.

The Eastern variety of the North-Indian Alphabet

II.

of the Kusana period, later variety. No inscription,


which can be safely referred to this class, has been discovered as yet in any part of North-Eastern India.

The

principal

characteristics

the

(')

Savastiye

(L.

Museum^,

Sravasti

flandnsca

Museum

Indian

mitrena

(L. 3)

(L.

1),

kiisala,

of the

earlier

are

variety

dandasca and

image-inscription,

7),

Savastiye

umbrella-staff

asya, Stavasta (L.

the

broad- backed sa

the

use of

of

KusSna alphabets

of the North-Eastern

(L.

inscription,

8)

Indian
of

the

Slvadhar-

bhuyakmalam, and Siva-

new Bodhisattva

image-inscription

Mahet, Sakyamuni, on the fragmentary


sculpture from Rajgir ; Indra'siri and Parahasalika (L. 2)
in the inscription on the newly discovered pedestal from

from

Sahet

Rajgir

()

the

lingual

sa,

angular

in

form

cross-bar does not reach the left vertical

(L. 1), bhiksnsya,


(L. 4),

Vqairupena

Umbrella-staff
pen<t,

Puqya (L.
(L.

8),

2),

yasti

in

line

which the
Kaniskasya

and pratiqtASpito

parisa (L. 9) of the Sarnath


kqatra-

inscription,

pratisthapito

(L.

mahak^atrapena and

Vanasparena

in (L. 2) of the

1),

22

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIP r.

inscription on the

image; Kanixka

of

pedestal

(L. 1),

hlnkxusya

of the inscription
on the back
1

from Sarnath

Sarnath

the

and

Ihiksusya

(L.

yasti

2),

(L.

3)

Bodhisattva

the

of

Bodhisattva

Puxyn

(L.

on the pedestal of the Bodhisattva


the Indian Museum found at Sahet Mahet;

(L. 2) in the inscription

image

in

velistanam

ksatriyanam,

(L.

rtcafaana

1):

(L.

on

Sahet Mahet.

It should be noted in this connection,

form

the

the

the

of

pedestal

subscript

of

the

lingual

on

2)

new inmge from

the inscription

as

w,

that

found

in

ksatriyanam (L. 1) and vlcaksana (L. 2), is still more


archaic, having the cursive form of the older Maurya
alphabet

form of ha, which seems to have been


derived from the cursive forms of the Jaugada separate
(Hi) the cursive

and the Kausambi edict on the Allahabad

edicts
this

form

occurs

on

one

inscription

only, viz.

pillar

on the

pedestal of the

new Bodhisattva image from Sahet Mahet;

BoJiisatva

(L.

form of ha

is

3),

but

in all

other cases

the angular

found to have been used ;

the majority of cases, the subscript ya has the


The only exceptions being Pusya in
form.
tripartite
(L. 1) of the inscription on the pedestal of the Bodhi(iv}

in

sattva imacje
O from oravasti,f

now

in

the

Indian

Museum

and
Sakyatmmi on the fragmentary sculpture from
The dearth
Rajgir, which is also in the Indian Museum.
in

of inscriptions, written in characters


of

the

Northern Kusana

of

alphabet, in

the

later

variety

Eastern India has

Inscriptions of the 3rd and


already been noticed above.
4th centuries A.D., are also very rare in the whole of the

Northern India.

With

from Mathura, which


1

the exception of

two

inscriptions

I hold to belong to the 3rd

Annual Rep. Arch. Survey

of India. 1908-09, p. 135.

century

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS

23

and which others hold to belong to the 6th century


A.D. , no inscriptions are known which can be said to

A.D.

the

to

belong

pre-Gupta period.

beginning of the Gupta period, we are


confronted with three distinct varieties of the alphabet,
used in Northern India.
Inscriptions belonging to

At

the

the

first-half

the 4th

of

century A.D., are

unless the Allahabad pillar-inscription of

be

the

in

that

to

referred

says

inscription

can

be

safely

the

is

opinion about the date of this inscription also.

in

Liiders

that

Bodh-Gaya Image-inscripGupta year 64 = 383-84 A.D. Scholars are

tion 4 of the

Prof.

second

which

order,

chronological

referred to this period,

divided

The

period.

unknown

Samudragupta

it

of
is

Cunningham's theory and

Berlin holds

a Saka date

statement on the point.

inspite of Dr. Biihler's

clear

E. The so-called Gupta Alphabet of the 4th and 5th

A.D.

centuries

Dr. Biihler recognises

three different varieties in the

Northern Indian alphabet of the 4th and 5th centuries


A. D. :the Eastern variety

(')

forms of

la, ha,

distinguished by the peculiar

m and sa,

(') the Western variety

Ind. Ant., Vol.

Fleet's

Gupta

XXXVII,

p. 65,
3

pp.

Inscriptions,

262,

Fleet's

Gupta

Inscriptions, p.

Cunningham's Mahabodhi,
Ind. Ant., Vol.

XXXIII,

Pi.

Kielhorn's List of
p.

63,

No. 445

Eng. Ed.,

Ibid, p. 47.

p. 46.

XXV.

p. 40.

Biihler's Indian Palaeography,


Ibid,

273;

Vol. V, App.

No. 463.

type,

p. 29.

"

cursive roundhand

Inscriptions of Northern India, Ep. Ind.,

and

Eng. Ed.,

p.

46 and note

10.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

24

and (m) the Western variety

angular monumental

type.

In the light of
ant

especially the import-

later discoveries,

the

of

finds

and

British

into Central Asia under Sir

Prussian

Marc Aurel

expeditions

Stein, Griinwedel

and others, the Northern Indian alphabet of the 4th and


5th centuries A. D., should be divided into the following
varieties
1.

The Eastern variety


(i)

Allahabad

the

specimens

pillar-inscription

of

Samudra-

of

Candra-

gupta,
the

(ii)

Udayagiri

gupta

Gadhwa fragmentary

the

(iii)

cave-inscription

II,

inscriptions of the

times of Candragupta II and Kumaragupta


the Dhanaidaha grant of

(?;)

the

(r)

Mankuwar

Kumaragupta

inscription of

I,

I,

Kumaragupta

I,

the Bihar pillar-inscription of Skandagupta,

(vi)

the

(vit)

(viii)

Kosam

the

image-inscription of

Kahaum

Bhlmavarman,

pillar-inscription

of

Skanda-

gupta.
2.

The Western variety


(1)

(ii)

the

Mathura

Candragupta

II,

the Saiici inscription of Caudragupta II,

Dih or Kai-amdanda

Kumaragupta

(t?)

specimens

inscription of

(Hi) the Bharadi

(iv)

inscription of

I,

the Bhitari pillar-inscription of Skandagupta,


the Indore grant of Skandagupta,

(vi) the

Eran

pillar-inscription of

Budhagupta.

25

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.

The Southern

3.

() the Bilsad
(M) the

variety

pillar-inscription of

Gangdhar

inscription of

the

(v)

Kumaragupta

I,

Visvavarman,
of

(V) the Mandasor inscription


and Bandhuvarman,
(iv) the

specimens

Kumaragupta

I,

Vijayagadh inscription of the

Yandheyas

pillar-inscription of

Visnuvar-

Vijayagadh

dhana,

Girnar

the

(vi)

Rock

(Junagad)

inscription

of

Skandagupta.

The Central Asian

4.

(')

the

(ii)

variety

specimens

Bower Manuscript,

numerous

other

manuscripts

written

in

the

Central Asiatic variety of the Gupta alphabet


discovered by the

British

and German expedi-

tions.

The Eastern Variety.

/.

Twenty-one years ago, five years before the publication


work on Indian Palaeography, Dr. A. P. R.

of Dr. Biihler's

on the
Hoernle recorded the following observations
" There
Indian script of the 4th and 5th centuries A. D.
existed at the time of the Gupta period two very distinct
classes of the ancient Nagarl alphabet, North Indian and
:

the

The

South Indian.

classes

is

the

test

letter

character for m.

alphabets, however,

is

for

these two great

The Northern

class

of

again divided into two great sections

which, though their areas overlapped to a certain extent,


may be broadly, and for practical purposes sufficiently,
Western and Eastern sections.
distinguished as the

The

test

letter

in

this

case

is

the

cerebral

sibilant

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

26
1

sha

(so)"

This classification

Dr.

who added

late

la

and

Biihler,

" The differences

ha.

Western

cf.

la,

limb of la

left

of the

the la

base

stroke

loop

to

of

the

stroke of ha
vertical,

and

sa

is

central

slanting

suppressed, and

turned sharply

is

the

Further the

and attached as a
Finally

hook,

the

to

downwards

edicts.

bar.

its

Eastern variety,

sharply

made round

is

Gupta alphabet appear


In

ha.

Jaugada separate

sa

letters

test

between the Eastern and

turned

is

adopted by the

also

two more

varieties of the so-called

in the signs of

the

was

base

the

attached

to

the

left, exactly as in the

Jaggayyapeta inscriptions. In the Western variety these


letters have the older and fuller forms."
Another

three

test letter, of the Eastern

dental

sibilant

sa.

variety, this letter

alphabet of this period,

is

the

In the inscriptions of the Eastern


always has a loop at the end of its left

the customary curve or hook, cf.


the form of the letter in the Allahabad pillar-inscription of

vertical

line

instead

Samudragupta.
in

the

This form

inscriptions

of

of

sa

has also been

Kusana

the

The Kankalltila

Mathura.
shows

of

period,

discovered in

inscription of the

that, in that inscription, all

oases

found

of sa,

85th year,
have this

form. 2

The characteristics of the epigraphic alphabet of the


4th and 5th centuries A.D. have already been discussed at
3

It will only be necessary to trace


length by Dr Biihler.
the history of the development of the Eastern variety in

the following pages.

In 1891, Dr. Hoernle perceived that,

"in India proper, the North-eastern alphabet gradually


came to be entirely displaced by the North-western
in

alphabet,

comparatively

J. A. S. B., 1891, Ft.

Epi. Tnd., Vol.

I, p.

Biihler'a Indian

very
I.,

early

times.

p. 81.

384, No. v.

Paleography, Eng. Ed.,

p. 47.

This

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.

displacement must have been in progress during the earlier


part of the sixth century A.D. and must have been com-

about 580 A.D., for in 588 A.D., we already find

pleted

Bodh-Gaya (inscription of Mahanaman,


274), which show an exclusive North-Western
in

inscriptions
Fleet, p.

far

am

as

show the

This

alphabet."

marks of the

old

North-Eastern

statement will have to be examined

later discoveries

light of

the

is

distinctive
1

in

not a single inscription known, so


aware, about and after 600 A.D., which

There

character.

made during

the

Kumaragupta

I,

G.E.

the

time

last

two decades

The Dhanaidaha grant

(i)

113 = 432

The Mathura Jaina image-inscription

(tV)

of

A.D.

Kumaragupta
(iit)

gupta

of

I,

I,

The Karamdanda image-inscription


G.E. 117 = 436 A.D. 4
The Amauna

(t'y)

G.E. 232

= 531

plate

G.E. 283

= 602

the

Maharaja Nandana,

of

A.D.

the

Maharaja

The Mum'esvar!

Mahapratihara Maharaja
30 = 686 A.D. 8
1

J.

A. S. B., 1891, Pt.l, p 82.

J.

A.

S.

inscription

Udayasena,

of

of

the

Maharaja-

MahSsamanta
Har-a year

B. (N.S.), Vol. V, p. 459.

Epi. Tnd., Vol. II, p. 210, No.


J.

.Sivaraja;

The Ganjam grant of the time


7
dnirSja Sa&nka, G.E. 300 = 619 A.D.

Kumara-

of

(vi)

(vii)

of

A.D. 5

The Patiakella grant

(v)

of

G.E. 113 = 432 A.D. 3

XXXIX.

A. S. B. (N.S.), Vol. V, p. 457; and Ep. Ind., Vol. X, p. 70.

Ibid, p.

49 and

J.

A..

S. B. Vol. V,

Epi. Ind., Vol. IX, p. 285.

Epi. Ind., Vol. VI, p. 141.


Ibid, Vol. IX, p. 289.

N. S.

p. 164.

ORIGIN

28

OF THE Bl'.KGALl SCB1PT.

(mY) The Pur! grant of Sainyablnta-Madhavaraja


The

(iff)

Parikixj grant of

Madhyamaraja,

he

II.

Harsa

2
year 88 = 694 A.D.

The Eastern variety of the epigraphie Alphabet of


Northern India of the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. did
merge, as Dr.
variety.

Hoernle has observed, into the Western

Inscriptions,

discovered

the

after

publication

Dr. Hoernle's article, show the gradual changes in the

of

and 6th centuries A.D.,

epigraphic alphabet of the 5th

and tend to prove that

this

change

in the first half of the 5th century.

Eastern

the

is
already in evidence
This displacement of

variety of the alphabet of this period by the

Western must have been completed before the end of the


first

half of the 6th century.

The

Allahabad

of

pillar-inscription

Samudragupta

shows the fully developed form of the Eastern variety


and the test letters can be observed here to their best

The next

advantage.

inscription,

in

the

chronological

which the Eastern alphabet has been used, is the


Udayagiri cave-inscription of Candragupta II, on which

order, in

Dr.

Buhler observes " The fact that Fleet's No. 6

far west, near Bhilsa in Malva,

is

found

be

explained by its
may
an
of
been
incised
expedition
having
during
Candragupta II,
to Malva, at the command of his minister, who calls himself

Next we come to two new


an inhabitant of Pataliputra.^ 3
inscriptions both of which were incised in the year 113 of
the

Gupta
(i)

(it)

era

= 432

A.D.

The Math ura Jaina


The Dhanaidaha

image-inscription.

grant.
VI.

J.

Bafigiya-Sahitya-Parisad-Patvika, Vol. XVI, p. 18o, also Epi. Ind.,

A. S. B., 1904, Pt.

I, p. 28-i,

PI.

Vol. XI, p. 281.


*

Biihler's Indian

Paleography, Eug. Ed.,

p, 4(>.

^iV

lifW
/

:FtV. r

&*#,

'A

v.

.^N'l

OO
OO
OO
CO
_*:
CO

./

'

'';.,..'
jj

I-

<

_i
Q.

HHs/ "\
'

''

\
'

'

"Jv-

3
Q.
CO

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.

As both

records mention

of these

Kumaragupta

by
name, so there cannot be any doubt
The Matbura inscription shows ilie typical forms of the
In the Dhanaidaha grant of KumaraWestern variety.
as to their proper date.

gupta

we

I,

find

in

(i)

all

cases,

m,

sibilant
in

(it)

all

cases,

sibilant

(Hi)

in

all

,?a,

cases,

the looped foim

of

dental

the

has been used,


the

form of the lingual

looped

has been used,


the

hooked form of ha, has been

used,
(iv)

of

in the majority

has been used.

cases the hooked form of la

In one solitary instance the

Western variety form has succeeded


L.

But

8.

(?) in

in a stone-inscription incised sixteen years later,

Mankuwar

forms of

inscription of

and

sa, sa

Jia

Kun-aiagupta

J,

we

The discrepancy may be explained

thus.

we
In

in all cases.

see that

sa, sa and ha have not changed in the year 129 G. E.

A.D.

re-

find Eastern variety

the

in

Vakkralana

placing the older one, viz:

= 448

The

cur-

rent script of a country, as found on copper-plates, generally

shows a more advanced form than that of the Epigraphic


alphabet, found in stone-inscriptions.
Copper-plates, in
ancient India, should be taken to belong to the same class
of records, as paper manuscripts or papyri of other countries.

The forms

of the

alphabet used

guished from the forms used

than

years later

Eastern forms
cases, in the

'

of

the date of
AY/,

Kahami)

M,

la

in

in

distin-

epigraphs proper. Twelve

this

and

inscription,
still

Jia

pillar-inscription of

Kpi. Ind., Vol. II, p. 210,


J.

them should be

No.

A. S. B. (N. S.), Vol. PI.

find the

persisting in

all

Skandagnpta, of

XXXIX.

XX,

we

p. 461.

30

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

G.E. 141=460 A.D.

same king, we
taking the

But

Eastern

of

place

an undated inscription of the

in

that the Western forms are

see

gradually
In the Bihar pillar-

ones.

Skandagupta, the first half of the record


shows uses of Eastern forms in the majority of cases

inscription of

la

I.

(i}

titlya,

(L. 3),
(L. 7),

ha

II.

(t)

havya (L.

grham

we

we

record,

find

4), (ii)

find a

But

(r)

vyalamba

kala (L. 11)


(L. 8);

Western variety form,


second

the

in

(Hi] atulya

1),

(L. 5),

(m)

agrahare (L. 13).

mandalam

(vi) lokan (L. 9),

in one instance

Only
viz

lii

(L

atulyali

(ti]

(iv)

half

that the Western variety form of

invariably been used,


this record there are

in all cases.

of the
Jia

has

In the second half of

two instances of

la

(i)

kulah (L. 28)

and saulkika (L. 29), but as the facsimile given in Dr. Fleet's
work is incomplete and does not contain these lines, it is not

compare the forms

possible to

oi

la used in the second half

of the inscription with those of the first half.

have found

the

Bihar pillar-inscription has suffered much from

exposure

in the weather, after the publication of Dr. Fleet's

that

work, and at present it


more complete, inked

On

for Dr. Fleet.

not possible to get a clearer, and


impression than the one taken

is

the clear evidence of the Bihar inscrip-

Skandagupta, we have the fact that Western


forms were replacing the Eastern ones in the alphabet of
of

tion

North-Eastern India

A.D.

The

=4?7

158

which

the

first

half of

Laksmana,

of

the 5th century


the

Gupta year
A. D., shows no form, in the alphabet used,
has any resemblance
the Eastern
to those of

variety.

Eastern
it

in

Pali grant of

was

The

Pali grant should be included

inscriptions,

found

instead

about
1

of

thirty

among North-

North-Western ones, as
miles from Allahabad

Epi. Ind., Vol. II, p. 363.

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.


It

may

mentioned that the Kosam image- inscripBhimavarman, of the Gupta year 139 = 458

be

of

tion

A.D., shows

the

of this record

is

that,

31

all

use

of

In this inscription, we

the test letters, sa, sa,

The evidence

Western forms.

forms and the findspot

eastern

close to Pali.

ha and

la,

find

have assumed
of Laks-

of the Pali grant

mana is further borne out by the alphabet used in the


Amauna grant of Nandana, of the Gupta year 232 *= 551
A.D. This inscription was discovered in the Gaya
and Orissa and cannot be referred

District of Bihar

other class of inscription

we

inscription
variety.

reconsider

years

but the North-Eastern.

find that sa, sa,

to

any
In this

ha and la are of the western

Consequently we are now in a position to


the statement made by Dr. Hoernle twenty-one

ago

" This

mils';

displacement

have

been

in

progress during the earlier part of the 6th century A.D.,


and must have been completed about 580 A.D., for in

588 A.D.,

we

(Inscription of

already

find

Mahanaman,

an exclusive North- Western


in

a position to

towards

the

state

adoption

inscriptions
Fleet,

that

Western

Bodh-Gaya
which show

274)

character." 2

definitely

of

p.

in

We
the

variety

are

now

movement
forms

in

inscriptions was already in evidence in


the 4th decade of the 5th century A.D.
So early as the

North-Eastern

days of the Gupta emperor

Skandagupta, the change had

affected the epigraphic alphabet


of the time.
displacement was completed before the eighth
decade of the 5th century and all traces of Eastern
variety forms or characters had disappeared from the

already

The

plains of

Northern India, before the beginning of the 6th

century A.D.

II

76 id, Vol. X, p. 49.


J.

A. S. B., 1891, pt.

I, p.

82,

ORIGIN OF THE BEMiAU SCHIPT

32

We

now

should

amination of a
of

difference

by Mr.

I refer

Palseographical

about which there


the

to

four

is

ex-

much

copper-plate

which have been discovered at various times

inscriptions,

during the

class of records,

opinion.

the

to

proceed

The

last three decades.

F. E. Pargiter

1910 1

in

first

and

three was published

the

one was

last

as well as by Mr. Pargiter in 191 1.


and composition the four records indicate
that they belonged to the same variety. These four grants
differ from all other copper-plate inscriptions discovered in

published by myself

In

size, script

India on the following points

not grants of lands, made by any parasovereign, nor by any feudatory chief, with the
they are

(i)

mount

sanction of his suzerain,


(ii)

they purport to be deeds of transfer of property,

made by

as well

certain local officials, to a private person,

as deeds of grants,

Brahmanas

made by

those private persons to certain

mention a number of officials by their


not merely by designations, as usual.
and
proper names,
(Hi) they

quoted above, would alone go to prove that


But in addition to them, we
the records were spurious.

The

facts,

have the palaeographical evidence, which shows that the


alphabets of two different periods and in the case of the
last

one,

of three different periods, have been used in the

composition

of these

find that, (1)

s,

and are used

la

and

inscriptions.
lia

In these records we

have two forms and often three

conjunction
even of the seventh or ninth centuries A.D.

grant

the

In

grant of Dharmaditya of the year


1

8
3

Ind. Ant., Vol.


J.

with forms of the sixth or

in

XXXIX,

p.

A. S. B., Vol. VI, p. 435.

Ibid, Vol. VII, p. 476.

193.

the
8,

we

first

find

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.


that two different forms have

been used, in

33

the

case

of

three test letters sa, la and ha.


I.

$a.<

E tsteni

(')

wahattara (L.
(L.

variety.

Ambansn (L.I),

1.

7),

4),

ksettrani and
sad-bhagtih (L.
(L. 19), 14.

8),

(L.

7.

11),

10.

visayaksettia

5.

5),

(L.

rfrsfo'

(L.

3.

3),

mr^<?

12. abhilasa

13),

8-9.

10),

12),

(L.

11.

13. salanga,

14),

modanesu (L. 21).

Western

(M)

(L.

kqettra

(L.

visayapati

Ghosacandra (L.

4.

W*^

6.

2.

variety.

Strictly

speaking,

forms

the

used in the following words, are much later


than the North- Western Gupta alphabet. In all

of the letter,
in date

is found in the
ligature ksa and we
that peculiar curvature before ka denoting the presence of
the sa, which we see for the first time in the inscriptions

find

cases, the letter

of Adityasena

and

IhovSe

of the

Gahadavala princes of

1th and 12th centuries A. D. .There are


Kanauj ,
five instances of this later form in the first grant-11

ksettra

I.

3.

in the

ksepa

(L.

16),
4.

(L. 21),

2.
anugrahakamksina (L. 18),
daksinena (L. 23), 5.
k^enl.

(L. 25).
II.

La

(t)
\

(L. 6),

Eastern variety.

lavdha (L. 2), 2. kalasakha (L. 5-6), 3. durllabha


4.
labhah (L. 18), 5.
samkalpabhih (L. 14),

Sllaknnda's = ca (L. 214).

6.

(n)
kale and

1.

(L. 5),
1

XX,

4.

Western Variety.

varakamandale (L. 3), 3.


kulasvami (L.
kundalijjia and 5.

Bfihler's Indian Palaeography,

44.

aluka

2.

pi.

IV, XVJII,

45

&

6)

pi.

6.

V, XII,

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCKIPT.

34-

mulyam

(L.

khandala

(L.

kulya

16),

(L

uparilikhita

///.

^a

3.

vrhac-catta

(L.21),

anupultnia

liiigani (L. 28).

2.

grhltva
hasten a

6.

(L.

iccMviy-aliath

(L.

(L. 15),

7.

7),

arn<lhrlam

5.

8),

puratr-=anugralin

hinasena (L. 23).

8.

Western variety,

and

maharajadhiraja

mahattara (L.

4),

wJa

Similarly

2.

maliaraja

tad-arfiatha

4.

(L.

//w/ (L.

6.

(L. i9),

pitror-amiyraha
(L. 25), 8.

16),

sul-aiiga

Eastern variety.

(?'?')

1.

16.

18),

20), 18.

(L. 4),
4.

brahmanasya,
ha (L. 10),

(L. 18),

abhilasa

(/)

1.

12),

and

kitlya

11.

dlirurilatya'm (L.

kdla (L.

15.

8.

9),

(L.

1.3.

pratipalan~iya<m (L. 22), 20.

19.

astl

kalaria

nalena (L. 16),

(L. 19), 17.

(L.

pnstajtala
10.

11),

(L.

(L. 14), 12.


14.

7.

8),

(L.

3.

2),

5.

8),
7.

26),

(L. 26).

second grant from Faridpur we find

the

in

that
I.

In

all

Western variety form

cases the

of ha

has

been used.
II.

The Eastern

one case only


find

mandala

e.ff.

la

has been used in

In

(L. 4).

all

we

other

the Western variety forms


1.

4.

variety form of

in

lavdh'i (L. 3),

khandalakaih

kulya (L. 14),


khandalaka
9.
dharmma'slla
(L. 20), 14.

7.

and

kale (L. 4),

2.

(L.

5.

9),

Jauhitya

/i/M//* (L. 15),

(L.
12.

17),

10.

naleiut

S/oto' (L.

24).

3.

8.

(L.

satpa/Tuii

jiiixtajtufa

(L.

gopala

19),

(L.
18.

(L.5),

11),

6.

(L.

17),

18),

11.

liugani

THE NORTHERN INDIAN ALPHABETS.

The form

the

in

last

example

9th century form, found for the

first

Dubhauli grant of Mahendrapala 1


In

III.

variety forms in

(L. 5), 4.
(L. 8)

and

10.

Ambarlaa (L.

7), 5.

Somaghosa and

Varsa,

(L.

ksettra

(L.

8.

11.

9),

in

The

ksa

is

seventh

late

third

plate

is

article

very indistinct

is

visayanam
sasttm
(L.

27)

14),

3.

akqcpta

found in hast-

be

century form of

17.

in a

to

is

very

and the facsmile published

tion

(L.

eleventh

or

found in ksettra in L.

The

visaya

9.

sva-visthayath

kxet rani

2.

2), 3.
6.

(L. 25); another indistinct form


astaka.

find eastern

vrk$a (L. 21),

24),

and western variety ones


1.

we

2.

1),

Jyezra (L.
*oAtha (L. 16)

7.

Dighwa-

Nakusa (L.

1.

It is the

very late.
time in the
is

lingual sa

the

the case of

85

bad state of preservaMr.


Pargiter's

with

the reverse or the second

side

capable of being analysed for palaeoIn it, we find, that in all recognisable
graphical purposes.
sa
is
of the Eastern variety of the early
cases, the lingual
of the plate only,

is

Both forms of ha have been used.

Gupta alphabet.

one instance of the Western variety is legible


In all other instances where the record
L. 3.

we

find

(L. 8-9),

the

use of the Eastern variety

(2) haslcistaka

(L.

10),

(3)

Only
maha in

is

legible

(1) mafiattarah

agrahara (L. 22),

(4) har-ta (L. 24), (5) 90 ha (L. 25).

So

also in the case of

ftt

we

find that the

Eastern variety

form has been rarely used while the Western variety form
is

common
I.

Eastern

variety

(/)

Fatsajpala

lingani (L. 21).

Ind. Ant., Vol.

XV,

p. 112.

(L.

5),

(it)

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

36

Western

II.

variety:

mulyam

(t)

(L.

14),

(t'f)

kulavaran (L. 18), (in) prakalpya (L. 18), (iv) dharmasila


(L. 19), (v) nalena (L. 19), (vi) Vatsapala (L. 19),
Dhruvilata (L. 22), (t>)
(t') kulya (L. 20),
(urn)

Silaknnda (L. 23).


It should

be

noted

in

this

majority of cases we find the


In the fourth grant we find, that

connection
bipartite
in

all

that

form

cases

in

the

of

ya.

the bipartite

form of ya, the Western variety form of the lingual sa and


la have been used.

With

ha also has the Western


tances

are:

(1)

the exception of three instances,

These three

variety form.

ins-

vrahman-opaya (L. 11), (2) vrahmana


In addition to these,
20-21).

(L. 14), (3) sahasrani (L.

we

find

later

watninah (L.

word parkkatti (L. 18) and


case of ka and na respectively.
In
the

forms, in

17). in

we may freely say, that all four copper plates


It may be asserted that, the plates belong to
are forged.
the transitional period, when Eastern variety forms were

conclusion,

But, the use


gradually being displaced by Western ones.
such
a
mediaeval
of
forms, precludes
possibility
(1) I
have already commented on the form of the ligature ksa
:

in

the

first plate. (2)

ba, in the date of the

Another,
first plate,

much

later

form,

is

that of

which occurs for the

first

time in the Aphsad inscription of Adityaseua and DighwaDubhauli grant of Mahendrapala, the Pratihara, of V. E.

955 = 898 A.D.


svdminah
upon.

The form

in the fourth

find

being forgeries,

graphical discussion.

and

na

in

grant had already been commented

Consequently we

inscriptions,

of ka in parkkatti

that the
are

of

four

copper-plate

no use in a palaeo-

CD
CO

-Q

BgKj!fc-

o
LL

oo
ro

-o

CD

CHAPTER

III

The Eastern Alphabet 55O-11OO A.D.

We

now come

the

to

class

of

to

alphabets,

which

Dr. Biihler has given the name, Sifldhamatrka. From this


and does not
point, Dr. Buhler's work ceases to be exhaustive
deal with Eastern variety forms of

the Northern alphabet,

North-Indian palaeography was, perhaps, impossible sixteen years ago, and


consequently, the author of the Indian Paleography was

Such a treatment of

separately.

obliged to deal with the Northern Indian alphabet of the


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th centuries A.D. , as a single

was made only in the case of


Sarada alphabet, which was already a separate unit in the
8th century A.D. and in a much later period, in the case

The

whole.

of

differentiation

In

pa^es Dr. Buhler's arrangement has not been followed, on account of the following
pro to-Bengali.

reasons
I.

made

these

The discovery
it

impossible

Bodh-Gaya

number

of a
to

inscription of

dated records, has

of

accept, the

alphabet used in the


as representing type

Mahanaman,

specimens of the North-Eastern alphabet of


7th centuries A.D.
(')

the

Amauna

the

These new inscriptions are


grant of Nandana

1
,

6th

and

G. E. 232 = 551

A.D.
2
(u) the Patiakellu grant of Maharaja Ibivaraja , G. E.

283 = 602 A.D.

(m) the GanjSm grant

of the time of Maharajadhiraja

G. E. 300 = 619 A.D.


1

Epi. Ind., Vol. X, p. 49.

Ibid, Vol. VI. p. 142.

Ibid, Vol. IX. p. 286.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

88

The Mundesvari

(t'r)

MahBpratihBra
A. D.

The

II.

Maharaja

final

I'dayasena

settlement

Gurjjara-Pratihara

MalmsSmanta

inscription of the

of

of

dynasty

India, by the researches of

H.

1
,

E.

30 = 636

chronology of the
Northern and Central

the

Mr. D. R. Bhandarkar and the

Mr. A. M. T. Jackson, has placed the introduction of


the Nagari alphabet into Northern India one hundred and
late

On

thirt-yseven years later.

this

Dr.

point

said

Biihler

"In Northern and Central India, the Nagari appears


on

the

copper-plate

Mahodaya

the

of

probably of

A. D.

first

Maharaja \inayakapala of
794." 8
The real date of
988 = 931 A. D. instead of

Vinayakapala's grant is V. E.
H. E. 188 794 A. D. 3

The discovery

III.

of

number

of

inscriptions

in

North-Eastern India, specially of the Pala kings of Bengal,

makes

it

possible to distinguish

the North-Eastern alphabet, as

two

different

A. D., and shows that Nagari has had very


on the development of the Bengali alphabet.
Sixteen

years

Mananaman was

ago,

the only

varieties

the- 8th

early as

little

century
influence

the

Bodh-Gaya inscription
known dated inscription of

6th century A. D., in North-Eastern

In

India.

of

it,

of

the

Dr.

Hoernle and Dr. Biihler, found, for the first time, tiiat
the Eastern variety of the early Gupta alphabet has been
d splaced by the Western one. But, we have
already seen, that fresh discoveries place this displacement
more than a century earlier. The next point to be consi-

entirely

dered
of

its

is

the tripartite form of ya and the

use.

In 1891 Dr. Hoernle fixed

ibid, Vol.

downward
(500

A. D.

ix, p. 289.

Biihler's Indian
Palaeography,

Epi. Ind., Vol. VIII,

App.

1,

Eng. Ed.,

pp. 1

&

4.

p, 51.

limit

as the

39

THE EA6TEEN ALPHABET.

India

form of ya in Northern

this

lowest limit for the use of


:

"Any

inscription in the

which shows the more or


of ya,

North -Western Indian alphabet,


exclusive use of the old form

less

must date from before 600 A.

while any inscrip-

D.,

showing an exclusive use of the cursive form


must date after 600 A. D."

of

tion

ya

The

argument has been weakened

force of Dr. Hoernle's

by the discovery of the Udaypur inscription of the Guhila


2
of V. E. 716 = 659 A.D. "The discovery of an
Aparajita
,

Dr. Biihler,
century", observes
"with mostly tripartite ya, E. I. 4, 29, makes a modification of Hoerule's
argument necessary but does not
his

invalidate

no

of

final

been

has

limit

form

the

of

inscription

in

ya

Bodh-Gaya

7th

Consequently,

it

It

will

be

observed that

fixed

for

the

use

of

the

North-Eastern

inscription

bipartite form had,

result".

entirely,

In

inscription.

Mahanaman, we

of

tripartite

displaced

the

the

find that, the

tripartite

one.

has been supposed that the bipartite form

has displaced the tripartite form, in the North-Eastern


scriptions, almost about the same time as in

in-

North-western

Subsequent discoveries now enable us to prove


beyond doubt that in North-eastern India, the use of the
tripartite form of ya, lasted about half a century longer
records.

than the limit of North- western India.


have the form used in the

Amauua

The date

is

of the

of this

inscription

Bodh-Gaya

For example we

grant of Nandana.
not far removed from that

and

inscription,

it

was found

in

a place

from Bodh-Gaya, yet we find that in all


the
cases
So again,
tripartite form of ya has been used.
not very far

off

in the case of Patiakella grant


1

J.A.S.B., 1891, pt.


*

1, p.

of

ivaraja,

we

90.

Epi. Ind., Vol. IV, p. 29.


*

Btihler's Indian Pn]zeogra)>liy, p. 48. note 8.

find

that

ORIGIN or THE BENGALI SCIUPT.

40

the tripartite form

year

283 = 602

inscription,

that,

the

also in the case of the

Consequently, we have

Mahanaman,

form of ya,
in the

in

this record

though

of

alphabet

the

Gupta year

There are other reasons

the

is

used in

admit that the use

Bodh-Gaya

inscription

= 588 A.D., is prema-

which lead us
in

Gupta

Mundesvari

form alone

to

2(51)

was found

locality

the

all cases, in

find that the tripartite

of the bipartite

ture.

So

A.L).

we

636 A. D.

of

being used in

is

to

believe

North-Eastern India,

was not used

in incising it,

which on the other hand was done by a man from Western


We have a similar case in the Bhitari pillarIndia.

Skandagupta, which, though found in


India, shows the use of the Western variety of
the North-Indian alphabet; and the Sanci inscription
of

inscription

Eastern

of

the time

of

Candragupta II which, though found

Western India shows the use


the

alphabet.

inscription of

the

ordinary

the

Eastern

variety

The alphabet used in the


Mahauatnan cannot be taken
Eastern

in

of

Bodh-Gaya

to represent
the Epigraphic alphabet
century A.D. for the following

variety of

of North-India in the 6th

reasons

of

(1) the

Amauna

grant of

Nandana and

the

Patiakella

grant of oivaraja show the exclusive use of the tripartite


;
consequently, we have to admit that in the

form of ya

Eastern variety of the Northern alphabet the tripartite


form of ya was in use in the 6th century A.D. ;
(2) the

prevalence

tremities of letters

is

acute angles

of

exceptional,

and,

the lower ex-

at

not

of

common

occurrence, in these rec >rds.

The ordinary 6th century epigraphic alphabet


Eastern

India

inscriptions

(1) the

is

then

to

be

found

Amauim

grant of Nandana,

(2) the Patiakella grant of Sivaraja,

in

the

of North-

following
o

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

41

Barabar cave-inscription of Ananta-varman,

(3) the

Nagarjuni
2
and

cave-inscription

of

Ananta-

Nagarjiml
varman. 3

cave -inscription

of

Ananta-

(4) the

varman,
(5) the

The

North-eastern

in

A.D. are noted below


(1)

ception

The

alphabet, which

from

India,

550-650

use of the tripartite form of ya.

The only

the Gaiijam grant of the time of Sasanka,

is

difference cannot be accounted for

the

the

of

characteristics

principal

remained current

so

present,

remains

Sasanka-Narendra

of

riddle

at

surnamed

ex-

The

long as

unsolved.

whose
probably
or
the
Imperial Guptas,
coinage is allied to that of the early
went to Kalinga and how he came to be acknowledged as

Why

asauka,

suzerain,

manda>la>*

Narendra,

by the Sailodbhaoa princes of the Kongodais still

a mystery to

The

us.

introduction

of

the North-Eastern alphabet, into the Northern Sircars, was


also probably

due

to this

6th century alphabet of


5

Madhavavarmau

of

Madhyamaraja.
(2)

Kalinga, in the Buguda grant


the
Parikud plates of

The general prevalence


The absence

verticals

of

of right angles at the lower

e.g.

later

yha, pa, pfia, sa and sa.

developments such as

tails or

on the right of these signs.

Fleet's

Gupta

Inscriptions, p. 221, pi.

Ibid, p, 224, pi.

XXXI,

Ibid, p. 227, pi.

XXXI

Epi. Ind., Vol. VI, p. 142.


Ibid, Vol. Ill, p. 43

B.

B.

and

Vol. VII, p. 100.

Vangiya-Sahitya-l'iiriijad-PatrikS,

XI, pp. 281-87.

XXX

A.

'-

the ordinary

find

and

extremities of certain letters


(3)

We

prince.

'

XVI,

p. 1<J7

Epi. Ind., Vol.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

42

In other words, the North-eastern epigraphic


of the Oth century A.D., presents the

ordinary

North-western variety of the early Gupta

the

of

istics

alphabet
character-

alphabet.
the

in

Early

we
The

of the 7th century A.D.,

latter-half

marked change in the North-Eastern alphabet.


Shah pur image-inscription of the Harsa year 66 = 671 A.D.
and the undated Aphsad inscription, both of the time of
find a

Adityasena of Magadha, exhibit this change for the first


From this time onward, the eastern variety of the
time.
develops by itself and the western
For a short
variety never succeeds in displacing it again.

northern

alphabet,

time only, during the domination of the Gurjjara-Pratihara


princes, a western variety, called Nagan, makes its influence

and divides

felt

one

western

is

the

of
it

period,

is

into

two

sub-divisions,

the

eastern

of

variety

these

gradually absorbed

eastern one develops


script,

the

Out

branches.

different

in

Nagan,

and becomes the Bengali


12th centuries A.D.
At this

separately

and

llth

take a more complete survey of

to

necessary

the Eastern alphabet, than that done in the

Eastern variety of
7th

the

of

half

of

characteristics

while the

previous

A.

century
the

we

find

variety

of

D.,

eastern

case

In

centuries.

the

the

of

the

latter

following

northern

the

alphabet.

I.

Vowels.

(1)

The upper part

slightly

elongated

lower part

knob

at

its

is

of

left

nail-head

converted

top,

the

into

looking more

limb of a has become

or

wedge,

regular

like a

while

curve,

comma.

the

with

The right

limb together with the line joining both the limbs, can
be drawn at one stroke of the pen and the letter resembles

the

Bengali one,
njunayad (in L. o').

in

its

present

form.

Cf.

in

43

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

In the case of a we find the differentium in a second

(2)

also

curve,

like

shaped

right limb.

of the

to the lower extremity

which

comma,

attached

is

Of. the

form

the

lower

in asid (in L. 1).

In the case of the short

(3)
circle

or

which

in

dot of

find

Western

variety,

inscriptions becomes a short

vertical

Gupta alphabet

Maukhari

we

iy

of the
.

long curve,

be

of different

at this period into

curved

lice, developed
which, in two different cases,

is

shown

to

lengths.

In the

(4)

at the

of

case

u,

we

lower

extremity
This form continues

elongated.

find

the

horizontal

line

transformed into a curve and


without alteration

till

the

end of the 10th century A. D., when the first change in


its form is found in the Bhagalpur grant of Narayanapala.
(5)

on

The

rare

o,

becomes an elongated

In the absence of

back.

its

the

letter of the

4th and 5th centuries A. D.

impossible.

The only known forms

the

of

are

laid flat

forms of

this

comments

are

those

found in

Maharajas of Uchakalpa and


Yasodharman, which belong to the Southern

inscriptions

those

comma

earlier

variety of the

the

of

Gupta

II.

Consonants.

(1)

For the

first

alphabet,

time in Eastern India, the

nant, ka always has a loop on

its

left.

first

conso-

The looped form,

should be noticed here, has also been found in the Gafijam


plates of the time of, Sasankaraja along with the biparit

tite

form of ya.

It

continued

loop becomes a semi-circle,


(2) In kha,

which

is

triangle

observable for

tions of the
line

the

in the

at

in

this

form

until the

llth century A.D.


the

base

of

the

letter,

the last time, in the cave-inscrip-

Maukharls, becomes transformed into a straight

and a curve.

The

sides

of

the triangle become a

44

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

semi-circle, while

and
its

both

touches
base

the

other

becomes

side

extremities

of

the arc.

elongated
This arc and

becomes the right limb, of this letter in the


The left limb is formed by an increase

line

7th century A. D.
in

the

hook

the upper

of

length

or curve,

Maukhar!

which was an

There

is a wedge,
inscriptions.
square
instead of a dot or a short straight line at the lower extre-

in

open

mity of the
(3) In

left limb.

the

case

of

we

ga,

into

transformed

open

square

its

with

curve,

the

find

form of the western variety, with

long right limb, again


a wedge at the lower

extremity of its left limb.

In

(4)

glut,

Eastern

the

observable in

In

alphabet.

the curvature

the

of the

base
of

variety

century, we

sixth

line,

was already

the early Gupta


see that in the

Yasodharman, the base line has become a


curve on the left side and a slanting line to the right,
of

inscription

forming an acute angle with the right

Aphsad

inscription,

find

like the tripartite

something

the

periods,

we

only

In

vertical.

this letter has

that,

the

become

ya of the Kusana and Gupta

differentia

being

the

wedges on the

top of its three limbs and the presence of an acute angle


instead of a right angle, at its right lower extremity.

In na we

(5)
in

some

line is

cases,

find, the

an

acute

lower right angle is becoming,


angle and the vertical straight

transformed into a curve.

(6)

In

ca,

the two curves,

of

the

Gupta

period, are

transformed into a triangle, with a wedge on its apex and


a slight elongation of the base line or lower lino towards
the

left.

(7)

There

the ligature

is little

cha

or

shows

no change

in the case

that, the older

of cJia

form of ca

being used in certain cases.


1

Biihler's Indian I'^l^rograpliy. pi. IV, Col.

XIX,

11.

and

is still

CD
>T
:

<
>

O
U-

>

o
oo
cc

-a

CD

45

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

was already perceptible

line

of the early

Gupta

also curved

line

line.

we

to the

lower

the

Eastern

in the

The

alphabet.

Here

curved.

tibly

of

ja the curvature

In

(8)

same extent

wedge has been added to

variety form

was also percep-

vertical

the

find

horizontal

central

horizontal
or lower

as the base

the right extremity of

the upper horizontal line.

There

(9)

of jJia and
in the

it

is

the occurrence

one instance of

only

same shape which ma has

has exactly the

Allahabad pillar-inscription of Samudragupta.

(10)

In the case of

'fi.a,

conjointly, with ca and ja

much from

that

it

occurs

the form

in

two

ligatures,

nca, does not

differ

found in the Allahabad pillar-inscription


in the ligature jnya its form is

of Samudragupta, but
still

more cursive.
(11}

In the case of

differring very

we

ia,

much from

the

find

that

of

Eastern variety

the Western.

The

Aphsad inscription
merely an open curve, with
a wedge placed horizontally at the upper end of the curve;
but in the Western variety, as in the case of the Lakkhata in the

is

mandala Prasasli,

it is

a semi-circle with a

serif,

which

is

attached to the curve by means of a wedge.


(12)

form

In the case of

being used

still

tfia

in

we

find the

Northern

ancient

India

Maurya

without any

change.
(13)
of

In the case of da, we see that the letter consists

two small curves.

tion, in the

In the

last line

word Gaudena, we

find a

of

Aphsad inscripmore archaic form,

resembling the one used in the Allahabad pillar-inscription


of Samudragupta ; the only difference being a slight
It may be mentioned in this
shortening of the length.
connection that the word Gauda is found for the first time
in Indian epigraphy, in the

Aphsad

inscription,

where

it is

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

46

stated that the Prasasti was

native of the

Ganda country.

In the

(14)

a curve.

into

Yasodharman.

case

of

the

Cf.

composed by Su&sma-siva, a
'

dha,

we

form

iu

find the angle

the

changed
of

inscriptions

In the case of a na, we see that the base line


(15)
has become slanting, thus forming an acute angle at the
hook has become
right lower extremity, and the left
In the case of the ligature nda, the lingual na

lengthened.

acquired a distinctly modern form, consisting simply

has

two curves.

of

The lower

(16)

right limb of

fa,

which was already

elongated in the Gupta period, becomes slightly


and we find a wedge at the top of this letter.

there

we

once and

In the cese of tha occurs only

(17)
is

very

indistinct

vimathito (L. 7),

e.g.

curved

its

form,
but here

find the

upper part of the letter distinctly broadened.


the
other hand, we find the older
ligatures on

In

form

still

e.g. in

prevailing

In

(18)

dfia,

stka in kumbhastkall (L.I).

the small arc has changed into a semi-

circle.

we

find that the looped

form

the Early
Gupta period has
changed into
somewhat resembling the modern Nagari one
The
has become

one

(19)

In the case of na,

of

loop

(a) separated

from the main body of the

letter,

(d) smaller in size,

and

(c)

the main

joined to

body by a short horizontal

stroke.

An

earlier

mention

is

to be

found

in

the

Haraha Inscription

IsSnavarman of [V. E.] 611, which has since been discovered.


2

Buhler's Indian Palaeography,

pi.

IV, X, 20.

of

INTRODUCTION.

(20)

more cursive form

still

apparent in pa and

is

The right

become more pronounced.

the acute angle has

limb shows further downward elongation.

In the Aphsad column of Dr. Buhler's plates,


pha has been omitted but it occurs among the ligatures e.g.
It occurs many times and we have it
Col. XIX, 45.
(21)

thrice in the 25th line of the

Aphsad

inscription:

Sphatika,

sphara and sphurat.

From

(22)

time onward we shall have to discard

this

from the alphabet, as in Northern inscriptions, va took


the place of ba and its occurrence is occasional.

ba,

In

(23)

Western

the

variety

the

of

Gupta

early

bha has changed into a solid


alphabet,
and
this
has
developed into a hollow one,
wedge,
wedge
at the same time, separating the right limb of the letter

hook

the left

of

from the upper part. So for all practical purposes, the


distinction between ha and bha had ceased.
(2

In ma the acute angle, observable in the western

4-)

of

the early

Gupta period, develops still


more strongly and causes a downward elongation of the
alphabet

variety

right limb.
(25)

We

inscription.

two

find

In

the

varieties

first

place,

of

in

ya

we have

the

the

Aphsad
bipartite

form, with a clear acute angle at its lower extremity and


in the second place, a later form, in which the acute angle

prominent, but the downward elongated


limb
has already assumed a settled from.
right

of

is less

In ra,

(26)
or

arrow-head,

earlier

in

we

find for the first time, a pointed

at

the

inscriptions

Lakkhamaudala

lower extremity,
of

Prasaftti 1

the

western

which
variety

is
e.

the

wedge
found
g.

the

and the Bodh-Gaya inscription

Ep. Ind., Vol.

I,

p. 12.

48

THE BENGALI

OlSKilN OF

MabfinSraan.

of

Aphsad

It

is

more

still

where

inscriptions

SCRIPT.

developed in the
resembles a da of short

it

stature.

We

(27)

two forms of

find

case, the curve

or

hook

in the

la

left

limb of the

lengthened downwards with a very

been

curve at

lowest extremity.

its

the hook on the curve of the

In the

also.

letter has

outward

slight

we

In the second case,


left

instead of

limb,

first

find

being

prolonged downwards, has acquired an inward length, very


much resembling the modern Nagari and Bengali forms of
the letter.

The triangular ra of the early Gupta


same transformation as the triangle

(28)
suffers

the

kka

base

of

into

a curve,

wedge

is

Two

sides

while

the

invariably

of

be

to

the triangle

third

side

found

is

on

are

period
at the

converted

lengthened.
the

of

top

A
the

letter.

In

(29)

upper part of the letter was a curve


Gupta alphabet, whether Eastern or Western.
western variety
it changed
to a
later
the

sa,

in the early

In

the

But

rectangle.

the

first

in

the

the

time,

Aphsad
upper

while the right lower limb

We

(30)
(a)

consists

forms of

(cf. Biihler's tables, pi.

hollow wedge

(cf.

in

find,

of

for

sa.

The looped form which occurs

The form

we

loop,
part
has been elongated upwards.

find three distinct

inscription alone
(Ij)

inscription,

which the loop

in

the

IV, XIX,
is

Buhler's tables, pi. IV,

Aphsad
38).

changed into a

XVIII,

38).

(c) In the third variety which is found exclusively in


the Shahpur image-inscription of Adityasena, the apex of
the wedge has separated and ceased to be a wedge.

This form

is

found in the 6th and 9th century inscriptions

of north-eastern India.

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

We

(31)

find

49

form of ha, and the only changes


hook in the

one

noticeable are the elongation of the curve or

right limb of the letter, and the introduction of the

top and the

at the

base

slanting

of

the

wedge

hitherto horizontal

line.

The next

Eastern

the

of

inscription

variety

Deo-Baranark inscription of Jivitagupta

Most probably,

grandson of Adityasena.

is

the

the great-

II,

this record

was

century A. D. The
of
Eastern
India
following inscriptions
may be taken as
for
the
8th
century A. D.
type-specimens
incised in the earlier part of the 8th

The

1.

Deo-Baranark

of

pillar-inscription

Jivita-

We

have a certain date for Adityasena in the


gupta
Shahpur image-inscription. Three full generations elapsed
between him and Jivitagupta II. If these generations
II.

be taken to be short and to have covered


the

average, we

at

arrive

date of Jivitagupta II.


that the Deo-Baranark

the

Consequently
pillar

it

may

The

year 33

Khalimpur

Dharmmapala,

It

is

in

the

Dharmapala, the year 26


fell

of

grant

in the first

D.

The Bodh-Gaya image-inscription

3.

be affirmed

was incised either

or the second decade of the 8th century A.


'2.

years on

fifteen

8th century A. D. as the

now
the

of

the time

of

2
.

quite certain that the reign of

8th century

Dharmmapala

A. D., because he was a contem-

porary of
(i) the king Indraraja or
is

Indiiiyudha of Kanauj who


stated in the Hnrivamsapiirana to have been living in

the
1

Saka year 705 = 783 A. D., 3


J. A. 8. B., 1894, pt. I, p. 53, pi. III.

Ibid, (N.S.) Vol. IV,

pi. VI.

p. 102,

Annual Rep. Arch. Survey

1908-9, pp. 148-50.


3

Peterson's 4th Uep. on


PreBy., pp.

XLI and

Search for Skt. Mss. in the Bombay

the

176

ml. Ant., Vol.

XV,

p. 141.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

50

Cakrayudha, whom he offered


Kanauj, and who was defeated by the

named

a king
throne of

(ii)

the

Gurjjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II,


the Gurjjara-Pratihara

(iii)

whom we
of V. S.

have a certain date

872 = 815 A.

Nagabhata

Buchkala

II,

794813

The Deo-Baranark

Govinda III 2 whose certain

A.D. 3

inscription of Jlvitagnpta

II

is

bad state of preservation and the facsimile given


Dr. Fleet's work has not been well reproduced.
find

here

the

for

inscription

D.,

(iv) the Rastrakufca king

dates range from

chief

in the

forms of

in a

in

We

vowels have not changed.

initial

Ka, ga, ca, ja, ta, tha, da, da, dha, na, bha, ma, ya, and
ha also have not changed. We find changes in the
cases of

which we

in

(1) na,

the right hook

find

or

curve

further lengthened downwards,


the case of ta also we
downward length with a very

(2) in

in the

find a similar increase


slight,

almost imper-

ceptible, curve at its lower extremity,


in

(3)

we

tha,

find the top

of

the

latter broadened,

most probably due to " the elongation of the ends of the


"
strokes 4
wedges and of the use of long straight
,

cf.

yatha in (L. 14),

we

(4)

find

two forms of pa

which the acute angle

is still

(a)

prevalent

the acute angle, though present,

given place to a

is less

downward elongation

the older
;

and ()

Epi. Ind., Vol. IX, p. 193.


J. B.

Epi. Ind., Vol. VIII, App. II, p. 3.

Btthler's Indian

B. R. A.

S.,

Vol.

XXII.

has

the right vertical

of

No. LXI,

in

which

remarkable and

line e.g. in the ligature spa

form,
in

p. 128.

Palaeography, Eng. Ed.,

p. 53.

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

we

(5) in the case of la,

51

find the acute

angle

having,

become too small ?nd the right vertical


produced downwards, e.g. in kamala (L. 4),

in certain cases,

straight line

but

in

other

cases,

it

retains

inscription, e.g. valavi (L.


(6)

we

6.),

two forms of sa

find

form of the Aphsad

the

also

the earlier,

(a)

with a curved, top as in paramamahesvara (L. 3), and (6)


the later form, which we find for the first time, and which
resembles the 9th
grant,

century form

of the

Dighwa-Dubhauli

(7) in sa

the

lower part of the left limb

and projects beyond the

vertical

is

cursive

of the left side of

level

the letter,
(8) the third variety of the dental
is

inscription

used in

sa

of the

Aphsad

all cases.

The Bodh-Gaya and Khalimpur inscriptions of the


26th and 32nd year of the reign of Dharmapala, most
probably,

were incised in the 9th and

last

decade of the

8th century A.D.

In

the

Bodh-Gaya

inscription

of

Dharmapala we

find:1

three forms of sa

(a)

the

ancient

Silabkidah L.
(fj)

1,

form

round

the

top

Kesava L. 2 and sad-vinsati L.

as

the

transitional

sreyase (L. 4)

7,

2),

with the lingering cross-bar, as

acute angle at
vertical line

in

2 the cross-bar of the lingual sa going to intersect

in

the later form without the cross-bar as in Mahadeva's-

caturmnkha and srentha (L.


(c)

with

the

bot f

om, instead

of

Btihler's Indian Palaeography,

Eng. Ed.,

pi.

the

joining the right

IV, XXI, 36.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

52

3 in ja the upper horizontal bar disappearing entirely


and being substituted by a wedge. The middle horizontal
bar is a curve and longer in size in one case (ma/ribJiuji
L. 7) and shorter

another (vjjvala9ya L.

in

4 two forms of na

the older looped form occurring in

(a)

1)

cases

all

except

two,

between the Gupta shape


and the Nagarl or Bengali form, which we find in a/iani
(L. 9) and most probably also in khanitu (L. 6) ;
the

(b)

5 in

many

transitional

base

the

na,

pulrena (L. 2)
in

more sharply

in

disappearing

dramwanam

and 7'tsnn (L. 5)

the base line

6),

in

finally perceptible

the

ha,

almost

line

cases, as in pitskarni

and sahasrena (L.

f>

form,

acute

The

defined.

at

angle,

lower

the

of

characters

extremity,

the

grant of Dharmmapala appear next, and in

it

Khalimpur
we find some

notable changes.
I.

Vowels.

1.

In

we

a,

a broad top-stroke, for the

find

which makes, the resemblance of the


Bengali a complete.
2.

In

denoted,

even

lower extremity
medial,

this

Bodh-Gaya

the

find,

form

the

the initial,

by a

instead of a curve,

line,

of

of

length

the case of

in

vertical straight

first

time,

to the initial

Cf. ajani (L. 45).

we

letter,

the

is

be

to

also.

inscription

found,

full

is

length

attached to the

In the case of the

limb.

right

vowel

in

For the

all

cases, in

initial

form,

the
cf.

asld in L. 5.
3.

In the case of
at the top with

wedge
form in ira (L. 4) and

/,

we

two
iti

see that

circular

(L. 7).

the usual form

is

dots below. Cf. the

CO

o
c

LJJ

h-

ex

E
<D

CO
(/)

CD

-C
CO

E
CO
-il

'o.
CO

O)

^:
h-

THE EASTERN ALPHABVT.

53

Consonants,

II.

Ka

1.

but the acute angle at

retains the looped form,

the bottom becomes more sharply defined.

we

In kha,

2.

become elongated,

converted into a

is

certain cases e.g. in the

further
tion,

hook at

the

find

Bodh-Gaya

acute angle

more sharp,

e.g.

in the

to

the

having
which in

inscription, is projected

limb,

right

In this inscripbecomes still

nikhila (L. 20) and khalu (L. 25).

In ga, we find the

3.

top,

left limb,

downwards than the right limb.

the

curved

the

right,

limb has been sharply


extremity of the curve being

the

left

occupied by the usual wedge.


In gha we have a broad
4.

which

is

top stroke, the left end of


lower extremity of the right

connected with the

vertical line,

by means

of

two curves.

In fact, the base line

of the 5th century gha, consisting of a curve to the left

and

a blanting straight line to the right, has been transformed


into two distinct curves, while the acute angle at the

bottom has become very small.


5.
cf.

fta

occurs in

ligatures

only and has. not changed,

Sanglryamanfih (L. 22).


6.

In

ca,

there

is

no other change, save the sharpness

angle and the consequent


breadth of the letter.
of the acute

In cha

decrease

in

the

no change, except
the downward elongation of the vertical line, which forms
a short tail, attached to the point or junction of the two
7.

circles, cf.
8.

also,

there

is

little

or

ahaveccha (L. 20).

In /a, we

find

remarkable changes. The lowest


a hook, while the middle hori-

horizontal line consists of

zontal has been forced

downwards

horizontal line

taken

little

difference

being
between

Bengali form of this

letter.

by a
this

the place of the upper

wedge. There is very


form and the
modern

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI

54

Na

be found in ligatures only, cf. sarlvaajfta


where the reproduction is not very distinct.

9.

(L. 1)

ta,

SCRIfrT.

is to

10.
Another important modification is to be found in
where instead of the semi-circle, we find the letter

consists of

a top-stroke, a vertical

line attached

str.iight

which forms the right limb, and a


curve, attached to the left end of the top-stroke, by means
to the right extremity,

of another curve.

Tha has changed from a

11.

with a straight line attached to

into a

circle

semi-circle

both ends and slightly


kanthe (L. 23). This

its

produced downwards, beyond it ; cf.


form is not to be found in the 9th and 10th century
inscriptions.

In na, we find that in


In no case we
prevalent.

12.
still

base

the older form

cases

find the

is

suppression of the

do in some cases of the Bodh-Gaya

we

line, as

all

inscription.

In

13.

ta,

we

find

the

bavin** a distinct tendency to

right hand

on the

line.

In tha, we find a more archaic form, as neither the

14.

top-stroke nor the


letter is

broadening of the upper part of the

perceptible.

In the case of da,

15.

curve

curve

become a straight

in the

a sharp acute

we

middle of the

find

letter

further

has been

changes.

The
into

changed
bottom

angle and the slight curve at the

lengthened downwards.
In dh, we find no change, except the sharpening
16.
of the acute angle and the consequent shortening of the
breadth.

Another archaic form

17.
cases,

that of

na, which

shows the early Gupta looped form

modern
18.

is

in all

instead of the

one.

In pa,

we

disappeared and the

find
letter

the

acute

consists

angle has almost


a top-stroke, a

of

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.


vertical

straight

attached

attached

line,

the

to

to

55

right end a

its

end of the top-stroke and

left

curve

the lower

part of the vertical.

It

Pha

attached to
cf.

denoted

by the absence of the top stroke.


resembles a, pa without the top stroke and a small curve
19.

the upper

pkani (L.
20.

In

is

of

part

the

right vertical

line,

15).

there

b/ia,

is

no change beyond

1he sharpening

of the lower angle.

21.

In ma also there

no change save the decrease

is

in

the size of the acute angle.


22.

In

the

ya

projected downwards

vertical

straight

beyond

the

line

point

is

slightly

the junction

of

with the curve.


23.

In

arrow-head

the

ra

wedge becomes

the

ci

distinct.

remarkable change is to le found in la.


The base line of this letter, which became Wanting in the
24.

Another

Guptas of Magadha,

the later

inscriptions of

the

in

of

majority
suppressed
record the hook or curve in the left limb of

entirely

attached to the

the

connection that the older

25.

In

becomes

letter

modern Nagari or Bengali.


where the base

this

middle of the right vertical

by another curve and

It should be

form

has

been

In

cases.

this

letter

straight

what

it

noticed

is

preserved

find a similar

downward

in

is

line

in

is

in

the

this

sea

line is distinct.

va,

we

proloflgatioB

of the right vertical straight line.

26.

In sa,

we

find the looped

later forms, used in the

form

in

all cases.

The

Bodh-Gaysi in?cription, are not

in

evidence.
27.

In

tta,

we

find the older

form,

bar touched the right vertical straight


later

form to be found

in the

which the cross-

in
line,

Bodh-Gaya

instead

inscription.

of the

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

56

Sa

28.

retains the

Baranark inscription

form which we
of

find

Jlvita-Gupta

Deo-

the

in

without any

II

change.

The form

29.

where we find

of the letter

the

is

now

So, the letter

line.

consists of a

curve

into a

upper angle changed

and the lower angle replaced by a short

in Jia,

changed

entirely

vertical

straight

at the top, a

wedge

curve below and two short vertical straight lines.

From

we have

this point

varieties in

to

Northern alphabets

four different

recognise

we have

the Eastern, the development of which,

to follow, in order to trace the origin of the Bengali script;

the Central, which gradually developed into the

( ii )

modern Nagar! and the alphabet of the Southern Punjab


and Rajputana;
the Sarada, which according to Bu'hler, "appears

(iii)

since about

A.D. 900

Kashmir and

in

Eastern Punjab (Kangra anl


the

(iv)

North- Western.

Chamba);"
The alphabet

yet, obtained proper recognition.

coins of the
certain 9th

Hindu kings
10th

or

with

as

It

yet".

It

is to

be fourd on the

not

been

termed

be

in

discovered

century inscriptions

may

not as

has

Kabul or Ohind 2 and

of

which have

Sir Harold Djane,

the North-

in

by

properly dealt

Trans-Indus

the

alphabet of the 9th or 10th centuries A.D., which died


away after the Muhammedan occupation of the country.
It

may

however, that

be noticed,

part of the llth century


little

known

silver coins,

A..D.,

survived

it

when we

with Sanskrit

till

find

the earlier

on

it

the

legends, issued

by

4
the famous conqueror, Sultan Mali mud of Ghazni.
1

Buhler's Indian Palaeography, Rag. Ed., p. 57.

V. A. Smith, Cat. of Coins in the Indian

3
4

J.

S.

A. S. B., 1898, pt.


L.

Poole's,

of

pp. 149-151,

I, p. 6, pi.

Orient.

pi.

VI.

VII

Coins

Mnseum,

Vol.

I, p.

246.

55.

in

the Brit.

Museum,

Vol.

II

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

From

onward, we shall have to confine ourdevelopment of the Eastern alphabet only, and

this point

selves to the
to

67

it

compare

with that of the central.

This,

be called Western, from the point of view of

again, will
our observa-

In the earlier part


tion, for the sake of better distinction.
of the 9th century A.D., the Gurjjara-Pratiharas founded an
extensive empire

in

Northern India, which extended from


in the West and from the

Bihar in the East to the Punjab

North

in the

Himalayas

Malwaand Gujrat

to

in the South.

In Bengal, Devapala succeeded Dharmapala and kept the


Pala Empire in tact. But his successors, Vigrahapala 1 and
Narayanapala, were not so fortunate and we find that the
Northern and
Gurjjara-Pratihara
emperors wrested
different

was

from

Bihar

Southern

inscriptions

included

in

We

them.

that

Magadha

the

dominions

know from

Southern Bihar

or

Mahendrapala
1.
The Digh \va-Dubhauli grant
V.E. 955 = 898 A.D.

three

of

the

Emperor

of

Mahendrapala,

The Ram-Gaya

2.

8.

year

'3.

be

Northern

class

The

2.

The

of

Mahendrapala,

the

of

9th

Eastern

to the

A.D.

century
of

variety

the

M unger grant of Devapala,


Ghosrawa

inscription

the year 32. 4


of

the

time

of

Ind. Ant.

XV,

p. 112.

Cunningham's A.
No.

S.

E., Vol.

Ill, p.

123,

No.

13. pi.

XXXVII

6.

Ibid, p. 124,
*

inscriptions

referred

safely

1.

Devapala.
1

Mahendrapala, the

The following

'-

of

The Guneria image-inscription

the year 9.

may

inscription

No.

14.

Asiatick Researches, Vol.

I,

Ind. Ant., Vol. XVII, p. 309.

p.

123

Ind. Ant., Vol.

XXI,

p. 254.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGAL SCRIPT.

58

The

8.

BadfU

time of

the

of

inscription

pillar

Narayanapala.

The Yisuupad

4.

the year

pala

The

5.

year 17.

temple inscription of Narayana-

7.

Bhagalpur

of

grant

The Dighwa-Dubhauli grant

6.

the

Narayanapala

of

Mahendrapala

V. E. 955. 4

The

7.

Ramgaya

of

inscription

Mahendrapala

the year 8. 5

Out

of these seven inscriptions

Devapala

no

of

is

use

for

the

Hunger grant

Palseographical

purposes,

of
as

original cannot be traced, and it was published by


the late Dr. Kielhorn from the eye copy reproduced in
its

the

volume of

first

Ghoerawa

may

of the

was

inscription

be taken

to

earlier

certainly

part

in

of

examination

will

date

later in

Dr. Biihler

alphabets of the

that

of

the

The approximate date

of

the

before

It should

also

is

wrongly given.
A.D. instead of 850-950 A.D. Subsequent

inscription

be 800-900

the

Maheudrapala and the Asiatic

Vinayakapala

Inscription.

Ghosrawa

North Eastern alphabet

placing

Ghosrawa

is

of

grant

the

of the 9th century A.D.

wrong

The

Researches.

the only record whose characters

represent

Dighwa-Dubhauli grant
Society's

Asiatick

the
is

prove that the Dighwa-Dubhauli grant


than that of the Bhagalpur grant of

Narayanapala.

Ep. Ind., Vol.

Cunningham's A.
Ind. Ant., Vol.

II,

Ind. Ant., Vol.

Cunningham's A.

Biihler

161.

S. R., Vol. Ill, pi.

XV,
XV,

p.

305

J.

XXXVI.

A. S. B. 1878, Pt.

1, pi.

XXIV-XXV.

p. 112.

8. R., Vol. Ill, pi.

Indische Palaeographie

Ibid, Taf. V, Col. VI.

XXXVII,

No.

Tafel IV, Cols.

6.

XXI 4 XXIII.

the

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

59

The following characteristics of the alphabet used


Ghosrawa inscription may be noted

in

1.

In

the

stroke has not yet fully developed.

top

There are two distinct wedges on the top of each of the


limbs.
In addition to these there is a long narrow wedge
at the lower extremity of the right limb.
2.

In

the

of

case

stroke has not yet

also the top

fully developed.
3.

The

initial

and a

at the top,
4.

E has

5.

Kha

short

consists of

two

curve below.

scroll like

become a right angled triangle


shows

still

circles or dots

wedge

at

in form.

the bottom of the

left limb.
6.

Ca shows an increase

7.

Ja shows an archaic form

horizontal bar

is

slightly

in the breadth.
in

which the central

slanting downwards and lower

horizontal bar shows a small curve at the end


8.

in

Ta

In

the right limb

is

not shown and

is

archaic

form consisting of a semi-circle with a wedge at the

upper end.
9.

In

Na

the base line has entirely disappeared.

Tha shows a broadening of the upper part and


and a curve with an acute angle at
the bottom formed by a side of the curve and the right
10.

consists of a loop

vertical straight line.


11.

Da shows

slanting

downward

stroke

at

its

lower extremity.
12.

Dha

also

13.

Na

shows the

shows

this stroke.

transitional

form

between the

looped one of the early Gupta period and the Nagari or


The loop has separated from the main
Bengali one.

body of the

letter.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGAL SCRIPT.

60
14.

Pa

15.

In Bha we see the slanting downward stroke.

16.

In

17.

In

very archaic in form. There is no curvature about it and the lower part shows two right angles
instead of an obtuse and an acute angle.
is

Ma

the loop

is still

absent.

Ya the acute angle has been

entirely sup-

pressed and

with the exception of the breadth of the


lower part of the letter we have the complete Nagari or
Bengali form.

The base

18.

The hook

La

In

has been entirely suppressed.


right

limb

Fa the acute angle has given place

to the

by a short straight
19.

line of

or curve on the left

is

joined to the

line.

elongation of the right vertical straight

line.

In Sa we find a wedge at the botoom of the

20.

left

limb and the cross bar has become slanting while the right
limb is projected upwards.
In

21.

(Sf '

the base line has again

become horizontal,

and the cross bar has slanted downwards.

Ha

In

22.

acute angle

ward

also

we

find a slightly archaic

has not as yet

form as the

developed into a second

down-

stroke.

The

found

archaisms

Ghosrawa

inscription

The Ghosrawa
alphabet, in

may

inscription

which

the alphabet used in the


be explained in this manner.

in

represents

certain letters are

the true epigraphic

more archaic

in

form

than those in the Khalimpur grant of Dharmapala. The


alphabet used in the Khalimpur grant represents the
current-hand-script

A. D.

and

Ghosrawa
Epigraph

as

of

such

inscription,

the

later

part

shows much

of the 8th century

later

forms than the

which being incised on

proper of the 9th century.

stone

is

an

-."'

-\

o
LL
-o
CO

CO

Q_
03
>-,

CO
(fl
co

>,
'oo

61

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

We

the reign of Narayanapala, where we


have two stone inscriptions and a copper plate. The Badal

on

pass

to

was found

inscription

pillar

Visnupad
copper

was

plate

In

province.

found

also

North

Gaya
at

in

Bengal and the


South Bihar. The

Bhagalpur

in the latter

Epigraphs proper we find that


Badal pillar, which is in the East is

case of

the

alphabet of the

the

in

temple inscription, at

more archaic than that of the Gaya inscription of the


West. The following points are worth noting in the case
of the alphabet used in the Badal pillar inscription:
I.

Vowels
1.

The top

stroke

the letter consists of a

is

prominent

vertical

in the case of

straight line

wards from right end of the top stroke.

drawn downshort straight

line stands at right angle to the first one, at its centre,

and

comma-shaped-curve at its extremity. There


a long thin wedge at the bottom of the vertical line.

supports
is

and

2.

denoted

is

by

similar in shape, the length of the sound


being
a second vertical straight line placed on the

right of the first


3.

two

The

and drawn

initial

4.
5.

(a)

The

initial

We

find

The

is

it.

U has

not changed

two forms of

first

one

it.

denoted by a wedge at the top, and

below

circles or dots

parallel to

is

its

form.

the triangular form

in

which one

upper angles has gradually become a right ano-le.


lower part of the letter shows the
slightly curved

of the

The

downward

stroke.

() In the second form we find that it has ceased to be


The hypotenuse has snapped leaving a curve at

a triangle.

the top of the vertical side and a part of it at the lower


end.
The resemblance to the modern Bengali form is now

complete.

Cf. the

form

in

eva (L. 13).

ORIGIN OP THE BENGAL SCRIPT.

62
II.

Consonants
1

In

many

cases

there

The

at the lower part of Ka.

is

no trace of an acute angle

letter consists of a top-stroke,

a vertical straight line with curving end drawn at light


angles to the former, and a curve attached to the left side
of the vertical, the upper part of

and

which projects out on the

then turned straight downwards.


The base of Kha still consists of a triangle but the

right side
2.

base line

is

The upper part

not horizontal.

is

of

the letter

which consisted formerly of a curve with a wedge or short


straight line at its end now consists of a curve with another

much

smaller one as

3.

its

extremity.
In Ga the curve has a second one attached

lower extremity and there

to

its

a slight tendency of projecting


the vertical straight line upwards, beyond the point of its
is

junction with the curve.


4. There is a distinct tendency towards shortage in the

breadth of the upper part of Gha.


the

The other changes

are

introduction of the top-stroke, the raising of the left

curve above the level of the right one, the disappearance of


the acute angle and the presence of the slightly curved

downward

stroke at the bottom.

has not changed.

5.

Co.

6.

In Ja

straight line has

bar

we

much

find

or horizontal

line

it

Na

is

vertical

become transformed

has

found

central

into

The top-bar has long ago

long slanting downward stroke.


been converted into a wedge.
7.

The

later form.

now become a curve while the

In one case we find that

in ligatures.

resembles the modern Bengali form.

Cf. nca in

Kindt

(L. 28).
8.

We

(a)

The form met with

grant

in

find

two forms

which there

Ta

of

for the first time in

is

top-stroke,

Khalimpur
right

limb

63

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.


vertical straight line attached to the

consisting of a

end of the top-stroke, and a


serai-circle which is attached

end of the top-

to the left

by means of another slanting straight


Mukutankita (L. 7).

line.

stroke

() The second form


semi-circle attached to the

straight

The only

line.

the first one

is

left

end

Cf.

a top-stroke and a
it by a slanting

of

consists

right

limb consisting of a

left

of

difference between this

the absence of the right limb.

form and

Cf.

Vikata

(L. 8).

Tha

9.

10.

consists of a plain circle


to

is

l}a

angular form

is

be found in

up

to this time.

Udupa (L.

found to have given

its

7)

where the

place to the archaic

cursive one.
11.

but the
vertical

Na we

In

find that the base line

is still

intact

hook or curve has been transformed into a

left

line

straight

towards the lower

slightly curving

end.
1

final

but we find two different

Ta has not changed


forms

2.

Vidhivat (L. 10-11).

(a)

13.

(V) Kindt, (L. 34).


There is a perceptible

narrowing of the upper

part of Dha.
14.
final

In

form

Na we
has

find

the modern Bengali form.

been

also

used

in

the

inscription.

The
Cf.

Sri-man (L. 12).


15.
letter

In

Pd we

find a shortening in the breadth of the

which makes

its

form complete.
In Pha the
16
joins the right

resemblance to the modern Nagarl

left

one at the

limb consists of a curve which


lower extremity.

limb consists of a vertical straight


curve to the right attached to

its

line

upper end.

The right

and a hook or

64

is

ORIGIN OF THE BENGAL SCRIPT.


17.

Bha

18.

For the

has not changed much.


first

time we find that in

almost horizontal and there

of

base

the

a loop

is

Ma

the base line

at the

left

The acute angle has been

line.

end

entirely

suppressed.

Ya we

In

19.

the letter,

also find a shortage in the breadth of

which makes

its

resemblance to the modern

Nagarl form, almost complete.


20.
In La we have the archaic form with the slightly
curved base line.
In

21.

Ya

which does duty both for

Ba and Va we

find that the acute

angle has entirely disappeared and the


letter now consists of a top stroke, a vertical
straight line
at right angles to the above, and a semi-circle attached to
the left side of the vertical.

We

22.
sibilant

four

the

of

palatal

which the lower part of the


Cf. Sakra (L. 1).

in

limb ends in a wedge.

The looped form

(b)

forms

different

The looped form

(a)
left

find

in

which we

find a small triangle

at the lower extremity of the looped form.

Cf.

Sarkkara

(L. 8).
(c)

The

transitional

and the Bengali one


vertical

straight

line

in

form

between the looped form

which

the letter

consists

on the right, to which

is

of a

attached

a curve by means of a very small horizontal straight line.


From the left end of this curve, another curve which

ends in a wedge, hangs downwards.


(d)
stroke.

Siva (L. 10).


The modern Bengali form in which there is no top
The letter consists of a vertical straight line on

the right with

a curved

top and

Cf.

a curved line on the left

upper end of which meets the curved end of the


right-limb and has a wedge at its base.
Cf. Sandilya
the

(L.

1).

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

65

In the lingual Sa the breadth of the lower part


has decreased considerably.
23.

24.

Sa has not changed at

25.

Ha

all.

shows the

in all cases

later

and 12th century Nagari or Bengali,


ward stroke which had taken the place

form

of the llth

in

which the down-

of

the lower acute

angle becomes transformed into a curve.


In the Gaya inscription we find that
1.

/ has two

Initial

Two

(a)
Cf. Iti in

L.

forms

different

circles at the top

and a

scroll at

the bottom.

4.

short horizontal straight line at the top and two


small circles at the bottom.
(b)

2.

Kha

which the

has

the

acquired
of

letter consists

modern Bengali form,

in

a vertical straight line on the

triangle which has now ceased to be so, as


the apex has opened out, and the curve at the top.
This
curve at the top, and the transformed sides of the triangle

right and

the

form a new limb of the

letter.
The lower part of the
has
curve at the top
again curved slightly inwards making

the resemblance complete.


3.

Gha

still

retains

the acute angle at the bottom.

Cf. Narasiiigha (L. 2).


4.

In

the right

Ta we

find

that

the

vertical straight line on

has entirely disappeared.

Cf. the three instances

in L. 2.
5.

6.
(a)s
*

Tka continues

We

to preserve its ancient form.

two forms of Pa

The more ancient form

persist as in
(b)

find

P raved a

in

which the angles


O

(L. 2).

The comparatively modern

cursive form which

more abundant.
7.

Pha

is

to ba

still

found

in ligatures

Sphiirad-amala (L. 1-2) and Sjohuratu (L. 14).

is

ORIGIN OF THE BENGAL SCRIPT.

66

In the case of La we find

8.

base

line

a vertical

top-stroke,

important changes. The

disappeared and the

has

line at

straight

consists

of a

right angles

to it

letter

and two small curves joined together which touch the


the vertical

left side of

We

9.

here also

two forms

find

than

earlier

that

to be found

left

sibilant

palatal

Sa

Badal pillar

the

in

in-

present but nestles against


of
side
the right vertical straight line.
Cf. Setv

scription, as here the loop

the

the

form between the looped one and


This particular transitional form

transitional

the more modern form.


is

of

The

(fl)

line.

is still

(L. 12).

The other form

(b}

more widely used and

is

is

same

as variety (d) of the Badal pillar inscription.

We
which

now turn

is

to date

to the

the

latest

as it

was issued

alphabet of

find that in the alphabet

Vowels

1.

short

is

line

vertical line

17th year of his reign. We


this inscription we have the

of

complete Bengali one

the

in

which even the

the

comma-shaped scroll to the right


downwards
instead of being horislanting

joining
is

Bhagalpur grant

in the

Proto-Beugali forms almost complete


I.

the

Narayanapala discovered up

record of

zontal as in the Badal pillar inscription.

Cf. Asir (L. 20),

An^am^ = ca

The
Abhitva(ra}mana (L. 35),
(L. 36).
has
almost
of
the
from
the
lower
disappeared
part
wedge
letter.

The

latest inscription of this prince is a votive record

the back of a small metal image found at Binar.


cation of the image at

Uddandapur

This image

is

in the 54th

preserved
Sahitya Parishad of Calcutta.

sovereign.

in

the

It

incised on

records the dedi-

year of the reign of that

Luscum

of the Baiiglya

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

'1.

denoted

has

also

by

second

67

similar

form

vertical

straight line placed to the

-the

length

being

right of the letter as in the Badal pillar

The
inscription.
of the alphabet used in this inscription is almost

A and A

same as those used in the modern Bengali alphabet,


the only differentia being the short vertical straight stroke
the

both

in

letters

joining the

comma-shaped curve with the

top stroke.

In

3.

form

two

case of initial

the

as in the Badal pillar,


circles or dots

below

almost the same

the wedge at the top and


The wedge however is modi-

form, having lost the


Cf. Iti. (L. 47 and 50).

U we

find

i.e..

it.

the

upper side of

fied in

In the

/ we

triangle.

find a

change after a long time.


letter now possesses
top stroke and the vertical
straight line which had remained unaltered since the early
4.

initial

The

Mauryya

period

now

curves sharply to the

left.

Cf.

Udlcln-

aneka (L. 26).

Consonants

II.
1.

2.
first

The

Kka shows the

time

3.

Ka

triangle of

in the

Ghi his

Gaya

has become broader.

cursive

Bengali

form found for the

inscription.

lost its

acute angle,

become shortened

in

breadth at the upper part and the left curve at the base
We have a
placed on a higher level than the right one.

modern

very close approach to the

Bengali

form

in

this

instance.
4.

Ca also shows a distinct narrowing at the upper

part.
o.

zontal

In Ja
bar

downward

of

we

find that in

the

stroke in

earlier

the

some cases the central

hori-

forms, which becomes almost a

Badal

pillar

inscription,

trans-

two straight lines, forming an obtuse angle.


other
cases
this line becomes merely a curve.
In

formed

into

ORIGIN OF THE BENGAL SCRIPT.

68
In

6.

Ta we

find that there

from th) right end

is

a short

of the top stroke

form used

of the longer stroke of the

downward

stroke

which may be a
the

in

relic

Khalimpur

grant.

In

7.

of

Na we

find the

form consisting

proto- Bengali

two short curves joined on

to the left side of

vertical

straight line.

Ta has changed

8.

now

letter

form

after a long time.

The

of a top stroke and a vertical straight

consists

and a curve attached

line at right angles to it

to

the

left

The form resembles the Nagarl one

side of the latter.

some

its

to

extent.

upper curve has become open showing


the evolution of the Bengali form.
In Tha the

9.

10.

many

Dha

In

part of the letter has in

the upper

also

cases opened.

11.

The Na has

in the majority of cases,

looped form but the loop seems


downwards.

Pa

12.

In

18.

Pha

the upper part of

shows

also

the

the archaic

to be drooping or bent

the letter has narrowed.

decrease in

the breadth of

the upper part of the letter.


14.

Ma

15.

In La we find the

16.

The

17.

We

(a)

lower parts.

Sa

is

suppression of the base

line.

in all cases of the looped form.

find

is

the same in

Cf.

is

the

upper as

well

as

in

the

Samayat-asesa.

The second

upper part
Cf.

Palatal

final

two forms of the lingual Ra


The first is the older form in which the breadth

of the letter

(b)

in all cases has the looped form.

is

that in which the breadth of the

considerably

less

than that of the lower.

Samupagat-a'sesa (L. 30).

The Bhagalpur
script,

grant, being written in the current hand

shows forms much

later

than the Epigraphs proper

$'

qv-

*-

Y~

L5

/^ M*2siJ

'<~-4. v

10

to c

f
'

^L'

'rcr

n '-v^ u-

t^->f
n:

"'..''

*;'

^l

cv

^^i*^

-^f

fetllPiiiSiP E
licii^^S^iiil
S r-r'^^S_S^.v
i^frwl
r\'

V'4^''

l^lf^SJ?^
i^irk
^ Yv:\<?fcit,

THE EASTEKX ALPHABET.


the Badal pillar and Visnupad

temple inscriptions of the

The examination

time of Narayanapala.

69

of the characters

Dighwa-Dubhauli grant of the Pratihara Emperor

of the

Mahendrapala have been included in this paper though it


was issued from Mahodaya or Kanauj, because in the first
land

place, the

was situated

granted

in the

mandala and
was found

bhukti of ^ravasti, in the second place because it


in

the

village

Dighwa-Dubhauli

in the district of

Gopalganj,

sion of Bihar,

and

in

the

Sub-Division of

Saran of the Tirhut Sub-divi-

in the third place because there are

Eastern variety forms in the alphabet used in

2.

The narrow
The cursive

3.

The

4.
5.

The Proto-Bengali Tha.


The looped Ma.

6.

The

1.

later

many

it:

Ca.

/a.

Ta

of the Bhagalpur grant.

transitional

Sa

in

which the loop nestles

close

to the vertical straight line.


7.

The

The

exceptional forms are those

late

(1) A, (2)

We

$a

in

which the cross bar slants downwards.

KAa, (3)

have to admit

of:

Glut, (4) Ta, (5)

then

Na,

(6;

Ka.

that the Dighwa-Dubhauli

grant shows the use of an alphabet which

is

mixture of

the Eastern and Western, a fact not to be wondered at the


land was situated on a border.
tion of

Mahendrapala

In the

(regnal year 8

Ram-Gaya

= C. 898

inscrip-

A.D.)

we

have a similar mixture:


1.

Sa

is

instead of a

of the transitional form and shows a

wedge

triangle

at the lower extremity of the left limb.

Ja shows the downward slanting of the central


and extreme cursiveness of the lower one.
2.

3.

Pa
1

still

retains an acute angle.

Memoirs

of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

bar

ORIGIN OF THE BENGAL SCRIPT.

70

Ma

4.
is

is

looped in form but the lower horizontal bar

perfectly so.

There

is

no slanting.

La shows

the horizontal straight line which joins


the curve or hook to the right vertical straight line.
5.

Na is of the looped form.


Ha still shows an acute angle

6.

7.

exhibits a

but at

the same time

downward curve projecting from the lower

angle.

Few

inscriptions have been discovered in Northern


can safely be referred to the 10th century
which
India

The reason

A. D.

for the absence of records

is

not far to

period was a very troubled one and saw the fall


of mighty empires. The vast fabric of the Gurjjara-Pratlhara Empire, imperfectly welded together, was rapidly falling
seek.

The

to pieces.

Family

discord, fanned into

flame by neighbour-

ing monarchs, rushed the decay of the Gurjjaras

of Kanauj.

East the ancient Empire of the Palas was fast


crumbling away. The Palas were between two fires. The
Gurjjara-Pratiharas in the West, and Mongoloid tribes from
In the far

the North,

were doing their best to annihilate them.

have seen that in the latter part of the 9th century

We

Magadha

(South Bihar) and Tlrabhukti (North Bihar) had been wrestSouth Bihar actually formed a part of
ed from the Palas.
In the North there was a commothe Gurjjara Empire.
tion among the Mongoloid tribes of the Sub-Himalayan

movement among
the Nomads of the Trans-Himalayan deserts, the last wave
The
of which reached the Northern barrier of India.
regions.

force

Perhaps

that

was

it

result of a

transmitted

served to dismantle

mapala.

was the

the

through

tall fabric

The Mongoloid

tribes,

the rocky

constructed by

dislodged

barrier

Dharm-

from

their

submontane pastures descended into the plains and conIn 966 A.D. we find a king
quered North Bengal.
of Gauda, who professed the Brahmanical faith, but
acknowledged descent from a Non-Aryan clan (Kamboja}.

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

71

There are only three short votive inscriptions and one


to the 1 Oth
copper plate grant which can safely be referred
century A.D.

A.D.

pillar inscription

8.

888 + 78 = 966

inscription of

The Nalanda image

2.
I.

year

The Dinajpur

1.

the

Gopala II

The Bodh-Gaya image inscription of Gopala II.


The Bangarh (Dinajpur) grant of Mahlpala I. 4

The

last

one

1.

We

know from

that

Mahlpala

We

2.

is

included in this

because

list

the Imadpur

image

inscriptions

5
reigned at least 48 years.

know from

the Tirumalai inscription that

the

Northern conquest of Rajendra Cola I was completed before


his 12th regnal year i.e. 1028-4 A.D. 6

The Sarnath

3.

inscription of

probably a posthumous

The brothers

A.D.

1026

probably finished the

There

4.

is

So

one.

work

the

Phalguna and

so

syllable

there

and

Sthirapala

is

most

Vasantapala

by Mahlpala I.
two syllables between (he

barely room for

first

Mahlpala

the date V. E. 1083

started

words "Samvat" and Iguna.


read Pha,

is

The second of these must be


the name of the month

in

can have been

only one numeral

to express the year.

we

find

that

the

Bangarh (Dinajpur)
Mahlpala must be assigned 'to the latter half of the
10th century A.D.
Consequently

grant of

In the Dinajpur pillar inscription we find that

The upper curve

1.

line

from the

left

has given place to a straight

A. S. B. (N. S.), Vol. VIII, p. 619,


No II, pi. VII.

J.

Ibid, Vol. IV, p. 105,


Ibid, No. III.

Ga

end of which hangs a curved

of

Proc. A. S. B. 1881, p. 98.

pi.

line

ending

XV.

A. S. B. 1892, Ft. I, p. 82.


Ep. Ind., Vol. VII, p. 119-20.

J.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGAL SCRIPT.

72
in

wedge and from the right end

straight line at right angle to

it.

which hangs a

of

Giyate (L.

Cf.

2).

In GJta the curves at the lower part have disappeared


entirely and the letter consists of a top stroke, a vertical
2.

straight line hanging

and a loop

the

of

by two

vertical line

Ghata (L.

slight curves. Cf.

In Ca the acute angle is


become a horizontal

has

curve

right end of the former,

formed by these lines, which is joined


top stroke and the lower end of the

in the angle

to the left end

3.

down from the

still

present but the upper

The
limb,

consists of a

5.

T
JV ff

6.

and a

is

left

perceptible

in it

limb, which

is

as shaped

Khalimpur
'Da

in

the ligature

top and a

fija

and there

is

from the modern Bengali form.

vertical

grant of
is

curve.

2).

In Ta the only remarkable feature

the right

7.

1).

wedge-shaped top stroke, a right


which is horizontal and the lower

Kamvojanvayajena (L.

no difference

of

part of

the upper

part vertical
Cf.

letter

we have almost the modern Bengali form.

In Ja

letter

The

line.

straight

has also gained in breadth. Cf. Ca (L.


4.

3).

straight

line

Dharmmapala.

of

Cf.

the remnant

is

the form

Ghata (L.

cursive in form and consists of a

S shaped curve below which

is

of

the

3).

wedge

at the

slightly different

from the modern Bengali form.


8.

Na

is

exclusively

Proto-Bengali

in

form.

consists of a top stroke, a right vertical straight line

It

and two

curves attached to one another, the right end


of the right one of which touches the upper part of the left
semi-circular

side of the vertical. Cf.


9.

Margganayuna

(L. 2).

Ta shows the later form consisting of a top stroke, a


and a long slight curve attached to the

vertical straight line

upper part of the

left side of the vertical. Cf.

Giyate (L. 2).

78

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.


Tha has not changed.

10.

become open

Dha we

In

11.
circle

as yet. Cf. Varuthini


find

The upper

loop has not

and Pramatkane (L.

1).

an acute angle and an arc of a


line
which is produced

bounded by a straight

upwards beyond the point of its junction with the upper


end of the curve. Cf. Vidyadharaih (L. 1).

Na

12.

has the later form consisting of a top

stroke,

a right vertical line and a loop in the angle joined to the


side

left

of

the

Pa has

13.

by a short horizontal

latter

G-audapatina (L. 2

line.

Of.

3).

modern Nagarl form.

the

Of.

Prasado

(L.3).

Va shows no

14.

difference

except the

of

presence

the acute angle.


15.
letter

In Bha we find a change after a long time. The


of a top stroke, a right vertical straight

consists

limb, and a
of

side

left

long narrow wedge


the

vertical

which

line.

is

This

joined

to

wedge seems

1n-

to

have been formed by the closing in of the sides supporting the obtuse and acute angles in the older form.
Cf.

Bhubhusanah
1

6.

Ma

horizontal

17.

shows the looped form

line

Niramayi (L.

(L. 3).

is

at

right angles

Ya shows the diminution

Ra shows

Durvvar-ari (L.
19.

which the lower

to

the vertical.

in

breadth

the

the

Cf. Yasya, (L. 2).

widening

the

of

wedge.

slightly archaic

form

curve to the right vertical

in

is still

which

Cf.

is

no difference between

Ba and

the

horizontal

and not slanting downwards.


There

of

1).

La shows a

line joining the

20.

Cf.

3).

lower part of the letter.


18.

in

Pa,

ORIGIN OF THE BBNGA.I. SCRIPT.

74
21.

Sa does not occur.

22.

In Sa we find a diminution in the breadth of

lower

part

Farsena (L.

the

of

letter

and a slanting cross

bar.

the

Of

3).

In Sa the closing in of the sides has caused a


fresh formation of the wedge. Cf. Prasado (L. 3).
Ha shows a top stroke' the transformation of the
24.
23.

upper angle into a curve, and the curved


lower angle.
Cf. Grako (L. 2).

The Nalanda (Baragaou

in the

line

below the

Patna District)

inscription shows
1.
That in the west the older form of

image

being

used.

Cf.

Bha was

still

and Bhattarika

Paramabhattaraka (L.

1),

form of Sa

used

in

and

Sri-

(L. 2) and
2.

That the

later

Asvina, Sudi, Pnrame'svara,

8n

is

(L. 1),

all

cases

J agi'srarl

(L. 2).

The Bodh-Gaya
exclusive^ use of

image

also

inscription

shows

Bha

1.

the older form of

2.

the later form of Sa and

3.

the later Bengali form of Kha. Cf. Khadga (L.

Duhkha

the

1),

(L. 2).

In the Bangarh inscription of Mahipala we h'nd the


latest form of the 1 Oth century alphabet of the North
1

In this inscription we come across the pure ProtoBengali alphabet for the first time which is further

East.

We

developed in another century.


have gone out of use.

forms

noted are
1.

that

find

The

all

points

earlier

to

be

The

initial

and two dots or


1

i, still

consisting of a

circles below.

wedge

at the top,

Cf. iv-aiko (L. 18).

Epigraphia Tndica, Vol. XIII.

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

75

2.
The Bengali form of Kka in which the cursive left
limb joins the right vertical at its lower end as well as at
the top. Cf. the instances in L. 27.

3.

The looped form

4.

The widened form

of Ca. Cf.

5.

The Bengali form

of

line

extended

is

of Gha. Of. the instances in L. 26.

Ja

in

Carana (L. 24).

which the lower curved

and makes the development

upwards

complete.
6.

The

form of Ta

older

right vertical line


7.
first

Na

9.

In

Cf.

the

has the complete Proto-Bengali form.


Ta the left end of the curve was

in the

but

already
in

this

Tha does not show the opening of the upper

loop*

widening
it

vertical line for

Cf. Plth-opalarh, (L. 14).

8.

10.

still exists.

Tha shows a wedge-shaped

time.

record

which the residue of the

in

Dinajpur

pillar

inscription

does not show the change.

Parthivendran (L. 58).


11.

Dha shows

the

of

prolongation

the

vertical

Sandadhanah (L. 2).


straight
12.
Na shows the slanting cross-bar between the loop
on the left and the right vertical line.
line. Cf.

line

13.

Bha yet shows the

14.

Ma

older form.

shows the slanting of the lower horizontal

which joins the loop to the right vertical.


La shows the developed NagarJ or Bengali form.
15.
16.

Sa shows the

find the looped or


17.

We

fiud

any
the

later

form

in all eases

and we do not

of the transitional forms.


later

form

Ha

in

which there

is

below the lower (now the only) angle.


In the llth century A.D., we find a fresh development.

curved

In

line

Eastern

India the gulf between the alphabets used in


Western parts have become wider and

the Eastern and

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

76

consequently we find Nagari from Benares westwards, and


few
Bengali from Gaya towards the East. We have very
inscriptions of the western

The Pratlharas

variety.

lingered at Kanauj, a helpless prey

invader

and

the

proud

Candella

the century saw the rise of a


I,

still

Muhammadan

the

of

In

Rajput.

Bengal

new Empire under Mahipala

the invasion of the Southern Conqueror Rajendra Cola

I,

Gangeya and
break up under Vigrahapala and Rama-

the fight for supremacy with the Cedl kings

Karnna, the

final

attempt to recover the lost supremacy.


In the eleventh century A.D. we shall consider the

pala's

alphabets of four different inscriptions

The

1.

Sarnath

image

The Krishna-Dwarika temple

2.

pala

year

:Z.

inscription of

of

inscription

Rampala

number

of records which

the

need

Of Mahipala

taken into consideration at present.

we have

Naya-

inscription of Vijaysena.*

Besides these there are a

not be

I,

The Deopara

4.

Mahipala

the year 15. 2

The Tetrawan image

3.

of

inscription

V. E. 1083 = 10:26 A. D.

inscription of the 43th

the

Imadpur image
year
and the Bodh-Gaya image inscription of the 10th year. 5
We have another inscription of loth year of Nayapala in the temple of Narasirhha in the compound of the
6
Vismipad at Gaya.

We

of the reign of Vigrahapala III

p.

two

have

Annual Rep. Arch. Survey, 1903-4.

Cunningham's A.S.R. Vol.

193

Memoirs, A.S.B. Vol. V.

III.

p.

J.A.S.B. (N.S.) Vol. IV. p. 109

Ep. Ind. Vol. II. p. 307.

Cunningham's A.S.R. Vol.

J.A.S.B. 1900. pt. I p. 190. note

XXVI.

&

p. 222, pi.

pi.

LXIV. No.

XXXVII.

pi.

77, pi.

certain inscriptions

XXV

4.

J.A.S.B. 19OO. pt.

I.

VII.

plate.
III. p.

122 No.
1.

Mem.

9.

A.S.B.,

Vol. V. p. 78, pi

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.


(1)

The Aksayavata

inscri

77
the

of

ption

5th

year

So also of
and (2) the Amgachhi copper plate grant.
we
have
the
Chandimau
of
the reign
image
Ramapala
inscription of the
useless

to

us

42hd

as

But these

year.

inscriptions are

have not been

facsimiles

trustworthy

The impression of
published or are not easily obtainable.
the Krishna-Dwarika temple inscription of Nayapala was
obtained after a good
services of Pandit

of

deal

through the kind

trouble

Parameswar Dayal

of Gaya.

In the Sarnath inscription of Mahlpala I we


a

There

mixed alphabet has been used.

is

find

that

not the slight-

chance of the entire alphabet being called Nagarl, as


comparison with the Benares grant of Karnnadeva, the
Cedl ruler, would prave at once that the western variety
est

the

of

North-eastern alphabet was something altogether

differe nt.

The following

are the peculiarities of the alphabet used

in the SarnSSth inscription of

(1)

in araclhya

variety form.
part

In

and
the

Mahlpala

have the western

in isana (L. 1)

comma

shaped curve in the

of the left limb of the letter has lost its

lower

knob or head

and has acquired the form of a semi-circle.


(2) In I we find that the letter consists of a horizontal
straight line above the two dots below and
slight curve indicates the length

of

the

under them

vowel Cf. Isana

(L. 1).
(3)
(4)

We find Eastern variety forms in Sa, Ha, La, Na.


E in etam (L. 2) has the modern Bengali form in
So also

which the loop has opened.


1

p.81,

Cunningham's A.8.E. Vol.

III.

p.

is

Ja.

132-33.

Mem.

A.S.B. Vol. V.

pl.XXVII.

Ind. Ant. Vol.

Cunningham's A.S.R. Vol. XI.

XXI.

India, 1911-12, p.161,

pi.

p. 97.

LXXII,

p. 169.

fig. 8.

Aun. Sep. Arch. Survey

ORIGIN OP THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

The alphabet used


the

of

inscription

the

in

15th

temple

the

same as

year of Nayapala,

Narasimha temple

that of the

Krishna-Dwarika
is

of

inscription

time

the

the same king and the Aksayavata inscription of the

With some

year of Vigrahapala III.


used in the Satlghat (Sitala

(I)

has

the

temple)

Mere we

of the time of Yaksapala.

form,

Bengali

modifications, it
at

inscription
find that

but

limb, with the top stroke,

still

is

is

Gaya

the short vertical

comma-shaped curve of the

straight line, joining the

of

fifth

present

left

Cf. ajata and

ananya (L. 5).


('2)

In

straight line
(3)

the length
;

There

(4) In

Cf.

is

denoted

akulam (L.

by a

second

vertical

15).

no change in i, Cf. iva (L. 1).


the inward curvature of the vertical
is

has

line

disappeared giving place to a vertical line slanting, towards


the left, at the end of which is a curve which turns back

and nearly reaches the level


(5) The Nagar! form of

of the top-stroke.
A'

is

prevalent

which

in

the

Cf. eie (L. 8).


triangle has not opened out as yet.
is
clear
at
the
The
acute
lower end of Ka.
angle
(6)
(7)

We

find

top

stroke in Kha.

record the Nagar! form of kha


(8)
(9)

is still

this

Throughout

prevalent.

The upper part of Ga now shows a top stroke.


The looped form of Gha is used in all cases

Cf.

Slagha (L. 13).


(10)

We

same form of

find the

Dinifijpur pillar inscription of the

(II) In Cha there

ward projection
1

is

Co.

as that used

in

the

Saka year 888.

no other change save

the

down-

of the vertical line (2.cchavi-cc/uiyaih (L. 7).

Facsimiles of these inscriptions have since been published in

memoirs on the Palas

of Bengal,

Mem.

A.S.B.

my

Vol. V. pp. 78-82, pis.

XXV-XXVII.
=

Ind. Ant. Vol.

XVI.

p. 64.

Mem.

A.S.B. Vol. V. p. 96,

pi.

XXIX.

THB EASTERN ALPHABET.

we

(12) In Ja

find that the curve

make

disappearance of which

the

modern Bengali form, complete,


(13)

Na

still

79
the

to

right,

the

of

the

development
continues.

has the fully developed Bengali form and

is

to

be found in ligatures only, Cf. Kin-ca (L. 3).


(14) Ta still consists of a top stroke, a right limb
which is a short stump of a vertical straight line hanging

from

the

which

is

right end of the

top stroke, and a left limb,

end of which

a semi-circular curve, the upper

attached to the

left

end of the

slanting straight line

(15) In

stroke

top

short

by

is

Cf. Patala (L. 3),

Tha we

find the top

Dha we

find that the letter

Patha-kramad

stroke Cf.

(L. 8).
(16) In

stroke and a scroll below


(17)

Na

praudha (L.

In

Tfi

we

find

a top

of

9).

the

has the proto-Bengali form,

feature being the top stroke Cf.


(1-8)

consists

Bhu$anah

a broadening of the

only

special

(L. 5).

stroke

in

the

extremity of the curve, which has once been noticed in the

Dinajpur
(19)

pillar inscription.

The upper

Tka has not opened

loop or curve of

out as yet.

The angle at the back of Da has become sharper.


(21) The upward projection of the vertical straight
(20)

continues without change, in Dha.

line

(22)

Na shows

the

Bengali

form

in

which the

joining the loop and the right vertical straight line


horizontal but
(23)

Pa

is

has

is

line

not

slanting downwards.
the

Nagarl form,

the

only

exception

being the presence of the acute angle.


(24)
(25)

Pha has the Bengali form.


Bha shows the formation of

closing in of the sides.

now

the wedge due


The lower extremity of the

curves inward and not outwards.

to the
letter

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

80
(26)

The looped form

perfectly horizontal

of

Ma

position

which joins the loop to the right


the letter belongs

used in

The

cases.

all

short

line

straight

Hues shows that

vertical

western

the

to

is

of the

of the North-

variety

eastern alphabet.

(27) In

we

find the

formation of the angle

in

the

left limb.

(28)

The wedge shaped Ra continues without change.

(29)

The Bengali form

of

La shows

almost

complete

development.
(30) In Va the acute angle

lower part of the

is still

found

to be

in

the

the

two

letter.

(31) Sa shows

a distinct

curves in the upper part of the

over

stroke

top

letter.

(32) Sa shows an angle in the left limb.

(33) In Sa

we

find that the

wedge has become

open

solid.

Ha

(34)

is

only

archaic in form.

It

does

not

show

the curved line below the lower angle.

The Tetrawau image


Ramapala

is

inscription

not in a good state

that in this inscription

of

the

rind

of preservation.

we have more

year of

We

find

instances of western

forms than of eastern ones of the North-eastern alphabet:


1.

The

and below
2.

Ma

Dwanka

consists of a

two

circles or dots.

has

the

horizontal

Nagari form,

as

in

straight line

the

The

4.

Bha shows the older form in all cases.


Tha *is more advanced in form, e. g.

2).

Krishna-

temple inscription.

3.

5.

(L.

it

initial

scute angle

is

absent in Fa.

in

gatkitam

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

We

come

where we

incomplete
1.

l
Deopara inscription of Vijayasena,
the modern Bengali alphabet, with certain

the

to

find

which

exceptions in

81

development of the form

the

/where we

that the two circles have become

find

2
joined together and ellipsoid in form.
2.
U where the inward curvature of the

still

is still

vertical

is

to be seen. 3

3.

4.

Ka does not show the acute angle. 4


Ga shows a right angle at the top formed by

the

5
top stroke and the right vertical straight line.

5.

Na shows

modern

the

Bengali

form

in

the

ligature.
6.

Ca has the Nagarl form, the hollow triangle at the

lower extremity

is still

to the left. 7

7.

Ja shows the transitional form.

8.

Ta shows

stroke and

the transitional form in

the straight

left

which the top

limb on the right, have com-

bined to form a curve. 8


9.

Da

still

shows the inward curvature of the

vertical

line as in U.

Na

10.

development

Da

11.
in form.

shows the absence of the top stroke that


is

shows a curve at the back and

2
3
4
6

Epi. Ind. Vol.,

transitional

10

p. 307.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII, 10.
XVIII, 12

Ibid, pi. V,
Ibid, pi.

I,

BQhler's Indian Palaeography,

8
7

11

is

its

not yet complete. 9

V, XVIII,

5.

14.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

15.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

20.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

24.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

27.

pi.

V. XVIII.

3.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

82

Dka shows

12.

of the horn which charac-

the absence

modern Bengali form. 1


Na shows that the short

terises the

13.

vertical line is still horizontal.

Pa shows the transitional form. 3


La has a peculiar form, resembling La which

14.

15.
still

some cases in modern Bengali


denoted by a dot placed under na.

found

where la

in

is

The development

is

the following letters


1.

to the

A where
top

is

more

stroke

is

Manuscripts

or less complete in the case of

the comma-shaped curve

the line joining

perfectly vertical.
2.

line joining the loop to

has

become slanting instead of being

absent but

we can

derive

it

by adding a

verti-

cal straight line to the right of A.


3.

K shows

In modern Bengali

the base line towards the

a further elongation of

than that

left,

in

the Deopara

prasasti.
4.
5.

and complete. 6
Kha shows the modern Bengali form as found

The development

the Bhagalpur grant.


it, is

6.

of

is full

The only change needed

in

to perfect

the formation of an acute angle at the bottom. 7

The development

elimination of

curve

the

of

Gha

also

to the

the junction of the upper part

of

is

4
5

6
7

pi.

v, XVIII, 28.

Ibid, pi.

V, XVIII, 29.

Hid,

Ibid, pi. V,

Ibid, pi.

and

the loop to the left end

of the top-stroke. 8

complete, save the

right, above the loop

XVIII,

V, XVIII,

30.
1.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

7.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

9.

Ibid. pi. V,

XVIII,

11.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

13.

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.


7.

Cha also

is

right

1
depression of the circle

form and the opening of the

has given the letter modern

curve to the

The

complete.

83

at the lower end would

development.
In Jha the upper part of the limb
8.
later, forming the
9.

Na

complete the

was. eliminated

modern shape. 2

occurs in ligatures only 3 but

form.

In

fact

the

it

has

the

fully

modern Bengali

developed Bengali
form, as has been already shown, developed much earlier.
10.
Dha has the same form as that to be found in the

Krishna-Dwarika temple inscription. 4


11.
Ta shows the fully developed form. The hook
with the extended head, having become shortened, has the

The only change

form of a knob.

was the upward

of

elongation

in subsequent

the

centuries

curve at the

lower

5
extremity of the letter.

12.

In Tha we find a transitional form 6

which had

In subsequent centuries we
find the elimination of the wedge at the lower extremity

almost acquired completion.


of the vertical line
13.

Pha

and the formation of an acute angle.

has acquired the modern form about a century

ago.
14.

In Bha we

find the

almost

completely developed
subsequent centuries is a
curvature of the solid wedge and an upward elongation of
the lower extremity.
form. 8

15.

The only change

Ma

in

shows the complete development. 9


Ibid, pi. V,
2
3

Ibid, pi. V,

16.

18.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

19.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

23.

Ibid, pi.
6

XVIII,
XVIII,

V, XVIII, 25.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

26.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

31.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII, 38.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

34.

84

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.


In Ya the only

16.

development
bottom.

the

is

change needed to complete the


of an acute angle at the

formation

In

17.

Pa

the solid

becomes hollow,

extremity,

in fact a triangle, in later years.

Fa we

In

18.

attached

lower

at the

wedge

to the

find

vertical

a semi-circular curve, which


In

line.

is

subsequent years this

3
again becomes a triangle.
The left limb of sa has become shortened in length.
19.
The only change needed is the formation of two loops at

the end of the left limb and the suppression of one of the

two curves

in the

upper

part.

In Sa also we find the form 5 almost completed.


The only change needed is the formation of an acute
20.

angle at the bottom.


21.

found
22.
record.

The
in the

We

final

development of the form of Sa

Deoiparaprasasti.
find

form

the transitional

The subsequent changes

knob instead of the curve

is

be

to

the

are

of

Ha

this

in

formation of a

to the left, in the upper

part

of

the letter, 7 and the addition of a top stroke.

In

the

twelfth

historical events.

century

we come

The Gaharwars

themselves secure at Kanauj.


the Palas, declined gradually.

or

across a

number

of

Gahadavalas made

In the East,

the

power of

Their dominions in Bengal


were gradually acquired by the Senas, and in Bihar by the
Gaharwars. In this century we find the completion of the
1

3
*
5

9
'

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII, 35.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

Ibid, pi. V,

36.
38.

XVIII,

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

39.

Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

40.

Ibid, pi. V, 41.


Ibid, pi. V,

XVIII,

42.

85

THE EASTERN ALPHABET.

development of the modern Bengali script with exceptions


of a few letters such as
:

R, (2) Ri, (3) ca, (4) C/M, (5) ta


(8) Sa and (9) Ha.

(1)

the

final

In this century,

which took place after


conquest of Northern India.

not be necessary to consider


the different inscriptions, as our

in

narrative of the development of

We

almost complete.
the forms

the

will

it

used

alphabets

(6) na, (7) bha,

in

changes

Muhammadan
these

the

Bengali alphabet is
simply, note the changes in

shall,

the letters as they pass through this period.

of

Again, with the extension of the Gahadavala Empire


towards the East the eastern limit of the use of the western
variety of the North-Eastern alphabet also

wards

In the oaka year 1059-1137 A.D.

in the century.

we

find the western variety in the

in

the

Gaya

Gangadhara
Calcutta.

Again

century of the
in

the

alphabet

in

inscription

these

of

Museum

we

era

the

inscription

the Indian

4th decade of the

the

Vikrama

Bodh-Gaya
of

now

is

in

Govindpur (near Nawada

stone

District)

which

extended east-

at

thirteenth

find the western variety

of

inscriptions

poet

is

Jayacchandra.
altogether

The

different

from that used in the Deopara prasadi and other eastern


variety inscriptions of the North-Eastern alphabet, so that
it is

unnecessary to

enter

further development of

the specimens

used

into an

analysis of

in the

The

following inscriptions:

(1)

The Manda

(2)

The Kamauli grant

inscription of the time of

of Vaidyadeva.

Gopala

Ep. Ind., Vol.

Mem. A.

Proc. A. 8. B. 1881, p. 172, pi. VIII.

it.

shown from

the alphabet will be

II, p. 333.

8. B., Vol.

V,

p. 109, pi.

Epi. Ind., Vol. II, p. 350.

XXX.

III. 3

86

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.


(3)
(4)

The Torpondigbi grant of Laksmaiiasena.


The Dacca image inscription of Laksmanasena
l

the year 3. 2
(5) The
Bodh-Gaya
La-sam 51 = 1170 A.D. 3

inscription

The Gadadhara temple

(6)

Asokacalla

of

the

inscription of V. E. 1232

1175 A.D. 4

The alphabets used in the Manuscripts of PancaYogaratnamala and Guhyavalt-vivrtt written in the
37th, 38th, and 39th year of the reign of Govindapala, i.e.,
(7)

kara,

1198-1200 A.D. 5

3
4

Epi. Ind., Vol. XIII, p. 8.


J.

&

P. A. S. B., Vol. IX, p. 290, pi.

Cunningham's Mahabodhi,
A.S.B.. Vol. V, p. 109,

p. 78, pi.

Cunningham's A.S.R., Vol.


pi.

Ill,

XXIV.
XXVIII

p.

125,

A.

pi.

XXXVIII;

Mem.

XXVIII.

Bendall's Cat. Skt. Mss. in the Univ. Liby., Cambridge, pp. 188-190,

No. 1699,

MIL

CHAPTER
The Final Development
Vowels

I.

(1)
(a)

In the

Manda

shaped curve

that joining
is

it

the

inscription,

the top stroke,

to

to the right vertical

a long narrow

also

of the Alphabet.

A :-

comma

IV

intact;

the bottom.

the

and

There

horizontal.

still

at

wedge

line joining

is still

Cf.

Artha

(L. 8).
(d)

In the Kamauli grant the top

place to a wedge, at the

line

The wedge

suppressed.

at

joining

it

stroke has given


to the curve being

the bottom has opened at the

top.
(c)

In

the

Gadadhara temple
executed

been

very slovenly
touches the right vertical
top

has

stroke

not yet

inscription,

but the

been

which has

comma-shaped curve

the

line joining it to the

Cf.

suppressed.

Anakari

(L. 6).
(d} In the Cambridge Manuscripts the wedge at the
bottom and the line joining the comma-shaped curve

are

still

present.

These two were not dropped until the present time.


a

Sanskrit

1744 A.D, found

aka Ifi66
District,

inscription

written

Assam, we

find that

bottom has disappeared, the


the

(L.

top stroke

is

still

in

at

Bengali

Kamakhya

though the
line

in the

present.

Buhler'a Indian Paleography,

Hid,

pi.

VI, X,

1.

Gauhati

wedge at the

between the curve and


Cf.

Amratakesvarasya

H).
1

In

characters of

pi.

V, XIX,

1.

88

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.


2.

A:-

(a)

The straight

line to the right of

the length of the vowel,

is

by a short slanting straight

letter

A, which denotes
main body of the

joined to the

line

in the

Kamauli

grant.
(b)

The wedge

is

present

Torpondighi grant, and the


to the right hand vertical
a prolongation

fact

the top stroke

to

at

the bottom of

in the

joining the main letter


not slanting but vertical, in

line
is

of the top stroke.


The line joining
the curve seems to be suppressed.
Cf.

Anffirasa (L. 41).


(c)

In the Bodh-Gaya image

inscription

of the 51st

year of the era of Laksmanasena, the comma has become


a semicirlar curve and the line joining the curve to the
stroke

top

length

is

is

present.
to

joined

The

vertical

main

the

body

stroke towards

the

denoting the

line

of

the

letter

the

Cf.
top
right.
by producing
A-camdrarkka (L. 9).
In the Gadadhara temple inscription of the time
(<5?)
of Govindapala (?) we find that both the wedge and the

between curve and the top stroke, are present.


Cf. Acandrarka (L. 11) and Asvina (L. 12).
(e) The form used in the Cambridge Manuscripts is

joining

line

2
exactly similar to (^).

3.

(a)

The

peculiar

the Kamauli grant

already remarked

is

form of the

short

/ used

in

certainly abnormal, as Dr. Biihler has

" But the 7 and / of


plate V,

appear to be Southern forms;


(b)

initial

3,

4,

compare plate VIT, 3,IV-VI."

In the Torpondighi grant the short / consists of


with a wedge at its left end and a vertical

a top stroke
straight line

drawn downwards at right angles


1

>

ttid, pi. V,

Ibid, pi. VI,


Jbtd, p. 59.

XIX,
X,

2.

2.

to

it

from

89

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.


the

end,

right

two

curve below them.

We

(c)

find

Cf.

Manda

an almost similar form in the

inscription,

viz.,

one on

each

side

it,

below the wedge, and another


tva (L. 18) and iha (L. 55).

circles

the top, two circles below


finally a comma below them.

wedge
and

at

Cf. iti (L. 4).

We

(d)

Gaya

find the

modern Bengali from

inscription of Asokacalla.

Cf. tii

in

the

Bodh-

(L. 5).

In the Manuscripts from Cambridge we have the


which is the same as that used in the

(e)

transitional form,

Deopara prasasti.

between the transitional form of the


changes
O
Deopara praaaxti and the Cambridge Manuscripts and the
final
one of the Bodh-Gaya inscription of Asokacalla

The

are not easy to trace with the materials at present at


our disposal, but they can be guessed with a tolerable
First of ail the loop on the right
degree of certainty.
in the transitional form became detached to the bottom

and

was

Then the loop on the

produced below.

gradually became smaller until


or

became a

dot.

a vertical position.
the loth century

fol.

disappeared

left

altogether

The right limb then gradually assumed

We
in

find the fully

Bengali

Klrttana of Candtdasa which


the 15th

it

is

developed

form

in

manuscript of Krnnacertainly not later than

century A. D. Cf. Kaile (L.

2).

(See photo of

179.)

I:-

4.

(a)

The

form used

in

form of the long I is very rare. The


the Kamauli grant of Vaidyadeva is certainly

initial

of southern origin. 2

Ibid,
5

12

P l. VI, X,

Ibid, pi. V,

3.

XIX,

4.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

90
(6)

The

length

Cambridge Manuscripts by a
below the short
5.
(a)

wedge

/.

U:
The form

vowel

the

of

denoted

is

in

slanting straight line

the

placed

used in the Kamauli grant shows a hollow

inward curvature of

instead of the top-stroke, the

2
the vertical line, and the shortness of the terminal curve.
The form of the letter in the Torpondighi grant is
(/>)

not

much

Here the top stroke

different.

is

very

short

horizontal line instead of the wedge. Cf. ubhan (L. 51).

In the Cambridge Manuscripts we find the development almost complete. The only change needed is the
(c)

addition of the curve

in

placed

modern form above

the

3
the top stroke.

This stroke we find for the


of

Manuscript

Venugrama

Santideva's

in the

Burdwan

time

first

in

1492 = 1435

V.E.

District in

Bengali

written at

Bodhi-caryavatara

A.D. which was discovered by Mahamahopadhyaya Kara


Prasada Sastri, C.I.E., in Nepal. We find this U in L. 1
of the last page (66) in the
6.

is

word Koccha-uccha.

of very rare occurrence

and

is to

the Cambridge Manuscripts only where we

be found in
find that the

length is denoted by the addition of a second curve at the


The only addition in later periods was the
bottom. 4
curved stroke above the base line which seems to have

been made about the same time as that in the short one.
7.

for the
(a)

is,

also,

most part

in

of very rare occurrence and

manuscript records

It occurs in the

Kamauli grant, where

of a triangular va, with a wedge for


1

XIX,

Hid,

pi.

VI, X,

Ibid,

X,

6.

5.

it

top stroke

ibid, pi. VI, X, 4.


Ibid, pi. V,

its

we

find

it

5.

consists

and

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.


vertical straight line to the right,

main body

is

to

course

of

is

Manuscripts where we

the

to

joined

of the letter by a slanting straight line.

It

(fj)

which

91

be found in the Cambridge

wedge transformed

find the

into a

top stroke.'

In

later periods the triangle, in the

and

open

left

limb,

opens

added to the top of the


The right limb decreases in length and mounts

at the top,
side.

finally a curve

is

upwards.
8.

Ri

is

seldom

very

Cambridge Manuscripts, where


short curve to the

foot

We

found.
it is

formed

the short R. 3

of

find it

by adding a
In later times

length of the

the addition which denotes the

the

in

vowel

be-

comes angular.
9.

only where
10.

to be found in the

is

Li

it is
is

Cambridge Manuscripts

a reversed S. 4
also

to be

found

in

Cambridge Manu-

the

of a
scripts where the length is denoted by the addition
curve placed below. 5
The very rare occurrence of L and Li makes it impossible to trace the later

11.

and

this

In

changes

in their forms.

the Bengali form was developed long ago

was continued without change

Manda

(a)

In the

()

In the Kamauli grant. 6

(c)

In the Madanapada grant of

inscription in eva (L. 7).

Visvarupasena,

etasmat (L. 4).


1

*
3

Ibid, pi. V,

Ibid,

X,

8.

Ibid,

X,

9.

4
5

XIX,

Ibid, pi. VI,

X,

7.

7.

X, 10.
Ibid, pi. V. XIX,
Ibid,

8
7

B.986 A.J.

7.

pt. p. 1.8. 1. 9, pi. I.

in

ORIGIN Or THE BENGALI

$2

Asokacalla

of

In the Bodh-Gaya inscription

(d)

eva(L.

SCRIPT*.

in

2).

In the

(e)

Gaya

inscription of the

Gadadhara

temple

2
in eva (L. 8).

In the Cambridge Manuscripts. 3

(/')

to be

found

the Cambridge Manuscripts


where we find the complete Bengali form. 4

only

Ai

12.

13.

very rare occurrence and

is

in

It occurs in the Naihat!

(a)

Cf.

of

is

form

in its initial

Ovasu (L. 17).


and as a matter
(b)

Manuscripts.

the

in

Cambridge

The

14.

initial

It

occurrence.

course

of

Vallalasena 5

of

grant

is

form of Av

to be found in

also, of

is,

the

very rare

Cambridge

The only change


the later periods
elimination of the lower part of the left limb.
in

scripts.

15.

Am

(a)

in the

(tji)

shows the modern Bengali form


Kamauli grant ; 8

in the

Cambridge Manuscripts.

In other records the anusvara


placed on
(a)

(b}
(c)

the line

is

Manuis

the

dot

or a circle

The Bodh-Gaya inscription of Asokacalla.


The Gadadhara temple inscription.
The Torpondighi grant.
1

*
3

Epi. Ind., p.

Mem.

XXVIII

A. 8. B., Vol. V.

p.,

109, pi.

XXVIII.

Bfihler's Indian Palasography, pi. VI, X, 11.

Ibid. pi.

Bangiya-Sahitya Parisad-Patrika, Vol. XVI,

Buhler's Ind. Palaeographie,

'

8
9

Ibid,

X,

12.

X, 14.

Ibid, pi. V,

XIX,

Ibid, pi. V, X, 15.

38.

pi.

VI, X, 13.

p. 238.

PLATE

Kamakhya

Hill Inscription of

x.

Pramatha Sinha-Saka

1666.

THE FIKAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.

Ah shows

the old form even in

modern Bengali.
has the form of 8 in the Dacca inscription, 1 pratisthite16.

It

93

tih (L. 2)

and

in the

Cambridge Manuscripts.

Consonant*.

II.

Ka :-

1.

(a)

In the Kamauli

of ka in which

the

we

grant

find

older form

the

angle at the bottom

acute

has

not

reappeared.

The reappearance of the acute angle

(b)

observed in

is

to

be

The Manda inscription. 4


The Torpondighi grant. 5

(i)
(ii)

(Hi)
(iv)

(#)

But

The Dacca image inscription.^


The Bodh-Gaya inscription of Asokacalla. 7
The Gadadhara temple inscription at Gaya. 8
in these records the left

limb or back of the

The angularity

remains cursive.

shows that the development

this

part,

which

to be

found

in

of

is final is

letter

the

Cambridge Manuscripts.
The development of
2
the llth century A.D.

K/ia was almost complete in


In this century we see that in the

majority of cases, with the appearance of the acute angle


at the bottom the development is complete
:

(1)

In the Kamauli grant. 10

2
3

J.

and P. A.

Ibid. pi. V,

Mem.
B

,'.

XIX,

IX,

p.

290,

pi.

XXIV.

J.

&

10.

A. S. B., Vol. V,

Epi. Ind., Vol.

p. 102, pi.

XXX.

XII

P. A. S. B., Vol. IX, p. 290, pi.

XXIV.

Epi. Ind., Vol. XII,

Mem.
10

S. B., Vol.

Ibid, pi. VI, X, 51.

A.

S. B., Vol.

Ibid, pi.

VI, X, 15.

Ibid, pi.

V, XIX, 11.

V,

p. 109, pi.

XXVIII.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

94

In the Torpondighi grant in Khaln (L. 22).


In the Gadadhara temple inscription in B/iik/iodeva (L. 11).

(2)

(3)

in the Cambridge Manuscripts. i


(4)
The only exception is the Bodh-Gaya

inscription

of Asokacalla, in Lak/ivana (L. 12).


3.

of

tion

In Ga, the only change needed, was the eliminathe right angle, at the right end of the top stroke

and the substitution of a curve for

ward elongation of the


In the

(a)

the
in

Manda

right angle
another that

is

inscription

still

the

it,

vertical line

present,

as

well

we

find in

pwabhago

transformation

Srimadgopala (L. 3).


The transformation
(b)

is

the

as

up-

one case that


(L.

1)

taken

has

and
place

complete in the case of the

Kamauli grant. 2
(c)

The Torpondighi grant shows

the retention of the

right angle.

The

(d)

Bodh-Gaya

incomplete in Gnrava (L. 5) of the

letter is

inscription

of Asokacalla,

though the right

angle has disappeared.


(e)

forms.

The Gadadhara temple


Govindapala

Cf.

(L. 3)

inscription

and gatarajye

Gayayam (L. 4).


(f ) The Cambridge Manuscripts show
developed form.
4.

(a)

GJta

shows both
as well as

the completely

In the Kamauli grant the development

is

complete.
1

3
*

Ibid, pi. VI,

X,

10.

Indiache Palaeographie,
Ibid, pi. VI, X, 17.
Ibid. pi.

V. XIX. 13.

pi.

V, XIX.

not yet

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OP THE ALPHABET.

The Torpondighi grant shows an improvement,

(b)

as

95

left

limb

it

touches

the

when

is

a curve to the left and not to the right


the

top

stroke.

Ksettr-angha

Cf.

(L. 10-11).

We

(c)

find the

development completed

in

the

Bodh-

inscription of Asokacalla,

e.g., Raghava (L. 7)


Gaya image
Simghala (L. 9-10) and Saihgha (L. 10).
The development is also shown to be completed
(d)

in the

Gadadhara temple inscription at Gaya.

Cf. lagh (v)i

(L. 8), Rughavah (L. 10).

The Cambridge Manuscripts show the use

(e)

transitional form,
in the

which

Kamauli grant.

Na

5.

Ca

6.

of the

almost similar to the form used

very rare in use and

is

be found at

is

its initial

form cannot

all.
is

one of the

was completed

long

letters

after the

the development of

Muhammadan

which

conquest of

the country.

In the

(a)

as

Manda

inscription

Ca consists of a wedge

the

to it

top stroke, a vertical straight line at right angles


and a curve to the left, semi-circular in shape, the

ends of

which touch the

This

vertical line.

is in

fact a

modification of the Ca of the Deopara praaasti. Cf. vlcl and


viracita (L. 1).
(b)

In the Kamauli grant the letter


find an angle in the curve. 2

is

almost similar

where we
(c)

the

The form used

same

in

the Torpondighi grant

is

as that in the Diuajpur pillar inscription


3

almost

and the

Deopara pra'sasti ; Cf. Cakra (L. I).


shows the
((/) The form used in the Dacca inscription
next state of transition, where the letter consists of a top
1

Ibid, pi. VI, X, 18.


Ibid, Tafel V,
Ibid,

XVIII,

XIX,

15.

15.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

96
stroke,

the

which curves to the

line

vertical

second inward curve joins the lower end of the


the point of

its

and a

left,

vertical to

junction with the top stroke. Of. Candtdevi

(L. 2).'
(e)

The same form

is

used

in the

Bodh-Gaya image

2
inscription of Asokaealla. Cf. acandrar-kkaih (L. 9).

the

(f) The Gadadhara temple inscription of Gaya shows


use of the same form.; Cf. caiurddasa (L. 4). 3
(g) There is no change in the form of the letter in the

Cambridge Manuscripts.
(h) In the Bengali

we

manuscript of the Borl hicari/avatara

find the next transitional form.

word Bodhicaryavatara

straight part of the vertical

The form used

in

the

66) shows that the


has become a curve, which has

(L. 2 of

fol.

Conseswollen out on the right side and not on the left.


quently the left curve has almost become a vertical
straight line.

() In the next stage we find that the


slightly curved, while the former vertical
very

much

left

line

limb

is

cursive and has swollen out to the right.

Candtdasa (L.

only

has become
Cf.

1) in fol. 179 of Candidasa's Krsnaklrttana.

The next stage

is

the conversion of the left

limb into

an event which happened sometime


after the 15th century A. D.
7. Cha is not of common use and is
very often to be

a vertical straight

found

in ligatures

line,

(a) In the Kamauli grant we find the same


that used in the Deo para prasasti. 5

J.
-

and P.A.8.B., Vol. IX,

Mem.

Ibid, pi. VI, X, 20.

p. 290, pi.

XXIV.

Epi. Ind., Vol. XII, p.


A.S.B., Vol. V, p. 109, pi.

Ibid, pi.

V, XIX,

16.

XXVIII.

form as

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.

We

(#)

find the

same form

97

in the

Torpondighi grant.
4) and Catuhsim-avacchinna

Cf. Dmkhacchid-atyantikl (L.

(L. 35).

There

(c)

is

no change in the form to be found in the


2

Cambridge Manuscripts.
(d) The modern Bengali form

is

to be found in the

manuscripts of the Bodhicaryavatara written in


in the word Koccha-uccha (L. 1) of fol. 66.

Bengali

V. S. 1492
8.

Ja

(a)

The form

transitional.

of

Ja used

in the

Manda

inscription

Cf. rmma'fijarl-piihjarisu (L. 3.)

is

The Kamauli grant

shows the fully developed


western variety form, with a wedge for its top stroke. 4
(c) In the Torpondighi grant we find another transitional form in which the vertical has not as yet become
(b)

perfectly straight.

developed

fully

Maharajadhiraja (L. 23) but the


Bengali form is also to be found, Cf.
Cf.

Srimaj-Jayaskandhavarat (L. 23).


(d)

We

find

the

transitional

inscription of Asokacalla.

nam

Cf.

form

in the

Maharaja (L.

Bodh-Gaya

3)

and Raja-

(L. 6).

(e)

The same form

is

to be

found

in the

Gaya

inscrip-

Gadadhara temple. Cf. Kaja (L. 15). 7


(/) The form used in the Cambridge Manuscripts
shows the shortening of the right limb. 8
tion of the

13

Epi. Ind., Vol. XII, p. 8, pi.

Ibid, pi. VI,

Mem.

Ibid, pi. V,

X, 21.

A.S.B., Vol. V, p. 102, pi.

XIX,

XXX.

17.

Bpi. Ind., Vol. XII, p. 9.

Ibid, p. 29.

XXVIII.

Mem.

Indische Palseographie, Tafel VI, Vol. XI, 22.

A.S.B., Vol. V, p. 109, pi,

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCHIPT.

98

In the Bengali manuscript of the Bodkicaryavalaru

(g]

we

find the Bengali

form, the only difference being the

shortness of the right limb.

The

after the 15th century A.

D.

The completely developed form

(h)

the

Kuje (L. 3) of fol. 66.


was completed

Cf.

development of this letter also

full

Kamakhya

minor

1666 = 1744 A. D.

in L.

be found in

to

is

the Saka
temple inscription
4 ; in the word Kajjala.
of

Jha is to be found very seldom.


In the Kamauli grant its form is very peculiar. 1
The letter does not occur in the Cambridge

9.

(a)
(b)

Manuscripts.

Na

10.

(a) In

ligatures

the

where

Manda
it

inscription

this

has the peculiar form

letter

loops on the right being absent. Cf. Krtajna (L.


the Kamauli grant we have the
($) In

Bengali form

Gaya

used in
fi f

the

6).

finished

in the ligature

The complete form

(c)

is

of initial

is

also to be

inscription of Asokacalla in

found

jUana (L.

in the

Bodh-

4).

(d) In the Gadadhara temple inscription at Gaya, the


form of the ligature 'flea is the same as that used in the

modern

Bengali

alphabet.

Of.

mula'fuca

(L. 8)

and

pcffwakam (L. 14).


In the Cambridge Manuscripts the form is entirely
different, which may be due to western influence.
(e)

Ta

11.
(ft)

In the

Manda

inscription

of

this

letter consists

as the top stroke and scythe-shaped curve


Kotlra
(L. 2).
Cf.
" seems to have been
(V) In the Kamauli grant Ta
a
produced by an abnormally strong development of

of

below

wedge
it.

Ibid, pi.
'-

V, XIX,

rind, pi. V,

XIX,

18.

19.

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.

99

'

Nepalese hook with a serif at the end, placed above the


ancient round ta which is represented by the second lower
'

curve on

But the form seems

the left." 1

developed independently from that used in the

grant of

have been

to

Khalimpur

Dharmmapala.

we find a transitional
(c) In the Torpondighi grant
form, consisting of a curve joined to the top stroke by
a second one on the left side, and another joined
right side of the top stroke.

The form used

(d)

peculiar and

is

in

Cf.

the

to

the

Mahaksapatalika (L. 27).

Bodh-Gaya

inscription

formed from the western variety.

is

Cf.

bhatta (L. 7).

The development is complete in the 15th century


when we find the modern form kutumbika (L. 1) of fol.
(e)

66, of the Bengali manuscript of Bodhicaryavatara.

(12)

Tha

In the Kamauli grant the development


as the letter is found in the ligature ntAa.*
(a)

(Ij)

The form

the same reason.


(c)

The

in the Torpondighi grant

(d)

not clear

not clear for

Cf. anusthayine (L. 42).

archaic form of the

Mauryya

period

the Gadadhara temple inscription of Gaya.

mathe (L.

is

is

is

used in

Cf.

Gadabhr^i-

to be found in the

Cambridge

7).

The modern form

is

3
but the older form
Manuscripts in the ligature qt/ia
continued to be used till at least the 15th century as we
find it in the Bengali manuscript of the Bodliicary avatara.

Cf.

Thakura (L.

2) of fol. 66.

16 id, p. 59.
Ibid, pi. V,

XIX,

21.

Ibid, pi. VI, X, 26.

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

100

Da

13.

The Manda

(a)

form

Aidadeva (L.

Cf.

(b)

(c)

the

has

and Kridati (L.

6)

transitional

not fully

which

the

We

has got

line

vertical

deve-

7).

The Kamauli grant shows the use

in

left in its middle.

in

shows

inscription

which the curve at the end

in

loped.

form

of the older

a curve to the

find a similar

form

in

the

Torpondighi

grant

nicadahara (L. 33).

The Dacca

shows the

finally developed
Bengali form in the ligature ndi in Candt (L. 2).
In the Bodh-Gaya inscription of the time of
(<?)
((F)

we

Asokacalla
in

find the

Pandita (L.

(/)
letter

in

inscription

modern form

the

ligature

frd

by the partly complete form of this


Gadadhara temple inscription of Gaya in

the

and Sodas-aiva (L.

The only change needed

to

8).

complete the

development

the lengthening of the curve at the foot of

straight
14.
(a)

the

the

vertical

line.

J)ha

is

also rarely

met with

In the Kamauli grant

Manda
(b)

nda

5).

Dallano (L. 6)

is

of

it

has the form of a

Ta

of

inscription.

In the Torpondighi grant we find the

or three times

letter

two

uttaradJta-vapa (L. 36) llinmy-adha (L. 33)


and in these cases we have the same form as that in the
;

Kamauli grant.

The extreme

makes

rarity of this letter

us to trace the changes in

it.

the straightening of the curve to the


Ibid, pi. V,
id,

it difficult

The only change needed

XTX.

XIX,?23.

left.

22.

for
is

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.


1

Na

5.

is

one of those

ment was not complete

most of the inscriptions we


which resembles the modern Bengali

develop-

A.D.

century
Proto- Bengali

letter

In

forms

minus

la

the

In the

(a)

the

15th

the

find the

top stroke

which

letters in

till

101

Manda

where the

inscription

letter

is

curve with a straight line on the right and a small


This form is the precurvertical line bisecting the curve.

modern Bengali form.


In the Torpondighi grant.
In the Kamauli grant where the vertical

sor of the
(b)
(c)

projected slightly beyond the point

of

its

line

is

with

junction

the left limb.

Dacca image inscription.


In
the
(<?)
Bodh-Gaya inscription of Asokacalla.
(/) In the Gadadhara temple inscription of Gaya.

(^) In the

In the Cambridge Manuscripts.


(h) In the Bengali manuscript of the Bodhicaryavatara
written in 1435 A.D.
( ff)

The

final

Bengali manuscript of
on

very clearly shown


Candidasa's Krsnaklrttana

development

is

179 we find both the transitional and

(ol.

final

in

the

where
forms.

The transitional form between the Proto-Bengali one and


the final Bengali form is the one in gane and sunaha in
L. 1 where the bisecting vertical line in the curve of the

Manda

The

bar.

seems to have become a horizontal cross


form shows the elimination of this cross

inscription,
final

bar in Suna/ia, L.
]

6.

Ta

(a) In the

form

in

Manda

which the

of the top

3.

is

left

limb
into

changed
between this form and

is

we

find

the

transitional

curved and

the

broadening
O

inscription

a knob.
the

The only

Proto-Bengali

difference

one

is

the

102

ORIGIN OP THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

curvature of the right limb, which in this one turns to the


right and not to the left.

In the Kamauli grant the


Proto-Bengali form

(6)

used but the knob


(c)
viz.,

is

absent.

is

shows a further development,

Torpondighi grant

the lengthening of the right curve.

The same form

(d)

is

used in the Dacca image


inscrip-

tion.
(<?)

The Bodh-Gaya

inscription of

ASokacalla

shows

the transitional form of the Kamauli grant.


o

(/) This

is

inscription of

final

of

development

Cambridge Manuscripts.
Tha

17.

case

the

Gadadhara

temple

Gaya.

The

((f)

also the

to

is

be found

in

the

() The Manda

shows

inscription

the

use

of the

archaic form in which the upper loop has not as yet opened
out.

Cf. pratkita (L. 4).


(1}

The Kamauli grant shows the use

Bengali form.
(c)

form.

of

the

modern

In the Torpondighi grant we find

the

transitional

Cf. itkam (L. 36).

(d)

be found

The
in

fully developed

the

modern Bengali form

Bodh-Gaya

inscription

of

is

to

Asokacalla.

Cf. Tatlta (L. 1).


(<?)

The Cambridge Manuscripts

form.*

8
3

XIX,

Ibid, pi. V,

26.

Ibid, pi.

VI, X, 30.

Ibid, pi.

V, XIX, 26.

Ibid, pi. VI,

X, 31.

also

show the modern

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT Of THE ALPHABET.


18.

Da

(a)

In the

103

Manda

inscription the older

form with the

curved back.

()

In the Kamauli grant

(c)

The same form

is

we

to

find the

be found

same form. 1
the

in

Dacca

Image inscription along with the completely developed


modern form. For the older form see deva (L. 2) and for
the

modern one
(d)

see

Damodra

(L. 1).

The Torpondighi grant shows

the

use

of

the

older form.
(<?)

the

We

find the

Bodh-Gaya

modern Bengali form

inscription

of

in all

Asokacalla.

cases in

But

in

the

Bodh-Gaya inscription of ASokacalla's brother, Dasaratha,


La-sam 7 4 = 1] 98 A.D. we find the older form

incised in

in all cases. 2

Gadadhara temple
Cf. Govindapala (L. 3) and Dvivedah
inscription of Gaya
form persists in ligatures, e.g., nda
older
but
the
(L. 5),
(/} This

is

also the case with

the

in

Govinda (L. 3) and rdda


(^7)

in caturddasa (L. 4).

The Cambridge Manuscripts show the

use of

the

use of

the

3
older form.

19.

Dha

(a)

In the

Manda

inscription

we

find the

which the slanting straight line has not


older form
as yet been added to the top ; Padadhuli (L. 4).
in

(b)

In the Kamauli grant we find that this

addition

4
has already been made.

Ibid, pi. V,

XIX,

27.

Bangiya Sahitya Pariad Patrika, Vol. XVII,

Btihler's Ind. Palaoographie, pi. VI,

Ibtd, pi.

V, XIX, 28.

X, 32.

p.

216.

104

ORIGIN OP THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

In the Torpondighi grant we find


form.
veloped
Cf. Indrayudham (L. 1).

the

(<?)

This

(d)
Cf.

is

Adkikrta (L.
(e)

the case in the

Dacca image

fully

inscription.

1).

The Bodh-Gaya

inscription

Asokacalla shows

of

the use of the older form the only exception


being

Dharmma
(f)

de-

that in

(L. 1).

In the Gadadhara temple inscription


is used in all cases.

of

Gaya

the modern form


(g)

The Cambridge Manuscripts show the use

of the

older form. 1
20.

Na

(a)

The Manda

with a wedge for


(b)

to

to

the

The

inscription

peculiar

defect

right

in

shows

the

modern form

top stroke.

its

the

form of the Kamauli grant


facsimile

being faint,

vertical,

is

due

the line joining the knob


has

not

come out

well. 2
(c)

The modern form

is

to be

found

in all cases in the

Torpondighi grant.
(d)

This

is

also

the

case

with the

Dacca

image

inscription.
(e)

The same form

is

used in the Bodh-Gaya inscrip-

tion of Asokacalla.

(/)

This

is

also the case in the

Gadadhara temple

inscription of Gaya.
(g)

The Cambridge Manuscripts


modern form. 3

use of the

ibid,
a
3

P l. VI, X,

Ibid, pi. V,

33.

XIX,

29.

Ibid, pi. VI, X, 34.

clearly exhibit

the

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.


21.

Pa:

(a)

We

curve.

in

the

in

limb has a short inward

left

Cf. Srtmacl-Gopala (L. 3).

This inward curve in the outwardly curving left

(b)

limb

curve

the

05

in-

and

ivhich the acute angle has reappeared

scription in

which

Manda

a transitional form in the

find

more pronounced

still

is

The same form

(c)

Kamauli grant. 1

in the

used

is

in

the

Torpondighi

grant.
(d)

of the

A.D.

The Dacca image


modern Bengali form
3

year

(i.e.,

of

inscription

shows

the

time

for

the

first

the

use

1122

in

Laksmanasamvatsara).

Cf.

Pratistkitetih (L. 2).


(e)

The modern form

Qaya image

used

is

(g)

inscription of

Gaya shows

of the western

influence

also be looked for in this case.

may

The Cambridge Manuscripts show the

transitional

the Bodh-

inscription of Asokacalla.

(/} The Gadadhara temple


the use of the older form.
The
variety

in all cases in

form of the Torpondighi grant.

use of the

Pha
Kamauli grant shows a peculiar form which
The
(a)
has nothing in common with the modern Bengali one,
22.

latter is angular and


llth century A. D. 2

was fully developed

which

(b)

The

transitional

Torpondighi grant.
(c)

Cf.

The form used

Asokacalla

is

Bengali form.

pkani
in

very slovenly
Cf.

(Lt.

the

form

used

in

the

J).

5).

Ibid, pi. VI, X, 35.


Ibid, pi.

is

Bodh-Gaya

incised,

pkala (L.

14

cursive

in the

V. XIX. 31.

but

inscription of

it is

the modern

ORIGIN OF THE BEN6ALI SCRIPT.

(d)

The modern form

inscription of

Ba

23.
is

the same

Cf.

used in the Gadadhara

phalam

Cf..

need not be

temple

(L. 13).

separately as

discussed

its

form

as that of Fa.

Bha

24.

archaic form

The

(a)

Gaya.

is

is

used in the

Manda

inscription.

parabhago (L. 1).


1
(6) This is also the case of the Kamauli grant.

The same form

(c)

(d) This is
Cf.

inscription.
(e)

Gaya

used in the Torpondighi grant.


the form to be found in the Dacca image
is

tabhradakana (L.

The modern form

is

2).

met with again

in the

Bodh-

inscription of Asokacalla.

The same form (modern) is used in all cases in


the Gadadhara temple inscription of Gaya.
(g) The
Cambridge Manuscripts show the further
(/')

2
development of the modern form.

(h)

The completed development

is

shown

in

the Bengali

manuscript of the Bodhicary avatara, Sobhabhir-wniandayantu


(L. 1) of Photo A.
25.
(a)

form.
(t>)

Ma

The Manda
Cf.

inscription

mnsaratah (L.

shows the use of the modern

3).

The Kamauli grant shows the use

of the

Nagarl

or the western variety form. 3


(c)

The Torpoudighi grant shows the

use of the modern

form.
(d)

This

(e)

The

the case also in the Dacca image


inscription.
same form is to be found in the Bodh-Gava
is

inscription of Asokacalla.
1

Ibid,

XIX,

33.

Ibid, pi. VI,

Ibid, pi. V,

X, 38.

XIX,

34.

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.

107

(f) The Gadadhara temple inscription shows the use


of the western variety form.

The Cambridge Manuscripts show the use

(g)

slightly archaic form.

26.
(a)

of a

Ya :
The modern form

is

used in the

Manda

inscription

in svepvaya (L. 3-4).

The Kamauli grant shows the use

(b)

of a cursive

form in which the acute angle has not reappeared. 2


form is used in the Torpon(c) The modern angular
dighi grant.

(Q The modern form


inscription in

The form

(e)

calla is

is

also

used in the Dacca image

Sri-Narayanena.
in the

inscription of Asoka-

Bodh-Gaya

almost the same

the

difference being

a slight

cursiveness.

(/) The cursive form from which the acute angle


absent

used

is

the

in

is

Gadadhara temple inscription of

Gaya.

The complete development

(g]

bridge Manuscripts.
27.

Ra
In

(a)

in the

Cam-

the

Manda

headed form of lia

is

the

inscription

archaic

arrow-

used.

The modern triangular form

(/>)

shown

is

used in the Kamauli

is

grant.
(c]
(<!}

The same form


This

is

also

is

the

used in the Torpondighi grant.


case in the

Dacca image

tion.

Ibid, pi. VI,


Ibid. pi.

X, 39.

V, XIX, 35

Ibid, pi. VI,

X, 40.

Ibid, pi. V,

XIX,

36,

inscrip-

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

108

(<?)

The form used

Asokaealla

in

the

Bodh-Gaya

inscription of

similar but slightly cursive.

is

(f) The western variety form

is

temple inscription of Gay a.


(g) The modern form minus dot

used in the Gadadhara

to be

found

in

the

in

the

Manuscript of Candldasa's Krana-Kirttana,

fol.

is

Cambridge Manuscripts.
In later periods we find that a slanting cross bar
interior of va denotes ra as in modern Assamese
:

(1)

179, Mallararagah (L. 1).

Niranta in L. 4 of the

(2)

La

28.

Kamakhya minor temple

Saka 1666 = 1744 A.D.

inscription of
:

Manda inscription we find two forms of La.


The modern Bengali form as in Gopala (L. 3)

In the

(a)

(i)

and,
(ii)

The archaic form

which the base

in

galavasah (L.

present,

line is still

8).

The Kamauli grant shows the use of peculiar


12th century form of La which is also found in the
(b)

Deopara prasasti and the Tetrawan image inscription of


The form of this letter
the second year of Ramapala.
is

the same as the Ta of modern Nagari. 2


(c)

The

modern

form

Bengali

is

used

in

the

Torpondighi grant.
(d)

The

peculiar fo- shaped form

Dacca image
(e)

This

is

to be found

in

the

inscription.

is

also the case with

the

Bodh-Gaya

inscrip-

tion of Asokaealla.

(f) The same form


inscription of

is

used in the Gadadhara temple

Gaya.
1

'

Ibid, pi. VI,


Ibid, pi. V,

X, 41.

XIX,

37.

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALPHABET.


(g}

The modern

form

Bengali

109

to be found in the

is

Cambridge Manuscripts.
The Ta-shaped form of
where a dot
29.
(a)

Va

survives

still

in

Bengali

la.

The form used


The same form

Manda

the

in

that the back of the letter


(1}

la

put under na to denote

is

is

inscription

be found

to

shows

cursive and not angular.

is still

the Kamauli

in

grant.
(c)

This

(d)

The same form

also the case in the Torpondighi grant.

is

is

to be

found

in the

Dacca image

inscription.
(e)

The Bodh-Gaya

Asokacalla

of

inscription

also

shows the same form.


(

f)

This

is

the case with the Gadadhara temple

also

inscription of Gaya.
(g)

The

final

is

development

to be

found

in the

form

used in the Cambridge Manuscripts. 2


30.
(a)

Sa

In the

Manda

inscription

form of Sa as that used


the difference

lying

in

the

we have almost

the

in

the same

Ith

century records,
curvature of the left limb to

Cf. trdasa (L. 6).

the right as in ga.

We

have a similar form in the Kamauli grant, but


vertical
shows no
here the upper part of the right
(/>)

curvature. 3
*(c)

The Torpondighi grant shows the use

of the

1 1

century form with a wedge at the lower part of the


limb.

Cf. disi (L. 9).

Ibid, Vol. VI,


Ibid, pi. VI,

Ibid, pi. V,

X, 42.
X, 43.

XIX,

29.

th

left

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

110

The Dacca image

(d)

inscription

shows the use of llth

century form with a short horizontal


a wedge at the bottom of the left limb.

The Bodh-Gaya

(e)

of

instead

line

Cf. Sri (L. 1).

shows a

inscription of .A&okacalla

short leftward curve at the lower part of the left limb.

The same form

(f)

is

found

to be

temple inscription of Gaya, where


in

the height of the left limb.


find a transitional
(g)

We

we

in

the Gadadhara
a

notice

form

the

in

shortage

Cambridge

Manuscripts where we find that the height of the left limb


has diminished and we find a separate curve joined to the
lower end of

it.

two

This separate curve gradually evolves into


circles of the

letter

as

modern Bengali.

was not complete

we

find the

till

The

small

development of

Cambridge Manuscripts form

this

5th

century

in the

Bengali

the expiry of the

manuscript of the Bodhicaryavatara. Cf. sudi and subhaih


The Bengali manuscript of Candidasa's
(L. -3) of fol. 66.

KranaMrUana shows
the first time.

the completely developed

6
Cf. solasata (L. ) of

fol.

form

for

179.

Sa:

31.

The modern Bengali form is used


Cf. mmaratah (L. 3).
inscription.
(a)

The form

(b)

cursive.

of the Karaauli grant

is

in

the

little

Manda
more

We find the Bengali form in the Torpondighi


'
the acute angle has not as yet reappeared.
where
grant
(<?)

(d)

found

The form used

in the

Dacca

image

inscription

in the ligature sthi of pratisthiiefih (L. 2) is similar

to that of the

Torpondighi grant.
1

Ibid, pi. VI, X, 44.


Ibid, pi. V,

XIX,

40,

THE FINAL DEVELOPMENT OP THE ALPHABET.

The Bodh-Gaya

(?)

of

inscription

Ill

shows

Asokacalla

the use of the western variety form. Cf. tesam (L.I).

The same form

(/*)

scription

to be

is

found

as

in the

that of the Bodh-Gaya inGadadhara temple inscription

of Gaya.

The complete Bengali form is used in the Cam1


The form used in the Bengali
bridge Manuscripts.
(g)

manuscript of the Krsnaklrttana shows that there was


no change in subsequent centuries. Cf. Solasata (L. 6) of
fol.

179.
32.

Sa

(a)

In the

limb of the

MandS

letter is still

The form used

(6)

inscription the

in

wedge

the

left

hollow and open.

in the

Kamauli grant

as it shows the suppression of the upper part


limb.
In the lower part of the same limb

is

peculiar

of

we

the

left

find

still

the hollow wedge. 2

The hollow open wedge

(c)

form used

in the

also to be

found

in the

Torpondighi grant.

The same form

(d)

is

is

to be found in the

Dacca image

inscription.

The form used

(e)

Asokacalla

(/)

is

in the

Bodh-Gaya

inscription

of

similar.

The same type

is

used in the Gadadhara

temple

inscription of Gaya.

Cambridge Manuscripts show


development of the form of this letter with

The

(ff)

wedge.
1

Ibid, pi. VI, X, 45.


Ibid, pi.

V, XIX, 41.

Ibid, pi. VI,

X, 46.

the

final

the

solid

ORIGIN OF THE BENGALI SCRIPT.

112

Ha

33.

The Manda

(a)

form

in

which

shows

inscription

the

one stroke of the pen.

tany-aham (L.

Cf.

The Kamauli grant shows the use

(]j]

transitional

not yet possible to write the

it is

letter

at

4).

of

the

archaic

to that of the

Manda

9th or 10th century form. 1

(c)

inscription

transitional
is

form similar

found

to be

the

in

Bodh-Gaya

inscription

of Asokacalla.

The form used

(d)

tion

is

in the

Gadadhara temple

inscrip-

similar.

(e)

The form used

llth century

in the

earlier

one,

Torpondighi grant is the


than that of the Deopara

prasasli.

(f)

The form

of the

scription of Asokacalla

is

?lso

Bodh-Gaya

in-

Cambridge Manuscripts

a transitional one, similar to that

of the

and the Gadadhara temple

inscrip-

tion of Gaya. 2

The development
in

was not complete

of this letter

the middle of the 15th century A.D. as

manuscript of BodMcaryavatcira

written

in

we still find this transitional form of Ha.


afterwards
must have been completed
developed

Candidasa.

form
Cf.

is

found

Hatha (L.
1

the

XIX,

42.

VI, X, 47.

Bengali

14-35

The
as

the

even

A.D.
change
finally

Krsnakirttaua

6) in fol. 179.

Ibid, pi. V,
Ibid, pi.

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the

in

of

University of Toronto

library

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