It was found engraved on a laterite bed near a water channel in Kasaragod

An inscription in Dravida Brahmi characters, reported from the government forest division, Karadukka, in the Kasaragod district of Kerala, has been deciphered.

The inscription in bold and legible letters was discovered recently. There are 14 letters, and the use of pulli (dot), peculiar to Southern Brahmi for denoting half-sound, is conspicuous by its presence in the record. Such label records are not uncommon in Kerala, but this is the first time an inscription engraved on laterite has been found.

The record is in good state of preservation even though the place is infested with wild animals such as elephants and bison, M.R. Raghava Varier, a notable epigraphist, who visited the site and deciphered the inscription, told The Hindu.

According to Dr. Varier, the record reads, kazhokora pattan makan charuma. The writing, in all probability, records the name of the person who was responsible for constructing the channel. Until recently, this facility was utilised by people of the locality to water the low-lying fields.

Dr. Varier says the letters in the inscription are comparable to those of the Ammankoyilpatti and Arachallur of Tamil Nadu dated 3rd Century CE. The record may be tentatively dated to that period, he says. But it cannot be compared with the Brahmi inscriptions on the walls of the Edakkal rock shelter in Wayanad, he adds.

Mechanical estampage of the inscription was prepared by K. Krishnaraj, field assistant, Department of Archaeology, Kerala, and E. Kunhikrishnan, former professor, Department of Botany, Government University College, Thiruvananthapuram, along with E. Ratnakaran Nair, a local resident.

“Good discovery”

Chennai Special Correspondent adds:

V. Vedachalam, one of the four authors of Tamil-Brahmi Inscriptions, an authoritative book on Brahmi script brought out by the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, has described the find at Karadukka as “a good discovery.”

Dr. Vedachalam is of the view that the language of the Karadukka script is Tamil and should be called Tamil-Brahmi or at least Southern Brahmi.

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