Telangana

Brahmi inscription of Ashokan period found near Medak

M A Srinivasan at the excavation site in Medak district.   | Photo Credit: MohdArif

Giving a boost to the historical importance of Telangana, particularly during Mourya dynasty, researchers discovered a terracotta object containing Brāhmī inscription written in Prakrit language and in characters of the 3rd century B.C. This inscription reads “dēvānaṁ” prefixed with a symbol of ‘nandipada’. The word “dēvānaṁ” suggests indicating the part of the title of Emperor Aśōka of the Mauryan dynasty.

History and Archaeology researcher M. A. Srinivasan and his team comprising of B. Shankar Reddy, B. Nagaraju and N. Arun Kumar discovered this terracotta antiquity on the bank of Manjira river which is a tributary of Godavari river located at Kulcharam (deserted village) in Medak district of Telangana state. The present ancient mound is located in the island formed by the two streams of river Manjira.

The inscription on the pottery was studied and identified as “dēvānaṁ” of Mauryan period by the Director, Epigraphy, Archaeological Survey of India. This discovery of Brāhmī script palaeographically assignable to Mauryan period on the terracotta is a rare and landmark epigraphical discovery in India in general and in Telangana State in particular.

Three Buddhist label inscriptions were also found in rock shelters just a kilometer away from the site where this antiquity is found. These inscriptions are in Prakrit language and Brahmi script of 1st BC-1st AD. They inscriptions found on the rock boulders are ‘Henamo Buddeya’, ‘dhama’, ‘he jama’. The researchers found them after cleaning these rocks. This rock shelter has evidences of neolithic period too.

Finding of the terracotta antiquity inscribed with Mauryan Brāhmī letters happened in the process of finding a supporting ancient habitation site for the Buddhist rock shelter. The site spreading an area of about 100 acres and likely to yield a large number of archaeological materials besides evidences like fortification wall, terracotta objects such as different potshards of red slipped ware, black polished ware and dull red ware.

“This discovery unveils a new chapter in the history of Telangana as this is the first time we could find such precious evidence in Manjira valley. This is the only evidence of “dēvānaṁ” in Brāhmī script on terracotta. This can be palaeographically assignable to Mauryan period. This may unveil the history of Ashokan period in Telangana and India and may precede the ancient sites of Kotalingala, Dhulikatta and Kondapur. Manjira river valley may reveal more ancient evidences,” said Mr. Srinivasn adding that the exploration was taken up with the support of Director of Epigraphy Archaeological Survey of India D. Surya Kumar and Y. Bhanu Murthy of Department of Heritage.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 5:20:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/brahmi-inscription-of-ashokan-period-found-near-medak/article33194541.ece

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