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Post Info TOPIC: Semmozhi Tamil- Ancient Archaeology findings


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Tirupparankundram stone inscription and decipherment speculations

 
See: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSb_9CX7uji4WD08Ap5xWbhAdUlyKwQCyHv3ojzcgfD_gslTBGF4w Late Indus script found on pottery at Bet Dwarka dated to 1528 BCE (Reported by SR Rao)

Note: The Tirupparankundram stone inscription, discussed in the following reports, seems to use signs comparable to the signs found on the pottery of Bet Dwarka dated to ca. 1528 BCE. 

The following report seeks to compare the writing with some Sangam age Chera and Pandya coins which include an elephant glyph. Elephant glyph occurs on Indus script, pointing to an apparent continuity of the Indus writing system in many parts of India. It is not uncommon to find many early punch-marked coins and cast coins all over India containing glyphs such as svastika, tree-on-railing, elephant, tiger, crocodile-holding-fish-in-jaw, mountain-passes, ficus leaf, standard device (brazier? gimlet?) -- all glyphs seen as Indus writing legacy.

Kalyanaraman

Published: February 17, 2013 02:40 IST | Updated: February 17, 2013 02:40 IST 
‘Trisula found on Tirupparankundram inscription is a Saivite symbol’
16TH_TRISULA_SYMBO_1366716e.jpg
Special Correspondent

The trisula symbol, engraved before a standing elephant, on the Sangam age Pandya and Chera coins. Photo: R. Krishnamurthy

It is difficult to accept Jaina connection, says Krishnamurthy

The trisula symbol at the end of the first line of the Tamil-Brahmi inscription, which was found on the Tirupparankundram hill near Madurai, is a Saivite symbol, argues R. Krishnamurthy, Editor, Dinamalar, a Tamil daily.

The trisula symbol can be seen in a rectangular or square type of the Tamil Sangam age Pandya copper coins and the Sangam age Chera coins, says Dr. Krishnamurthy, a reputed numismatist with a knowledge of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions.

“In view of the fact that we find the trisula symbol in the inscription,” he argues, “it will be extremely difficult to accept the Jaina connection” as argued in the story, ‘Tamil-Brahmi script discovered on Tirupparankundram hill,’ which appeared in The Hindu, dated February 14, 2013.

The inscription, discovered on January 20 this year, has two lines: Muu-na-ka-ra and Muu-ca-ka-ti.Quoting specialists in Tamil-Brahmi, the article said the inscription could refer to an elderly Jaina monk who attained salvation by fasting unto death.In the first line of the script, the second letter ‘na’ and the third letter ‘ra’ may have been inscribed in the Bhattiprolu script, Dr. Krishnamurthy says.

“We can read the legend as ‘mu-nakar,’ an ancient town. The Bhattiprolu script has been used in the Sangam age Pandya ‘Peruvaluthi’ coin. The word ‘Sakti’ in the second line refers to Goddess Meenakshi. This inscription may belong to circa second century BCE,” he argues.


http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/trisula-found-on-tirupparankundram-inscription-is-a-saivite-symbol/article4422864.ece

Published: February 14, 2013 00:30 IST | Updated: February 14, 2013 03:58 IST 
Tamil-Brahmi script discovered on Tirupparankundram hill

T. S. Subramanian

TH13_TSS_BRAHMI_1_1362990g.jpgThe picture shows the estampage on the Tamil- Brahmi script discovered on January 20, 2013 on a step leading to a pond on top of the Tirupparankundram hill, near Madurai. Photo: R. Ramesh
TH13_TSS_BRAHMI_2_1362991g.jpgHandwritten copy of the Tamil-Brahmi script discovered on January 20, 2013 on top of the Tirupparankundram hill, near Madurai. The script, in two lines, reads “Muu-na-ka-ra” and “Muu-caka- ti.” The script is datable prior to the first century BCE. Photo: M. Prasanna
The lines read as “Muu-na-ka-ra” and “Muu-ca-ka-ti”

Young archaeologists M. Prasanna and R. Ramesh like to climb the hills around Madurai, which have pre-historic rock art, Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions on the brow of natural caverns, beautiful bas-reliefs of Jaina “tirthankaras” and beds cut on the flat rock surface for the Jaina monks to sleep on. These hills include Mankulam, Keezhavalavu, Tiruvadavur, Varichiyur, Mettupatti, Anaimalai, Kongar Puliyankulam and Muthupatti.

The duo aspired to discover a Tamil-Brahmi script on the hills. While Prasanna is an assistant archaeologist in the Archaeological Survey of India, Ramesh works in the University Grants Commission-Special Assistance Programme under Professor K. Rajan of the Department of History, Pondicherry University.

On January 20, 2013, they climbed the Tirupparankundram hill, where three Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, datable to the first century BCE, were discovered many decades ago. As they climbed the several hundred steps leading to the Kasi Viswanathar temple, they wondered whether they would be lucky this time. Behind this temple are bas-reliefs of Jaina tirthankaras on the rock surface. There are also recently carved images of Ganesa, Muruga, Bhairava and others. Near the temple, there is a pond and a shrine dedicated to Machchamuni (matsya muni), meaning fish god. The pond is full of fish. There are steps cut on the rock, leading to the pond.

As they were scanning the rock surface, their eyes fell on the steps leading to the pond and they saw what looked like a Tamil-Brahmi script in two lines. Excited, they turned the pages of the book titled “Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions,” published by the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department in 2006. They read the pages on the earlier discoveries of the Tamil-Brahmi script at Tirupparankundram and found that this was a new discovery. They rang up Dr. Rajan who confirmed that it had not been documented earlier.

The lines, each having four letters, read as, “Muu-na-ka-ra” and “Muu-ca-ka-ti.” The first line has a trishul-like symbol as a graffiti mark at its end. The first letter “muu” can mean “three” or being ancient or old. “In the present context, the meaning of ancient is more probable,” Ramesh and Prasanna said. The na-ka-ra/na-kar-r represents a town or city. So the first line could be read as “ancient town,” probably meaning Madurai, they suggested. In the second line, the first letter “muu” again stands for “ancient or old.” The remaining three letters, ca-ka-ti/ca-k-ti may represent a “yakshi,” they said. (Yakshis are women attendants of the 24 Jaina tirthankaras). “So the inscription can be read as goddess of the ancient city. But it is open to different interpretations,” they said.

V. Vedachalam, retired senior epigraphist, Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, said the first line stood for an elderly Jaina monk and the second one could mean “motcha/moksha gadhi.” So the script could stand for a Jaina monk who, facing north, went on a fast unto death there. That is, he attained nirvana. This is the first time that a Tamil-Brahmi script, referring to a Jaina monk who fasted unto death, had been discovered. Other Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions referred to donors who cut beds on rocks for Jaina monks or sculpted rock-shelters for them.

A. Karthikeyan, Professor, Department of Tamil Studies in Tamil University at Thanjavur, suggested that the inscription could be read as “the attainment of liberation or salvation (moksha) of a female monk (saadhvi), namely elderly naakaraa. “Moksha gadhi” could be changed into muccakati. “It is difficult to assign a date to this inscription but it can be dated prior to the first century BCE,” said Dr. Rajan.

http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/tamilbrahmi-script-discovered-on-tirupparankundram-hill/article4412125.ece


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Tamil Brahmi script dating to 500 BC found near Erode

Workshop-where-ornaments-we.jpgTamil Brahmi script dating to 500 BC found near Erode

Author: Express News Service

Published Date: May 17, 2013 8:37 AM
Last Updated: May 17, 2013 9:07 AM

A research team of Pondicherry University found several pot shells containing Tamil Brahmi letters dating to 500 BC at Kodumanal near Chennimalai.

In a major find that throws evidence to Erode’s connection to Tamil Brahmi era, a research team of Pondicherry University found several pot shells containing Tamil Brahmi letters dating to 500 BC at Kodumanal near Chennimalai.

A team of students from Pondicherry University, led by Dr K Rajan and TN archaeological department assistant director Subramaniam, has been carrying out research for the past one month in the region. Recently, the team during its work in Kodumanal found several antiques, besides the pot shells.

Team members, while explaining about the Kodumanal find, said that Tamil Brahmi words like Adinthai, Madanthai, Kuviran, Sumanan, Samban, Vindaveli, Pannan, Bagan, Yadan, etc were found on the pot shells.

Detailing the Chennimalai’s connect to ancient days, the team pointed out that the area had 165 tombs and of these 17 were taken up for research.

While in one of the tombs, many precious stones were found, the team during its study in the region also stumbled upon shell bangles, roulette pottery and sword bit contained spheroidal graphite phase and forge welding of high carbon cutting edge, etc.

The present excavations were made in 8 points near Pandiyan Nagar and a burial ground. Many beads, high quality iron materials like arrow heads, spears, swords, megalithic tombs, iron and steel furnaces, several precious stones like garnet, carnelian, lapis lazuli, sapphire, quartz, etc., were found. The area also contains some objects made of tusks and other materials which could have been used for weaving cotton in those days.

http://newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Tamil-Brahmi-script-dating-to-500-BC-found-near-Erode/2013/05/17/article1593552.ece1#

Published: May 28, 2012 02:37 IST | Updated: May 28, 2012 03:19 IST 
Kodumanal excavation yields a bonanza again

T. S. Subramanian

TH27_1_KODUMANAL_1095841g.jpgOne of the two cist burial sites excavated at Kodumanal in Erode district. Photo: K. Ananthan

TH27_2_SAMBAN_SUMA_1095842g.jpg"This is the transcript of the Tamil-Brahmi script reading "Samban Sumanan" that has been found on a big pot in the archaeological excavation at Kodumanal village. Photo: K. Rajan

TH27_3_KODUMANAL_1095843g.jpgA big pot bearing the Tamil-Brahmi inscription, ‘Samban Sumanan,’. Photo: K. Ananthan
The artefacts unearthed reveal an industrial complex that existed around fourth century BCE

Kodumanal in Erode district never stops yielding.

Renewed archaeological excavation in the village in April and May this year by the Department of History, Pondicherry University, has yielded a bonanza again. The artefacts unearthed from four trenches in the habitational mound have revealed an industrial complex that existed around fourth century BCE. The industries in the complex made iron and steel, textiles, bangles out of conch-shells and thousands of exquisite beads from semi-precious stones such as sapphire, beryl, quartz, lapis-lazuli, agate, onyx, carnelian and black-cat eye, and ivory.

Terracotta spindle whorls for spinning cotton and a thin gold wire were found in the complex, which has also thrown up 130 potsherds with Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, including 30 with Tamil-Brahmi words.

All of them are personal names. They include ‘Saba Magadhai Bammadhan,' ‘Saathan,' ‘Visaki,' ‘Siligan,' ‘Uranan' and ‘Tissan.' A prized artefact is a big pot with a superbly etched Tamil-Brahmi script in big letters reading, ‘Samban Sumanan.'

Industrial site

K. Rajan, Professor of History, Pondicherry University, who was director of excavation at Kodumanal, said: “Nowhere else do we come across such an industrial complex. The uniqueness of Kodumanal is that it was entirely an industrial site with a minimum agricultural activity. Though several Tamil Sangam age sites such as Korkai, Poompuhar, Karur, Uraiyur, Azhagankulam and Porunthal have been excavated so far, none has yielded so much of Tamil-Brahmi-inscribed potsherds as Kodumanal.”

He estimated that these inscriptions, especially the ‘Samban Sumanan' script, belonged to the third century and second century BCE.

While the big pot with ‘Samban Sumanan' was found at the second level of one of the four trenches, the first level yielded a pot with the Tamil-Brahmi word ‘Samban.' Several potsherds had either the name ‘Samban' or ‘Sumanan.' Obviously, ‘Samban' was the father and ‘Sumanan' the son. The industrial complex could have belonged to Samban's family, Mr. Rajan said.

Dr. Rajan and his team also excavated two megalithic graves this season at Kodumanal, which revealed cist-burials. The first grave has a cairn circle (rocks placed in the form of a circle) on the surface, entombing a double cist below. The cists are box-like structures of granite slabs; these chambers have granite slabs as roofs. The first grave has an outer circle of stone slabs planted vertically in the earth. Some of these stone slabs were actually tall meinheirs, which have been destroyed. The inner circle is a wall-like structure. Below are two cists with trapezium-shaped port-holes scooped out of their front slabs. The two cists have a common passage. The cists contained disintegrated human bones. The funerary objects found inside are a four-legged jar, ring stand, dish-on-stand, iron objects and etched or plain carnelian beads. Broken pots and bowls lay outside the cists.

The second grave has a main cist, and two subsidiary cists. Each has a capstone roof. While the main cist was of a transepted variety, the others, erected on either side of the main cist, were simple ones. There was a cairn-circle on top to mark the graves below, but the stones are no longer there. Interestingly, one of the cists, facing south, has a port-hole in the shape of a key-hole. The other two cists have circular and trapezium-shaped portholes. Inside the cists were button and barrel-shaped carnelian beads and smoky quartz beads.

“Wherever there are a main cist and subsidiary cists, the south-facing cist will always have a port-hole looking like a key-hole. Inside the chamber of the key-holed cist, there will always be a bunch of arrow-heads. We do not know why,” Dr. Rajan said. True enough, there were arrow-heads in this cist.

What is remarkable about the industrial complex is that it has a water-channel in it. Water was used for wetting quartz, agate, lapis-lazuli, sapphire and beryl before they were cut and made into tiny beads with holes. Sapphire came from Sivanmalai and Perumalmalai, beryl from Padiyur and iron ore from Chennimalai, all located within 15 km from Kodumanal. A quartz mine exits five km from Kodumanal. While carnelian and agate came from Maharashtra, lapis-lazuli came from Afghanistan. “Kodumanal lies on the ancient trade route that connects the Chera capital of Karur [Vanji] in the east with the famous Chera port of Muciri (the present day Pattnam in Kerala where excavation is under way) in the west. Roman coins in hoards and singles have been found in several sites in this region. Beads made at Kodumanal were exported,” Dr. Rajan said.

Tamil University, Thanjavur, in collaboration with Madras University and the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology, dug 48 trenches and exposed 13 megalithic graves at Kodumanal in 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1990, with Y. Subbarayalu as director of excavation and Dr. Rajan actively associating himself with him. The Department of Archaeology dug 15 trenches and exposed three graves in 1998 and 1999.

Dr. Rajan said: “Kodumanal is one of the major horizontal excavations done so far in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the sites in India where the highest number of inscribed potsherds have been found. The highest number of graves was opened here. The presence of pit-burial with skeletons in different postures, urn burials and chamber tombs of different types suggests that multi-ethnic groups lived at Kodumanal. The availability of Prakrit words such as ‘Tissan' and ‘Visaki' in Tamil-Brahmi scripts suggests that this industrial-cum-trade centre had cultural and trade contacts with northern parts of India.”

http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/kodumanal-excavation-yields-a-bonanza-again/article3463120.ece?css=print


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Agricultural Signs in the Indus Script

Iravatham Mahadevan*

*Iravatham Mahadevan (iravatham.jani@gmail.com) is a specialist in Indian epigraphy whose areas of specific study are the Indus script and the Brahmi writing system.

The Journal of the Foundation for Agrarian Studies ISSN 2248-9002, Vol. 2, No. 2, July-December 2012

Abstract: The Indus script pos­sessed a set of signs re­fer­ring to crop and share of the agri­cul­tural pro­duce (Chart I). Five hi­er­ar­chi­cal lev­els of levies on the pro­duce have been iden­ti­fied, namely, those due to god, state, city, land owner, and the ten­ant-farmer. Sur­vivals of the agri­cul­tural signs in the Indus script as pot­tery graf­fiti in later pe­ri­ods are il­lus­trated in Chart II. A list of signs of the Indus script de­pict­ing agri­cul­tural im­ple­ments is also in­cluded (Chart III).

Keywords: The Indus civ­i­liza­tion, the Indus script, agri­cul­tural signs in the Indus script, agri­cul­tural im­ple­ments in the Indus script.

Introduction

Like all other contemporary river-valley civilisations of the Bronze Age, the Indus or Harappan Civilisation was based on agricultural surplus. The annual flooding in the Indus and the rivers of the Punjab brought down rich silt, making irrigated land very fertile. There must have existed an administrative machinery to collect the grain as taxes due to the State or as offerings to the temples. The grain would have been stored in large granaries for distribution as wages, especially to the army of workers employed in the construction of massive public works, such as the brick platform at Mohenjodaro, the fortifications at Harappa, city drainage systems, irrigation canals, and so on.

It would have been convenient to control the apportionment of grain right at the threshing floor. Sheaves of grain-stalks would have been bundled into lots and marked with clay-tags that were then impressed with seals to identify ownership before the grain was transported to granaries or taken away by landlords as their share, leaving the rest as the share of tenant-farmers or wages to the cultivators.

It is thus quite likely that Harappan seals and sealings would contain information on agricultural production and distribution. This probable scenario has led me to search for and identify a remarkable set of closely knit signs that appear to refer to crops and sharing of grain.1

Methodology

The proposed interpretations are based on the pictorial character of the signs and their probable functions as determined by positional and statistical analysis of the texts. As the “rebus principle” is not invoked in this study, there is no need to make any assumption about the language of the texts.2 I have, however, chosen to cite, wherever apt, bi-lingual (Dravidian and Indo-Aryan) parallels relating to agriculture, as I believe that they represent age-old traditions at the ground level and that they lend support to the proposed ideographic identification of the signs.

Agricultural Terms in the Indus Script (Chart I)

Chart I illustrates a set of closely related signs interpreted as “agricultural terms.” The signs are arranged in a grid of columns and rows to bring out their similarities and inter-relationship. It is remarkable that the entire set of agricultural terms is made up of just three “basic” signs combining with five “modifiers.” The basic signs are placed at the head of the three central columns (I to III). The modifiers are listed one below the other in the first column at the left. They consist of three modifying “elements” (labelled A, B, and C) and two modifying signs. The modified compound signs are placed at the junction of the respective columns and rows. The meanings of the basic signs and the modifiers are given in Chart I. The meanings of the compound signs are derived by the combination of the respective modifier and basic sign.

Chart 1
Interpretation of Basic Signs

As explained below, the basic signs, especially their graphic variants, provide the pictorial clues to their identification.

Sign 137: “to divide, share (as grain)”   

The point of departure for this study is the X-like sign 137, one of the simplest in the Indus script. It invites comparison with the near-identical ideogram in the Egyptian Hieroglyphic script, an ideogram that means “to divide.” The comparison enables us to assign the same general meaning to the corresponding Indus sign, “to divide, share” (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Signs to “divide, share”

The next clue with respect to what is divided as shares comes from two identical texts on a pair of three-sided, prism-like sealings (1623 and 2847) from Mohenjodaro. These are, incidentally, the longest known Indus texts, each consisting of 26 signs. While all but one of the signs are identical in the two inscriptions, one sign alone (137) shows an interesting variation, providing a precious clue to its meaning. The graphic variant in 2847 shows a pair of stalks laden with grain arranged in X-like form to mean “share (as grain)” (Figure 2). Sign 137 and the modified compound signs derived from it (in column I of Chart I) also have other minor graphic variants, where the straight X-like lines are replaced by curved lines suggestive of slender and supple grain-stalks (e.g., 1179 and 6131).

Figure 2 Variants of sign 137 “share (as grain)”

Sign 141: “share of crop”   

This more elaborate sign can be interpreted as a combination of the X-like element “to share” with a pair of tall vertical lines representing “grain-stalks,” the whole sign having the meaning “share of crop.” The proposed identification is supported by the graphic variants of the sign, which suggest “bundles of grain-stalks tied in the middle” (Figure 3). The modified compound signs derived from sign 141 (in column II of Chart I) also have similar variants (e.g., 2098, 3107, and 4077).

Figure 3 Variants of sign 141 “share of crop”

Many Dravidian languages have specific expressions for “share of the crop” that are derived from the verb “to gather, make into bundles, carry away.”

Examples are:

Verbs: Tamil vāru, “to take by the handfuls”; Malayalam vāruka, “to take in a heap”; Kannadavāme, “heap of straw”; Telugu vāru, “to make into a bundle (of hay)”; Malto bāre, “to take out as grain” (DEDR 5362).

Nouns: Tamil vāram, “share, lease of land for a share of the produce, share of the crop of a field”; Malayalam vāram, “share, landlord’s share”; Kannada vāra, “share, landlord’s half-share of the produce in the field in lieu of rent” (DEDR 5359). Cf. Tamil vāri, ‘produce, grain’ (Tamil Lexicon).

Also see the discussion below on Tamil mēl-vāram, “landlord’s share of the produce”; andkuṭi-vāram, “tenant’s share of the produce.” The pictorial depictions in the corresponding Indus signs are in close accord with the imagery invoked by the Dravidian expressions cited above.

Sign 162: “crop”   

Sign 162 is a self-evident ideogram for “crop” as may be seen from its graphic variants (including signs 167 and 168, now recognised to be mere variants of 162). The sign may also be compared with the identical Sumerian “grain” sign (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Variants of “crop” signs 162, 167, 168 and Sumerian “grain” sign

The very realistic depiction of the “crop” sign in the more recently discovered seals from Banawali is conclusive evidence for the proposed identification. (See especially B-12 in CISI, vol. I, 1987). The similar manner in which modifiers are added to this sign like the other two basic signs lends additional support to its identification. The most common expression for “crop” in the Dravidian languages is viḷai: (verb) “to be produced,” (noun) “produce, crop, yield” (DEDR 5437).

Modifiers and Compound Signs

Modifying element A: “sky”   

The modifying element A is near-identical with the corresponding Egyptian ideogram for “sky,” and is accordingly interpreted to mean “sky, heavens, pertaining to god,” etc. (Figure 5). When the element “sky” is placed above the basic signs, the compound signs (in the same row inChart I) acquire the meaning “god’s share of grain or crop.”

The concept of first fruits, “the first agricultural produce of the season, especially when given as an offering to god” (Oxford English Dictionary), is familiar to all agricultural societies. Many Dravidian languages have specific expressions for “god’s first share of the produce” – e.g., Malayalam mīttal, “first fruits, offering to demons”; Kodava mīdi, “offering to a god”; Telugu mīdu, “what is devoted or set aside for a deity” (DEDR 4841). Cf. Tamil midupoli, “grain first taken from the grain heap at the threshing floor for charitable purposes” (Tamil Lexicon).

Figure 5 Signs for “sky”

Compound signs for “god's share of the grain/crop”   

The compound sign 139 occurs only on seals, mostly from Mohenjodaro. It is the only sign on a large “unicorn” seal from Chanhudaro (6131). It would appear that seals with this sign were used by temple functionaries to mark the clay-tags affixed to bundles of grain-stalks which were set apart as “god’s first share of the produce” at the threshing floor.

The compound sign 142 occurs only on the miniature tablets and sealings from Harappa. The function of 142 seems to be somewhat different from that of 139. Sign 142 may depict the voluntary offerings by small farmers or tenants of the first fruits to god before further apportionment of the grain. Apparently, the miniature tablets or sealings marked with this sign would be placed on bundles of grain-stalks or heaps of grain offered to the deity.

Modifying element B: “one-eighth”   

The modifying element B consists of eight vertical short strokes arranged in four pairs around the basic signs. The context indicates the meaning “one-eighth.”

Compound signs for “one-eighth share of grain/crop (due to the State)”   

The compound signs 140, 143, and 164, which mean, literally, “one-eighth share of grain or crop,” are interpreted as the “State’s share of the produce” from the following evidence. The Pillar Inscription of Asoka at Lumbini, the place of birth of the Buddha, states:

luṃmini-gāmēubalikēkaṭēaṭha-bhāgiyē ca.

The village of Lumbini was made free of taxes and to pay [only] an eighth share [of the produce]. (Inscriptions of AsokaHultzsch (ed.), Rummindei Pillar Inscription)

Hultzsch cites Fleet (JRAS, 1908, p. 479) that “aṭha-bhāga (from Sanskrit ashṭa-bhāga) is an ‘eighth share’ which the king is permitted by Manu (VII: 130) to levy on grains.”

Apparently, the Harappan rate of land revenue at one-eighth the share of the produce continued down the ages, and was later codified by Manu and was prevalent until at least the Mauryan age. In later times, the rate of land revenue varied from place to place. Tamil literary and inscriptional sources mention āṟil-oṉṟu (“one-sixth”) as the prescribed rate. The general term for “tax on land” in Tamil was iṟai (DEDR 521).

Modifying element C: “roof”   

The modifying element C, representing the roof, is interpreted to mean “upper, higher, above,” etc. (cf. Tamil mēl). When it is added to the basic signs for “share of grain/crop,” the compound signs are interpreted to mean “upper share of the produce.”

Compound signs for “upper (landlord's) share of grain/crop”   

The compound signs 138 and 163, combining “upper” with “share of grain or crop” respectively, seem to have the same meaning, namely the “upper share of the produce (due to the landlord).” The interpretation is suggested by the Tamil literary and inscriptional usage which equates “upper share” with “landlord’s share” of the produce; e.g., Tamil mēl-vāram, “the proportion of the crop or produce claimed by the land holder” (Tamil Lexicon). The term generally occurs in contrast with kuṭi-vāram, “tenant’s share” (discussed below).

Modifying sign 149: “streets”   

Sign 149 depicts pictorially “crossroads.” It may be compared with the near-identical Sumerian sign for “roads.” The Indus sign can be interpreted as “streets” or “part of a city” when compared with another Indus sign (284) for “city” which has an exact counterpart in an Egyptian ideogram (Figure 6).

Figure 6 Signs for “streets” and “city”

Compound sign 144: “streets' share”   

The compound sign 144 can be analysed as follows: “streets” (149) + “share of crop” (141) = “streets’ share of the crop” (144).

We learn from Tamil inscriptional evidence that a levy known as pāṭi-kāval (literally, “levy for guarding the streets”) was collected from the citizens for payment to those guarding the city or village (Tamil Lexicon). It is quite likely that a similar system of municipal taxation was in vogue in the highly organised urban societies of the Indus Civilisation.

Modifying sign 176: “harrow”   

Sign 176, apparently a toothed implement, is interpreted as a “harrow.” The harrow symbolises “cultivating tenant” in the compound signs to which it is added. Note particularly the compound sign:

176 (“harrow”) + 001 (“man”) = 038 (“ploughman, farmer”).

Cf. Tamil kuṭi/kuṭiy-āl, “tenant”; Malayalam kuṭiyān, “tenant” (DEDR 1655); Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, āḷ, “man, servant, labourer” (DEDR 399).

Compound signs for “tenant” and “tenant's share of crop”   

Sign 145 is interpreted as a compound of “share” (X-like element), “grain-stalks” (pair of tall vertical lines), and the “harrow.” The compound sign means the “share of crop due to the tenant-farmer.” (See Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions, vol. I, M391, for a realistic variant of this sign.) Similarly, signs 165 and 166 are compounds of “harrow” (176) and “crop” (162) with the same meaning, “the share in the produce of the tenant.” Compare Tamilkuṭi-vāram, “the share of the produce to which a ryot is entitled” (Tamil Lexicon).



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Chart 2

* References to Lal (1960).

Later Survivals of Agricultural Signs (Chart II)

It is very significant that some of the agricultural signs of the Indus script survived as isolated symbols in the pottery graffiti of the succeeding Chalcolithic and Megalithic periods (Lal 1960). The relevant comparisons from Lal’s photographic catalogue are listed in Chart II.

While Lal has compared the pottery graffiti with similar-looking Indus signs, he has refrained from offering any interpretations. In the light of the present identification of the Indus signs listed above as “agricultural terms,” it is perhaps not too far-fetched to suggest that the corresponding symbols occurring as graffiti on pottery during the Chalcolithic and Megalithic periods had the same significance. The survivals lend support to the linguistic parallels linking Harappan agricultural practices with later traditions suggested in the paper.

Agricultural Implements in the Indus Script (Chart III)

Agricultural implements depicted in the Indus script have been recognised from their pictorial character, and also by comparison with near-identical signs in other pictographic scripts like the Egyptian Hieroglyphic and the Early Sumerian. However, the signs were not employed in their literal sense but with other meanings by ideographic association or through the rebus method. Such interpretations are not considered here. It is still instructive to study the literal meanings of the signs for the light they throw on the earliest agricultural economy in South Asia. The Indus signs, their literal meanings, and brief remarks on their identification are provided in Chart III.

Chart 3
Discussion

It remains for us to add some comments on a few points arising out of the proposed identification of agricultural signs in the Indus script.

Modifiers. The modifying elements and signs in Chart I modify the sense and not the sound of the basic signs. In other words, the additions are semantic and not phonetic. The modifiers act as attributes qualifying the sense of the basic signs. Chart I indicates that in the Harappan language the attribute precedes the noun it qualifies. Further, it is not necessary that a compound sign should have two phonetic elements; it may be a single word.

Signs stand for personal nouns also. The signs listed in Chart I can also be interpreted, when warranted by the context, as the corresponding personal nouns.

(e.g.)  share > share-holder, share-cropper 
crop > one who grows the crop, agriculturist 
harrow > tenant-farmer 
streets > citizens, municipal authority.

Such interpretations are more likely when the signs occur initially or when followed by nominal suffixes in the texts.

Other signs. Signs 001 (“man”) and 149 (“streets”) are not “agricultural terms,” but are included in Chart I as they combine with agricultural signs to produce compound signs interpreted as agricultural terms.

Frequent signs in other contexts. The two signs mentioned above (001 and 149), and also the signs 162 (“crop”) and 176 (“harrow”) occur very frequently in the Indus texts in other contexts. In such cases, these signs may have much wider, though still related, significance (not considered in this paper).

Redundancy of signs. Signs in the same rows have virtually the same meanings. The redundancy could have arisen at different places and during different periods. Perhaps some of them are not redundant but have nuances and shades of meanings that elude us at this preliminary stage of analysis. Even after allowing for such possibilities, one is left with the impression that the Indus script, even in its mature stage, is a limited type of writing, comprised almost wholly of word-signs that represent matters of interest to the ruling classes. Such redundancy, as seen even in this limited set of signs, is not expected to be present if the script had reached a more advanced stage, as Sumerian or Egyptian did.

Parallels from other pictographic scripts. The parallels cited from Sumerian and Egyptian scripts do not mean that they are related to the Indus script or that there were direct borrowings from them. When picture-signs are drawn from material objects, there are bound to be some similarities even between unrelated scripts. However, ideographic signs from different scripts can be compared only semantically and would have no phonetic connections.

Bi-lingual parallels. The bi-lingual parallels (from Dravidian and Indo-Aryan) cited in the paper are intended to highlight the cultural unity and continuity of traditions, which get reflected as parallel expressions in languages belonging to different families. As mentioned at the outset, the interpretations proposed here are ideographic and not based on linguistic arguments.

The grid. The grid of related signs presented in Chart I has turned out to be a powerful tool for analysis. Even the very rare signs, which occur only once each (144, 145, 164, 165, and 166) and are hence normally unanalysable, have been identified with some confidence because of the pattern brought out by the grid. What is more, one can even predict that the blank squares in columns I–III in Chart I would be filled up in due course by new discoveries of compound signs, which would be combinations of the basic signs and respective modifiers.

Notes

 1 Text Numbers, Sign Numbers and statistics are cited from my book, The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables (1977). Four-digit numbers refer to texts and three-digit numbers to signs. The Sign List and List of Sign Variants in the book are the sources for the illustrations.

 2 For example, the picture of an 'eye' can be read as 'I', first person singular pronoun, if the language is English.

References

 

 A Dravidian Etymological Dictionary (DEDR) (1984), Burrow, T., and Emeneau, M. B. (eds.), Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2nd ed.

 Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions (CISI) (1987), vol. 1, Joshi, Jagat Pati and Parpola, Asko (eds.), Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, Helsinki.

 Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions (CISI) (1991), vol. 2, Shah, S. G. M., and Parpola, Asko (eds.), Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, Helsinki.

 Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions (CISI) (2010), vol. 3.1, Parpola, Asko, Pande, B. M., and Koskikallio, Petteri (eds.), Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, Helsinki.

 Englund, R. K., and Gregoire, J-P (1991), The Proto-Cuneiform Texts from Jamdet Nasr, Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin.

 Gardiner, A. H. (1927), Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

 Hultzsch, E. (ed.) (1991), Inscriptions of Asoka, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. I, reprint, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi.

 Lal, B. B. (1960), “From the Megalithic to the Harappa: Tracing Back the Graffiti on Pottery,” Ancient India, 16, pp. 4–24.

 Mahadevan, Iravatham (1977), The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi.

 Tamil Lexicon (1982), University of Madras, Madras.

 Wheeler, Mortimer (1960), The Indus Civilization, second edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2nd ed.

 

 

 



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Ancient coins, script of Indus civilization on exhibition

 
Ancient coins, script of Indus civilization on exhibition
TNN | May 13, 2013, 04.30 AM IST

INDORE: Academy of Indian Numismatics and Sigillography has put on display coins and literature from ancient history at a three-day exhibition starting Sunday. The exhibition is being held at PritamLalDua auditorium.

Exhibitors said that the idea was to reorient the thinking pattern and lifestyle of the modern generation with view to introduce concept of nature and human behaviour. Director, Academy of Indian Numismatics and Sigillography SK Bhatt said that all the material displayed at the exhibition aims to render information to young students about the history and specially evolution of coins and currency notes.

One can sneak peak into the Maurya period in 2nd and 3rd century BC and Gupta period by getting a glimpse of coins like Satvanan, Vatsavaka, Erikatcha, Kamasika (all copper coins). Pictures of Niksha (ornaments used for trading before introduction of coins) were also put up along with scripts of Indus valley civilization.

Bhatt said that the exhibition showcases five stages of evolution of modern coin, which goes back 2,500 years in history. Kandi is the stage-I, followed by stage-II of punch-marked and moulded coins (3rd and 2nd century BC, Mauryan period). Stage III and IV consists of coins from Kushan Kings (II century AD), Gupta coins (IV and V century AD) and medieval period coins of India (Islamic period) respectively.

"The last stage is of machine-minted money introduced in British India. Today we are using paper and plastic money," said Bhatt adding, "Exhibition like this can be very insightful for students and for people otherwise who can seek knowledge from the past."

Weights from princely states of Indore, Bundi, Alwar, Gondal were also exhibited. A rare fossil of Selina fish (6 crore year old) is also to be found at the exhibition.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Indore/Ancient-coins-script-of-Indus-civilization-on-exhibition/articleshow/20022313.cms


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Indus writing in ancient Near East (Reading part of inscription on a proto-cuneiform tablet)

ScreenShot136.jpgScreenShot138.jpg
The narrative is  set of hieroglyphs read rebus. Rebus readings connote that the cylinder seal impressions on the proto-cuneiform tablet relate to the smelting furnace for metalware: 

pasara 'quadrupeds' Rebus: pasra 'smithy' (Santali)
 
1. a tiger, a fox on leashes held by a man kol 'tiger' Rebus: kol 'working in iron, alloys' lo ‘fox’ (WPah.) Rebus: lōha ʻmetalʼ (Pali) 

2. a procession of boars (rhinoceros?) and tiger in two rows kāṇṭā 'rhinoceros. Rebus: āṇḍa ‘tools, pots and pans and metal-ware’ (Gujarati)

3. a stalk/twig, sprout (or tree branch) kūdī, kūṭī bunch of twigs (Sanskrit) Rebus: kuṭhi ‘smelting furnace‘ (Santali)

Thanks to Abdallah Kahil for the line drawing which clearly demonstrates that the narrative is NOT 'a hunting with dogs or herding boars in a marsh environment.' Traces of hieroglyphs are found on both sides of the tablet which also contains a proto-cuneiform inscription. It is noteworthy that cuneiform evolved TOGETHER WITH the use of Indus writing hieroglyphs on tablets, cylinder seals and other artifacts. I wish every success for efforts at decoding proto-elamite script using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) System (see below).


Fig. 24 Line drawing showing the seal impression on this tablet. Illustration by Abdallah Kahil. Proto-Cuneiform tablet with seal impressions. Jemdet Nasr period, ca. 3100-2900 BCE. Mesopotamia. Clay H. 5.5 cm; W.7 cm.  The blurb of Metropolitan Museum of Art says "The seal impression depicts a male figure guiding two dogs on a leash and hunting or herding boars in a marsh environment."


h1971b.jpg
Comparable are hieoroglyphs of jackals appear where tigers are normally shown on a tablet h1971B Harappa. Three tablets with identical glyphic compositions on both sides: h1970, h1971 and h1972. Seated figure or deity with reed house or shrine at one side. Left: H95-2524; Right: H95-2487. Planoconvex molded tablet found on Mound ET. Reverse. a female deity battling two tigers and standing above an elephant and below a six-spoked wheel.
 
Boar or rhinoceros in procession. Cylinder seal impression: Rhinoceros, elephant, lizard (gharial?).Tell Asmar (Eshnunna), Iraq. IM 14674; glazed steatite. Frankfort, 1955, No. 642; Collon, 1987, Fig. 610. rhinocerosprocession.jpg
 
 
herd.jpgA group of animal hieroglyphs (including tiger/jackal, rhinoceros/boar) are show on many tablets with Indus writing : m2015Am2015Bm2016Am1393tm1394tm 1395Atm1395Bt
 
Meluhha (mleccha) lexemes and rebus readings:

Stalk: காண்டம் kāṇṭam , n. < kāṇḍa. 1. Water; sacred water; நீர். துருத்திவா யதுக்கிய குங்குமக் காண் டமும் (கல்லா. 49, 16). 2. Staff, rod; கோல். (சூடா.) 3. Stem, stalk; அடித்தண்டு. (யாழ். அக.) 4. Arrow; அம்பு. (சூடா.) 5. Weapon; ஆயுதம். (சூடா.) Collection, multitude, assemblage; திரள். (அக. நி.) கண்டானுமுண்டானும் kaṇṭāṉumuṇṭ- āṉum, n. Redupl. of கண்டானும். Household utensils, great and small, useful and useless; வீட்டுத் தட்டுமுட்டுகள். கண்டானு முண்டானும் இத் தனை எதற்கு? Loc. Alternative 1:  aḍaru twig; aḍiri small and thin branch of a tree; aḍari small branches (Ka.); aḍaru twig (Tu.)(DEDR 67). Rebus:aduru ‘native, unsmelted metal’ (Kannada) aduru ‘gan.iyinda tegadu karagade iruva aduru’, that is, ore taken from the mine and not subjected to melting in a furnace (Kannada) Alternative 2: kūdī, kūṭī bunch of twigs (Skt.lex.) kūdī (also written as kūṭī in manuscripts) occurs in the Atharvaveda (AV 5.19.12) and Kauśika Sūtra (Bloomsfield’s ed.n, xliv. Cf. Bloomsfield, American Journal of Philology, 11, 355; 12,416; Roth, Festgruss an Bohtlingk, 98) denotes it as a twig. This is identified as that of Badarī, the jujube tied to the body of the dead to efface their traces. (See Vedic Index, I, p. 177). Rebus: kuṭhi ‘smelting furnace‘ (Santali)

 
pasaramu, pasalamu ‘an animal, a beast, a brute, quadruped’ (Telugu); rebus: pasra ‘smithy’ (Santali). 

Boar. Allograph: ‘rhinoceros’: gaṇḍá4 m. ʻ rhinoceros ʼ lex., °aka -- m. lex. 2. *ga- yaṇḍa -- . [Prob. of same non -- Aryan origin as khaḍgá --1: cf. gaṇōtsāha -- m. lex. as a Sanskritized form ← Mu. PMWS 138]1. Pa. gaṇḍaka -- m., Pk. gaṁḍaya -- m., A. gãr, Or. gaṇḍā. 2. K. gö̃ḍ m., S. geṇḍo m. (lw. with g -- ), P. gaĩḍā m., °ḍī f., N. gaĩṛo, H. gaĩṛā m., G. gẽḍɔ m., °ḍī f., M. gẽḍā m.Addenda: gaṇḍa -- 4. 2. *gayaṇḍa -- : WPah.kṭg. geṇḍɔ mirg m. ʻ rhinoceros ʼ, Md. genḍā ← H. (CDIAL 4000). காண்டாமிருகம் kāṇṭā-mirukam , n. [M. kāṇṭāmṛgam.] Rhinoceros; கல்யானை. (Tamil) Rebus: kāṇḍa ‘tools, pots and pans and metal-ware’ (Gujarati)


 
kol ‘tiger, jackal’ (Kon.) Rebus: kol ‘iron’ (Ta.)
 
lo ‘fox’ (WPah.) rebus: lōha ʻmetalʼ (Pali) 

kul ‘tiger’ (Santali); kōlu id. (Te.) kōlupuli = Bengal tiger (Te.)Pk. Kolhuya -- , kulha — m. ʻ jackal ʼ < *kōḍhu -- ; H.kolhā, °lā m. ʻ jackal ʼ, adj. ʻ crafty ʼ; G. kohlũ, °lũ n. ʻ jackal ʼ, M. kolhā, °lā m. krōṣṭŕ̊ ʻ crying ʼ BhP., m. ʻ jackal ʼ RV. = krṓṣṭu — m. Pāṇ. [√kruś] Pa. koṭṭhu -- , °uka — and kotthu -- , °uka — m. ʻ jackal ʼ, Pk. Koṭṭhu — m.; Si. Koṭa ʻ jackal ʼ, koṭiya ʻ leopard ʼ GS 42 (CDIAL 3615). कोल्हा [ kōlhā ] कोल्हें [ kōlhēṃ ] A jackal (Marathi) Rebus: kol ‘furnace, forge’ (Kuwi) kol ‘alloy of five metals, pañcaloha’ (Ta.) Allograph: kōla = woman (Nahali) 



Rebus: kol , n. < கொல்-. Working in iron; கொற்றொழில். 4. Blacksmith; கொல்லன். கொல்லன் kollaṉ , n. < கொல்². [M. kollan.] Blacksmith; கருமான்மென்றோன் மிதியுலைக் கொல்லன் (பெரும்பாண். 207). கொற்றுறை koṟṟuṟai , n. < கொல்² + துறை. Blacksmith's workshop, smithyகொல்லன் பட் டடைகொற்றுறைக் குற்றில (புறநா. 95). கொற்று¹ koṟṟu , n. prob. கொல்-. 1. Masonry, brickwork; கொற்றுவேலைகொற்றுள விவரில் (திரு வாலவா. 30, 23). 2. Mason, bricklayer; கொத் தன்Colloq. 3. The measure of work turned out by a mason; ஒரு கொத்தன் செய்யும் வேலை யளவுஇந்தச் சுவர் கட்ட எத்தனை கொற்றுச் செல்லும்?


lōpāka m. ʻa kind of jackalʼ Suśr., lōpākikā -- f. lex. 1. H. lowā m. ʻfoxʼ.2.  Ash.  ẓōkižōkī  ʻfoxʼ, Kt. ŕwēki, Bashg. wrikī, Kal.rumb. lawák: < *raupākya -- NTS ii 228; -- Dm. rɔ̈̄pak ← Ir.? lōpāśá m. ʻfox, jackalʼ RV., lōpāśikā -- f. lex. [Cf. lōpāka -- . -- *lōpi -- ] Wg. liwášälaúša ʻfoxʼ, Paš.kch. lowóċ, ar. lṓeč ʻjackalʼ (→ Shum.  lṓeč NTS xiii 269), kuṛ. lwāinč; K. lośulōhlohulôhu ʻporcupine, foxʼ.1. Kho.  lōw  ʻfoxʼ, Sh.gil. lótilde;i f., pales. lṓi f., lṓo m., WPah.bhal. lōī f.,  lo m.2. Pr. ẓūwī  ʻfoxʼ.(CDIAL 11140-2).Rebus: lōhá ʻred, copper -- colouredʼ ŚrS., ʻmade of copperʼ ŚBr., m.n. ʻcopperʼ VS., ʻironʼ MBh. [*rudh -- ] Pa. lōha -- m. ʻmetal, esp. copper or bronzeʼ; Pk. lōha -- m. ʻironʼ, Gy. pal. li°, lihi, obl. elhás, as. loa JGLS new ser. ii 258; Wg. (Lumsden) "loa" ʻsteelʼ; Kho. loh ʻcopperʼ; S. lohu m. ʻironʼ, L. lohā m., awāṇ. lōˋā, P. lohā m. (→ K.rām. ḍoḍ. lohā), WPah.bhad. lɔ̃u n., bhal. lòtilde; n., pāḍ. jaun. lōh, paṅ. luhā, cur. cam. lohā, Ku. luwā, N. lohu, °hā, A. lo, B. lo, no, Or. lohā, luhā, Mth. loh, Bhoj. lohā, Aw.lakh. lōh, H. loh, lohā m., G. M. loh n.; Si. loho,  ʻ metal, ore, iron ʼ; Md. ratu -- lō ʻ copper lōhá -- : WPah.kṭg. (kc.) lóɔ ʻironʼ, J. lohā m., Garh. loho; Md.  ʻmetalʼ. (CDIAL 11158).
 

Read on a write-up on the proto-cuneiform tablet...  Administrative tablet with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars, 3100–2900 B.C.; Jemdet Nasr period (Uruk III script)
Mesopotamia ClayH. 2 in. (5.3 cm) Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 1988 (1988.433.1) ON VIEW: GALLERY 402   Last Updated April 26, 2013  In about 3300 B.C., writing was invented in Mesopotamia, perhaps in the city of Uruk, where the earliest inscribed clay tablets have been found in abundance. This was not an isolated development but occurred during a period of profound transformation in politics, the economy, and representational art. During the Uruk period of the fourth millennium B.C., the first Mesopotamian cities were settled, the first kings were crowned, and a range of goods—from ceramic vessels to textiles—were mass-produced in state workshops. Early writing was used primarily as a means of recording and storing economic information, but from the beginning a significant component of the written tradition consisted of lists of words and names that scribes needed to know in order to keep their accounts. Signs were drawn with a reed stylus on pillow-shaped tablets, most of which were only a few inches wide. The stylus left small marks in the clay which we call cuneiform, or wedge-shaped, writing.
 
This tablet most likely documents grain distributed by a large temple, although the absence of verbs in early texts makes them difficult to interpret with certainty. [unquote] http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1988.433.1
 
 
Pre-cuneiform tablet with seal impressions
ScreenShot138.jpg
h2_1988.433.1.jpg
 
ScreenShot136.jpg The imagery of the cylinder seal records information. A male figure is guiding dogs (?Tigers) and herding boars in a reed marsh. Both tiger and boar are Indus writing hieroglyphs, together with the imagery of a grain stalk. All these hieroglyphs are read rebus in Meluhha (mleccha),of Indian sprachbund in the context of metalware catalogs of bronze age. kola 'tiger'; rebus: kol 'iron'; kāṇḍa 'rhino'; rebus: kāṇḍa 'metalware tools, pots and pans'. Ka. (Hav.) aḍaru twig; (Bark.) aḍïrï small and thin branch of a tree; (Gowda) aḍəri small branches. Tu. aḍaru twig.(DEDR 67) Rebus: aduru gan.iyinda tegadu karagade iruva aduru = ore taken from the mine and not subjected to melting in a furnace (Ka. Siddhānti Subrahmaṇya’ Śastri’s new interpretation of the AmarakoŚa, Bangalore, Vicaradarpana Press, 1872, p.330) Alternative rebus: If the imagery of stalk connoted a palm-frond, the rebus readings could have been: 
 
Ku. N. tāmo (pl. ʻ young bamboo shoots ʼ), A. tām, B. tã̄bā, tāmā, Or. tambā, Bi tã̄bā, Mth. tām, tāmā, Bhoj. tāmā, H. tām in cmpds., tã̄bā, tāmā m. (CDIAL 5779) Rebus: tāmrá ʻ dark red, copper -- coloured ʼ VS., n. ʻ copper ʼ Kauś., tāmraka -- n. Yājñ. [Cf. tamrá -- . -- √tam?] Pa. tamba -- ʻ red ʼ, n. ʻ copper ʼ, Pk. taṁba -- adj. and n.; Dm. trāmba -- ʻ red ʼ (in trāmba -- lac̣uk ʻ raspberry ʼ NTS xii 192); Bshk. lām ʻ copper, piece of bad pine -- wood (< ʻ *red wood ʼ?); Phal. tāmba ʻ copper ʼ (→ Sh.koh. tāmbā), K. trām m. (→ Sh.gil. gur. trām m.), S. ṭrāmo m., L. trāmā, (Ju.) tarāmã̄ m., P. tāmbā m., WPah. bhad. ṭḷām n., kiũth. cāmbā, sod. cambo, jaun. tã̄bō (CDIAL 5779) tabāshīr तबाशीर् । त्वक््क्षीरी f. the sugar of the bamboo, bamboo-manna (a siliceous deposit on the joints of the bamboo) (Kashmiri)
 
 
Source:  Kim Benzel, Sarah B. Graff, Yelena Rakic and Edith W. Watts, 2010, Art of the Ancient Near East, a resource for educators, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 
http://www.metmuseum.org/~/media/Files/Learn/For%20Educators/Publications%20for%20Educators/Art%20of%20the%20Ancient%20Near%20East.pdf
-CONTD-

 

 

 

 



 
 

 
 


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proto_elamite.gif

 


An example of a proto-Elamite accounting tablet. The direction of reading is right-to-left, then downward when the end of line is reached.
220px-Economic_tablet_Susa_Louvre_Sb3047.jpgEconomic tablet with numeric signs. Proto-Elamite script in clay, SusaUruk period (3200 BC to 2700 BC). Department of Oriental Antiquities, Louvre.
220px-Economic_tablet_Susa_Louvre_Sb15439.jpgTablet with numeric signs and script. From Teppe SialkSusaUruk period (3200 BC to 2700 BC). Department of Oriental Antiquities, Louvre.
220px-Clay_accounting_tokens_Susa_Louvre_n2.jpgClay tokens, from SusaUruk period, circa 3500 BC. Department of Oriental Antiquities, Louvre.
 
linear_elamite.gifSyllabograms of Elamite script. "The discovery of a bilingual text, with one version in Linear Elamite and the other in Old Akkadian, in 1905 at the Elamite capital of Susa made it possible to partially decipher Linear Elamite. The system is discovered to frequently make use of syllabograms, with logograms sprinkled in. The following is the Elamite portion of the bilingual tablet, which is attributed to the Elamite king Puzur-Inshushinak around the 22th century BCE."eal excavated at Susa, now in modern-day Iran, showing an account of five fields and their yields, with total on the reverse. Faculty of Oriental Studies, 
 
image_687_2.jpgTablet Sb04823: receipt of 5 workers(?) and their monthly(?) rations, with subscript and seal depicting animal in boat; excavated at Susa in the early 20th century; Louvre Museum, Paris (Image courtesy of Dr Jacob L. Dahl, University of Oxford) Cited in an article on Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) System.
 
Cuneiform.jpgThe tablet illustrated here is a business document with a seal impression. Seal impressions are somewhat like signatures, in that they identify the person involved in the business transaction recorded on the tablet. While most of the tablets that have been found are such things as contracts, sales receipts, and tax records, a number of very important literary texts have been found as well, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Code of Hammurabi. Photograph by Kai Quinlan West Semitic Research Courtesy University of Southern California Archaeological Research Collection  http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/educational_site/ancient_texts/Cuneiform.shtml
 
 
See:
http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.in/2013/05/tokens-and-bullae-evolve-into-indus.html Tokens and bullae evolve into Indus writing, underlying language-sounds read rebus
 
http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.in/2013/05/see-httpbharatkalyan97.html  Indus writing in ancient Near East (Dilmun seal readings)
 
Note on the copulation scenes on Dilmun seals:
 
kamḍa, khamḍa 'copulation' (Santali) Rebus:kaṇḍa  ‘furnace, fire-altar, consecrated fire’.
 
Allograph: kamaḍha ‘penance’ (Pkt.) Rebus 1: kampaṭṭa  ‘mint’ (Ma.) Rebus 2: kaṇḍa ‘fire-altar' (Santali); kan ‘copper’ (Ta.)  
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT_DvgzQTIRcIX1kJIGTmLNs9x8sI5RremBdMSZR2o_6gKCosjH
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSRdfX37uTvg1X6KIveQ9yEdIi6AvR_ZdHKCy3BIdCjrkIQklP_
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRYM-UP0npkHKsuiC15tKXpEx7LFGdk3DDrvPfm2TztPHkS8gPV

 

 
Kalyanaraman
Sarasvati Research Center
June 3, 2013

 



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The first known zero in the Indian tradition: Sambor (on Mekong) inscription

Denoting śakera 605

2013-05-15-K127.jpg"Until 1930, many scholars in the West believed that the zero was either a European or an Arab invention. A highly polemical academic argument was raging at the time, where British scholars, among them G. R. Kaye, who published much about it, mounted strong attacks against the hypothesis that the zero was an Indian invention. The oldest known zero at that time was indeed in India, at the Chatur-bujha temple in the city of Gwalior. But it was dated to the mid-ninth century, an era that coincided with the Arab Caliphate. Thus Kaye's claim that zero was invented in the West and came to India through Arab traders could not be defeated using the Gwalior zero.

"But then in 1931, the French archaeologist Georges Cœdès published an article (see reference below) that demolished Kaye's theory. In it, he proved definitively that the zero was an Eastern (and perhaps Cambodian, although he viewed Cambodia an "Indianized" civilization) invention. Cœdès based his argument on an amazing discovery. Early in the twentieth century, an inscription was discovered on a stone slab in the ruins of a seventh-century temple in a place called Sambor on Mekong, in Cambodia. Cœdès gave this inscription the identifier K-127. He was an expert philologist and translated the inscription from Old Khmer. It begins:
Chaka parigraha 605 pankami roc...

"Translated: The Chaka era has reached 605 on the fifth day of the waning moon...

:The zero in the number 605 is the earliest zero we have ever found. We know that the Chaka era began in AD 78, so the year of this inscription in our calendar is 605 + 78 = AD 683. Since this time predates the Arab empire, as well as the Gwalior zero, by two centuries, Cœdès was able to prove that the zero is, in fact, an Eastern invention. It is believed to have come to the West via Arab traders and was popularized in Europe through the work of Fibonacci (of the famous sequence of numbers), published in 1202.

"For a time, inscription K-127 was kept in the Cambodian National Museum in Phnom Penh. But during the Khmer Rouge reign of terror, while killing more than 1.7 million of their own people, Pol Pot and his henchmen also stole or destroyed close to 10,000 artifacts -- and this priceless inscription's whereabouts were unknown."

http://www.khmer-network.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=9760

Not the earliest zero, rediscovered

Posted by schrisomalis on June 2, 2013
rather unfortunate effort in Discover by Amir Aczel, ‘How I Rediscovered the Oldest Zero in History’ more or less effaces his solid legwork with shoddy theorizing and ahistorical claims.  Supported by the Sloan Foundation, Aczel (a popular science writer) went to Cambodia and tracked down the location of the Old Khmer inscription from Sambor, which is dated 605 in the Saka era (equivalent to 683 CE), which obviously contains a zero.    While the Hindu-Arabic-Western numerical tradition is seen to emanate from India, all of our earliest unquestioned examples (the late 7th century ones) of the zero are from Southeast Asia, and Sambor is the earliest one.  Because things have been rough in Cambodia for a long time, his work tracking it down and ensuring that it would be protected deserves a lot of credit.
If he had stopped there it would have been fine. Unfortunately, in an effort to bolster the importance of his claim, Aczel spends quite a lot of time justifying this as the first zero anywhere, ever, neglecting Babylonian and Maya zeroes from many centuries earlier.  To do that he needs to whip out all sorts of after-the-fact justifications of why those zeroes don’t really count, because Babylonians didn’t use their zero as a pure placeholder, or because Maya zeroes, well actually he just ignores those until the comments (but don’t read the comments – really, folks, that is the first rule of the internet).   Just for kicks, and regardless of the fact that it has nothing to do with zero, he starts off with a lengthy diatribe about how the Roman numerals are ‘clunky’ and ‘cumbersome’ and ‘inefficient’, which as long-time readers of this blog, or anyone who has read Numerical Notation, will know, is an utterly ridiculous, ahistorical claim that is divorced from how such numerals were actually used over two millennia.
I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably be spending the rest of my career pointing out that absolute judgements of the efficiency of numeral systems run the gamut from ‘missing the point’ to ‘completely ahistorical’ to ‘rabidly ethnocentric’.  While Aczel’s piece is not the worst of the sort, it certainly doesn’t deserve much praise.  Which is a shame, since that Sambor inscription really is the first known zero in the Indian tradition (to which our own Western numerals owe their origin) and it’s great that he’s been able to reconfirm its location in a politically perilous part of the world.
dsc_logo.png

How I Rediscovered the Oldest Zero in History

By Amir Aczel | May 20, 2013 1:31 pm
Mathematically, the Greco-Roman-Etruscan number system is an endlessly repetitive number system that is inefficient and cumbersome. To write 3333, which we do by repeating the sign 3 four times, a Roman would have had to scribble down MMMCCCXXXIII—three times as many characters. And I challenge anyone to multiply this number by MMDCCCLXXIX—usingonly the Roman system (meaning without translating these numbers into what they would be in our base-10 number system and then back into Roman numerals). Surprisingly, this clunky old Roman number system, with its ancient Greek and Etruscan roots, remained in use in Europe until the thirteenth century!
Our base-10 system derives its power and efficiency from the fact that we use a zero. The zero here is not just a concept of nothingness (and something every schoolchild learns you are forbidden to divide by), but also a place holder. The zero is a sign we place in a location in a number when there is nothing there—to tell us, for example, that 40 means four tens and no units, or that 405 is four hundreds, no tens, and five units.
 

Numbers on a dial

The zero thus turns the numerals 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 into what algebraists call thering Z(10). When you stack such rings one on top of the other, and you let them represent, in turn, the units, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, and so on, based on each ring’s location, you get the highly efficient number system we have today. Think of each ring as a dial—when it goes around full circle, you get 0 and you add a 1 to the ring above it. As an example, start with the number 5—this means only the lowest ring, that of the units, is nonempty, and has the number 5. Now add to this the number 7. Five units from the 7 will bring the units ring to 0 and make the tens ring jump up to 1. The remaining 2 from the 7 will make the lowest ring (the lowest dial) now show 2. Thus we have that the sum of 5 and 7 is 12. Without the place-holding zero, which makes each “dial” start repeating itself after going through zero, we couldn’t do this.
The ancient Babylonians (preceded by the Akkadians and Sumerians) had a base-60 number system, without a zero. So already 4,000 years ago, people in ancient Babylon understood that it is efficient to make numbers become “circular” or dial-like, in the sense that 60 was like our 10, and 3600 (60 squared) was like our 100, and so on. But the Babylonians didn’t use a place-holding zero, so there were serious ambiguities in their system.
Our number system is far superior to the old Babylonian base-60 system, because our base is much smaller and because we use a zero, and it is also superior to the 3,000-year-old Greco-Roman-Etruscan letter-based system. Zero is the incredible invention that made our number system so efficient. This system was popularized in Europe after the publication, in 1202, of the book Liber Abaci (The Book of the Abacus), by Fibonacci (of the famous Fibonacci sequence). Presumably, Fibonacci learned the use of the 10 numerals with zero from Arab traders, with whom he dealt on behalf of his merchant father, and that is why we often call them the Arabic numerals. But Fibonacci himself refers to them in his book as the “nine Indian numerals” with zero, which he calls zephirum, perhaps originating from the Arab sefir.

The original zero

But who invented the zero, which gives so much power to our number system? We don’t know who invented it, but we are pretty sure that the zero is an Eastern invention. The oldest zero in India with a confirmed date is from the mid-ninth century, and found in the Chatur-bujha temple in the city of Gwalior.
At one point, an older zero was known. In the 1930s a zero from the year AD 683 was found in Cambodia, and its great antiquity allowed a French researcher by the name of Georges Coedes to prove that the zero is of Eastern provenance. This is because, while the Gwalior zero is concurrent with the Arab empire based in Baghdad (the Caliphate), the zero from 683 predates extensive Arab trading. It also comes from a location that is much farther east than India. Its existence thus makes it highly unlikely that the zero was invented in Europe or Arabia and traveled east through Arab traders, as some had believed in the early 20th century. The Cambodian zero proved that zero was an Eastern invention. But this zero disappeared during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, and no one knew if it still existed.
I felt very strongly that it was important to recover the world’s oldest zero. I spent five years researching its whereabouts and developed various hypotheses about where it might be found. Then last year I was awarded a generous research grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundationin New York, which enabled me to travel to Cambodia to search for this precious find. As is well known, Cambodian artifacts have been plundered for decades and sold illegally on the international antiquities markets. During the Khmer Rouge era, while killing 1.7 million of their own people, Pol Pot and his henchmen also looted, vandalized or destroyed more than 10,000 ancient statues or inscriptions.
The location where the oldest zero in the world—on a seventh-century stone inscription—was kept was plundered by the Khmer Rouge as late as 1990. I traveled to that location, not far from the famous Angkor Wat temple, and after weeks of searching among thousands of artifacts, many of them damaged or discarded, I was able to discover the inscription. It is shown in the photo below, taken by my wife.
Inscription K-127, from Sambor on Mekong. Photo Credit: Debra Gross Aczel
 
 
 
2013-05-15-K127.jpgPhoto Credit: Debra Gross Aczel 
 
References:
Cœdès, Georges, "A propos de l'origine des chiffres arabes," Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1931, pp. 323-328. 
Diller, Anthony, "New Zeros and Old Khmer," The Mon-Khmer Studies Journal, Vol. 25, 1996, pp. 125-132. 
Ifrah, Georges. The Universal History of Numbers. New York: Wiley, 2000.
The zero is the dot in the middle, to the right of the spiral-looking character, which is a 6 in Old Khmer. The numeral to the right of the dot is a 5, making the full number 605. The inscription says: “The Chaka era reached year 605 on the fifth day of the waning moon…” We know that in Cambodia the Chaka era began in the year 78 AD. Thus the date of this zero is 605 + 78 = 683.
I notified the Cambodian Government of my discovery, and His Excellency Hab Touch of the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, who had helped me in my search, promised me to place this inscription—one of the most important finds in the history of science—in the Cambodian National Museum in Phnom Penh, where it rightly belongs. So anyone interested in the history of science and the birth of numbers should soon be able to see the first zero ever discovered.
Amir D. Aczel writes often about physics and cosmology. His book about the discovery of the Higgs boson, Present at the Creation: Discovering the Higgs Boson, was published in paperback by Broadway Books in November 2012.


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/////கால்களுடன் வாழ்ந்த பாம்பின் எலும்புக்கூடு லெபனானில் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. பாம்புகள் ஊர்வன இனத்தை சேர்ந்தவை. அவைகளுக்கு கால்கள் கிடையாது. இதற்கு முன்பு கால்களுடன் பாம்புகள் இருந்ததற்கான ஆதாரம் தற்போது கிடைத்துள்ளது.
பழங்காலத்தில் வாழ்ந்த அரிய உயிரினங்கள் குறித்து ஆய்வு செய்யும் நிபுணர்கள் லெபனானில் ஒரு பாம்பின் எலும்பு கூட்டை கண்டெடுத்தனர்.   சுமார் 19 “இஞ்ச்” நீளமுள்ள அந்த பாம்பின் எலும்பு கூட்டில் கால்கள் இருந்ததற்கான அடையாளங்கள் உள்ளன.
 
இவை சுமார் 9 1/2 கோடி ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பு வாழ்ந்ததாக இருக்கலாம் என கருதப்படுகிறது. லெபனானில் கண்டெடுக்கப்பட்ட பாம்பின் எலும்பு கூட்டில் சுமார் “1 இஞ்ச்” அளவுக்கு கால் எலும்புகள் இருந்தன. அதே நேரத்தில் பாம்பின் வயிற்றுப் பகுதியில் கால்கள் வளர்ந்து வந்ததற்கான அறிகுறிகளும் இருந்தன.அந்த எலும்புகள் “ 1/2 இஞ்ச்” அளவில் வளர்ந்திருந்தன.
 
இந்த வகை பாம்புகள் கால்கள் மூலம் நடந்து திரிந்ததால் நிலத்திலும், நீரிலும், பொந்துகளிலும் வாழ்ந்து இருக்கலாம் என விஞ்ஞானிகள் தெரிவிக்கின்றனர்.
 
பல கோடி ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பு வாழ்ந்த இந்த வகை பாம்புகளின் கால்கள் காலப்போக்கில் படிப்படியாக மறைந்து அவை ஊர்வன இனத்தை சேர்ந்தவையாக மாறியிருக்கலாம் என்றும் நிபுணர்கள் கூறுகின்றனர்.////


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சேர்ந்தமங்கலம் சர்வேஸ்வரன் கோயிலைமீட்க போராட்டம் நடத்தப்படும்: நெல்லையில் வி.எச்.பி.,நிர்வாகி பேட்டி.

http://www.dinamalar.com/district_detail.asp?id=758359&dtnew=7/16/2013

திருநெல்வேலி:சங்கரன்கோவில் தாலுகா, சேர்ந்தமங்கலம் சர்வேஸ்வரன் கோயில் மற்றும் நிலங்களை மீட்க 30கிராமங்களை சேர்ந்த பொதுமக்களை திரட்டி பல்வேறு போராட்டங்கள் நடத்தப்படும் என நெல்லையில் விஷ்வ ஹிந்து பரிஷத் மாநில அமைப்பு செயலாளர் நாகராஜன் தெரிவித்தார்.இது குறித்து நெல்லையில் விஷ்வ ஹிந்து பரிஷத் மாநில அமைப்பு செயலாளர் நாகராஜன் நிருபர்களிடம் கூறியதாவது:நெல்லை மாவட்டம், சங்கரன்கோவில் தாலுகா, சேர்ந்த மங்கலம் கிராமத்தில் உள்ள சர்வேஸ்வரன் கோயில் 11ம் நூற்றாண்டை சார்ந்ததாகும். இந்த கோயிலுக்கு 50 ஏக்கர் நிலம் உள்ளது. இக்கோயிலில் ஆண்டு தோறும் ஆனி தேர்திருவிழா பிரமாண்டமாக நடப்பது வழக்கம்.இதற்கிடையே கடந்த 1887ம் ஆண்டு கோயில் கருவறைக்கு முன் பகுதியில் அமைந்த கல் மண்டபத்தை ஆங்கிலேயே ஆட்சியாளர்களின் உதவியுடன் இந்துமக்கள் எதிர்ப்பை மீறி சர்ச் கட்டினர். சர்வேஸ்வரன் கோயில் கருவரையின் கல்மண்டபம் அப்படியே உள்ளது. கருவறையின் முன் பகுதி வாசலின் பெரிய கதவை சமீபத்தில் சர்ச் நிர்வாகத்தினர் உடைத்து தெரிந்தனர். தற்போது சர்வேஸ்வரன் கருவறை பொருட்கள் வைக்கும் அறையாக மாற்றப்பட்டுள்ளது. கோயிலுக்கு பாத்தியப்பட்ட சொத்து 1894ம் ஆண்டு பாளை. மறை மாவட்டம் என்ற பெயரில் சங்கரன்கோவில் சார்பதிவாளர் அலுவலகத்தில் பத்திரப் பதிவு செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது. ஆனால் இதுவரை அரசு ஆவணங்களில் சர்வேஸ்வரன் கோயில் என்ற பெயரிலேயே உள்ளது. தற்போது இந்த கோயிலுக்கு சொந்தமான சொத்தின் மதிப்பு 100கோடி ரூபாயாகும். இந்த கோயில் தற்போது கிறிஸ்தவர்களின் கட்டுப்பாட்டில் உள்ளது. இது தொடர்பாக சங்கரன்கோவில் தாலுகா ஆபீசில் நடந்த சமாதான கூட்டத்தில் சர்வேஸ்வரன் கோயிலில் வழிபாடு நடத்துவது தொடர்பாக இந்து முன்னணி அமைப்பினர் கோயில் சம்பந்தமான கோர்ட் அல்லது இந்து சமய அறநிலையத்துறை மூலமாக கோயில் வழிபாட்டுக்கான ஆவணங்களை சமர்பிக்கும் பட்சத்தில் உரிய நடவடிக்கை எடுக்கப்படும் என அதிகாரிகள் தெரிவித்தனர்.
சேர்ந்தமங்கலம் சர்வேஸ்வரன் கோயிலையும், அதற்கு சொந்தமான நிலத்தையும் மீட்டு தினசரி பூஜைகளை நடத்த வேண்டி விஷ்வஹிந்து பரிஷத் சுற்றுப்பகுதியில் உள்ள 30 கிராமங்களை சேர்ந்த பொதுமக்கள் மற்றும் துறவிகள், சாதுக்கள், சிவனடியார்கள் போன்றோரை திரட்டி பல்வேறு கட்ட போராட்டங்களை நடத்தவுள்ளோம்.
இவ்வாறு விஷ்வ ஹிந்து பரிஷத் நாகராஜன் தெரிவித்தார்.பேட்டியின் போது துறவிகள் பேரவை மாநில செயலாளர் சுவாமி ராகவானந்தா, வி.எச்.பி.,மாவட்ட செயலாளர் செல்லப்பாண்டியன், பாஜ., முன்னாள் மாவட்ட தலைவர் தீனதயாளன் ஆகியோர் உடனிருந்தனர்.



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Most Buddhist sites in India in despicable state 

RTI queries by a Haryana-based forum reveal only a few of the 772 sites in India are preserved well 

Atul Sethi | TNN 


Buddhas legacy in the land from where he spread his religion,seems to be in doldrums.Many ancient Buddhist sites in the country,which are ostensibly being preserved,continue to be encroached and are degrading rapidly.Also,despite state governments allocating funds for their preservation,most states have either spent paltry amounts on the sites or claim that they have no records of the expenditure incurred.These arethe resultsof a seriesof RTI queriesby theBuddhistForum,an association of individuals involved in spreading awareness about Buddhism.It is shocking to learn that states like Bihar and UP which have a large number of sites associated with Buddhism claim they do not keep separate records of the budget spent on the sites under their jurisdiction, says Sidhartha Gauri,founder of the Haryana-based forum which posted RTI queries to culture and archaeology bodies across the country to find out about the work done by them on Buddhist sites.
We asked various states to give information about the amounts spent by them on these sites between 1990 to 2011, says Gauri.After extensive follow-ups over two years,only 10 states responded with the figures.The collective amount spent by them over the 21-year-period came to a mere Rs 17 crore.This is less than even the budget of a Bollywood movie.Can centuries-old heritage be preserved if we are so casual in our approach 
Incidentally,the response from Uttar Pradesh to the RTI query was the most surprising one,says Gauri.The UP state archaeological department gave us the unbelievable answer that it has no Buddhist sites under its jurisdiction despite the state being the cradle of Buddhism. Bihar another state richly dotted with Buddhist locations was no better.The RTI reply from the state archaeology department claimed that they have only three protected Buddhist sites under their jurisdiction, says Gauri.However,we have collected information about at least 250 ancient Buddhist sites in the state,most of which are in a despicable condition.Eventhe Kesariya stupa in Motihari,believed to be the tallest Buddhist stupa in the world,doesnt have proper fencing.Animals are found grazing in its vicinity.Half of the stupa is still unexcavated while the other half which was excavated sometime back has started degrading rapidly. 
Major RS Bhatti of Intach,which is supporting the Buddhist Forum in its activities,says that it's time states get their act together.There needs to be proper accountability and most importantly,the problem of encroachment needs to be addressed fast as encroachers have been occupying space in these places for generations. 
So how can the situation be salvaged There are no easy answers,says Alok Ranjan of the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara in Nalanda,Bihar who points out that although acts have been enacted and protection laws are present,the situation is quite a complex one.Most Buddhist sites are in villages.Virtually several ancient sites have transformed into mounds and villages are settled over them.Often,it is not possible to resettle these villages, he says.Another difficulty,he adds,is preserving the sculptures and antiquities in many sites.Some of them are being worshiped by the villagers and at times these are kept in open which makes them vulnerable and pronetotheft.Wehave realized that awareness among the stakeholders could be the only effective tool in long term.


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