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India's Kannada script a century older than believed


Pushing the antiquity of Kannada language further back, at least by a century, ASI has discovered a new set of inscriptions containing Kannada words. While the antiquity of Kannada has been a matter of debate, especially after it acquired the classical language status, ASI researchers have discovered epigraphic records at a temple in Shivamogga district pushing its usage from the existing 450 CE to 350-370 CE. The discovery was officially notified by the ASI on its website a few days ago.

India's Kannada script a century older than believed
India's Kannada script a century older than believed
The discovery came at Pranaveswara temple in Shikaripura taluk of Shivamogga [Credit: ASI]
A trial excavation by ASI researchers on the premises of Pranaveswara temple in Shikaripura taluk of Shivamogga district has not only unearthed rare records of written Kannada but also taken the history of written Kannada back by at least another 100 years. The excavation carried out under the direction of M Nambirajan, superintending archaeologist of the Bengaluru circle of ASI during 2014-15 has been recorded and officially notified by the ASI in its recent Archaeological Review journal on its website.

As per the official records, currently the antiquity of Kannada is attributed to Halmidi inscriptions dating back to 450 CE. But historians and palaeographers have always argued that the first written inscription in Kannada would go past the current 450 CE. However, there were no concrete evidences to substantiate those theories. Even though the recent finding of an inscription by noted historian Prof Shettar at Tagarthi in Shivamogga district is dated 350 CE, there has been no official confirmation from the ASI.

Discovery of the latest inscriptions has given teeth to the argument of historians and officially pushed Kannada’s antiquity at least by a century back. According to ASI, the Pranaveswara temple dates back to Satavahana time, and was further restored by Kadambas – the first Kannadiga kingdom. The new inscription was discovered on the back of lion balustrade steps made of greenish grey schist stone in front of the temple. “The first inscription in all probability is datable to 370-450 CE,” ASI revealed.

Source: Bangalore Mirror [January 14, 2017]
TANN

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