Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Halmidi Inscription: Most Ancient Kannada Language and Script Dates back to 450 - 500 A.D.

Union Ministry for Culture grant the classical language status to Tamil (in 2004), Sanskrit (in 2005). Tamil and Sanskrit languages are considered as the main sources for several languages forming part of  Indo-European family and the Dravidian family of linguistic groups. Union Ministry for Culture also granted classical language status to Telugu (since 2008) Kannada (Since 2008) Malayalam (since 2013) and Odiya (since 2014). From this we can infer that Kannada is being considered as the second classical language among the four Dravidian family of linguistic groups. Scholars believe that the Kannada script evolved from southern varieties of the Ashokan Brahmi script.  



A RELIC: A sample of Halmidi inscription.
PC: The Hindu,

Kannadigas claim that Halmidi Kannda script as the oldest script which is usually dated  between 450 A.D. and 500 A.D. Halmidi inscription was discovered by M.H. Krishna, Director of Archaeology in the princely State of Mysore at Halmidi village in Hassan taluk in 1936.  Epigraphist, K. V. Ramesh has written about the differing estimates:
And I attribute the origin of this doubt in their minds to the fact that scholars, even the reputed ones, have held differing views, mostly to prop up their preconceived notions, on the palaeographical dating of any given undated or insufficiently dated inscriptions. ... The undated Halmidi (Hassan District, Karnataka) inscription, allegedly written during the reign of Kadamba Kakusthavarman, is taken by some scholars to belong, on palaeographical grounds, to the middle of the 5th century AD, while a few other scholars have held, on the same grounds of palaeography, that it is as late as the second half of the 6th century A.D. — K. V. Ramesh
Halmidi is a small village in Belur taluk, in the north of Hassan district with a population of 1,200, and was known as `Palmidi' and `Hanumidi'. Scholars fully agree with its ancientness but debate on the precise date.  The 16-line Halmidi inscription, with the Vishnu Chakra on its top, found inscribed on the rectangular sandstone with a height of 2.5 ft. and a width of 1 ft.  The script used in Halmidi inscription is considered as the primitive Kannada script. The scholars identified that its typical characteristics ascribed to "Poorvada Halegannada" (primitive Kannada) and the script has similarities with Tamil Brahmi characters. The transliteration of Halmidi inscription in English and Tamil are given below: 

1. jayati śri-pariṣvāṅga-śārṅga vyānatir-acytāḥ dānav-akṣṇōr-yugānt-āgniḥ śiṣṭānān=tu sudarśanaḥ  (ஜயதி ஸ்ரீ பரிஸ்வாங்க ஸாரங்க வ்யானதிர் அச்ய்தாதானவக்ஷ்னோர் யுகாந்தாக்னி சிஸ்தானான் து ஸுதர்ஸ:)
2. namaḥ śrīmat=kadaṁbapan=tyāga-saṁpannan kalabhōranā ari ka-  (நமஸ்ரீமத் கதம்பபன் த்யாக ஸம்பன்னன்  கலபோரனா அரி கா)
3. kustha-bhaṭṭōran=āḷe naridāviḷe-nāḍuḷ mṛgēśa-nā-  (குஸ்த பட்டூரன் ஆளி நரிதாவிலே நாடுள் ம்ருகேச நா)
4. gēndr-ābhiḷar=bhbhaṭahar=appor śrī mṛgēśa-nāgāhvaya-  (கேந்த்ராபிலர் பட்டகர் அப்போர் ஸ்ரீ மிரிகேச நாகாஹ்வயர்)
5. r=irrvar=ā baṭari-kul-āmala-vyōma-tārādhi-nāthann=aḷapa-  (இர்வர்  பட்டரி குலாமல வ்யோம தாராதி நாதன்  அளப்ப)
6. gaṇa-paśupatiy=ā dakṣiṇāpatha-bahu-śata-havan=ā-  (கண பசுபதி  தக்ஷிணாபத பஹு சத ஹவனா )
7. havuduḷ paśupradāna-śauryyōdyama-bharitōn=dāna pa-  (ஹவுதுள் பசுப்ரதான சௌர்யோத்யம ரிதோன் தான )
8. śupatiyendu pogaḷeppoṭṭaṇa paśupati-  (சுபதியெந்து  பொகளிப்பொட்டனா பசுபதி)
9. nāmadhēyan=āsarakk=ella-bhaṭariyā prēmālaya-  (நாமதேயன் ஆசரக்கெல்லா பட்டரிய பிரேமாலய)
10. sutange sēndraka-bāṇ=ōbhayadēśad=ā vīra-puruṣa-samakṣa-  (சுதன்கே ஸேந்தரக  பாணோபயதேசத்  வீர புருஷ சமக்ஷ)
11. de kēkaya-pallavaraṁ kād=eṟidu pettajayan=ā vija  (தே கேகய  பல்லவரம் காட் எறிது பெத்தஜயன்  விஜ)
12. arasange bāḷgaḻcu palmaḍiuṁ mūḷivaḷuṁ ko-  (அரசன்கே பால்கள்சு பல்மடியம் ுழிவளும் கொ)
13. ṭṭār baṭāri-kuladōn=āḷa-kadamban kaḷadōn mahāpātakan  (ட்டர் பட்டாரி குலத்தோன் ஆள தம்பன் களத்தோன் மஹாபாதகன்)
14. irvvaruṁ saḻbaṅgadar vijārasaruṁ palmaḍige kuṟu-  (இர்வ்வரும் சள்பகந்தார்  விஜாரசரும்  பல்மடிகே குறு)
15. mbiḍi viṭṭār adān aḻivornge mahāpatakam svasti (ம்பிடி விட்டார் அதான் அழிவோர்கே மகாபாதகம் ஸ்வஸ்தி)
The following line is carved on the pillar's left face:
16. bhaṭṭarg=ī gaḻde oḍḍali ā pattondi viṭṭārakara (பட்டர்க்  கழதே ஒட்டலி  பத்தொண்டி விட்டாரக)

Text in Kannada

ಜಯತಿ ಶ್ರೀ ಪರಿಷ್ವರ್ಙ್ಗ ಶ್ಯಾರ್ಙ್ಗ [ವ್ಯಾ]ನತಿರ್ ಅಚ್ಯುತಃ ದಾನಕ್ಷೆರ್ ಯುಗಾನ್ತಾಗ್ನಿಃ [ಶಿಷ್ಟಾನಾನ್ತು ಸುದರ್ಶನಃ ನಮಃ ಶ್ರೀಮತ್ ಕದಂಬಪನ್ ತ್ಯಾಗ ಸಂಪನ್ನನ್ ಕಲಭೋg[ನಾ] ಅರಿ ಕಕುಸ್ಥಭಟ್ಟೋರನ್ ಆಳೆ ನರಿದಾವಿ[ಳೆ] ನಾಡುಳ್ ಮೃಗೇಶನಾಗೇನ್ದ್ರಾಭೀಳರ್ ಭ್ಭಟಹರಪ್ಪೋರ್ ಶ್ರೀ ಮೃಗೇಶ ನಾಗಾಹ್ವಯರ್ ಇರ್ವ್ವರಾ ಬಟರಿ ಕುಲಾಮಲ ವ್ಯೋಮತಾರಾಧಿನಾಥನ್ ಅಳಪ ಗಣ ಪಶುಪತಿಯಾ ದಕ್ಷಿಣಾಪಥ ಬಹುಶತಹವನಾಹವದು[ಳ್] ಪಶುಪ್ರದಾನ ಶೌರ್ಯ್ಯೋದ್ಯಮ ಭರಿತೋ[ನ್ದಾನ]ಪಶುಪತಿಯೆನ್ದು ಪೊಗೞೆಪ್ಪೊಟ್ಟಣ ಪಶುಪತಿ ನಾಮಧೇಯನ್ ಆಸರಕ್ಕೆಲ್ಲಭಟರಿಯಾ ಪ್ರೇಮಾಲಯಸುತನ್ಗೆ zಸೇನ್ದ್ರಕ ಬಣೋಭಯ ದೇಶದಾ ವೀರಪುರುಷಸಮಕ್ಷದೆ ಕೇಕಯ ಪಲ್ಲವರಂ ಕಾದೆಱದು ಪೆತ್ತಜಯನಾ ವಿಜ ಅರಸಂಗೆ ಬಾಳ್ಗೞ್ಚು ಪಲ್ಮಡಿಉಂ ಮೂೞುವಳ್ಳಿಉಂ ಕೊಟ್ಟಾರ್ ಬಟಾರಿ ಕುಲದೊನಳ ಕದಂಬನ್ ಕೞ್ದೋನ್ ಮಹಾಪಾತಕನ್ ಸ್ವಸ್ತಿ ಭಟ್ಟರ್ಗ್ಗೀಗೞ್ದೆ ಒಡ್ಡಲಿ ಆ ಪತ್ತೊನ್ದಿ ವಿಟ್ಟಾರಕರ

 Halmadi Inscription: Fibreglass replica - Monument

Monument showing Halmadi Inscription in modern Kannada Script
Halmidi inscription, according to Srivatsa S. Vati, who has studied the ancient inscription, was  recovered in front of a mud fort at Halmidi.  The local people of Halmidi never realized the importance and the stone tablet was neglected for longer duration.  After sometime, handful of the local villagers were able to recognize the old script on the stone tablet. This influenced them to move the plaque to the Veerabhadra Temple in the village.

The inscription do not  have 'Prasati' to understand the details of the king who donated the village Palmaḍiuṁ (Halmidi). The inscription comprise more Sanskrit terms and the inscriber could be the Vedic Brahmana and could have been originally inscribed at the Veerbhadra temple. The kind of relationship between the Kadamba king Kakusthavarman (reigned c. 425–450 A.D.) and the king Pasupati could not be comprehensible from the inscription. King Pasupati, who could be the vassal of  Kakusthavarman, was fond enough to donate Palmaḍiuṁ (Halmidi) village to his beloved instructors, Mrukesa Nagendra Abilar and his father Mrukesa Nagahavyar, residents of Narithavu village as a token of gratitude for teaching him archey.  This archery skill helped Pasupati to conquer the little village of Kekaya Pallava and accepted their surrender after defeat. Victorious King Pasupati pleased Kadamba king Kakusthavarman by his victory and received the village Palmadiyam as a gift from Kakusthavarman. The two brahmana bhattars seems to have lied and cunningly received the village Palmadiyam as gift and wanted to enjoy the full rights over the village.

The original stone tablet of Halmidi inscription recovered in Halmidi village can be viewed in the Office of the Director of Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Karnataka, Mysore. However fibreglass replica of the Halmidi Inscription has been installed on a pedestal in Halmidi village. A plaque mounted on the pedestal displays the transliteration of Halmidi inscription into modern Kannda script. It is for the benefit of visitors.

The Kannada Sahitya Parishat is organizing the "Halmidi Utsava" on November 16 and 17th every year at the Halmidi village in Belur Taluk to popularize it as a tourist destination.  Tourists visiting Belur and Halebidu can make use of the opportunity and visit Halmadi village to view the monument.

According to M.G. Manjunath, an epigraphist and considered an authority on “Nishadi” (Sallekhana Samadhi or Nishadi stone memorials erected for the departed revered) inscription of Jainism, “Gunabhushitana Nishadi Shasana”, (one of the 271 inscriptions on Chandragiri hill of Shravanabelagola) is the oldest known Kannada language inscription dating to 400 A.D.
Tourists visiting Hoysala temple of Belur and Halebid usually give Halmidi a miss. - See more at: http://www.newskarnataka.com/bangalore/revisiting-halmidi-4th-century-kannada-inscriptions-found#sthash.LGPtfxFI.dpuf
Tourists visiting Hoysala temple of Belur and Halebid usually give Halmidi a miss. - See more at: http://www.newskarnataka.com/bangalore/revisiting-halmidi-4th-century-kannada-inscriptions-found#sthash.LGPtfxFI.dpuf
Tourists visiting Hoysala temple of Belur and Halebid usually give Halmidi a miss. - See more at: http://www.newskarnataka.com/bangalore/revisiting-halmidi-4th-century-kannada-inscriptions-found#sthash.LGPtfxFI.dpuf
Tourists visiting Hoysala temple of Belur and Halebid usually give Halmidi a miss. - See more at: http://www.newskarnataka.com/bangalore/revisiting-halmidi-4th-century-kannada-inscriptions-found#sthash.LGPtfxFI.dpuf

Reference

  1. Halmidi (Wikipedia) 
  2. Halmidi, a forgotten slice of history Sathish G. T. The Hindu October 8, 2014
  3. Halmidi inscription proves antiquity of Kannada: Moily The Hindu Oct 24, 2004
  4. Halmidi village finally on the road to recognition  by Muralidhara Khajane The Hindu Nov 03, 2003
  5. Kannada language. Encyclopedia Braitannica. http://www.britannica.com/topic/Kannada-language 
  6. Mysore scholar deciphers Chandragiri inscription, The Hindu September 20, 2008
  7. செம்மொழி கன்னடத்தின் ஹல்மிடி கல்வெட்டு.  அகலன். மின்தமிழ். 
Sri Madan Gowda on Halmidi Inscriptions. (Youtube)
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