Mahasthangarh Fragmentary Stone Plaque Inscription
Title Mahasthangarh Fragmentary Stone Plaque Inscription
Accession Number A19720
Museum Name Indian Museum, Kolkata
Gallery Name N.A.
Object Type Epigraphs
Main Material Stone
Country Bangladesh
Provenance Mahasthan, Bogra, Bangladesh.
Origin Place Mahasthan, Bogra , Bangladesh.
Patron/Dynasty Mauryan
Period / Year of Work C.3rd Century B.C.E
Dimensions 5.8 cm. x 8.5 cm. x 2.2 cm.
Brief Description This Inscription in Mauryan Brahmi characters, discovered at Mahasthan in the Bogra district of Bangladesh, is the earliest epigraphic record in Bengal. It is a small record of six lines, incised on a piece of semi-circular limestone, parts of which are broken. The inscription is palaeographically datable to C.3rd century B.C.E. The language of the inscription is Prakrit, but the influence of Magadhi is discernible. Different interpretations of the inscription have been given by scholars. It records an order issued by some ruler to the Mahamatra stationed at 'Pudanagala' (i.e. Pundranagara identified with Mahasthan in northern Bangladesh) with a view to relieving the distress of the people called Samgvangiyas, who were settled in and around the town. The inscription speaks of four requisites viz tela (oil), duma (tree), dhanya (paddy) and two varieties of small coins called gandaka (ganda- a unit of calculation consisting of four kapardakas or cowries) and Kakanyika (Kakanika-kapardaka or cowry). The storehouse (Kothagala> Kosthagara) had to be filled up with these requisites as provisions against any emergency caused by water, fire and devastation of crops by parrots. This inscription of enormous historical importance discovered by a local person named Baru Fakir in the year 1931 was brought to Calcutta by G.C. Chandra, the then Superintendent, Eastern Region, Archaeological Survey of India.