and nearly all the later Indic and extra-Indi c scripts derived from it
follow essentially the same system.
The monograph Palaeolinguistic Profile of Brahmi Script
revolves around the palaeolinguistic analysis of Mauryan and Ksatrapa
Brahmi scripts. The former is the earliest known form of the script
dating back to at least 250 BC whereas the latter is a derivative of the
former in western India in the first four centuries of the Christian era.
The book deals with the linguistic and topographic organization of
Brahm] script. Furthermore. dependency phonology is an important
component of this work. This modern linguistic phenomenon is
corroborated by the ancient Brahm] script.
On the basis of dependency phonology and the analysis of basic
and derived letters. evolution of Brahm] script has been forwarded.
Accordingly. it is argued that the evolution of Brahm) was in four
stages preceded by Harappan script. via .,
i) Harappan script (c 2500 - 1700 BC).
ii) Proto-Brahm] script (c 1700 600 BC).
iii) Pre-Mauryan Brahm] (c 600 350 BC).
iv) Mauryan Brahm] (c 350 150 BC). and
v) Po t-Mauryan Brahm] (c 150 BC - AD 600).
In the end. it is concluded that the linguistic design of Brahm]
was a product of the phonetic-phonological-grammatical work done
by Indian scholars over a period of a few centuries.
He has edited two bi-monthly bulletins, viz., Khab arnama and ICS
Newsletter from 1987-94. His published works include Standard Catalogue of
Sultanate Coins of India (1991); Studies in the Coinage of the Western Ksatrapas
(with Amiteshwar Jha, in 1994), and History of the Traikut akas (1998). His
forthcoming titles include Numismatic Chronology of Early Historic Gujarat,
History of Gujarat, and Janapada Punch-marked Coins. He is currently
completing a book on the Currency and Fiscal of Kachchh State.
He has participated in various international and national seminars and
conferences and has contributed fifty research papers to various journals and
books. He has been awarded the Lowick Memorial Grant of the Royal
Numismatic Society, U.K. in 1991; and the Indological Research Fellowship of
the Asiatic Society of Bombay in 1994-1995. He is also a recipient of the Prof
H.D. Sankalia Young Archaeologist Award for the year 1997.
What is new in Rajgor's monograph? The linguistic -
topographic evolution of Ks atrap a Brahm] from the earlier
Mauryan Brahm], the relevance of Brahm] seekers to current
phonological theory, and a well-founded hypothesis regarding
the development of Brahm! as a script in ancient India are
sure to attract the attention of the students of Brahm]. I am
sure that Rajgor (2000) will be cited for these and other
issues in Indian palaeolinguistics. The monograph will also
be looked up for the appendices; and beautiful plates
illustrating the development of Brahm! script; inscriptions
I expect Palaeolinguistic Profile of Brehm] Script to be
a modestly influential monograph. Rajgor's quick grasp of
Pandey's suggestion about the link between the basic -
derived ensure to dependent phonology cannot escape the
attention of present-day linguists. Rajgor highlights the value
and relevance of the two primary contributions on Brahm],
namely, Upasak (1960) and Verma (1971). The hypothesis
about the earlier forms of Mauryan Brahm! will also be
explored. Given Dilip Rajgor's ability, skills and work habits,
I would not be surprised if he is invited to join a major
research team working on the decipherment of the Indus
However, in the present decade, a new group of scholars is
taking interest in Indian palaeography. They are from the
discipline of linguistics.
This inter-disciplinary approach to study Indian
palaeography has a promising future. These palaeolinguists
study the problem of linguistic and cognitive aspects of the
morality-literacy complex in ancient India. In their study the
linguistic analysis of Brahm! script - the earliest known script
of India - is an important tool. To facilitate these new
palaeolinguists in their research, the present work
Palaeolinguistic Profile of Brahmi Script is forwarded.
The enterprise begins with Introduction, presenting
thereby the various writing systems, and about the antiquity
of Brahm]. Development, regional variations, Ksatrapa Brahm!
script and a review of literature are other important
components of this chapter.
Chapter 2 deals with linguistic features of Ksatrapa
Brahm]. Numerous tables classify the vowels and consonants
of the Ks atrapa Brahm] script. Sanskrit rules of sandhi
(conjunction) are corroborated by modern linguistic research
which is dealt with in the Chapter 3 on Dependency
Phonology. A study of original forms of Brahm] results in the
classification of basic and derived letters which forms a
Chapter 4 highlights the topographic organization of
the Brahm! script. This chapter includes sections on initial
vowels, consonants, medial vowel-signs, and formation of
conjuncts. Furthermore, the system of writing and physical
length of letters are also discussed which are followed by
In the evolutionary process of man, right from signs
and symbols to the computer languages, man has passed
through a number of milestones. In the Neolithic era human
communities and languages began to multiply in Europe,
the Near East and Africa. In Africa alone some six hundred
different tongues were spoken by various tribes and clans
at least seven thousand years ago (Norman 1975). However,
most of these languages have disappeared with their
The development of- writing is considered as the most
revolutionary invention in human history. This skill of writing
made possible for man to convey his ideas across space
and time. By the help of writing he could not only
communicate effectively with his fellow beings but also
passed on his thoughts, views, ideas and discoveries from
generation to generation. Archaeologicafy, the earliest
evidence of such writing can be traced back to some
135,000 years ago. This evidence is a rib excavated from
an early ice age from the region of Dordogne in France.
Upon the rib a prehistoric man had engraved a series of
curious signs - arcs, branches, angular symbols and parallel
lines. The microscopic investigation of the engravings
revealed that the incisions on the bone were made over an
extended period of time with various tools (Norman 1975).
These engravings are the earliest form of writing known as
1.1 Types of Writing Systems
There are three syllables for writing which are
erroneously treated as synonyms. These are Writing System,
Script and Orthography. A writing system is characterized
by the linguistic units they represent. For example, Chines
logography takes the morpheme as a representational unit,
while Japanese Hiragana adopts the syllable as a linguistic
unit. A script is a visual design which represents the
linguistic units; orthography, on the other hand, is the rules
of the standard spelling system. In fact, there is an evolution
process visible among the three. Writing system was the
first to be evolved which was followed by script, and then
by orthography. However, a general belief is that writing
system developed from pictographs.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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