The publication of this volume has been delayed by several unforeseen causes, and I must express my regret that this delay should have taken place; it was due to circumstances beyond my own control.
It is necessary to explain the reasons for publishing the various sections of this volume. Part I consists of a cursory examination of 219 inscriptions on copper, which have been sent to me from different parts of Southern India, an appendix raising the number to 228. I have not attempted to publish full notes with translation of all these inscribed plates as the short time at my disposal forbade any endeavor to do more than hint at the historical value of each. All detailed work on them must come later. My aim has been simply to pioneer the Survey and t show as far as I have been able to ascertain, where it will be necessary and valuable for others to labour. All the inscriptions noted in Part I must at some time or another be carefully examined.
Part II consists of a list of all the dated inscriptions, which as yet have come to my notice in the Madras Presidency, arranged in chronological order. This list was prepared mostly to assist epigraphists as well as students of history. It will, I hope, be found to serve several purposes. Any one desirous of studying the history of a period for instance, will by this list be guided to all the inscriptions of the same date at present known to exist in the Presidency.
A mere glance at the first column will show the reader to the hand of any one who chooses to grasp it, in the villages of Southern India. Only a few of these inscriptions have as yet been examined, and all must be published before the work can be considered complete. It must be remembered that this list comprises only those inscriptions of whose existence I have been informed, and that it probably does not represent a tenth part of those which will in after years be brought to light. I have even omitted to enter a number of those actually brought to notice where my informants mentioned dates, which were these exceptions; the list contains all the dated inscriptions specially mentioned in Volume I. There remain for examination, independently of these, firstly, the undated inscriptions specially so mentioned; secondly, the large number of inscriptions whose mere existence is noted, as for instance, where the information I received was that a temple existed covered with inscriptions- and these must number several thousands more. The work has been inaugurates, for Dr. Burgess informs me that he has a very considerable number of the copper plate inscriptions, besides others from temples, from the Madura District and the whole of the Tamil inscriptions in the Madras Museum, already translated by Mr. S. M. Natesa Sastri and others, and that the printing of them is well advanced.
Part III consists of lists of inscriptions as noted in Volume I and as found in certain other publications, arranged according to the sovereigns and dynasties they refer to. These I found exceedingly difficult to draw up because of the doubtfulness of the names and dates as reported to me. They must be taken merely as tentative and provisional. As with the rest of these two volumes, I publish the Lists in the hope that sojourners in Southern India will correct them.
One point connected with the Chola lists must especially be noted here, as I must confess myself in doubt as to the correctness of certain previous deductions. I think that the list given from pages 102 to 109 needs correction in several respects. So many of the names of Vira or Kulottunga Chola I seem to be mere titles that we must not be too sure that inscriptions bearing, as the name of the sovereign, one of those titles, is necessarily an inscription of that king. Since the list was prepared I have seen some new inscriptions and am now not at all certain that all those bearing the name "Koneri Nanmai Kondan" belong to the reign of Kulottunga I. I think, further, that the name "Koneri Nanmai Kondan Sundara Pandiyan and "Koneri Melkondan Sundara Pandiyan" probably do not belong to him, but to a real Pandiyan or Pandiyans, and are unconnected with the Chola-Pandiyan conquest.
I was inclined, too, to accept too readily the name of his queen as sufficient evidence of identification. Her name was "Ulaha Murududailyal," corresponding to "Loka Mahadevi," and the first name "Ulaha" seems to have been variously written "Avani" or "Bhuvana". But from inscriptions which have recently come to light is seems possible that this name was a common title of the South Indian queens. It has been found by Dr. Burgess as the name of the wife fo a pure Pandiyan, for instance. The list will perhaps have to be amended in this respect.
Such errors are inseparable from a work of this nature, which is intended merely to precede the study of the subject and in no sense is put forth as summarizing the results of study completed.
Part IV contains a sketch of the genealogy and history of the dynasties and ancient families of Southern India, so far as I have as yet been able to compile them. This will serve as a rough chart to all students of the subject and will enable any one who hits on an inscription and who is desirous of learning something about the sovereign therein mentioned, to ascertain who he was and to what dynasty he belonged nd to gain some slight knowledge of the history of that dynasty so far as it is hitherto known or supposed to be known. The compilation speaks for itself and I need say little more. If it serves no the purpose, it will show how little is yet known, and what vast fields of study still lie open, calling for earnest and patient investigation. I have tabulated these lists alphabetically. This is, in some respects, open to objection but for general use it is perhaps better than an attempt at any chronological sequence, where there were so many dynasties overlapping one another in point of time. Such an arrangement as the last might, it was thought, possibly give rise to misunderstanding.
I was in hopes of being able to complete the work by a set of chronological tables for computing the exact English equivalent for all dates given in South Indian inscriptions, but the unfortunate illness of the compiler, Mr. U.S. Krishnasvami Nayudu, Nazir of the High Court of Judicature, Madras, has delayed their preparation. They are in the press, and will be published separately.
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