Page:The Origin of the Bengali Script.djvu/17

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION A, The arrangement. In an essay on the origin and development of the Bengali script, one must necessarily follow the steps of the late Hofrath Dr. Georg Buhler, the father of the science of Indian Palaeography. Though Burnell's work on the subject was published long ago, the accuracy of the narrative and the scientific arrangement of Biihler's work have made his claim to the title indisputable. His Indische Palaeographie was published in 1896, as a part of the Grundriss der indo-arischen Philologie nnd Af tertumskunde , organised by that indefatigable publisher, Dr. Karl J. Triibner of Strassburg. The work, as a matter of course, was short and concise, and dealt with the develop- ment of Indian alphabets up to the 12th century A. D. The development of the alphabets, from B. C. 350 to 600 A. D., is clearly described in this work. But after that period, lack of materials obliged the learned author to consider the development of the Northern alphabet as a whole, and not according to its varieties. The discoveries made during the last sixteen years have rendered it possible to take up that work now. The arrangement followed in these pages is mainly that of Dr. Buhler's from the dawn of the historical period to the 6th century A. D., but is different with regard to the subsequent periods. In latter periods, more attention has been paid to specimens from North-Eastern India, and the latest discoveries added to the list of epigraphs, have been analysed. Thus, the inscriptions on the railing-pillars at Bodh-Gaya have been placed in their proper position in the chronological order