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About The Grantham Inscriptions

Context:

A team of archaeologists recently discovered two stone inscriptions of ‘Grantham’ and Tamil dating 11th and 16th centuries respectively at Pazhnchervazhi village near Kangayam.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Grantha Inscriptions: Preserving Historical Scripts in South India
  2. Periods of Grantha Inscriptions
  3. Post-Independence Influence

Grantha Inscriptions: Preserving Historical Scripts in South India

Overview:
  • Grantha, a historical script, was once widely used for writing Sanskrit in South East Asia and greater Tamil Nadu.
  • The term “Grantha” in Sanskrit signifies a literary work, reflecting its association with writing Sanskrit works.
  • Initially prevalent throughout South India, it played a crucial role in the development of the Malayalam language, where it was known as Arya Ezhuthu.
Evolution and Similarity:
  • Both Grantha and Tamil scripts, derived from Brahmi, share similarities in their modern forms.
  • The evolution of Grantha in Tamil Nadu can be categorized into four periods: archaic and ornamental, transitional, medieval, and modern.

Periods of Grantha Inscriptions:

  • Archaic and Ornamental (Pallava Grantha): Notable examples include Mahendravarman’s Tiruchirapalli rock-cut cave, Narasimhan’s Mamallapuram, and Mutharaiyar’s Senthalai inscriptions.
  • Transitional (650 CE – 950 CE): Associated with later Pallavas (Nandivarman’s Kasakudi, Udayendram plates) and Pandyan Nedunjadaiyan’s Anaimalai inscriptions.
  • Medieval (950 CE – 1250 CE): Imperial Chola inscriptions from Thanjavur exemplify this period.
  • Modern (Later Pandyas to Vijayanagar): Continued until the early 20th century, popularized for transcribing Sanskrit books.

Post-Independence Influence:

  • With the advent of printing machines, many Sanskrit books transcribed in Grantha script were printed.
  • Post-independence, the rise of Hindi in Devanagari script led to the decline of Grantha script’s popularity in printing.

-Source: The Hindu


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