SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Upasak, Chandikra S. (1959) The history and development of Mauryan Brahmi script. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (18MB)


After giving a brief survey of the history of India till the rise of the Mauryas in the introduction of this work, we have discussed the origin of the Brahmi script in the next chapter. In this chapter, besides a brief account of different theories propounded by many scholars, we have endeavoured to put forward our own views where they differ from or go beyond those of earlier students. This chapter also presents a brief account of the decipherment of Brahmi. The next chapter is mainly devoted to the special features noted in the Asokan Brahmi. A detailed study of each letter has proved that there was no regional influence whatsoever in the Asokan inscriptions and that there existed a royal standard form of Brahmi script which predominated in almost all the inscriptions of Asoka. We have also pointed out how the individual characteristcs of an engraver played an important part in producing different shapes of a letter in one inscription or sometime even in one line. The fourth chapter is larger than the others, as it presents a detailed description of the individual letters found in the Asokan inscriptions. It starts with the vowels followed by the consonants arranged according to the present Devanagari alphabet, and finally concludes with a study of conjuncts, numerals, punctuations and corrections. The succeeding chapter gives a general account of each inscription of Asoka with its palaeographic peculiarities, if any have been noticed. The sixth chapter is devoted to those inscriptions which are doubtfully ascribed to the pre-Asokan or Asokan period. Since these inscriptions are undated records and all that we can infer must be based upon their palaeography alone, it has been most difficult to make any definite pronouncement about their dates. However, we have expressed our opinions, though reservedly. The last chapter concludes the work by pointing out the facts that we have been able to gather as a result of our research. The work concludes with appendices giving the occurrences of each letter of Asokan Brahmi, a line-chart of Minor Rock Edict of Erragudi, the standard shape of each letter, bibliography and photostatically reproduced copies of the unpublished inscriptions.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:12

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item